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Thermally in a microlight

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  • Thermally in a microlight

    Apart from Nano Trikes, how well could you thermal in a two seat trike or typical three axis microlight? Rather than being bumped around by thermals is there any potential to use them? If so, do folks switch off their engines or just let it windmill for fear of it not starting?

  • #2
    As a low hours pilot, if the thermals were strong enough to support soaring in my Thruster, I would not be flying.
    That said, I know it is possible and I'm sure others will tell you they have done it.
    Pete T.

    "A closed mouth gathers no feet".


    • #3
      Speaking of Thruster TST and the trusty AX3 engine off no. Reduce to descent power and oh yes, a lot of fun it is too.

      I have done so many times in the TST, drop the 503 about 4,000 rpm and have fun. I also remember do similar in the AX3, I'd been jogging back to North Weald a found a huge area of sink. I'd lost a good bit of height and was about to power up to regain what I'd lost a wahay the STB wing kicked up. I turned into it and was going up like a lift and thought, hey this is fun and eased the power back. I then noticed a buzzard on the other side of the thermal and he kept station beautifully and we were going up at the same rate. I kept orbiting and the bird made sure that I didn't lose the thermal as we rose gently upwards. All too soon we were nearing the bottom of Stansted airspace and I had, reluctantly to continue my journey. The buzzard, with different rules just continued upwards.

      I regard it as another fun bit of flying, enjoy!

      Edited to add in many 3 axis types the all round vison is not good for enjoying this pleasure, this was the drawback with the AX I had a good look before I started and my neck was swiveling like mad all the time. It was still great though.
      Last edited by Ginge Sunley; 5th June 2020, 11:31.


      • #4
        Most modern microlights soar like bricks and are pulled along by powerful engines (ok, I'm an old cynic).

        To soar a microlight, you need a big wing and low sink rate. I'm not sure there's a modern microlight with that combination.

        Awareness of thermals and their structure can be used effectively to save fuel by cruising through areas of lift rather than plugging through sink.

        In the gliding world they'll 'porpoise' by slowing down in lift and speeding up through sink.
        The pilot formerly posting as MadamBreakneck
        R examiner and TST pilot.


        • #5
          There are of course 3 axis ssdr types. I'd guess the Airplay's Minifox would soar like an angel, it looks a lot of fun anyway.