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BMAA Microlight Open Series
Launched for the first time in 2019 the BMAA Microlight Open Series has been designed to offer a fun flying weekend to all pilots of all aircraft types and experience level. Whilst a typical event would generally span across a full weekend from Friday Evening to Sunday afternoon you are more than welcome to attend it all or simply pick and choose the bits you'd like to do or have the available time to do.
Is this not just a new name for the National Competitions?
There were a lot of really positive aspects to the old Competition series which many pilots enjoyed, but it became quite apparent that there was also a lot of stumbling blocks and hurdles for many people to overcome before really feeling the benefit of taking part which ultimately was stifling the full enjoyment for some taking part. The Open Series has been designed to remove many of these hurdles and place fun at the heart of the event, both in the flying tasks and general feel of the event.
A large part of the National Competitions Series was designed around the international competition standards and the international task catalogue, which is not necessarily entirely a bad thing as Great Britain has an enviable record of success internationally with a long list of World and European Champions and multiple time Champions.
The Open Series has been designed to take the best bits of some competition tasks and make them better, use the fun side of any task and dispense with the over complicated parts. Reconnect each task element with the actual flying skill it was originally designed to promote to include precision landings, short field operation, strong navigational skills and of course good effective use of GPS navigation tools
Is there scope to progress in the Open Series
Yes of course, the core principle is to create un complicated flying tasks for everyone to be able to fly and enjoy but of course some will want to progress and increase the challenge. This is where you decide what elements, if any, you would like to bolt on to each task and how much challenge you'd like to undertake. Everyone's expectations are different and so the tasks should be able to reflect that from someone having a go for the first time to the more seasoned competitors of old.
How much does it cost to take part?
Events are held at locations up and down the country throughout the flying season, each one is organised by a small team of volunteers who Marshall the event, organise food and refreshments all weekend and of course run back and forth to fuel stations to keep everyone topped up as they require. Each event will levy a small entry fee to cover the airfield costs such as landing fee's and camping facilities and then of course you will be required to just pay for the meals you want whilst at the event. Typical cost for the weekend would be £15 entry fee and maybe a further £20 to £25 for all your Breakfast, lunches and evening meals.
Can I compete internationally?
There is no reason at all why you couldn't go on to take part at international level, whilst the tasks flown in the Open Series are designed to be less complicated it is very easy to add in the elements you would typically see at an international event and gain that knowledge and skill level required. If this is something that does interest you then make it known to each event organiser and they will help you tailor your tasks to an international level.
How do I get started?
First, register for the event or even better event's you'd like to attend and simply go along. You dont even have to fly the tasks to join in, there is always a demand for people to help Marshall each event which is a good way of seeing whats involved. Remember you can do as much or as little as you wish, the choice is yours. It is also worth contacting the event director directly. If you have any competition flyers at your local club, talk to them. Then just turn up and have FUN!