The majority of microlights come in
two very different types, Weightshift and 3-Axis. The main
difference between them being the controls. A 3-Axis machine
is controlled in the conventional manner, the same as a light
A weightshift machine uses the weight of
the aircraft to manouvere and is a bit more of a 'hands-on'
activity for the pilot. Some would say less pedestrian than
a 3-Axis machine.
Detailed below are the main differences
outlined between Weightshift and 3-Axis. If you are unsure
what type is for you, have a 30-minute lesson in both and
see what you enjoy most.
you learn to fly, the pilot’s license is valid on both
Weightshift and 3-Axis with a short conversion course only
needed to switch between types.
also known as a Trike or Flex-wing aircraft, have a
wing based on a hang-glider design. Suspended underneath
is the tricycle undercarriage, seats, engine and cockpit.
An A-Frame control bar is suspended under the wing and
is connected to it with wires and a hang-bracket. The
pilot uses the control bar to pivot the wing around
aircraft are open cockpit with the pilot relying on
the ‘feel’ of the aircraft much more than
on a 3-Axis aircraft.
weightshift machines are cheaper than their 3-Axis counterparts
with second hand machines starting at around £2000.
The top end of the price scale for a new weightshift
is about £24,000.
can be de-rigged and easily transported with the use
of a trailer and can be flown from small fields safely.
Once regarded as low-performance machines, some weightshift
aircraft now have performance characteristics similar
to light aircraft!
a fixed wing, ailerons and rudder, this type of microlight
is much more like a conventional aircraft and is controlled
in the same manner. Unlike weightshift, 3-Axis machines
have control over all 3 axes of movement.
are open cockpit like the weightshift; increasingly
this is the exception rather than the rule with most
having a closed cockpit.
start at around £5000 for a second-hand machine
with some new machines coming in at around £40,000!
speaking, performance is better than the weightshift
with cruise speeds approaching 100mph not uncommon.
Short field performance is still excellent with most
models. The majority of machines however, cannot be
de-rigged easily, so hangarage is a must-have.
pilots who have learnt on light aircraft for pleasure
are finding 3-Axis microlights very attractive. Low
maintenance and fuel costs make a microlight an obvious
choice for pilots who regularly hire a light aircraft
for £120 a flying hour.