View Full Version : Dragonfly - for Newbies?

Marc Lennox
17-06-14, 15:49 PM
I'm currently looking to start training for my NPPL, but I have the age old dilemma of Flex or fixed.

My thinking is as follows, once I get my license, if I'm looking to own my own aircraft, my realistic option (as I'd be home garaging) would be a Dragonfly. I was worried though that a SSDR are possibly more for the experienced pilot?

For fixed the only other option would be a share in a syndicate if there's one available!

any advice is gratefully accepted


Martin Watson
17-06-14, 17:18 PM
Don't necessarily assume SSDR is only for ecperienced pilots. I know two pilots who bought Dragonflys as their first aircraft, and are having a great time with them.

But you are right to be careful. It will depend a bit on where you are. If you can join a nearby club you will find you will get lots of help and advice from members. Also, how mechanically minded are you? If you're miles from anywhere and not good with a socket set, then maybe SSDR isn't for you.

But even more importantly BEFORE you worry about that you need to get started. Find out your local clubs and schools and visit them (you can find them on the BMAA website http://bmaa.org/pwpcontrol.php?pwpID=2520 ). Join one you like - not necessarily the nearest or cheapest. Have trial lessons in both flex and fixed to see which you prefer.

When you are getting close to getting your licence you will know much more about the type of flying that's for you. Shares, syndicates and good second hand machines are all perfectly good options.


steve wilson
17-06-14, 19:20 PM
Hi Marc,

I fly a Dragonfly. I intended to home-hangar and was only looking for a step up from my paramotor. As it happens I am now fully-rigged thanks to a local friend but my place is precarious and I'm always ready to take it home again. I have an 8x5x5 box trailer which takes the trike fully assembled and acts as a hangar at home, the wing lives on a ladder slung in the rafters of the garage.

I have the Bailey engine and so being close to a paramotor club would be more beneficial than a microlight club - the engines are sooooo different. The thing that struck me about the Dragonfly when I got it was just how easy it was to fly and how half the stuff I had been taught on the Quantum was not much use. The big difference, of course, is you are only doing 30 knots and the tiniest thermal will make life rather uncomfortable - it is a soaring trike after all.

If I had my time again I would get a Dragon with the Fox wing, it is really quick to rig but wasn't an option when I bought six years ago.

Hope that helps.

Kind regards.

Marc Lennox
17-06-14, 20:46 PM
Hi Steve,

thanks for for the advice, I like the idea of having my own a/c, but with the flexibility of keeping it at home to avoid hangerage costs initially. I'd read a comment from Paul that suggested the fox wing if it's being derigged and taken home each night!

i know ultimately I shouldn't be learning to fly, to fly one particular aircraft, but the idea of the dragonfly just works for where I am at the moment (in terms of finance and convenience).

Im planning on learning with purple aviation at Eshott, so will speak to the guys at the club and gauge their opinions also.

again, advice is greatly appreciate


17-06-14, 22:13 PM
Hi Marc

im another Dragonflyer. It was my first aircraft after doing my NPPL, and I went in on a new one with two other pilots, so we pay £40 each per month for hangerage fully rigged so it's ready to fly, including insurance, then just fill the jerry can in turns - flying doesn't get much cheaper or easily accessible then that! It inspires confidence, and for a first aircraft, the only niggle is you're not going anywhere in a hurry, but then that's not what you buy a soaring trike for, right?! For me, the primary concern as I left the instructors guidance and started flying lots on my own, was that if anything went pear shaped, I'd be able to bring it down safely, and the Dragonfly couldn't be beaten in this respect - the glide is so good and approach so gentle even compared to a Quantum, I cant imagine a situation where I couldnt put it down somewhere safely. A football pitch would do at a push!

its an absolute breeze to fly (I flew hangies in the past, and with our Discus wing it floats forever!), but I'd agree with the comment above - if you plan to rig and derig, go for the quick rigging wing, and get a trailer. While the trike does fold up into the boot of a car, it's much quicker to leave it built and trailer it, as it takes up so little storage room anyway. The discus isn't a big problem to rig every time, but it's not über fast.

We've got the Bailey V4 on it, which has had a few teething niggles, but nothing an average spanner can't sort out, it's no more complex than a small moped engine, and everything is pretty accessible.



John Kendall
31-07-14, 11:24 AM
I'm also a dragon flyer. I've had a dragon with the fox wing for 18 months now and love it to bits. It wasn't my first flexwing but I can't think of any reason why it couldn't be. You do need to think of the type of flying you intend to do (30-35mph cruise and 43 bar right in), for the same money as my dragon I could have bought a 912 blade or quantum (albeit with a few hours on the clock). But I didn't want a 2 seater so am more than happy. Mine is powered by a polini thor 200 two stroke which allows me to operate from a 150yd strip.

10-08-14, 23:21 PM
Don't forget the Ace Magic Trikes, tough and very, very simple, made by a Welshman in India to keep the price low; I've flown one from East Yorkshire to the Spamfield bash, 280 miles from Beverley across to France and last Sunday from Beverley all the way to Duxford in one hop. 60mph cruise, alloy split-rim wheels and anodised shiny finish. The Dragonflies win on neat bodywork which makes them an attractive product, but on speed and tourability the Ace wins hands down.

Here's a video of me larking about one evening



06-12-14, 08:27 AM
It's a while since you asked, but for what it's worth, I have had a Dragonfly in Australia for a couple of years now. I love the little jigger to bits. It is astonishingly easy to fly, as honest as the day is long, and I have had no trouble with it except a minor plug lead problem with the Bailey 22V engine (which was sorted with very quick and effective help from the factory). It is a genuine soarer when there's lift, folds up when necessary just as they claim, and is beautiful to look at. Love it. Great British product.

Steady Eddie
15-12-14, 22:21 PM
Is the small weather window a drawback?
What is the max wind speed you can fly a Dragon.
I was looking at the Dragon Chaser. but it is quite expensive, even for the basic spec.
Anybody flying a Chaser like to shed some light on their flying experiences.

15-12-14, 23:06 PM
I have a personal wind limit of around 10 knots, which I think is very conservative. I have flown in stronger winds. I have had no problems when the wind gets up - although it is uncomfortable if there is turbulence near the ground. I'm lucky that the weather is generally beautiful here in Sydney, I do a lot of early morning flying to avoid windy conditions. In my view the Dragonfly is robust, safe and fit for purpose, but like all aircraft, must be flown within it's limits, and within the pilot's limits.

Paul Dewhurst
15-12-14, 23:10 PM
Quite a lot less than half the price of anything new with two seats. I fact it's remarkable in that the whole aeroplane is cheaper than just the engine package on the back of the current two seaters!

And there is not much fat in the manufacture - we have yet to make a profit! :)

The Chaser wing is the least cost wing available for the trike with the exception of the single surface Fox wing.

Chaser has a quite reasonable weather window, many have been flown for long distance touring all around Europe, and it has an excellent speed / effciency index. The small wing also helps with ground handling in strongish winds.

PS - just seen the last post - that's a Combat or Discus wing, optimised for soaring, rather than speed. Sail a work of art in its construction, materials and efficiency to produce the best glide angle and sink rate - particularly the Combat

Chaser wing a lot smaller and more geared to speed, and is more comfortable in the stronger winds. But not much good for soaring, and needs the bigger engine choices to give its full potential, whereas the combat is the most fuel efficient - less than 3lph on the Bailey, whereas chaser uses 6lph on the Polini 250 - albeit going 20mph faster.


steve wilson
16-12-14, 11:24 AM
The terminology has moved on somewhat. When I bought mine, a Dragonfly meant it had a Discus wing - now the Dragon family covers a lot of ground and, as Paul has said, the Chaser is a very different animal and much more like a modern microlight. The performance with the Discus or Fox is more like the 1980s when you flew early or late to avoid the turbs. When planning flying for the week I watch the BBC local TV and if they are talking 10mph or less I start to make plans. 15mph is no problem unless there are gusts or it is too far off the runway so there is no hard-and-fast rule on speed. Ground-handling is likely to be more of an issue in gusty conditions than the flying is. Once airborne, of course, you want to go places so you will spend a lot of time flying sideways at cruising altitude at those speeds.

I flew yesterday; it had been 12-15mph all day and then fell to 10mph on the METARs so I went for it. The wind measured a steady 7mph at the field and straight down the runway but it was still 15-17mph at 700 feet so I was getting thrown around like a rag doll between 300 and 900 feet.

All that probably complicates things but I hope it gives a feel for it. I fly 50 hours per year and tend to look forward to the winter for the smooth days.

John Kendall
18-12-14, 11:11 AM
Like Steve I view 10mph as a rough guide to max wind speed. I have flown in worse, but with a 30-35mph cruising speed you don't want too much of a headwind.
I would love a chaser wing as an option for touring but I don't think it's an option with the polini 200 engine. Also I'd have to travel to a longer strip as my miniscule patch of land wouldn't be sufficient.
We dragon owners should get together for a fly in sometime. See how many of us there are. Is there an owners forum or Facebook group anywhere?

18-12-14, 20:30 PM
You'd need a shorter monopole too John!