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Info on aircraft involved in fatal crash near Isle of Palms - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Information on aircraft involved in fatal crash near Isle of Palms

Lucas McDowell Smith lifts off in an ultralight craft in 2005. (Photo: Debi Chard) Lucas McDowell Smith lifts off in an ultralight craft in 2005. (Photo: Debi Chard)
Lucas McDowell Smith lifts off in an ultralight craft in 2005. (Photo: Debi Chard) Lucas McDowell Smith lifts off in an ultralight craft in 2005. (Photo: Debi Chard)
ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) -

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a tragic aircraft accident that killed two people near the Isle of Palms. The aircraft involved was an ultralight Zodiac.

The craft, created in 1987, is a hybrid flying boat which appears to look like a small raft mixed with a hang glider. Weighing in at roughly 500 lbs, its motor can propel it to 75 miles per hour.

Needing a 200-foot-long stretch of water to launch, the flying inflatable boat can go 10,000 feet high, but has a recommended flying height of around 1000 feet. Take off and landing must happen in water.

According to the FAA, the operator of the aircraft that crashed was not a pilot and he did not need to be. This is because the ultralight Zodiac is not a registered vehicle. While one does not need a pilot license to fly this type of vehicle, there is a certification program.

This program requires training, as well as a written exam and cost about $3,000 to obtain. Roughly 11,000 of these garage sized flying boats have been purchased across the world and its uses are many.

Besides being used for leisure flying and boating, it has also been used in TV and movie productions and search and rescue.


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