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  1. #1
    Trainee Pilot rossi's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
    Dunfermline, Fife
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    Red face Microlight Training - What route to take?

    Hi All,

    I had my first Flex Wing flight with Brian at Pegasus Kinross back in February this year... The entire experience was exhilarating to say the least. Brian ensured I had a great first flight and made me feel really at ease.

    After having hours reduced at my work I decided it was not affordable to start training so decided to join a local gliding club instead. Gliding is really good and the instructors/club members are all keen to help and motivate. The only problem is I don't get near enough the same buzz as what I did when Microlighting.

    I've only just returned from holiday last week and managed to take a 2nd air experience flight with Derek at New Horizons Microlight School in Valencia - WOW! The flight, instruction, scenery not to mention the weather made it another great experience.

    Now my question - would it make sense to return to Microlight training even although I may only be able to afford a few flights every month? I'm worried I'd forget what I'd learnt unless I fly on a more continuous basis.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Co-Pilot Damien's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    With the weather in the uk you'd probably only get a few hours a month anyway. What can you afford? How many hours? Obviously the fewer hours in a given month you can do them the longer it will likely take to learn.
    please consider what happens when you pass, buying aircraft, hangerage, insurance, helmets, headsets, permits, fuel, oil, maintenance. It's a cheap form of aviation but not a cheap hobby.
    Also how many hours are you hoping it will take you to learn, it's generally your age in hours but often more than that.
    Using myself as an example

    40 hours total to pass everything 4,200
    ground school 670 including RT (not necessary)
    Flash 2 Alpha aircraft 2,500
    ugrades on aircraft 1,000
    hangerage per annum 650
    permit per annum 120 + 126 BMAA fee
    helmets, suits, headsets, interface, radio 800 (secondhand from afors)
    insurance 150 per annum

    there is maintenance to add to this roughly 500 per anannum

    So even going the cheap way it's costly
    but sod it all it's well worth getting in debt for and once you've passed the costs are reasonably manageable
    A posse ad esse

  3. #3
    Co-Pilot bom's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    South Wales
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    You could always go for the reduced operation license to keep initial costs down, this is good if close to home bimbles will sate your desires in the short term

    Restrictions are:
    Minimum total flight time under instruction 15 hours (15 hours in total including the solo time)
    Minimum flight time solo 7 hours
    The Operational Limitations at initial issue are:

    1. The licence is valid for flight in the UK only
    2. The pilot may not carry any passenger
    3. The pilot may not fly with a cloud base less than 1000 feet above ground level or with less than 10 kilometres visibility
    4. The pilot may not fly further than 8 nautical miles from take off.

    Check out the BMAA site for more info:

    Hope this helps


  4. #4
    Captain renmure's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Arbroath(ish) Scottyland
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    Hi Ross,

    I am based up the road at Perth and obviously there is a big microlight school here.

    The gliding / microlighting choice is a personal one. I did a couple of flights in gliders and it really didn't give me much of a buzz at all. But, I know of others who would say the opposite so I guess you pays your money and you makes your choice on that one.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that as a microlight student your lessons will be fairly well dictated by good weather coinciding with your availability and with the instructors availability.... so that may mean that "only a few flights every month" is actually a lot of flying.

    Not sure how things work at Balado but at Perth most students get as much opportunity as they want to go flying with the other folk at the Club whenever there is anything going on so there is always loads of scope to get airborne between lessons as well.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Trainee Pilot rossi's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
    Dunfermline, Fife
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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your positive and realistic responses... I've managed to secure more hours at another college so I'm hoping to return to flying soon. I guess I was hoping to spend around 250 per month (which probably equates to 2 lessons). I would try to take extra lessons whenever work comes my way.

    Flying with other people at the club sounds good too - a great way to pick up tips from other experiences pilots.

    Damien - thanks for a breakdown of the costs involved. Interested to see what amount is spent where.
    Steve - Reduced operation license sounds like a plan too - a good way to get me under way


  6. #6
    Co-Pilot meggark's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    I did my licence over about 2 years, finished it in about 30 hours. Didn't pay for any extra ground school I just studied on my own. Didn't think the time frame was an issue.

    The harder bit comes after you have your licence and need to maintain your hours. A share in a local machine is probably the best way if your budget is tight.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 4

  7. #7
    Captain MadamBreakneck's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Essex UK
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    This is discussed elsewhere (sorry, I haven't the time today to do the forum search for you) but when I started flying, first gliders and later microlights, I couldn't afford to learn intensively either. What I did do was to accept that it would be a long haul and treated 'flying lessons' as an immensely enjoyable hobby until I got close a) to first solo then b) to GST for the restricted licence. During the hobby phase, I saved up a fund to allow a bit more intensive training near each of those milestones.

    Don't let lack of finance put you off if you really want to fly, but beware getting into debt for it; even three or four flights a year are three or four flights more than if you didn't do it - and I found 'learning to fly' earned me every bit as much kudos amongst non-flyers and flyers alike and gave me almost as much fun, as being a qualified pilot. Being a member of a flying club brings benefits too such as ad hoc passenger flights with qualified pilots, especially if you are keen, friendly and willing to help out with some chores.

    It's the flying that matters, being pilot in command is a bonus... to me anyway.


    Back to just bimbling in the TST.

    No longer instructing - just pontificating..
    and now a Tai Chi instructor

  8. #8
    Trainee Pilot sretosf's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    I would think the most cost effective way for you to get your licence would be to get to solo stage on the glider, which according to the BGA website would cost 500-1,000 before starting the microlight course.

    This way you are getting a lot of flying experience at the lowest possible cost before starting to train on the more expensive microlight. I would think if you did this then there is no reason why you shouldn't get the microlight licence in the minimum hours. Only caveat on this is that you are talking about a flexwing microlight which means some of the controls are reversed versus a glider or 3 axis microlight.

    At the end of the day a glider is still an aircraft - the pilot who successfully landed in the Hudson was a glider pilot!

  9. #9
    Co-Pilot goldrush's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    As sretosf says possibly the cheapest route is via gliding. (but then I am biased
    After 5 hours solo apply for the BGA Pilot's licence. 5 hours may seem a lot, but a remember to get the BGA Silver (unless it has changed) amongst other things, requires just one 5 hour flight... pretty easy with modern sailplanes and reasonably good conditions.. although to be fair the yearly number of days of such conditions varies with each site
    This then gives a reduction in time for the NPPL licence to 10 hours total.

    Again, unless things have changed it may well be cheaper to via the BGA route, initially obtain the SLMG rating (Motor Glider) as the hourly rate is lower, then add the Microlight rating.

    One "advantage" of the gliding route is that they can fly in much "harsher" and thermic conditions than the average Microlight so I believe one gets much more proficient in dealing with "bumpy conditions" and every landing is effectively an engine failure
    Wally Hayward

  10. #10
    Member unwind-protect's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by sretosf View Post
    I would think the most cost effective way for you to get your licence would be to get to solo stage on the glider, which according to the BGA website would cost 500-1,000 before starting the microlight course.
    I looked at gliding before I started on the microlight, as Gransden Lodge is probably marginally closer to me than Sutton Meadows. It seemed to me like the prices (per hour) were close, and microlights obviously had the advantage of being under power and so easier to fly somewhere specific.

    On the plus side, you could rent gliders afterwards rather than needing to buy your own.
    Flying a Quantum leap for Microlightkind!

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