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Alternative activities for BMAA Wings?

#21
Interesting that it's said in the video that a top of the range new machine at the time cost about £5000. I put that into the bank of England inflation calculator and it came out at about £17,000. Not sure you can get anything new for that price nowadays, even as an SSDR kit, let alone 'top of the range'.
The three axis Minifox is £15,600 ready to fly and £12,600 as a kit but you must add VAT to those prices.

The Bivvy Bee (touring version of Peabee, SSDR not sub 70) is £12,500 including VAT.

The Peabee is about £10k. The new Flylight Adam is about £11.5k.

I think we need to recognise that market forces play a part in this, if no one wanted to buy or fly Eurofoxes, Eurostars or Skyrangers and the majority steadfastly insisted that only a AX3 with a modern 503 equivalent would do, then someone would build them. If there wasn't the cost of CAA oversight, then a modern day AX2000 kit could be £18k. The Skyranger kit minus engine is not that much more.

But there is no demand for a modern day AX2000 kit. That's not to say people don't want them, but there is not enough demand for a viable business.

I have two road bikes, one built from a Raleigh Gran Tour frame made of 531c, another an Evans, also 531, before they were a chain, also a custom build, best of their generation from the early 1980s.

The majority of the market is not interested, Boardman, Cannondale or some new carbon fibre or aluminium framed bike from the last two or three years, not lighter or faster but easier to use, with replacement parts easily available, beneficiaries of progress, and more reliable. Halfords or Decathlon... that's where the masses go, with good reason, and they enjoy the results.

That's the reality of the market. L'Eroica is for a small self-selecting band of people, and I'm not one of them. I just want to ride, and this is also reflected in my pursuit of flight.

To get back on topic, despite the reality of the market, compliance with market forces, choice of a faster or heavier aircraft, or the spending of a larger sum of money are not skills.

So, skills must be demonstrated independent of the platform for that demonstration.

And if we wish to pursue this objective, it has to be done without appearing to be Luddite, or purists in support of an older generation of aircraft (insert your description of the same that does not offend, or remind you of bodily functions) to the exclusion of new ones. Skills are skills, full stop.

Otherwise, the idea is destined for the same place as L'Eroica events. How many of you are interested in those? Exactly, that's my point.
 
#22
Randombloke pretty much nails it. There is another factor in play though. That is the very good availability of second hand aeroplanes, both fixed and flex-wing, for give away money. That part of the market didn't exist in 1982 - microlights hadn't been around long enough.
So nowadays I can buy a really capable machine in the range £10-20k. It won't be new, but it'll have lots of life in it. Of course manufacturers can't compete with the second hand market so they have to go for more expensive high spec products.
The same drift towards higher spec happens in all markets/industry sectors. Automotive, mobile phones, hifi - all sorts.
 
#24
Randombloke pretty much nails it. <snip> Of course manufacturers can't compete with the second hand market so they have to go for more expensive high spec products.
The same drift towards higher spec happens in all markets/industry sectors. Automotive, mobile phones, hifi - all sorts.
<snip> To get back on topic, despite the reality of the market, compliance with market forces, choice of a faster or heavier aircraft, or the spending of a larger sum of money are not skills.
So, skills must be demonstrated independent of the platform for that demonstration.
And if we wish to pursue this objective, it has to be done without appearing to be Luddite, or purists in support of an older generation of aircraft (insert your description of the same that does not offend, or remind you of bodily functions) to the exclusion of new ones. Skills are skills, full stop.

Otherwise, the idea is destined for the same place as L'Eroica events. How many of you are interested in those? Exactly, that's my point.
Good points all. If my idea is worth pursuing - I have many that aren't, and this could easily be another of those - there'd have to be some desire for it somewhere amongst the microlighting community. <Rambling and nonproductive sentences deleted.>

Perhaps the reality is that the sort of people who fly slow'n'local low-price microlights get their pleasure from just that and see no point in taking up challenges for the sake of a badge or a few column inches in MF... or even for the sake of completing a standardised challenge. In other words, perhaps the people who fly aircraft which are unsuited to the BMAA Wings Award wouldn't be interested in a slow'n'local challenge for its own sake.

The only competitions and challenges which don't discriminate much in favour of faster aircraft and that have survived the years are the licences themselves and the photo comps (in MF and here). The CAGIs, the runway number and alphabet challenges, and even this forum's predecessor's 10k altitude award, have all gone by the wayside. Competitions such as the National and International Championships are clearly a niche interest.The BMAA Open Series of events might get somewhere but Covid nipped that in the bud after only one season. It still has an 'organised' sense to it which differentiates it from the individual challenges such as the Colibri and Wings.

That last line of thinking leads me to suggest a possible set of criteria for what I'm looking for:
- speed, fuel capacity, and engine power to provide no advantage to any aircraft in meeting award criteria
- the pilot can accrue challenges in any order and in their own time
- a simple means of verifying achieved challenges if claimed
- achieving the challenge is its own main reward
- telling people about it is optional
- all challenges are within the capacity of an reasonably experienced pilot but not dangerous if attempted out by a less experienced one
- all challenges are legal and do not require special permissions.

Is that possible? Would it worth the effort? Would anybody be bothered to do it?

Any constructive thoughts?
 
#25
Good points all. If my idea is worth pursuing - I have many that aren't, and this could easily be another of those - there'd have to be some desire for it somewhere amongst the microlighting community. <Rambling and nonproductive sentences deleted.>

Perhaps the reality is that the sort of people who fly slow'n'local low-price microlights get their pleasure from just that and see no point in taking up challenges for the sake of a badge or a few column inches in MF... or even for the sake of completing a standardised challenge. In other words, perhaps the people who fly aircraft which are unsuited to the BMAA Wings Award wouldn't be interested in a slow'n'local challenge for its own sake.
It's up to the low and slow posse to decide it's not for them, it's not for them to be excluded.

I'm going to be a bit purist about this, which has got me into trouble with forum members before.

Skills are important, and to not provide the same opportunity for all pilots to demonstrate them is clearly wrong.

Skills are not purchasing power dependent and must divorced from the same. If that divorce makes showing skills less attractive for those with faster aircraft, is it really showing skills that's the object of the exercise?

That last line of thinking leads me to suggest a possible set of criteria for what I'm looking for:
- speed, fuel capacity, and engine power to provide no advantage to any aircraft in meeting award criteria
- the pilot can accrue challenges in any order and in their own time
- a simple means of verifying achieved challenges if claimed
- achieving the challenge is its own main reward
- telling people about it is optional
- all challenges are within the capacity of an reasonably experienced pilot but not dangerous if attempted out by a less experienced one
- all challenges are legal and do not require special permissions.
Agree 100%.

Is that possible? Would it worth the effort? Would anybody be bothered to do it?

Any constructive thoughts?
Possible? Yes.

Worth the effort? Best way is try it and find out.

Would anyone be bothered to do it? Make it possible and find out.
 

SafetyThird

Cross Country Pilot
#26
Really interesting discussion here, particularly for me as a newly qualified pilot. I have some experience flying spam cans in the states but microlights are new to me and, after 15 years not flying, I'm very much working to develop my skills on a very different machine here in the UK. Everything seems new and I've been pondering my own skills progression for the year ahead and how best to work on that. I'll investigate the wings program as well as the others. Thanks.
 

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