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Today’s microlight airplanes are built from modern materials, making them environmentally friendly, as they are very quiet and need little fuel. As they are counted among the family of aerial sport equipment they fall under simplified rules and regulations, as long as they are not heavier than 322 kg including pilot/passenger (472.5 kg for double seaters). This minimum weight allows them to be brought to the ground with a parachute system in case of emergency.

One has to differ between weight-powered microlights, such as gliders or trikes that are propelled by the pilots weight, and aerodynamically steered microlights. These so-called triple axis planes are steered through as system of three rudders, just like a common plane. And also in terms of power are these little machines quite advanced: the towing of gliders and velocities above 200km/h are generally possible.

Gyrocopters are also part of the microlight family. In contrast to helicopters they are not propelled upwards by an engine but by their own airflow. The forward momentum, however, is caused by a propeller engine.