The BMAA 1993

The year begins with debate throughout the pages of Microlight Flying on the dialogue with the PFA, and on the quality of airmanship demonstrated by pilots taking part in competitions. A third topic to receive an airing was the dominance of Rotax engines in the industry by this time. The reliability of these power units was questioned together with the lack of alternatives as the perception was that the number of engine failures was increasing.

Pegasus won a British Design Award for its Quasar. Features which impressed the judges included the low-noise powerplants, the inflight trim device, the low drag of the trike unit and the use of composites in the undercarriage.

With the opening up of the Eastern Block, microlight pilots could once again fly untested territory. Luc Lefevre, a Belgian pilot, decided to use his three weeks leave to fly a flexwing two-up from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and then onto Russia itself.

Image: No-one could accuse Luc Lefevre of being unprepared...

Microlighting had been taking place in Eastern Europe. In Crimea, enthusiasts had been building and flying illegally their own designs. Hang-gliding had begun to develop from the early 1970s. In 1983, 19 microlights attended an annual meeting in Crimea, by 1987 the event drew 107 entrants. Most machines were fitted with a Soviet RMZ engine of 640 cc. By 1993 the CIS had its own annual microlight and hang-gliding championship. Interest in microlights was high due to the vast spaces and lack of fuel and spares for larger machines.

A group of seven Russians in four flexwings crossed the Bering Strait, a symbolic divide between the old east and west which had never been flown before in a microlight.

Jim Greenshields, of Somerset Microlights, gained himself a place in the history books by being the first microlight pilot ever to land on the top of a moving truck. He described the event as 'a little tricky'.

Image: Jim Greenshields brings his Flash 2 Alpha safely down on a 38 ton Scania.

Brian Cosgrove stood down as Chief Executive Officer on 1st June, but remains with the Association as a Consultant specialising in planning matters. Brian was awarded an MBE for services to the British Microlight Aviation Association in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Jim Bell became the new CEO. At the end of the year, Marcus Edwards becomes the Association's new Technical Editor.

The new Pegasus Quantum was exhibited at the annual Popham trade fair. This was the first modular trike to go into production since the introduction of Section S. It shared many common parts with the Quasar, including the Q2 wing. It was intended that this machine would replace the XL and Q, though the XL was to remain in production for glider towing use.

In July, Eddie Clapham and Steve Slade undertook the first Lands End to John O'Groats flight to be completed in one day. They flew the journey in Eddie's MW6.

The British team were yet again successful in competition. They won the team prize and collected two individual gold medals at the European Championships, held in the Czech Republic. In the single-seater flexwing class, the reign of the Chaser, the undisputed champion for some six years, was threatened by a Czech machine.

Image: The Chaser Beating Stratos with Kohler engine and Moyes wing.

In Flight Line, a member had written to propose that strobes should be made compulsory on all machines. This received an interesting response from a powered parachute pilot, who supposed that he could mount such a device on his head.

In Autumn of this year, two Canadian pilots: William Lishman and Joe Duff, used their ultralights to guide 18 geese on a seven day flight from the Toronto area to Virginia. The flight would be immortalised in print and documentary film, as well as providing the basis for the feature film 'Fly Away Home'.

Image: Crossing the Great Lake, Ontario.

At the AGM there was again discussion about a PFA/BMAA merger. Membership of the BMAA stood at 2464 on 1st October. The Training Committee proposed that the weight limit for microlights be increased to 450 kg and Brian Cosgrove received formal thanks for his work as CEO.

In the exhibition were microlights, hang-gliders and paragliders for the first time. It was said to be the best show ever. At the two ends of the weight-shift spectrum, Medway showed a prototype Honda car engined trike, as well as the budget Raven. Mainair turned out their first kit weightshift for many years - saving the builder £1000 over the factory ready version. The Air Creation Fun GT was almost through type approval for UK sales.