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Mike’s Trikes

Hi my name is Mike and I would like to take a few minutes to tell you about me and my project.

I have been designing, building and rebuilding aircraft for about 30 years. I have been teaching flying as a Certified Flight Instructor since the mid 1980’s. I am, as of this writing, one of only 2 certified Weight shift instructors in my state.

My project is simple and straight forward. I am going to build an ultralight weight shift trike and document the process by means of videos, photos and cad drawings. I will also be writing a book filled with detailed accounts of the process including exact cad drawings of every part.

The book and all its associated videos will be made available for sale as a “How I Did It” book on this website, Mike’s Trikes as well as other popular book sellers.

Anyone that donates $100.00 or more (Gold Membership), will receive a free copy of this ebook when completed, and get access to the web base book chapters and videos as they are finished.

The PIC must always be alert in order to maintain the safety of the aircraft and their passengers Safety

Aeronautical Decision-Making

Excerpt from FAA Weight Shift Control Handbook

Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM)
A PIC’s attitude or mindset must always be alert in order to
maintain the safety of the aircraft, passengers, and the general
public on the ground. To accomplish sound aeronautical
decision-making (ADM), a pilot must be aware of his or
her limitations and well-being (physical and psychological
health), even before beginning the first preflight routine.
While technology is constantly improving equipment and
strengthening materials, safe flight comes down to the
decisions made by the human pilot prior to and during
The well-being of the pilot is the starting point for the
decision-making process that occurs while in control of the
aircraft. Just as physical fatigue and illness directly affects
a pilot’s judgment, so too will attitude management, stress
management, risk management, personality tendencies, and
situational awareness. Hence, it is the awareness of human
factors and the knowledge of the related corrective action that
not only improves the safety of operating a WSC aircraft, but
also enhances the joy of flying.

Why Build Your Own Trike

Sometimes you get the chance to do something that is really fun. A few years ago, a friend that had been flying trikes for many years, offered to teach me to fly weight shift aircraft.

Having flown just about everything out there for small aircraft, I decided I wanted to give it a try. I was soon saying to everyone that asked, “these aircraft are as much fun as you can have with your pants on.” Seriously, they are a lot of fun.

Over the last few years I have done extensive study on my favorite subject, flying wings. A trike wing, or hang glider wing, is the perfect thing for the guy that doesn’t want to pay tie down fees or have to worry about a plane sitting outside year round. Although the flex wing is not the most aerodynamically proficient of the flying wings, it has many benefits for the weekend flyer.

Here in the northeast, you really need to rent hanger space to keep your plane out of the snow. It costs a minimum of 100, and up to 300 a month to keep a small plane in a hanger. The one thing that is free, is the hanger rash. (Hanger rash is the damage your aircraft receives from bumping into other things in a hanger or others bumping your plane while it is in the hanger)

On the other hand, with a trike, and one of these wings, you can store everything in your garage or shed. If the wing has struts, it can be left on the trike and simply folded and bagged. If not strutted, the wing can be removed, folded, and stored separately. So, it also becomes a very easy aircraft to keep.

The other thing that is welcome, is the ease of building your own trike. I have built 6 aircraft and helped rebuild or build about a dozen others. When someone reads that it will take 500 to 800 hours to build a small aircraft, they should add about half again as much time to the total. The rest of the time will be spent studying the plans and staring at the project. I have spent more time doing the latter than building for sure.

 However, an ultralight trike is a very simple aircraft, and quite easy to build. The trike in this book can be built in 50 to 150 hours, depending on how much of it you fabricate yourself. The wing will be bought already built. And the wing on an aircraft is the most complicated and time consuming part of most projects.

From start to finish, you can build your own trike very inexpensively with a little shopping for engine and wing. As a mater of fact, I have built an ultralight trike for as little as a couple thousand dollars. However, a more realistic number would be six to ten for the average person buying a new wing. A new wing will cost you a minimum of 5k. A really nice used wing can be gotten for half that.

So here I am, telling my story so that others may get enthused enough to get going on something of their own.

Please consider becoming a Mike’s Trikes Member and helping me do this project.

The Weight and Balance of a Trike.

You MUST do it right to avoid big first flight troubles

CG, Hang point, and Bar position on a Trike

There are several things to think about when setting up a new wing on a trike. If the wing is an exact replacement for the trike it is pretty safe to set up and go. If the Trike is not matched to the wing, it is important to do a proper job of setting things up before you attempt to fly the trike.

CG of the Trike

There are two important CG’s on a Trike. First the wing has a CG limit/location that needs to be considered separately from the CG limit/location on the trike. The center of gravity limits/location of the wing is determined by the manufacturer and or designer. The location of the hang block determines the location of the attachment point of the trike mast via the hang bolt, this attachment point must fall within the center of gravity limits along the keel tube of the wing.

All the weight of the trike and pilot hang below this attachment point via the hang bolt. This then, is the center of gravity of the Trike.

Everything hanging from this point is free to swing in any direction. The trike itself must be in a balance state while hanging from this point which will allow it to be in position for normal flight. This attach point is the center of gravity of the trike by itself, as well as the center of gravity of the wing as determined by the placement of the hang block.  


The reason for stating the two balance points separately, is that one can be changed to an incorrect position without changing the other. Changing either, will change the flight characteristics of the aircraft. Only when both are correct, will the aircraft fly correctly.

You need to think of the mechanics of the trike hanging from the hang bolt without the wing. The trike hangs from a single bolt and is free to swing like a pendulum fore and aft until it finds its center. The only way to change where the Trike ends up, is to move the load (weight) around in the trike, or change the position of the mast thus re-locating the hang point (hang bolt through the mast) fore and aft from its present position. This of course is done by repositioning the the mast thus moving the hang point forward or rearward. This is most often done by changing the length of the down tube.

In my book I show how I do this step by step. Please go to my Go Fund Me Page and help me with my project. The Gold Membership gives you free access to the Chapters of the book, here on Mike’s Trikes, as they are being put together. You also get hands on build videos and exact cad drawings of every part. Please consider a generous donation to let me finish this project. The gold membership is 100 dollars. It is hard to find a good set of plans for any aircraft for that price. Say nothing to the book with a step by step explanation of how I did it.