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Thread: Autopilots?

  1. #1
    Diamond geezer 500 Club
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    Autopilots?

    There's an article in this month's MF about fitting an autopilot in a CT. It seems a well engineered bit of kit and does the job by all accounts.
    But come on guys! Why oh why fit an autopilot in a microlight? It's like fitting cruise control to a Caterham 7.

    Anybody got any views?
    Martin Watson
    Microlights in Norfolk
    Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
    07805 716407

  2. #2
    Senior Member 100 Club
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    I agree with you Martin,

    I thought it was interesting, but seriously whats the point? I started flying Microlights as they were a safe low cost way of flying and self ownership. For me self ownership is important. I used to fly 3-Axis and now fly a Quantum 503. I enjoy the challenge of controlling the aircraft myself. I like to keep it simple, and the more complicated machines are straying further and further away from Microlights and going into Light Sports Aircraft arena. My GPS is a Garmin ETrex for goodness sake and along with a Map it does everything I need it to. But anyway I'm flying on a budget. These Gizmo's are not designed for me.

    Damien


    PILOTS are just PLANE people with a special AIR about them

  3. #3
    I suppose that it is "horses for courses" sort of thing, for my kind of flying I agree that it is entirely superfluous.

    There are those in this fairly wide community whose joy seems to be flying distances in straight lines. For them, I would guess it gives them a greater oportunity to watch the scenery flow by rather than having to actualy fly the aircraft.

    So for me a chocolate fireguard maybe for some others the answer to a prayer

  4. #4
    Senior Member 100 Club
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    I thought the same way about cruise control on a motorcycle - until I bought a bike with cruise control. I don't use it often, but when I do I find it allows me to focus more on other aspects of riding.

    On another tack, there are those of us who like to add gadgets to their machines as an end in itself. I have been known to build some wholly unnecessary gadgets for motorcycles (like the electric starter on my 1953 Panther), just because I like the process of solving the problems and creating something original.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  5. #5
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    I guess it just goes to show how wide the meaning of the term 'microlight' has been spread. I must admit that I echo Mick Broom's fears expressed in the letters page. SSDR & nano trikes have rescued the light single-seat end from the regulatory dragons (with the BHPA sorting the insurance) yet the lightweight 2-seaters are still under threat from being regulated out of existence by 'proportionate regulation' suitable for machines that can out run a lot of certified light aircraft.

    Discussion point: should we lobby for something to encourage growth in what some of would call 'real' microlighting (eg. sub 390kg two-seat craft)? If so what?
    The pilot formerly posting as MadamBreakneck
    GR examiner and TST pilot.
    and now a Tai Chi instructor

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Twissell View Post

    On another tack, there are those of us who like to add gadgets to their machines as an end in itself. I have been known to build some wholly unnecessary gadgets for motorcycles (like the electric starter on my 1953 Panther), just because I like the process of solving the problems and creating something original.
    Yes , I can understand that although for me anything that adds weight to my aircraft detracts from it. I do chuckle at the thought of a Panther with an electric start though.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Walsh View Post
    I guess it just goes to show how wide the meaning of the term 'microlight' has been spread. I must admit that I echo Mick Broom's fears expressed in the letters page. SSDR & nano trikes have rescued the light single-seat end from the regulatory dragons (with the BHPA sorting the insurance) yet the lightweight 2-seaters are still under threat from being regulated out of existence by 'proportionate regulation' suitable for machines that can out run a lot of certified light aircraft.

    Discussion point: should we lobby for something to encourage growth in what some of would call 'real' microlighting (eg. sub 390kg two-seat craft)? If so what?
    This is a real concern with the push for "no so microlights" and the examples of failed attempts to establish simple,lowcost aircraft are there before us. In the 1920s simple practical aircraft established by the the Lympne trials were swallowed by more expensive, complex aircraft and more recently the simple PFA aircraft have been superceded by very expensive flash machines. The danger of microlights disapearing by merging into the mob is growing closer and a means of defining true microlights from the lightish types is growing more and more required.

  8. #8
    Senior Member 100 Club
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    The 'middle age spread' of any category of anything (aircraft, motorcycles, boats etc.) is a well established phenomenon.
    As soon as a category is established, there will be moves to 'develop' the definition, under the guise of moving with the times, keeping up with the Jones's etc. After a period, the category has moved so far from its origin that there is room for a new category. Microlighters of the 1980s would probably recognise today's SSDR as much closer to what they knew than a Eurostar or a C42.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".

  9. #9
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    Not so sure about all this. As has been written, the old ultra lights were replaced with the Moths and their ilk, the Jodels with RVns and the Weedhoppers with MiniMaxes.
    The fact that microlights are now fully grown aircraft is just evolution. There will be another category along to replace them Nanolights are now available and in the forseeable future, picolights will emerge. If the pilots and aircraft evolve to do more or more satisfying flying, that is all to the good. Hands up who wouldn't have a 300 MPH aerobatic microlight with 1000 mile range, if you could afford it? We already have good radio, transponders, 100 MPH cruise and satellite navigation. Without them would flying really be better?
    Last edited by tomshep; 12th April 2019 at 19:06.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by tomshep View Post
    Hands up who wouldn't have a 300 MPH aerobatic microlight with 1000 mile range, if you could afford it? We already have good radio, transponders, 100 MPH cruise and satellite navigation. Without them would flying really be better?
    Hand up, I love the simplicty of a microlight. The latest "not so lights" are not providing anything that does not already exist, that kind of flying is already there for those that want it at no more cost, and in many cases cheaper.

    I love the live feel of my aircraft, almost like a live thing under my hands, responding to to the air around it. It is easy to look after, can be a slightly challenging to fly and gives a sense, to me at least, of immense satisfaction and pleasure at feeling almost a part of the air around me. Just zooming along with minimal imput in straight lines I'm afraid I find quite boring. The good radio is quite useful though.

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