Our History - Microlights & Us
Microlights were first introduced to Shobdon airfield in the early 1980s and have had an active presence at the airfield ever since. Swift Light Flight was started in August 2009 replacing Sabre Air Sport which was owned and run by Steve and Gerry Hillier-Jones. Swift Light Flight aims to continue the very high standards of pilot training and airmanship achieved by our predecessors.
Microlighting started in the UK in the second half of the 1970s. The first aircraft being hang glider wings with a seat and eventually wheels for an undercarriage and a small engine attached. These basic Weight Shift microlights formed the basis for the more sophisticated types we see today. During the same period light weight three axis machines were being developed. The Civil Aviation Authority stepped in to regulate the activity in 1982 with the advent of the PPL A (M) microlight pilot licence. This became the National Private Pilots Licence (NPPL) in 2002. Along with the Pilot licence the CAA regulate both the design and the construction of microlight aircraft so that we now have very safe and capable machines to fly. Over the years a strong ethos of safety and airmanship has been developed through the use of the microlight training syllabus and the high level of instructor training. The British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) oversees all things to do with microlighting.
The definition of a microlight:
A powered aircraft that has a maximum takeoff weight of no more than 450 kilograms for a two seat aircraft or 300 kilograms for a single seat aircraft, with a wing loading of no more than 25 kilograms per square foot or be able to sustain level flight at a minimum airspeed of 60 kilometres per hour. The aircraft must be able to carry sufficient fuel for one hourís flight at maximum power. The difference between Flex wing and Three Axis microlight is in the control method. Three Axis microlights are controlled with stick and rudder pedals, these are connected to control surfaces that project into the airflow which will alter the speed and direction of flight. Flex Wing also known as Weight Shift aircraft are controlled by the Pilot moving the weight of the trike unit under the wing. The wing flexes in shape which helps with control. Microlights are designed to be stable and safe to fly.