Buying a flexwing microlight
When you are a student and your thoughts start to consider purchasing your own aircraft, its a daunting task. There are so many unanswered questions that can take a novice hours to research. Here are some of the ones that spring to mind….
Information about specific Aircraft can be accessed from the Flexwing Aircraft Menu…
Should I buy one?
When you first become a student, you will use the instructors Microlight. This aircraft will be well serviced, insured, equipped with the required modifications (training bars, PTT Radio switch etc). Using the instructors aircraft is the best way to start to learn. It also costs the most money (understandably). If you have your own aircraft, you can learn to fly it, with your instructor, as long as it has the required mods to allow the instructor to control the aircraft from the back seat. Using your own aircraft will have slightly lower charges from your instructor, but you will still have to provide your own fuel, so its not that much of a saving. The benefits of this however, are that you would be learning in the Microlight that you will be flying when solo. The benefits of having your own aircraft (or access to one), is when you finally get to that exciting moment of going solo. Then you don’t have to worry about the instructors aircraft being available, and you will be able to fly whenever the instructor can supervise, and the weather allows. The instructor costs can normally be less than half of normal instruction when solo in your own microlight, so its a double benefit. Most students will eventually purchase or share a Microlight to continue flying as there are very few clubs that will rent out microlights.
Buy or share?
Buying an aircraft outright has a lot of advantages, in that you own the aircraft. You can fly it whenever you want (allowing for weather), you can make changes to the aircraft (subject to legal requirements), and all responsibility for this significant purchase is down to you.
An alternative to purchasing your own aircraft is to share one, either with an individual, or a syndicate. There are many pro’s and cons for sharing. The most obvious Pro is the cost sharing. Once you have purchased either your own aircraft, or share with someone, there are still other costs, such as Insurance, Annual inspections, servicing and hangarage.
Sharing these costs can save a significant amount of money.
Much the same as sharing a car, it depends on how precious you are with the investment, as to how you feel about sharing. Of course its not all about the aircraft. For example do you see eye to eye with the person(s) that you are sharing with. Consider when you and them will want to fly. If you can only both fly on a Saturday morning, then its likely to become an issue.
What to look out for
All Aircraft have a log book that keeps records of all flights, engine and airframe hours. Normally the engine hours will be more than the airframe hours. Always check the service records to satisfy yourself that it is correct. Any changes (even small ones) can need a modification permission to keep it legal. Make sure any of these have the paperwork. If possible, always take advice from people who have experience. You can check GINFO for details of any aircraft you are looking at (see “Links” section)
Prices of a Microlight aircraft can vary in the same way that cars can. It all depends if you want a mini or a Ferrari. Prices can start from under £2000 to a top of the range Quik at over £34,000. The best thing to do is ask at your local club, fellow flexwing pilots and keep an eye the prices in Afors.com and the BMAA classifieds to get an idea.