Pilot: Microlights have great reputation

AIRBORNE microlights like the aircraft 59-year-old Ray Jackson crashed at Tyagarah on Tuesday have the best reputation among recreational aviators, a Byron Bay pilot has said.

The commercial pilot and former microlight instructor refused to speculate on the cause of the crash, which is being investigated by Recreational Aviation Australia (RAA).

RELATED: Tributes soar for Ray Jackson after plane crash tragedy

He said microlight pilots across Australia had flown thousands of hours safely in Airborne microlights.

"It's just a different shape wing and some of the handling characteristics are slightly different," he said.

"They are a very, very safe aircraft and it's very hard to get into trouble mishandling them.

"Airborne microlight aircraft have had a very good reputation over a long time."

Likened to a hang glider with an engine, the man said the undercarriage of a microlight pivoted beneath the wing, using 'weight shift control.'

He said microlights were required to follow the same maintenance schedule as any other recreational aircraft.

Under RAA guidelines, a recreational aircraft must be inspected pre-flight by the pilot with the attitude 'this aircraft is un-airworthy until proven to be airworthy'.

This includes inspecting wings, landing gear, seats and seat belts, flying and landing wires, controls, fuel system, engine and propeller.

Microlights are allowed to seat only two people.

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