General Conference at London October 2006
Text & photos by Roger Holm, Norway

  09. October: Dominique Mereuse re-elected as president of EMF. In addition the Board now consists of first vice president Jan Fridrich, second vice president Flavio Giacosa and Treasurer & Secretary Keith Negal. EMF has more than 37000 paying members.

The new Board: Flavio Giacosa (Italy), Dominique Mereuze (France), Keith Negal (UK) and Jan Fridrich (Czech).

The annual General Conference was held in London, at the Royal Air Force Museum near Hendon on the 8th of October 2006. The minutes from the meeting will be written by the secretary and approved from the board before we post it here. An important message to all microlight members came out of the meeting. Every single member og any microlight club in Europe is requested to send to EASA a response to the A-NPA 014 in order to convice the rulemakers that we are serious about this, and that we are standing together in our efforts to get a good step further in attaining better rules for our activities.

In this little report however, we are giving a far less formal story of the weekend than the quite serious matters being discussed during the meeting.

The meeting started actually Friday afternoon where well known microlight pilot Richard Meredith-Hardy presented the flight above Mt Everest last year, where he used a trike to tow the late Angelo D' Arrigo in his hangglider all the way from their base at 9500 ft to the  29,000 feet altitude of the highest summit in the world. Richard gave a detailed description of the tour in an entusiastic manner. Hardly heard of, Richard later learned that about 40-45 people had reached the summit on that very day, and many of these were clearly visible in many of his pictures taken during his circling above. Interesting was it to see the pictures they had sent him showing him circling above their heads at the top of the snow capped Mt Everest, believing they were at the top of the world. Must have been a strange feeling.

Richard Merdith-Hardy in his trike towing Angelo in his hingglider just before reaching MtEverest at around 30,000 feet altitude.

Due to a sudden unexpected flicker, the hangglider broke the towline just about reaching their goal, and Angelo was left to sweep over the summit and find his way home alone. Due to the white wing against the white background, Richard never saw him again on that flight. Asking Richard how it is possible to climb to that altitude with an ordinary crude trike wing, he replied with only one word, Turbo. The turbocharged Rotax 914 can maintain all 115 horsepowers up to 18,000 feet, after which it will drop gently as one climbs further up. When the line broke, he established a steady 300 ft/min climb at that altitude, continuing up to more than 30,000 feet, well above the peak. The flight was only possible after months of testing of the equipment, even in a deep frozen wind tunnel to check if it was possible to carry out a flight in free air under such conditions. They also did a similar flight above the highest mountaion in South America.

Richard has lots of achievements in microlighting behind him, and he received a few days ago the highest honour in aviation, the FAI Gold Medal, which he brought with him for us to see.

The official agenda started off on Saturday morning, counting members and delegates as usual. Richard showed us a wake-up video from the salt lake in Utah, where a large number of cars showed off their powers during the Speed Week over there. He had filmed most of the event from the air.

Turning around and opening the agenda, the delegate reports brought out the latest changes since last meeting in each country. There are still many differences in the rules and regulations amongst the member states. More details about that in the minutes.

The by far most important topic was the A-NPA 014, where the three members of working group reported how the progress was througout the five meetings from March to July. The purpose of our participation in this matter is to assist in forming a new class suitable for a number of heavy microlights. It was said it was quite difficult to get some of our well agreed intentions included as part of the final notice to proposal we saw in august. This was in contrast to the invitation saying the working group should start with blank sheets and take all experience with less or no regulation into account. This emphasized the importance of maintaining Annex II to 1592/2002 in order to protect our current microlights in Europe.

Jo Konrad, Bertrand Taddei and Jan Fridrich describing the negotiations and how it felt to be part of the working group MDM032.

Tormod Veiby, former CIMA president, presenting the ongoing discussion in the working group M.017 about aircraft maintenance Part M.

Keith as EMF Treasurer presenting his budget proposal for 2007. There were some concerns about the increasing expences due to all working groups we found it necessary to attend, but the budget was finally agreed by voting.

The General Conference in the meeting room of the Air Museum.

More about the meeting later.

Before Richards presentation on friday afternoon, and during the lunch breaks, we had the chance of taking a look at the plentiful items in this famous air museum, situated near Hendon in north London. 

We were given a complimentary tour around the war plane area by Edgar M Child, who was flight engineer on Lancaster bombers during the second world war. The Lancaster appeared to be much bigger than most of us had imagined from pictures, having main wheels like a tractor and a 30m long fuselage.

Former flight engineer (and 2nd pilot) Edgar M Child D.F.M, who guided us around the museum.

The next hall had put together a good collection of famous planes, mostly warplanes.