Hybrid Microlight Aeroplane

The UK company ProAirsport, has created a hybrid microlight aeroplane that combines a microlight and a glider. The plane’s wheels are electric so it can taxi on the ground into a landing or starting position, and it has jet turbine engines to allow it to take off, go upwards and then cruise at its desired altitude.

Once it has achieved flight, the craft’s engines can be switched off and then it works as a glider or microlight aircraft. The difference is that this new craft is not typical of other kinds of gliders or microlights because it doesn’t have a propeller. The new experimental aircraft is called the GloW.

The main draw of the microlight or glider type of craft is that they must be easy to rig, as well as simple to fly and get it all going in 15 minutes as the standard. The GloW aircraft fits the bill for those requirements. Its creators say that the GloW is meant to be a recreational type of craft that was designed to be a cross between the glider and a microlight. It is a self-launching glider, but with the addition of the small jet turbine engines and the small electric motors.

The inventors say that all of this will help keep the cost of the GloW craft lower and so they hope more people can eventually own one. However, even though this is one of the expected advantages of the GloW craft, there has yet to be a price determined to sell it. The company hopes to eventually offer it to the US market as well as the UK market.

Instead of the higher costs of a carbon fiber material, the GloW aircraft’s airframe is constructed of a glass and epoxy composite. This is part of what holds down its cost and makes it so lightweight.

The new aircraft’s design comes as the UK Civil Aviation Authority is deregulating one class of microlight aircraft. This deregulation includes all single seat aircraft that have a maximum takeoff weight of lower than 300 kilograms or 660 pounds, as well as a stall speed of less than 35 knots.

The GloW aircraft meets those standards and also there is no preliminary certification for airworthiness needed or any sort of inspection that is mandatory. Any pilot certified and having a self-launching motor glider-type of flying license is allowed to fly the GloW aircraft.

The GloW should have an extended range of travel since it can operate as either a glider or microlight aircraft. Being able to travel with the power off helps to accomplish these facts. Normal gliders can usually go hundreds of miles and stay in the air for up to 10 hours if they have the right air conditions. Having an engine should allow the GloW to do better than these standards.

ProAirsport is presently constructing two versions of this GloW demonstration aircraft; one will be for the UK market and one for the US market. They expect inaugural flights to take place by September or October of 2015.