In the early 1990s, Paul Haines took an idea and turned it into one of the pre-eminent microlight flying-schools on the Australian East Coast. He taught people to fly weightshift microlight aircraft ("trikes") at Wollongong Regional Airport so they could realise their dream of learning to fly and owning their own aircraft. In doing so Paul rightly became something of a legend in Australian microlight circles, achieving the rank of Instructor Examiner within the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA).

  Being based within relatively easy reach of Sydney, the Southern Tablelands, The Blue Mountains and the South Coast, Paul's school continued well into the 21st century. When Paul retired, Ned McIntosh took over day-to-day running of the school, eventually becoming the owner and Chief Flying Instructor of the Sydney Microlight Centre Pty Ltd.

 We run the school on the simple premise of giving people good value-for-money, training pilots to a high standard, and seeing they fly trikes which were well-maintained and safe. Above all, we want all our pilots to fly as much as they can and have fun doing so. 

  Some people want to learn to fly and own their own aircraft, others just want to see the sights. But one thing is common for both...their adventures in triking begin with their very first flight - the Trial Instructional Flight or TIF 

  A TIF is conducted under the auspices of the HGFA and can be the beginning of an adventure in flying. If the flying bug begins to bite, up to three hours of training can be done within three months using the temporary student-membership of the HGFA which is a requirement for all people undertaking a TIF. Once these three hours are completed, students wishing to continue their training are required to become fully paid-up members of the HGFA, whereupon they are issued with their student pilot certificate, a training workbook and receive the monthly magazine of the HGFA as part of the annually-renewable membership.

  Student pilots proceeding to their Weightshift Microlight Pilot Certificate (WMPC), particularly those of more advanced years, will need to ensure their state of health and general level of fitness is sufficient to undertake training in an aircraft which can, in unexpected turbulence, become a little "physical" at times. (We don't fly in rough air as a rule, but conditions can change whilst you are in flight and there are occasions when there is turbulence in the circuit and on the approach to land.)

  Hang-glider pilots wishing to learn to fly trikes can be exempted from up to 10 hours of the 20 hours minimum, subject to approval from the HGFA.

  A good command of English is necessary to pass the exams, and to be competent on the aircraft radio. Unfortunately, previous 3-axis flight experience isn't credited towards your microlight training-time. The medical requirements for WMPC pilots are a standard of fitness required to hold a driver's licence, which is far less rigorous than is required in general aviation. However, for your own safety, we ask that student pilots with medical conditions which may affect their ability to fly notify the instructor so he can evaluate each case on its merits. We want you to learn to fly, but we are very safety-conscious at the same time.

  Hourly training-rates and other information relating to costs can be found on the "Prices" section of the website. Our price-structure has remained unchanged for the last few years in spite of inflation and the ever-rising cost of fuel.

  Please also note the two-seat microlights we operate are certified to carry up to 100Kg per seat maximum.

  Microlights can fly anywhere outside controlled airspace and up to an absolute maximum height of 10,000 feet, which means you can fly over 99% of Australia. (We normally don't fly much above 4000 feet unless it is absolutely necessary). It is also perfectly legal to land at small airports ( Orange, Bathurst, Wagga, etc.), or fly from farmer's paddocks - provided you have the land-owner's permission, of course! Also, keep in mind the fact that "the weather is the boss". Weather determines if we can fly or not, especially considering our coastal location and the speed with which coastal weather can, and does, change. Good, smooth air is a pre-requisite for making progress as a student-pilot.

 Details on accommodation in the Albion Park/Shellharbour area, should you require this, are available from most popular search engines.

The Sydney Microlight Centre operates most days, weather permitting. The first step is to phone 0428 420310 and book your Trial Instructional Flight (TIF).

Copyright © 2008 Sydney Microlight Centre Pty Ltd (ABN 67 132 461 780)