Group flying opportunities & questions
Afternoon All

Am taking a ticket and joining the queue of folks looking for the above - hard to believe how few of these seem to be on offer, especially as I live within twenty minutes' drive of four airfields (three of which are microlight strips). Am on the cusp of revalidating onto an NPPL with Microlight rating but can't see any way to keep it up post that (I am training at an airfield which is too far way to make a regular bimble a sensible prospect - I'd spend twice as long driving as I would flying!).

All ideas welcomed, no contribution too small etc etc.

Thx in advance

Hi, I am in the same location and situation. I am not sure if we have spoken as I also put the same request below you.

I have been looking for over a year, and they just do not come up. Speaking to others i have been advised the best thing to do, is to purchase an aircraft and then advertise for others to join.

Looking for hangarage is also an issue.

Elstree to exspensive
London Colney ( so close to me) but nothing available
Plaistow's Farm maybe possible
Hunstanton is a bit too far and the road into the airfield destroys my car
North Weald - Outside available around £130 PCM ( but airfield 8 am - 6:30) so no summer evening flying.

Aircraft, I learnt and currently fly a C42, but although I am 6ft, I would look at a Jabiru, as they fly at 90knts and you can really fly places in them (as long as you look after the engine)

Ideally, I would like to share with up to 3 others, so everyone gets a chance to fly.

If you hear of anything are have a suggestion - message me

Andrew 07813939372
Yes, it was me who contacted you a few weeks' back :)

FWIW Hunsdon (I assume that's what you meant, not Hunstanton) have been filling in their potholes so its better than it was for access by car. But its still just as far :(

My instructor's advice was the same - go buy a plane and then share it out, But then you're lumbered with the capital and all of the costs until you can find suitable sharers....
I can't help you directly, but I wanted to post here to say that a few months ago I was in exactly your situation and now I'm very much the other side of it as a co-owner of a group microlight! My advice would be: persevere and - as others have suggested - form a group and buy something as a whole, given the scarcity of shares.

Some thoughts/tips from our search:

First off, it's important to find the right people and get everyone 'bought in' upfront. We were lucky in that we are all had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted, but still within the group there was a healthy diversity of views; some people wanted a good cruise speed for touring, others wanted as much usable load as possible, some wanted low hours engine, others were happy with something that could be done up over time etc. Once we'd aligned on 'what we wanted', things were a lot easier.

Second, things sell quickly for a reason. We looked at a Jabiru microlight and were tempted, but it's still sat there unsold now several months later. Engine reliability and resellability were what put us off, amongst other reasons. C42s and Skyrangers seem to appear on AFORS then disappear within 24 hours, so if you're able to get a group together, you'll find it easier if you can all agree specifically that - say - you're after a Skyranger Swift - and then you're ready to pounce when something comes up. Otherwise, you'll end up seeing something unusual appear, then you have to go through a negotiation process with your own group as to what to do, by which time it's been snapped up.

In the end, we broke all the above rules and went with a Zenair CH 601 UL microlight, which felt just right and ticked all the boxes. We bought it as a group of 3 and are in the process of selling off additional shares now to build it out to a group of 6. If you were closer, I would recommend it - but we're in Rochester so quite a drive!

Final point: something felt very different flying solo in an aircraft that I part-owned, vs the one I rented from the club. Even though there was nothing special about the flight itself, it was just a much better feeling, knowing that if you're 30 minutes late back it's not a problem.

Good luck!
As an alternative - and I'm sure I've said this (and considered it) before - but if you're willing to play a slightly long game and write this year off, you could build a Skyranger kit with basic spec and used engine for a reasonable amount within a reasonable amount of time; if you could get a build group together, take a few weeks off work and just blitz it then you might find this is a viable option for you.

The basic kit is £17k all-in exc engine and build times estimated from 350 hours (though first-time builders obviously will take slightly longer); my understanding from all the reading and research I did on it (plus watch the YouTube videos from SkyBound) is that it's more nuts and bolts than rivets and welding; certainly a relatively easier build option than jumping in at RV level.

Also worth thinking about if you really do end up without hope!
@flyingearly thanks for the tips :thumleft: Was it your open-top Zenair I saw on Afors a few weeks ago? If so, nice aircraft! Have pondered a build project but I'm not sure I'd have the patience or time, and having researched it the wisdom seems to be that self-build is really best for those who have a strong interest in the build part - its not great for those who primarily want to get flying. Never say never, though - there's always retirement!

@AndrewP alas I fear my budget of 2-3k capex won't work for a smaller group, I'd be looking at more in the region of 6-7 members. Do keep me in mind if you ever need to expand your group, if/when you find it (ps I see there's a tidy looking Savannah on Afors at the moment - not blessed with looks, admittedly, but seems to be a decent STOL ship)
Hello again folks

Have had a think and am coming to the realisation that the only way I’m going to be able to make this work for me and my lowly budget is to aim my sights a bit “lower” and go for something more cheap and cheerful than a C42 or a Skyranger. Something like an X-air springs to mind, they seem to pop up reasonably frequently on Afors and look to be affordable - in the range of 10k. They *almost* look like a real plane, or at least close enough to it.

Any takers for forming an X-air group…?
Pulsars are SEP, 582 engined, and by all accounts fast and fun, but need quite a lot of smooth runway.

X'Airs use multiple engines, but 582s are generally the best, particularly if accompanied by one of the more expensive gearboxes. They are a heck of a lot of fun to fly.

I could be tempted by a not too expensive share in an X'Air or similarly basic microlight (Thruster, Kitfox, Easy Raider...) somewhere towards the West of that area, but am not specifically looking for anything. I have formed groups before, and have about 110hrs in X'Airs and can instruct. X'Airs and Thrusters at-least are suitable for storage outdoors if you have good covers.

I did notice a £3.5k share in a Eurostar going at White Waltham recently with low monthly and hourly costs, and there's a CT there which occasionally has shares come up at similar money. Not my thing however - I'd rather fly SEP that is SEP, or a microlight that's not trying to be SEP (although both are very nice aeroplanes, I just have SEP shares that do the same thing with more payload and night/IFR capability.)

There are a couple of Minimaxes for sale at the moment around £4k, if anybody knew of a strip with hangarage in the vicinity that could take a littleun or we could persuade White Waltham (my personal perfect location) to find a little corner of a hangar. I've fancied one of those for years.