View Full Version : Flexwing microlight crash, pilot killed.

19th Jan 2010, 08:34
I may be putting two and two together here but this is rather sad..

BBC News - Microlight pilot's body found off the French coast (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/8467087.stm) if it is linked.

19th Jan 2010, 08:41
oh dear, oh dear. The weather was pants until the afternoon. I would not have wanted to cross the Channel in a microlight.

19th Jan 2010, 09:24
very sad news indeed. i was flying close to lydd/dover yesterday and the viz was very poor.

19th Jan 2010, 09:25
I have just read a similar article online where the pilot is named. It would appear to be the thread starter.

19th Jan 2010, 09:47
He was trying to raise funds for the very worthwhile charity, Help for Heroes. If anyone wants to donate in his memory the link is:


19th Jan 2010, 11:12
This is really sad.

Not that this could have any bearing on the accident but I thought that asking for donations of charts (whose cost would be an absolutely miniscule proportion of this trip, and given that donated charts would for the most part not have been current) was a curious request.

Fuji Abound
19th Jan 2010, 11:32
I just wanted to add that it is indeed a very sad outcome.

Leaving aside the circumstances (about which I know nothing) it warms my heart to see people take on challenges such as this. Even with the very best preparations there are risks involved but the world would be a poorer place where it not for those prepared to give it go.

19th Jan 2010, 11:38
IO540 - I'd think that the charts for much of this route are so old that 'current' is rather a moot point anyway. Certainly the charts we're using to plan our trip at the moment are decades old, and seem to be the newest available!

It's desperately sad to hear about Martin running into trouble so quickly, but well done to him for giving it a go - not many people have the spirit to try these things, and there is always more danger involved than your typical bimble.

19th Jan 2010, 11:38
From my point of view, using this website as a source of information, and given that i'm a 30 hours PPL student, I would be very interested to know peoples opinions on the chances of this trip being conducted safely. Given that the trip would have to be purely VFR and given the weather conditions recently, would a trip like this be considered as a high risk exercise?

I only ask because I have enjoyed reading some excellent stories of such round the world trips in single engine light aircraft and hopefully plan to undertake such an activity in a 3 axis microlight later on in life. I have to add I haven't read about such a trip in a flex wing although i'm not suggesting that it is more of a risk necessarily.

I do not wish to question the trip or the integrity of the pilot, but just wanted to know if this kind of trip could be completed safely given the restrictions of VFR.

I guess that as long as one has the time available to wait for decent departure and destination weather, and has a plan should the weather turn nasty enroute, each leg of the trip should be no more risky than a lengthly cross country trip. Obviously a percentage of the legs on this trip would be over water, which does at to the risk i would guess.

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.


19th Jan 2010, 12:04
This is unbelievably sad. Seems like such a nice guy too. Thoughts and prayers to his friends and of course his family. Another sad day in aviation.

CHARITY FLIGHT TO AUSTRALIA BY FLEXWING (http://www.afors.com/index.php?page=adview&adid=14732&imid=1)

19th Jan 2010, 12:28
201001181406 TAF EGMD 181406Z 1815/1820 26005KT 8000 SCT005
TEMPO 1815/1818 9999 BKN005
PROB30 1815/1820 0700 FG BKN001=
201001181107 TAF EGMD 181107Z 1812/1820 26005KT 0300 FG BKN001
TEMPO 1812/1820 5000 BR BKN005
PROB30 TEMPO 1812/1820 9999 SCT005 BKN020=
201001180908 TAF EGMD 180908Z 1809/1818 26005KT 0300 FG FEW002 SCT006
BECMG 1809/1812 7000 NSW
TEMPO 1809/1818 9999 BKN006=
201001171702 TAF EGMD 171702Z 1718/1720 25011KT 9999 FEW025=
201001171358 TAF EGMD 171358Z 1715/1720 26013KT 9999 FEW025=

201001181406 TAF EGKA 181406Z 1815/1821 23004KT 7000 FEW003 SCT006
TEMPO 1815/1818 9999
PROB30 TEMPO 1815/1821 0700 FG BKN001=
201001181107 TAF EGKA 181107Z 1812/1821 26004KT 4000 BR SCT002 BKN007
BECMG 1812/1815 8000 NSW
PROB40 TEMPO 1812/1818 9999 SCT007 BKN020
PROB30 1818/1821 0300 FG VV///=
201001180834 TAF EGKA 180834Z 1809/1818 26004KT 0300 FG BKN001
BECMG 1809/1812 8000 NSW BKN008
TEMPO 1810/1818 9999 SCT008=

201001181400 TAF LFRK 181400Z 1815/1824 VRB02KT 3000 BR FEW010 BKN035
PROB30 TEMPO 1815/1818 6000 NSW
TEMPO 1815/1824 0600 FG BKN010=
201001181100 TAF LFRK 181100Z 1812/1821 VRB03KT 9999 FEW010 BKN040
TEMPO 1812/1818 4000 BR BKN010=
201001180800 TAF LFRK 180800Z 1809/1818 VRB02KT 3000 BR BKN004 BKN040
PROB30 TEMPO 1809/1811 0500 FG OVC002
BECMG 1811/1813 9999 NSW SCT025=

No idea of the route though.

19th Jan 2010, 12:42
My thoughts are with his family. I feared the worst yesterday knowing the weather and seeing the tracking finish mid channel at 3000'.

19th Jan 2010, 13:10
The tracking site suggests he was heading for LTQ but his last position shows his track to be 229 degrees which looks like he was turning back. There are no tafs or metars for LFAT to be found. The following is for Abbeyville

201001181300 METAR LFOI 181300Z 23006KT 200V280 9999 OVC020 07/07 Q1026=
201001181200 METAR LFOI 181200Z 20006KT 4500 BR FEW005 BKN020 07/07 Q1026=
201001181100 METAR LFOI 181100Z 20004KT 4500 BR FEW005 OVC020 06/06 Q1027=
201001181030 METAR LFOI 181030Z 20002KT 4000 BR SCT005 BKN020 06/06 Q1027=
201001181000 METAR LFOI 181000Z 19003KT 4000 BR SCT005 BKN020 05/05 Q1027=

and some Shoreham ones

201001181350 METAR EGKA 181350Z 23004KT 7000 0800S VCFG FEW001 SCT006
BKN032 08/08 Q1025=
201001181250 METAR EGKA 181250Z 25009KT 9999 FEW004 SCT006 BKN032 10/08
201001181150 METAR EGKA 181150Z 25006KT 4500 BR BKN004 07/07 Q1025=
201001181050 METAR EGKA 181050Z 11003KT 4000 BR SCT002 BKN007 06/06 Q1026=
201001180950 METAR EGKA 180950Z 00000KT 1200 BR BKN003 04/04 Q1026=

The curious thing is that the news report says his last call was 1310Z but the last tracking point says 0846.

19th Jan 2010, 13:56
Given that he took off at around 10.00 the Met forecast that he would have had did seem to show an improvement. He would not have picked up on the deterioration unless he'd asked for it en route.

No doubt we'll read more about it in the AAIB report.

Sad result for a brave attempt

19th Jan 2010, 14:00
Was he flying VFR or IFR?

19th Jan 2010, 14:02
Was he flying VFR or IFR? Don't think he'd have had an IFR option in a flexwing microlight?

19th Jan 2010, 14:04
IFR in a microlight?

19th Jan 2010, 14:12
The tracking is from a Canadian company and the timebase used is GMT-4, therefore last point of 0846 was 1246Z

19th Jan 2010, 14:46
IFR in a microlight?

No, but

201001181320 METAR EGMD 181320Z 22007KT 8000 BKN005 06/06 Q1025=
201001181250 METAR EGMD 181250Z 26003KT 5000 BR BKN005 06/06 Q1025=
201001181220 METAR EGMD 181220Z 32002KT 4500 BR SCT002 BKN035 06/06 Q1025=
201001181150 METAR EGMD 181150Z 36002KT 3500 R21/P1200 BR SCT002 BKN006
05/05 Q1026=
is not really VFR weather.

It's OK for a very low scud run over the sea. However, he seems to have been flying at 3000ft. There is very little sounding data for 1200Z (Herstmonceux is missing) but what there is suggest he may have been above a fairly solid overcast.

I suppose that with such a low stall speed one could descend over the sea and put down on a beach somewhere.

It seems odd to be to be embarking on a trip to Australia and searching for the charts only a week or two before departure. There is a lot of planning to do on such a trip, especially once past the corners of Europe.

19th Jan 2010, 15:02
Although a weightshift the landing speed is quite high on these later types, much higher than a cub for instance. A beach landing would have been very trickey, especially given the fog

Fuji Abound
19th Jan 2010, 15:33
From my point of view, using this website as a source of information, and given that i'm a 30 hours PPL student, I would be very interested to know peoples opinions on the chances of this trip being conducted safely. Given that the trip would have to be purely VFR and given the weather conditions recently, would a trip like this be considered as a high risk exercise?

.. .. .. leaving aside this incident totally.

Yes. I think the trip is entirely possible and has been done before in all sorts of light(er) aircraft.

Today there are two aspects to a trip such as this.

Firstly of course the weather. Well the weather doesnt really change that much wherever you are. Of course there are geographical differences - challenges to be met in the tropics that you almost certainly dont find in more temperate zones and visa versa. Having flown a fair bit in the WI, Africa and the US in light aircraft you will never experience quite the same thermal activity in the UK for example. As ever a understanding of the weather and a committment not to push your own limits will keep you safe enough most of the time.

Second, logistics. This is likely to be a more significant challenge! There will be a raft of logistics in obtaining appropriate clearances, up to date charts, landing permissions, fuel, and of course maintenance. There are companies that will do it all for you but it takes time, effort, planning and knowledge. Most of us can happily get around most of Europe without too many issues but the onward route logistically would be a great deal more challenging.

Deadlines will inevitably arise whether it be because permitts are about to expire or funds are running out. It is easy to say these should never be a factor but that would be to ignore the reality of trips like this. Of course they are a factor, the trick is balancing the risk against the pressures - not always easy.

For the absolute avoidance of doubt I am NOT making any judgement about this man's call as I have no real idea of the circumstances it is simply a general observation in reply to your question.

Vino Collapso
19th Jan 2010, 15:46
The manufacturers website says the QuickR has a standard fuel capacity of 65 litres. What endurance would that give you at a reasonable cruise speed, a setting that is not best economy?

I know this machine had an extra 80 litre tank.

19th Jan 2010, 16:05
Fuji - thanks for your reply.

I must admit I was surprised to read the pilot stating " I'm departing on the 18th no matter what" in his online blog, as if have learned only one thing so far, its that one cannot commit to flying, when vfr only. I have been taken up on some days of poor vis, and its no fun at all. It has been drilled into me from day one that the go / no go decision is one of the most important in terms of safety. Obviously, having such a trip ahead, with the pre planning involved, makes such a decision that bit harder...


19th Jan 2010, 16:52
Most of these 912S powered machines run at fairly low power settings - so less than 15lt/hr and probably 70kts ish. With that additional tankage that amounts to up to 10 hours and 700 miles - if the tanks were full.

But with a hop across the Channel they may not have been.

But with those sort of modifications the machine would have been able to fly long legs - pretty necessary for the later parts of the trip.

Stall speed is given as 40mph and the runway requirements about 200m so much more like light aircraft requirements than earlier weightshifts.

Saab Dastard
19th Jan 2010, 17:28
I'm starting a separate thread about this and moving today's posts and closing the original.


19th Jan 2010, 22:40
From my point of view, using this website as a source of information, and given that i'm a 30 hours PPL student, I would be very interested to know peoples opinions on the chances of this trip being conducted safely. Given that the trip would have to be purely VFR and given the weather conditions recently, would a trip like this be considered as a high risk exercise?

Off topic, but...

Many, MANY have done such trips, including in flexwings.

The book "Freedom Flight" ( Ricky de Agrela, Alan Honeyborne ) is a good read about a world flight undertaken in flexwings which included actually flying through China (pretty well unheard of).

Two pilots died on that trip, but as always, it wasn't the trip that killed them. Poor decisions, unfortunate circumstance, these are things that can (as evidenced here right in this thread) happen right at your doorstep just as easily as 20,000 Km away.

Most recent similar trip (in microlights) I remember is a recent attempt using RANS Coyotes, umm, Australia back to Poland I think from memory, I don't know if they completed the trip (or maybe they are still on the way). Was last year I think.

The book by Cliff Tait, "Flight of the Kiwi" is also a good one if you're considering a long distance flight like this.

One day, one day... dreams are free.

20th Jan 2010, 07:16
SB, It has been done before by Brian Milton many years ago - er not without incident.

Brian Milton - The first man to fly a Microlight Around the World (http://www.gordonpoole.com/?artistID=583)

20th Jan 2010, 09:00
... and by Colin Bodilll ( Colin Bodill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Bodill)

20th Jan 2010, 17:54
Don't forget Eve Jackson the first, in a Shadow back in the eighties.

21st Jan 2010, 08:19
Martin was trying to raise money for a great cause, the fundraising is at just 2% of his target, it would, perhaps, be a fitting tribute to Martin if we could raise the money anyway.

Martin Bromage is fundraising for Help for Heroes - JustGiving (http://www.justgiving.com/flytoaus)

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