Microlighting began in 1948, when Francis Rogallo had the bright idea of motorising the popular hang-glider. His ‘Rogallo-Wing’ was the very first flex-wing microlight, and though his original design has been improved upon with new materials and technologies, the basic flex-wing type remains the most popular to this day. Most flex-wings feature an open-cockpit setup, so, just as in a hang-glider, you get to feel the thrill of the wind rushing by as you soar thousands of feet in the air – think flying Harley-Davidson and you won’t be far off.
Or, for those who want a more traditional aviation experience, but don’t fancy the cost of flying a full-size light aeroplane, the fixed-wing or three-axis microlight is the way to go. Developed around the same time as the flex-wing, three-axis microlights generally look like any normal closed-cockpit aeroplane, and offer all the thrills of piloting a light aircraft – just at a fraction of the size.
Whether you choose flex- or fixed-wing, microlights are an ideal choice for a one-time gift experience or as a long- term hobby. Unlike standard light-aeroplanes which require a full National Private Pilot’s Licence to fly solo, microlighters are only required to pass the NPPL(M), a stripped-down version of the licence, which takes around half the time (minimum 22hrs) and less than half the cost to obtain. Add to this the fact that you can even build your own microlight from a kit, and you have the most exciting and affordable way to take to the skies on your own terms!
Check out some of the Top Microlight Flying Lessons in the UK