The 'Microlight' Myth...

You'll see the term 'Microlight' used a lot on this website. Unfortunately, every time the british press encounter the word they tend to drag out a 30 year old photo of a flex-wing (hang glider style) microlight and describe it as a flying deck chair with a lawn mower engine. As you can see in the above pictures, modern day aircraft have evolved and bear no resemblance to the microlights of days gone by.

We prefer to refer to our fleet as 'light sport aircraft' but the term 'Microlight' is a legal definition so, to a point, we are stuck with it so let's explain it. A microlight is a 2 seat aircraft with a total weight, including passengers and fuel, of no more than 450kg and with a very low stall speed of 35kts (40 mph) [there are a couple of other parts to the definition but they don't matter here]. The slow flying speed and low overall weight mean we can land in very small fields in case of problems. This makes our aircraft very 'low risk' and allows us to enjoy lighter regulation and cheaper insurance than the larger (GA) aircraft.

You don’t have to be a crazy, eccentric, outrageous adventurer to fly a microlight aircraft – but being slightly adventurous will help. Although often portrayed as lunacy by the media, modern-day microlighting makes sense. People who fly microlight aircraft are normal folk who love flying and have discovered that microlights are affordable to own and fly.

Today’s advanced microlights come with the comfort, safety, performance and endurance of slightly larger aircraft, at a fraction of the price other pilots pay to fly inefficient, last-century aeroplanes. These days, people who want a full Private Pilot’s Licence are looking for a career in commercial aviation. Microlight pilots either don’t aspire to fly in that environment or they’ve already retired from it.

Modern microlight aircraft are high-tech, high-performance aircraft that make the average GA aeroplane look like an old-fashioned, underpowered piece of scrap metal with the aerodynamics of a brick. Advanced microlights are made of metal or composite materials. They have strong wings, electric trim, powered flaps and fuel-efficient engines – a little bit like the airliner that takes you on holiday.

Some microlight aircraft have EFIS (an Electronic Flight Information System). some have integrated digital displays (glass cockpits)  – and some have rocket-powered parachutes that can return the aircraft and its contents to the surface, if absolutely everything turns to custard.

The higher cost of 'General Aviation' (GA - the larger light aircraft) is due to a risk-averse regulatory regime that manages to inflate the cost of a £10 spark plug into a £100 CAA-certified-and-approved but otherwise identical spark plug. We are not covered by this regime and are, therefore, free to use the £10 version.

 Modern microlight aircraft can cruise at up to 150 knots (175 mph) and fly non-stop for more than five hours if needed.

Microlighting is all about simpler, cheaper and more personal recreational flying. The aircraft cost much less than traditional light aeroplanes – if you can spare two or three years, you could build one from plans or a kit. If you are in a hurry to fly and don’t know one end of a spanner from a molegrip, you can buy an advanced microlight from a factory. We generally suggest, for most recreational pilots, that ownership is usually prohibitive and that a share of an aircraft is a much better option - see our Aircraft Shares page for more.

Microlight pilot licensing is simpler, easier and cheaper – most people can expect to qualify. Training is less intensive than that for the Private Pilot’s Licence (although the conditions in which we fly are identical, and there’s nothing to stop you becoming as competent as any PPL – or better). Microlight owners can maintain their own aircraft and its engine (within commonsense limits), further lowering the operating costs.

Running a microlight can cost around 60 percent less than operating a General Aviation light aircraft. You can fly an advanced microlight, in a closed and heated cockpit, at over 100 mph, burning less fuel than a medium-sized car for the distance covered (around 10 to 16 litres an hour). And microlights don’t use aviation fuel. Today’s microlight engines use the same stuff you buy at the petrol station.

Single-seater requirements for pilots are minimal – if you hold a licence and the thing will fly, off you go. Two-seat machines, sensibly, have more stringent requirements for construction, maintenance and pilot experience

In the microlight fraternity, you’ll find doctors, accountants, builders, driving instructors, IT developers, mechanical engineers, carpet layers, stone masons, local authority officers, farmers, photographers, business consultants, priests, members of the armed forces, comedians, schoolchildren, students, funeral directors – and a host of others (including airline pilots).

All of them deeply value their lives and have the good sense to fly well-constructed, proven and well-maintained aircraft. They know that gravity never lets up.

So, you don’t have to be a nutcase to fly a microlight (and we only use lawn mower engines to cut the airfield grass). There are few greater pleasures in life than pottering off to a little grass strip, chatting to other pilots over tea and bikkies in the clubhouse for an hour or two, then climbing into your aeroplane, rising once more into the blue – and flying home in time for dinner…
  1. Controls
    A single centre stick controls the ailerons and elevators. Foot pedals control rudders and ground. movements.
  2. Performance
    The C42 can cruise between 70 Kts and 80 Kts making it an ideal aircraft for trainning and long distance adventure
  3. Runway Requirments
    With only 100 meters required for take off and 150 meters for landing this aircraft is ideal for farm strips making it a go anywhere plane.
  4. Range
    With a 65 litre tank and 10 litre per hour burn rate the C42 can stay aloft for over 5 hours.​
  5. Climb Rate
    The C42 has the ability to climb at a rate of 850-1000 ft per min to a service ceiling in the region of 10,000 feet.
  6. Flaps
    The flaps are controlled by a centrally-mounted lever on the roof of the cabin.