The BMAA 1986

Flight Line, 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 Later in the year members were informed that the exemption for sub-70 kg machines was to be withdrawn.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 the UK.

A microlight 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 this microlight.

Image: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.

Image: By 1986 the Shadow was holder of three world records: Speed, Distance and Endurance.