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  • High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

    After reading the AAIB report into the student flying into the HV wires, makes me wonder if there may have been an element of "look at me" syndrome as he was so near habitation at such low altitude.
    Of course an instructor would never allow a student to go solo unless he was absolutely sure of their capabilities of handling such a machine and I have no experience of a Quik having learnt in a Quantum however I do remember my instructor stating "this accelerates quicker than a Porsche" in a bid to try inject some enthusiasm into my early flights.
    Just wondering how many other incidents have occurred to low hour pilots using the more high power/faster / potentially more demanding aircraft types whilst training?
    Would the "look at me" syndrome be quite so appealing in a slow old machine?
    Maybe a return to XL's and Q's for solo hour building then a conversion onto the more sprightly machines?
    Just trying to open a thoughtful discussion.

  • #2
    High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

    I think in some respects genies can't be put back into bottles.

    Virtually all flex wing training is done on Quantum/Quik types, and students have aspirations.

    If the reward for the competence of solo is to wheel a mid 1980s machine out of the hangar, how keen will they be to continue?

    I went from a Quantum to a Q, and the two flights necessary to convert me ready for solo were rather uncomfortable, and the lower climb rate didn't give confidence on small strip. It ran rather warm two up and PFLs were a bit of a risk... I did the necessary hours pre GST on it solo, then within 4 hours of passing my GST I'd bought the Quantum I learned in. What a relief.

    Messing around with two stroke engines rather than flying doesn't get you an NPPL. Going on your first solo hot and sweaty from trying to start a 462 does not help you remember your final briefing. Pressing the starter on a warm 912 means only a short time from briefing to first radio call.

    Training (even if it's just a familiarisation flight) two up in much older machines discards all the progress made over the last 25 years. It's uncomfortable for both occupants. We bin the engine reliability and power to get out of trouble.

    The big issue for me is the size of strip the new pilot will be at after the NPPL completion and leaving the school. If they will be at a GA sized strip then they can learn on a GT450, buy a GT450 and develop on a GT450.

    It may take slightly longer to get to solo but then it's in a machine that is comfortable and up to date. Schools would like to sell some aircraft, if the student is then incentivised to go and look for an old XL-R, F2 or Q, what chance do they stand of a sale? And if we spoil sales for our factory build manufacturers, will they survive to produce and support the machines we need for training?

    A significant part of an instructor or coach course deals with assessing the student, fostering good habits, and discouraging bad ones. Unless there is a trend emerging, one particular accident can't the the sole reason for not trusting our instructors. They've done a lot to get the rating, and they do a lot more to keep it.

    As for hitting the HV cables, was this not pilot error? Should we blame the machine for this?

    PS. I've never owned or driven a Porsche. All microlights are total sluggards compared to 1 litre motorcycles.

    Comment


    • #3
      High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

      Steve Uzochukwu wrote:

      A significant part of an instructor or coach course deals with assessing the student, fostering good habits, and discouraging bad ones. Unless there is a trend emerging, one particular accident can't the the sole reason for not trusting our instructors. They've done a lot to get the rating, and they do a lot more to keep it.
      Steve, I agree with that bit of your post, of course. As for the rest - "Huh?" I dont really recognise what you're describing. Microlighting still can be the cheap way to get flying. I was talking today to one of the club members at our field about how he had got an old flex wing flying for under a grand. You're talking about GA-lite, not microlighting - and that's not what many of us do.
      Martin Watson
      Microlights in Norfolk
      Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
      07805 716407

      Comment


      • #4
        High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

        Martin Watson wrote: Microlighting still can be the cheap way to get flying. I was talking today to one of the club members at our field about how he had got an old flex wing flying for under a grand. You're talking about GA-lite, not microlighting - and that's not what many of us do.
        Microlighting can still be a cheap way to get flying, but that will not sustain the manufacturers. And if they are not sustained, the future of permit (as opposed to SSDR) microlighting, especially training, comes under threat. Consider the UK with no factory approved flex builders, and with the existing types orphaned.

        Comment


        • #5
          High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

          Steve training is only done now on quantums and quiks but it never used to be. The XL's etc are more than capable of being training aircraft.
          The privilege of having the PPL is to get any kind of aircraft out the hanger or unfold it from the back of the car surely regardless of the age of thing?
          The two stroke versus four stroke argument is only a perception that people have. The perceived indestructible four stroke is in the mind as a well looked after two stroke will give many hours of untroubled service. The PFL is part of the syllabus for all pilots not just two stroke flyers!
          Training is training regardless of what machine it is undertaken in. The cosy seating arrangement in a Q was always a source of great amusement and that is how it should be...fun.
          Factory support for older types still exists so we can't say that they will lose business if slower machines are utilised for training.
          At no point did I say that instructors were not to be trusted. And I most certainly would never say this. I had the utmost faith in my instructor... If I hadn't I would never have flown as I'm scared of heights.

          Comment


          • #6
            High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: Steve training is only done now on quantums and quiks but it never used to be. The XL's etc are more than capable of being training aircraft.
            I didn't say they were incapable. It's a question of fun, comfort and reliability, and for me at just under 90kg and just over 6' 1" in old money, it wasn't exactly fun in a Q two up.

            I owned a Q and did my hours building and some brief two up flights in it. The memory is still fresh.

            The Quantum 912 and later P&M machines have the luxury of 110 kg/seat (up to 200kg combined in the Quantum) which earlier machines do not have. That's quite a few people eliminated from either training or ownership if 90 kg is the limit.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: The privilege of having the PPL is to get any kind of aircraft out the hanger or unfold it from the back of the car surely regardless of the age of thing?
            For sure, but we all have different tastes. And we also need to remember that in the last 25 years, enormous strides have been made in flex wing handling, and trike technology. A significant number would choose those two advantages given the opportunity.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: The two stroke versus four stroke argument is only a perception that people have. The perceived indestructible four stroke is in the mind as a well looked after two stroke will give many hours of untroubled service. The PFL is part of the syllabus for all pilots not just two stroke flyers!
            Yes, but you won't be doing many PFLs in a 462 Q two up without doing a real one unless it has the tall radiators. 4 strokes aren't indestructible but there are very few two strokes on the same crank after 2,000 hours. This is not a 2 v 4 stroke argument, more an acceptance that they both have their good and bad points, reasons to buy or not, for a 40 hours a year pilot the 2 stroke will be cheaper. For an instructor the opposite, and the reduced service intervals and down time mean more flying.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: Training is training regardless of what machine it is undertaken in.
            Fraid not, old bean.... I've spent a fair proportion of post NPPL instructor fees on specific type instruction, AX2000 conversion after only three axis experience and conversion on C42, for example. You've just postulated that training in older, slower, less demanding aircraft would be a good idea, now you're contradicting yourself.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: The cosy seating arrangement in a Q was always a source of great amusement and that is how it should be...fun.
            I'm afraid we'll have to agree to differ. I found the Gemini and Classic both less than ideal, but they both had the improvement one up that transformed them. The Q became comfortable in single seat mode, and the Gemini became brilliant.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: Factory support for older types still exists so we can't say that they will lose business if slower machines are utilised for training.
            Factory economic viability depends on sales of new aircraft, I doubt it's viable purely on spares for older types, those in leisure hands being SSDR candidates.

            Dominic Pecheur wrote: At no point did I say that instructors were not to be trusted. And I most certainly would never say this. I had the utmost faith in my instructor... If I hadn't I would never have flown as I'm scared of heights.
            That's not what I mean. I was simply saying that trust for our instructors means the machines they use for training, the stuff they solo us on, and when they think we are ready.

            Why do you think the current crop of instructors use what they do?

            Comment


            • #7
              High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

              Because there is no faith in two strokes...everyone wants to own the fastest machine going and instructors/schools would like the biggest cut they can from a sale. 1800 Q or 20k quik mmm I wonder. This all goes back to the very ethos of Microlighting...cheap and affordable. I wonder if the school of the aircraft that hit the power lines are saying that now?

              Comment


              • #8
                High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                Dominic Pecheur wrote: Because there is no faith in two strokes...
                Dominic I dont think thats fair. A well maintained two stroke is no problem at all. Schools tend to use four stroke engines because the fuel consumption is better and that makes economic sense for a school when aircraft do lots of hours - but not so sensible for the average private pilot.

                The problem (as I see it) is that when pilots are qualified they think they need to own the same sort of aircraft as the one they trained on, when in fact thats not the case.

                Despite what Steve is saying there are a good number of schools (mine included) that use older machines. Why? Cos thats what our customers can afford to buy themselves. It may be a niche in what is already a small market, but it works.
                Martin Watson
                Microlights in Norfolk
                Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
                07805 716407

                Comment


                • #9
                  High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                  Dominic Pecheur wrote: Because there is no faith in two strokes...everyone wants to own the fastest machine going and instructors/schools would like the biggest cut they can from a sale. 1800 Q or 20k quik mmm I wonder.
                  I've just bought a 2 stroke. It's not a matter of faith or no faith, it's a question of understanding limitations and advantages. We would all like to own the machine that would give us the most pleasure. I want my instructors locally to have an economically viable future, and that will not exist if they are only dealing in second hand Qs at 1,800. They do need the cherry on the cake new sale once in while. So far I have yet to deal with a school where I did not get value for money.

                  Dominic Pecheur wrote: This all goes back to the very ethos of Microlighting...cheap and affordable.
                  Affordable is a personal attribute. I would like microlighting to remain as cheap as possible, but cheap will only come with effort, and if some choose to pay others to fix stuff, or buy new rather than second hand, why would we criticise that? Without the that first new buyer 20-something years ago, would we now have that 1,800 Q? No.

                  Martin Watson wrote:
                  The problem (as I see it) is that when pilots are qualified they think they need to own the same sort of aircraft as the one they trained on, when in fact thats not the case.
                  What about the seduction of something nice that you simply want? I have tried it your way, and it wasn't much fun for me. The Q was nice in the air but limited two up, on comfort and on climb. A 582 Quantum is 2 to 3 times the price, but so much more fun, for me personally. I ended up stretching to a 912 in the end. It's served me very well.

                  Martin Watson wrote: Despite what Steve is saying there are a good number of schools (mine included) that use older machines. Why? Cos thats what our customers can afford to buy themselves. It may be a niche in what is already a small market, but it works.
                  I stand corrected. I've only ever seen schools using Quantums onwards in the UK, or BioniX in in France.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                    One mans meat is another mans poison. Steve, most things you want in microlighting are most things I don't want! The "market" decides what the manufacturers produce but unfortunately that is at the expense of the concept of the spirit of what microlighting was in the first place. However in many people's eyes (not mine) that is considered progress. The gliding world is a more developed example of where this microlighting trend will end up. We will continue "progressing" until we have made ourselves unavailable to those we were designed to appeal to in the first place. These Quiks are just about affordable to the current generation of microlight pilots but where do you go next? If things like the PulsR are the next step then the gliding worlds angst is where we are heading. That increase in weight from 390 to 450kg was the start of us losing our direction. We were blinded by a little bit of temptation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                      Ian White wrote: That increase in weight from 390 to 450kg was the start of us losing our direction. We were blinded by a little bit of temptation.
                      The other side of the coin is that 390 to 450 kg opened up microlighting to people who would have been excluded by the 90 kg per set that more or less came with it, times would have been tough/impossible for some 3 axis aircraft, and if you're saying that a large number of the register shouldn't exist then I think that a fair proportion of people would beg to differ. No Skyranger, Quantum 912, GT450, BioniX, the list goes on. Flying anything two up, especially 3 axis at 390 kg requires a much older aircraft, and even then, not much fuel and anything else carried or creativity with numbers.

                      If you want the sort of flying you speak of but something more modern, then you can do worse than simply check out Flylight's catalogue. Minimalism or fully specified, light, slow or fast, everything with a modern touch to it. The market offers you the QuikR and the FoxCub, and everything in between.

                      Despite the love for these older microlights, it took 7 months to sell my Q and it went for 1,800.

                      Put a 912 Quantum on AFORS at the right price and see if it's there for more than 48 hours..... ;-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                        But a Quik GT450 is cheaper than an older two stroker.

                        For a schools bank balance overall anyway - 912 costs less per hour fuel, less than half in maintence and will run for many multiple times the two stroke TBO.

                        And there is less downtime for maintenance - which means less lessons lost.

                        And a GT450 is more weather capable than an XL / flash / Raven - you will win 20-30% more training days.

                        And there is far less chance of an engine failure and ensuing risk to the airframe and frayed nerves for instructor. When we were running two strokers we used to average an engine failure with an off airfield landing around even 600 hours. Since going four stroke at our school we have flown around 13000 hours with no off airfield engine failures. That's a massive plus.

                        And airframes have moved on, a modern machine is more robust and will do more hours before needing parts replaced due to wear and tear.

                        And most of the older two strokers have a max occupant weight of 90kg. That's not so much when you subtract the weight of winter flying gear, helmets etc. With the GT450 we can take a 110kg student.

                        And is a GT450 harder to fly than an XL? - swings and roundabouts - more speed range to manage. But easier to fly in wind and thermals. Training time to license similar. Less lost training days due to weather = equals less student demoralisation.

                        Seating - whilst a Q's seating might be 'funny' it's not fun - it's bloody uncomfortable and leads to long term back problems for instructors and boll***k ache - you might think that's funny but trust me the humour wears off

                        Are students more likely to be hooligans when solo? - I can't really see why. This chap was low flying for the buzz. If he would have been in an XL why would he not have been doing the same?

                        Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                          Steve, many of the issues you mention (such as comfort, etc) would have been engineered out through time so referring to 390kg machines from that era against current 450kg machines is not a fair comparison. The increase in weight robbed us of the natural evolution of the 390kg machine. We undoubtedly would have had some equally impressive stuff. We would also hopefully have had the original mentality of pilot... the man who had the aspiration to enjoy pulling his own machine out of his own garage and fly from a friends field rather than the airfield based, hanger dependent pilot who really wants a group A style aircraft. The concept that formed the spirit of what we do does not exist in numbers today because we expanded to allow those that were actually wannabe group A pilots to have a slice of our pie. I am glad you like this version of progress but it was at the expense of the rest of us.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                            Evolution? No, if it were to have happened, in those days, the bureaucracy would have strangled it at birth.
                            Aviation has moved on since 1903.
                            If you place microlighting to have started around 1973, it has been around for more than forty years.
                            Kitty Hawk to ME262, chronologically.
                            History is (for the most part) bunk and today's student wants comfort and performance, as has been stated many times on this forum.
                            The higher the performance offered to students, the more you'll get signing up.
                            Without the "wannabe group A pilots", where would the sport be now?
                            Rhetorical question; I don't want to know. We have what we've got and most of us will always be wanting more.
                            The fact that the BMAA is getting it, the CAA is giving it and the EMF is mooting even more MTOW should be cause for rejoicing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              High performance training aircraft, yes or no?

                              That's a lovely idea Tom but if you take a look at a more developed model such as the BGA you will see that the system eventually runs out of people coming in at the bottom.

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