A sport trike or weight-shift control (WSC) light-sport aircraft (LSA), also known simply as a trike, is a tri-gear under-carriage with an aircraft engine, and a hang glider-style triangular wing attached. This aircraft can be safely flown and requires minimal training by aviation standards.

General Description

Trike - Basic partsBasic specifications by the FAA to qualify a sport trike as a weight-shift control light-sport aircraft (LSA) are:

    • weigh less than 1320 lbs
    • two people only (pilot and passanger)
    • fly slower than 138 mph (120 kts) full power level flight or stall slower than 45 knots
    • have a fixed landing gear, single engine and a fixed propeller

FAA Definition of a Weight-Shift Control LSA

The exact definition by the FAA is:
Light-sport aircraft means an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following:
(1) A maximum takeoff weight of not more than—

(i) 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms) for aircraft not intended for operation on water; or

(ii) 1,430 pounds (650 kilograms) for an aircraft intended for operation on water.

(2) A maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power (VH) of not more than 120 knots CAS under standard atmospheric conditions at sea level.

(3) A maximum never-exceed speed (VNE) of not more than 120 knots CAS for a glider.

(4) A maximum stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed without the use of lift-enhancing devices (VS1) of not more than 45 knots CAS at the aircraft’s maximum certificated takeoff weight and most critical center of gravity.

(5) A maximum seating capacity of no more than two persons, including the pilot.

(6) A single, reciprocating engine, if powered.

(7) A fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if a powered aircraft other than a powered glider.

(8) A fixed or autofeathering propeller system if a powered glider.

(9) A fixed-pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system, if a gyroplane.

(10) A nonpressurized cabin, if equipped with a cabin.

(11) Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider.

(12) Fixed or retractable landing gear, or a hull, for an aircraft intended for operation on water.

(13) Fixed or retractable landing gear for a glider.

Trikes are not new. They have been around for many years. The new sport pilot and light-sport aircraft rule has brought trikes to the attention of the masses.

There are two types of weight-shift control trike light-sport aircraft to choose from. To choose the one that is right for you, you will consider the difference in cost; who can maintain it, whether or not you want to use it for training, and if it can be rented.

Two types of Weight-Shift Control LSA to choose from: