With effect from 1st April 2002, Article 129 of the Air Navigation
Order 2000 defines a microlight aeroplane as follows:
“Microlight aeroplane means an aeroplane designed to carry not more
than two persons which has:
(a) a maximum total weight authorised not exceeding:
(i) 300 kg for a single seat landplane, (or 390 kg
for a single seat landplane for which an individual United Kingdom
permit to fly or certificate of airworthiness was first in force prior
to 1st January 2003),
(ii) 450 kg for a two seat landplane,
(iii) 330 kg for a single seat amphibian or floatplane, or
(iv) 495 kg for a two seat amphibian or floatplane, and
(b) either a wing loading at the maximum weight authorised not
exceeding 25 kg per square metre or a stalling speed at the maximum
weight authorised not exceeding 35 knots calibrated airspeed”
This means that, with effect from 1st April 2002, all UK-registered
aeroplanes falling within this definition are microlight aeroplanes;
(this includes all aircraft previously classified in the UK as
microlight aeroplanes or Small Light Aeroplanes, (SLAs)). It should be
noted that the definition excludes all rotorcraft.
EU Regulation 1592/2002 Annex II excludes microlight aircraft from the
scope of the European Safety Agency (EASA) and these aircraft continue
to be regulated by CAA. However, the description of a microlight
aircraft under the EU Regulation does not include single seat aircraft
with a MTWA above 300kg or aircraft which meet the wing loading limit
included in the UK definition above.
As a result:
1) Single seat microlight aircraft with a MTWA above 300kg may not now
be approved for the issue of a permit to fly. CAA is currently
considering what action is required for single seat aircraft with a
MTWA of between 300kg and 390kg approved before 1 January 2003.
2) Microlight aircraft approved since the start of EASA are required
to meet the stall speed requirement of paragraph b) of the UK
microlight definition above. Aircraft accepted prior to EASA on the
basis of wing loading alone are considered to meet the stall speed
To fly a microlight
aeroplane solo and unsupervised with or without a passenger you must be
in possession of a
NPPL with a microlight
Obtaining the rating
requires the following:
This is naturally the
first question a prospective pilot asks because not only is it the
fulfilment of an aim but the cost plays a large part in the sense that
the more hours needed to satisfy the Examiner then the more will a
pupil have to pay out.
Your mind should be
very clear on this issue as although the law lays down minimums for
achieving these aims, they are simply minimums and the actual time
taken will vary very much according to each individual.
For example, microlight
flying being less expensive than conventional flying, has brought back
many people who flew years ago, perhaps during the war. Although any
previous licence may now be invalid, the basic skills will still be
there (like riding a bike).
Another group of
persons who very quickly progress is the skilled radio control modeller
who has developed the sensitivity and know-how commensurate with flying
These two groups are
more likely to reach solo and licence stage before the newcomer so do
not necessarily make a judgement of your own ability or a budget of
your costings on the laid down minima, it could lead to disappointment.
The important point is
to understand that you will go solo or achieve your licence when you
are safe and competent to do so. Your life and the lives of your future
passengers depend on this philosophy and cannot be measured in hours
Instructing can be a very rewarding job
provided that you have the right mental attitude. In the light aviation
world an instructor must hold a Basic Commercial Pilots Licence and
many instructors do the job as an 'hours- building' operation towards
obtaining their Commercial Pilots Licence and thence on to obtaining an
Air Transport Pilots Licence in order to fly air liners.
At present there is no form of
Commercial Microlight Pilots Licence basic or otherwise so microlight
instructors do the job because it is their chosen way of life, in spite
of the vagaries of the UK weather precluding their chances of ever
making a fortune !.
There are two main instructor ratings.
They are Assistant Flying Instructor (AFI) and Flying Instructor (FI).
The latter category is often referred to as QFI (Qualified Flying
Instructor) although this is not an official term.
To be considered for these two ratings
you must satisfy the following conditions.
- Have held a PPL Group A or Microlight
for a minimum period of 8 months, but must hold a PPL Microlights
without operational limitations before starting the AFI course.
- Have a minimum of 100 hours as Pilot
in Command (PIC) including at least 5 hours PIC on the type of
aeroplane to be used on your AFI Course.
- Pass a pre-entry written examination
and Flight Test conducted by a Microlight Flying Instructor Examiner
(FIE) or a Flying Instructor Course Instructor (FIC) within the 6
months immediately preceding the date of commencement of the course.
- Attend an approved course comprising
no less than 40 hours ground and 15 hours flight training under an FIC
n Instructor at a recognised FIC School A pass is also required in a
theory and flying teaching aptitude test with a Microlight Examiner of
- Have gained not less than 250 hours
experience as PIC of aeroplanes, gliders or hang gliders of which at
least 200 hours must be on microlights.
- Have held an AFI Rating valid for
microlights for at least 12 months and have 100 hours experience
instructing on microlight aeroplanes.
- Have passed a Ground and Flight Test
conducted by an FIE (Microlight) In both cases there are concessions
for those who have experience and/or current qualifications in other
forms of flying.
These are obtainable on application as
they can vary considerably according to the individual concerned.
Normally a club or school giving
tuition will have a Chief Flying Instructor. This is not a rating but
an appointment by the centre concerned and does not signify any special
qualification to the appointee over and above the instructor rating
issued by the CAA.