Put simply, a microlight is an aeroplane that weighs no more than 450kg when, as a 2 seater is fully loaded with pilot, passenger and fuel. It is restricted to 2 seats, it must weigh no more than 265kg when empty and must fly at very slow speeds(the actual stall speed must not exceed 35knots when fully loaded).
There are two main types of microlight; the 3-axis (or fixed wing) type which looks more like a conventional aeroplane, and the flexwing(weightshift) type which consists of a delta wing similar to a hang glider with a ‘tricycle’ unit suspended underneath it. Microlights can also be configured as amphibians/floatplanes in which case a higher weight allowance is allowed for the ‘water landing gear or floats’.
The full definition of a microlight can be found below:
A microlight aeroplane is one designed to carry not more than two persons which has a Maximum Total Weight Authorised (MTWA) not exceeding:
• 300 kg for a single seat landplane.
• 390 kg for an amateur built single seat landplane for which a UK Permit to Fly or Certificate of Airworthiness was in force prior to 1 January 2003
• 450 kg for a two seat landplane
• 330 kg for a single seat amphibian or floatplane
• 495 kg for a two seat amphibian or floatplane
• 315kg for a single seat landplane equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system
• 472.5kg for a two-seat landplane equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system
A microlight must also have a stalling speed at the maximum weight authorised not exceeding 35 knots calibrated speed.
All UK registered aeroplanes falling within these parameters are Microlight aeroplanes.