the BMAA's magazine, had been published six times per year. Almost since the
first edition, readers had requested that the magazine should be published
monthly. However, this was not financially possible. In 1986 though, the BMAA
decided to supplement Flight Line by publishing a Newsletter in the months
between issues. This was to be a much simpler affair, something which could be
produced at Deddington by BMAA staff, rather than using the facilities of a proper
print house. However, it was hoped that it would help sate the appetite of
microlight pilots for information.
This was a year
beset by problems. Controversy first reared its head in relation to the
sub-70kg machines which until this time were still unregulated. The BMAA was
keen to maintain this category in order to enable low-cost, low-performance
machines to be a viable alternative for those not looking for the more
expensive two-seat craft upon achieving their license.
The CAA was to
review the position later in the year. A special interest group had been
established and had devised a plan which would provide for the necessary
quality controls while maintaining the position with regard to Permits.
However, John Hudson, one of the members of the group, radically changed his
position and wrote directly to the CAA to inform them of his concerns. Since
John was so closely associated with microlights, and, through his involvement
with Mainair, with the production of a sub-70kg machine, his concerns had to be
taken seriously. The CAA decided to instigate a full investigation.
The pages of
Flight Line and the Newsletter were full of debate on this issue. Later in the
year members were informed that the exemption for sub-70 kg machines was to be
withdrawn. John's concerns had centered around the ability of anyone to build a
properly safe machine within the limitations of this category of craft, where
so much emphasis was put on weight reduction.
The other big
issue of the year was planning. More and more flying sites were coming under
threat. For some, the simple answer was education - if the public learned to
love microlights as much as microlight pilots did, then they wouldn't object.
Others, however, saw responsibility lying with the pilots themselves. While microlight
pilots continued to fly with little regard for those on the ground, taking part
in dangerous and illegal activity, how could they expect sympathy and support
from the public?
On a lighter
note, the success of Gerry Breen's flying school in Portugal was demonstrated
through letters from newly qualified pilots who had been amongst the first to
take advantage of the opportunities afforded by a kinder climate than that of
pilot won the presitigious Dawn to Dusk competition of the Tiger Club, beating
many competitors with larger and more powerful machines. This was achieved in a
CFM Shadow, flown by Dave Cook and David Southwell, which flew for 8 hr 52 min.
Shadows were to
feature in force this year. The company achieved a Design Council Award for
PHOTO 1: The CFM Shadow, a 3-axis high wing
monoplane designed by Dave Cook and winner of a Design Council Award in 1986.
This was also
the year in which Eve Jackson, also in a Shadow, set off on her epic London -
Sydney flight, reaching New Delhi by the end of the year.
PHOTO 2: By 1986 the Shadow was holder of three
world records: Speed, Distance and Endurance.