Line, the year begins with a continuation of the debate about the safety of
some of the new flexwing designs. The BMAA's technical officer writes at length
on the theory of what makes a flexwing fly.
the same issue, the Pegasus Q was flight tested. This received a warm welcome
as a well balanced machine with a respectable turn of speed, though not the
fastest of the wings around at the time.
underwent some major developments in 1988. First, an award was made by the
Sports Council of Great Britain to assist in the funding of a full time
Microlights gained the rights to Raven wings, enabling it to produce its first
complete flexwing microlights. Previously this company had bought in wings from
either Pegasus or Raven International. Another manufacturer to use the Raven
wing was Hornet.
PHOTO 1: The Raven wing had been used by Medway
and Hornet from the
For the second
year running, a microlight pilot was placed in the Tiger Club's Dawn to Dusk
competition. John Hudson, Director of Mainair, won third prize for his 12 hour
flight around Roman archaelogical sites. John was also awarded the British
Precision Pilots Association Trophy for the best microlight entry in the
microlight was again in the news. Vijay Singhania, an experienced conventional
aircraft pilot who had never flown a microlight, decided to try to beat the
standing 34 day record flight time from London to Bombay. He succeeded, taking
just 22 days to complete the journey. While Vijay got little press attention in
the UK, the Indian media took an intense interest and the Indian diplomatic
service did much to smooth his way through the officialdom of the countries he
had to cross.
PHOTO 2: Vijay Singhania's L'esprit d'Indian Post,
named after an English Language newspaper owned by the Pilot in Bombay.
1988 was the
first time that a major International microlight event took place in Britain.
The second European Championships took place in early September at Haverford
West airfield. British pilots took the team prize, plus gold and silver in the
flexwing class and silver in the fixed-wing class. Gold went to West Germany
for the open class. The 1988 competition was also the first in which an Eastern
European team took part.
flights continued to make news. This year saw Neil Hardiman set out to
circumnavigate Australia, a journey of some 8,500 miles. Flying a Rotax powered
trike built by world hang-gliding champion Ricky Duncan, this would be the
first land plane to make the entire journey around the coastline. This would
include some of the worst terrain in the world.
record attempt was made this year by Louis Schmitz, flying an adapted Aviasud
Mistral, Louis shattered the 'distance in a closed circuit' record for
hydroplanes up to 600 kg. He averaged nearly 150 kph over a 36 km circuit on
the French Riviera on 11 November.
At the BMAA
AGM, the Association celebrated its first 10 years. Originally known as the
British Powered Hang Glider Association, it later changed its name to the
British Minimum Aircraft Association and finally swapped the word 'Minimum' for
Microlight to become the BMAA still working for microlight pilots today.
at an all time high, with more instructors and registered aircraft than ever
before. The BMAA President, Ann Welch, presented the awards for the year: The
Steve Hunt Trophy for the best microlight flight went jointly to the British
team for its victory in the European championships; the Ashley Doubtfire trophy
for the greatest contribution to the sport went to Championship organiser Dave
Cole; Brian Cosgrove's Unsung Hero award went to Technical Officer Paul Owen,
for his achievement in keeping so many old aircraft flying.