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Microlighting

Take to the skies and enjoy piloting the ultimate lightweight aircraft.
Plan a session with this activity

What to expect

A microlight is a lightweight aeroplane, powered by a small engine, that’s designed to hold one or two people. Microlighting developed from hang gliding: pilots wanted to find a way to get airborne without climbing a hill, so someone put an engine on a hang glider and created the microlight.

Now, there are three main types of microlights: fixed wings (or three-axis) that look more like conventional aeroplanes, flexwings that have a delta wing (similar to a hand glider) with a ‘trike’ unit suspended underneath, and powered parachutes where the wheeled power unit the pilot and passenger sit in is suspended below a ram air canopy.

Microlighting is one of the more affordable ways to take to the skies, and they give pilots the opportunity to fly their aircraft when and where they want. You can’t fly solo until you’re 16, and you have to be 17 to hold a pilot’s licence, but you can try it out as a passenger (with an experienced pilot) before then.

What you’ll learn

For most people, microlighting is an exciting chance to try something new. If you’re taking control, you’ll need to think on your feet and use everything you’ve learned to successfully soar. Even if you’re just along for the ride, you’ll probably need to take a step out of your comfort zone to overcome worries and give it a go.

Fun facts

It’s possible to build your own microlight. Lots of people put the time in (and ask the experts for supervision) to learn the skills they need craft their dream microlight. Microlights are limited to carrying 50 litres of fuel – but that’s still enough for about four hours of flying (or up to 240 miles). Microlight pilots have flown their aircraft around the world – how many times do you think they had to stop for fuel?

Handy hints

  • Wrap up warm. Being cold’s no fun, and microlighting isn’t necessarily a sunny adventure. Wearing plenty of layers is the best way to stay toasty, whether you’re watching your friends and waiting for your turn to fly or you’re up in the cold, fresh air.
  • Check the weather. Microlighting is definitely a fair-weather adventure. Keep an eye on the weather, but try not to be too disappointed if the flight is postponed for another day. You’ll get there in the end!

Safety

You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Preparing for your flying activities:
Powered flight:
  • Where payment is involved the flight provider must hold air Air Operators Certificate.
  • Where payment is made for instruction those not undertaking instruction must not contribute financially to the activity.
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • Acceptable instructor qualifications
    • Pilot or flying instructor - as outlined in POR rule 9.16
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements :
Guidance

Access to airfields

Air Activities Safeguarding Guidance

Reflection

It’s likely that, for most people, microlighting involved trying something new, and being brave enough to face some fears. Why might people find flying daunting? People could think about how it’s an unfamiliar activity – they’re used to keeping their feet on the ground. Did anyone feel excited before they gave it a go? Some people may have felt nervous and excited at the same time; the feelings can sometimes be similar. How did people overcome their worries so they could give it a go? When else might they use the same techniques?