What is a Microlight? A microlight is a powered aircraft built within the following definition. Maximum all up weight allowable 450 kilograms for two seat aircraft, 300 kilograms for single seat aircraft, maximum wing loading of 25 kilograms per square metre or able to sustain flight at a minimum speed of 60 kilometres per hour or less. There must be a fuel capacity to allow at least one hour duration at maximum fuel consumption rate.

What is the difference between Flexwing and Three Axis microlights? The difference between these types of aircraft is the method that is used to control them in flight. Flexwing aircraft use a system called weightshift which involves the pilot moving the weight of the trike unit, the body of the aircraft, under the wing to control its speed and direction. Three axis aircraft have control surfaces like those on a conventional aircraft, which are operated by a control stick and pedals.

What engines do microlights use?  Because microlights are restricted to a maximum weight most aircraft use lightweight two stroke petrol engines. More aircraft are fitted with four stroke engines as engines of lower weights are developed. Dual seat aircraft usually have engines producing between 40 and 80 horse power.

What fuel do microlights use? Most microlights have petrol engines which can run on unleaded petrol purchased from a garage. Some of the engines are two strokes and require oil to be added to the petrol. If you are based at, or visiting, an airfield with aviation fuel, Avgas, you can use that in most of the engines.

How much does a microlight cost? New dual seat microlights range in price from 10,000 to 40,000 depending upon the type and equipment fitted. Second hand microlights cost from about 3,000 upwards.

How fast do microlights fly? Most microlights fly at speeds between 40 and 60 mph. Some of the newer designs of fixed wing microlights however can fly much faster, up to 150 mph.

How far can a microlight fly? The range of a microlight varies from model to model. A normal range for a flexwing is160 miles in still air, no wind, and most fixed wing microlights are slightly less. Some of the newer designs of fixed wing microlight have a greater range, some quote up to 1000 miles.

Do microlights have radio to talk to air traffic services? Radio is not mandatory on any aircraft flying outside controlled airspace. Many microlights do carry a radio for communication with ground stations. The radio must have a licence, currently 15 per year, and the pilot must have a licence to use the radio.

Can I hire a microlight? Yes although currently only for instructional use or solo pilot flight by licensed pilots.

Who maintains the aircraft? Microlighters can maintain their own aircraft or pay for it to be serviced by specialist personnel. Maintaining your own aircraft keeps the cost of operating the aircraft to a minimum.

Do I have to fly from an airfield? No, you can fly a microlight from any suitable land area with the permission of the owner provided that there is no planning restraint to prevent this use and if there is any controlled airspace above the land you have permission of the controllers of that airspace.

What are the weather limitations for microlight flying? Microlights are best flown in light winds, up to 15 knots, good visibility and not in rain. Microlights cannot be flown at night or in cloud.

Do you need a licence to fly a microlight? In the UK you require a licence to fly microlights. The Licence is called the National Private Pilot's Licence (Microlights). NPPL (M).

The Licence is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, to a candidate who has completed a course of training and has passed the required flight and ground examinations. The Licence is kept current by flying for at least five hour a year and having your log book endorsed by an examiner to confirm your flights. If you cannot fly this time in a year you can fly a flight test with an examiner to revalidate your Licence.

Who can teach me to fly a microlight? Your tuition for the grant of a licence must be conducted by the holder of an instructor rating valid for microlight aircraft. Your examinations must be conducted by an authorised examiner. The BMAA have listings of instructors and examiners.

How many lessons do I need to get a licence? The microlight licence requires at least 25 hours of flight training to include at least 10 hours flown solo. The normal time to reach the standard required to pass the General Flying Test is nearer to 40 hours than 25, although a very few people do manage in the minimum time.

How much does it cost to learn to fly a microlight? The cost of learning varies from school to school and on the ability of the student. You should budget for between 2,500 and 3,000 for tuition fees.

Is there a minimum age to learn to fly microlights? Tuition can be logged towards a licence from 14 years of age. Pilots may fly solo from 16 years of age and may hold a Licence from 17 years of age. There is no maximum age for a pilot.

Do I need a medical? Yes you need a medical certificate. The certificate is a self-declaration of health signed by you and countersigned to confirm your health by your own doctor. There is normally a small charge for the medical ranging from 5.00 to 30.00. The medical remains current for differing times depending upon age.

Is there an association for microlighters in this country? The British Microlight Aircraft Association is a member's organisation which looks after the interests of microlighters in the UK. The BMAA phone number is 01869 338888 or www.bmaa.org.

Where do I find out about my local club? Call the BMAA and they will send you a schools and club list.

Are there microlight competitions? Yes there are club competitions, national competitions and international competitions. The BMAA members magazine "Microlight Flying" has a calendar of events published in it each issue.

Do I need insurance to fly a microlight? Yes you do. As of 2005 it is mandatory to carry third party and passenger liability cover. Insurance will cost around 380 per year.

Can I fly my microlight abroad? Your British licence does not automatically entitle you to fly in other countries however most countries will allow you to fly because you do have a British licence. you should check before planning to fly overseas with the local Aviation Authority. The Permit to Fly is only valid for flight in the UK but again most countries allow you to fly a British microlight in their airspace. Again it is always wise to check before making firm plans. The BMAA will be able to help you with up to date information. Email the BMAA