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Air Adventures -- Microlighting
View info for Microlighting
Microlighting: 44 listings
Johannesburg Flying Academy
Johannesburg, GAU
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Elands Quad Camp and Microlites
Marble Hall, MPU
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Sky Adventures - Helicopter, Microlight & Gyrocopter
Durban, KZN
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Eagle Aviation
Southern Gauteng, GAU
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Lambertsbaai Vliegklub
West Coast, WC
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St Francis Flying School
Kouga, EC
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Sky Bound School
Midlands, KZN
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WCFTC
Saldanha Airport, NC
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Upington Microlight Training Centre
Upington, NC
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Eagle's Wings
Graaf-Reinet, EC
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Kestrel Flight School
Cullinan, MPU
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Pilots Haven
Pietersburg, MPU
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Microlight Adventures
East Rand, GAU
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Light Flight
Pietermaritzburg, KZN
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Pyramid Flight School BARBERTON
Barberton, MPU
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Rustenburg Flying Club
Rustenburg, NWP
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UltimateXperience
West Rand, GAU
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Ballito Microlight School
Dolphin Coast, KZN
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Border Microlight School
Uitenhage, EC
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Dolphin Coast Microlight School
Dolphin Coast, KZN
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Davies Aircraft Corporation
West Rand, GAU
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Eagles Wings
Graaf-Reinet, EC
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Aquila Microlight Safaris & Training
Cape Town, WC
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Davies Aircraft Corp
West Rand, GAU
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Kimberly Flying School
Kimberley, NC
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Tzaneen Flying Club
Mopani, LIM
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Cato Flying School
Pietermaritzburg, KZN
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Lamberts Baai Vliegklub
West Coast, WC
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Rhino Park Flight School
Cullinan, MPU
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Sky Riders Microlight School
East Rand, GAU
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Microlight Info Zone
East Rand, GAU
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Leading Edge Flight School
Hoedspruit, MPU
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Emoyeni Aviation Park
Pietermaritzburg, KZN
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Microlight Flights
Klein Karoo, WC
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Ruigtevlei Farm
West Coast, WC
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Eagle Encounters
Garden Route, WC
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Freedom Flight School
East Rand, GAU
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Wings over Africa
Breede River Valley, WC
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La Mercy Flight Park
Dolphin Coast, KZN
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Light Flight Microlight Services
Pietermaritzburg, KZN
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Centurion Flight Centre
Pretoria, GAU
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Phalaborwa Flight School
Mopani, LIM
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Westline Aviation
Bloemfontein, FS
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Aviation Adventures Flight School
Nelspruit, MPU
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: Tandem Microlight Flights
Microlight Adventure:
Tandem Microlight Flights
Microlight flights is one of the most popular adventure activities in South Africa because of the incredibly high number of perfect flying days our climate provides. Microlighting is also one of the most affordable ways to see the country from the air and microlight flights over the eastern and western seaboard, the incredible mountain ranges or the scenic game reserves offers a diverse viewing platform. There is no doubt that microlighting South Africa is a great way to get around an you can almost microlight your way around the country without needing the road at all! During the late 1970s and early 1980s, many people sought to be able to fly affordably. As a result, many aviation authorities set up definitions of lightweight, slow-flying aeroplanes that could be subject to minimum regulation. The resulting aeroplanes are commonly called "ultralight" or "microlights", although the weight and speed limits are rarely the same between any two countries.

There is also an allowance of another 10% on Maximum Take Off Weight for seaplanes and amphibians, and some countries (such as Germany and France) also allow another 5% for installation of a ballistic parachute.

The safety regulations used to approve microlights vary between countries, the most strict being the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany, while they are almost non-existent in France and the United States. The disparity between regulations is a major barrier to international trade and overflight, as is the fact that these regulations are invariably sub-ICAO, which means that they are not internationally recognised.
A Powered Paraglider in flight. Photo Credit Andre Zeman
A Powered Paraglider in flight.
Photo Credit Andre Zeman

In most affluent countries, microlights now account for about 20% of the civil aircraft fleet.
A word on Microlighting:
  You know you’re flying a microllight when you have a bird strike...

... from behind. - Anon
 


Equipment:

While microlight flights date back to the early 1900s (such as the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle), there have been three generations of modern, fixed-wing microlight aircraft designs, which are generally classed by the type of structure.

The first generation of modern microlights were actually hang gliders with small engines added to them, for self-launching. The wings on these were braced by wires, and steered by shifting the pilot's weight under the wing.

The second generation of microlighting began to arrive in the mid-1970s. These were designed as powered aircraft, but still used wire bracing and usually single-surface wings. Most of these have "2-Axis" control systems, operated by stick or yoke, which control the elevators (pitch) and the rudder (yaw) -- there are no ailerons, so may be no direct control of banking (roll). A few 2-Axis designs use spoilers on the top of the wings, and pedals for rudder control. Examples of 2-Axis microlights are the "Pterodactyl" and the "Quicksilver MX" (as seen in the photograph to the right).

The third generation of microlight flights, arriving in the early 1980s, have strut-braced wings and airframe structure. Nearly all use 3-Axis control systems, as used on standard airplanes, and these are the most popular. Third generation designs include the "T-Bird," "Kolb" and "Challenger" families.

There are several types of aircraft which qualify as ultralights, but which don't have fixed-wing designs. These include:
  • Weight Shift - while the first generation ultralights were also controlled by weight shift, most of the current weight shift ultralights use a hang glider-style wing, below which is suspended a three wheeled pod which carries the engine and aviators. These aircraft are controlled by pushing against a horizontal bar in roughly the same way as a hang glider pilot flies. Trikes generally have impressive climb rates and are ideal for rough field operation, but are slower than other types of fixed-wing ultralights.
  • Powered parachutes - cart mounted engines or motor scooters with parafoil wing, similar to parachutes used in skydiving.
  • Powered paragliding - backpack engines with parafoil wing, which are foot-launched.
  • Gyroplane - rotary wing with cart mounted engine (see autogyro), a gyrocopter is different from a helicopter in that the rotating wing is not powered, the engine provides forward thrust and the airflow through the rotary blades causes them to autorotate or "spin up" to create lift. Most of these use a design based on the Bensen Gyrocopter.
  • Helicopter - there are a number of single-seat and two-place helicopters which fall under the microlight categories in countries such as New Zealand. However, few helicopter designs fall within the USA's more restrictive ultralight category. One of these is "Mosquito."
  • Hot Air Balloon - there are numerous ultralight hot air balloons in the US, and several more have been built and flown in France and Australia in recent years. Some ultralight hot air balloons are hopper balloons, while others are regular hot air balloons that carry passengers in a basket.
  • : Getting Ready... Microlighting South Africa
    Microlight Adventure:
    Getting Ready... Microlighting South Africa


    Safety:

    Microlighting used to have a poor safety reputation. Most of the early designs were fragile or unstable, and this resulted in a number of accidents. However, the reputation came largely from rumor and distrust of the new type of aircraft.

    As designs matured, pilot error was shown to be the cause of the vast majority of incidents involving microlight flights. As a result, most countries now require a Microlight Pilot's license/certificate, often regulated by one or more officially-delegated pilots' organizations. The United States does not have any such requirement, but pilots advise training for anyone interested in flying microlights. For this purpose, the FAA permits instruction to be given in two-place versions of microlights.

    The build quality and airworthiness of microlight aircraft (and home built light-sport aircraft in the USA) now equals that of Certified light aircraft. Some types satisfy both sets of requirements and are available for registration to either Microlight or Certified status. When registered as a microlight (or experimental), the pilot is permitted to do more of the simple maintenance tasks, resulting in a lower cost of operation, although this comes at the cost of restrictions such as avoiding densely populated urban areas, bad weather, or night. Many older pilots are willing to trade these operational restrictions for a lower drain on their retirement incomes, and as a result many Ultralights are now flown by experienced General Aviation (GA) pilots or ex-commercial pilots. One other reason for this increase in acceptance is that any pilot is "only one Medical away from being an Ultralight pilot" -- a reference to the requirement that most other pilots must pass periodic physical examinations, but not to fly microlights. These effects mean that the experience level of the average microlight pilot has risen and now probably equals, and may even exceed, that of the average GA pilot.

    Interesting Facts:

    • The Altitude Record currently stands at 9144m and was set in 1989 in Australia
    • The Record for the longest distance flown in a straight line, is currently 1369km and was set in 1988 in France.
    : Microlight South Africa ... waiting for Take Off.
    Microlight Flights:
    Microlight South Africa ... waiting for Take Off.


    History:

    The history of modern microlights started on March 15th, 1975. On that day an American pioneer did something no human had ever done before, he achieved foot-launched flight from a level surface. John Moody picked up his Icarus II biplane hang glider, started the 8 hp engine, opened the throttle and ran until he lifted from the frozen surface of a lake in Wisconsin. Modern microlights were born.

    Foot launching these craft didn’t last long as wheels provided a lot more safety for take-off and landing. The early microlights increased in weight and complexity quickly in the early 1980s. The US rules for microlights, FAR Part 103 froze the US microlights as very small and light aircraft, but Canadian ultralight rules have changed with time.

    Links:

    Comprehensive database of Microlight Aircraft
    The Ultralight Aviation Pioneer - John Moody


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