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Sustainability with Microlight Aircraft

What is sustainability ?

Wiktionary defines sustainability as….

1. The ability to sustain something.

1. (ecology) A means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, planning and acting for the ability to maintain these necessary resources for future generations.

2. (business) The ability to sustain a business in the long term, which is a state that is partly dependent on, but broader than, profitability today or in the short term; it involves aspects of a plausible path toward eventual profitability and ecologic sustainability.

You may be surprised that unbeknownst to most people, the CAA and the rest of the world, the Microlight pilots in the UK and world wide are the first adopters of this ethos:-reduce air pollution and noise pollution.

The CAA has a strategy on Sustainability… they see it as their duty to acknowledge and reduce the impact that aviation has upon the planet and on local environments through air pollution and noise pollution.

We should also look at what sustainability means to (y)our business as a flight school or club or even to (y)our private bimble through the sky.

Think of Sustainability as a roof or shelter supported by several pillars – Human, Social, Economic, Environmental.


Many readers of this essay will have personal experience of flying gliders, hang gliders and para-gliders, then graduating to powered hang gliders and para-motors. You may have seen, experienced, experimented, designed, built and contributed to the rapid evolution of this personal form of flight.

The Human desire and dream of flight is as old as story telling – for example, in the Occident there is the Greek myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus, depicting escape from life imprisonment (and tragedy in the “first documented aviation accident”). In real life, Ivo Zardski (better known for founding his company “IvoProp” in the USA) built a Microlight aircraft and escaped from behind the “Iron Curtain” in 1984. He is famous for his excellent propellers used on many Microlight aircraft.

In the Orient there are tales of magical flying carpets used by youthful adventurers to escape, to see the world from above, to impress and elope with their ladies, and epics of flying gods with their supra-natural powers of travel over long distances and different worlds.

What dreams, dear Reader, do you have of flying?

The Human wish to fly may well have its origin in the need to escape mortal danger faster than one’s legs could. The great example of birds flying away from danger or escaping from their hunters by flying faster or higher or performing aerobatic manoeuvres have been observed by Humans, wishing they had the same powers of aviation. What evolution did not help us achieve in more than 10 million years, we have achieved since 1904; a span of less than 120 years, which is a ratio of 250,000 to 3.

As humans we desire to see our surroundings from the above. Early humans climbed mountains to see beyond the horizon; sailors climbed up crow’s nests to see over the horizon, early aeronauts went up in hot air balloons made of bed covers to see what lay above the clouds…

We experience deep pleasure for viewing the world from above and also a deep sense of relief and achievement when we land safely after an adventurous flight. This experience makes us almost addicted to flying; Microlights make it affordable and accessible.

Microlight aircraft are also used as personal transport saving time and money due to the speed and frugal fuel burn. Generally landing and parking fees at airfields and airports are lower for Microlight aircraft.