finally achieved Section S, affording schools a long awaited 3-axis trainer.
This Australian designed machine was being built in Cornwall by Ian Stokes. Ian
took a Thruster to the Paris Air Show in 1987, where it was the only British
built microlight to be exhibited.
Aero 87 took
place in West Germany. The Shadow was well received at this event, but the star
of the show was the Aviasud Mistral, a biplane which attracted much attention
despite its high price ticket.
PHOTO 1: Aviasud's Mistral, a side-by-side two
seater biplane with a Rotax 532 engine.
Mistral made history when it was flown to the geographic North Pole by
Frenchman Nicholas Hulot.
1987 was also
the year in which those pilots prefering a flexwing were to benefit from new
design, as Pegasus introduced the Q wing. This was the first wing to be
designed using CAD.
PHOTO 2: The Pegasus Q, designed to offer higher
performance to flexwing flyers.
The Q enabled
Pegasus to produce a complete performance flexwing microlight for the first
time. Previously they had used Mainair wings on their trike units. For those
looking for a simpler, single-seat flexwing, the company planned to launch the
Photon once the Q wing had gained approval.
1987 saw what
was believed to be the first crossing of the Irish sea by microlight. Keith
Reynolds achieved this as a part of a flight around Britain in his XL.
went into production this year for the overseas market, having completed its
type-approval test flying in France. This design was designed to be used as a
3-axis trainer, competing with the Thruster in the UK..
PHOTO 3: The Snowbird offered an enclosed cabin,
with conventional controls and very stable flight characteristics. It was
designed in particular for the 3-axis training market.
were still news in 1987. Flight Line reminded pilots that Noise Certificates
would be needed by March the following year.
The BMAA also
continued to address planning issues. Noise problems were seen as a key issue
as this factor seemed impossible to address satisfactorily. The behaviour of a
minority of pilots also continued to be counter-productive to those fighting to
maintain or gain flying sites. An MP castigated microlighting in 1987 as
'gaining a reputation for being the most selfish form of leisure activity yet
The number of
accidents was another concern raised in both Flight Line and the BMAA
Newsletter. The focus was on the safety of the new, high performance flexwings.
The BMAA's Technical Officer called for everyone to work together in order that
the characteristics of these new aircraft could be properly understood.
By May 1987,
the BMAA had some 2 537 members in the UK, and 67 overseas. There were 778
microlights flying under the Permit scheme.
flying achievement for this year went to Eve Jackson, who completed her London
to Sydney 12,500 mile flight in her Shadow.
PHOTO 4: Eve Jackson, who was awarded life
membership of the BMAA in recognition of her achievements in flying 12,500
miles from London to Sydney.
Eve left Biggin
Hill in March 1986. Her jouney cost £45,000 including the cost of the Shadow.
The entire event was undertaken on a tight budget. During the flight Eve was
shot at, arrested, had engine failure, played red tape games with the
authorities in a number of countries, and nearly couldn't get into Syria
because the Foreign Office had cleared her for Sudan. Difficulties included
finding appropriate fuel and two-stroke oil. When asked if she ever feared that
she would not achieve her objective of getting to Sydney, Eve replied:
really. After all, there was no reason to fly unsafely, and if you fly safely you
get there in the end, don't you?'
As a result of
her flight, Eve was the first microlight pilot to be awarded the Royal
Aeronautical Society Gold Medal.