So, how do you find an instructor or training program to learn to fly an
ultralight? The answer isn't an easy one...
Sadly, ultralight instructors are few and far between. In fact, we know of
none in the Dayton area. But one of the things that makes flying these
single seat planes so appealing is that they don't require structured
training or a license. That's good (inexpensive and no red tape) and bad
(can be dangerous). You need proper training.
There are a few avenues.
(1) You can take some lessons in a light sport trainer with an instructor
(CFI), get some ground school basics, and once your instructor feels you have enough hours to be safe and competent, you can transition to an ultralight aircraft and ease it gradually into the air. Under the direction of the instructor, but on your own in a single place FAR Part 103 craft, based on skills learned. Not a perfect syllabus, but it can work.
(2) You can locate a flying club (like Dayton Ultralights) and see if someone in the club is licensed and able to let you get some "stick time" in a two-seater (these aircraft are technically not ultralight, but light sport, or LSA). This is actually one of the most common ways people learn to fly ultralights in real life, by doing it with a knowledgeable pilot beside them then gradually transitioning to their own single seat aircraft. Ground school, at least enough to be safe on part 103 rules (these are FAA ultralight rules) can be pretty much self-learned online and by talking to some local club members. Or you can sign up for a full-blown ground school course at a community college or an airport nearby. Also, flying and hanging out at the airport with people who are skilled UL flyers is a great way to learn. They are always glad to help new pilots.
(3) The best way may be to go on the national ultralight association and the EAA websites (link at the end of this will give you resources) and locate an actual ultralight instructor or training program. They may be in another state, but if the flying bug truly has bitten you, it would be worth it to pack your bags and schlep out to say, Manchester, Iowa, for a few days of intensive training.
This is a sport that is not shackled by extreme regulatory oversight, which is part of its allure. But that freedom comes with responsibility, and you have to be smart and be safe. But go for it ... we all highly recommend it! Some helpful resources can be found here: http://www.daytonultralights.com/resources.html
Air America is a national effort by licensed pilots to give discovery rides in
two-seat light sport (high mass-low weight) aircraft to people new to
ultralight flight who may have no other way to experience this type of
flying before launching off on their own. Self taught "crow-hopping" and
other attempts at flight are not safe and can result in injury or worse.
Always seek out training. If you cant find a CFI, look for an AA pilot.
Not official training, but an introductory flight so you can see what is
involved. Check the AA map for locations of pilots in the USA below: