The greatest secret of recreational flying is that, under certain conditions, you don't need a pilot's certificate at all. Under what's called Part 103, the FAA requires no license or training for individuals who want to fly aircraft that weigh less than 254 pounds, have a single seat, carry no more than five gallons of gas, and fly no faster than 63 mph. The idea is that so long as only your own life is at risk, you can do any damn thing you want. Despite the tight restrictions, ultralights come in a dazzling variety of forms, including more-or-less normal looking planes, powered parachutes, and motorized hang gliders. There's even an ultralight helicopter on the market called the Mosquito – that's right, a helicopter you can fly without so much as a driver's license.
Roine Magnusson / Getty Images
Gear of the Year
The best tools, tech, and toys of 2013.
Plus: Lance Armstrong's Downfall
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Sign up to receive the Men’s Journal newsletter and special offers from MJ and its marketing partners.