Flying used to be exclusively for the rich and privileged but the ever increasing popularity of microlights has enabled people from all walks of life to fulfil their dreams and enjoy the exhilaration of flight.
Early microlights were developed from hang-gliders and were very noisy and slow. Modern microlight aircraft are capable of great distances in comfort with cruise speeds of over 100mph. Whether you want to just potter around the local area sightseeing or fly round the world (Yes! it has been done!) microlight aircraft are perfectly suited.
The lower purchase and running costs of Microlight aircraft compared to many conventional light aircraft puts ownership of your own aircraft within reach. You can purchase and run a microlight aircraft for a similar cost to having a second car or motorbike.
Joint or shared ownership is also worth considering as the fixed costs are shared. Airsports runs a syndicate share scheme for the school aircraft which means you can continue to fly our aircraft after qualifying at a fraction of the cost of buying outright.
There is great camaraderie amongst microlight pilots and you'll make many friends. Most clubs organise “Fly-ins” and York Flying Club members regularly visit other clubs all around the country and abroad.
There is usually at least one trip around France in the summer, where up to a dozen aircraft may go “air-touring” together. France is extremely Microlight friendly and there are scores of great places to visit and fantastic sights to see from the air.
In 2012, Rufforth pilot Dave Sykes flew his flexwing microlight solo and with no support from York to Melbourne, Australia, a journey of over 16,000 miles, raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance in the process.
For this amazing feat, he was awarded the Segrave Trophy. Previous winners have included Amy Johnson, Malcolm Campbell, Sir Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton! You can track his exploits here: www.soloflightglobal.com
IS IT FOR ME?
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WHAT IS A MICROLIGHT AIRCRAFT?
A microlight aircraft is any aeroplane which:
Has a maximum take-off weight not exceeding 450kg
Has a stalling speed not more than 35Kts(41Mph).
Can carry a maximum of 2 persons.
The advantages of Microlights over conventional aircraft are many and include:
Economy of operation and purchase
Easily transportable and some types can be rigged and ready to fly in under 30 minutes
They can be flown safely from small fields
Maintenance is simple and can be done by the owner - subject to certain conditions
Recently, all single seat microlights have become de-regulated, which means that you, the owner and pilot, are responsible for its airworthiness. This relaxation of rules has promoted a huge resurgence of interest and development.
There are two general types of microlight aircraft; Flexwing and Fixed-wing
A taste of microlight flight
These are the aircraft most people recognise as a Microlight.
The flexwing (also known as a weightshift or trike) has a hang-glider like wing with a trike unit containing the engine, seats and landing gear suspended below. The trike unit works like a pendulum and gives the aircraft its unique stability. Flexwings are often called the Motorbikes of flying as the sensation is very similar. The wind in your face and an absolutely stunning view of the ground.
Airsports currently has the P&M GTR Flexwing available for training purposes. The GTR is one of the latest breed of high-performance two seat microlights, capable of 80mph cruise speeds and long-distance touring. Prices start at around £2k for a second hand aircraft up to £35k for the latest brand new hotship.
The fixed wing (also known as a three axis) microlight resembles a conventional light aeroplane in both looks and control systems. They tend to be more expensive and bulky to store than their flexwing counterparts, but are not as weather restricted and have the option of an enclosed cockpit. Also a licence gained on a fixed wing microlight can be cross-credited towards the grant of other aviation licences.