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Bob T
02-05-10, 12:39 PM
As many know there is a huge choice of microlights available to pilots in mainland Europe. Why do UK pilots not have the same choice?
Well if you look at my blog post today, you will see that the European law on free movement of citizens and their possessions is being stifled in the UK.
A BMAA council, made up of people who have interests in the UK microlight manufacturing industry, are not challenging the CAA to allow a microlight which conforms to another European safety standard, to be imported into the UK.
Get over to Blois in September and see what microlights are on the market over here and ask your MEP why you cannot buy one and register it in the UK. You can do that with a car or motorbike, but not a microlight!

spear
02-05-10, 17:40 PM
Ok, here's my 2 pence worth, bearing in mind I'm pretty new to the sport and can only comment on what I have learned so far (apologies in advance).

Define choice?

Are we talking about the 70+ Microlight Aircraft already approved for use within the UK (now that is some choice) or are we talking about relatively new Aircraft to market?

I feel privileged to have met a significant amount of pilots over the last 12 months (more than I can remember), and I can honestly say that on not one occasion has choice, or should I say restricted choice been discussed.

My guess here is that people are happy with current market conditions, and have neither the will nor the interest to "kick up a fuss".

Put plain and simply, they are happy!

Bob T
02-05-10, 17:51 PM
Yes you are correct in that many people won't 'kick up a fuss'.
I am not sure about the 70+, I suppose you mean that that there have been that many approved, but how many are available to buy now? Just on the new flexwing market, you have the choice of P&M, Raven or Aircreation (as a kit build). There are many more flexwings on the market in the rest of Europe, with a wider choice of engines. Then you take 3 axis machines too and there are even more.
There are also many older designs that have been flying safely and happily in Europe that are not allowed to be imported into the UK.
This post was not intended to get anyone to march to the houses of parliament, but to encourage active debate.

Jiggles
02-05-10, 18:09 PM
What annoys me, and I assume BobT, is not the range of choice that we have, but the sheer fact that we are restricted in choice compared to the rest of Europe, when joining the Common Market was supposed to have stopped the inequality.
John

Roger Mole
02-05-10, 18:13 PM
Peter put it quite succinctly I think. If a microlight is approved in any other EU country, why should it not be automatically approved for use here?

I would put it even more succinctly - why are we prepared to take on all the crap and costs of the EU but be permitted none of the apparent benefits? Why should the air be any different in the UK compared to other parts of the world? Why do we have such a huge and expensive bureaucratic machine in this country whose whole raison-d'etre is to prevent people doing things? Surely such a system should by definition only need to be tiny?

I could go on (sorry.....) but as soon as I see a statement about how people are 'happy' with the restricted choice that they are 'approved' to have I begin to get very uncomfortable. That's the philosophy that Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe were built upon and even they have now moved on. Funny that while their freedoms are increasing we are 'happy' to see that our own are becoming more and more restricted and 'approved'. Shows what a generation of left-wing government and education have done to this country.

Pseudo political rant over. But let's be looking for more and more ways to expand our freedoms of all kinds, not for excuses why we should be happy with what we've been 'approved' as having. Goodness me.

Ivan_Sh
02-05-10, 18:49 PM
Hi there, let me join your discussion, even thought I don't live in the UK
What sort of choice are you talking about?
Here is my view:

Flexwings:
In the UK, you have a choice.. so far it is either P&M or Raven, or Air Creation as a kit.. Would you want some more, wider choice? Well, as a free state, you might want some choice, theoretically, but what would you buy right now if you were going to purchase a new flex from abroad? I would assume – BioniX with a Tanarg trike. Isn’t it possible to certify this combination and purchase as a kit just like the old Tanarg and iXess? I’ll tell you what: this is the only wing you might want from abroad.
Am I right? If not – what are you after? What sort of trike/wing/engine are you looking for?
I live in a former Soviet state – Ukraine. As you may (or may not know) there are many different flexwing manufacturers in Ukraine and Russia, and the most well know in Europe and United States is Aeros, made in Kiev. They manufacture both trikes and wings, including Profi TL14 and Profi TL11 (strut-braced wings 14sq.m/11sq.m Do you think that they are that much cheaper than a GT or QuikR? In fact – as they cost as much as a GT. As there are plenty of Aeros wings/trikes flying around in my country, I certainly know the performance characteristics and quality of the product. The quality of materials is far…far behind P&M/Air Creation.
Considering costs, reliability, performance, quality, etc – in the UK you have good machines, as well as Bob is happy with his new wing.
Would you consider Revo trike and Reflex wings from the US? Well, they do look like good and reliable, but would you actually need that machine for that price?
Please, tell me, what sort of wings are you looking for? Which trikes are you after, and would you put a BMW engine or a 4cilider car engine on your trike? I simply don’t understand what choice you are talking about, having P&M, Raven and Air Creation in the market.
Having said that, we own 5 flexwings back at home: 2 Ukrainian, 1 Russian and 2 English: Pegasus Quasar 582 Q2 and QuikR, both new when bought in the UK. It took many months to register English machines due to regulations, funny politics and certificates, but more than happy with 2 English flex wings. I’ll tell you more: in Ukraine, there is no heavy protection on import of foreign microlights: you would have to pay local VAT (which is 20%, not 17.5% as in the UK). The situation in Russia is much worse: 20-25% duty on import of foreign microlights AND 18% VAT, as well as permission from the department of defence, local military, etc. That is what I call – protectionism, not “Section S” as you have in the UK and the only barrier for you to overcome is – certification.
3axis machines: you seem to have both German FD CTSW, French Skyranger and Ukrainian A22 (all 3 manufactured in Ukraine), moreover, you have C42, Xair, and others.. Please specify which 3axis machine you would buy, considering you have enough money for a new A22/skyranger (not even CTSW)
Having said that, again, I totally understand that free choice is necessary (considering all microlights are safe to operate). Now, I expect some criticism on my “article”
Regards
Ivan

GA AVIATOR
02-05-10, 19:17 PM
I will always feel that we are being held back by Section 'S'

Over the past 4 years I have flown quite a few 'non Section 'S' Microlights and have not been able to find anything detrimental about them in terms of how they fly !!!!
One thing I have noticed though is : EU authorities don't have the crazy 2x 86kg & 1hr Fuel at Max Continuous Power as a 'benchmark' for Empty Weight !!!

Of the EU Microlights I have flown the Millennium Master exceeds the performance of any Section 'S' Microlight allowed in the UK..... PROBLEM though is due to the incredible build quality it weighs in at 285kg and is 20kg over what the BMAA seem to believe is the max figure you can have !!!! So if this beast can return 1800fpm CLIMB and cruise at 161 - 190mph ( 140 - 165kts ) with a VNE of 242mph ( 210kts ) I think it is undoubtedly a better microlight than anything we have on offer in the UK.

Dimension & Performances
Wing Span 8,10 m
Lenght 7,10
Max weight 450 kg
Empty weight 285 kg
Wing area 9,96 mq
Stall speed 62 km/h
Max speed 390 km/h
Cruise speed (75% 80 hp - 100 hp) 260 - 306 km/h
Take off & landing distance 150 m

Even with a 285kg Empty weight and Mr Kelsey clamped into the Pilot Seat and 1hrs MCP fuel it is still within the 450kg weight limit at 413kg ( yep I ate all the pies & pasta ) So the EU are not so anally retentive to restrict their pilots by an Archaic empty weight limit.

The Eurofly Flash Comfort is about 285kg empty as well and that outperforms the Skyranger and Rans etc, it also has a far better build quality than the Section 'S' microlights we suffer in the UK. Both the Master & Flash Comfort will never make the UK Microlight Marketplace until the empty weight restriction gets lifted, but if it ever does........ the World is your oyster !!!

The Flash Comfort will make it's debut at Spamfield 2010 as a 'taster' of what is available ( if we break a Cartel )....... I am sure we won't take much convincing to give 'demo flights' and if we do....... you will see exactly what you are missing out on !!!!!

I am amazed that so many accept 'what you are given' as opposed to 'what you would like' I just think it takes me back to my 'school days' when I was instructed that "this is the best thing for you" when I already knew what I wanted !!!

I will slip back into the 'shadows' now, as I cannot be seen to be upsetting the Apple Cart(el)

Bob T
02-05-10, 19:26 PM
I won't criticise your writings Ivan, and I am not an authority on anything 3 axis these days.
What prompted me to start this thread was a visit form Derek, a member of this forum. I flew him on Saturday morning, he has the money to buy and wants a BioniX wing for his Tanarg. He cannot just buy one from the factory, even if it is well made to a high standard and meets safety standards in other European countries. The wing has not be certified to fly in the UK. He might buy one and have it shipped to New Zealand where he spends some winter months flying. With the present system he will have to wait for Paul Dewhurst to decide he, as the importer, is going to sell the wing in the UK and then spend money proving that it is up to the standard required by the CAA.
This instance is just a wing for a flex, but as you point out there are many more aircraft out there including Aeros, DTA and Take Off. These require, under present restrictive practices by the CAA, for a professional to import them and get them certified. Why can't an individual do a personal import?
The BMAA has the delegated authority to manage the microlight fleet and should be fighting the CAA on this subject, but while the council is staffed by people who are heavily involved with the UK manufacture of microlights, they are not going to try and open the market to competition to their products.
Why do P&M GT450 wing fabrics not last long, or radiators fall off, or poorly designed engine mounting frames cause sprag clutch failures? Because P&M have the market without competition and people won't go elsewhere for a flexwing, regulation won't let pilots have the choice. They can sell anything they want when they have the market to themselves.
It is a situation like the UK motorcycle industry, just keep selling the same old stuff, till someone comes along with something else and they all go bust. in this case they are using regulation to stop the outsiders from getting in.

Ivan_Sh
02-05-10, 20:06 PM
Bob, Peter
No doubt that competition would improve both quality and attitude, as long as reduce prices.
I totally agree that free market should be for everybody and being in EU authorities should negotiate and approve certificates for all member states
The situation outside EU is slightly different (taxes, legislation, etc, see my post above about Russia).
It wasn't easy to import English flexwings to my country either.. as it wasn't approved, etc,etc,etc... Buy as I knew what I wanted - I simply didn't want anything local..
I hope that someday, you'll be lucky to buy the microlights you want.. but not only which are available.
Peter, I see you have a good choice regarding those microlights.. but the problem with max empty weight moves them out from "microlight" category not only in the UK
So, bring on some competition to improve GT450 wing fabrics and airframe :)

Dave Morton
02-05-10, 21:37 PM
It's not the choice of machines in the UK that is the problem, after all it is the UK that sets the bench mark, the problem is the sheer cost of a new machine. I recently bought a fairly new Quik for 22k and my wifes looking at a new Audi TT for the same kind of money, it seems to me that when you can get an awful lot of car for the same price as a flexwing it just enforces the excessive costs that we are paying for our machines.

Bob T
02-05-10, 22:15 PM
I found an organisation called the European Microlight Federation (EMF) on the web and wrote an email to a chap who runs it asking a couple of questions. He was most put out. I thought that perhaps it was an organisation that was looking into harmonising microlighting across Europe, but it seems not. They seem to be just fighting European legislation.
I quote part of my email: "I am not sure what the EMF does for pilots across the EU borders, but there does not seem to be any harmony. The BMAA has delegated responsibility for the fleet of UK microlights, but their council seems to be made up from members with a vested interest in the UK microlight industry and, I assume, are not going to press for harmonisation when it means competition for them,"
His answer was: "And how day you cast such aspersions on the integrity of the few manufacturers we have left, people who have been working on your behalf when they should have been working to keep their businesses afloat in the face of threatening European regulation."
I wonder if there is anyone who might be trying to open the market.

Red Barron
02-05-10, 22:16 PM
It's not the choice of machines in the UK that is the problem, after all it is the UK that sets the bench mark, the problem is the sheer cost of a new machine. I recently bought a fairly new Quik for 22k and my wifes looking at a new Audi TT for the same kind of money, it seems to me that when you can get an awful lot of car for the same price as a flexwing it just enforces the excessive costs that we are paying for our machines.

Sorry Micromort but I dont agree with your comments - in what way does the UK set the benchmark?? If you are refering to the QuikR's success in the WAG then please note it has beefed up suspension and was flown outside its operating envelope. Perhaps its the topless wing but thats been available in other countries for years. Volume of sales - I think you'll find Air Creation are the biggest microlight manufacturer in the world. The trike? Its been 'fibreglass pod, fabric skirt' since the XL-R! Comfort? try the Tanarg, Heated seats? check out the Revo.

As for cost I think you'll find the Tanarg and Revo are no cheaper when you convert the currency.

Andy

GA AVIATOR
03-05-10, 00:48 AM
Peter
No doubt that competition would improve both quality and attitude, as long as reduce prices.
I totally agree that free market should be for everybody and being in EU authorities should negotiate and approve certificates for all member states
The situation outside EU is slightly different (taxes, legislation, etc, see my post above about Russia).
It wasn't easy to import English flexwings to my country either.. as it wasn't approved, etc,etc,etc... Buy as I knew what I wanted - I simply didn't want anything local..
I hope that someday, you'll be lucky to buy the microlights you want.. but not only which are available.
Peter, I see you have a good choice regarding those microlights.. but the problem with max empty weight moves them out from "microlight" category not only in the UK
So, bring on some competition to improve GT450 wing fabrics and airframe :)

Ivan,
The UK Microlight World is pretty messed up by Section 'S' I will speak from Personal experience now, When I flew the Millenium Master I would hazard a guess that it had 180kg of Aircrew onboard (No I wasn't SOLO) and about 22kg of fuel, so it was weighing about 487kg in total ( 37kg over MTOW !!! ) but it handled better than a CTSW or Banbi at the 450kg weight. Why does it handle better ? it handles better, because it is built better !!!

My point is: As long as you stay within the 450kg weight limit...... why should the empty weight be a factor ? it remains a microlight by the 450kg weight limit !!!! Anyway the Millennium has a BRS so it actually is 472.5kg MTOW and is 20kg over the design weight of 265kg.....so to my mind it is in tolerances.

I think that if enough microlighter's speak out, the BMAA will have no choice but to raise the subject with the CAA or EASA..... It is painfully obvious that the BMAA don't want to rock the boat on this subject but may just be pushed into having to.

I am not sure it is anything to do with certain dealers/distributors wanting to keep their cushy little numbers safe, but Bob's example of a Wing that affixes to the Tanarg and is marketed in France does seem to have been proven to be an uncalled for restriction on UK end users.

Lets now look at Section 'S' !!!!!!!
Isn't the Zenair 601 a Section 'S' APPROVED Microlight ? or even the Eurostar ? There we have 2 Section 'S' machines that have Folding Wings......
I don't mean as an Optional Extra !!!! I mean as a Design Flaw !!!!!

Now what about the Quik's with their failing Wing Fabrics !!!! again a Section 'S' Machine !!!
Really looks like Section 'S' isn't as good as the EU standards !!!!!!

Zenair 601 wing fold crash in Holland !!!! Dutch Authorities Ground them instantly !!! FAA follow suit, UK CAA put out a safety bulletin initially, then ground them after a while !!!!
Eurostar has Spar failure in Switzerland !!!! Swiss Authorities issue requests for Wing Strengthening !!!! UK CAA put a Speed restriction on Aircraft !!! then say Wing Spar strengthening required !!!!

For me I think I will just keep believing that the EU Microlights have parity with most of our UK Variants, except those which haven't been introduced to the UK as a Section 'S' Version because it seems obvious they are better than what currently is available to us Brits !!!!

spear
03-05-10, 09:37 AM
This is a really interesting thread, but I just think most people are happy/accepting with what's already on the table; otherwise the will would be greater!

We would all like a <u>greater choice</u>, as in any walk of life (you should go shopping with my Wife, takes days!) but I think the UK has what it needs to facilitate the sport and that's that.

Of course, this is a really simplistic view of things, but then again all I want to do is fly safely and have fun - this could be achieved in several UK approved Aircraft.

Bob T
03-05-10, 09:54 AM
I understand your point, but let us imagine that the car industry was the in the same situation. I will go back 10 or 15 years as the UK has not got much of a car industry left now.
You want a car to drive for pleasure. DVLA tells you that you must buy a Rover 800 or one of the smaller models. Ford, a US company, can sell you a car, but it is a kit build. The fellow Europeans have a choice of VW, Audi, Merc, BMW, Pugeot, Renault etc, but you cannot buy one and drive it on British roads.
The DVLA delegates the fleet maintenance of cars to another organisation, lets call it the BCCA (BMMA). The BCCA has a council that implements the regulations for the DVLA with a council made up of people who have many interests in the Rover group. Will that council fight to change the DVLA rule and affect their business?
You may be happy driving around in a Rover Metro, 400 or 800, but would you not want the choice of driving and owning a BMW 320?

spear
03-05-10, 10:17 AM
I hear what you are saying Bob, and I am on your side (as someone who trades with Europe), but the economics of the Microlight Industry are somewhat smaller.

Maybe there is a cartel and/or an element of protectionism, but I still think the sport has what it needs in the UK, and until people want it different this is how it will continue to be.

martin sanderson
03-05-10, 10:23 AM
no i would like more choice where would we be with british motorbikes and cars if we did not allow othere manufacturers in ?

VinceG
03-05-10, 10:24 AM
I would love the chance to choose another flexwing but I cannot :-(

Ivan_Sh
03-05-10, 10:35 AM
Vince, can you name that flexwing you'd like to be approved in the UK so that you can legally fly it?
Once again, pilots, I'm totally on your side!
just trying to find out

1. what you want to fly and
2. what you actually do/act in order to approve those microlights, apart from chatting online

Red Barron
03-05-10, 10:40 AM
I agree that people are accepting of what we have, the machines we have flying are good but that doesnt make them the best. And we each have our own personal tastes - I dont like the GT450/QuikR trike, Im happy with my Quantum, some people love their XL-R's, I get out and about touring, lots of people just do local bimbling. It would be very sad if we all wanted the same.
The frustration lies with the lack of choice, if there were no barriers to what we could buy there is a whole world of different machines available. Of all those available in the EU why are they not available here? Are they falling out the sky and killing untold numbers of European microlighters? If you want to reasearch that remember to look up the QuikR's American history!!
Many microlights outside the UK are available with a choice of wings for the same trike and are sold as seperate items (not like the GT & QuikR as they are sold complete) a small step in this direction is available now with the Magic, you can buy the Laser or Cyclone wing to go with it and these are priced seperately. I'd like P&M to sell the GT450 wing to go on my Quantum, rate it at 409kgs, well within its capabilities, I'd get the advantages of a modern wing at a price I can afford, I cant afford the 20k+ for a GT. I think a lot of Quantum owners would go for it.
Andy

Bob T
03-05-10, 10:42 AM
Ivan, question 1 is difficult to answer if a UK pilot does not know what is available elsewhere. As the many other types of aircraft are not flying in the UK it is quite hard to see where other manufacturers have strengths and weaknesses and compare those to the aircraft that do fly in the UK.
The opinions of someone like GA Aviator could be of use there as he has flown many 3 axis microlights all over Europe.

Red Barron
03-05-10, 10:49 AM
Vince, can you name that flexwing you'd like to be approved in the UK so that you can legally fly it?
Once again, pilots, I'm totally on your side!
just trying to find out

1. what you want to fly and
2. what you actually do/act in order to approve those microlights, apart from chatting online

The Revo
The Apollo range
Factory built Tanargs
In fact all Air Creation machines and wings
The Airbourne Outback
DTA
Ventura - full fibreglass pod, BMW R1200 with iXess wing
Chapelette

As for getting them approved - try looking for the Trya saga and the stupidity that was confronted by Paul when he tried to import them.

Andy

GA AVIATOR
03-05-10, 10:50 AM
I hear what you are saying Bob, and I am on your side (as someone who trades with Europe), but the economics of the Microlight Industry are somewhat smaller.

Maybe there is a cartel and/or an element of protectionism, but I still think the sport has what it needs in the UK, and until people want it different this is how it will continue to be.

Spear,
You use the word 'needs' and 'want' in your post..... Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency would cause a clear negative outcome, a want is something that is desired. It is said that every person has unlimited wants, but limited resources. Thus, people cannot have everything they want and must look for the most affordable alternatives.

Wants are often distinguished from needs. A need is something that is necessary for survival (such as food and shelter), whereas a want is simply something that a person would like to have. Some economists have rejected this distinction and maintain that all of these are simply wants, with varying levels of importance. By this viewpoint, wants and needs can be understood as examples of the overall concept of demand.

In the UK Microlighting world we seem to be settling for what is available to us, where we should really be requesting what we need (bare minimum) or want what we require (desire) but until the Cartel/protectionism is broken we seem doomed to not getting what we demand, the BMAA/LAA are not working with our best interests in mind when they choose to bury their heads in the sand on the Microlight availabilities offered to their members.

Bob T suggested " Go to Blois and see all what is available to the rest of the World's microlighting/ultralight fraternity ! "

I suggest " You don't " It reminds me of going into a Toy Shop as a child and then not being able to have the toy you want !!!! Well we are not dependable on our parents now to buy our toys, so we now can have whatever we can afford !!!!

Oh no I forgot........ the BMAA/LAA have now assumed the role of 'Parental Guidance' over us !!!!!

Dave Morton
03-05-10, 17:53 PM
Interesting points Red Baron and interesting that Europeans are paying approx the same for their machines, I would have thought that if volume of sales were higher then there could be more of a possibility of reduced costings, I'm probably totally wrong though.
cheers

Ronny Larsson
03-05-10, 19:28 PM
"I would love the chance to choose another flexwing but I cannot " I can but dont have the money.......And I think Red Barron
has a point here that I think P&M would benefit from, just say that 30% of all Quantum owners would get a new gt450 wing :) money in the bank P&M....

Dave Morton
03-05-10, 19:28 PM
I have removed my original posting that quoted another members view in case I was associated in anyway with being anti BMAA and because of the unrest in the camp. I am in fact pro BMAA and applaude their work.
cheers

VinceG
03-05-10, 19:47 PM
We have had accusations in this thread about the BMAA council. If you proof, then please divulge, otherwise please refrain from the posting such material on this forum.

I have had personal messages today (sorry I couldn't get to them earlier but I've been away) from 3 members of this forum stating that they are leaving.

This is because of messages posted on here. Culprits, curb it, you know who you are.

Red Barron
03-05-10, 20:35 PM
Interesting points Red Baron and interesting that Europeans are paying approx the same for their machines, I would have thought that if volume of sales were higher then there could be more of a possibility of reduced costings, I'm probably totally wrong though.
cheers

Yes, I'd have thought so too. I did a comparison and was hoping to use it as a sort of '& they're cheaper!' quote but found they were not, in fact the American Apollo with a strutted wing was in excess of 30k - similar to the QuikR.

We do have some good kit over here and I think we need a gap filler, something between a 12k 912 Quantum and a 20k GT and I think this is achieveable by approving the GT wing on the Quantum.

Its just an idea, maybe its not suitable, there's no keel on the GT wing compared to the Q2 wing, maybe we'd have to have them big elf ear spats too!! ;-)

Cheers

Andy

Bob T
03-05-10, 20:46 PM
We have had accusations in this thread about the BMAA council. If you proof, then please divulge, otherwise please refrain from the posting such material on this forum.

I have had personal messages today (sorry I couldn't get to them earlier but I've been away) from 3 members of this forum stating that they are leaving.

This is because of messages posted on here. Culprits, curb it, you know who you are.

Oops, Did not think that I would upset anyone on here by voicing my opinion, I apologise if I have upset others so much that they want to leave this forum.

GA AVIATOR
04-05-10, 16:37 PM
OK....... Lets get this thread back on track !!! As the Section 'S' is currently curtailing the UK Microlighters from having freedom of choice, lets look at this from a completely different viewpoint.

Over the last few years I have been involved in a few microlight acquisitions that have been "non section 'S' " MICROLIGHTS and to the best of my knowledge all are still flying !!

In the mix are : 2 x C42 / 2 x A22 Foxbat / 2 x Skyranger All these microlights were built to very high standards, in fact the 2 C42's were the best examples I have ever seen (albeit not Section 'S' approved ) Now whilst I am pleased the BMAA have a high standard by applying Section 'S' to everything from a GPS mount to a complete aircraft, I do think they are showing traits of being Blinkered slightly !!!

Mr Bodgit of Bognor buys a Skyranger kit from the UK Distributor and whilst the kit is of a very high standard, he tends to apply his 'usual' slapdash attitude to the build and the finished flying machine resembles a Dacron covered Tesco Trolley !!! ( it maintains it's status as a Section 'S' APPROVED UK Kit though)

Mr Bolognaise of Bologna buys a Skyranger kit from the Italian Distributor and whilst the kit is of a very high standard, he tends to apply his 'usual' pedantic engineering attitude to the build and the finished flying machine resembles a Dacron covered beautiful Flying Chariot ( it maintains it's status as a NON Section 'S' APPROVED Kit though)

The Build quality of Mr Bolognaise's Skyranger is incredible because he is Ferrari F1 Engineer, The Build quality of Mr Bodgit's Skyranger is diabolical because he is a Kwik Fit Fitter yet in the eyes of the BMAA they would consider the UK BUILT Skyranger to be the better example !

Now we can look at the Microlight Manufacturers : The Skyranger is a French design and supply the kits to both the UK & Italy...... the BMAA request certain Section 'S' requirements from the Manufacturer and as a customer request the Manufacturer obliges...... however has no one ever thought that if the Manufacturer thought the UK requirements were such a great enhancement that they wouldn't apply those enhancements worldwide on all the kits ? ( This would apply to all Microlight Manufacturers involved in the World )

So we all understand that the BMAA consider Section 'S' as an enhancement to our flying of microlights, but we all ( including the BMAA themselves ) cannot understand that enhancements made by the Microlight Manufacturers are for the benefit of the end user whether they are British based or Bolivian based !!! I don't for one second think any manufacturer will knowingly produce a sub-standard microlight that isn't fit for purpose.

As this thread was started because of the Bionix Wing being available to French End Users of the Tanarg, but not approved under Section 'S' for UK End Users of Tanarg's, I guess the crux of the matter is that the BMAA must consider the 'Bionix' wing to be substandard in some way to the wing used in the UK ?
Surely the BMAA are not saying that the enhanced wing designed by Air Creation is of Sub-Standard quality and that it is unsafe to use in the UK ?

Ironically, the Bionix Wing doesn't seem to be suffering from Sailcloth deficiencies but seems to be seen as 'unsuitable' by the BMAA !!!!! Yet the BMAA seem fairly contented that the Sailcloth of Quik's is acceptable with it's inherent deficiencies !!!!

The way forward for the BMAA would be to work on a process where : Imports from the EU or anywhere else are viewed on a 'case by case' basis and if it comes up to an acceptable standard, then it should accepted as 'Airworthy' but I would suggest that they automatically accept Manufacturer enhancements as 'APPROVED' modifications to existing components

Dave Morton
04-05-10, 18:08 PM
Peter, Do you think all Kwik Fit Fitters are incapable of building a nice aircraft?

GA AVIATOR
04-05-10, 18:46 PM
Peter, Do you think all Kwik Fit Fitters are incapable of building a nice aircraft?

Micromort, No I don't think all Kwik Fit Fitters are incapable of building a nice aircraft, but a majority of them would have a problem when it came to putting the Exhaust or the tyres on :o

geejay
04-05-10, 18:59 PM
...and don't let them change tyres on alloy wheels without watching them closely and pointing out there is NO damage on them when they start, or you'll certainly have damaged wheels when you look later and an answer of, "not me mate, must 'ave been like it before" not just Kwik Fit either

Dave Morton
04-05-10, 20:11 PM
While the Italian machine might look like a thing of beauty, it WILL let you down, I know cos I've had a few Alfa Romeo's.

VinceG
04-05-10, 20:57 PM
If they're that bad, why have you had a few?

I've only ever had one leyland Princess. One Austin All Agro. Having said that, I did have 3 Marinas.

Wexfordair
04-05-10, 23:39 PM
vince. think of the alfa's as good lookin women and youl get his point!!!!

VinceG
04-05-10, 23:54 PM
Mmmm.... good point well made. Thanks for the enlightenment :D

GA AVIATOR
05-05-10, 00:15 AM
I think the Alfa Romeo is possibly one of the things where the Italians did get it wrong on quite a few models !!!! Especially the Alfasud, but that is just one manufacturer !!!

However when you think about Maserati / Ferrari / Lamborghini / Bugatti / Lancia / FIAT / De Tomaso / Pagani......... they are all marques that we all swoon over.......

ok so we do have some high quality vehicles purporting to being British : Aston Martin / Daimler / Jaguar / Land Rover / Lotus / MG / Morgan / Rolls Royce / Bentley / TVR & I suppose Caterham Cars ....... BUT MOST ARE OUTSOURCED TO THE EU to be built now.

I still look at the Millennium Master and see it as a BUGATTI..... Where as the UK approved Banbi is at best, the Morgan !!!!

More pics of the Beastie :rolleyes:

Kestutis
05-05-10, 08:36 AM
Vince, can you name that flexwing you'd like to be approved in the UK so that you can legally fly it?
Once again, pilots, I'm totally on your side!
just trying to find out

1. what you want to fly and
2. what you actually do/act in order to approve those microlights, apart from chatting online

Very good conclusion out of this discussion.

As I understood, dear Ivan, they would like to get/restore right to chose what ever they want to fly and do not care much about section "S".

But when/if they will have this right, they will discover that there are very few microlights they'd like to fly. I 100% agree with your opinion about felxwing wing (I'm talking about wings only, as I do not care much about carriage) manufacturers in the “mainland”. French wings (AirCreation for instance) are really good, but I think a <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comhttp://www.microlightforum.com/ /><st1:country-region w:st=UK </ST1:p</st1:country-region>pilot wouldn’t change his Raven or Quantum (I’m not talking about Quik because there is nothing to compare in the mainland) to the others for sure. Or in case he will choose – he will find the same performance or worse …

Any way, a man has to have right to choose – no doubt.

VinceG
05-05-10, 08:59 AM
Vince, can you name that flexwing you'd like to be approved in the UK so that you can legally fly it?
Once again, pilots, I'm totally on your side!
just trying to find out

1. what you want to fly and
2. what you actually do/act in order to approve those microlights, apart from chatting online

I can't do anything about it Ivan_Sh because I don't have the money. If I had, I would love a factory built Tanarg with a bionix wing.

I just hate bureaucracy per-say.

ANDY1973
05-05-10, 09:00 AM
I don't know about the in's and out's of the microlight business in the UK, but I do know a fair bit about regulation and certification of aircraft - and I think that's what we're really talking about.

Many years ago, there was a BCAR section for large aircraft (BCAR 25). There were small, but important differences between BCAR 25 and the US version (FAA 25) which cost manufacturers millions in making differences for different markets. As an example, some of the TriStars I fly were originally built for BA; they have a configuration warning for speedbrakes with flaps. Some were built for an American airline; they don't. This seems a trivial difference, but is big bucks for a commercial airliner. Fast forward 25 years, and we now have a pan-European body with its own specification (CS25). On the plus side, we now have commonality throughout Europe and harmonisation with the FAA. On the minus side, if you think that dealing with the CAA is bad then imagine what it is like trying to deal with an EU bureacracy trying to harmonise regulations that are different in every single EU state. In the UK, we have a model of an enthusiast's organisation (the BMAA) self-policing the sport on the behalf of the regulator (CAA). I would very much doubt that this is the way that the JAA would do business, as I doubt that there is a similar body able to take up that responsibility in each member state.

I think that I have two points here. The first is that you shouldn't think that the CAA are being evil, devious, protectionist or any other negative connotation. The reality is that they really, really don't care about microlights. You do not make a profit so there's no point doing too much work to get a slice of it. The general public don't complain about you too much and the accident rate is seen as acceptable, so there's not a great clamour to meddle with a safety system that appears to be working. And there are proposals for a European wide certification system not far over the horizon, so any work they do to change things is likely to be nugatory.

The second point is to be careful what you wish for. The way to get "a choice" is to have a harmonised, EU wide set of regulations for microlights. But the EU isn't known for being too fussed about "Grandfather"rights, and is obsessed with being seen to promote safety. A level playing field for Europe may well give us all access to the finest aircraft on offer, but it might just make half the microlights at your local field illegal. Or might mandate the carriage of radio, transponder, Mode S and recovery parachute systems for all. Or might do none of the above and be an unqualified success bringing choice and freedom for - you just don't know.

For me, open access to aircraft across Europe means accepting EU (JAA) regulation of microlighting. Just be careful what you wish for!

Bob T
05-05-10, 09:32 AM
I have heard the points about the tighter regulation that Europe might bring, Andy, but I don't really buy into that way of thinking. A few bits and bobs have been banded about over the last few years about how Europe is going to make life difficult, but it is what you are not being told that matters - just like politicians do.
Here in France we need no radio, no mode S and don't even have permit inspections, so the way I see it, if France and the UK had to work out a common system, then the UK would have to relax some of the regulation and France would have to tighten it a bit. With 3 times as many microlights flying here, there are no aircraft falling out of the air everywhere.
As for the profit bit, how much does it cost to register a new microlight in the UK with the CAA? I don't know, but it will be more than the €20 that it costs with the DGAC here in France.
If we also look at licensing, we find that a microlight licence in France lasts for life with no checks or medicals.
But this thread is about choice and I have the choice to go out and buy just about anything that flies.
Have a look at http://www.pa-ulm.com/ and see what is on the second hand market to see what I mean.

ANDY1973
05-05-10, 09:57 AM
Bob,

I have no argument with any of your points. I'd rather work under a de-regulated system any day of the week.

The issue is whether there is any motivation for the CAA to make changes - as changes cost time and effort. At the moment, I think that there is no appetite to scrap or tinker BCAR Section S with JAA regulation coming to the fore.

I suppose the question is whether you think that a JAA regulated microlighting sport will look like the French model, or the British? The JAA have already had their knuckles rapped by the EU for being too bureaucratic and tinkering too much (!), so I have a good idea which way it would go.

Bob T
05-05-10, 10:05 AM
I don't think that the CAA would ever consider making any changes. In my opinion it should be the BMAA who are pushing the CAA for changes, but that will never happen while the BMAA council has a vested interest in the UK microlight industry.
I believe that any JAA model will be a mixture of all the members states regulations and may make life in France a bit more regulated, but should also make things in the UK and Germany a bit easier. The German market is interesting in that it is also heavily regulated, but they have a great choice of microlights from around the world.

GA AVIATOR
05-05-10, 11:24 AM
Andy/Bob,
I can see that the 'Be Careful What You Wish For' could have a massive impact on the way Microlighting moves onward in the UK, but if you look at the conception of Microlighting as being something that the Brits pioneered, it is very easy to see how we have slipped from being the 'pioneers' to now being the 'followers'

Who would have thought that from David Cook building the VJ24W as the Worlds 1st Microlight in 1980 to the present day we would sit back on 'our laurels' and let our 'followers' become the leaders in microlighting !! ( Oh I forgot....that is the British way. ) I guess we should just all accept that we will remain the 'downtrodden race' in every form of industry that the UK has pioneered ?

I am not by any means 'anti the BMAA/CAA regulation in terms of safety' but my underlying issue is : there are some damn good microlights in the rest of the world that we should be allowed to have in the UK !!!!

The French not needing a radio, no mode S and no permit inspections is something that I do find extremely slap dash, but nevertheless it doesn't seem to play a major part in the Accident stats. Italy has some very strange ULM rules and again I don't always see their regulation as being 100% safety orientated, but again their accident stats are not mainly maintenance related.

We have a BMAA Representative on the EMF Board ( European Microlight Federation ) and yet we want to stay entirely separate from EU rules !!!! I would personally like to see 1 EU REGULATORY BOARD who are made up from delegates from all the Microlight/ULM Authorities getting a 'cross border' parity going !!

As far as I know 'Microlight' is a british word used for describing Aircraft under the BMAA/LAA umbrella....... in European countries they use 'Ultralight or ULM' and yet the Europeans accept the word 'Microlight' in the Federation naming, but we seem to have very little involvement in wanting to enhance European microlight/ulm imports to the UK !!

As someone who flys Microlights / Ultralights in quite a lot of Europe I have noted quite a few pros & cons for each country and their aviation products and if we could 'cherry pick' the best of the list and amalgamate one set of guidelines for all of the EU we would actually have a far more harmonious existence and a far better selection of flying machines to play with.

Dave Morton
05-05-10, 14:41 PM
If the flood gates were to open and "foreign" machines became available, do you think it would have an effect on residual values/ new prices?.

VinceG
05-05-10, 14:55 PM
Certainly would have an impact on second hand values IMHO but not on new prices given the price of Johnny Foreigners machines

Dave Morton
05-05-10, 15:28 PM
Vince, I also think second hand values would decrease and my own machine would be worth a lot less than what I paid for it, (mixed feelings) but on the flip side the now more expensive machines would be in the financial reach of more people, perhaps not a bad thing.
I also think (probably naively) that if residual values fell then people would not buy new machines because the losses were so great on resale, therefore manufacturers would lower new prices to boost sales, (I want to live in a nice world).

Drifting sideways a little...I would however be concerned if we didn't need our permit inspections, as is the case with Bob T, at least you do get a certain assurance that the machine is OK (I know some inspectors miss things but in my limited experience they do a great job)

spear
05-05-10, 16:12 PM
Vince, I also think second hand values would decrease and my own machine would be worth a lot less than what I paid for it, (mixed feelings) but on the flip side the now more expensive machines would be in the financial reach of more people, perhaps not a bad thing.
I also think (probably naively) that if residual values fell then people would not buy new machines because the losses were so great on resale, therefore manufacturers would lower new prices to boost sales, (I want to live in a nice world).

Drifting sideways a little...I would however be concerned if we didn't need our permit inspections, as is the case with Bob T, at least you do get a certain assurance that the machine is OK (I know some inspectors miss things but in my limited experience they do a great job)


I'm not convinced the cost of new machines would actually fall that much, if at all.

Take the QuikR for example, nearly half the cost of the aircraft is in the engine alone (on a 912s). Rotax has us by the balls!

Makes me wonder how the likes of P&M actually turn a profit, taking into account the design and manufacturing overheads.

ANDY1973
05-05-10, 16:38 PM
I have noted quite a few pros & cons for each country and their aviation products and if we could 'cherry pick' the best of the list and amalgamate one set of guidelines for all of the EU we would actually have a far more harmonious existence and a far better selection of flying machines to play with.

And that I think is the crux of the matter. If we could take the best of all the regulations, then everything would be fine. The tricky thing is that everybody will have a view as to what is worth keeping and what should go. Every national body will have an agenda, and the new specification will come from a committee of bureaucrats, not a crewroom full of pilots.

If it were up to me, a 450kg single-seat deregulated aerobatic class would be top of the list. The machines would have lethal handling qualities that would quickly remove those with inferior flying skills from the gene pool. Parachutes and ballistic recovery systems would be outlawed (makes people overconfident!). Approach speeds would be astronomical and the aircraft would spin as soon as look at you.

Fortunately, I'm not likely to be asked for my opinion on a common EU specification for microlighting. But you can bet that some of the people that are will have ideas much sillier than that one!

Ronny Larsson
05-05-10, 18:22 PM
Drifting sideways a little...I would however be concerned if we didn't need our permit inspections, as is the case with Bob T, at least you do get a certain assurance that the machine is OK (I know some inspectors miss things but in my limited experience they do a great job) here is the French accident reports from 1983-2005.

http://www.emf.nanco.no/Info/FFPLUM_EMF_Accid_French_Microlighting_Accidents_1983_2005_Anglais.ppt

Dave Morton
05-05-10, 19:02 PM
Ronny, do you have comparable UK figures for same time period, number of flyers etc, would be interesting to read?
I'm not saying that flying is any safer with permitting, just that an inspector is more likely to find a fault/problem with your machine than yourself, for example, when you do your pre flight checks do you tend to wander round the same things, plugs leads, exhaust springs, run your hand along the trailing edge, give the carbs a waggle etc.
I speak from experience because on my old quantum whilst heading for Blois we made a stop at an airfield when another flyer asked if he could look around the engine and sure enough he found that the fuel lines were starting to crack on the bend, I had missed this time and time again.
If permitting was optional then I believe that I would still opt to pay an inspector to run his eye over it just for my piece of mind and if I was buying a second hand machine then I would personally look for one that has had permits, a bit like service history.

GregH
05-05-10, 19:22 PM
Vive le France I say! Micromort I'm not really so sure, if the stats can be believed then the % of accidents there due to mechanical/structural issues is quite small compared to weather/pilot related causes. For microlight flying, especially single seaters I think little or no regulation is certainly the way to go. Perhaps if you want the annual permit inspection for peace of mind then it should be optional, not mandatory.

Ronny Larsson
05-05-10, 19:51 PM
@ micromort
Ronny, do you have comparable UK figures for same time period, number of flyers etc, would be interesting to read? Sorry I dont..
I'm not saying that flying is any safer with permitting, just that an inspector is more likely to find a fault/problem with your machine than yourself, Yes I agree with you here or as GregH is saying Optional NOT mandatory..

Bob T
05-05-10, 20:02 PM
Just a couple of points to remember when reading that report.
First, there are now around 14,500 microlights in France. It is hard to verify this figure as that is registrations, you cannot be sure that all of them are flying.
Second, that report was written as a tool to stop more regulation creeping into the French ULM system, so the emphasis is on showing that accidents are not due to the machine, but the pilot.
Third, where it mentions FFPLUM members, (FFPLUM is the French BMAA) pilots do not have to be members, and many pilots out here are not. As there is no permit inspection, there is no obligation to pay FFPLUM.

Kestutis
06-05-10, 12:27 PM
Just a couple of points to remember when reading that report.
First, there are now around 14,500 microlights in France. It is hard to verify this figure as that is registrations, you cannot be sure that all of them are flying.
Second, that report was written as a tool to stop more regulation creeping into the French ULM system, so the emphasis is on showing that accidents are not due to the machine, but the pilot.
Third, where it mentions FFPLUM members, (FFPLUM is the French BMAA) pilots do not have to be members, and many pilots out here are not. As there is no permit inspection, there is no obligation to pay FFPLUM.

I'd like to join UK pilots wishing having same enviable liberal microlighting environment as French pilots are enjoying :)

Ivan_Sh
06-05-10, 12:58 PM
..... however has no one ever thought that if the Manufacturer thought the UK requirements were such a great enhancement that they wouldn't apply those enhancements worldwide on all the kits ? ( This would apply to all Microlight Manufacturers involved in the World )[/I]

I know that Aeroprakt had to modify its basic A22 Foxbat to be certified within Section S for the UK market.

Nowadays, they've changed their total production to integrate that particular mod to become standard in their standard A-22L and A22LS. So at least 1 manufacturer I know of now produces the standard microlight for all local and international customers with that particular mod.

GA AVIATOR
06-05-10, 17:53 PM
I know that Aeroprakt had to modify its basic A22 Foxbat to be certified within Section S for the UK market.

Nowadays, they've changed their total production to integrate that particular mod to become standard in their standard A-22L and A22LS. So at least 1 manufacturer I know of now produces the standard microlight for all local and international customers with that particular mod.

Ivan,
I would love to have that confirmed because if that is completely true...... there would be absolutely no reason why any A22L or A22LS built after the inclusion of that particular mod could be refused certification/permit in the British Isles.

Do you happen to know what the specific mod is ?

GA AVIATOR
07-05-10, 14:22 PM
Reading through the Editor of MF's 'AVGAS' article in May 2010 edition I see that he remarks on this very subject of choice ( Times they are a-changing ) :

He claims that the introduction of footlaunched powered aviation has been the safest form of powered aviation ever devised ( 4 fatalities in 16yrs ) despite there being no mandatory training, no pilots licence, no airworthiness requirements, no annual inspections. he goes on to say the UK SYSTEM is more liberal than the French system where they require a pilots licence for footlaunched powered flight.

He then goes on to say that there was the raising of the weight limit to 450kg to match up to the other countries microlight definitions, he claims that it was the raising of the weight limit that got the attention of older GA pilots who liked the idea of a inexpensive medical, cheap maintenance and superior performance that met their image of what an aircraft should look like.

For the dyed in the wool microlighters, he seems to convey an opinion that GA pilots were seen as anathema, these type of microlighters still haven't came to terms with the epaulette wearing branch of pilots moving into microlighting.

Now having read his remarks I can see exactly where he is coming from, I effectively have sidestepped into microlighting from GA and encompassed microlighting into my GA environs as another string to my bow.

His remark about progression up to 450kg is only 'half baked'. I am sure that whilst the 450kg progression was welcomed, it is still a compromise for most...... the raising of the weight limit to 450kg should have opened up the market to all EU microlights that satisfy the PERFORMANCE requirements as set out by the BMAA.

I believe there are quite a few EU microlights that meet or indeed exceed these requirements, yet are restricted from being offered to the British Market. Interestingly Ivan _sh is saying that the A22 Foxbat range is universally built to meet UK specs for every country and thus it should be acceptable to buy a Foxbat from any dealer anywhere in the World.

So what the Editor actually said is : "We have got you 50% of what you deserve and you should be extremely grateful for our sterling work", now if I had only managed to get 50% of anything I had tried..... I would be staying very quiet about it. However he does in his closing chapter say that Europe is generating the changes in light aviation and he is unsure how it will affect microlighting once the EU LSA CATEGORY of 600kg comes in? His fear of microlighting disappearing if the USA system comes into the equation seems unfounded, the BMAA seem aware of this situation and are supposedly dealing with these issues and it seems they are confident that the result will be good for microlighting as a whole !! ( sounds like they think they will get a 51% result )

meggark
07-05-10, 17:33 PM
If you really want to fly the heavier aircraft that only just scrape into the microlight category, why wouldn't you just go for the VLA version? Costs aren't much different but you get the extra payload. I don't really see the benefit of going for the microlight version, other than the fact the microlights are generally more accepted abroad when flying on an NPPL. That argument won't last much longer though. While things like the Millenium Master are very nice machines, with an empty weight of 285kg that leaves room for bugger all else with two normal sized people on board.

Personally, I don't want any heavier aircraft to be let into the microlight category. I'm much more interested in the lighter more basic end and would be more pleased to see things like the Airborne outback becoming available. Microlighting is definately moving away from being microlighting. I think it's a shame. It wasn't the lower costs or easier medical that attracted me to microlighting - it was the type of machines I saw, traditional microlights. I'd far rather see a new VLA category than a broader microlight category that encompasses VLA. Essentially I agree more variety would be great, but I don't support squeezing heavy high speed machines into the microlight category.

GA AVIATOR
07-05-10, 18:48 PM
Mark,
My point in that post is : Microlighting has significantly moved on from the simplistic Microlight ethos that was set in the 80's and now is in the GA world by way of how far microlights have progressed...... I would not have ever had any interest if Microlights had stayed in the bare frame flying machine status, this isn't a snobbery statement... it is a case of ' I like a artificial safety net ' around me.

The progression of microlights into what does resemble a 'aeroplane' as how we drew them as kids is why they appealed to me, now in my adult life I can also relate to the attitude that microlights like the Eurostar / CTSW / Foxbat / Zenair 601 look very nice and are cosmetically appealing to GA users.

I am pleased that UK Microlighting does have the Patriotic 'Dyed in the wool' flyers who love nothing more to bimble around at 35-55mph as that is the true spirit of microlighting, the only reason the 'hotter ships' like the Quik & MCR01 have been successors to the slower machines is because of supply & demand. I personally prefer the 100mph + microlights as I like to get to my destination quicker, but there is a lot to be said for the 50mph bimbling.... after all for the best part of microlighting, it is all about ' being up there '

I suppose there is an element of snobbery or one-upmanship in the progression of microlights...... the people who have 2 stroke Rotax's or such like are staying in the real spirit of microlighting, whereas those who have 4 stroke microlights are ' closet ' GA Pilots, suffice to say the microlight builders quickly realised this and supplied microlights more akin to GA than what was regarded as microlights.

I never thought the day would come where microlights were punching out 130-165kts as cruise speeds, luckily I am used to these speeds.....otherwise the Millennium Master would have been quite a handful....... something having a speed range of 33kts - 165kts is eye opening on the approach !!!! ( Motorway syndrome occurs ).

Microlighting certainly looks like it has a 'divide' between real microlighters and the 'Nouveau' microlighters !!!!

meggark
07-05-10, 19:28 PM
I understand the attraction to to both types, and I enjoy flying GA with friends. I'd probably own a quik if I could afford it to get a bit of extra touring ability & a Pitts for cutting up the sky with, but my main point is I don't understand why you would choose the microlight version of an aircraft over the VLA version when costs are very similar, both can be flown on an NPPL and the VLA version is able to carry a higher payload? Am I missing some major benefit to microlights?

I realise that things have moved on, and I don't grudge that (I'm planning to do a SEP conversion next year so I can do both). Machines like the Skyranger are still very much microlights in my eye. and the added performance is great. It's the just the weight issue I don't get. Why push a heavy aircraft to fit the category so that you'll struggle to take a full tank of fuel when carrying a passenger and have almost no room for kit, when you could classify it as VLA without the same issues?

GA AVIATOR
07-05-10, 19:56 PM
I understand the attraction to to both types, and I enjoy flying GA with friends. I'd probably own a quik if I could to get a bit of extra touring ability, but my main point is I don't understand why you would choose the microlight version of an aircraft over the VLA version when costs are very similar, both can be flown on an NPPL and the VLA version is able to carry a higher payload? Am I missing some major benefit to microlights?

I realise that things have moved on, and I don't grudge that (I'm planning to do a SEP conversion next year so I can do both). Machines like the Skyranger are still very much microlights in my eye. and the added performance is great. It's the just the weight issue I don't get. Why push a heavy aircraft to fit the category so that you'll struggle to take a full tank of fuel when carrying a passenger and have almost no room for kit, when you could classify it as VLA without the same issues?

For many the attraction would be that they can fly the 450kg machine on a Microlight Licence, where as the 600kg will be outside the scope of the older style of PPL(M).

Unless I am the only one who has seen microlights leaving the ground with 2 souls onboard and more than a thimble full of fuel, then chances are the 450kg MTOW is being exceeded fairly regularly...... with the knowledge that the CTSW Microlight is 450kg and the CTSW VLA is 600kg, it is probably in the minds of the microlight CTSW pilots that they know the aircraft can cope with any weight between 451-599kg and will exceed the 450kg without really giving it any thought.

Most of the 912 POWERED Microlights are under rated in terms of what their 'real' MTOW is !!!! I fail to see how a 503 or 582 engined Skyranger has a 450kg MTOW and that a 912 engined Skyranger is also only 450kg ? I know the 450kg is a BMAA defined MTOW
But equally I wonder how the addition of a BRS increases the MTOW by 22.5kg ? Is there some aerodynamic phenomenon that by adding a 12kg chute system the aircraft is capable of carrying the extra weight that increases it to 472.5kg.

GA AVIATOR
07-05-10, 20:54 PM
Sniped, of course..........


I know, you know this Peter, But to clarify ................MTOW isnt gauged purely by available power, obviously airframe strength plays a not insignificant part.

(sorry I know this is really basic stuff Pete, but your question invited it)

Obviously I know that........ but my point is about ' power to weight ' ratio. The same applies in GA...... The PA28 can have a 140hp engine or it can 201hp...... the Airframe strength remains the same, but the 140 is under rated as a MTOW and the 201 is set at a higher MTOW due to the engine having more 'grunt'

My reason for making that statement is : I know the 912 will outperform the 503 or 582 if operating at 450kg..... just ask yourself which you would feel more confident with in the situation of turbulence.

GA AVIATOR
07-05-10, 22:25 PM
So, ....... in the case of most powered microlight aircraft the airframe strength is not the limiting factoron MTOW, but available power is ?

The BMAA have deemed that a Skyranger can fly at 450kg on a 582 engine, they have also deemed it will fly at 450kg with a 912 !!!!

Obviously their engineers have done extensive tests to be happy that both will fly at 450kg..... my limited test is : I know that if I load a 582 Skyranger up to 450kg and attempt a take off I will use far more runway to get airborne than I would in a 912 Skyranger, I also know that my climb performance will be better in the 912 Skyranger than it will be in the 582 Skyranger.

Maybe neither of those facts prove anything..... so maybe the fact that a 912 Skyranger will attain a better service ceiling than a 582 Skyranger is also inconclusive in my way of thinking !!!

Hawkwind
08-05-10, 08:08 AM
However, the CTSW is virtually identical in configuration the world over and has a "theoretical" MAUW to fit into the UK microlight category yet clearly it can lift up to 600Kg easily in other parts of the world. I guess what Peter is questioning is the theoretical limitations as opposed to actual but then does the Skyranger operate at legal MAUW greater than 450kgs anywhere else in the world? That would be the key - getting it tested at a higher MAUW.

GregH
08-05-10, 09:11 AM
I think Peter's point is that many of the microlights in Europe are designed for the largest market, the US LSA with 600kg max weight. They then have a 'virtual' MAUW applied to comply with 450kg microlight/ultralight rules. I'm not a designer/engineer but I would wager that most just junk some nice toys or comfort fittings from the aircraft to meet the max empty weight rules and don't redesign the actual load bearing structure as that would be uneconomical. I could be wrong of course ;)

GA AVIATOR
08-05-10, 10:55 AM
However, the CTSW is virtually identical in configuration the world over and has a "theoretical" MAUW to fit into the UK microlight category yet clearly it can lift up to 600Kg easily in other parts of the world. I guess what Peter is questioning is the theoretical limitations as opposed to actual but then does the Skyranger operate at legal MAUW greater than 450kgs anywhere else in the world? That would be the key - getting it tested at a higher MAUW.

Hawkwind,
You and GregH seem to understand exactly what I am saying ;-) The Skyranger is cleared to 540kg by the Australian Aviation Authorities, the SKR is cleared to 540kg in all guises but the Aussies do have a caveat on the website saying they suggest to safely operate at 540kg you should use the Rotax 912 or 912s !!! (now I am sure there is a justified reason for their comment )

As can be seen in the picture and the 1st weblink The Skyranger can safely operate to 540kg if fitted with the right engine ( Peter now sits back on his laurels )
http://www.skyranger.com.au/Specification.asp

The Savannah is cleared to 450kg in the UK / cleared to 520kg in Australia / cleared to 560kg in the USA, so again I think this proves that the MTOW of the UK & Australia are restricted by choice not by weight carrying potential ;-)
http://www.outbackaircraft.com/savannahx.html

The Rans S6ES is restricted to 450kg in the UK and yet has 544kg as the MTOW DESIGNED by the Manufacturer in the USA ;-)
http://www.rans.com/_KITS/ModelsPages/S-6ESspecs.htm

Now the Australians have actually under rated the Tanarg Flexwing to 410kg where as the BMAA have cleared it to 450kg, the French have already cleared the Tanarg to 472.5kg if the Bionix is fitted.
http://www.aircreation.com.au/11-tanarg-912-information-specifications.html

To really prove my point........ Even the standard X-Air with a 582 is cleared to 544kg in Australia and yet the BMAA restrict that to 450kg !!!
http://www.mcp.com.au/xair/aircraft_models/xair/xair.html

Dave Morton
08-05-10, 11:13 AM
Any machine exported to the States will have it's MTOW raised simply to accommodate the American love of burgers........ an example of aviation bodies listening to their members

Ivan_Sh
08-05-10, 11:22 AM
Ivan,
I would love to have that confirmed because if that is completely true...... there would be absolutely no reason why any A22L or A22LS built after the inclusion of that particular mod could be refused certification/permit in the British Isles.

Do you happen to know what the specific mod is ?

I'm not an engineer, but I know that some of those mods I'm talking about were to do with the pedals and control units, and the manufacturer found it useful to apply not only for the UK market.
What I was trying it say is that Section S, whether we all like it or not, did improved at least one microlight, making it safer (hopefully) so that A22/L/LS models now seem to have that mod as the factory standard.

Perhaps, A22LS can not be approved as a safe microlight in the UK as it isn't a microlight (600kg MTOW) and I have no idea why A22L is not permitted in the UK, apart from being costly for the manufacturer as there is little difference between A22L and A22 Foxbat which you have in the UK.




I believe there are quite a few EU microlights that meet or indeed exceed these requirements, yet are restricted from being offered to the British Market. Interestingly Ivan _sh is saying that the A22 Foxbat range is universally built to meet UK specs for every country and thus it should be acceptable to buy a Foxbat from any dealer anywhere in the World.


It may be the case, Peter, but it may be not be the case at the same time.. as I don't know if all of the UK section S mods now come as standard, I know know about some of them, not exactly sure if all of the UK section S mods come as standard on all A22.

ANDY1973
08-05-10, 19:40 PM
I'm not sure that I'm following the thread of your argument, Peter. The MTOW is part of the definition of the microlight class. If the applicant declares a higher MTOW, then they can do - but the aircraft is no longer subject to BCAR Section S.

Are you advocating a raising of the MTOW of the microlight class? And if so, to what figure do you suggest it is raised to?

GA AVIATOR
08-05-10, 20:12 PM
I'm not sure that I'm following the thread of your argument, Peter. The MTOW is part of the definition of the microlight class. If the applicant declares a higher MTOW, then they can do - but the aircraft is no longer subject to BCAR Section S.

Are you advocating a raising of the MTOW of the microlight class? And if so, to what figure do you suggest it is raised to?

Andy1973
I fully understand that 450kg is a determined MTOW of the Microlight Class, the point I was making is: Certain Flying Machines are de-rated from their Structural MTOW LIMITS by a huge amount.

Flexis_n_Zeds
11-05-10, 13:44 PM
I may not have got the right end of the stick here, but I didn't think that it was necessarily engine power or anything quite so logical that was taken into consideration with the MTOW - as Peter says, a 582 and a 912 powered aircraft both have the same limit. I was under the impression that it was more to do with what overall mass the powers-that-be are comfortable with buzzing about the sky piloted by someone who 'only' has a microlight license. Hence why different countries have different limits?

I thought it just came from the days when microlights were, in their eyes, cobbled together aircraft that may disintegrate into a schoolyard at any point - hence them not wanting the things to weigh much.

Using that logic, maybe the 450Kg limit is a bit dated looking at the high quality factory built aircraft we have nowadays. It also goes some way to explaining why the MTOW is allowed to be slightly more if a BRS is fitted.

Hawkwind
11-05-10, 21:05 PM
It seems that since 1903, private flying in this country has never really had the benefit of anyone having a good long read of the ANO and then taking a blank piece of paper and starting all over again. The problem is that rules and regulations have been layered on on top of the other for years and years always with an eye on some previous regulation that was set in stone and so new regulations become overly complicated and in the end (like now) the whole regulatory system appears bollocksed.
Someone really needs to think that we are in a whole new world and start with a blank piece of paper and re-write the ANO using common sense and experience gathered from the big wide world outside of our shores.
The points that Peter is making have been made time and time again over the years and the aircraft that currently have a theoretical MAUW of 450Kgs are leading the regulatory burden of smaller and older microlights and effectively devaluing by default anything that is older than about 10 years and powered by a 503 or smaller.
In my opinion, these big aircraft will ultimately be the cause of the demise of the BMAA because the BMAA will ultimately have to accept their real capabilities and therefore lose them as microlights - leaving the BMAA with??????

GA AVIATOR
11-05-10, 22:06 PM
Hawkwind,
Part of the problem we are suffering is: The Aircraft that we are led to believe are microlights, actually belong in the VLA Category.
Seemingly you can see that and I so can I ........... Problem is : The BMAA cannot see that !!!! they don't want to see that, they cannot be seen to see that, in fact they have to act dumb to it..... if they acknowledge that these aircraft have capabilities way beyond the bounds of microlighting, the BMAA will have lost a substantial 'cash cow' !!!!

The Flip side is: The Microlight manufacturers have built & designed aircraft that can be certified to 600kg but restricted to 450kg if the Aviation Authorities want !!!
The reason these manufacturers have done this is : This is their 'Cash Cow' and allows them a larger portion of the light aircraft market.

The BMAA will always safeguard their 'Cash Cow' and I quite agree that the Microlight values of the older types or simplistic types have plummeted due to the influx of the hot ships.

The current state of microlighting stipulates that we must restrict these aircraft to 450kg, but if EASA ever raise the limit to 600kg then the writing is on the wall for the BMAA !!!

I see it at the moment as being allowed to have a Range Rover but only being allowed to put light boxes in the rear luggage area.

Bob T
11-05-10, 23:30 PM
Hold on there a minute, Peter. I am all for recognising that our aircraft are built with plenty of spare redundancy when it comes to MTOW, but to raise that MTOW to 600 kg would kill our free and un-restricted flying. When I say our, I mean the French system of owner servicing, no permit inspections, and no microlight pilot medicals.
A separate category for 600 kg is fine by me, but the 450kg must stay, with the knowledge that if we do overload the microlight there is a large safety factor built in.
After a number of emails since I started this topic, I am now convinced that the people people who are fighting for Euro level playing fields may be doing the right thing, but it is a bit like chipping away at the Berlin wall, things will not happen fast. I will not publish the content of any of the emails at the moment, but be assured that things are happening. With people like Paul Dewhurst fighting the UK corner, you can be assured that things are in good hands.
Te BMAA may be stuck in the past to a certain extent, but to give them their dues they have a noose around their necks in the form of the CAA and must tread carefully.

GA AVIATOR
12-05-10, 00:43 AM
BobT,
I think we can all safely say that we are happy with the 450kg MTOW to remain, my beef is: that in Europe there are plenty of microlights that are classified at 450kg but restricted from importation or acceptance to the UK because of either Section 'S' or because it weighs 3kg over the 'benchmark' set

I just think there is more to offer the microlight pilots as a consumer and that we shouldn't be told what we can or cannot buy by the BMAA !!!

Hawkwind
12-05-10, 21:16 PM
The point here is that the BMAA are caught between a rock and a hard place. There is not a fighting spirit within the BMAA to push for large scale deregulation and the BMAA only exist under powers of delegated responsibility from the CAA so there is no real motivation to rock the boat too much. The situation with theoretical weight limits is a farce and remains a farce because there is not a light regulatory touch that enables those aircraft to fulfil their true potential in the UK unless they are artificially limited. The BMAA has hung its coat on the 450Kg weight limit and as a result this has seen all the growth and all the action - allow for a greater weight limitation and those aircraft can just as easily fall under the Part M regs and/or a CAA Permit with no BMAA involvement at all.
The BMAA then get left with all the old crusties who prefer to fly the "real microlights" but whose numbers and enthusiasm have been decimated as the hassle factor of microlight flying increased to cope with the increased regulation required by the 450kg limit (blanket applied) and whose aircraft have been devalued as schools formed their own super microlight syndicates around C42's and Eurostars leaving pristine and previously worshiped 2 stroke microlights sitting forlorn and unwanted in hangars and pig pens up and down the country.
Be careful what you wish for.....................