FAA Aerotow Operations Exemption

Exemption #4144 has been published by the FAA allowing USHPA tandem operations.

FAA Exemption #4144Q

Click to view the original aerotow exemption document
Click to view the most recent aerotow exemption extension document


FAA 14CFR Part 91.309 - Towing: Gliders and unpowered ultralight vehicles.

FAA 14CFR Part 103.1(b) - ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES - Applicability.

The exemption is subject to the following limitations:

1. Each operation must comply with all sections of 14 CFR Part 103 except #103.1(b).

2. No charge, assessment, or fee may be made for the operation of the towing ultralight except the actual expenses of the specific flight.

3. Both occupants on both the powered and unpowered ultralights must possess a current pilot rating issued by the USHPA.

4. For identification purposes, the USHPA shall issue an individual authorization to each person allowed to conduct operations under this exemption. Each authorization must include an identification number and a copy of this exemption. USHPA must also have a procedure to rescind this authority when needed.

5. Operations conducted under this exemption must be in accordance with the safety and certification rules and guidelines, as amended, established by USHPA, including those specified in paragraphs 1 through 12 in the petitioners' supportive information.

6. Each operator of an ultralight vehicle under the authority of this exemption must be familiar with the provisions contained herein and must have in his or her personal possession a copy of the authorization issued by USHPA, and a copy of this exemption. These documents shall be presented for inspection upon request by the FAA.

7. This exemption is not valid for operations outside the United States.


(U)nder the authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40113 and 44701, which the FAA Administrator has delegated to me, I grant United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Inc. (USHGPA) an exemption from 14 CFR 91.309 and 103.1(b) to allow USHGPA members to tow unpowered ultralight vehicles (hang gliders) using powered ultralight vehicles, subject to the (listed) conditions and limitations....

Our decision extends the termination date of Exemption No. 4144, as amended, to May 31, 2018, unless sooner superseded or rescinded.

/s/ John S. Duncan
Director, Flight Standards Service
May 25, 2016

The following requirements must be understood and adhered to:

1. Both vehicles (powered and unpowered ultralight) must meet the vehicle standards of Part 103.

2. Both vehicles must meet the requirements of the USHPA Towing standards.

3. While towing, both vehicles may be used for recreational purposes only.

4. The pilot of the powered ultralight vehicle must possess and have in his possession a current tow rating issued by the USHPA.

5. The pilot of the unpowered ultralight vehicle must possess and have in his possession a current pilot rating issued by the USHPA. This rating shall be at least a USHPA Intermediate (level 3) for a recreational pilot and a USHPA Novice (level 2) for a student pilot under the supervision of a USHPA certified instructor.

6. The unpowered ultralight (hang glider) may be used for two place instructional purposes if the instructor possesses a current USHPA instructor rating and is operating under the conditions of the two-place exemption.

7. Prior to a students first flight in a towed ultralight (hang glider), the pilot of the powered ultralight and the instructor must inform the student that instruction under tow is conducted under an exemption granted to the USHPA by the FAA.

8. The instructor must keep written record of all operations conducted under this exemption. The record shall include the students name, the date and the location of the instruction. The record must be maintained for 12 calendar months. The instructors shall present this record for inspection upon reasonable request by the USHPA or the FAA.

9. The instructor shall notify the USHPA within 30 days of any accident occurring while operating under this exemption. This information shall be made available upon reasonable request by the FAA.

10. The structural integrity of the tow hitch and tow line must be substantiated in accordance to USHPA standards and recorded in the tow launch vehicle records by the owner.

11. The operational capabilities of the powered ultralight to tow and release a hang glider satisfactorily must be demonstrated in an assigned test area under actual operational conditions to a USHPA observer and be duly recorded in the tow vehicle records.

12. Both towed and towing pilots must obey operational procedures set forth in the USHPA Towing standards.

These are the pertinent FARs governing ultralights and towing:
FAA 14CFR Part 61.69 - Glider and unpowered ultralight vehicle towing: Experience and training requirements.
FAA 14CFR Part 103 - ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES

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