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We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

Microlighting

Take to the skies and enjoy piloting the ultimate lightweight aircraft.

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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 an 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 9.10.9
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:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • Pilot or flying instructor - as outlined in POR rule 9.10.9
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.

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?

  • Microlighting can be one of the more affordable ways to fly.
  • It’s often possible to adapt microlights to make them accessible for pilots (and passengers) with additional needs. Check out the British Microlight Aircraft Association’s page Flying for the disabled for some more information and useful contacts. Their schools and clubs search lists local providers, who may also be able to help you find out more about accessible microlighting.
  • As with any adventure, get in touch with whoever’s leading the activity to chat through the needs of people in your group and give them plenty of notice. It’s best to do this before telling everyone you’re going microlighting. If it can’t be made accessible for everyone in your group, there are plenty of other flying adventures to choose from.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

There are three main types of microlight aircraft. If people enjoyed taking to the skies in one, they could search for an opportunity to try a different type. With practise, people could also fly for longer (or learn to take the controls).

Anyone who enjoyed microlighting might also want to get stuck into parascending, paragliding or parachuting.