Microlight FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions about Microlighting.

  What is a Microlight ?

A microlight is an aeroplane to carry no more than two people, with a maximum fuel capacity of 50 litres and a total weight of 450kg, including fuel and passengers. That's what the book says...a better definition would be a small aircraft that is great fun to fly. Also known as ULTRALIGHTS around the world, these little aircraft have developed in the last 20 years to an amazing level of sophistication. Single or two seat, conventional 'stick and rudder' or 'flexwing' controls, high performance racer or sedate Sunday tourer, today's microlights are hi-tech, well engineered and beautifully built machines.

How Do I Get a Pilot's License?

A minimum of 25 hours flying time, of which at least 10 hours must be solo. Most people take a little longer,. During your solo time you will be set two navigation tasks over a course of at least 40 nautical miles. There are five multiple choice ground-based exams to pass, and at the end of your training you will need to pass a General Flying Test with a CAA approved examiner. You will also need a 'Declaration of Fitness' signed by your own Doctor.

  Who Flies Microlights ?

Microlighting is a participant sport. It is for people who enjoy adventures. Learning the art of flying demands patience and perseverance. You need self-confidence and commitment, but the rewards are enormous. It is not necessary to have prior knowledge of aviation. You don't have to be a fearless 'gung-ho' type. Contrary to some media portrayal, microlighting is not a sport for reckless fools hell-bent on short-lived thrills. Sensible, responsible people between the ages of 17 and 80 fly microlights. Children can receive instruction at any age but cannot log in a flying record until they are 14 years old. They cannot fly solo until they are 16 years old, although many young pilots have achieved their first solo flight on their 16th birthday.

How Much Does it Cost ?

To obtain a Private License will cost between £1200 and £2000. Lessons can be spread over any period of time; some people have a intensive course of lessons in close succession, whereas others spread this cost over one to two years . Lessons are cheaper in your own plane. Purchase and running cost of an aircraft is about the same as a second family car. A good quality used aircraft and all the necessary equipment (flying suit, helmet etc) will cost around £2,500, a brand new aircraft around £20,000+. Syndicates of fellow students/club members are common to share the costs. How Fast Are They ? Most have an imposed speed limit of less than 100mph. Average speeds are about 60mph.

What are the medical requirements for the grant of an NPPL M or Microlight licence?


The medical is a declaration of fitness and is signed by your doctor. There are two groups on the medical form: Group 1 will be signed if the doctor satisfies his/herself that you are fit to fly only solo or with another qualified pilot. Group 2 will be signed if they satisfy themselves you are fit to fly with unlicensed passengers. The medical requirement is the same as would be needed to drive a heavy goods vehicle.

 

How Safe Are They ?

A modern microlight is an extremely robust aircraft, despite its somewhat insubstantial appearance. Its also a very obedient aircraft with few vices. During its manufacture it is subject to stringent quality controls by the Civil Aviation Authority. So providing you fly it in a reasonably intelligent manner it will not hurt you or anyone else. A microlight, like most aircraft, is not designated for aerobatics !

  Where Can I Fly From ?

You can fly from any farm field provided you have the owner's position, though nowadays most pilots fly from one of the 140 microlight fields around the country. A microlight requires an unrestricted 400 metre strip for safe operation. How Far Can They Fly ? They've been flown to Australia and South Africa and even circumnavigated the world.

What and How Much Fuel Do They Use ?

Standard Unleaded fuel, usually pre-mixed with two stroke oil. Any petrol station with a reasonably sized landing field near to it can become your fuel bowser. A British microlight is limited to 50 litres of fuel capacity, so at around 10 litres per hour average consumption, it can stay in the air for over 4 hours. At 60mph in still air this would give a range in excess of 240 miles. Remember this is a straight line distance from A to B. It would be much further (and take longer) in a car.

Can I Fly to Work ?

Yes ! Providing you have an airstrip at either end of your journey. However microlights, like any other aircraft, are limited by high winds and poor visibility and are not allowed to fly at night. A microlight is a recreational aeroplane - not really a commuting machine, although a few fortunate pilots manage to use one as such.

Can I Take it Abroad ?

Yes. Flying across the channel has become quite a regular event. Trailering is also an option. Obviously complying with with foreign regulations is essential.

Are There Competitions in Microlighting ?

Yes ! The British Microlight Team has dominated European competitions for the last 10 years. There are many inter-club competitions and the British National Championships, which re flown over 6 or 7 rounds throughout the year. Competition tasks are based on precision navigation, fuel economy and other piloting skills but do not include aerobatics. To qualify for entry you must have held your Pilot's License for at least 12 months, have 100 hours airtime at least 25 of which on the aircraft type you intend to enter. Anyone can have a go, as long as they satisfy the entry requirements. You will be competing against very skilled pilots, but talented newcomers frequently do very well.

Does Other Flying Experience Count ?

Yes ! There are training concessions for Gliding and Hang Gliding experience. Pilots holding a current PPL for light aircraft are entitled to fly microlights, but conversion to type training is strongly advised by the CAA. Do Fixed Wing and Flexwing Microlights Have a Different Licence ? No, not at this time. A microlight is a microlight is the view of the CAA. Obviously a flexwing microlight has a very different control system to a fixed wing and any pilot who is familiar with one should not attempt to fly the other with out going through a type familiarisation course o

How many hours will I need to fly before I can go solo?
There is no minimum hours requirement before you can fly solo under the supervision of an instructor. The decision to let a student fly solo will be made by the instructor provided that the student has satisfactorily completed all of the flight exercises up to and including exercise 12 and 13 (take-offs,circuit flying, emergencies in circuit and landings) and that the instructor is happy to let the student do so. around 10 hours.

 

Can I Do My Own Maintenance ?

Yes - provided you are competant. However, there are inspection procedures in place to ensure that microlights are airworthy, including an annual inspection and check flight by an approved check pilot/inspector.

How Long Will My Microlight Last ?

All you life if you take care of it. Aircraft are manufactured to such high standards and subjected to low stress that they will not wear out easily. Some components are controlled by the number of hours they can be flown and have to be replaced at those intervals.

How High Can They Go ?

The record is over 30,000ft, but this is not usual. Any modern microlight can achieve at least 14,000ft without any engine modifications. However, above 10,000ft you run into stricter regulations which include requirements for flight plans a transponder and on-board oxygen system. Typically pleasure flights are in the region of 1,500ft to 3,000ft, without much requirement to go any higher.

 

What if the weather is unsuitable on the day of my flight?

If the weather is unsuitable on the day of your flight then we will re-book you for another time that is suitable for you. It is important to call our office number (07794 838 540 ) on the morning of your flight to ensure the weather is suitable at the airfield as it may be good where you are but poor here. Alternatively if the weather doesn't look good where you are it may be suitable
for flying at the airfield, so do call.

What if my voucher expires?

If your voucher expires we will extend the expiry date on a voucher if a flight has been cancelled due to poor weather for example, provided that a booking has been made with us prior to the original date passing. If the voucher is from the many experience company's we use supplying the voucher agree to extend it and they have provided you with a cimfirmation letter. If there is no attempt to make a booking with us prior to the expiry date then we may not extend the voucher.

Can I extend the flight time on my voucher?
You can extend the flight time of your voucher when you call our office to make your booking and they will let you know the options available. It is important to mention extending the flight time at this stage so that we can book the aircraft and instructor for a longer period.

What will I need to wear for my trial flight?

Bring clothes with you that would be suitable for spending a little time outside, including decent footwear. Don't wear sandals, flip flops or sling-back shoes! We will provide flying suits and gloves if necessary.

What type of aircraft will I be flying in.

You will be flying in a Quantum 912 80hp 4 stroke Flexwing microlight aircraft. the quantum cruises around 57 mph in the air in what we call hands off trim we can speed up to under 65mph with what we call back bar pressure. The Quantum carries 45 liters of fuel fully giving a duration of around 4 hours at 11 liters per hour. it is a two seater the passenger, you will be sat behind the pilot, ( but when teaching the instructor sits in the back seat). it is open cockpit so you feel the wind as if you sat on a motorbike. the all up weight of this aircraft with passengers and fuel can not exceed 409kg

 

 

Is flying addictive?

Totally...