GALLERY: Cambridgeshire from the skies in a microlight
- Credit: Archant
I WAS fortunate enough to see Cambridgeshire in a way I had never seen it before on Friday.
Mike McLoughlin, chief flying instructor at AAA Microlights Flying Club, took me up in the air in an Ikarus C-42 Microlight.
We took off from Chatteirs airfield and coasted at 1,000 feet through the Cambridgeshire sky.
During the 45 minute flight we witnessed Ely, Wisbech, March and Chatteris from above.
He even, bravely, allowed me to take control of the microlight a few moments.
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Mr McLoughlin, who started flying gliders at 16 and has more than 30 years experience, said: “I always find it fascinating to look down to the ground.
“It makes you appreciate how different things look and you get to see something not many people get to experience. The fields change almost weekly.”
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The club, which has been going since 2005, attracts flying enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds.
There are currently 20 people, aged from 15 to 60, working towards their pilot’s licence.
Mr McLoughlin said: “You don’t have to be Superman to learn. With time and practice, anyone can achieve it.
“You can start learning to fly at 15 and can get your pilot’s licence at 17.
“To achieve this you need to complete a minimum of 25 flying hours.
“Everyone learns at different speeds but it normally costs £3,000 to £3,500 to get your licence.
“Age is no barrier if you want to learn. A couple of years ago we helped an 83 year-old man get his licence.”
The club is desperate to raise its profile in Fenland.
Mr McLoughlin said: “A lot of people come here from further afield, such as Newmaket or Watford, but this place is still a secret closer to home.
“People from Chatteris often tell us they did not know at first we were here.
“We just want to promote ourselves and encourage people to take it up.”
Mr McLoughlin is keen to dispel the negative perception of microlights.
He said: “Some people think the microlight is a frightening contraption but they are not like that anymore.
“Our C-42 microlight is comfortable to fly and a very stable and forgiving aircraft, perfect for beginners.
“It has the full list of equipment including a transponder, state-of-the-art Ballistic Recovery System (BRS) and cabin heat for winter flying.”
The team at AAA Microlights is keen to encourage people to attend its open weekend on June 22 and 23.
Special offers are promised and members will be on hand to give a flavour of the club.
Katie Denham, one of the instructors, said: “We are not just a flying school, we are a club with a great atmosphere.
“We have 40 members who come here to socialise, even when the weather is not good enough for flying.
“We just want to encourage as many people as possible to give it a go.”
You can book a trial 30 minute flight lesson, which costs £70, by calling 07964 804079. For more information about the club go to CambridgeshireMicrolights.co.uk