What is a microlight

3 axis microlight

Enjoying the sunset from above!

So, what exactly is a microlight? A microlight is a very light aeroplane designed to carry no more than 2 people. CAA regulations specify a MTWA (Maximum Total Weight Authorised) not exceeding 450kg for a two seat land plane, this weight taking into account people and fuel. Visit the CAA microlight page for the official legal definition of what a microlight is.

Types of microlight

There are three main types of microlight – 3 axis fixed wing, flexwing and powered parachutes.

  • 3 axis (fixed wing) – looks like a conventional light aircraft and as you can see from the photo, it is hard to tell the difference! Like a conventional aircraft, roll is controlled using ailerons, pitch by elevators and yaw via the rudder – along 3 axis hence the name.
  • Flexwing – as you can see from the image, a good way to think of the flexwing is the evolution of the hang glider! It consists of a moveable wing which the pilot controls via a bar. There is no rudder and therefore no way to control yaw, making flexwings difficult to land in a crosswind.
  • Powered parachutes – basically a parachute attached to a motorised trike unit.  Of the three types of microlights this is the least expensive to buy.