eNews – January 2014

It’s an old bore, but it’s fascinating

FLYING a Flylight Dragonfly and DragonLite respectively, Ben Ashman and Andrew Bill spent 2.5h filming the remarkable natural phenomenon of the Severn Bore from air, land and water. “The aerial perspective provides a vantage point seldom seen by the vast crowd of spectators who turn up to watch this event. During filming it was interesting to see the formation of whirlpools and a rare sighting of a harbour porpoise,” said Andrew.

Click on the image to view the resultant 18min movie, entitled “Severn Bore Odyssey”. And if you like that, here’s another of Ben having some fun in a DragonLite Fox and DragonSight while the rest of us were suffering from cold turkey in the New Year.

Geoff Hill, Editor

Photo CompetitionPhoto Competition
A NICE round 10 entries this month, in spite of weather that would have a polar bear writing to the Daily Telegraph to complain. As ever, the winners will be in the next MF. VIEW THE FEBRUARY ENTRIES
BMAA spurns Southend expansion bid

THE BMAA has refused to support Southend Airport’s request for more controlled airspace because it adversely affects several microlight flying schools. The LAA has also refused to back the plan. For the BMAA’s full response, click here.

Don’t drive them nuts at Nuthampstead

IF you intend flying into Nuthampstead, please ensure you PPR on 01763 848287, as the Royston Model Aircraft Club has recently started operations there and needs to be aware of your impending arrival.

“We are a large and active club and there could be up to 30 members operating on the site, some with models up to 10kg in weight and with eight-foot wingspans,” said the club’s David Brewster. “We often get light aircraft and microlights turning up unannounced and even doing circuits and bumps before departing. We don’t want to spoil anybody’s fun, so please get PPR and we’ll be able to better maintain separation.” Dave can be contacted on 07514 700728.

Save Panshanger

WHILE we’re on the subject of airfields, the ePetition set up as part of the drive to save Panshanger comes to an end on 5 February. Welwyn Hatfield Council wants to build 700 new homes on the airfield and adjacent land, and the airfield is still about 1,000 signatures short of the number needed to force a debate on the issue. If you haven’t already signed, you can nip over and do so here.

Free publicity: it’s simple

AS member Paul Kiddell has shown, one of the best ways to spread the word is to phone your local paper and invite a reporter up for a trial flight. Much-valued MF contributor Anthony Preston has just used the same principle to great effect to publicize Mid Anglia Microlights, the new flying school at Beccles that he runs with Gary Taylor (pictured). Which we imagine makes Anthony the Biggles of Beccles.

To read the feature in the Eastern Daily Press, click here; or for a rather nice video that the newspaper made of the flight, click on the image above.

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This year I’m going to…

STUCK for a New Year resolution? Brian Milton to the rescue. Browsing through some old files, he came across this speech he gave 13 years ago to the RAeS.

“It proposed 10 tasks, and all these years later, only one has been achieved – Richard Meredith-Hardy over Everest in 2004 – while another, crossing the Atlantic by microlight non-stop, I failed at in 2001,” said Brian. “Judy Leden did fly the Leonardo glider, but it was only partially as the Italian master designed it.”

World champs latest

THIS year’s World Microlight and Paramotor Championships have been confirmed for Matkopuszta, Hungary, on 9-16 August.

The dates for the 2015 European Championships in Poland have not yet been announced. Great Britain and Slovakia are bidding to host the 2016 World Championships, with a verdict to be announced this year.

For a full calendar, click here.

Safety? So far so good

THE good news in January was that, for the third month in a row, there were no GA fatalities in the UK. Indeed, there were only five during 2013. To help keep it that way, click here for a full list of Gasco safety evenings, and here for some useful advice from the US of A.

Belite lives up to its name

BELITE Aircraft in the States has developed an amphibious floatplane that doesn’t require a pilot’s certificate to fly. The single-seat Sealite weighs less than 153kg empty and meets FAR 103 requirements for ultralight float-equipped “vehicles,” as the FAA calls them. It flew on the 110th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk from a grass strip, and water tests are planned soon.

The Sealite is an adaptation of the company’s UltraCub model, with extensive use of carbonfibre in the floats and wing spars. The wings and floats weigh only 9kg each. Mind you, whoever chose the rather unusual camera mounting position for this deserves a good thrashing with a wet lettuce…

Sideways to stardom…

FROM Joan Walsh, a nice job by the pilot of this Brussels Airlines Dash 8 after a go-around due to high winds. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

…or indeed upwards

AS Paul Haxby says, this recent BBC documentary on the first and only balloon flight over Everest reminded him that aviators of several hues, including our own Richard Meredith-Hardy, have gazed down in wonder on the great mountain.

“Maybe it will be done on a paramotor some day?” muses Paul. Over to you, chum. Let us know when you’re ready for takeoff!

Print your own plane

WITH BAe Systems completing a successful test flight for a Tornado jet containing 3D-printed parts and, at the very end of last year, GE and Rolls-Royce using 3D printers for plane parts, it can only be a matter of time before you can print your own microlight.

If you can afford the ink, that is.

Oh no, I can’t look!

FROM Ted Snook, some disturbingly close aerial encounters and some clever little quadcopters.

Fun with wheelbarrows…

…ALTHOUGH as Norman Burr points out, you couldn’t do this in a modern hang glider, as the stall and landing speeds are too high. “The difficulty of landing a modern high-performance hang glider is one reason why paragliders mushroomed in popularity,” says Norman. Thanks to Ted Snook for spotting this.