Unlike our weightshift trikes, these aircraft are controlled by the same “stick and rudder” method as used in larger conventional aircraft. In Australia, these aircraft were usually referred to as “ultralights” and this name is still used for the more basic “rag and tube” types of aircraft such as our Bantam. The heavier, high performance, aircraft such as our Sling are are generally called light sports or recreation aircraft.
The terms “microlight” and “ultralight” aren’t legally defined and in other countries may be used differently to Australia e.g. in the UK both weightshift and lightweight fixedwing aircraft are known as “microlights”.
The qualification required to fly them is the same pilot certificate issued by Recreational Aviation Australia that is needed to pilot the trikes. Conversion between the two styles of aircraft is not difficult but does require some difference training.
The Bantam is an iconic New Zealand design and is powered by a Rotax 582 water-cooled engine. It is certified to the UK BCAR-S design standard which means it is incredibly strong and safe (ultimate load is 6g – three times more than the maximum in legal flight). Its performance and handling make it huge fun to fly (similar to a trike) and an ideal trainer for learning to fly conventionally controlled aircraft.
High performance light sports aircraft can cost as much as AU$200,000 or more but there are many much cheaper aircraft in the ultralight category which can be purchased for as little as AU$10,000. These typically have similar performance to the Bantam which makes it an excellent conversion trainer.
The Bantam is available to cross-hire to approved pilots who have learnt to fly or converted to fixed-wing at Caboolture Microlights