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Microlight up to 600 kg MTOW

Here (in Norwegian)

In short. Several national AA support that the MTOW for microlight must be increased to whatever the manufacturer set, as suggested by the Finnish CAA. Also the stall speed should be increased from 35 to 40 knots. From the article, only two organisations disagree with this; the French and Belgium air sport organizations (of all things). The Finnish AA want 540 kg, Norway want 600 (or whatever the manufacturer set below 600). It is also suggested in the article (by the author, not the CAA) that Norway could increase it to 600 independent of what EASA/other countries do.

Anyway, an increase in MTOW seems to be coming regardless, whether it is 540 or 600, and this will make microlights true two person aircraft for much increased utility, also longer trips with luggage (legally so).

good move in the right direction. Might put a stop to flying illegally as it’s been done for years on the ridiculous payloads these things have.

With all the certification criteria we have, it’s a pet peeve of mine that there are still airplanes which can not legally fly with the number of people it has seats for. UL’s are the majority of those.

LSZH, Switzerland

I know and support some of the reasons for objecting.

1) when we get something – and the 600 kg limit is a desirable thing, indeed – we will have to give up something, in exchange. There is no free lunch, not when dealing either with politicians/lawmakers, nor with administrations. And there are too many things too nice about the present ultralight statute, especially in France.

2) there is no real need. Those who absolutely want 600 kg can go the LSA route, it was created for them.

3) the argument “it will stop flying illegally” is void. Some people will always go beyond legal. Give them a finger, they’ll take an arm. Give them 600 kg, the next day they’ll start clamouring for 750 kg &c &c and the sky is the limit.

4) airplanes that can not (or barely) fly with as many people as there are seats for exist in all categories, yet nobody is complaining about a C172 or PA28 that can’t legally be flown with full fuel and 4 average adults on board. Only certain microlighters are bleating – in my observation many of them are would-be ppl’ers limited by budget. Such people are spoiling the game of microlight flying as it was meant to be. The Germans in especial would do better to fight the limitations they are today faced with, to begin with the ridiculous “Flugleiterpflicht”.

It is not surprising that some of the loudest bleating comes from Germany – where the typical ultralight carries more avionics than the average spamcan, including autopilot, ADS-B, Flarm, &c &c

For true microlight flying, as it was intended, 450 kg is quite sufficient.

Last Edited by at 24 Mar 14:07
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

I am definitely for 600 kg, but I must admit, I haven’t really thought about it much.

1. The main idea behind the proposal is the microlight industry itself has already given tons of improvements in every single aspect of operation from the garden variety contraptions with lawn mover engines from the 80s. The real safety of a microlight has increased manifold, as the statistics show. There is nothing to give up in the exchange for anything. By increasing the MTOW, more safety can be added. MTOW 450 kg is today an obstruction for added safety.

2. There is no real reason why not. The aircraft are already designed for 500-600 kg MTOW (depending on type). The European LSA is a dysfunctional creation with feet in two non compatible worlds. It has no future.

3. So what? If they want to cry, let them cry, the rest of us will fly.

4. Those limits are set by the manufacturers based on engineering aspects. Who is to decide what microlight flying “was meant to be” ? Seriously, the French speaking part of Europe? Increasing MTOW will not prevent you from flying the way YOU want.

Besides, In Scandinavia, airports are far apart, we often have to fly an hour or more to get to an airport. It is cold here most of the year. We need heating, we need longer range on average than in France/Belgium. We fly over mountainous and otherwise geographic areas with limited access, extremely limited landing areas etc. Increasing MTOW to allow more powerful engines and longer range, to include survival equipment, sturdier construction and so on, will most definitely increase safety. The fact that with 600kg, you can legally fly a Cub, is worth it all by itself.

in my observation many of them are would-be ppl’ers limited by budget

That’s a “dangerous” statement

It is IMHO applicable to a lot more flyers than just ultralighters. Most people are budget-limited.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@Peter: of course all of us have limited budgets, though different people have different limits. What so upsets me here is that some try to abuse the ultralight regime to operate a plane more complex than they could otherwise afford. Worst of all, it is these abusers who are trying to spoil the game by asking for a weight increase that only they require. The full freedom of unsupervised maintenance is for me one of the main attractions of ultralight flying – but should it be applied to planes with variable speed props, retractable gear, autopilots, and what not?

@LeSving: the safety argument is not about those inside the plane, but mostly about people on the ground. Impact energy goes up with weight and with speed, that is why the original rulemakers allowed for very few limitations in exchange for little risk, in the form of low mass and low speed. They already failed to limit speed sufficiently, setting only a maximum stall speed but not limiting Vne as imho they should have. It is too late now of course, but at least the mass limitation should be kept as it is, lest we loose other liberties.

@LeSving: if flying in Scandinavia is as you describe (I think your description does not meet all of Scandinavia, but can still see your point) then that region is not fit for ultralight flying. I would dearly love to fly across the Alps one day, but it is clear to me that I could only do so on a day of exceptionally benign weather. That does not make me clamour for a relaxation of ultralight ruling – if I am on a low budget that is my affair, not the rulemakers’.

In short: ultralight aircraft should not be, or wish to be, miniatures of certified planes. The LSA category was defined precisely to cater for today’s high performance Rotax-powered two-seaters, and guess what? It offers 600 kg MTOW. There is no technical reason to change whatever about the present ultralight regime, except perhaps some European standardisation. But even that would likely limit certain of our liberties so I for one am not asking for it.

Last Edited by at 24 Mar 15:37
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Jan_Olieslagers wrote:

The full freedom of unsupervised maintenance is for me one of the main attractions of ultralight flying – but should it be applied to planes with variable speed props, retractable gear, autopilots, and what not?

It is already, and no problems have rosen from it.

Jan_Olieslagers wrote:

Impact energy goes up with weight and with speed, that is why the original rulemakers allowed for very few limitations in exchange for little risk, in the form of low mass and low speed.

This is however, purely academic. There are simply not enough light aircraft around (of any size and weight) to make this a problem belonging to the real world. How many accidents have there been in Europe where microlight or light GA have killed somebody on the ground the last 50 years? I can’t think of a single one. (air show accidents in vintage (and current) war planes is one exception, but this has very little to do with light GA).

Jan_Olieslagers wrote:

then that region is not fit for ultralight flying

Who are you to decide what is “fit” or not for us? Why this arrogance?

Increasing it to 600 kg is undoubtedly a good thing. Sorry Jan, I don’t see any valid argument from you, only romanticism of what you personally wish from a plane, and complete arrogance towards others that wish something different.

In my opinion it is a wrong move in the wrong direction for several reasons.

1.) It solves not a single problem. The main problem of microlight tourers are useful load and European bureaucracy because of the national regulations. The authorities – or better: their representatives in form of the Aero Club like DAeC and DULV in Germany- have allowed planes to get “certification” as microlights, that are not suitable for the class because of too high structural masses and thus not the possibility to fill the two seats even without fuel on board. Now those same aero clubs complain about the mechanism they themselves proved not being capable of committing to. The experience lets me (and several other observers of the scene) expect to have any other mass limitation run into problems, as they already show in the US LSA class. A very good example is ICON, who blackmailed the FAA for an exception with alleged mass increase by safety feature. Plus, the MTOM already has been increased severla times, as has been pointed out by Jo Konrad, president of DULV in Germany.
2.) There is a good working European 600kg class (LSA) that you can fly with a LAPL, which is not harder to obtain than a microlight license and allows for more pilot rights and less bureaucracy.
3.) There is no reason, why the same plane – once as an LSA, once as a Microlight – should be flown only with two separate licenses.
4.) The original intention of a microlight class is a C22 or Skywalker, not a full leather-autopilot-turbocharged-classcockpit dynamic, which itself is an LSA and should be treated like one.
5.) An increase would only reinforce the unnecessary and already incomprehensible splitting of the lower end of general aviation into European and nationalistic flight regimes.

If you think about it in hindsight of an easier regulation of general aviation as a hole, an increase of MTOM would not do the trick. Microlight flying was never about “innovation” or “advances”, but about ease of flying and individual responsibility. That is not achievable by most pilots with planes like the Dynamic or VL3 or similar, no pilot is trained to be capable of investigating such a structure or design. And because the microlight class isn’t built for innovation, there hasn’t been much innovation in this class, despite claims of hardcore microlight fans stating otherwise. If you take a closer look, mainly the experimental scene, gliding, space engineering or the military are technology drivers, with a bigger impact of CAT lately.

Here is my constructive Idea in which I would (and perhaps I will) suppose a better re-regulation of light aviation than just setting up a further ghettoisation of microlights:

1.) De-regulate any aircraft with less than 250 kg basic empty mass (i.e. empty mass with all mounted devices, engine oils and unuseable fuel) in the spirit of british SSDR. No limit for MTOM. The design engineer should define that. If you ask me, you could very well fly those things without a license at all, as long as you stay solo in the aircraft. For passenger flying, I think, some training should be prescribed.
2.) Transfer all current microlight licenses into the LAPL by a minimum of flight training and a proficiency check. In my opinion minimum training syllabus could be limited to a theoretical update on EU licensing regulations and a theoretical and practical instruction of flight performance and handling with shifting cog and bigger variations of useful load in a four seat aircraft.
3.) Transfer all microlights into LSA class if the manufacturer is capable to show compliance for already built aircraft (My guess is that this will be an eye-opener for many people as to the alleged capabilities and structural reserves of many aircraft). If not, transfer to experimental class would be suitable for the non-LSA-compliant aircraft. This has several points on the PLUS side, since it would be allowed to fly aerobatics with experimental, but (at least in Germany) not for microlights. So any FK12 for instance would win over the transfer.
4.) Stop letting one umbrella organisation be certification “agency” and representer of interests against itself, that hasn’t worked well in the past. Include microlights into normal accident investigation (not the case in Germany)

mh
Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany
no problems have rosen from it.

Excuse me to be as arrogant as to not believe you:

here is one, for a beginning: inappropriate electrical installation, retracting the gear tripped fuse/breaker, FADEC lost power, EFATO, crash, two dead.

How many accidents have there been in Europe where microlight or light GA have killed somebody on the ground the last 50 years? I can’t think of a single one.

Neither can I. Doesn’t that show that the current ruleset works?

And again: I am not in se against the 600 kg increase – but I see no great need for it, and fear very much it may come at a heavy price, in the form of loss of other liberties. If it comes unconditionally I am all pro!

Last Edited by at 24 Mar 16:20
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

mh wrote:

If you think about it in hindsight of an easier regulation of general aviation as a hole, an increase of MTOM would not do the trick. Microlight flying was never about “innovation” or “advances”, but about ease of flying and individual responsibility. That is not achievable by most pilots with planes like the Dynamic or VL3 or similar, no pilot is trained to be capable of investigating such a structure or design. And because the microlight class isn’t built for innovation, there hasn’t been much innovation in this class, despite claims of hardcore microlight fans stating otherwise. If you take a closer look, mainly the experimental scene, gliding, space engineering or the military are technology drivers, with a bigger impact of CAT lately.

What you describe here can be said about all categories of airplanes, except perhaps airliners and military types. It was “never meant to be” [this advanced, or have this level of sophistication etc etc]. Microlight was never “meant to be” anything in particular. Light GA was once the Piper Cub, light GA was never “meant to be” a close to two ton Cirrus with 300 hp or some turbine powered and pressurized monster. Things develops, new technologies are made and adapted and made fit for purpose. I mean VFR was never “meant to be” a moving map GPS on a pad. None of those things even existed when VFR was “invented”. We have to look at what IS, what works, what doesn’t and then try to decide what will work in the future, based on the present, but without romanticism of what things was “meant to be”, it is irrelevant because things develops in unforeseen directions.

mh wrote:

1.) De-regulate any aircraft with less than 250 kg basic empty mass (i.e. empty mass with all mounted devices, engine oils and unuseable fuel) in the spirit of british SSDR. No limit for MTOM. The design engineer should define that. If you ask me, you could very well fly those things without a license at all, as long as you stay solo in the aircraft. For passenger flying, I think, some training should be prescribed.
2.) Transfer all current microlight licenses into the LAPL by a minimum of flight training and a proficiency check. In my opinion minimum training syllabus could be limited to a theoretical update on EU licensing regulations and a theoretical and practical instruction of flight performance and handling with shifting cog and bigger variations of useful load in a four seat aircraft.
3.) Transfer all microlights into LSA class if the manufacturer is capable to show compliance for already built aircraft (My guess is that this will be an eye-opener for many people as to the alleged capabilities and structural reserves of many aircraft). If not, transfer to experimental class would be suitable for the non-LSA-compliant aircraft. This has several points on the PLUS side, since it would be allowed to fly aerobatics with experimental, but (at least in Germany) not for microlights. So any FK12 for instance would win over the transfer.
4.) Stop letting one umbrella organisation be certification “agency” and representer of interests against itself, that hasn’t worked well in the past. Include microlights into normal accident investigation (not the case in Germany)

1. I kind of agree, but not without training.
2. Why? The only thing obtained by this is more bureaucracy, and will never work.
3. Again, more bureaucracy for no gain. Besides, the difference of microlight and experimental (amateur built experimental class) is not about the capabilities of the aircraft as much as it is about how the aircraft was built and what makes it airworthy. Mixing these things is a big mistake.
4. Not worked well how? In principle I agree, the only “problem” is that it does indeed work rather well in practice.

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