Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Microlight flying in Bangalore FAQs

I tried Microlight flying in Bangalore last weekend. Was very oblivious to this sports till recent times. I will share my experience in next post, meanwhile read below for most of the frequently asked questions.
What is microlight flying?
Microlight is the lowest category of aircrafts, which can be flown by people who have license for it. Such pilots are allowed to take a guest with them while flying. There are a few such operators, who own and fly microlight aircrafts, conduct training sessions in them. As an extended way of generating revenue, the flying is opened up for general public, who are taken for a quick sortie up in the air for a nominal fee. Aerosports enthusiasts can sit in co pilot's seat, go up in the air, learn basic aircraft controls and come down, without the need to have any license or long training. It is a nice adventure to indulge in, if you don't mind spending couple of thousands for a short jolly ride up in the air

Which aircraft it is?
These aircrafts are made in Bangalore itself. One I flew was X-Air twin seater with Bombardier 582cc/65PS engine. (Similar to the Kawasaki Versys I rode in December). It runs on regular automotive fuel (petrol) and has a range of 3.5 hours/350 kms.
Different operators may use different crafts. Check with the operator for more details.

How high does the craft go?
I’m told the craft is capable of going up to 10000 ft, but the flying happens usually very close to earth, just about 1000-1500 ft

Should we have a pilot license?
No. That is the beauty of it. A trained pilot will be next to you, he/she will take care of primary responsibilities, while teaching you the basics and giving you adequate control, so that you get the feel of flying.

What do we get to do during the whole flight?
Trained pilot takes the craft up. Once air-born, you will get to try some basic maneuvering - like going up/down using control column, turning left/right using rudder control etc. It will be like your first few classes of car driving, where instructor also has a set of clutch and brake. Pilot applies corrections if you steer too much etc. You will get some experience of trying to control a plane, but not the end to end experience of taking it up, turning around and landing.

Apart from these you can view the city from above, observe the pilot taking off and landing and just enjoy the jolly ride.

Do we carry a parachute for Emergency?
No. I repeat, No parachutes. The height of 1000 ft is too low for deploying parachutes, even if you carry one. Further, aircraft is capable of gliding smoothly and land, even if engine fails when in the air. These aircrafts have only visual rating, meaning you can fly them only if you can see the sky clearly. No instrument rating. Flying is not possible during night or when there're clouds or fog. Should the visibility drop or if weather turns hostile, ATC will advise aircraft to land.

How much does a microlight flight cost?

A 30 min sorties costs Rs 5000. At times you might be able to grab one for lower price if you keep monitoring sites like groupon. [Try this link ] When I tried booking through Groupon, it showed a lower value in the first page to tempt me, but once I clicked on it, I was told all low value slots are gone and I need to pay extra. Then I decided not to bother with middlemen and deal with the organizers directly. If you go in groups, cost per ride may come down to 3000 as well. For longer duration or for custom deals, do talk with the organizers. The coorg one is cheaper, I've not tried that yet.

Are there any restrictions to micro light flying?
No. Unless you're too small and might slide off the the harness or you're too big and heavy you can't fit into seat or get in and out easily, anyone can try microlight flying. As you've seen it is extremely tiny craft and getting in and out is little tricky. If you're tall and well built you might have some tough time. Check with organizers in such cases.

Can we take photographs during microlight flying?
No. As per the government rules, photography is not allowed during flight. All photos have to be taken from ground.

Do we get any certificate if we take up a microlight flying?
No. I was expecting one, but none were given.

Can we take guests to watch microlight flying?
Yes. No extra cost, except that at some airstrips, advance permission will have to be taken.

Should we book well in advance or can we walk in?
Recommended booking in advance. Check with respective organizers.

Which all cities one can try microlight flying in Karnataka?
Bangalore (Jakkur airfield), Mysore (Mysore airport) and Coorg
Was it a better experience than skydiving?

What is the difference between Xair (Bangalore aerosports) and Zenair (Agni Aviation)
This calls for a separate post. In brief, Xair is cheaper and very light, Zenair is slightly bigger and better. Zenair gives a better flying experience while Xair gets you more time in the air. Standby for more detailed comparison

Whom do we contact to book a slot?
Check these two websites and,

Read my flying experience here  * 


Sweekruthi Gowda said...