Yes, that is how you could describe them. But ...let's adjust it a bit by saying "a hangglider with a motorized chariot under it". There are footlaunchable motorized hangglider too. You can find them at the FLPHG-page.
You steer like a hangglider. The triangle crossbar is your "stick".
The new item here is the throttle.
Some two-seaters have a crossbar that has extra handbars for the person in the back. So, both can steer. Ideal for training with a instructor.
Picture by Amy Saunders.
Nano Trikes are single person trikes with a very basic structure. The idea is to make it less expensive, maybe even transportable inside your car. That saves you the cost of a trailer. In my opinion Nano Trikes are the low budget editions of trikes. But ...low budget does not mean low fun! Nooo way!
Because of the light weight of these Nano Trikes, they don't need super big engines to get you in the air. Several people think to increase the performance of their small airplane by using retracting gear. Basic design does not need to sound like not-smart design. ;)
Nano Trikes can also be a solution for a selflaunching hangglider. No need for hill or winches, no need to risk your feet. Suuuper!
So, the main advantages of Nano Trikes are low budget and transport. A very possible way of entering the motorized aviation world.
World Champion Manfred Ruhmer in the electric Nano-trike named Pit-Trike of Icaro2000. Go see www.icaro2000.com
These are the high class trikes. Most of them are two-seaters. They are used for training and traveling. You have them in all kind of shapes and prices.
A trailer is becoming a must. A hangar becomes a nice option if you want to fly more than mounting and dismounting your wing.
Trikes are a lot of fun and make you also have that open air feeling.
You don't need to be muscular to steer it. But it is indeed a bit more tiring than something that is really stick controlled.
Pictures taken during worldwide WUFI 2015 event.
The Facebook group "Magnificent Men & their Flying Machines" guided me towards a wonderful book about how to use a trike. It is written for the FAA (airplane regulating organisation in USA). It is written by trike users for trike users! Easy reading.
This question is been asked a lot. I got this perfect answer of Mike Peters: "The wings look like hang glider wings, but that is where the similarity stops. Check out the top speeds and the wing weight. Of course you can find light or nano-trikes that actually can use a large hang glider wing and the trike and pilot still fall within the load limit. They fly similar speeds to hang gliders. The trikes of Air Creation would need to be N numbered in the States and are structurally very strong compared to their hang glider cousins. Shoot, some of them use twin 3/16" cable for the side wires."
Trikes are in so many styles, in so many variants, you can hardly just place a single speed range to it. Trikes go from noisy "flying grass-mowers" to trikes that perform 90 mph.
Depending which model you choose, you will get costs from affordable for the man of the street to something as expensive as a luxurious car. If you would compare it with cars ...from a Mini to a muscle car.
Again depending on what model you choose. It goes from enough range to fly only locally to a tool that makes trips possible.
Trikes are open air airplanes. Just a few might have a semi enclosed canopy, but you still need to be able to handle that crossbar.
Pictures taken during worldwide WUFI 2015 event.
I would not use a trike in rain. If the sail gets soaked, you increase your weight. Weight control is safety control. Keep it like it should!
Pilots know there is a thing called turbulences. It is when the wind does things you would not expect in a steady wind. Suddenly you are thrown upwards or pulled downward. Or you get diverted to left or right. And ...you cannot predict it.
Some air-vehicles have not much trouble with those small turbulences. Reason: they are really heavy. They are harder to push around.
Now these trikes are still ultralight. If you go for the very basic one, you might find it impossible to fly when there is just a breeze of wind. Some really need wind less conditions to fly. Which reduces flying to only at dawn or dusk or totally not. The more speedy trikes can handle better some headwind, but ...they might still be sensitive to crosswind. And that reduces the possible days to fly when the wind is too much from the side of the airstrip.
Only some Nano Trikes fit inside your car. All the rest needs to be placed on trailer.
Depends on the type of trike you have. You might dismount the trike and store it on your trailer. But ...mounting each time the wings can be time consuming.
Trikes are normally very suitable to be used as a single person. Just push it to the take off position, start your engine, take off.