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Microlight Flight Experience Days

Microlight Experiences: Everything you need to know

A flying lesson in a microlight is an altogether different experience to flying a plane, a stunt aircraft, a helicopter or even a glider.

Pick up a voucher for a one-hour microlight flying lesson, and you’ll learn to master this unique combination of hang-glider and tiny plane. First comes the safety tuition, which is fairly important when it comes to flying. Then you’ll take to the skies.

Throughout your microlight flying lesson, you’ll be accompanied by an experienced, qualified tutor who will keep you safe throughout. If he or she feels you’re ready, they’ll hand over the controls so you can play pilot. You’ll love the sheer thrill of learning to manoeuvre these nifty little craft with the wind very literally in your hair and your heart in your mouth.

Microlight flights are available at a range of locations in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, including County Armagh, Devon, East Lothian, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Herefordshire. The minimum age varies, but your child will certainly need to be 14 or over: check with the venue when you book, just to be sure. There’s no maximum height for microlight experiences, but some locations do impose a maximum weight limit.

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Q: I know ‘micro’ means computer and ‘light’ means light, so I assume this is some sort of light that goes on your computer?
A: No, we don’t really sell those. This is a flying experience in a microlight, the rudimentary flying machine involving a small cockpit, a few wheels underneath and a super large wingspan to keep you in the air.
Q: So it’s like a motorised hanglider?
A: Some are a bit like that, others are more sturdy and resemble small planes. It depends on what kind of experience you go for.
Q: So there’s more than one?
A: We have many! Some are more instructional types, where you can learn to handle the craft from our qualified pilot, or not if you don’t fancy it. Though your session will count towards total flying hours should you continue training as a microlight flyer. Otherwise you can just enjoy this exhilarating, unique experience and see some glorious countryside from an incredible vantage point.
Q: Can I throw my hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care?
A: We prefer that you didn’t. Safety is obviously taken very seriously with microlight flying. Our instructors have hundreds of hours of flying time under their great big belts and the locations are regulated by groups such as the CAA and BMAA. All safety equipment will be provided on the day.
Q: How long will I be dangling up there?
A: Depends on the experience you decide upon, usually flight time is around 20 to 30 minutes, but there are others that last about an hour.
Q: I was recently featured as part of Channel 4’s Bodyshock series, so…
A: Let us just stop you there. In some of the microlights, space is quite tight, so there may be height and weight restrictions. Again it depends on the experience, so check the small print on the page or ask us or the supplier if you have any worries.
Q: I’m trying to scare my son straight, will this do it?
A: Probably not, unless he was involved in some sort of microlight related crime. But we do have experiences available for children as young as 10, though they may need to be accompanied by an adult.
Q: What if it’s all raining and that?
A: Obviously the microlighting is weather dependent, due to the nature of the craft, so it’s always best to check on the morning of your adventure to make sure everything is going to happen. If there is a postponement due to the conditions, your experience will be rebooked.

Fun Facts

  • 1. The Italian for microlight is Ultraleggero, which I’m sure is also the name of a website I accidently visited once.
  • 2. Some of the earliest aircraft, such as the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, could be considered microlights, except back then you could probably smoke in them.
  • 3. The first microlights of the modern era were actually hang gliders with small engines attached, which were known as ‘powered hang gliders’. Obviously hang gliders are just incredibly lazy at naming things.
  • 4. In the 1960’s, a NASA research scientist, Francis Rogallo, designed a collapsible delta wing which he hoped would be used on the fledgling Space Shuttle. Though it wasn’t utilised, the design was adopted by Microlight pioneers for their craft. So when you get in a microlight, you are basically flying a space vehicle. Just make sure you make the appropriate noises.
  • 5. You need at least 25 hours of instruction for a microlight pilot’s licence, while it’s 40 for a light aircraft. And yet you can get a television licence instantly. Where is the justice in that?
  • 6. The altitude record for a microlight stands at 6250 metres by Karen Skinner in 2013. Flying over the Pyrenees, she only abandoned her ascent when the unbearable cold affected her control, completely dispelling that whole ‘cold hands, warm heart’ thing.
  • 7. The initials CGS in famed microlight company CGS Aviation stands for Chuck’s Glider Supplies, after its founder Chuck Slusarczyk. Why not Slusarczyk Microlights? That’s got a nice ring to it.
  • 8. Most microlights only need around 50 to 200 metres of hard ground or grass to take-off and land. So if you had a big enough lounge, you could probably do it there.
  • 9. In 1998 Brian Milton became the first person to fly a Microlight around the world. He achieved this in 80 flying days over a period of 120 days. He joins the mighty legion of other famous Brians which include Brain May, Professor Brian Cox and Brian the Snail from The Magic Roundabout.