Dave Calderwood


With Dave Calderwood


Topsy-turvy month of October

It’s been a busy month all round. Some might say something along the lines of ‘lights, action, camera’… Certainly plenty of drama!

What a month of ups and downs October has been. A story which we’ve been working on for a while finally came together with Annabel Cook’s How Not To Buy An Aircraft feature. It’s the story of Mike Clare’s TL Stream, a 600kg category microlight which has been parked in a hangar for more than a year waiting to be approved. No approval, no fly.

As the story says, it’s a result of many factors and, happily, we learned a few days ago that there’s a good chance the aircraft will soon be approved. But it’s been a frustrating period for Mike, seeing his dream aircraft (and quite an expensive one at that) sitting in a hangar. If you like the look of one of the new breed of microlights, read this first.

When we were putting that article together, Rob Hughes of the British Microlight Aircraft Association came on the FLYER Livestream* to talk not only about the Stream, but also how the 600kg Light Sport Microlight category is proving a real success with 39 brand new aircraft coming onto the UK register over the past few months.

It seems that the idea of a good performing, straightforward, quiet and economical two-seater has huge appeal. It must also be said that the BMAA’s proactive attitude to getting these new aircraft approved has been effective.

One of the shock horror stories of the month was the news that Compton Abbas Airfield had been sold. The North Dorset grass airfield has been in the hands of – and operated by – the Hughes family since 1988 and the airfield has established a fabulous and well-deserved reputation as a fun and beautiful place to fly.

So who is the new owner? None other than movie director Guy Ritchie – who happens to own the country estate next door (and a nearby brewery producing craft beers). But were Guy’s intentions good? Yes, it appears, and he issued a statement just a day after the story first broke to confirm flying would continue at the airfield.

It’s not so promising news about Doncaster Airport though. In another shock move, the owner Peel Group, announced it is winding down the airport and aims to close it by early November. Guess what it wants to do? Expand the development next door, which is a mix of housing and businesses, over the airport site.

As we finished putting this compilation together, the local councils had united to try and find a buyer for the airport who would keep it open and operating. They – and many others – believe an airport in that area is an asset, good for building businesses and for local people planning a holiday. Peel Group has already closed and given up on Sheffield Airport a few miles away – let’s not lose another, is the local feeling.

We’re covering this story, and many others, online so catch up on the latest there.

Finally, just as this compilation was being finalised, the UK CAA popped up with a Consultation on proposals to simplify GA licences. Full details elsewhere, but congratulations CAA, this is exactly what lots of people have been calling for.


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