Guide to UltraLight Aircraft Flying in the Philippines

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It was one of a kind experience but certainly not once in a lifetime. For we will be back to enjoy and feel the breathtaking experience of recreational ultralight flying!

What is an Ultralight Aircraft?

Ultralight plane is a lightweight, less than 500 lbs, aircraft that comes either with 1 or 2 seats, and fly at or below 800 ft. above ground level within its designated area of operation. Different countries have different regulations, but Ultralight airplanes are commonly used for sport flying.

ultralight flying

a few of the colorful ultralights of Mindanao Saga Flying Club

Guide to ultralight flying in the Philippines

In the Philippines, ultralights are for recreational and sport use only. There are only two aviation facilities that have ultralights which are open to the public for hire. One in Pampanga, the Angeles City Flying Club, and the other one in the southern part of the country, in Mati City, the Mindanao Saga Flying Club

At Angeles City Flying Club, riders see the lovely green mainland. However, many riders go to Mindanao Saga Flying Club because of the beautiful views of the white sand beaches, the clear blue and green sea waters sorrounding the uniquely formed islands of southeastern Mindanao, while flying. 

“Mindanao Saga Flying Club is a premier sports aviation facility in South East Asia producing highly competent, passionate, and safe sports/recreational pilots.”

They have a number of colorful ultralight aircrafts ready to fly. Ultralights are of simple design and construction, either a homebuilt or a kit built variety. Mindanao Saga Flying Club Ultralights are kit-built by their top-notch and registered aircraft maintenance technicians. They fabricated and assembled their own ultralights, and as their record shows, they are safe to fly! 

ultralight flying

they were prepping/running inspection of the ultralight I was about to ride onto.

If you want to live on the edge, are adventurous and looking for an exhilarating and thrilling adrenaline-pumping fun weekend (or any given day) experience, head over to Mati at Mindanao Saga Flying Club for an unforgettable and unique excursion flying high over the city – and see the land, the mountains, islands, and the beautiful beaches, in an open air wearing only a helmet! Though there is noise involved in riding ultralight with an open cockpit, chance of motion sickness is rare. I still remember how that feels, hah!

ultralight flying

Photo courtesy of Lee Ford

Due to the nature and special construction of ultralights, they have limitations and conditions for flying:

  1. They will fly only when it is not windy. They will not fly when it is cloudy. So check the weather ahead of time.
  2. That means they will fly only from about 6:00am to 7:30am and at around 4:00pm to 5:30pm. Actual time varies.
  3. When the pilot says there is too much energy in the air, there are no negotiations to fly. Safety is priority.
  4. So plan your day and your entire trip accordingly. People from Luzon fly in and drive to Mati only to be turned down. Make allowances for your day and prepare to change schedules in case you can’t fly on your chosen date.
  5. Several people come to fly every day and it’s a first come first serve basis. When it’s your time, it may be windy up above already, so get there early.
  6. The tour lasts for 15 minutes but memories of the experience the excitement and beauty of it all, last for a long time, of course you will be glad you did it!
  7. I flew a couple of times in different aircrafts, and I can say, they are competitively priced at about Php 2700. Please ask for current cost. It can border on the expensive but see point 6 and 8.
  8. Securely attached on the plane is a wide-angle super clear GoPro camera to record your experience in a crisp and clear video. You can also take your own pictures and videos while flying.
  9. Though ultralight flying experience beat them all, there are also a lot of things to do and see in Mati that will make your entire trip full, or to fill your day in case you are turned down in the morning. Head to the beach, sight see, and make memories.
 ultralight flyingThrill we were looking for, so with my mother, sisters, and 3 little nieces in tow, early in the morning we drove and traveled for about 75 miles from Tagum City to Mati City to get high in the open skies, and to visit Lee Ford, an aircraft maintenance technician. He was one of the aircraft technicians who assembled the ultralights! And he is my brother. We are so proud of him.
ultralight flying

enjoying the bird’s-eye view of the distant landscape and sky; the runaway on the foreground. 

ultralight flying

ultralight flying

the land, the sea, and the setting sun all from one exhilarating vantage view.

ultralight flying

A case of reverse curvature of the earth and bending or distortion of the rays of the sun? πŸ™‚ The illusion is accentuated by the sea and the island it surrounded. #wideanglecam

ultralight flying

ultralight flyingVisit Mindanao Saga Flying Club for location and contact details.

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Guide to ultralight flying

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About Author

Born and raised in the Pearl of the Orient Seas, now living in the United States; she is a traveler, road tripper, outdoor camper, and field photographer.

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12 Comments

  1. Lotis,

    That activity would make my heart go pumping faster. You have done it with ease. Thanks for the share. Kind of thinking to try it out when I travel to the Philippines or elsewhere. Enjoy your trip.

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