What is Light Aviation?

   The term "light aviation" is used to refer to private planes used for sports, tourism, or private businesses.
Light aviation planes are usually smaller and less powerful than commercial and military ones. Sport planes, including those that are used for pilot training, usu­ally have only two seats. Many of the small tourist planes have only two to four seats. Business planes tend to be larger, and may seat up to ten passengers.
   Light planes are still often made of wood, like the first airplanes were, but they are modern in every other way. Many light planes are still powered by propellers and pistons.
   Every year more and more people are learning to fly, and it is thought that there may now be about 600,000 licensed private pilots in the world. Most of them live in the United States.
   There is one kind of private plane that has no engine—the glider. Remember Otto Lilienthal's experiments with this kind of aircraft? Nowadays, in order to take off, the glider plane is attached to an engine-powered "mother" plane. When the planes have reached a flying altitude, the glider is released. The glider then soars and swoops on the air currents. This is the nearest man has come to imitating the flight of birds, because the success of the flight depends entirely on the pilot's skill at maneuvering in the air currents. Having no motor, the glider makes scarcely any noise at all except for a kind of whoosh, whoosh. It may be one answer 106 to noise pollution!