manufacturers of the Shadow, one of the most successful early designs of 3-axis
machines which had been used for many of the early long-distance journeys, went
into liquidation. However, later in the year, the Shadow was reborn, being
manufactured by the new CFM Aircraft Ltd.
The BMAA moved
across the road in Deddington to new, larger premises. Questions centered on
what to do with the large, empty cellar...
the BMAA's Planning Consultant, was able to record three successful Department
of the Environment planning appeals: Packington (Leics) Hadzor (Worcs) and
Haywood Lodge Farm (Worcs). These would provide very useful precedents for
discussion and anticipation, there was no news yet of the promised European 450
kg all-up weight for microlights.
Keith Wingate was much impressed with the specification of the New Zealand
Bantam, and Paul Dewhurst revisited the Thruster, with and without nosewheel.
Paul found the new version Thrusters impressive, enjoying the tail-dragger the
most. The new models were said to represent excellent value for money and were
great fun to fly, performing exactly as advertised.
PHOTO 1: New Zealand's Bantam, a side by side
two-seat high wing monoplane with conventional 3-axis control. In test it was
found to be of excellent build quality with a handy turn of speed. A model
which could suit a lot of people.
In Summer 1996,
Guy Gratton became the BMAA's new Chief Technical Officer, continuing in the
pilots finished a 10 000 mile circumnavigation of Australia in their Pegasus
Quantums. Keith Ingham was asked for his justification for taking three weeks
off work and replied 'I've never heard of anyone on their death-bed who said I
wish I'd spent more time in the office'.
PHOTO 2: Flying over the south coast of Victoria
between Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota.
long-distance test flight theme, begun the previous year, continued when an
AX2000 was flown from Wallingford to Bassano. The testers obviously enjoyed the
journey as while they were supposed to trailer the aircraft back, once they
were the right side of the Alps they re-rigged the machine and flew it home.
PHOTO 3: The AX2000 - a side-by-side two-seat
Visitors to the
Popham fair this year were able to get a first glimpse of the new Jabiru ST
four-stroke. At the time, the Jabiru was being imported as a PFA Group 'A' kit,
but it was seen as having all the ingredients to be classed as a microlight
once the 450 kg limit was accepted.
PHOTO 4: The Jabiru ST
At the PFA
rally, an AX2000 was presented complete with a Japanese HKS four-stroke engine.
At the same show, a Shadow was seen fitted with the Jabiru power unit.
The first World
Air Games were held in Turkey, and the British team proved themselves again,
gaining the Team Gold, along with 5 other Golds, 3 Silvers and 4 Bronze. The
Royal Aero Society's Chairman commented '...this is a very, very good
performance of which all the UK air sport associations can be proud...'
left England in his Mainair Blade 912 on a solo flight to Australia.
supported the successful Thrust SCC World Land Speed record attempt, coming
back with some stunning photographs.
Flying noted that the AGM was somewhat under-attended this year. While 5000
people had walked through the doors for the trade show, only around 100
bothered to go to the meeting. Concern was expressed at the meeting with regard
to the low public profile of the sport, despite its involvement in otherwise
high profile events such as the World Land Speed Record attempt. Another
concern was the Sports Council's lack of support for microlighting, which
affected both grant aid and lottery funds. Membership stood at 4183, and 2965
aircraft were registered on the database.
At the Trade
Show, four-stroke engines dominated. Thruster, Pegasus, Mainair and Jabiru all
had them on display. In fact Pegasus didn't exhibit any two-stroke aircraft at
all. At the other end of the spectrum, Andy Buchan of Light Flight was
delighted to have sold 28 Mosquito PHG harnesses.
PHOTO 5: The Mosquito