Belite offers an affordable FAA Part 103 aircraft unlike any other single place airplane.
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Belite’s mission is to provide affordable high quality aviation products and aircraft at affordable prices, allowing more people access to flying.
Many pilots and aircraft owners have appreciated the latitude of the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 103 which has opened up many legal options for flying enthusiasts. However, FAR 103 airplanes have traditionally had great difficulty meeting legal weight requirements while providing airplane functionality. As a result, many people have flown what are called 'fat ultralights' - overweight aircraft.
Belite Aircraft took on the challenge to develop an ultralight with the feel of a real airplane, yet one that met the qualifications of FAR Part 103.
Belite offers both a Taildragger and a Trike version in both Kits and Ready To Fly Aircraft.
New Technology for the Belite
First, owner James Wiebe looked to the new technology of carbon fiber. While it is an optional component of our product, we use it mainly in the wing spars. It helps reduce the weight of the airplane by about 12 pounds. Wow! But it was (and remains) fairly expensive.
What do our customers really want in a single seat airplane?
We wanted to give as many people as possible access to flying, so we asked our customers what they thought of our airplanes and price points.
A survey of customers indicated:
- They like the Belite.
- They want to fly
- They want to afford the Belite.
And another factor had entered the equation.
- Heavier pilots still want to fly. Could Belite accommodate them?
How did Belite respond to the challenge?
We looked at how we could cut our costs and provide weight saving, affordable airplanes with cool technology.
1) We began machining our own parts on our new 4 axis CNC machine. This helped save money.
2) We also invested in a CNC router – which helped us cut out all of the wood parts in a perfectly uniform manner. This brought down costs.
3) We also invested in aluminum stamped dies for our ribs, producing a more uniform rib as a result, and lighter weight, and easy assembly of the wings.
4) We subtly increased the wing span, the wing chord, and the size of the flaperons. As a result, the overall characteristics of the aircraft have changed. With the enlarged wing area, the new Belite aircraft is a much better performer with 28HP engines – in fact, it is just amazing. (Especially when combined with the new lighter fuselage – see the next point!)
5) Finally, in 2011, we redesigned the fuselage to use aluminum. This made it easier to fabricate, and also helped reduce cost and weight. As result, we could simultaneously cut our prices, increase the weight of pilots we could lift, and offer bigger engines on lighter airframes, improving performance.
New Aluminum Fuselage
And the new aluminum fuselage passed the strength tests:
Engine mount strength
Pilot seat strength
Airframe strength -- taxiing (super hard jolts while going up and down the runway without shocks)
Costs are much lower, so prices are more affordable.
And its lighter weight, yet sturdy frame, allows pilots up to 275 pounds to enjoy flying.
To read more on the aluminum fuselage, see photos of the strength tests, video and see pricing, click here.
Other Belite Innovations
Belite includes additional innovations like a full instrument panel that takes the experience beyond that of a traditional ultralight. Click here to see Belite Electronics.
The Belite can also accommodate a parachute system. As more options are added, the maximum weight can be 278 lbs, if a parachute is included.
Standard Features of the Belite
- The Belite is offered in either a Trike or Tailwheel version, with a variety of engine options.
- FOLDING WINGS is one of the most popular features of the Belite. This allows easy transport and storage of the aircraft.
- ENHANCED WING SPAN AND WING AREA makes the Belite much friendlier with big pilots and small engines.
- LIGHT WEIGHT of the Belite allows accommodation of BIG pilots.
- With a rate of climb of 400 fpm*, a cruise speed of up to 62 mph and up to a two-hour endurance, the Belite offers outstanding flying fun. Build time is less than 200 hours (not including fabric and paint).
- The Belite airplane requires real pilot skills. As a tailwheel airplane, it is remarkably easy to take off and land, but tailwheel operating knowledge is required. It is a very low inertia airplane, and like other light aircraft, care must be taken to keep approach speeds high enough to have energy for a good flare to land. In short, flying the Belite provides the economy and freedom of an ultralight and the flying characteristics of a Light Sport aircraft.
- The Belite has a control stick and rudder pedals for standard 3-axis aircraft controls, highly effective flaperons and classic taildragger styling. Wheels and brakes are tough aluminum and steel. Braking action is perfect and smooth because of the hydraulic brakes. The Belite aircraft sets a new standard for lightweight, durable construction.
*Dependent on engine selection – your climb rate can do better than this, actually….!
- Each aircraft is equipped with a 5 gallon fuel tank, polycarbonate windshield and sunroof that provides 360 degree visibility, and a 4-point lap and shoulder harness.