It was not by chance that Andalucia was chosen as the venue for the 2nd World Air Games in 2001. Indeed, with its excellent all-year-round climate and stunning scenery, it is surely one of the best places in the world to go "microlighting". The 2001 games were held at different points all over Andalucia, including Algodonales, Jerez, Cordoba, Jaen and Seville. Today you can have a microlight flight in many places in Andalucia, as well as along the coast and in Almeria and Granada. You can now you take to the skies the whole year round along the many beaches of both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines, as well as going inland to some incredibly stunning natural inland settings.
The Costa del Sol is a well known Mecca for the rich and famous but has become a playground to many others, including air sport devotees. The Costa de la Luz on the Atlantic coast has also attracted many microlight enthusiasts, especially around the Tarifa area.
A microlight (or ultralight - in Spanish ultraligero) used to be a simple glider with a small engine fitted. They are now more sophisticated and are classified as a group "D" aircraft. There are restrictions on weight, size and fuel capacity and they should not take more than two people and you must have a special licence to fly microlight. In training to gain the licence, you learn how to take off and land, as well as orientate your travelling direction.
Because microlights can have either one or two seats, the choice is yours if you want to fly solo, or simply be taken up for a joy-ride. The latter of these options allows you to let the pilot take over, while you take in the most wonderful aerial views you could imagine. Pleasure flights can last from 15 minutes to an hour. Seeing the Mediterranean or Atlantic coastline to one side and the stunning Andalucian landscape and villages to the other is a unique experience you will never forget. The sensation is one of sitting on air and is a real thrill, especially when the microlight turns around to change direction.
This is an exciting sport with a mixture of danger and adventure, enhanced with some of the most stunning landscapes of Andalucia; however, it is not for everyone. For those who suffer from a fear of flying or from a fear of heights, it is not recommended as anything other than as a spectator sport! It is, however, considered to be one of the safest forms of sport flying.
If you have never had thought of this type of flying as a sport and would like to know more, it's worth checking out. The motor should only have 2 or 4 gears and now the materials used to build these machines are even lighter and easier to use. The control panel must include a revolution counter (tachometer), an altimeter, and a wind strength meter (anemometer). GPS, radio and compass should also be used. Pilots and passengers must wear helmets and it's advisable to wear goggles, gloves, and warm clothing.
Amongst the places to find microlight flying in Andalucia: Almeria, Tarifa, Granada, Malaga and Sevilla.
Places to try: one of the many aero sports centres in Almeria - Indalo Wings, Carrucha Aero Club, Carrucha Tel: 950 472 672
English/German & Spanish speaking. It offers both fixed-wing and microlight flights.