British Powered History


Terry Aspinall: "Living in the flat lands and on the east coast of Suffolk, where the highest sand dune measured only around 20 to 30 ft high, and taking a one direction wind (gale) to fly, meant that if I wanted to fly most weekends I would have to travel from one side of the country to the other. On many occasions I remarked to my fellow flyers during different trips, (i.e. David Cook, Brian Griffiths and later my good friend Alan (Snowy) Snowling), that the drive was wasted flying time. It also became a regular comment that as we were driving west it seemed that all the cars towing boats behind them were heading east to the so called calm waters of the east coast. Although having said that I’m sure I could count on the fingers of both my hands the number of calm days on the east coast of Suffolk during a ten year period. I once made the remark that it would be cheaper to change our sport, from wing to sail. Then we would be able to spend more time participating in our chosen sport. At that time flying to New York with Freddie Laker was being advertised at only £50 per trip, maybe that was a cheaper way of getting into the air?".

Terry Aspinall: "Imagine my excitement when the local Norfolk Hang Gliding club started experimenting and playing around with a contraption that just might be able to tow a Hang Glider up in to the air. Oh what thoughts of joy for a flatland flyer. Unfortunately there were many problems and a couple of terrible accidents, two of which I witnessed and both placed a temporary halt on the project for many of the would be flyers. However the inventors carried on regardless, believing in their idea and knowing that they could eventually sort the problems out".

Terry Aspinall: "Then quite by chance and around the same time, word spread amongst the Hang gliding clubs that it might be possible to strap an engine onto the glider or the flyer. This seemed to be an answerer to my prayer, where as in towing several people and contraptions were needed to get you into the air. By strapping on an engine, it was totally down to me. If anything was to go wrong it would be my fault and nobody else would have to be involved. All I needed was a means of getting me in to the air and then I could switch the engine off, look for a thermal and head off into the sunset. (He says with tongue in cheek) Well that was the theory anyway. I don’t mind admitting that I never did switch my engine off and why should I. Who in their right mind would want to go looking for a thermal that might take them some distance, but it might not have been in the direction you wanted to go. No, leave it running and then you could fly anywhere you choose. Whatever the wind direction and conditions, well that was the theory".

Terry Aspinall: "A couple months later I saw an article and photo about Bill Bennett in an American hang glider magazine as a seated pilot and with a power pack strapped to his back. Not quite what I was looking for, but the ideas were starting to flow. I just knew we would get there in the end".


Steve Hunt from Hiway had once mentioned that the powering up of a hang glider was started at Hiway as early as 1975 when he had completed some drawings that coupled a 240 glider and a small VW engine. Lack of money had brought about an end to this avenue of thought, because he did not have high hopes of getting the project off the ground.

It was also during1975 that the Italians also got in on the act when they hung a small Daf car engine from a standard hang glider, not sure as to what the frame carrying the engine looked like.

The French were next with what they called a Valiplane, this used a 210 cc direct-drive engine.

While Franks Tarjanyi ‘Sky Trike’ as Hiway (the manufacturer) ended up calling it, used belt reduction system and a high quality propeller to deliver good engine thrust from a relatively very small engine, the Valmet160cc. That was the engine that most people in the UK picked up on and the race was on, as they say, to get into the air. Although a long airstrip was needed for some of the larger pilots.


Andy Fawcett is usually credited with being the first person to fly a powered trike in the UK. In late 1977 at Mendick Hill with gentle lift from the East he prepared for take off in an Electraflyer Cirrus 5 with a Soarmaster unit powered by a McCulloch MAC 101. The mouth throttle was effectively a clothes peg held in the mouth. As he tensed for take off, he inadvertently bit down on the peg and he was off! He soared around for about half an hour partly because he thought he'd better settle down and find out how the glider handled and also because there was the freedom to fly out in front of the hill and not go down!

Gerry Breen was one of the early hang glider pilots who started experimenting with Power, and mentions how he became involved in an article he later wrote and published called 'Microlighting - The Early Years - Part 1', and is well worth a read".

One of the most famous pictures of the time, and the one that gave most UK flyers the idea, appeared in the French ‘Vol Libre’ hang gliding magazine. Anybody who was serious about powered flying must have seen that one. From then on the wish to add an engine to a hang glider just snowballed.

The next thing most early flyers heard was that Frank Tarjanyi over in Wales while working for Hiway had built a Trike unit, after Gerry Breen had showed Frank the 'Vol Libre' magazine photo.

Frank Tarjanyi: "My original design incorporated a monopole system. However, at the time I was working for ‘Hiway Hang Gliders’ and Steve Hunt who was running the company at the time, was not keen on the idea. As they were paying my wages I ended up building a duo pole system using a Scorpion glider and a McCullock 101. 125 cc engine with a belt reduction system. It was called the 'Sky Trike'. Later the real break through came when the belt reduction unit and a high quality propeller were coupled to a small Valmet160 cc engine that had just become available. It delivered good engine thrust from a relatively very small engine". A combination that most pilots wanted to copy.

Later Frank went to work for Graham Slater and was allowed to build his mono pole design that went on to become known as the ‘Tripacer’. A design that has ruled the sky’s all around the world ever since. Terry Aspinall took delivery of the very first production model and later grabbed the distance record with it, which still stands owing to the weight change rules that took place a few months later.

April. Kerzy Kolecki fly's his back pack powered hang glider. This article appeared in the #35 'Wings' magazine.

June. The Chargus Hang Glider Company released details of a powered flight made by Simon Wooton chief test pilot for the company. To date he had logged one and a half hours, with the longest flight to date being of 20 minutes duration. Although one flight took him up to 2000 feet. His glider was a Chargus manufactured Midas, using a 99 cc McCulloch 92 keel mounted engine with a flexible shaft and a two bladed propeller. Don Liddard was able to capture some of the early flights on camera. It has was also been revealed that they had been working on the project since September 1976.

More of Don Liddards 1977 photos.

September. Len Gabriels turned up at the annual Mere Hang Gliding Championships with what looked like a ducted fan strapped to the top of his A-Frame under the sail. Although it was not flown until January 1978.
24th September. 'Flight International' magazine published an article by Anne Welch, on the development of the motorised hang glider in the UK.


Mean time Len Gabriels was also experimenting with the earlier mentioned engine called the Fan. There seems to have been a couple of different version and at one time he even used two of these units on the same glider. Len used a standard Skyhook 3A glider with a McCulloch 101A engine.

September. Len Gabriels unveiled his latest powered hang glider to the public at Mere. Len also under took a few demonstration flights. Don Liddard was there with his camera to record the event. While at the same event Don also took a few photos of the standard Soarmaster power unit.

9th September. Don Liddard took many photos at Mere.

Chargus also demonstrated their latest powered version of the Midas E at Mere.

November. Len Gabriels built what became known as the 'Bluebird' with a McCulloch 101 engine and drive shaft unit that was fixed under the main keel with the propeller sticking out from the rear of the keel. This combination meant that the pilot could hang in the glider and fly it as with a normal hang glider. This became very successful and was later used when on the 27th August 1979 he flew from London to Paris.

November. Brian Milton crashed while training for his attempt at flying from London to Paris. At the time Brian was flying one of Len Gabriels powered Skyhook Safari gliders. The incident was widely reported by the press including an unknown magazine, although it was not published until 10th March 1979.


18th April. While awaiting the London to Paris air race Gerry Breen attempted a world distance record, and luckily it was documented along with the Air Race. 'Microlighting' by Gerry Breen.

23rd June. The 'Flight International' magazine published an article about Gerry Breen's record breaking 202 mile flight. Flying from South Wales to Norwich Airport on just 4 gallon of fuel.

June. Bertie Kennedy reported that James (Jimmy) Potts from Kilmarnock, became the first person to fly from Ireland to Scotland. James took off from a field in front of the Drumnagreagh Hotel on the Antrim Coast just North of Larne in Northern Ireland and flew 29 miles to Port Patrick in Scotland in a Cirrus/Soarmaster engine combination that he obtained from Brian Harrison of Scotkites/Eurowing in Scotland. Somebody recalled that he was shadowed by a Sea King helicopter that came over from Scotland to accompany him and rescue him if he ditched. Because of the security situation at that time the Sea King was not permitted to land in Northern Ireland, one dreads to think what the taxpayer's bill was. Jimmy had to fly at very low level because of a headwind, but could not put off the flight any longer or he would not have had the helicopter support. Luckily Bertie took a couple of photos as Jimmy prepared for take off.

25th August. The London to Paris first powered Hang Glider air race took place.

Don Liddard has photos taken during 1979.

8th September. The 'Flight International' Magazine' published an article about the London to Paris powered hang glider race that took place on 25th August and featured Gerry Breen.

One of the founding members of the Norfolk Hang Gliding Club, Greg Thompson was reported to have taken delivery of Hiway's No 001 production model Trike unit coupled to a Super Scorpion hang glider.

Terry Aspinall: Two of my flying friends from the Norfolk Hang gliding club leaked out a story that they were also building a Trike. This got the better of me and I secretly drove up to Norfolk to visit Ray Watering and Mick Starling and sure enough they had secretly almost completed building a Trike. That was me sold right there and then. However it took me many more hours to talk them into helping me build what turned out to be my very first Trike unit, powered with a Valmet160cc engine. The Trike was then strapped to a Birdman Cherokee hang glider. The day I did my first 200 meter flight (hop) down Ipswich Airport runway changed my life forever. And the rest is history as they say. Although the Norfolk connection does not end there, because around the same time Mike Pulford another flying member of the club, secretly retreated to his parents back yard shed with the sole intention of trying to come up with his own idea as to how a hang glider should be powered.

3rd November. The 'Flight International' magazine published an article reporting on the rapid growth of motorised hang gliding and of the direction they believed it to be heading.

18th November. Saw the winding up of the Powered Hang Gliding Club and the formation of the British Minimum Aircraft Association.

2nd December. Don Liddard came across this Microlight when we went flying down the Warren, Dover Clifffs. The Pilot was planning to fly to France, however Don has no idea as to whether he made It, or who he was.



January-February. The first edition of the #1 'Flight Line' published by the newly formed BMAA (British Microlight Aircraft Association). Index Page for all the magazines displayed on this web site.

UAS (Ultralight Aviation Systems) brought out their Storm Buggy powered by a 22 hp two stroke engine, coupled to a three bladed nylon propeller via an extremely efficient and reliable toothed timing belt reduction drive, and claiming a 50 mph cruise speed.

March-April. The #2 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published displaying a front page photo of the first Hiway prototype Skytike, while on the back was an advert for the production power unit that was selling for £780.00 plus vat, and the Super Scorpion 2 glider that was selling for £590.00 plus vat.

At that time the BMAA committee consisted of Steve Hunt Chairman. Paul Baker, Ashley Doubtfire, Brian Harrison, David Kirke and Dave Thomas magazine editor.

21st May. The Daily Mail national newspaper published an article about a David Kirke who was a founding member of the then so called 'Dangerous Sports Club' while attending Oxford University. David along with two fellow students had been attempting to fly from London to Paris, crossing the English Channel in powered Pteroldactyl's. Unfortunately he crash landed in an orchard some where in Kent while his two companions eventually made it to the coast but bad weather prevented them from continuing the trip.

May-June. The #3 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

Don Liddard's collection of photos taken during 1980.

Hiway Hang Gliders imported the Hiro-Delta power units for their early trikes, and for selling direct to the general public.

7th to 8th June. Has to be the date that powered hang gliders became a reality to many many would be flyers from all over the country, as they all flocked to Wellesbourne Airfield to be dazzled by an array of different powered hang gliders. It was like unlocking Aladdin's cave door as they witnessed many different combinations of glider powered up with different engines. From that one meeting I'm sure that most of the serious pilots who wanted to go down the road of power, went away knowing the path they would be taking to get into the air from an airstrip, rather than the side of a hill. On display was a brace of Eagles and Pteradactyls, A fledgeling powered with a soarmaster, a USB 440cc Storm Buggy capable of carry 2 people, a Vortex prone trike, a Quicksilver, a Skytrike, a Chargus Fuji-powered trike with three blade prop and I'm sure there were more".

Mainair Sports Ltd released details of their Tri-Flyer trike unit and information as to what glider it could be coupled up to.

21st July. The Lands End to John O'Groats air race took place. This was the first big race that brought national interest to the sport and was well attended by entrants.

Mainair Sports Ltd released their parachute system known as the Life-Pak.

July-August. The #4 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

23rd to 25th August. The first Popham Fly-in took place and was well attended.

3rd to 5th September. The Mere hang gliding meeting attracted several different powered units ideas, one of which was Greg Stokes. During the weekend Nick Wriggerly and a small group (5) of his friends all flying his UAS Storm Buggys spent the weekend flying around the area showing off what the machine could do. While Graham Slater had left something important behind at his factory, and flew home on one of his Typhoon Tri-pacer's. By the time he returned to Mere it was almost dark, and a few friends managed to guide him in to the riffle range landing strip by torch light. Photos from Greg Stokes of his involvment with his Trike units.

27th to 28th September. A fly-in was held at Holker Hall near lake Windermere.

September-October. The #5 Editon of 'Flight Line' was published.

4th to 5th October. The Norfolk Hang Gliding Club held its first air race. Unfortunately the weather was not kind and a strong wind blew most of the weekend and some pilots left for home early. The eventual winner was Allan Weeks from Bedfont in Middlesex, while Mark Southall from the west country came second and Les Ward from Wales came third. Terry Aspinall wrote an article for Flight Line about the event and there was also local and national newspaper coverage of the event. The NHGC also included an article in their monthly News Letter. Photos of the event were taken by Terry Aspinall.

Len Gabriels designed and produced his own engine.

November-December. The #6 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

November. Hiway Hang Gliders releasted details of its latest Skytrike.

21st December. Dave Jones while performing radical aerobatic manaeouvres on a Mk2 Hiway Skytrike, coupled to a large Solar Wing, the wing broke up and crashed. Dave was killed by the impact with the ground.



January-February. The #7 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

By 1981 there were five manufacturers in the UK offering powered units. 'Hiway Hang Gliders', 'Hornet Microlights', 'Skyhook Sailwings Ltd', 'Flexiform Skysails' and UAS. With 21 active well attended clubs. including the Suffolk Microlight Aircraft Club.

March-April. The #8 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

Ultra Sports annouced their latest Trike the Tripacer.

14th April. The 'Flight International' magazine published an article 'How Do You Define A Microlight' It goes on to explain the rules in layman's terms, and is worth a read.

18th to 20th April. A fly-in was held at Langar Airfield 11 miles S.E. of Nottingham.

2nd to 9th May. A Powered Hang Glider meeting took place at Shanklin on the Isle of White, and most active flying members from all over the country attended. Known as the Shanklin Festival and National Hang Gliding Rally and it was sponsored by Levi's. During the Rally a meeting took place to vote on a future name for the club, at that time being known as the 'British Minimum Aircraft Association'. There were three names up for the vote, 'Minimum'. 'Microlight' and 'Ultralight', all three names were highly supported and at times the meeting became quite heated and got very loud, but in the end as you all know 'Microlight' was agreed on. It was also a time when the club was nearly hi-jacked by some and delivered into the hands of the Air Authorities. The following years that many early flyers enjoyed owe a lot to common sense that prevailed at that meeting. It was members who already held a Pilot Licence's that wanted future Microlight pilots to go down the same road they'd had to travel, and a costly one at that. On a sad note, it rained almost every day and flying time was a little limited. There was an official program of events and a Shanklin badge issued to commemorate the meeting. A selection of photos taken during the event of the Fuji Robin Tripacer by Don Liddard.

More photos from Don Liddard of the Shanklin meet.

Don Liddard with a Hiway Sky Trike.

Tony Prentice mated up a trike and bow spit hang glider wing (Sigma) in 1981. Both the trike and the wing were made by Southdown Sailwings.

5th May. The BMAA brought out a Pilot Certificateof Competence.

11th May. The British Experimental Aircraft Association held its first fly-in at Ipswich airport in Suffolk. Microlights were invited to attend, although only Terry Aspinall flying his UAS Storm Buggy was the only one to take up the offer and generated a lot of interest on the field, and later in the press.

May-June. The #9 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

Noel Whittall published an article about hang gliders and trikes sharing the air space.

A collection of photos taken by Don Liddard during 1981.

25th May. Frank Tarjanyi had a serious accident while running an engine on his trike, testing its thrust. The safety wires were not attached and the trike folded. The propeller hit Franks head twice causing severe concussion, and requiring over 40 stitches. Luckily his skull was not fractured and he did not experience any brain damage. Frank was not the only casualty during 1981, there were two or three other un-reported cases of pilots hands making contact with propeller.

1st June. Rodney Blois of Blois Aviation was importing the Rotec aircraft from the USA and operating from a field close to his stately home in Yoxford Suffolk. Rodney held a PPL and had many hours flying conventional aircraft under his belt. However, this was his first flight in a microlight and was under instruction from David Cook. After completing several circuits flying one of his Rotec microlights and accompanied by Terry Aspinall flying along side of him in his UAS Storm Buggy. He made a text book approach to land. However, just as he touched down a gust of wind caught him and he failed to stop where he wanted, and one of his wheels dropped into a small ditch and the Rotec rolled over and he sustained leg injuries. Unfortunately the incident attracted some bad publicity, something the press of the day jumped on and milked immediately.

July-August. The #10 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

29th to 31st August. The second Norfolk Air Race took place. It being quadrangular course taking in Felthorpe to Norwich Airport, to Snetterton to Swanton Morley, and back to Felthorpe. Felthorpe airfield takes all wind directions and competitors were encouraged to use the camping facilities during the three days of the competition. The race was won by Gerry Breen flying a 440cc Kawasaki powered Mirage.

29th to 31st August. Popham held another Microlights fly in.

11th September. A microlight crop spraying demonstration took place at Winterbourne Gunner near Salisbury, by John Long flying one of Nick Wrigley's Storm Buggies, coupled to a double surfaced Solar Wings Typhoon. The buggy was also fitted with two 5 gallon canisters which fed two rotary spray heads located at the extreme ends of a horizontal strut situated to the rear down tube. The whole idea belonged to Trevor Buckell-May who had designed the unit. The demonstration was flawless and was a great success. However, the C.A.A. soon put the dampers (as usual) on the idea and UK farmers were not allowed to take advantage of idea, that would have been well worth following up. Its also worth noting that the BMAA could not help because at that time they were only in existence to promote Microlight flying as a sport.

Tony Prentice coupled a Sigma Wing to a South Down manufactured trike.

12th to13th September. The 'Great Microlight Air Show' was held at Enstone Airfield 18 miles North West of Oxford.

13th September. John Pilkingtion and James Potts flying a Chargus Titan with a 432cc Fuji Robin trike, became the first to fly the English Channel in a dual seater microlight.

September-October. The #11 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

22nd November. The BMAA held its AGM at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

10th December. An article headlined 'Dodging Jams' was published in one of the National Newspapers about Nick Kirby who had come up with the novel idea of delivering his products by air while flying his microlight.

November-December. The #12 Edition of Flight Line was published.



January-February. The #13 Edition of Flight Line was published.

27th January. Bob Calvert broke the altitude Record by flying his Mainair Sports Tri-Flyer, fitted with a 330cc engine coupled to a Solar Wings Typhoon 166, to 16,000 feet above Blackburn.

Skyhooks came out with its own small engine, designed and built by Len Gabriels. A 260 cc single cylinder, air cooled two-stroke with 25 BHP at 6000 rpm, with electric start weighing 46 lb and costing £296+vat.

March-April. The #14 Edition of 'Flight Line' was puiblished

30th April to 3rd May The Shanklin Festival organised by Peter Scott was held on the Isle of White. The event was very wet and buffeted by strong winds, so not many pilots took to he air. Geoff Ball being one of them when he was talked into it by a local lady who wanted to see her house from the air. Tony Prentice flying his Sigma/Skytrike stayed aloft for 1 hour 13 minutes.

11th May. Ian Stokes and Barry Gordon flew from Lincolnshire to Cornwall in a two seater Quicksilver MX. A distance of 300 miles (480km) in Ten hours, using 20 gallons of fuel.

Tony Prentice teamed up with Peter Scott on the Isle of white, combining Peters hang glider with a Swedish designed Motolotnia White Eagle back power pack that belonged to Derek George.

8th to 9th May. The Micro-Aviation fly-in was held at Long Marston.

May-June. The #15 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published

The 1982 Norfolk Air Race was announced to be held at the Royal Norfolk Show Ground on 11th September. Copies of the Course and Regulations could be obtained from the Norfolk Hang Gliding Club.

18th June. An article was published in the Express and Star Newspaper that included Greg Stokes.

31st July. A Microlight Fly-in was held at Knebworth House Stevenage Herts.

July-August. The #16 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

August. The following is a couple of short quotes from Graham Drinkell from Essex, who along  with Robin Goodwin from the Chargus factory were involved in the development of the powered hang glider.

Graham Drinkell: “Robin Goodwin was an unsung' hero who worked at the Chargus factory, which produced the Midas E, Vortex, Cyclone and many other innovative designs (including a side by side dual micro-light)-awful! Noisy, draggy barndoor!  We built our trike around the Robin 250cc engine, reliable, quiet and with 5 galls of fuel we could fly for 5 hours! The prop and reduction /belt gear were perfectly balanced. We used a 'rose joint for the hang-point, which meant we could yaw the aircraft, say on cross wind take offs and landings. Another nice feature, was the motor cycle type throttle on the A frame bottom bar.  We had a problem when the carb departed its mount and went thro' the prop! More embarrassing, was the throttle being attached to the A frame! As the throttle cable wound round the propellor hub, the A frame violently stuffed into my chest and a sudden descent ensued. I was able to remove the pip pin attaching the throttle stub, there by pitching the a/c only just to land. Apart from the unconventional base-bar mounted (motor cycle type) twist grip throtltle, we employed a 'Rose joint hang point. This meant we could 'yaw our A/C for cross-wind take offs and landings.But if we were really dumb, we could also chop up the flying wires!”

"Monopole trike units. Robin Goodwin (ex Chargus) and myself came up with a similar design and unique engine mount. We used the prototype 'Cyclone (very early floating cross tube HG), a Robin 250cc engine, home built cush-drive reduction gear and wooden prop. This single seater(GMD01) had a 5 gallon fuel tank, over 5 hours endurance and commendable dead-stick sink rate. I climbed to 9000ft in sea breeze convergence over the Essex coast with this a/c 30 years ago!

We further experimented with this design with 2-stroke tuned exhausts-with inevitable forced landings! I trashed the Cyclone H/G when the carb fell off and shredded the wing.. We acquired an early AirWave Nimrod A/C , and had some great fun! The Nimrod also flew well dual, when I 'free flew it, foot launched with friends"

“Found my microlight log book. First entry 'Titan' P1 Robin Goodwin (2 Aug 1982) I test flew the Cyclone/GMD01/G-MJDZ aircraft on 3 Oct 1982 from Elmsett A/F. Lot's of solo flying, including foot launched 'soarmaster/MidasE flights. Got PPL D license in Aug'83. Flew many different combinations of wing/power units with numerous problems! Still the best machine I’ve flown was a Panther wing phase 2 with a 330cc Robin trike (G-MMRC). The Chaser-S is a neat machine, but a pig to rig! I've flown a Quik, P2, but I was' unclear of P1 control-so cannot comment.”

“Robin Goodwin was miles ahead with props and propulsion ideas!.”

1st September. All Microlight Pilots were ordered by the BMAA to hold a current licence to fly. All Microlights were also ordered to be registered (£12) and to display their registration number on the aircraft. They also brought out an Instructors Ratings.

9th September. The third Norfolk Air Race was held at the Royal Norfolk Show ground (Norwich) and was well attended. 1st Geoff Ball & John Hudson (Puma Mk2), 2nd Keith Dickenson (Puma single seat), 3rd Bob Calvert (Puma single seat), 4th Graham Hobson Phil Wyles (Puma Mk2), 5th Mike Hurley (Tripacer330/Flexiform Striker) Mike Lake sent an article to Flight Line magazine of the event.

25th to 26th September. A Micro-Festival fly-in was held at Long Marston.

September-October. The #17 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

1st November. The CAA announced that anyone wishing to undertake crop spraying via a microlight aircraft would need an Aerial Application Certificate. The cost was set at £360, half the cost of an equivalent certificate for conventional aircraft. In addition a charge of £60 per aircraft would be payable when the certificate is granted or renewed. The equivalent figure for conventional aircraft at that time was £175.

19th November. The BMAA annual General meeting was held at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

November-December. The #18 Edition of Flight Line was published.



January. The #19 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

1st February. Sadly Ashley Doubtfire died on this day, although his death was not connected with hang gliding. Ashley was a driving force during the early days of hang gliding when he teamed up with Gerry Breen and he will be sadly missed by all.

Mid February. The #20 Edition of Flight Line was published.

1983. Saw the winding up of two well known well established company's, the largest being 'Hiway Hang Gliders', and 'Soleair'. It seems that they had miss judged the market and were heading in the direction of continuing to use small engines while the market want large engines.

April. The #21 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

Mid May. The #22 Edition of Flight Line was published.

28th to 30th May. The BMAA organised a large fly-in to be held at Woburn Abbey, and covered by National Television, 'Flight Line' and a couple of newspapers. A video can be viewed on the Video page.

Woburn Abbey results:-

Water Bombing - Joint winners. Sally Huxtable (Tripace-Demon) and Terry Aspinall (Tripacer-Typhoon)

Egg Rolling -1st Graham Andrews (Whittaker MW4) with a bulls eye.

Air Race Weight-Shift Class 1st Terry Aspinall (Tripacer-Typhoon). Three-axis class winner Tom Knight (Pathfinder).

Concours d'elegance - Weight-Shift Class winner Terry Aspinall (Tripacer-Typhoon). Three-axis class winner David Cook (Shadow).

Overall Winners - Weight-shift class winner Terry Aspinall (Tripacer-Typhoon). Three-axis class joint winners Graham Andrews (Whittaker MW4) and Tom Knight (Pathfinder).

12th to 18th June. A Lands End to John O'Groats rally was held for microlights.

5th June. Until this time many people had been making long flights around the country, while the official distance record stood at a mere 30 miles. Terry Aspinall flying a Typhoon-Tri-Pacer combination flew a 90 mile triangle from Thorpeness, to Ixworth near Bury St Edmund's to Norwich and back to Thorpeness, in a time of three hours ten minutes. Later Rick Wilson the BMAA records officer managed to get the record ratified by the FAI.

July. The #23 Edition of Flight Line was published.

July. The Civil Aviation Authority brought out a supplement to the Cap 53 rules. For a private pilot's licence (aeroplanes) with a group D aircraft rating, it became known as the microlighter's PPL.

Mid August. The #24 Edition of Flight Line was published.

27th to 29th August. Once again Jim Espin invited the microlight world to his air strip at Popham. This time he presented every flyer with a certificate recording the event.

1st September. An Article in the Norfolk Hang Gliding Clubs monthly newsletter, out lined arrangements for the clubs soon to be held 4th Norfolk Air race.

3th to 6th September. A London to Paris microlight competition was held, starting at Biggin Hill Air field.

10th to 11th September. The 4th Norfolk Air Race took place. Unfortunately the whole event was marred by very strong gusty winds, ranging from 25 to 45 mph. Many pilots being forced down unexpectedly around the course. However, it was won for a second time By Geoff Ball and John Hudson. This year a new class for under 70kg microlights was added, with the first across the line being awarded a prize of £50.

October. The #25 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

November. BMAA held its AGM at Wolverhampton Civic Hall West Midlands.

Mid November. The #26 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.



January. The #27 Edition of Flight Line was published.

1st January. Permits were required for all 70 Kg powered Microlights.

12th January. Anne Welch gave a lecture entitled 'Microlights' to the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

10th to11th March. A Manufacturers display was held at the Popham Airfield near Winchester.

17th March. Terry Aspinall flying Trevor Scott's Mainair Dual Striker attempted to fly from East to West across the country. Taking off from Thorpeness and hoping to land somewhere on the west coast of Wales. Unfortunately weather conditions were not in his favour. He was hoping for an East or Northeasterly to help push him straight across the country, but had to contend with a Northerly. Which eventually took its toll and he ran out of fuel near Shobbdon several miles short of his target, having been in the air for 3 hours and 50 minutes. The attempt had to take place this particular weekend, as Terry knew his friend David Cook was also going to make an attempt the following weekend, with Pete Davies flying his Shadow, from Thorpeness to Cornwall. David had held back one week to allow Terry a chance to try and hold the record for seven days, but it wasn't to be.

March-April. The #28 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

14th May. Following the death of Ashley Doubtfire, although shrouded in mystery at the time, it was not connected with flying. The following is a House of Parliament report concerning his death that was reported on this day, that might be of interest to some visitors to this site.

Mainair Sports Ltd became the first manufacturer in the UK to be awarded the CAA Company Approval, along with the first BCAR Type Approval, making them the leading microlight manufacture in the UK.Their first full production machine was the 'Flash'.

Southdown International Ltd gained the approval of a Section 'S' for their Puma Sprint.

27th to 28th May. AThe BMAA held a fly-in at Woburn Abbey Bedfordshire, the biggest event of the year.

May-June The #29 Edition of Flight Line was published.

Huntair annouced it was bankrupt, owing to very low UK and French sales.

July. The 5th Norfolk Air Race, now a popular event was held and once again was also well attended. Kelvin Woodard from Eastern Airsports Hang Gliding and Microlight Club wrote an article on the race and its well worth a read, as did John Hudson from Mainair Sports. Flight Line also published an article by Kelvin Woodard. The event also added a new class for under 70kg.

July-August. The #30 Editon of Flight Line was published.

The BMAA published an article in the July-August #30 Flight Line magazine, about the FAI Colibri flying awards, that have been in operation for several months. The race was on to be the first flyer to obtain the Gold award. The FAI were to register the first 50 flyers in the UK to achieve the award on a roll of honour.

31st August to 2nd September. A Microlight fly-in and competition was held at Popham Airfield near Winchester.

September-October. The #31 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

November-December. The #32 Edition of 'Flight Line' was published.

A Short History of Micro-Flight Part 1, and Micro-Light Part 2 from Len Gabriels

Copyright Terry Aspinall 2008 All Rights Reserved


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