Pretty soon after I finished college at Liverpool I got a job as an outdoor activities instructor with British Rail, using climbing, canoeing and a whole range of other outdoor activities to teach their youth trainees skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication and co-operation. It was here that I met my friend Mark, who often brought his Manchester-based trainees to our centre for a week.
We have been friends now for about 20 years (where has all that time gone?) and although we only see each other infrequently, we still have a great friendship based largely on mutual mockery!
Recently Mark took up microlighting, and when I arrived yesterday, we went out to the little airfield where he keeps his machine. Microlighting seemed to me a lot like much of the surfing I have experienced, a lot of gazing at the prevailing weather conditions, a lot of indecision, no actual involvement in the planned sport at all, and at the end of all that, a trip to the pub.
This morning the conditions did not seem to be any different, but Mark was keener to get up in the air, and after about 15 minutes to set the equipment up, helped by Mark’s friend Steve, I was strapped in, photographed, and we were off!
There was a pretty good headwind, and we took off surprisingly quickly. We climbed to about 1600 feet, and headed off across country. We flew around a couple of spectacular castles, did a practice emergency landing, and then headed back to the landing area, which was simply a mowed bit of grass in a big field.
It was all great fun, the only bit that gave me any sort of alarm was the approach for landing, when I got a real impression of how quick we were actually going. There was a brief bit of alarmed swearing from me as we approached at speed on a thing that seemed to me to be as flimsy as a bicycle, but the landing was smooth and easy, and before long we were packing away and done. Brilliant! Thanks very much Mark, excellent piloting.
Steve Morris, Mark’s friend at the microlight club told me loads of stuff about microlighting, and by the end of our visit to the club, and our short flight, I was pretty hooked on the whole idea of microlighting.
Steve runs a business making microlight screens. More details here: