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Is flying Microlights safe?

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  • #61
    Is flying Microlights safe?

    Talking of the Pros and Cons of a chute, how well would one actually work deployed from a tumbling flex-wing? Looking back at the fatal flex-wing accidents on the AAIB site about half seem to come from loss of control/structural failure at altitude, and half from problems on takeoff/landing (the less serious accidents are much more related to takeoff/landing troubles).

    If a ballistic parachute worked for all the at-altitude accidents it could halve the rate and would seem to be well worth fitting, but a lot of the accidents involving loss of control at altitude end up in a tumble. I'm sure I've seen video of a hanglider successfully deploying a hand thrown reserve after a failed loop and a tumble, but I find it difficult to imagine a flexwing doing so without just getting wrapped in the chute. Does anyone know of a ballistic parachute working in such a case? Does anyone here actually have one fitted to their flex-wing?



    • #62
      Is flying Microlights safe?

      Tumbling is a quite common break up scenario for hangliders and the hand thrown chutes seem to work ok for this. ballistic woudl appear to give a better cahnce as it gets the chute further away from the aircraft to give room for deployment.

      having said that tehre are no guarantees. I saw a fatal where aileron flyutter was teh cause and a wing came off. the machine plummeted vertically at extremely high speed. Quite some time went by before the chute was activated. By that time the speed was to high for the installed chute to inflate properly and the aicraft hit the ground vertcially at a couple of hundred MPH. So no guarantees....

      Personally I prefer having one for the extra chance it gives.



      • #63
        Is flying Microlights safe?

        Just reading this thread and seen the query regarding safety chutes, what if the pilot was to wear a front container reserve chute as worn in paragliding? these can deployed and have been known to opene in heights of 100 feet.You could easily rig this is upto a harness and if all else fails you could opt to jump out, hlaf a chance is better than no chance.Would this be practicle on a microlight and is thier any pilots who wear reserves?...I have often wondered of course about reserves and microlight..Ps I am a paragliding/Paramoter pilot...


        • #64
          Is flying Microlights safe?

          I would have thought the benefits of a ballistic chute would be outweighed by the dangers of attaching an explosive device to your microlight.


          • #65
            Is flying Microlights safe?

            I haven't read all the posts on this thread so If I'm repeating anything that has been posted previously then please forgive me but for what it's worth here's my tuppence worth!
            1-ANYTHING can be dangerous if you analyse it,(e.g. leaving your home each day)
            2-Don't think your instructor is a god, they can make mistakes too!, If you are not happy about the conditions then don't fly-I knew an instructor once who said that an hour in the rough was worth two in smooth conditions- maybe in later stages of instruction but certainly not in the early days, it only serves to frighten low hours students,(generally).
            3-Having a safety 'Get out' button to press, like a ballistic parachute, tends to cause people to press it when good pilot skills would otherwise have got them out of the situation with a lot more control.
            4-If you feel nervous then TALK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR about IT, he should be able to reassure you, if not, it's not necessarily because he's a bad instructor- maybe he's just not the right instructor for you, the whole personality thing is very important.
            5-You obviously wanted to experience Microlight flying, so by definition you have an adventurous personality so step back and look at the other risks you have taken to get your jollys and compare!
            6- Relax and enjoy!


            • #66
              Is flying Microlights safe?

              To John Moriarty,


              If you have to justify something as safe before you do it,

              Don't Do it.

              Too mudh health and safety bullshit is used as an excuse for not entering into a very rewarding and exhilarating pastime....

              Let's keep the argument real and not descend into politically correct nonsense.

              YES,. . . . IT COULD be dngerous,. . . . .yes YOU MIGHT GET HURT, but isn't this true of any otdoor sport or pastime ?

              Kind regadrs,


              • #67
                Is flying Microlights safe?

                Not only that, but

                ANYTHING involving petrol, . . . .engines.....wings....revolving propellers....... Can't be categorised as being perfectly SAFE ????? WHADDYER WANT, A BLOODY LIBRARY ????

                PHIL XXX

                ( Sorry about the swearing Bob, but it indicates the feeling... !! )


                • #68
                  Is flying Microlights safe?

                  Please excuse my late response to this interesting thread but I am a newbie and did not have the opportunity to express my views earlier.

                  My position is that when I did my gliding course at the age of 16 years it was all pure enjoyment without a hint of any possible danger at all but at that age we all believe we are going to live forever don't we?

                  However at my age, although I want to take up flying again, I am apprehensive to an extent, not so much about controlling an aircraft once airborne but it is regaining contact with terra firma which worries me but I did it before so logic tells me that with the right training I should be able to do it again.

                  A lot has been made of motorcycle riding and how dangerous that is but a little over 10 years ago I bought myself a Piaggio X9 500, a super scoot to the uninitiated because by that time I had retired from the police and became self employed in investigating accidents on behalf of the MIB and various insurance companies and this machine made travelling and parking in North London that much easier. During all that time I did not drop it once whilst moving, though I did a couple of times when stationary! Basically, the same as with everything else it is getting to know the limitations of you and your machine. Further, I was fortunate enough to be selected for a police advanced driving course in cars. The emphasis was on planning and driving defensively so it became possible to make good progress whilst retaining a good safety margin. Of course learning from the mistakes of those I was interviewing was also a great help.

                  Even though I took this course over 40 years ago the basics still stay with me and to a great extent it relies on planning for the road ahead and being ready for the unexpected.

                  It strikes me that much the same type of thinking is required for flying, especially microlights - planning and alternative escape routes are required because with a single engine aircraft, although seldom, there is always a possibility of failure - replace the unpredictability of the other idiots on the road with the weather and this can catch people out - observation too is important, although it may seem that the skies are relatively clear at times there is a lot of traffic up there, especially in Hertfordshire - unfortunately a few years ago a couple of my colleagues lost their lives when their flex-wing collided with a helicopter in mid air, needless to say the flex-wing came off worse.

                  I apologise if it appears like the uninitiated trying to preach to the initiated in this matter but be it a car, a motor cycle, or an aircraft some of the basic rules are the same - I just happen to be more well versed in the ground based machines.

                  I agree wholeheartedly with Ginge's assertion of 23.09.2007 that a little bit of fear would prevent quite a number of fatal accidents - the problem is that people in tin boxes become isolated from the outside world - that is where the value of an advanced driving course comes in because it does make one more aware of the potential dangers.

                  The other thing which also causes me some apprehension is that the more I read the different posts submitted the more I realise what I do not know.


                  • #69
                    Is flying Microlights safe?

                    Mike wrote:
                    The other thing which also causes me some apprehension is that the more I read the different posts submitted the more I realise what I do not know. <!-- Edit -->
                    We are all in the same situation :-)

                    I'm sure you've heard the old cliche, the trick is to fill the glass of experience before emtpying the glass of luck :-)

                    when I put myself outside of my comfort zone, I'm usually bricking it. But must remain calm or it all goes to pot!


                    • #70
                      Is flying Microlights safe?

                      I was hoping to go to Plaistow's Farm next week and dip my toe in the water so to speak but the chances of getting a flight appear remote - the instructors appear to be pretty well booked up.

                      I reckon I will go in any case for a looksee - don't suppose it would hurt to go and make myself known and maybe get to chat to a few people.

                      In the meantime I am booked in at the London Gliding Club for an aero tow on 10.08.2013, fingers crossed for good weather.

                      The interesting thing is that every year they hold a special day for girls with aero tows just over half the normal price - they are having such a day on 03.08.2013, so I have booked my 16 year old grand daughter in for one of those. Will be waiting with bated breath to find out what she thinks of it.