A Routine Inspection Leads to Propeller Maintenance

During my routine Daily Inspection (DI) on our C42C, I noticed a slight movement of the spinner. It was very slight but enough to warrant investigation. Upon closer inspection, the movement was occurring between the spinner back plate and the hub. 

Not having worked on an E-Prop before, I removed the spinner and attempted to tighten the screws to the required torque. However, two screws didn’t tighten properly, and I feared their captive nuts might have been stripped. I contacted E-Prop support, and I must say, they were very responsive. They promptly sent a service letter EP-SL-002 that predated my C42C’s manufacture date. The service letter detailed the process of removing the prop, drilling out some 4mm holes to 5mm, and fitting higher-quality M5 screws.

The old screws can easily be identified as they are M4 Mushroom head screws while the new ones are M5 Cap head screws, see picture.

My fear of blind nuts was unfounded as the propeller used nylock nuts within the hub. E-Prop sent me a service pack free of charge. However, this process raised another concern: would I need to reset the prop pitch? Another quick email to E-Prop clarified which screws to remove and which to avoid touching to maintain the propeller pitch.

The next issue was not having a torque wrench that went down to 5Nm, but Amazon came to the rescue here. Not having drilled carbon fibre before, I sought the advice of an expert, who surprisingly advised against using a new drill bit. Instead, they suggested using a worn bit to avoid splintering the carbon fibre.

With everything I needed, it was time to carry out the required work. It took just over an hour, though I was taking my time and could have done it faster. 

First, I ensured the spinner was marked so it would go back on correctly. I removed the spinner screws and the spinner itself, which was straightforward. Setting the spinner aside, I removed the outer retaining prop screws, working my way around and undoing opposite pairs at a time, leaving the top centre one for last. Once all were off, I was amazed at how light the prop was. I set it aside and commenced drilling the holes and replacing the nuts without washers, as per the service letter.

The process was simple, and reassembly was a straightforward reversal. After completing the work, I logged it in the aircraft’s logbook and took the aircraft for a test flight. Everything was fine, and she is now back in service. 

This experience was a valuable reminder of the importance of thorough inspections and the benefits of responsive support from manufacturers.

Bitten by a Shark!

Today, I had the remarkable opportunity to pilot the new Shark Microlight, currently undergoing the process for UK Microlight certification with the BMAA. I can encapsulate my experience with a single word: “incredible” or “wow” – both adequately describe this machine.

Before delving into my flight, I must extend my heartfelt thanks to Paul Hendry-Smith of The Light Aircraft Company, also known as TLAC, and Howard Barber, the test pilot for this fantastic opportunity.

The Shark arrived with a graceful landing, from this sleek aircraft, emerged Howard, an experienced pilot and instructor.

After exchanging greetings and catching up – I had flown with Howard previously in a different aircraft, a Cessna 150 – he briefed me on the aircraft and the embarkation process. Climbing into the cockpit, I couldn’t help but feel akin to Maverick, with the side stick to my right and the full glass cockpit ahead. The adjustable seat was a pleasant surprise, uncommon in a Microlight. With the seat adjusted, seatbelt secured, and canopy closed, I felt privileged to occupy the front seat – a privilege not granted to everyone. After conducting some checks, I initiated the start sequence, and the 912ULS (100Hp) engine purred to life. The two blades of the large propeller created a satisfying yellow disc, reminiscent of scenes from old war films depicting views from a Spitfire. Taxiing out, I steered using the rudder and differential brakes. The brakes held firmly during the power check at the full recommended Rotax power of 4,000 rpm.

After completing additional checks, I taxied to the runway, opened the electronically controlled cowl flap, and lined up. With a few words of wisdom from Howard, and prop set fully fine, I applied full power, and soared into the air. After retracting the flaps, undercarriage and adjusting the throttle and prop, we climbed swiftly, akin to a rocket. Levelling out at 4,000 feet, we accelerated to 150 knots, with the conveniently located trim control on the stick I adjusted for level flight.

The Shark proved remarkably stable yet highly responsive. Executing 45-degree turns in both directions felt exhilaratingly smooth. It was time to hand over control to Howard, allowing me to capture some photos for my blog. Howard demonstrated the Shark’s capabilities, executing 60-degree bank turns and we pulled a few G’s, effortlessly manoeuvring around the clouds. Then it was my turn again – a rapid descent followed by a high-speed, low pass over the airfield, concluding with a swift climb to bleed off speed before entering the circuit for landing. However, the blinding sun angle during approach in this unfamiliar aircraft prompted me to request Howard to land this remarkable aircraft.

As I sit at my computer hours later, a broad smile still graces my face. In my opinion, this is not an aircraft for novice pilots. Nonetheless, for those with experience, after the five-hour conversion, the Shark promises to be an aircraft that will keep you smiling and turning heads for a long time.

Exploring the Skies and Scenic Marvels of San Agustín and more

Have you ever dreamt of soaring high above the world, embracing a panoramic tapestry of beauty that stretches beyond imagination? Earlier this year, I embarked on a thrilling adventure that fulfilled this very dream. We journeyed to the sun-kissed paradise of Gran Canaria, to the enchanting region of San Agustín, while there I embarked on a microlight flight of a lifetime.

Flying with Club Deportivo Charranes Ultraligeros


My microlight adventure was made possible by the fantastic team at Club Deportivo Charranes Ultraligeros. I had planned this excursion, eagerly anticipating a 90-minute flight aboard the Skyranger Ninja. However, fate had a twist in store for me when the original instructor had to cancel. In came Javi, a true saviour who stepped up to make my day and my holiday too.

Setting Off from El Berriel

Our adventure began as we took off from El Berriel, an airstrip nestled just 20 feet above sea level. As we ascended, the vast, sparkling expanse of the Atlantic Ocean unfolded beneath us, painting a serene backdrop to our journey.

Coastal Delights: Puerto de Mogán and Dunas de Maspalomas

Around 20 minutes into our flight, we found ourselves at about 1,000 feet above sea level over Puerto de Mogán, a charming coastal town known for its marina and charming architecture. The contrast between village life and the serene sea was truly remarkable. Further along, we marveled at the Dunas de Maspalomas, a surreal desert-like landscape alongside the ocean, creating a unique visual masterpiece.

Climbing to New Heights at Los Caserones

As we left Puerto de Mogán, our journey took us over the picturesque town of Los Caserones, initially at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level. From here, we ventured into the heart of the island with a series of climbing turns, ultimately reaching around 4,500 feet above sea level. The view from this altitude was truly remarkable, offering a glimpse of the rugged mountain terrain and lush greenery that characterizes Gran Canaria’s interior.

Over Guayedra Beach: A Mountainous Adventure

Leaving Los Caserones behind, we continued our ascent towards the majestic San Bartolomé de Tirajana, reaching an awe-inspiring altitude of 8,500 feet above sea level. The views from this height were simply unparalleled, providing an awe-inspiring perspective of the island’s picturesque villages and sweeping valley views.

Descending Over Palmito Park

Our descent took us over Palmito Park, a lush botanical garden showcasing a diverse collection of palm trees and subtropical plants. The aerial view revealed the park’s vibrant greenery, creating a serene contrast to the rugged landscapes we had witnessed.

A Final Coastal Journey and Landing

Our journey was brought full circle as we followed the coastline back, with our hotel passing beneath us. The unique aerial perspective added a new layer of appreciation to the pristine beaches and the tranquil Atlantic Ocean, providing the perfect end to our remarkable flight.

The 90-minute microlight flight over Gran Canaria was nothing short of a high-flying adventure. We witnessed a diverse array of landscapes, from coastal towns to desert-like dunes, and mountainous interiors to serene botanical gardens. It was a breathtaking experience that left an indelible mark on my heart and my memory and one that I wholeheartedly recommend to any fellow adventurers seeking to explore the beauty of Gran Canaria from the skies. And if you’d like to relive My journey, check out the video on my YouTube channel [here].

Looking back on the flight and relating the landmarks was made so much easier as I had flown with Skydemon.

Diverse Skies: Embracing the Cessna 150 Experience

Today I took a Cessna 150 out for a solo spin! Now, I’ve got some experience under my belt with a Cessna 172, around 15 hours or so, and I’ve dipped my toes into the world of the 150 for about 2 hours. One of those hours was basically just to show that I’ve got the hang of things and can handle the Cessna 150. Having passed the handling assessment, the kind folks at The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC) over at Little Snoring airfield are allowing me to rent their 150.

You might be wondering why I’m renting the 150. Well, our trusty Europa is temporarily out of commission, waiting for some TLC. And while I love flying around and teaching in the C42, every now and then, it’s nice to fly something different.

Cessna C150 G-GFLY

TLAC’s 150 is affordable and conveniently located for me. So, it’s a win-win.

Now, let’s talk about the flying experience. Flying the 150 is a different ball game compared to the C42 or our speedy Europa. The 150 takes its time getting off the ground and climbing, kind of like driving a minibus, whereas the C42 feels more like a sports car. And then there’s our Europa XS Tri-gear, which falls somewhere in between during the climb. The Europa might take a bit more time to climb than the C42, but once it’s cruising, it leaves both the C42 and the 150 for dust cruising at 120-130kt.

But honestly, flying is flying, no matter how you slice it. Whether it’s a Microlight, a GA plane, or something else.

Occasionally we do get some Cessna pilots dropping in for training on a C42, and they sometimes find it a bit tricky to master the landing in the lighter C42. Well, I guess I now understand why, Landing the Cessna 150 almost feels like it’s doing the job itself!

So, my adventure today lasted about an hour. I headed out to explore the breathtaking coastline of North Norfolk before returning to Little Snoring.

Stunning coastline

After a smooth landing and a bit of taxiing, I ended up having a chat with David, who works at TLAC. He was busy with an Ikarus C42, setting up a transponder and testing it with a laptop. And here’s a cool twist—I found out they were using software that I’d actually created and shared on this very website! It’s pretty humbling, I won’t lie, as are those emails that pop up every now and then, saying thanks for the software. They really make the time and effort that I put into writing and testing the transponder report program worthwhile.

Transponder testing with Transponder report application written by getyourwings.

Soaring to New Heights: My Journey as a Microlight Flying Instructor


Welcome to Get Your Wings, it’s been far too long since my last post! Today, we embark on an exhilarating journey through the skies as we delve into the world of a Microlight Assistant Flying Instructor. Join me as I recount my experience of passing the full microlight Flying Instructors test and my unforgettable adventure to the picturesque town of Tallard, nestled in the breathtaking French Alps.

mountains near Tallard in France

1: Taking Flight as a UK Microlight Assistant Flying Instructor

Becoming a Microlight Assistant Flying Instructor was a dream come true for me. From the very beginning, I was captivated by aviation and the incredible freedom it offers. Sharing my passion for flying with enthusiastic students has brought me immense joy and fulfilment over the past 5 years. Although the old saying of the job of a flying instructor is to work out how a student, unwittingly, plans to kill you and stop them from carrying it out, does seem to have some foundation in truth, maybe I will share some of the stories in the future!

2: Preparing for the full microlight flying Instructor’s test

With a burning desire to expand my horizons and take on greater responsibilities, oh and being made redundant from my main job, I set my sights on obtaining the full microlight Flying Instructors (FI) rating. Months of preparation followed, involving a deep dive into the intricacies of teaching, theory and practical skills.

To achieve this, I studied extensively, sought information from experienced instructors, and engaged in countless hours of revision using flashcards, books, YouTube and rehearsing lesson plans. I don’t think I have ever put so much into preparing for a test, but it was worth it in the end.

3: A Journey to Tallard, France

“What have I done, have I gone mad”, were the thoughts going through my head as I set out to France to take my test with a person I have never met, in a country I have never flown in, in an aircraft type I have never flown and all because I love mountains (we all have our peculiarities), maybe I had gone mad.

The pinnacle of my quest to become a full-fledged Microlight Flying Instructor arrived when I travelled to Tallard, France, to take the test. Situated in the heart of the majestic French Alps, Tallard is renowned for its stunning scenery and its vibrant aviation community.

As I embarked on this adventure, I was filled with a mix of excitement and trepidation. The thought of flying amidst the snow-capped peaks and breathtaking valleys of the French Alps was both awe-inspiring and humbling.

4: The Test and Exploring the French Alps

The testing process was rigorous, as it should be, to ensure that only the most competent and skilled instructors receive their FI rating. The examiner was thorough, assessing my theoretical knowledge, teaching capabilities, and flight proficiency with meticulous attention to detail.

The day of the test was long, starting with the normal weather and NOTAM briefing, followed by a lesson of the examiner’s choice to be given and then flown, additionally during the flight a number of other manoeuvres were asked to be demonstrated. Back on the ground and thinking that it hadn’t gone too badly I prepared myself for the intense questioning session which would run for a few hours and cover all the subjects. This seemed to go well also, there were a few very deep technical questions asked, which as a BMAA inspector, I had the answers readily to hand. I have deliberately chosen not to cite any of the questions here.  

Upon successfully passing the test, I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. The world of microlight aviation had opened up to me in a whole new way. Eager to explore the captivating surroundings, I took the opportunity to embark on exhilarating flights in the French Alps.

5: The Unforgettable Beauty of the French Alps

Flying through the French Alps was an experience beyond words. The stunning landscapes, adorned with towering peaks, deep gorges, and picturesque villages, stretched out beneath me like a canvas of natural wonder. both flights were mesmerizing adventures, immersing me in the raw beauty of the Alps.

From the tranquil serenity of Lake Serre-Ponçon to the grandeur of the mountain peaks, the French Alps offered an endless array of scenic wonders. The joy of sharing these experiences with my students and friends reinforced my passion for aviation and microlight flight instruction.


My journey to Tallard, France, allowed me to not only achieve my professional goals but also discover the unparalleled beauty of the French Alps from the air. If like me you have a thing for both flying and mountains I can recommend a visit to Pegasus Flight training, their website is pegasusfrance.co.uk, don’t forget to mention my blog!

As I continue my adventure as a certified instructor, I eagerly look forward to guiding and inspiring the next generation of microlight aviators

Calculating an estimated cloud base

I was recently asked by a student “how high are the clouds?” I usually look outside and take a guess or if marginal and someone else is already flying I will ask them to report it back, but what if neither option is viable, maybe you are a new pilot or no one else is flying and you don’t have access to a weather station for your field that calculates it for you?

The first thing to do is to look outside if it doesn’t look flyable it probably isn’t, go and have a tea or coffee and check again later! but for a more technical answer see below:

First, find the outside temperature in degrees C.
Next, find the current dew point.

Subtract the dew point from the temperature and divide the answer by 2.5, and finally multiply that by 1,000 to give the approximate cloud base in feet.

e.g. Temperature = 14c, Dew point = 12c. 14-12= 2 

2/2.5 = 0.8 multiplied by 1,000 gives the cloud base of 800ft AGL
To find it with reference to MSL just add the field elevation to the above.

But what if you don’t know the dew point?

This is often given in a METAR but if you are flying from a small strip you may not have this information relevant to your location.

First, find the relative humidity (RH), this is given by most weather stations and is also shown on the Met Office weather forecast.

The Lawrence method of approximating dew point temperature (Td) is based on the observation that for humidity levels greater than 50%, Td decreases by about 1°C for every 5% decrease in RH

The following formula Td = T – ((100 – RH)/5) gives the approximate dew point temperature Td, where T is the current temperature in C.

You can now either use the above formula with the calculated dew point to work out the approximate cloud base or continue below.

Putting it into practice to estimate today’s cloud base

When calculating the cloud base from relative humidities greater than 50% we can simplify it to:

Cloud base = (((100 – RH)/5)/2.5 )* 1,000 

e.g using the forecast information shown on the right we have an approximate 880ft cloud base
(((100 – 89)/5)/2.5)*1,000 =  880

Breaking that down:
100 – 89 = 11 so we now have ((11/5)/2.5)*1000
11/5 = 2.2 so now we have (2.2/2.5)*1000
2.2/2.5 = 0.88 leaving us with 0.88 *1000
0.88 * 1000 = 880 which is the approximate cloud base in feet.

Now you know how it is derived it can be simplified slightly thus:
((100 – 89)/12.5)*1,000 =  880

As a side note, this type of question can come up in your Met exams!

View from the Other Side of the Table

I have been instructing on Microlights for some time now, and for reasons of personal development, I decided to start my journey from NPPL to PPL. Early this week I did a dual cross-country flight with my instructor. It’s been a long time since I navigated by chart and watch alone. Typically when instructing I have my trusty Skydemon on to help with situational awareness, you would be surprised at how many instructors with students infringe airspace while flying, and I don’t want to be another statistic.

Planning of the flight wasn’t an issue, I correctly planned the flight avoiding overflying a parachute drop zone and my timings etc were correctly calculated too. Before the flight, we talked about closing angles, not something we normally teach so it was new to me, and other lost procedures which were more familiar, none of which was an issue. The issue came on flying the first leg, my flying was somewhat erratic as my instructor upped the workload by asking where on the leg we were and how I was confirming it. I struggled to avoid just saying “we are here”, I needed need to avoid the trap of confirmation bias. I gave my location and he immediately asked for the name of another town closer and for me to show him on the chart where the places were, roads, forests, rivers and towns and villages. I struggled, I knew where we were and I knew out of the window I could see a disused airfield and a large town, but if that was correct where is the small village I should be near? as I looked and looked my heading changed as did my altitude, but still I could not confirm my exact position as I was missing the village. Eventually, it was pointed out to me as being just to the right and below, it was in my blind spot. I was off track by 5NM and it was time to use the closing angle for my airspeed so I turned 15 degrees to the right and was to fly that for 10 mins, all while talking to an ATC to get a MATZ penetration and having to reboot the AVMAP Ultra EFIS as the screen had gone blank. I ended up over my turning point a small airfield often frequented by the instructor, but a new one to me. I found that was like looking for a needle in the preverbal haystack! well, this isn’t going well, I thought to myself and I knew I can do better. I could not spot the airfield but trusting my time and heading, I turned, after all the city and river were there, it was just the airfield I was missing, as I turned there was a small airfield under the wing, what a relief. Determined to hold heading and altitude better I said to myself, what would I tell my students, well the first thing would be to look out of the window and fly towards something on the heading I wanted, not to follow the heading bug on the EFIS I had set. This worked much better and my next two legs were acceptable. Part way through the last leg my instructor said the destination airfield is closed, divert to Boston. I knew where we were an I knew where Boston is too, pulling the chart out I drew a line and measured the angle, I turned and flew that new heading, no need to allow for drift as it we were directly into a light wind. You can’t miss Boston it sits on the corner of The Wash, I could almost fly there with my eyes closed, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise, I needed to confirm where I was currently overhead not just where Boston was. With the diversion successfully flown and now heading back to the airfield the instructor pulled the throttle closed, we are a sadistic lot! I found a field glided us towards it and called the 500ft rule and going around, that all worked out well.

Back on the ground, the debrief was what I was expecting. but overall it was ok. so now to plan and fly the QXC (Qualifying cross country). You really don’t realise how much Skydemon lessens your workload until you have to fly without it.


My route was going to be Fenland to Beccles and on to Conington before returning to Fenland. The route was just over the minimum 150nm if flown point to point and I had a small dog leg in there as well. I planned the route and the instructor checked it, I had a few additional waypoints on the route too. I set off after refuelling and flew my well-trodden route to overhead East Winch, getting a basic service and MATZ penetration from Marham. Then on to Beccles via the mast near Old Buckingham, with a basic service from Norwich Radar. The mast was easy to find and meant I was on track, so I made the turn towards Beccles, I spotted it to my right so I was a little off track but close enough to see the airfield. I landed paid my fee and jumped straight back into the aircraft and got going as time marched on. next a due west heading to Conington and a zone transit through Lakenheath. I readied myself and called them. Lakenheath zone G-XXXX, G-XX squawk (whatever it was) Zone transit approved stay clear of the ATZ. Wow, I have not even asked for the zone transit yet! As I got closer they called me back “Are you familiar with Santa” (well that’s what it sounded like) came over the radio in a deep American accent, resisting all my normal sort of replies and playing it with a straight bat, I replied “negative”, back came the reply “remain at your current altitude, fast jest will be operating up to 2,000ft”. I confirmed the message and was somewhat disappointed not to see any fast jets. The rest of the QXC went to plan. After landing back at Fenland I could not remember a time when I had been so drained by flying, but I enjoyed it and on my next flight I’m going to have Skydemon on but navigate primarily by the chart.

Just one more short flight home to go, a 20 min ish flight back to East Winch, I thought I would call Marham but it was late they would have gone home, Back came a reply, they were there, and I got a basic service. I then heard another aircraft ask for a MATZ penetration and they were refused due to launching fast jets! my turn and I got a penetration for a straight-in approach, all was good, time to wash the plane and then go home after a long tiring but satisfying day of flying

Strip Flying Skills Diploma, The most fun I have had with my clothes on!

As an FI(R) at Cambridgeshire Microlights school at Chatteris, I was looking for an additional challenge that would help me on my journey towards becoming an FI, the strip flying diploma seemed to fit the bill. It covers performance planning, which will become key when we move to 600Kg Microlights, theory, planning and practical flying, thus it ticked all my boxes. I spoke to the instructor who trained me originally Mike McLoughlin as he is listed as being able to teach the strip flying course, as is the CFI Katie Denham, Mike agreed to teach me and we put a date in the diary.

Before the first day of training, I was sent links to SafetySense leaflet 12, Strip flying and 7c, Aeroplane Performance to review. On the first day of training for the strip flying diploma, we reviewed these documents and then calculated the performance of the aircraft we were going to fly, an Ikarus C42A, we also covered the theory of short-field takeoff and landings before getting into the aircraft to see what we could achieve.

On the first flight, I flew an uninstructed short-field with Mike, this was to set the benchmark, it wasn’t too bad I thought, Mike gave me some pointers and tried again and I took some more distance off and so we kept refining it, I think by the end of the lesson I had taken around 50 or 60 meters off the landing. This, however, this was on a long runway, so was just an exercise on short-field takeoff and landing.

We planned to follow up in a few weeks to consolidate what I had learned and fly into a short strip or two, however a combination of bad weather, teaching commitments and then the Covid Lockdown meant it was many months before I could finish the diploma.

Taking strip flying to the next level

Finally, the opportunity came on a windy and gusty day in September, this gave the opportunity to test my skills in a crosswind too. We first flew a couple of circuits at my home field using what I had previously learnt, the runway there is 430m so plenty of room if it went wrong. Next, we flew to Wingland, a much shorter strip at 250m. The approach was quite turbulent but with no real obstructions, I managed to land the C42 in about 70m on the first attempt and then taxied in where we were met by two club members. They were very welcoming, making us coffee and offering biscuits too, they commented on how short the landing was and that many visitors use most of the runway, guess the training was paying off! After coffee we flew a few circuits with Mike pointing out improvements and tweaks.  A few more circuits at Wingland and I was getting down to a full stop in a little over 50m. Time for lunch,  so we flew to Fenland where you can always get good food and Ray on the radio does a great job too.

Wingland Strip Flying

Well Wingland was good, but a greater challenge laid ahead! Mike took me to a private farm strip and demonstrated the approach and the dangers of the field, little things like 132kV national grid pylons on the approach, 11kV wires on the go around, and final was through a gap in some trees, oh and the strip was a little shorter for good measure too. The amount of turbulence on the approach as we passed through the trees was concerning, but Mike’s mentoring and demonstration gave me confidence and it was soon my turn. We discussed the abort point if needed, however the short field takeoff saw us high above the 11kV wires long before we got to them.

Cross and downwind on the 500ft circuit were not an issue and then we turned parallel to the 33kV lines on the base leg, ensuring we didn’t get blown into them! I set up the approach and prepared to fly through the turbulence; again we were bounced around, but keeping calm and following Mike’s instruction we flew through it and I landed in about 50m. We sat and discussed the circuit flown and we went again, and again and again… each time adding more and more precision. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the challenge and with Mike’s instruction, and at no point did I feel unsafe.

Strip view Farm strip

I really cannot recommend this training course enough, no matter if you are recently qualified or have flown for a long time, this is a great course to push you to the next level.

A good camera angle even makes a 220m strip look long from the ground, but not so from the air!

Post lockdown engine blues, Rotax SMD ignition modules

mags before

Our Rotax 912UL has never started as well as it does now, but that wasn’t always the case!



Our aircraft had the post lockdown blues and so did we! The first time starting her and she would turn over, but not firing, there was simply nothing there. Others offered the normal advice, you know the normal things people say; make sure the throttle is fully closed, pull the choke fully out and run the electric pump for a couple of minutes! well yes, I had done all of that, next comes the offers to start her for me, they tried and failed too.  I remembered an article which said to warm the ignition modules with a hot air gun if you are having trouble starting. Hot air gun in hand I warm the modules for a few minutes, hastily getting back in and pressing the start button and the engine sprang into life! I warmed the engine before shutting down and putting the cowling on. Others experienced similar issues starting her over the next few flights when the engine was cold.

Then the battery gave out,  low voltage of a failing battery could cause the issue so this was probably the cause. After replacing the battery we could not start her due to the weather and the next day Gary Masters was due to do a service. Service done, it was time to do a ground run, I hit the start button and she turned over but didn’t fire! Gary came over and poured very hot water over the mags and she starts and runs perfectly. Gary then confirmed our suspicions that the Mags aka ignition modules have both failed! 


mags before


These Ducati modules have a reputation for failing and being expensive to replace, circa £1,500 a pair. In a BMAA magazine I had read of some recently approved modules from a company called Light Flight who are selling IGNITECH modules, I text the number on their website and shortly after had a phone call from a very helpful Andy Buchan. Andy told me the modules were approved for use by the BMAA and have been in use across Europe for some time. We purchased two modules with long leads and a simple bracket for £320.00 inc P&P, quite a saving, especially as they claim to be longer-lasting due to being mounted within the cockpit away from heat and vibration. The Modules have an option to boost the spark via a 12V feed taken from the starter solenoid switched positive. The boost ensures a full-strength spark at the low starting rpm. There is also a soft-start software option which we have not enabled currently as it doesn’t seem to be necessary.

Now with the new battery and the new spark boosting mags our Rotax starts effortlessly on the button. We could view it as we had to spend £320 or the way we see things is we saved £1,180!

The fitting is not difficult, but not straight forward either, as they are fitted inside the cockpit on the back of the firewall. This means drilling a hole of approximately 25mm to enable the pre-made cables to pass through, we then closed the hole by placing a piece of split pipe over the cable, thus protecting them and filling the hole. The wiring for the boost is simple, consisting of connecting 1 wire from each module to the switched solenoid terminal (Warning, ensure the battery is disconnected before connecting). 

We added a backing plate to the bracket to ensure airflow around the modules, they run warm to the touch the manufacturer says up to 50 degrees C. The 2 white blocks are voltage regulators for the supplemental supply and come with the modules pre-wired.

Would I recommend these modules? It’s early days, but with the ease of starting we now have and the fact they have a proven history in Europe, I think it’s worth the extra effort to fit these, not only because of the saving, but they have a spark boost and hopefully a longer life too!