Think carefully. I flew ultralights in the (very broadly defined) Chicago area in the 1990s and the early '00’s. They are a lot of fun, but they are also real aircraft (regardless of legal definitions) with all the potential hazards that entails.
Although Part 103 in the US does not require lessons for ultralight flying you will have both less terror and significantly longer odds of surviving the experience if you take lessons. Due to a decline in income and various family/personal crises I’ve been out of the flying game for awhile now, but the both the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) and US Ultralight Association are sources to go to when looking for instructors and local enthusiasts (unfortunately, the man I first took lessons from is now in poor health and no longer flies).
Wow, that could be several threads right there… some of it’s already covered here.
I used to drive from the north side of Chicago to Bristol, Wisconsin to fly ultralights. Basically, you’re limited to flying over rural areas.
(I can get a LOT more technical about that, but only if you really, really want to be bored and baffled)
Again, see EAA and USUA - I’m sure things have changed since my day.
Take someone along who knows what the heck they’re doing.
Ask yourself this: can you do a competent pre-flight on an ultralight right now? If the answer is “no” then for Og’s sake don’t go shopping for a second-hand one without someone very experienced along. Shopping for a used ultralight is NOT like shopping for a used car, or even a used “real airplane” - there are NO regulations for either construction or maintenance on ultralights.
Be very VERY careful.
The “big fan on your back and a parachute above your head” style UL’s weight about 70 pounds on average (a range was given up thread, that’s pretty accurate, too). So… can you carry 70 pounds on your back for 10 minutes? Or while riding a scooter? And remember - you do NOT want to damage or tangle those parachute lines!
No, it won’t fit on a bus or train. I doubt one of those would fit in my car. Pretty sure I can get one into the back of my pickup.
And if that “open field” is in Chicago proper no, you can’t fly any sort of UL in it. Or over most Chicago suburbs. Also remember that when Obama is in Chicago the no-fly zone - which applies to UL’s, too - extends all the way into part of Indiana, or, if he’s hanging out on on the north side, nearly to Wisconsin.
Basically, if you live in Chicago you have to be able/willing to drive 50-75 miles outside the city to get to where you can legally fly the things.
Sorry if that dashes your plans, but I figured it was best to be up front about these things. If you have the means to get out to where you can legally and safely fly UL’s then I’d be happy to answer other questions, as would many of the other pilots around here.