report on the Dawn to Dusk competition was written by Tony Smythe. In keeping
with the spirit of a unified European market (1992 was a key year in European
Union history) Tony took with him letters of goodwill signed by the BMAA CEO,
Brian Cosgrove, and delivered them personally to the airport authorities in
Midden Zeeland, Ostend and Calais. His total flight time was 9 h 20 min.
PHOTO 1: Tony Smythe, about to set out on his Dawn
to Dusk flight
presented with the Icarus trophy for the best solo flight by Queen Noor of
Jordan. Three microlight pilots featured in the top ten for the competition in
1992, an event which attracted 40 entries with pilots from five countries.
some of the regulations for microlight pilots had been relaxed by this time.
Originally, pilots were not allowed to fly higher than 300 ft. Now, the rule
was a maximum 5000 ft AMSL, not below 500 ft, with no flying over built-up
areas. By 1992, Australian regulations allowed an all-up weight of 450 kg,
allowing manufacturers to design aircraft which could not be registered as
microlights in the UK. The Jabiru was a new design in 1992 and was well
received, while the Australian designed Thruster enjoyed a good home market.
The few flexwings flying in Australia included examples of the Pegasus Q. Most
Australian machines had bigger engines than their UK equivalents. Dual ignition
was commonplace and oil-injection was also popular.
announced the end of the exemption scheme that had kept some of the old
microlights flying after the introduction of airworthiness in 1984. Over 800
aircraft had initially been covered by the scheme, but after 8 years it had
been decided that enough was enough. All aircraft had to be either
type-approved, or type-accepted, a category for older machines which indicated
that they complied with Section S as far as was practicable.
Towards the end
of 1992, a major debate took place in Microlight Flying with regard to the fees
charged for microlight training. Instructors were criticised for over charging,
and for linking training services to aircraft sales. Many instructors responded
with their views on this aspect of the industry, as did other students who had
been satisfied with the tuition they had received.
the CAA there were 3241 microlights on the UK register in August 1992.The most
popular model was the Pegasus XL. The Flash 2 Alpha came second. The most
popular fixed-wing microlight was the Thruster TST Mk 1, though in much lower
numbers than the XL and Flash.
In Italy, there
are around 10,000 microlight pilots by 1992. Angelo d'Arrigo was a successful
international microlight pilot at this time, and flightline recounted his
attempt at a world distance record. Angelo had won the microlighting World Cup
in 1990 and had competed in the previous year's Round Britain Rally. His
non-stop world distance record stood at 1020 miles, travelling from Italy to
PHOTO 2: Angelo d'Arrigo training for the record
attempt over the Egyptian desert.
Delage flew the South Atlantic in his flexwing microlight. This amazing journey
involved staying awake for 26 hours. At one point the turbulence was so severe
that his microlight was spun round by 180 degrees in seconds.
navigational aid, the Ground Positioning System (GPS) is reviewed in Flight
Line. Prices for these new instruments begin at £700, but it is thought that
they will become more affordable as a wider range of manufacturers spot their
At the BMAA,
there is talk of a merger with the PFA. It is thought that by combining the
skills of these two organisations, a better service could be provided for all
owners of little, light aeroplanes. Council considered a range of options, from
an agreement to remain as two independent organisations but working more
closely together, to full blown merger.
the Channel had become almost routine by this time, the waters claimed their
first British life in 1992. A group of 35 aircraft had set out to cross the
Channel, flying in groups for safety reasons. However, Peter Keel, flying a
Pegasus XL, suffered engine failure. Despite trying to attract the attentions
of a nearby ship as he ditched into the sea, and the efforts of his team mates
to gain the attention he needed, Peter was drowned before a rescue could be
side-by-side two-seater fixed-wing aircraft produced by Cyclone Airsports
attained Section S. This machine has its roots in the American Weedhopper,
designed in the early days of microlighting (see picture at the end of 1991
Championships this year took place in Spain. They were reported as the toughest
international competiton to date. While Britain's traditional rival, the
French, flew as well as ever and netted the team bronze, the Spanish and
Italians were also keen competitors. The big surprise was the South African
team, which came from nowhere to within a few hundred points of toppling the
British from their top place.
PHOTO 3: This Falcon was flown by the Argentinian
team prize meant that Britain had been undefeated since 1988 in both World and
The AGM this
year was dominated by the possibility of merging with the PFA. For once, the
focus was on the meeting rather than the exhibition, and a record number of
people packed into the conference room to take part in the debate. The mood of
the meeting was not anti-PFA, but it was certainly anti-merger. Subsequently, a
reader-poll conducted by Microlight Flying confirmed the views of the meeting.
As for the
show, at Mainair, the big news for the coming year was the option of electric
start on all models. While this was of interest, it reflected the fact that the
industry was still finding times hard and no manufacturers had much new to
Creation stand attracted the largest crowds. This French firm was planning to
offer its Fun GT 447 for the UK market.
PHOTO 4: The Air Creation Fun GT
fixed-wing front, the key contender was the AX3, which had just attained
Section S. Two examples had recently flown from England to Spain.