Aero-Works Aerolite 103

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Aero-Works Aerolite 103
Role Ultralight aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Aero-Works Inc.
U-Fly-It Light Sport Aircraft, LLC
Designer Terry Raber
First flight October 1996[1]
Introduction 1997
Status 1997-2005[2]
Number built 150 (December 2004)[3]
Variants Wings Of Freedom Phoenix 103

The Aero-Works Aerolite 103 is an American single seat, high-wing, pusher configuration ultralight aircraft, designed by Terry Raber and introduced by Aero-Works, Inc, of Millersburg, Ohio in 1997. The aircraft's model number indicates that it was designed to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration FAR 103 ultralight rules.[1][4][5][6][7]

Production of the aircraft ended in 2005 when the manufacturer went out of business.[2] The rights to the design were purchased by its original designer, the aircraft updated with an updated aluminum fuel tank and put back into production in 2013 by U-Fly-It Light Sport Aircraft, LLC of DeLand, Florida.[8][9]


The aircraft was designed to meet the requirements of FAR 103 Ultralight Vehicles, including maximum 254 lb (115 kg) empty weight.[4][6][9]

The builder-achieved empty weights vary from 252 lb (114 kg) to 300 lb (136 kg), with 275 lb (125 kg) being typical.[10] To remain under the FAR 103 empty weight requires the use of a light-weight engine, such as the 35 hp (26 kW) 2si 460-F35 or the 28 hp (21 kW) Hirth F-33.[3][7][9]


An Aerolite 103 at Oshkosh 2001

The Aerolite 103 features a high wing with half-span flaps that are extended by use of an overhead bellcrank to a maximum of 40 degrees. The flight controls are three-axis and are actuated by a wheel mounted on a control column via flexible push-pull cables and conventional rudder pedals connected to the rudder by cables. The engine throttle is a twist-grip type and incorporates a brake lever to operate the non-differential mechanical drum brakes installed on the main wheels of the tricycle landing gear.[4][6][9]

The aircraft has conventional nose wheel steering connected to the rudder pedals. The main landing gear utilizes sprung-tubes for suspension and absorbing landing loads. There is a fourth small caster-wheel under the tail, because when the pilot's seat is unoccupied the aircraft rests on its tail, due to the aircraft's empty center of gravity.[4]

The Aerolite 103 is sold as an assembly kit aircraft. The kit includes an illustrated assembly manual and pre-built fuselage, wings, control surfaces, jury struts and struts. The wings are covered by the builder with pre-sewn Dacron envelopes. The company estimates the time to complete the airframe at 60–80 hours. The kit does not include powerplant, propeller or instruments.[11]

When the aircraft was first introduced the standard engine was the 35 hp (26 kW) 2si 460-F35, with the 40 hp (30 kW) Rotax 447 optional.[4] In 2009 the standard recommended engine was the Rotax 447, with the 46 hp (34 kW) Rotax 503 single carburettor engine optional.[6][12]

Aerobatics and spins are prohibited.[10]

Operational history[edit]

Since its introduction the Aerolite 103 has won many awards, including:[5]

  • AirVenture 1997 - Grand Champion Ultralight
  • Sun 'n Fun 1998 - Best Commercial Design
  • AirVenture 1998 - Reserve Grand Champion Ultralight
  • Sun 'n Fun 1999 - Grand Champion Ultralight
  • AirVenture 1999 - Grand Champion Ultralight

In December 2004 the company reported that 150 aircraft were flying, the majority as unregistered US ultralights. In July 2009 there were 12 Aerolite 103s registered as experimental amateur-builts in the USA.[3][13]

Specifications (Aerolite 103 with Rotax 447)[edit]

Data from Aerolite 103 website[10] & KitPlanes[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: no passengers
  • Length: 17 ft (5.19 m)
  • Wingspan: 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
  • Wing area: 124 sq ft (11.54 sq m)
  • Empty weight: 275 lb (125 kg)
  • Useful load: 325 lb (147 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 600 lb (272 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 447 fixed pitch, 40 hp (30 kW)
  • Propellers: 1 propeller, 1 per engine


See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c Kitplanes Staff: 1999 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 15, Number 12, December 1998, page 34. Primedia Publications. IPM 0462012
  2. ^ a b Wings of Freedom (2010). "Aero-lite 103". Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Downie, Julia: Kit Aircraft Directory 2005, Kitplanes, Volume 21, Number 12, December 2004, page 44. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  4. ^ a b c d e Cliche, Andre: Ultralight Aircraft Shopper's Guide 8th Edition, page B-2. Cybair Limited Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-9680628-1-4
  5. ^ a b Aero-Works (n.d.). "Aerolite 103". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  6. ^ a b c d Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 16. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  7. ^ a b Purdy, Don: AeroCrafter - Homebuilt Aircraft Sourcebook, Fifth Edition, page 343. BAI Communications, 15 July 1998. ISBN 0-9636409-4-1
  8. ^ "The Wonderful World of Ultralights at AirVenture", Light Plane World, EAA, retrieved 29 August 2012 
  9. ^ a b c d Tacke, Willi; Marino Boric; et al: World Directory of Light Aviation 2015-16, page 86. Flying Pages Europe SARL, 2015. ISSN 1368-485X
  10. ^ a b c Aero-Works (n.d.). "Aerolite 103 Specifications". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  11. ^ Aero-Works (n.d.). "Aerolite 103 Kwik Kit". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  12. ^ Aero-Works. "Aerolite 103 Recommended Engines". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  13. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (July 2009). "Make / Model Inquiry Results". Retrieved 2009-07-26. 

External links[edit]