been a bad year for the industry. Manufacturers saw sales stagnate and the
recruitment of new BMAA members fell well below predictions. The full impact of
all the new regulations could not have been foreseen.
By the 1st
January, all new microlights sold to the public had to have a Permit to Fly. By
1st July, all microlights over 70 kg had to have a Permit. The only remaining
microlights which remained outside this system were therefore those which
weighed less than 70 kg and, as we shall see, this exemption was not to last
The BMAA was
forced to take stock, as a result of the lower than expected membership. The
administration of the organisation was reviewed to reflect the situation, with
the choice being to streamline operations rather than to substantially raise
the subscription rates. Brian Cosgrove took on the role of Secretary. Already
well respected by the CAA, Brian brought with him much expertise which would
drive forward the organisation. Ian Stokes was Chairman this year.
PHOTO: Brian Cosgrove became Secretary in 1984.
By the end of
the year, five companies had received airworthiness approval. However, only two
had products approved - Mainair, with their Tri-Flyer and Gemini trike units,
mated to Southdown's Sprint wing; and Southdown themselves with their Puma
Sprint. The BMAA was now able to run the airworthiness scheme on the CAA's
behalf and it was hoped that this would help speed up the process.
In the US, the
threat of regulation was also taking its toll. The volatility of the market was
noted in a report on Oshkosh '84, where many new models were shown and flown.
Back home, the
first all Mainair weight-shift aircraft - the Gemini Flash - was reviewed. This
was seen as a tremendously advanced machine in comparison with its
predecessors. Its speed range was 30 mph - 70 mph, with an impressive climb
rate and excellent handling. Mac Smith, Flight Line's reviewer, wrote:
wondering whether we will ever need the 3-axis development with all its
complexity. It now seems that the only advantage is that you need less muscle
power to control it, but with weight-shift development going so fast, maybe
that problem will be overcome in the near future."