Royal Aero Club Newsletter

Spring 2006

Newsletter edited by Diana King. Please send items for future Newsletters to Radford Barn, Radford Semele, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 1UT or to



At the AGM on 30 March, Marc Asquith stood down as Chairman after a three-year term of office and handed over to Keith Negal.

Keith was first appointed to the Royal Aero Club Council in 1998 and has been Vice Chairman for 3 years. He says: "Through its membership of Europe Air Sports, now headed by the Royal Aero Club’s nominee, Sir John Allison, the Royal Aero Club has placed the UK in a position of real influence in Europe. My most important job as Chairman is to ensure that the sometimes wobbly relationship between the Royal Aero Club and other British recreational aviation bodies becomes rock solid. If we can all work together we can ensure that the changes resulting from this EASA initiative are beneficial rather than detrimental to the 75,000 aviators in the UK."

Keith’s flying began in the Air Training Corps, where he flew solo in gliders at 17. Following military free fall parachuting in the 1970s and hang gliding in the 1980s he took up microlighting in 1993. Since then, he has amassed just under 1,000 microlight hours and built his own 912-powered Sky Ranger microlight. This year he started to fly Paramotors. He is a keen competition pilot, participating in microlight competitions since 1996 and has flown for the UK on numerous occasions. In 2001 he was Leader of the British Microlight Team that won the Gold Medal in the World Air Games in Spain and was subsequently awarded the Britannia Trophy by the Royal Aero Club. In 2003, he organised the World Microlight Championships at Long Marston in Warwickshire.

Chairman of the British Microlight Aircraft Association from 1998 to 2001 and again since 2005, Keith has also been a member of the Popular Flying Association for over 10 years. He is a Board Member of the European Microlight Federation and Secretary of the Microlight Commission of the FAI.

Keith will be supported by David Roberts, who becomes Vice Chairman. David is the recently retired Chairman of the British Gliding Association.

Marc Asquith has been appointed a Vice President of the Royal Aero Club. Excerpts from his final Chairman’s Report are on the Valedictory Report to the RAeC AGM web-page.



The RAeC continues to represent its members on many consultations and in numerous meetings. The pace of change and the demand for technical knowledge has now become so intense that it has become impractical for volunteers to keep up with the work. The RAeC Council has therefore decided to appoint a part-time ‘Programme Manager’ who will be responsible for preparing the RAeC’s responses to consultations, representing us in meetings, advising Council and the members on regulatory and technical developments and ensuring that the voices of sporting and recreational pilots are heard in the corridors of power. A selection panel has been appointed to make the appointment. For further details, please see the Programme Manager web-page.

There has been some progress in Europe, with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) now responding to pressure from Europe Air Sports (EAS), and an improved relationship developing between the two organisations. In late 2005, EASA suggested discussions to clarify how the proposed new European regulations could be improved for sporting and recreational pilots. A top-level working group has been set up to consider this and RAeC Vice Chairman David Roberts is one of the experts nominated by EAS to this group.

On 1 December 2006 there will be a joint EAS/Eurocontrol Day in Brussels. Sir John Allison, as EAS President, is encouraging as many people as possible to attend.

One piece of draft legislation that had pilots from all air sports reaching for their pens was the proposed new planning policy, which by its original wording would have changed the classification of airfields from greenfield to brownfield sites, making them more vulnerable to building developments. Following a storm of protest, and support from the Parliamentary Aviators Group, we hope that the final document will be changed to protect airfields as before; the RAeC and others will be monitoring developments to ensure that this happens.



Congratulations to:

The British Gliding Team, who are ranked number one in the world for the second year running, with 13 pilots in the top 50.

The British Paragliding team, second in the world rankings, with six pilots in the top 50.

The Paragliding Accuracy teams, also second in the rankings and 3 pilots in the top ten.



Congratulations to Robin Hamilton, who has set a new straight distance world record of 688 km in hang-gliders. The flight took place on 18 July 2005 in Texas.

Congratulations also to Mark Benns, who set a new duration record for indoor gliders (ceiling over 30m), of 1 min 24.8 sec on 27 July 2005 at Kibbie Dome in the USA.



These were decided at the end of last year and the presentations will be made later this year. Congratulations to all Award winners, whose details will be found on the 2005 Awards page.



Since then, two of the FAI Commissions have decided their awards for this year. Congratulations to:

Bernard Huntawarded the Antonov Diploma by the Aeromodelling Commission

Ian Strachan awarded the Lilienthal Medal by the International Gliding Commission

Prince Alvaro De Orleans Borbon Fund

The 2005 FAI General Conference adopted new regulations for the award of prizes from the Prince Alvaro De Orleans Borbon Fund for Technical Advances in the field of Sporting Aviation, including Simulated Flying. Nominations are now invited for high-calibre candidates who may be suitable recipients of prizes from the Fund; these should be sent to the RAeC office by 31 May 2006. Further details are available from the RAeC Office.



The Flying Start Project has been established by the Sheppey Heritage Trust. Eastchurch airfield and Shellness at the eastern end of the Isle of Sheppey are acknowledged as having been the first homes of aviation in Great Britain. Following closure of part of the operation of an open prison at Eastchurch, the buildings and the immediate area will become redundant.   This area contains much of the original site of flying in Britain with hangars and workshops of the Royal Aero Club, Shorts and the Royal Naval Air Service.   The Sheppey Heritage Trust has been offered the site and has devised a project to develop the site. The plan is to create a centre in these original buildings to draw attention to the work carried out by those early pioneers.

Newsletter edited by Diana King. Please send items for future Newsletters to Royal Aero Club, Radford Barn, Radford Semele, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 1UT or to

For further information on any items contained in this Newsletter, please contact Diana King at the RAeC Office address or on (Tel) 01926 332713 or (Fax) 01926 335206.