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Don't Look Down

I flew in a Microlight for the first time today. Having decided it was too windy to take my larger aircraft up I recklessly decided to accept the offer of a circuit from a passing Microlight pilot who had dropped-in for a coffee on the way to the national microlight 'fly-in' at Popham.

A Microlight is of course a hybrid, somewhere between a bumble bee and a hang glider or a motorcycle with a sail. I sat in the back seat although it was rather more of a pillion passenger with a seatbelt, as this machine buzzed along the grass for a few feet before leaping into the air at an astonishing rate of climb, swept up and away by the strong crosswind over the runway.

There was a strong temptation to grip the the sides of the aircraft as if I was on a roller-coaster ride but I decided this was quiet pointless so tried hard to enjoy the very bumpy experience which reminded me a little of my first parachute jump.

I think I prefer my aircraft to be a little more substantial but I'm sure microlights are great fun, if a little slow. Rather like the original spirit of aviation bought up to date with fibre-glass and nylon.

Ten out of ten for buttock-clenching terror and the landing, in a small gale is decidedly different and was more like a controlled crash. As I said to the pilot, any landing you walk away from is a good one.

If you want to defeat a fear of flying, this is definitely the place one shouldn't start. But if you like base-jumping and bungee-jumping, then this is for you.


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