Powered flight

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Although I do not fly powered aircraft, I have always built plastic models of them and taken an interest in them. Additionally, the early days of modern hang gliding (mid 1970s to late ’70s) gave rise to powered ultralights (known as microlights in Britain because of an existing ultralight category). They were therefore included in the content of the hang gliding magazines of that time, to which I subscribed.

Powered ultralights

Reprinted courtesy of Ultralight Flying! magazine.

In the late 1970s, Hang glider manufacturer Larry Newman branched out into powered ultralights with the Eagle. Reprinted courtesy of Ultralight Flying! magazine.

Photo of a 1980s powered ultralight

Quicksilver MX

The Quicksilver was an early hang glider which became the basis of a popular line of powered ultralights. This is a multi-axis control variant incorporating spoilerons for roll control. The original Quicksilver had only a rudder and lots of dihedral. The rudder put the craft into a skid and the dihedral then caused it to roll. Kind of weird, but it seemed to work. Reprinted courtesy of Ultralight Flying! magazine.

Photo of a 1980s powered ultralight in flight

Reprinted courtesy of Ultralight Flying! magazine.

Powered ultralights enabled greater access to the skies than was previously possible.

Photo of 1980s powered ultralights

A section of two Pterodactyls refuels at a roadside gasoline station.

The Pterodactyl was based on the early 1970s Fledgling rigid hang glider.


Both photos reprinted courtesy of Ultralight Flying! magazine.

Climb out under power

Climb out under power

Climbing out from Newton Peveril airfield in Dorset with Gary Dear as nose gunner in 2002. We flew to Kimmeridge, where we had a cafe breakfast before heading back. By the time we returned to the airfield, thermal turbulence was too strong to get down on the narrow grass strip, so we landed in a ploughed field a mile away.

Photo of a flexwing powered ultralight taking off


Gary Dear lifts off with Phil ‘ZZ’ Smith navigating in a Pegasus Quasar at Newton Peveril in Dorset. The power lines have been removed since I took this photo in 2007.

Airplane restoration in Spain

Photo of Cessna O-2 undergoing restoration in 2004


When I was undergoing hang glider aerotow training at Villamartin in Spain in 2004, this Cessna O-2 (or possibly it is the civilian version) was undergoing restoration in one of the hangars. The O-2 provided twin engine reliability as a replacement for the smaller O-1 Bird Dog used in the forward air control (FAC) role in Vietnam until the introduction of the purpose-built North American OV-10 Bronco.

For an unusual variation of the Cessna O-2 (Skymaster to Sky Rider) see Science fiction/fantasy in Plastic Models > Various.

Related (internal links)

Easy riser, my review of the movie Fly Away Home, Columbia Pictures, 1996

Hang gliding

Plastic models

Saving Major Tom, my review of the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice

Space flight and hang gliding


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