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.