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Is flying Microlights safe?

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  • Is flying Microlights safe?


    Well, as safe as they can be given that they suspend you at a significant height above ground!

    Microlights in the UK are subject to a set of rigorous safety standards, and require an official annual inspection in order to be granted a continuing 'permit to fly'. I know I feel safer in my plane then I do in my car, even if only because it's highly unlikely some other nutcase will crash into me. It is, after all, a very big sky!

  • #2
    Is flying Microlights safe?

    To Red Six or anyone else

    You say Yes. Mostly. That doesn't fill me with the utmost confidence!!

    Are most fatalities due to poor maintenance would you say? Also, you say mostly safe, what could make them not? Showing off or unsafe practices perhaps or are microlights prone to mid air disintegration?


    [From Red-Six] - my apologies! The post was just a placeholder to give others somewhere to hang their opinions. I fully intended to change it to something more sensible. In fact, I will do so now.


    • #3
      Is flying Microlights safe?

      Yes Microlights are safe... they only become unsafe when the pilot gets in !! (or sometimes doesn't)[/b]
      I recall a thread on here about microlights being started up and left to warm up, the thread soon died a death on here (hardly surprising really) I have seen at least 4 people do this.

      I also seem to recall that the previous Chief Exec of the BMAA had a fairly well publicised incident with his Skyranger (hand swinging it) These are just a few instances of how microlights can be dangerous.

      All in all Microlights are pretty safe and remain safe right up until the pilot gets involved.

      So the question really should be: Are microlights safe in the hands of pilots?

      Normally if you consider yourself safe,chances are the microlight you fly will be safe !!! if you consider yourself a little Gung Ho, then you will be flying a potentially dangerous microlight.

      Prime example: Put me in a 3 AXIS aircraft and I am SAFE,Put me in a Flexwing and I guess I would be bloody DANGEROUS !!!


      • #4
        Is flying Microlights safe?

        Gentlemen, may I request your opinions on Ballistic chutes? Considering spending the outlay of £2500 to £3000 on top of the cost of my first flexwing for peace of mind but in the balance, with the liklihood of the first buy being a Flash 2 Alpha with 462, will the extra weight of a BRS make for a more 'dangerous' aircraft than a lighter non BRS one...?

        How many of you out there have a BRS fitted?


        • #5
          Is flying Microlights safe?

          Hi Jeremy, presume you have had some debates on this previously but I can assure you I am me (well, as far as I can gather without getting into a meta physical/Jung style discussion ) - that is Ben Frain, a Microlight student from Cheshire, brother of the equally fretful 'SF123' looking to buy their first microlight and worried about dropping out of the sky!

          Thanks for the info.


          • #6
            Is flying Microlights safe?

            Hi Jeremy

            The info on the ballistic chutes is most welcome. I've trawled the internet for some meaningful info on them all last night! By the way, what's the climb rate and handling like on your Flash IIA with two people in it? Also, what would you say are the average running costs for one of these for a year including insurance and general maintenance etc?

            Perhaps this should be posted in the Flash IIA forum?....

            Any advice would be appreciated.




            • #7
              Is flying Microlights safe?

              Looking at the figures above, I take it I'm right to assume that even riding motorcycles is safer than microlighting? My dad always told me that if I ever bought a motorbike he wouldn't allow it on the premises or help with its maintenance and yet he's all for me flying!!

              I've recently had a few more microlight lessons (18 or 19 hours so far) which, as I've mentioned before, I have been scared for the first ten minutes and then thoroughly enjoyed. However, recently there have been a couple more fatal accidents involving microlights and it has put the frighteners on me somewhat.

              Before people start to reply with "just pack in then" type comments I just wondered if anyone else ever got the fear like this or whether I am being totally irrational and should just grab life by the horns as it were and get my licence passed.

              Any thoughts would be really appreciated and apologies if I sound too negative.



              • #8
                Is flying Microlights safe?

                The first reaction to the motorcycle comparision is to comment that there is a massive difference in the nature of the way these accidents are reported. Every air accident rates at least the national press whereas motorcycle accidents are seldom reported at a higher level than the local paper. this gives a very distorted view. Often emergency landings are reported in the same over sensational way (crash landings) even when a perfectly safe landing with no damage to personel or aircraft has been carried out.

                Being scared is a natural reaction to being in a potentialy dangerous place. In most people this grows into a healthy caution, this caution coupled with knowledge and awareness is what is called airmanship and is one of the most valuable assets a pilot can have. If motorcyclists, and car drivers possessed this quality I guess that at least some hundreds fewer of them would die every year.

                Unlike the road useage it is unusual for you in microlight flying to be endangered by anything that is beyond your own control. Your own maintainace and airmanship are the key to safe and enjoyable flying. So take no notice of gungho hangar talk, listen to your instructor and inspector, read the GASCO magazine and the CAA issed safety leaflets and you will have a long, safe and enjoyable flying career



                • #9
                  Is flying Microlights safe?

                  I get some ear-ache from friends of mine about 'is it safe?', and this is coming from guys who belt around the country roads on Ninjas at 90+! There seems to be a lot of ignorance floating around which perhaps originates from the early pioneering days where people were making some pretty serious cock-ups and got some bad press to boot. If it wasn't for these guys though, we wouldn't be where we are now of course!

                  As Ginge says, aviation seems to get a bad press with accidents (which is quite annoying!!), but if you were to look at the proper statistics you would be pleasantly surprised. Balance microlight statistics against road accident statistics (particularly motorbikes) and I'm sure you'd be quite happy to step into that cockpit.

                  What really gets my goat is that there are still a large percentage of life assurance companies still living in this land of ignorance, but are quite happy to insure the guy (basic cover rates), who's belting about on a Ninja!

                  Not that I've got anything against bikers, you understand!


                  • #10
                    Is flying Microlights safe?

                    Hi Simon

                    I recognise the feelings you describe and I suspect most people learning to fly do too, though they might not admit it. Ginge and Andy are spot on with their comments, but sometimes being logical and telling yourself to get on with it doesn't overcome the feeling of insecurity and worry. I used to find that the worst bit was the hour or so before I started my journey to the airfield - but once I got there all was OK.

                    Tips that helped me:

                    spend time at the airfeild when you are deliberately NOT going to fly

                    spend time getting really familiar with the aircraft on the ground

                    make sure you really understand the theory and start taking some of the ground exams if you haven't already done them - success here does wonders for your confidence

                    remind yourself why you wanted to do it in the first place - its not compulsory, but you are learning to fly because you want to (the bug has almost certainly already bitten you - otherwiae you wouldn't have asked the question)

                    talking to your instructor may help, but probably depends on how you get on

                    try to have lessons as regularly as you can - finances and weather permitting

                    hope this helps

                    Martin Watson
                    Microlights in Norfolk
                    Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
                    07805 716407


                    • #11
                      Is flying Microlights safe?

                      Hello Paul and others,
                      The question 'is our flying safe', sometimes sounds like we should ask ourselves if it's safe, and only do it if it is.
                      Whatever you do you are eventually going to die... that is life's only certainty.
                      I am in the Woody Allan camp, as I think Paul would be too: I am not afraid to die... I just don't want to be around when it happens!
                      Flying carries a considerable risk.
                      Even staying at home in front of the TV has its risks.
                      A week ago I was at Farnborough looking at the reconstructed fuselage of the B747 that was blown out of the sky and made a huge hole beside the village of Locherby; you might have decided flying your trike was too dangerous, and stayed at home to watch the football, and that could have landed on your house!
                      A silly parallel perhaps, but the bottom line is that there are no guarantees in life... except the grave!
                      Mark Phillips..............


                      • #12
                        Is flying Microlights safe?

                        People have always done sport and activities that are less forgiving of mistakes, flying is one of them.


                        • #13
                          Is flying Microlights safe?

                          Martin your comments are absolutely spot on.I am on the verge of obtaining my licence which has taken me 50hrs so far. I have been through every single emotion in the book from dry mouth and sheer terror to total exhiliration and, not matter how my flight has been it always, always leaves me with a sense of achievement. Someone once said "the only thing to fear is fear itself" I beleive that fear is healthy and its what keeps you alive. How it is controlled and converted into positive action dicates whether we enjoy what we are all doing or not. :scool:

                          PS, My licence will be issued here in Ghana, West Africa. Will it be valid in the UK and if not what will it take to convert. I am currenty flying an Xair F fitted with a Rotax 912.


                          • #14
                            Is flying Microlights safe?

                            Eric wrote:

                            PS, My licence will be issued here in Ghana, West Africa. Will it be valid in the UK and if not what will it take to convert. I am currenty flying an Xair F fitted with a Rotax 912.
                            As far as I know that depends, is your instructor CAA approved? is your examiner CAA approved and have you been trained to the BMAA syllabus. If that is the case as in some of the european schools then you will have a British NPPL and no problems. I don't belive that it has to be a european country as pilots trained in Malta before they joined the EU gained a British licence and of course there is a training school in the Gambia. Otherwise all I can find that is applicable is this quote from the NPPL website

                            Non-UK licences
                            The holder of any licence issued by an ICAO Contracting State who wishes to obtain a NPPL (Microlight)
                            should write to the British Microlight Aircraft Association for advice on the specific requirements for licence
                            conversion. These requirements will be determined by the holder’s current experience and will be assessed
                            individually. The applicant must also have passed the Microlight theoretical examinations in Aviation Law,
                            Flight Rules and Procedures and Human Performance and Limitations prior to taking the NPPL (Microlight)

                            In other words, as I said, it all depends. The man who is most likely to be able to advise you is Roy Hart at the BMAA an e-mail to him is probably your best way forwards.



                            • #15
                              Is flying Microlights safe?

                              Hello all,

                              To lighten the tone slightly, a friend of mine went to see his doctor in order to get his medical form signed. When he told his doctor it was for flying a microlight the doctor said "Isn't flying microlights dangerous?", to which my friend replied "Flying them isn't, crashing them is". The doctor signed the form without further comment. True story!

                              Best regards,

                              Bob Hood.
                              XL's forever! Well, one of them anyway. It's all I can afford, not to mention the Raven and the Mini-Max. Oh, and I almost forgot the Spectrum as well :-)