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About 3-axis and flex-wing microlighting in the UK

Microlighting is a simple and affordable introduction to flying.

With more than 3,000 microlights on the CAA's register, they form the largest single group of light aviation aircraft in the UK. Fixed wing (3-axis) or flexwing (weight-shift), microlights bring you as close as is possible to a bird's eye view of the countryside. With the ability to fly slowly at low altitude you'll get a unique open air view of the UK.


Regulations do not permit passenger or pleasure flights in either type of microlight, so everything we sell is classed as a trial lesson. Do not let that put you off. You don't require any test or pre-knowledge and you aren't even obliged to take the controls (but we've never known anybody to say 'no').


We have 100's of different microlight flight experiences to choose from: here they are, listed in manageable chunks:

(Many of our operators have both types of aircraft, and their vouchers can be used on either)


THE AIRCRAFT

There are two types of microlight, the simpler powered hang-glider types ("flexwings") to craft with enclosed cockpits that look and perform just like conventional light aircraft. One of their key advantages is that you do not require a large airfield - a farmer's field will do! Many microlights can be packed up, placed on a trailer, taken home and stored in your garage. With relatively slow flying speeds and low inertia the microlight is one of the cheapest and safest forms of recreational flying in the UK.


To qualify as a microlight in the UK, a flying machine must have a Maximum TakeOff Weight (MTOW) of 450kg, and a maximum stall speed of 65 kph. Initially, this meant that the only way to achieve this low weight and speed was to build something like a hang glider with the engine on the back. The flex-wing or weight-shift microlight was born. Minimum instruments, minimum fuel, minimum comfort MAXIMUM FUN.


Then along came strong, light materials like carbon fibre and modern and efficient engines and it became possible to build a fast, light, comfy, warm aeroplane with conventional controls and side-by-side seating and still qualify for the lighter touch regulatory regime. These are called 3-axis or sometimes fixed wing microlights.


FLYING SOLO

To fly a microlight solo and unsupervised with or without a passenger you will need a Private Pilots Licence (Aeroplanes) Microlight. The pre-requisites for obtaining the PPL (A) Microlight are:

  • aged at least 17
  • a valid medical declaration of fitness

To obtain a PPL (A) Microlight licence the applicant must:

  • undertake a minimum of 25 hours flying training with a qualified flying instructor, of which 10 hours must be flown solo (termed solo supervision) in the 9 months previous to application
  • pass written examinations set by the CAA at a minimum of 70%. Subjects are: Air Law, Aeroplanes Technical Pt.1, Navigation & Meteorology and Human Performance
  • complete and pass a practical flying test carried out by an examiner.

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