The BMAA 1997

At the start of the year, Dave Bremner, Microlight Flying Editor, voiced the fear that the European standardisation of the microlight definition would result in more expensive, sophisticated aircraft needing more instruction. However, he balanced this with optimism for these changes to boost British aircraft manufacturers exports.

CFM, manufacturers of the Shadow, one of the most successful early designs of 3-axis machines which had been used for many of the early long-distance journeys, went into liquidation. However, later in the year, the Shadow was reborn, being manufactured by the new CFM Aircraft Ltd.

The BMAA moved across the road in Deddington to new, larger premises. Questions centred on what to do with the large, empty cellar...

Brian Cosgrove, the BMAA's Planning Consultant, was able to record three successful Department of the Environment planning appeals: Packington (Leics) Hadzor (Worcs) and Haywood Lodge Farm (Worcs). These would provide very useful precedents for future appeals.

Despite much discussion and anticipation, there was no news yet of the promised European 450 kg all-up weight for microlights.

Flight tester Keith Wingate was much impressed with the specification of the New Zealand Bantam, and Paul Dewhurst revisited the Thruster, with and without nose wheel. Paul found the new version Thrusters impressive, enjoying the tail-dragger the most. The new models were said to represent excellent value for money and were great fun to fly, performing exactly as advertised.

Image: New Zealand's Bantam, a side by side two-seat high wing monoplane with conventional 3-axis control. In test it was found to be of excellent build quality with a handy turn of speed. A model which could suit a lot of people.

Three British pilots finished a 10 000 mile circumnavigation of Australia in their Pegasus Quantums. Keith Ingham was asked for his justification for taking three weeks off work and replied 'I've never heard of anyone on their death-bed who said I wish I'd spent more time in the office'.

Image: Flying over the south coast of Victoria between Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota.

The long-distance test flight theme, begun the previous year, continued when an AX2000 was flown from Wallingford to Bassano. The testers obviously enjoyed the journey as while they were supposed to trailer the aircraft back, once they were the right side of the Alps they re-rigged the machine and flew it home.

Image: The AX2000 - a side-by-side two-seat high-wing monoplane.