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Worth upgrading to Group A?

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  • Worth upgrading to Group A?

    I am selling my flex and will (at some point) be buying a 3-axis craft. The entry level for me may well be a SkyRanger, but my mouth does water for the sexier craft. I had been working out at what point I could afford a Banbi (or similar, should they become available), based purely on looks and performance. Shallow, I know, but there you are. Shiny thing. What can I say? [IMG]/forums/emoticons/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]

    My days of attending every Fly-In going are over now, and I would be looking at mostly longer European trips, so a faster ship does make a lot of sense (he rationalised, furiously).

    Anyway, recently a couple of members have posted links to the Sports Cruiser:

    http://www.airplane.cz/sportcruiser.htm and http://www.spriteaviation.co.uk, which looks like representing fantastic value for money, and has the kind of load capacity Microlighters can only dream of.

    Immediate issue is the licence. So how expensive and/or onerous is it to convert to Group A, bearing in mind I need a licence which allows European flying? Presumably as the Sports Cruiser is a PFA kit, running costs shouldn't be significantly higher then for an M/L.

    Finally, what other aircraft should I be aiming for? i.e. What else is out there is the Banbi / Sports Cruiser mould?

    Cheers, Steve

  • #2
    Worth upgrading to Group A?

    Red Six,
    I know that to convert a 3 axis NPPL to a 3 axis PPL is do 15 hours plus the GFT/NST.... but that is on the assumption that you have already done the NPPL on 3 axis.

    You are allowed to cross credit 30hrs of NPPL training towards the JAA PPL... I am almost certain that there is a allowance for Flexwing pilots to only do the 15hrs plus the GFT/NST and any Ground Exams that your instructor decides you require.... there is some confusion over whether you need to do all the ground exams as you are applying for a JAA PPL and the form states that Ground Exams must have been completed within the previous 24 months....the argument here is: Is this a Conversion of licence or is it deemed as an initial application ?

    HTH.

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    • #3
      Worth upgrading to Group A?

      Red Six,
      Do you have a CAA PPL or an NPPL? You have been around a while so I am guessing it is the CAA PPL?

      Linking ever so slightly to another thread, there is an EASA proposal for a pan European licence based on the NPPL and the idea being that in an EASA world an NPPL (renamed RPPL I believe) in one country can freely travel Member States on his RPPL.

      At the moment, to achieve unrestricted Europen travel you would probably have to go JAA PPL - but I would check on the CAA SRG pages and look at the latest LASORS to see if there is any way that you can upgrade your CAA Licence to include Group A (SEP as it is now known). This could be costly and prove an unnecessary luxury in a year or two if the EASA plans come to fruition.

      If there was a firm time frame in hand and we all knew what the EASA world was going to be like then the decision would be easy.

      There is another alternative which is again EASA dependant and that is to simply purchase a 'current' microlight which has a much higher 'physical' MAUW than the theoretical one imposed here in the UK. The CTSW for example is certified to 600Kg in the USA and is essentially the same aircraft. The theory is that once EASA imposes itself on us, the microlight definition vanishes and with nothing more than a paper exercise you fly your aeroplane at a legally higher weight - in theory I might add and whilst I have not read this in black and white my interpretation is that EASA will not put up with the nonsense that the CAA do with C42's and Jabiru's and Eurostars being available as microlights or SEP with virtually the only difference being a higher artificially imposed MAUW.

      Phew................. If you understood that - good on you !!
      Streaking - It was good for me..............

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      • #4
        Worth upgrading to Group A?

        There will be more and more people thinking along these lines, to escape amongst other things the wholly artificial (but legal) weight restrictions in the microlight area, also the discrimination at certain airfields.

        In the current microlight fleet, some will go this way. Some will go to the halfway house of microlight hot ships (breaking the law regularly on weight and loadings as we all know that these things are safe up to 550 or so, at least). And others lower down the food chain will stick with whatever they fly, eventually leading to "microlights" becoming just older mainly two stroke flex wings (moving into line in fact with the popular public defiintion) and a few decrepit three axis first generation planes like the XAir. That is one of possible fates which awaits the BMAA according to some. There will be plenty of these on the market as the low entry cost will be irresistable to those who can't manage to distinguish price from value.

        Gloomy? I don't think so. Moving on? Probably!

        Rick

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        • #5
          Worth upgrading to Group A?

          Hi Tony,

          Not been around for that long really - just long enough to have heard - and been confused by - all the acronyms! OK then - to clarify: I currently have a Microlight licence - that which used to be called PPL(M) when I got it. I'm afraid I've lost track of what it should be called now.

          What a laughable situation with the same machines being licenced in different ways in different countries. Perhaps this is an area where European 'red-tape' will actually end up being of benefit to us? Buying a microlight which falls across the current bounday is not a route I'm prepared to go, leaving the licence upgrade as the only alternative. Now I must admit, I had two aims when I made this posting: firstly, I'm too lazy to go read through page after page of CAA speak to try and glean some information, and was thus hoping someone would just give me chapter and verse. Secondly, if we get a good definition of licence types and priviliges, it would go nicely into a locked, sticky, FAQ-type thread on here. So if anyone knows the answers to what is required to upgrade to, and subsequently maintain a JAA PPL, please post away....otherwise, that'll be lunchtime surfing fodder for my first day back in the office tomorrow.

          What about hot-ship types (or at least warm-ship :smile: ) - are there Banbi / SportsCrusiewr alternatives to be considered?

          Rick's almost certainly right, which is why I should probably sell my Kiss sooner rather then later! :smilewinkgrin:

          Given that I need to do a 3-axis conversion - and soon too, as I have precious few hours logged in the last year - I think it might be wise to just go straight for a licence upgrade. Shame no aircraft will be available to me in time for the WFAeC Italy trip. Well, not strictly true - but dragging the flex across Europe has become a chore rather then a pleasure, so that's that ruled out then! Shame the Egyptian Experience got canned, as that would have been a very nice Flex-wing Swan-song trip.

          Cheers, Steve

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          • #6
            Worth upgrading to Group A?

            Steve,

            Have you seen this www.nppl.uk.com?

            Donald

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            • #7
              Worth upgrading to Group A?

              Upgrading to GA seems like a silly move at the moment !!!! with Avgas likely to be going up from 1.41 a litre to 1.70 a litre and Mogas being only 0.88 a litre....anybody planning to upgrade obviously has "Too much bloody Money"

              I have the perfect situation... I am currently a GA Pilot who pays 78.60 per hour to run a Gas Guzzling Aircraft in fuel alone !!! once the fuel price increase comes into force I will have to pay 102.00 per hour.
              Not wanting to give up flying I will just have to do less hours to stay within my budget,rather than give up totally.
              I will probably end up flying just as much and then not being able to afford to eat, I will then lose weight and if I lose weight then I could fly microlights and get more hours for my budget..on a 15 lph fuel burn I could fly 4 times as much as I currently do on 60 lph (actually 4.5x more if budgeting Mogas against Avgas)

              Peter

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              • #8
                Worth upgrading to Group A?

                Steve

                I looked at this but there is a problem. You can cross train for an NPPL SEP and use 15 hours of either CAA PPL(M) or NPPL (M) as credits. This means that in theory you could do it in 7 hours dual and 10 hours solo, plus GST.

                What you cannot do is credit any hours training at non licensed airfields towards a JAR licence. I suspect that, like me, all of your microlight training was at a non licensed airfield.

                There is talk of the NPPL SEP being accepted across Europe and I may well look at this again when that happens.

                There are some serious issues facing GA at the moment. The biggest one is Part M maintenance. This has the ability to skint wealthy men. At the moment, all permit aircraft are exempt from Part M but EASA are looking to take everything below 750kg out of national control and into EU control. Part M is one of the biggest worries as it is unclear whether owner maintenance would still be allowed. If this is dealt with, this has the opportunity to revolutionise recreational flying. The microlight and the VLA will merge into one category with lighter regulation than we currently have... something more in line with Eastern Europe.

                EASA are also looking to create what may be called an RPPL which will be a EU wide NPPL style licence. If this happens, I suspect it will actually be recognised worldwide.

                The opportunities for owning and operating a typical 500kg hotship look really good, but we need our representatives to talk to EASA. At the moment, they want to maintain the status quo and keep things as they are. This is primarily because what is proposed will involve the French in more regulation when they currently have none (in microlights).

                Banbis do come up for sale, although very few in the microlight category. The MCR01 is GA on a PFA permit and there quite a few about now. Eurostars are getting into the low 30ks for kit built aircraft and these can be converted to GA merely by fitting an electric fuel pump!! They are excellent value at that money.

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                • #9
                  Worth upgrading to Group A?

                  I trod along unaware for years just how simple it is to obtain an SEP . I took mine two years ago as I had bought a Zenair with a friend as a project. This meant four hours flying and sitting the GA exams. The exams being the more difficult part as they involve Bohemian forms of navigation. The licence does enable me to fly single engined piston aircraft which do not exceed 2000 KG's albeit on the same restrictions as we operate our microlights. I can also carry three passengers. So if I feel the urge I can rent a four seater and let someone else worry about the maintenance and hangarage etc. What it does is increases my ability to fly different types. Out of interest there is a 200 mph single seater on afors at the moment for 4500. This rating would entitle you to fly it................................................ ....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Worth upgrading to Group A?

                    Hi Chris

                    Did you upgrade to NPPL then? How did you manage with 4 hours, given Pete's point:

                    "I looked at this but there is a problem. You can cross train for an NPPL SEP and use 15 hours of either CAA PPL(M) or NPPL (M) as credits. This means that in theory you could do it in 7 hours dual and 10 hours solo, plus GST. "

                    Always a laugh on AFORS. Look under the 'Light Aircraft' category and you will see some flexwings. Some people just can't stop themselves from posting in all categories!

                    Steve

                    PS What's the 200mph single-seater then?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Worth upgrading to Group A?

                      Hi Steve, there is a lot of confusion over cross crediting hours etc. If you have only ever flown flexwing you would need to get yourself up to speed with the darkside (this involves wearing a skirt and frilly knickers as any flexwing pilot knows).
                      I have the PPLA(m). The SEP is an NPPL so I now have two seperate licences. I got up to speed in three axis then had to undergo one hour of dual instrument appreciation. Two hours of stall awareness/spin avoidance training and pass the NPPL (sep) NST and GST. My dual flight time was six hours total start to finish. The exams were covered over a period of two days and are far more in depth than the microlight exams. I have just undergone my first biennial and thoroughly enjoyed it, so did the instructor!

                      The Aircraft I mentioned is a Taylor Titch. Chris.

                      P.S. The wording for cross crediting is thus; Not less than the 32 hours required minimum flight time for the NPPL (SEP) , which may be a combination of both microlight and simple SEP flying.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Worth upgrading to Group A?

                        Thanks Chris - I'm of a mind to start a cross-training FAQ, as this seems to be sop much of a grey area!

                        A Taylor Titch, eh? I'll go have a look.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Worth upgrading to Group A?

                          I kid you not Steve. I would find it very useful to have a definitive guide to cross training to and from our licences. Lasors is next to useless I find. The NPPL website informative but illogical and difficult to comprehend. Roy Hart is the font of all knowledge but must be driven to distraction by constant enquiries. Put a factual and updated conversion chart on this forum and it will generate a lot of interest! Chris.

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                          • #14
                            Worth upgrading to Group A?

                            The Taylor Titch for sale is G-MISS and surprisingly it is MISSing the Engine. it was de-registered about 2 years ago when it was cancelled by the CAA. Here are 3 different versions of the Titch
                            [/b][/b]:PhotoResize() border=0 name=AircraftImage>

                            [/b]

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                            • #15
                              Worth upgrading to Group A?

                              Not a patch on the Rollason Beta which won the design competition though!

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