microlighting was in turmoil over the new regulations. Increasingly, the CAA
was seen as all powerful and difficult to fight. Licensing was seen as having a
negative effect on the sport. Few students were beginning training, and the
sale of new machines was almost non-existent.
In the January
edition of Flight Line, Peter Lovegrove wrote at length about his views on the
situation. He was concerned that there seemed to be an increasing emphasis on
performance and power. He felt that design developments were pushing up the
weight of the craft, leading to a need for bigger engines. Peter called for a
return to what he felt microlights were originally about: light, but adequately
strong; slow, but pleasant to fly; inexpensive, but robust enough to survive
considerable use; controllable, yet able to forgive incompetent or foolish
pilots; structurally sound, yet able to be repaired quickly and cheaply;
crashable, yet almost incapable of killing the pilot.
to the regulatory framework, Peter wrote that 'we have no right to be surprised
at the total intervention of the CAA.. we jolly well asked for it and, by heck,
we are going to get it.' This article, of course, generated much correspondence
over following issues of the magazine, both for and against the so called
flights were making news in 1983. Len Gabriels wrote of his entry in the London
- Paris race. This event included his second cross-Channel attempt. He and
Gerry Breen were the only microlight pilots to have crossed the Channel twice
by this time.
In March, the
CAA Code of Airworthiness was published: Section S of the British Civil
Airworthiness Requirements (BCAR). The BMAA set about devising a system for inspections
and testing, putting in place the now familiar Permit to Fly procedures.
microlight pilot, Bob Calvert, broke his own altitude record for solo
microlights on 19th February when he reached 19 000 ft (5 800 m). He also
established a first attempt at a two-seater altitude record, reaching 12,800 ft
(3 900 m).
continued to make news. The Hornet Invader made the front cover of Flight Line.
This machine was designed to afford some protection for the pilot from the
PHOTO 1: The Hornet Invader 440/Dual Striker. A
side-by-side two-seat single-engined flexwing aircraft with weight shift
newcomer this year was the Tiger Cub. Reviewed in Flight Line as a 'rugged and
appealing little machine' this was one of the stars of the Popham show. The
first standard production machine was flown in July 1983.
PHOTO 2: The Micro Biplane Aviation Tiger Cub. A
single-seat, single-engine biplane with conventional 3-axis control.
another now familiar name which made its first appearance in 1983. Prior to
then a wide range of power units had been used across the industry. Rotax first
introduced a range of three engines, one of which was used to replace the
Cuyuna on the latest version of the popular Quicksilver from Eipper.
fixed-wing microlight was to become a popular trainer a few years down the
line. It was in 1983 that John Hollings and Mike Campbell-Jones launched the
company with the same name that was to develop it.
While 1983 was
a poor year for the industry in the UK, at last the Spanish were to be able to
begin to enjoy microlights as the national ban on them was lifted.
Steve Hunt, who
we have already seen as a key player in the early days of microlights,
developing his Pathfinder craft, died as a result of an accident during the
French Grand Prix. Steve had also been heavily involved with the BMAA in its
early days, taking on the role of Chairman. At the time of the accident, he was
Chair of the Technical Committee.