The BMAA got
its first E Mail address this year, and a set of web pages was lauched.
The JAA have
provisionally agreed to a formula for the Euro-Microlight. It will be called a
ULA (Ultralight Aircraft), with a maximum all-up weight of 300 kg
(single-seater) or 450 kg (two-seater) with either the same wing loading as in
the UK, or a maximum stall speed of 63 kph (39.5 mph). No aircraft would have
more than two seats.
The March -
April edition of Microlight Flying was the 100th edition of the BMAA magazine.
It included a special 20 page supplement, highlighting key points from each
issue going back to January - February 1980.
PHOTO 1: The cover of Microlight Flying's 100th
Engines are in
the news again later in the year. Another new contender in the UK market is the
Jabiru 2200 cc 80 hp flat-four. Built in Australia, this unit was seen as too
large for the existing regulations, but could find its place once the new 450
kg weight limit became legal.
dominate the letters page of the 100th issue. In addition to the problems faced
by Thruster owners, the Chevron had been found to be overweight and so its
Permit had been withdrawn.
One of the
older names in microlighting, Skyhook Sailwings of Oldham, closed this year
after 23 years in the manufacture of hang gliders and later microlights, the
longest established company in the business in the UK. Skyhook were the
manufacturers of the original Mainair Flash sails, though Mainair will now
produce them itself.
the first British microlight manufacturer with its own web page in 1996.
Meeting Internazionale di Volo Libero at Bassano del Grappa in Italy was
reported on by Richard Meredith-Hardy. The show brought out hang-gliders and
paragliders in considerable numbers, but microlights were in fast decline. La
Mouette, a French company, had produced a 'topless' hang-glider. Will flexwing
microlight designers likewise dispense with top rigging and kingpost?
In order to
report on Bassano, Richard also carried out a somewhat longer than usual flight
test for Microlight Flying. He took a Pegasus Quantum 912 from the Pegasus
factory at Marlborough, to the Bassano event. This involved some 14 h 8 minutes
flying time, covering around 800 nm. Richard found the four-stroke engine
substantially more economical than its two-stroke equivalent. He found the
machine comfortable and easy to fly, with a reasonable amount of space for
baggage and excellent reliability. It was described as a true grand tourer. The
Quantum, with this power unit, was thought to offer good potential in
particular for towing, particularly for ultralight gliders and, with a slower
wing, for hang-gliders.
PHOTO 2: The Rotax 912 power unit on a Pegasus
On 14th July,
the CAA legalised foot launched power paragliders and hang-gliders. These
machines were to be exempt from pilot licenses, registration and airworthiness
was appointed Chief Inspector of the BMAA.
Championships took place this year at Cato Ridge, South Africa. While the
British team came away with the Team prize, the event was marred by the death
of a long-standing team member - John Holloway - in a soaring task.
homebuilt canard Iolair was progressing well, especially since by this time the
correct handed propeller had been fitted to provide forward, rather than
PHOTO 3: The Iolaire.
flights to make news included a flight to Poland, undertaken by John Hood and
three friends in their flexwings. Starting from Eshott, the group had only got
to Headcorn when they realised that one of them had forgotten his passport. A
frantic telephone call resulted in a faxed copy being sent down, and this was
accepted (though not always easily) throughout the journey. The journey
involved 42 hours flying, with 27 take-offs and landings, covering 1000 miles.
The group were awarded the Steve Hunt trophy for the flight of the year at the
AGM in December.
mammoth flight involved the RAF Microlight Association who flew two Pegasus
Quantum's 4000 miles across Canada between June and August. A relay of pilots
flew one of the machines, while Allistair Wilson, Team Leader, flew the other
for the entire journey. This expedition was thought to be the first flexwing
crossing of Canada. It involved 82 hours of flying, spread over 27 flyable
days, taking 52 days in all to complete due to bad weather conditions.
PHOTO 4: Flying over Ottawa.
BMAA Chairman, proposed that general aviation needed a national Aero Club with
a strong, cohesive policy on leisure flying. Such organisations were already in
place in Norway, Turkey and South Africa. He suggested that the Royal Aero Club
would be a good vehicle, dropping its 'royal' ties and becoming the UK Air
long-distance continued, with Keith Wingate taking a Mainair Blade 912 from
Lands End to John O'Groats. Since the test flight was also to be a successful
record attempt, the machine would be tested to its limits. The journey involved
26 hours flying in four days. The engine was run flat out for 10 of these
hours, and declared to be 'unbustable' - no carb icing, no misfires.
Valley Microlight Club flew down to Alicante. This was a major expedition in
its own right, but made more so by the fact that at least two of the pilots had
not flown more than 100 miles from base before and most were firmly convinced
that dragons lived south of the Trent. While they found this not to be the
case, the flexwing pilots did discover that fleas lived in the Pyrenees when
they landed at a strip after it was closed and were forced to spend a night out
in the open.
end of year show at Telford was bigger than ever this year. New microlights
were shown from both New Zealand, the Bantam B22S, and the Ukraine, the
Aeroprakt-20. Foot-launched designs flourished. A new Thruster range was
through Section S, available both with and without nosewheel. Pegasus
demonstrated its extensively upgraded AX3, which had become the AX2000.
At the AGM, the
BMAA's membership stood at 4030, a good rise on the previous year.