Building and flying your own microlight

Kim Taylor and Microlight
President David Tivey with Kim Taylor. Kim Taylor at Wootton Bassett. A Microlight built by Kim Taylor.

Kim Taylor, a Landing Site Officer with The Queen’s Helicopter Flight, gave an illustrated presentation to the Probus Club of Basingstoke about microlight flying. Kim has experienced a varied aviation career. He is a retired Police Air Observer, microlight constructor, pilot and former Flight Safety Officer for the British Microlight Aircraft Association.

He described what legally constitutes a microlight aircraft in its various shapes and forms, going on to illustrate the different characteristics of this type of aviation and why it appeals as “flying for ordinary folk”.

Statutory individual medical and licensing requirements were covered as was flying training, excellently demonstrated by way of video clips made by a helmet camera in the cockpit.

The pros and cons of factory versus home built aircraft were examined and an in-depth account given of Kim’s own experiences in constructing three very different flying machines. He also touched on how the airworthiness aspects were addressed.

Kim reminisced how microlight flying had led him on adventures over the past few years. Besides the simple fun of flying from airstrips and airfields he has toured extensively and been involved with rallies all over the UK.

This included, what he was told at the time, was the first return flight to the Scilly Isles in a ‘weight shift’ microlight. On the centenary of Louis Bleriot’s first crossing of the English Channel, Kim was amongst over a hundred British and French aircraft to make the crossing in 2009. He has partaken in a mass microlight landing on the sands of Morecambe Bay, commemorating the gallant action of the Lancashire Fusiliers in Gallipoli. Kim’s finest event was organising the ‘Help for Heroes’ flypast over Wootton Bassett in 2010. This was a tribute to the armed services and to the people of the town itself. It involved one hundred and forty aircraft and raised over £3000.