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  • Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

    Bitching about BMAA supporting paramotors on thread at

    Maybe paramotor pilots join the BMAA because they reflect (along with the new SSDR) more what the BMAA was set up for than many of the fast and heavy brigade will ever understand.

    Is paramototors coming under two organisations any worse than 'proper' microlights coming under both BMAA and PFA?



  • #2
    Competition support and thread drift elsewhere


    "Heavy" membership of either organisation is mandatory. PPC membership is entirely voluntary.

    Its not a case of "build it and they will come". It needs very careful thought but its a bit like the RYA trying to attract canoers.


    • #3
      Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

      Hello Joan,
      I have a feeling the BMAA has seen a possible membership drain if they don't at least appear to try to accomodate the bottom rung of the sport... but is it just an appearance.
      As always the big money lies with the big boys and grown ups, and I suspect light trikes and paratrikes are more an inconvenience that the BMAA feels it ought to be dealing with, but would really much rather not.
      It may be where it all started for the BMAA, but I doubt they are too eager to go back that way now they have their feet under the table of genteel retirement... it's a lot to expect.
      trouble is, should those of us who see light trikes and paratrikes as both a new beginning for the sport, and a nice place for the older and less fit among us to be put out to grass... should we continue to hope we can do it through our old faithful the BMAA, or is it time to seek pastures new?
      Mark Phillips.............


      • #4
        Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

        Hello Jeremy,
        I wonder if the description of a paratrike will be loose enough to include light weightshift trikes too... it would seem a shame if the BMAA made a new licence to accomodate paratrikes, but left light conventional trikers out in the cold.
        I would quite enjoy going through a new licence course, but I don't think I could be fagged to take a full PPL again just to fly my light trike... probably just fly it when no one was watching!

        I had a foot launched adaption for my trike, but bugger that for a game of soldiers, and I looked at Michel Carnet with his footlaunched paratrike; but really why should we have to jump through that hoop, when even the doodlebug guys are allowed to have half the thing dragging along the ground behind them?

        The BMAA (bless it) feels like the new PFA... perhaps the time has come for minority groups to get out and seek pastures new?
        Mark Phillips
        member 047


        • #5
          Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

          Hi Mark

          BMAA havent invented any new liceneces for anything. The Powered Paratrike licence has existed since the mid eighties for the Kestrel and Raider owners.

          far from introducing any new onerous unecessary requirements, all we have sought to do is to make things easier. particularly respecting the skills and experince of properly trained PPG pilots with ratings, and getting good cross credits for them to easily transfer to the PP licence. Likewise we wish to fast track PPG instructors to be able to teach for PP licences. the result really is a very simple and quick process. given a single day of good weatherit is possible for a PPG pilot complete a PP licence.

          Bit of a game of chicken and egg at the moment because PP training has been dormant for a long time courtesy of section S discouraging new machines. At the moment Geoff and I in consultation with some of the keen PPG instructors are spending a lot of time trying to find ways to fast track this into life as simply and pragmatically as possible.

          So really the BMAA is working hard to get a new wave of wheeled pilots into the air as cheaply and simply as possible. This is an opportunity we have worked hard for - we are certainly not making new and complicated rules - quite the reverse.

          As for light trike flying - that is waht we were doing n teh early eighties when teh current licence minima and syllabus was formed - so it is difficult to formulate a case for reduced requirements per se, but we have negotiated in principle for a FLPHG rating to be respected as a BHPA equivalent pilot rating for cross credit purposes, which knocks ten hours off the course. In outr expereince converting several Doodlebug pilots to trikes, that will give them plenty of leeway so they are not grinding hours just to satisfy requirements.



          • #6
            Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

            Hi Jeremy

            No pat 'blame the CAA answers from me on this - I believe we have the right approach, given the framework we have to work in.

            I am sure you will agree that every classification boundary in aviation is illogical if we take aircraft that sit close to either side. Take a group A Eurostar which needs a completely different icence to fly than its identical airframed microlight brother as a small illustration. I had over 5000 microlight hours and was rated to teach instructors - yet got only 10 hours off the abinitio requirements to gain a PPL.

            And yet to not have boundaries could lead to the worst case requirements for licensing, maintenance and manufacture applied to all. The game is to carve up categories into logical blocks and have sensible stepwise requirements to move between. the NPPl has gone a long way to doing this with licensing, and in the case of tthe dregulated category I think we have got as near to a perfect regulation as has ever been achieved in this regard.

            In the particular case at issue I personally believe there is a fundamental distinction, that enabled the CAA to be brave enough to deregulate footlaunched in the first place, and logically dictates that wheels are the point to add a simple training and competence requirement (unless we come from the view that such requirements cannot be justified in any sphere of sport aviation - for which there may be some 'personal freedom' argument - passenger flying not withstanding. But the world is not ready for this just yet)

            Footlaunch is a very convenient way to ensure that the energy is low - otherwise only Linford Christie could launch one, or we would all be waiting for 20 knot winds. Also it has another very important intrinsic safety feature - the launch is the hardest part of the flight demanding the greatest co ordination. Self teaching either results in a lot of broken metal and wood bits, and shredded canopies and lines, with low chance of serious personal injury (thanks to the low energy), leading to a clear indication and financial incentive that training is a better option, or only lets very persistent highly coordinated individuals with high aptitude get away with it.

            Add wheels and it is possible for someone with no training and no idea to get airbourne relatively easily. Couple that with the lack of intrinsic energy cap (very small fast canopies are developing apace for paratrikes) and it rapidly gets to a guaranteed recipy for nasty injuries or death.

            I also dont buy the 'I will only use the wheels for landing' argument either. The landing is much easier and less physical than the launch. People want to fit wheels for one purpose - launching. We had huge pressure from just such people to develop the SSDR category. The disabled were a key lobby too for wheeld launching.

            The deregulation proposal was won on one key argument - that training is the key to flight safety - not airworthiness regulation. the stats prove it quite nicely - even the CAA's own (which horrified them somewhat!) which clearly show microlight fatals dropping sharply with the introduction of licencing, and showing no change in curve shape when airworthiness was introduced a year or two later. Airworthiness proving from this and evidence from many other countries with similar regulation, to take care of itself due to market forces and general state of the art maturity - especially with manufactured products(99% or deregulated machines).

            So this whole easing of regulation is predicated on training and licencing allowing this classification of aicraft to be operated.

            I wouldnt worry at all about any retrospective imposition of mandatory licensing for footlaunched. I am confident in saying that is not on the cards - supported by the fact that PP licences have always been required for a crossover machine even before PPG's were deregulated - the barrier always being cost of section S preventing PP development. Also Footlaunched has kept its nose clean and fatals have been relatively rare - proving the fundamental safety concept. the CAA certainly are not interested in doing this - they kept footlaunched on exemption for long enough to make taht decision before sticking it on the ANO. Indeed tehy woudl have to be instructed by Government to do so - and taht wont happen unless there is a very big rash of fatals.

            So what we have done with teh SSDR regulation is to try and make the situation as painless as possible - good cross credits for rated PPG'ers wishing to gain a PP licence (- requiring as little as a day to prove competence and gain the licence) and the complete removal of airworthiness regulation. To me thats one hell of a lot of unprecedented progress. A reg and noise test being a very small price to pay. As outfits go through and get tested, same configuration machines will be spared the test, and manufacturers will sell machines in tested configurations - and may even stick the reg on for you!

            I can understand that expereinced PPG'ers just want to be able to fly wheeled with no rules whatsoever,- hell I would love to be able to jump into a light twin without any bull***t regulation - after all I have a PPl and can fly a Lazair right?, but we have to respect that that notion is rather naive - 6 years of negotiation on this must surely illustrate that. And of course with PP training because it has been dormant for so long there will be a period which may be frustrating for some, to get the infrastructure up to full speed - a lot of BMAA time is being spent on this at present.



            • #7
              Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

              [quote=Paul D]at issue I personally believe there is a fundamental distinction, that enabled the CAA to be brave enough to deregulate footlaunched in the first place...
              The deregulation proposal was won on one key argument - that training is the key to flight safety - not airworthiness regulation. the stats prove it quite nicely - even the CAA's own (which horrified them somewhat!) which clearly show microlight fatals dropping sharply with the introduction of licencing, and showing no change in curve shape when airworthiness was introduced a year or two later. Airworthiness proving from this and evidence from many other countries with similar regulation, to take care of itself due to market forces and general state of the art maturity - especially with manufactured products(99% or deregulated machines).

              Surely the CAA weren't especially 'brave', as they appeared from your own updates to be under instruction to deregulate from the DfT Paul?

              I completely concur with your 'key argument' bit about training; so should anyone else given your expertise and background. Any dangerous machine requires training, then let them get on with it. The deaths at the IOM TT are sad, but the riders chose their own fate and all are thoroughly trained nowadays, so it was their own informed action in being reckless and not the UK govt's fault; pity such an approach isn't applied to microlights in the UK.

              Anyway so why did the CAA, after airworthiness was shown not to be a significant factor at all in accidents, then meddle needlessly with the criteria for SSDR instead of just setting a 300kg/Euro stall speed limitation?

              We'd have aligned nicely with France then, maybe they just thought that'd be too much fun to let us all have... :smilewinkgrin:

              BMAA 5696

              "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

              R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire


              • #8
                Competition support and thread drift elsewhere


                I dont know why you personally want to have a machine to get around the footlaunched regs and have wheels. As a Microlight licence holder you just legally have to satisfy yorself that you can fly it safely and have had appropriate traing, and you are quite legal to fly a PP under your licence. Escaped being named for mandatory differences training in the legislation changes that came with the NPPL.. So all you need to do is add a registration, contact the CAA noise dept and you can fly for six months before even needing a noise test.

                BMAA hasnt changed any licence legislation at all. rules for PP remain unchanged from the eighties. All we have done recently is to try and make it easier for rated PPG'ers to get the licence. As for having a policy against what you suggest, we havent. We just havent got a policy to persue it, and would need strong persuasion and convincing argument to do so. So far what we have done is to create an opportunity that did not exist before. We have blocked nothing and incresed no legislation at all - but rather have done the opposite in a fairly dramatic way.

                I still personally think that a fundamental problem with letting people fly on wheels with no mandatory training is no real world energy cap that equals that of 'must be footlaunched' (you get the likes of Michel Carnet - althlete and one of the very best most skillful canopied pilots in the world to 'prove' footlaunchabilty and it is certainly not real world middle aged creaking kness footlaunchable. Mike Campbell jones has paramotor PP's flying at 60mph+ now.), and lets people get airbourne with no real training far more easily than with footlaunched. This is not my half baked no knowledge view. And has come to me forcibly expressed by very expereinced people and instructors in the PPG world.

                I can understand that it is frustrating for for experienced PPg'ers not to be able to add wheels and just fly, but the rules have to apply to the whole category in a reasonably even way, and we have attempted to make it as painless and stepwise as possible.

                A solution that may get what you want may be to petition for another seperate deregulated category which can then have its own rules, but it could get messy. For instance it wouldnt then be unreasonable for the FLPHG 'ers to want the same thing to apply to them - so we will see attempts with athletes to prove that a light trike can be launched hobby horse style, or of course with dergulation no proof is required until you get to court, so actually we would probably see kit sold as being 'footlaunchable' which patently were not by any reasonable interpretation - exactly the same situation existed with US ultralights, and the 'footlaunchable' requirement was evebntually seen to be a sham and abandoned in the eighties. It may also be hard to get CAA and Dft to spend time on - being a difficult sell that training is not required for a new branch of aviation in the UK.. Surely it is far more sensible top have good sensible cross credits for trained and rated PPG pilots to be able to gain the licence with the absolute minimum of fuss? - 'show us you are safe and understand airlaw and you get the ticket'

                As I said before the key argument to get the CAA to agree to SSDR was the training / pilot competence one backed up with the stats. For that reason it would seem dishonest / inconsistent to go back to them and say it isnt important. With recent events with stupid pilots disrupting Red Arrows displays , more than ever proven pilot education will be seen to be paramount to any new proposals.


                the way deregulaton works is that any proposal has to be ratified by the DFT's aviation experts - the CAA. So if CAA arent convinced after all the arguments are trotted out and debated and dont support the concept it doesnt fly (unless there is one huge political incentive that overides it - and that wont be the case for a small branch of sport avaition). So it was thanks to the CAA being forward thinking that the SPHG regs got formulated (In effect they instruct the DFT to progress the legislation). One of the key CAA players at the time was Barry Tempest - a long term flying instructor and CFI (not to mention a rather exuberant display pilot who like dressing up!), and yes it was brave of him to take the step of full deregulation (which certainly was not the establishment way of doing things at the time), and you can bet the whole concept of footlaunched and its fundamental distinction for wheeled launch was looked at in great detail.

                It is thanks to that bold move and the subsequent experience of SPHG working we wouldnt have been able to get the SSDR regs through - and even then it took some tough negotiation. licencing and noise regs were not SSDR requirements by whim - but absolutely intrinsic to the acceptance by CAA.



                • #9
                  Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                  I chatted to quite a few paramotor pilots at the Nationals yesterday, the ones who uttered an opinion all said that they were proud of the fact that there has not been a paramotor fatality in the UK and they want to keep it that way. They agreed that training is the key, more training is better than less.

                  One chap said that the demand for trikes came from those who could not manage the footlaunch bit... Now, the launch and landing are the hardest parts of footlaunch flying, and require the most practice (and hopefully, training). If you take away the hard bit, those people who can't footlaunch will fly trikes instead, and you may well end up with people getting airborne with very little training indeed.

                  Another view put forward was 'why do these pilots not have to learn any air law?' - though this may be changed by the authorities if there's many more Red Arrows infringements!

                  (If these words are to be quoted elsewhere, please be sure to state that they are not my views, but those of paramotor pilots at the nats.)

                  Nice to see Jeremy being an efficient marshal, he did look a bit sunburned though?

                  Rob Hughes
                  BMAA Member


                  • #10
                    Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                    Hi Jeremy

                    First, well done for the attached Air Law guide. Most of it looks spot on but a couple of things jumped out at me:

                    1. Vis minima, there is a dispensation below 3000' for aircraft flying below 140knots that allow flight down to 3K. So I woudl have thought taht woudl apply to SPHG. Indeed if VMC is the only criteria and not overidden by standard PPL licence priviledges then it may be possible to fly to the VMC minima of 1.5K which is normally only allowed with IMC rating - but is still VMC. However it may not be prudent to encourage this!

                    2. Displays are allowed without CAA permission if the attendence is less than 500 persons, so private functions, club displays or small village fete type events are Ok - but the CAA say their published advice should be followed. Otherwise even with one person watching you could be 'giving a display'!

                    Educating non rated pilots is a very good cause. But of course if SPHG pilots take BMAA or BHPA rating courses they will be schooled in Airlaw and formally examined. I believe it is vital that this approach of rated training courses is encouraged strongly.

                    Interestingly there is some considerable pressure from collective groups inside paramotoring to regulate and require training and licences. The present BMAA position is that we wish to see this done by encouragement rather than regulation for footlaunched. We see a natural cutoff to this when wheels are added.

                    Back to the wheeled PPG issue. have already outlined my reservations to what you propose. I also dont see how the BMAA could in conscience propose eliminating a training requirement for a category of aircraft that has previously required one. The extra hassles you outline may be significant when compared to SPHG operation, but could be considered insignificant when compared to regulated microlight / PPC cleareance and operation - which was exactly what we were trying to achieve - a justifiable stepwise regulation. The restrictions accompanying this Sub-115 regulation are very small beer compared with what it has allowed us to do.

                    We are also keen to apply some 'glue' between SPHG and the rest of the powered flying world. For the first time rated SPHG pilots have their skills and knowledge respected, allowing them credits to obtain the NPPL, and therefore be able to move to PPC to microlight and SSEA with credits at all stages. Hopefully this will provide additional incentive for SPHG newbies to learn on a proper course for grant of a BMAA or BHPA SPHG rating.

                    As for the reg letter objection, the BMAA formally approached CAA with a proposal to allow markings to be confined to the trike unit (rather like Gyro's), but it was refused. However I am sure that the right sort of self adhesive reg letters that could be removed for sale cannot be impossible to find - indeed comp numbers are routinely applied and removed later.

                    As for tinkering with props etc, CAA have allowed a generous testing and setup phase before noise test is required. And of course it wont escape the devious mind that re registering the machine as something differently named gives an opportunity for this to continue, if the noise department get fed up with you asking for extensions - albeit at a small price.



                    • #11
                      Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                      PS Mike campbell Jones does have a 60MPH / 100Kmh canopy. There were videos of it at SPLASH, and he is excited by the possibilities. Experimental at present though and not available for public consumption , but indicative of future development potential. He uses a new construction technique he cals 'TEC' - Total Energy Concept, that uses radical new canopy structure and requires far less lines, whilst being very stable.

                      If history were to draw parallels with microlight devlopment leaving behind powered hangliders, then it is likely that wheeled operation will diverge from footlaunch canopies and develop its own. This has already happened with PPG's where many canopies are power specific, so this seems likely - especially with the footlaunch energy requirement removed by the addition of wheels. It is quite exciting tio think that we could have real car boot portable machines with virtaully instant setup, that could cruise on modest horsepower at 60+MPH! Of course without the Sub-115 regulation we likely could only have watched jealously as our continental friends had all the fun..



                      • #12
                        Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                        On the Vis question para (ii) is the key - and quotes teh 1500M requirement for flights below 3000' and 140knots. For PPL's this is only available with an IMC rating and (schedule 8 I think) requires 3K.

                        As for the 'footlaunchable paratrike' issue, personal philosiphy aside, I think we have to look at the CAA's stance throughout the SSDR negotitations. They were under pressure from the disabled lobby in particular to allow trikes under the SPHG system, but categorically refused. However it was this pressure amoung others that helped open the door to the SSDR concept as we have it, which provides an alternative path with safeguards the CAA can be comfortable with for use of wheels. So it isnt the BMAA behind this and in some way trying to scoop up the business. It was apparently the only way CAA would sign up to wheeled PPG type machines outside of full section S.

                        I do feel that chances of getting such a dispensation past the CAA may be very remote, given it is such a small slice of aicraft, and their stance on this up to now - and especially now there is a regulation that removes the sting of airworthiness requirements. Also they are not keen on complicated requirements that require verification to stop abuse (the 'can be' footlaunched bit), for dergulation - they prefer requiremnts that take care of themselves, or that could be statically verified (hence the empty wingloading rather than stall speed measurement).

                        However thats just my angle on it based on my expereince, if there is enough feeling on this, then it may be a good driver to get the BPMA up and runnng and as a specialist group representing SPHG it could make its own approach, maybe with BMAA support if enough of Council could accept the core principle. It will of course require a full negotiation with CAA/ Dft, consulation periods etc and an ANO change, and if out 6 year experience is anything to go by it will not be quick even with agreement.



                        • #13
                          Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                          PS, the arguments you give for swapping wings, trikes and props can equally apply to a light trike - indeed thats what used to happen in the early days. Our Lightfly for example is intended to be fitted with the Bailey, Corsair and Radne. All of which have prop options. So we will ahve to do a bit of testing and noise test the chosen configurations. There will undoubtably be other possible wing options too, multiplying the combinations. And of course compared to the Doodlebug situation it looks equally restrictive as your comparison with PPG. However the key comparison surely has to be with Full airworthiness approval which was the only option before. In the face of that it is a big step and bite of freedom indeed.

                          We quizzed CAA on 'series configuration' issues for noise certs. Basically they state it s up to the applicant to provide proof that it is the same as a previously tested example, and a suppliers statement with some verifyng photos should be enough for tem to issue a cert without test. I tried to persuade them to accept a more generic approach accepting canopies / wings with 'similar speed ranges' and aicraft with similar layouts (pusher/ tractor, high/ low wing etc), to be accepted on powerpalnt configuration, but they declined being that progressive.

                          You may be correct pedantically about prop replacement, but in reality as long as the prop is the same pitch and diameter with a similar tip shape and construction medium, I find it hard to believe that anyone is going to worry about it.



                          • #14
                            Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                            Hi Paul,
                            I am interested and encouraged to see the Radne (I am assuming it means Raket not knowing a larger one.) mentioned as an engine option on the Lightfly trike.
                            Having not seen a Raket on any other trike I was a little worried I might be asking too much of it on my trike.
                            I had based my choice on having flown with fewer HP's in the old days on a trike; then I worried also, that in these obese times we, and certainly I, are a fair few rashers (83kg and on a slow descent) heavier than the trikers of the early 1980s.

                            I have a Photon now to try, and it is a superbly elegant little shape, quite high aspect ratio etc, but only 145 square feet.
                            It is a fast wing that will happily bobble along at 45mph with a 330 Robin engine, but I have the feeling it likes a bit of HP, rather like the raven did... a friend has one as well now with a 277 Rotax and says he records 500-600fpm sink rate power off... strikes me as a bit brickish for a very light machine.

                            Got any ideas that might make it a 25 to 30mph wing with a 250 to 300fpm sink rate?

                            Clearly another 30 or so square feet would help; but failing that, tip fins maybe, except it has swivelling ball and socket tips that make fitment more involved; so battens maybe?
                            Any thoughts gratefully received,
                            Mark P................


                            • #15
                              Competition support and thread drift elsewhere

                              Hi All,
                              This has been an interesting and informative thread.
                              I was just reading back through other mails and Rob H's presented reasons for not allowing people to rediscover the wheel... not his own views of course, but you would hardly be presenting them unless you shared them.
                              It seems the BMAA wants to be seen as helping the oiks and peasants, but without any risk of rocking the boat for the grown-ups.
                              It looks increasingly like we will need something like a UK light trike association, to represent all single seat trikes, of all wing types.
                              Sadly I am not really a comittee or association forming sort of guy, but there are plenty out there well suited to that side of things, and who could bring all these at present disperate fledgling organisations together.

                              Happy father's day!
                              Mark Phillips...................