What we do
The BMAA is a members' organisation that exists only to benefit the members. Over the years the BMAA has influenced the legislation that governs microlight flying in the UK, always looking to guide its development to be the most beneficial for the members. The BMAA also provides an information source for microlight pilots and organises or supports flying events to encourage skills development and a social side to the sport.
Airworthiness and pilot licensing
When microlight flying first started in the late 1970s aviation legislation was inappropriate for very lightweight simple aircraft. The BMAA formed partly to represent the new breed of pilots and protect them from growing regulation that threatened to stop the development of this new sport aviation.
The BMAA negotiated the pilot licensing requirements that are still used today. Although the aircraft have become more capable than the early microlights it is a tribute to the syllabus that it is still valid today. The BMAA sponsors a Training Committee that reviews training requirements and provides help and advice for microlight instructors helping to maintain high flight safety standards. The BMAA is approved by the CAA to make recommendation for the issue of microlight pilots' licenses.
When early microlights caused safety concerns as the result of a couple of poorly designed aircraft the BMAA was involved in the development of a design code that is still applied to microlights to ensure their structural integrity and safe handling properties. The BMAA is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to review aircraft designs and approve them as compliant. The BMAA Technical Office is able to do this for a considerably lower fee than the Civil Aviation Authority and so both members and manufacturers benefit. Lower costs help to keep microlight flying affordable.
On-going airworthiness of two seat microlight aircraft is another responsibility of the BMAA. The Chief Inspector coordinates the activity of volunteer inspectors to help members keep their aircraft airworthy and runs courses to help improve members' understanding and knowledge.
Flight Safety is of primary importance. The aircraft themselves are now inherently safe due to compliance with airworthiness standards. The usual cause of an accident is an error made by the pilot, or just simple bad luck. The BMAA Safety Officer promotes safe flying techniques and works with the Training Committee to continuously improve training standards and pilots' safety awareness.
Publications and media
The BMAA has several avenues for publications. Every month a full colour magazine is sent to all members. The magazine has news items, reports on flights and aircraft, reports on competitions and events and contributions from the staff as well as a report on the activity of the BMAA governing Council. Microlight Flying magazine is a great way to keep in touch and find out what is going on.
The BMAA also publishes a monthly eNewsLetter. The eNews is sent free to any subscribers and contains further information with the benefit of being able to link to outside information sources, films and images.
You will have found the BMAA web presence. The BMAA web site is an information source that is constantly being updated. If you are new to microlighting we hope that its content will inform and inspire you to get involved.
We also have Twitter and Facebook to keep a daily update on trending ideas and a Forum for discussion about all things microlight.
Events and Competitions
The BMAA hosts several Events throughout the year. An annual Fly-in on the Isle of Wight called Spamfield attracts up to 400 aircraft each year. A special Rally for single seat microlights started in 2014 and is growing in popularity each year. We have held Members' Bonus Days at Duxford Imperial War Museum where the airfield will invite BMAA members to fly-in and visit the museum for a reduced fee.
The BMAA has a National Competition series held each year across the country. Competitors fly tasks based upon precision navigation, fuel economy and accuracy. These competitions are a great way to develop your flying skills and meet like minded pilots who also enjoy the social scene of competitions.
Microlighting is not just a UK sport. Microlights are flown all around the world and so there are international competitions which the UK does very well at. These are serious but hugely fun events and the BMAA helps sponsor the team members by contributing towards entry fees.
Involving the Young
The BMAA believes in promoting the sport to young people. We do this in two very specific ways.
The Flight Training Bursary. The Bursary scheme provides funding for young people to help them achieve their microlight pilot's licence. The Bursary is available for young people between the ages of 15 and 21. We are proud to have helped several youngsters to become microlight pilots and happy that the number of applicants increases each year.
New Horizons build-a-plane. The BMAA wants to promote microlight aviation, not just microlight flying. Without aeronautical engineers aviation would grind to a halt. To encourage an interest in the nuts and bolts of aircraft the BMAA sponsors build-a-plane projects that are available to schools, colleges and universities. We provide an aircraft kit and project supervision oversight. The young people, under their tutor's guidance build the aircraft. There are further benefits connected to the project such as the documentation of the project; publicity on social media; generating an interest in design and development etc..