start of the year came news that Britain has a new category of microlight - the
powered parachute. This followed the type-approval of Powerchute Systems
flexwing microlighting was still in its infancy. Flight Line reported that in
Western Australia you could build and fly what you wanted, but there was still
a ban on flying over 500 ft and houses were to be avoided. All flexwings in
this area were homebuilts at the time, and were governed by the hang-glider
authorities. In an area about 25 times the size of England there were only 8
flexwing aircraft in 1989.
microlight biplane became available to British pilots - The Murphy Aviation
Renegade. This was one of the stars of the show at the Popham trade fair in
PHOTO 1: The Renegade
this year the BMAA elected Dave Mudie to replace Peter Blyth as Chairman. Peter
had been due to end his term of office the previous November after some 5
years, but had stayed on until the new Council had found its feet.
completed a world microlighting first by making several take-offs and landings
on HMS Illustrious, one of the Royal Navy's 'small' aircraft carriers, flying a
Pegasus Q 462. This exercise in precision flying involved landing on a 'strip'
barely wider than the Q's wingspan, lined with Sea Kings and Harriers and
subject to the turbulence created by the bow wave.
PHOTO 2: Waiting for the first take-off... and the take off!
years of development and a number of false starts, the Spectrum went into
production in 1989. This brought to five the number of two-seat fixed-wing
microlights to satisfy Section S.
PHOTO 3: The Spectrum, a two-seat microlight with
3-axis, dual controls
and tandem seating.
Flight Line after the Popham trade fair, Jack Bishop states that the long
gestation period for the Spectrum was worth the wait. The machine was welcomed
as a delight to fly, and a credit to its developers.
By 1989, the
Nationals were an established part of the microlight year. This was the first
year however when a two-seat class was introduced.
all-new flexwing to be introduced since the Pegasus Q is launched in Flight
Line during the summer. The Hornet ZA is to be produced by Skylink.
PHOTO 4:The Hornet ZA, incorporating the first
Skylink wing. This was the
first wing to exploit a new CAA definition which allowed for
a higher all-up weight of 390 kg.
microlight crossing of the Atlantic took place this year, by Frenchman Andre
Georges Laffite, piloting an Aviasud Mistral. This was not a straightforward
crossing however, and Lafitte was forced by bad weather to crash land in
Greenland on very poor terrain, being lucky to escape with his life.
British microlighting this summer when John Hudson, director of Mainair is
killed test flying the prototype Mainair Razor, which was to compete with the
successful Pegasus Chaser.
Two teams took
part in a record attempt for the non-stop circumnavigation of mainland Britain.
This event was held to raise money for the Children's Society as well as to
gain a place in the record books. The teams flew a Pegasus Q clockwise around
the country, each team comprised a pilot and a fireman from the West Midlands
brigade. The crews changed over at five of the locations en-route and the
record was to be set by flying in daylight hours, in line with CAA regulations.
The pilots were Simon Barker and Paul Dewhurst, both of Aerotech. The journey
comprised 2700 miles in around 55 hours flying time over five and half days.
At the AGM in
1989, membership of the BMAA stood at 3 400. The success of the Association led
to a decision to produce Flight Line in its current A4 format, enabling the
editor, Norman Burr, much greater freedom in terms of layout and design. Colour
would also be introduced to the magazine next year.
year included the Steve Hunt trophy for the most notable flight which went to
Neil Hardiman for his Round Australia epic; the Ashley Doubtfire award for
services to the sport went to Joy Austin and Gill Selwood of the BMAA's office;
Brian Cosgrove's Unsung Hero award went to David Young, while John Hudson's
widow Eileen presented Dick Clegg with the first ever Hudson trophy.
A new Colibri,
the diamond, was introduced by Ann Welch, BMAA President. This would be awarded
for outstanding flight.
On the machine
front, the star of the show was the Pegasus Quasar. Pegasus was the first
British manufacturer to dispense with the tubular structure normally found
under the skin of trikes and to replace this with a monocoque body.
PHOTO 5: Star of the show: Pegasus Quasar
The Medway Sprint was also
exhibited at the show. This was to be competition for the Pegasus XL