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-   -   600kg rule for microlight? (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/587750-600kg-rule-microlight.html)

MarcusH 2nd Dec 2016 23:20

600kg rule for microlight?
I hear that there is going to be a vote in EASA regarding a 600kg limit in microlights. This would be a fantastic step forwards although 750kg would be even better. Does anyone know when this is likely to happen? If it goes through would there be years of waiting or would it just happen immediately?

Jan Olieslagers 3rd Dec 2016 07:46

The Germans are strongly clamouring for this, though they content themselves with 600 kg. As I understand, the French authorities are negative. (edited to add: the German position seems to get a good deal of support, from several Scandinavian countries and from Eastern Europe). That is a bit understandable, as the French regulations are much less strict than in Germany. Also, there is a difference in mentality: Germans want to see rules and documents for everything, the French believe in self-regulation and personal responsability.

Flying an ultralight myself, I am not asking for an increase; and I much fear that IF some liberty is granted here, some will be taken elsewhere and I much fear that.

Ultralight flying should remain what it originally was: simple, free of rules, free of complexity, under the radar. And those who want more weight can always go for the LSA, can't they? Yes, that adds complexity and rules, yes. No free lunch, remember?

byteworks 3rd Dec 2016 08:01

I think it was already said: nowadays almost all ultralight flights are done overweight with two people for all but small local bimbles of a half an hour. It would only be a practice put in regulations.

Jan Olieslagers 3rd Dec 2016 08:10

Yes, and then people would start loading them _yet_ heavier. If the 450 kg limit is not respected today* why would any other limit be respected tomorrow? It is a general characteristic of (a certain type of) humans, when given a finger, to take an arm.

That's a vicious circle, with no foreseeable end. Increasing the legal limit solves nothing.

*It isn't indeed, by many. Myself take care: I mostly fly alone, and when I take a passenger it will indeed be for a local bimble.

27/09 3rd Dec 2016 08:17

If you ask me it should be based around wing loading. Forget the weight limit, if the wing loading is below X amount it qualifies.

After all that's where the microlite originally came from. If you want higher performance go to a LSA or better.

S-Works 3rd Dec 2016 08:30

When does it stop being a microlight......

Jan Olieslagers 3rd Dec 2016 08:32

As I understand it, the spirit behind the original ultralight concept was "you may create danger for yourself and your passenger as much as you want, as long as the danger to yourself is greater than that to people on the ground". The weight limit is there to minimise damage on the ground in case of a crash. Only they didn't think of limiting the speed, too... The current ultralights are way more performant than anything the then regulators ever thought of!

Frankly, what wing loading has to do with it eludes me; except if such a rule would automatically bring thick slow wings.

@bose-x: that is a good point. Especially in Germany, many ultralights are better equipped and more performant than most C152's. It is not rare to see them carry a full glass panel, two moving maps, and an autopilot. Small wonder those chaps are now clamouring for a weight increase, they have very able travelling machines and only the weight limit keeps them from travelling even more and further. But IMHO they are going well beyond the original ultralight concept. Again, I am not against it, but do not wish to give up any of the present liberties.

Capt Kremmen 3rd Dec 2016 08:50

Perhaps the proposed changes - which I support - are driven by EASA's recognition that many in aviation, reflecting the general population, have taken on the appearance of Michelin Men !

Jan Olieslagers 3rd Dec 2016 09:00

Sorry, Cpt., but again: if an ultralight doesn't fit your mission, for whatever reason, then you need to look elsewhere. As simple as that!

BTW nobody obliges us to copy the US'an unhealthy food and drink habits, but that point is perhaps out of scope.

Capt Kremmen 3rd Dec 2016 09:36

If you want the cost benefits of operating Annex 2 Permit aircraft as opposed to certified, then because people are becoming bigger and heavier, an increase in MAUW is to be applauded. It certainly will be by the manufacturers.

xrayalpha 3rd Dec 2016 09:50


My thoughts are that it already has!

And I run a microlight airfield and flying school.

My thought is that what has all but disappeared from the old GA world is the recreational flyer - in my part of the world almost the only people who learn to fly on Cessnas and Pipers are people thinking of, or working towards, a CPL.

So the microlighters have taken over the old "flying club" sector.

And now they want to stretch their wings!

(unfortunately, by relabelling the wheel, we'll need to come up with a new form of "microlighting"!)

BEagle 3rd Dec 2016 12:03

One reason why the Scandiwegians wish to see an increase in the microlight MTOM is to enable them to carry winter survival equipment and wear suitable winter clothing when necessary.

Clothing and equipment which might suit some Frenchman flying in the South of France in Summer won't really suit someone flying in the Nordic Winter.

bookworm 3rd Dec 2016 12:45

I hear that there is going to be a vote in EASA regarding a 600kg limit in microlights.
You hear wrongly.

The dividing line between European regulation ("EASA rules") and national regulation is set in the Basic Regulation (BR), specifically in Annex II. The entire BR is being recast, in a process that started in 2014, and will probably last until late 2017. The European Commission set out a proposal in late 2015, which made no changes to the current division. Through 2016, the draft was discussed in the Council of the EU (member states) and in the European Parliament. Each of those two institutions has come to a position on where the dividing line should be. Next year, the Commission, the Council and Parliament will try to reach a compromise in a process known as a Trilogue. EASA is not formally involved.

Whatever happens, the key is in bose-x's question "When does it stop being a microlight......?". Aircraft below 600 kg in the EASA system are called Light Sports Aircraft (LSA). If the weight division were to be raised to 600 kg (or even something lower) it is likely that national regulations for aircraft heavier than current microlights would need to be revised to use the technical requirements for LSA. The way that states choose to implement that is up to them.

Jan Olieslagers 3rd Dec 2016 13:25

Thanks, @Bookworm, there's some news for me there. I knew the matter was mostly in the hands of politicians, but if it is totally up to them then there will be no free lunch: if some rule is relaxed, then another one will be tightened. Politicians like compromises. Myself much prefer a status quo, the present situation is certainly not perfect but it is quite workable.

As you stated that both the European Parliament and the Council have defined their positions, can you describe them briefly, or suggest where to find them?

27/09 4th Dec 2016 07:36

Jan Olieslagers:The weight limit is there to minimise damage on the ground in case of a crash. Only they didn't think of limiting the speed, too... The current ultralights are way more performant than anything the then regulators ever thought of!

Frankly, what wing loading has to do with it eludes me; except if such a rule would automatically bring thick slow wings.
I think the first part of your post demonstrates exactly why limiting wing loading would be a good way to define a microlite.

As you say the weight limit was there to minmise damage in the event of a crash. In other words limit the amount of energy involved. The more modern ultralites/microlites (choose either depending on local definitions) have a lot more energy due to their speed.

By limiting wing loading you limit energy. It's difficult to have low wing loading and high speed.

I rather suspect the weight limit was a crude way of limiting wing loading, so why not actually use wing loading instead of weight.

Perhaps there should be an upper limit on stall speed and a max level flight speed. Say less than 25 KIAS stall and 75 KIAS max level flight.

patowalker 4th Dec 2016 08:15

600kg rule for microlight? No. What is being negotiated is a 600kg limit to be included in the new Annex I, which is a totally different matter. The microlight definition, as pointed out above, is then a decision for each national authority. I would expect any increase in weight beyond the present microlight limit of 495kg to require changes to licencing.

ChickenHouse 4th Dec 2016 08:55

I think that whole construction with ultralight, microlight, LSA, sports equipment is among the worst bullshit ever happened to aviation and its progress.

All these machines fly and the sub-weight categories were only born to bypass the stupidity of certification and regulation authorities, so isn't it time to get rid of all that fight? There is no use in discussing 600kg or 750kg or 813.254kg - there is no physical reason for that distinction.

Many of us warned that the authorities would regulate private aviation to extinction. They also warned, after the sports utility workaround was in place, that technological advances will come from the ultralight/microlight and experimental sector quite soon. It did.

Why can't we go simple? There is an aircraft and it has different MTOW/MTOM. One set of regulations will increase the burden on the current ultralight/microlight/LSA community, but lighten it on the more classic GA side.

S-Works 4th Dec 2016 10:37

And one standard licence?

Capt Kremmen 4th Dec 2016 11:53

"one standard licence ?"

Now you're talking !

ChickenHouse 4th Dec 2016 17:09

One standard license and not under the authority of some nationals, but under the regulations of a worldwide agency independent of national states plus the one-sky approach for aircraft as well ...

Ok, ok, please welcome Gene Roddenberry ;-).

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