What is a Microlight?
A Microlight is a one or two seat aircraft with a maximum weight, including persons, of not more than 450kgs. It has a maximum wing loading of 25kgs/sq mtr and a stall speed not exceeding 41mph.
Are Microlights Dangerous?
Is a car or motorcycle dangerous ? No, but the person driving it may be. Any activity carries a risk, you will be taught everything that you need to know to avoid danger, from then on it’s up to you. There is a saying “Aeroplanes bite fools”. All aircraft are built to Civil Aviation Authority airworthiness requirements and your instructor is BMAA and CAA qualified.
What happens if the engine stops?
Nothing dramatic, the aircraft simply glides and a forced landing is made into the nearest suitable field, most landings are made without using the engine anyway.
What sort of performance do they have?
Older machines tend to cruise at around 40mph and need fairly calm weather to fly in. Modern machines cruise at 70 to 90 mph with top speeds around 140mph. Most microlights can operate from fairly average sized fields.
Do I need a licence to fly one?
Yes, training will enable you to gain your National Private Pilots Licence (Microlight) NPPL’M ‘(Microlight). You must then fly at least 12 hours per 24 months and a 1 hour flight with an instructor, to keep your licence current.
Can I go solo on the school machine?
No, unfortunately you will not be insured to fly solo on the school aircraft, unless you are a member of either the Fixed or Flexwing syndicate. Otherwise, solo flying must be on your own or part owned machine if it is suitable for the purpose. Most people buy their own machines early to take advantage of the cheaper rate. Please ensure that your chosen machine will be suitable for training, as some older models are not. Shares in Microlights are usually available, though training can only legally take place in a factory built aircraft, if group owned.
Do I need a Medical?
You need a declaration of fitness before you go solo, signed by your doctor. This says that you do not suffer from epilepsy, blackouts, high blood pressure, Diabetes or any other disorder liable to cause incapacitation. Colour vision should also be normal. If you have any doubt, have your declaration signed before you start your training.
What other equipment will I need?
When training, some text books, a pilot’s log book, some air charts and a B.M.A.A syllabus. Once you have an aircraft of your own you will need a trailer to carry it on (unless you intend to keep it rigged at a flying site), a warm flying suit, helmet and gloves, some fuel cans and a funnel. A radio is compulsory due to high traffic volume at Dunkeswell. If you wish to use the radio then you will need to pass a written and practical radio exam, both of which can be arranged through Somerset Microlights.
Do I have to book a course?
No, lessons may be taken and paid for by the hour, or you may book a course if you wish. Training packages are available on new aircraft.
Is it all worth it?
YES, just ask anyone who does it. You will find new friends and a whole new outlook on life and the world around you.
Will my bank manager still talk to me?
Probably not, so go flying instead !