hassle, maximum fun!
circumstances rule out pursuing a pilot licence Ė or if youíre just in a hurry
to get airborne, in full control Ė thereís always footlaunch. David Bremner
microlights (FLMs) are governed by fewer regulations than any other form of
still need to comply with the rest of air law, thereís no need to get a pilotís
licence, and the aircraft doesnít need a permit to fly (the aviation equivalent
of an MoT).
they are the safest form of powered aviation in existence, owing to their low
speed and light weight.
can keep them in your garage and generally fit them in the boot of your car,
operating costs are kept to an absolute minimum. Due to these unique
advantages, they are fast becoming one of the most popular recreational
aircraft in the world.
FLMs come in
two types: paramotors and powered hang gliders. In either case, the pilot must
be over 16 and the FLM must weigh less than 60kg. And while thereís no legal
requirement to take lessons, itís probably cheaper than the bruises and repair
bills youíll get if you try to learn on your own! There are plenty of schools
in the UK (see the centre spread for details), and if you pick one thatís
approved by the BHPA (British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association,
www.bhpa.co.uk) you can be sure that itís been checked against the highest
courses are designed to turn a complete beginner into a qualified pilot with
10-12 days of solid training.
will consist of both practical and theoretical exercises. The practical element
includes learning about the equipment, ground training, unpowered solo flights
and powered solo flights, while the theoretical part covers the theory of
flight, meteorology, air law, navigation, operating safety and further vital
constantly improving and there are two-stroke and four-stroke powered models
available. There are even electric paramotors under development (though these
arenít in general circulation yet). Thereís a huge range of wings and powered
harnesses available, and you would be well advised to discuss whatís best for
you with your instructor before splashing out, since the best equipment for you
will depend on your weight, skill level, and intended use.
The cost of a
new setup will be £3500-£5000 and operating costs are minimal Ė even a
two-stroke unit will use less than 5 l/h. And if you think spending less money
will bring less enjoyment, think again Ė some of my most memorable flying
moments have been on a powered hang glider!
statistics show that FLMs are the safest types of aircraft to fly. But despite
having a safety record second to none, an FLM is only as safe as the pilot
flying it. It is therefore down to you to ensure a safe and steady course into
the sky in order to maximize the enjoyment and satisfaction offered by this
fantastic form of aviation.