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As in the past, ultralights continue to be the area of general aviation that is experiencing the strongest demand. This is also where the spectrum of different aircraft on offer is at its broadest: gliders, powered aircraft and gyrocopters have been available in the ultralight category for some time. Now, in Germany they are being joined by ultralight helicopters for the first time. In late November 2016, the upper chamber of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, gave the green light for the introduction of a special ultralight helicopter category. Initial insights and information about the exact specifications of these helicopters and what the possible requirements for pilot training will look like will be provided by the Deutscher Aero Club (German Aero Club) and the Deutscher Ultraleichtflugverband e.V. (German Ultralight Aircraft Association). Several European manufacturers of ultralight helicopters, which are already permitted to operate in France and Italy, will also present their helicopters, as will German manufacturers.
The trend towards ultralight gyrocopters is also continuing. These will be on display at the AERO in every configuration imaginable: one and two-seaters, open and closed, in tandem and side-by-side configurations. New gyrocopter models will also be exhibited.
New ultralight aircraft ranging from forgiving trainers to racing aircraft that can reach speeds of 300 km/h will also be on show at Lake Constance. The German Ultralight Aircraft Association will also be generating a lot of talk at the show, thanks to its push to raise the weight limit for ultralights from the current limit of 472 to 600 kilograms.
The aircraft of the 120 kilogram class that will be on display in Friedrichshafen take a completely different approach: They are extremely light and are sparingly equipped with avionics, making them inexpensive to purchase and maintain. Anyone who is not interested in taking a trip to the doctor doesn’t even need a medical certificate to fly these one-seaters. These 120 kilogram aircraft are aimed at pilots who either want to "get back to their roots” through ultralight aviation or who just want to pursue their hobby in a way that is as simple and uncomplicated as possible.
A number of aircraft known as Light Sport Aircraft in the United States or that are certified by the EASA as Light Sport Aeroplanes, as the similar class is known in Europe, can also be seen at the AERO. These two-seaters with takeoff weights of up to 600 kilograms essentially are the link between ultralights and conventional single-engine piston driven aircraft.