Sligo Light Aviation Club
Down through the years, Sligo has had more than its fair share of aviation enthusiasts and pioneers. The dawn of the new millennium, roared on by the Celtic Tiger, brought new prosperity to Ireland. With the standardisation of training across the EU and access to a greater diversity of light aircraft, it soon became apparent that a fresh approach to recreational aviation was required.
Sligo Light Aviation Club was formed in 2002 by a group of forward thinking aviators to carry on the tradition and ethos of the early pioneers. It focused on delivering “a different flying experience” to both student pilots and those who wished to expand their flying skills beyond the basic training aircraft.
Its stated aims from the outset were to:
• Adopt a more structured and professional approach to Pilot training
• Offer a greater diversity of flying experience to its members
• Take advantage of new, more affordable light aircraft designs
• Foster a spirit of homebuilding and communal activities within the club
New blood and fresh enthusiasm brought an increase in recreational flying activity at our airport base in Sligo. Soon, the original Cessna 152 trainer was joined by a Thruster TST Microlight, followed by a Dimona Touring Motor Glider.
Homebuilders were encouraged to evaluate a variety of interesting and increasingly sophisticated self build kits. Led by Chief Flying Instructor, Patrick Gallagher, a group of members began a quest in late 2003 for an aircraft kit suited to local conditions. After almost a year of investigation, discussion and occasional argument, they settled on a machine which met with universal approval – an amphibian aircraft, equally at home on water, tarmac and grass was the perfect “ship” for Ireland. Homebuilding skills were honed under the watchful eyes of SAAC – the Society of Amateur Aircraft Constructors Construction – later to become ILAS. See www.ilas.com. Construction commenced in 2005 and was completed in mid 2006.
Meanwhile both the fleet and training capability continued to grow. CFI Patrick Gallagher gained his instructors rating on helicopters, yet another group of club members invested in a pristine Bucker- Jungmann.
By now, many members had added an array of skills to their initial qualifications – complex aircraft, night ratings, TMG, tail-dragger, aerobatics and seaplane ratings to name but a few. And yet, we continue our focus on adding more diversity. Micro Lighting was becoming more and more popular throughout the country and our own Microlight instructor, Padraic Gallogly, is one of the most experienced in the British Isles with both UK and Irish qualifications.
Padraic has continued to apply the latest Microlight training standards at Sligo Light Aviation Club. The Tecnam P92 trainer is a familiar sight around the North West and we are delighted to see a growing number of PPL(M) graduates joining our flying ranks. The clubs hard work has not gone unnoticed and we are delighted that Padraic has been appointed as a Microlight flight examiner recently. Developments in Microlight construction offers increasingly comfortable and cost effective machines capable of delivering a flying experience superior to many of the traditional “spam” cans. Sligo Light Aviation club is at the forefront of what is proving to be a rapidly growing sector of recreational aviation. Whilst the PPL(A) fleet slowly diminishes, the Microlight fleet continues to boom even in recessionary times. Sligo Light Aviation Club looks forward to continued enforcement of its motto – to deliver “a different flying experience” and in doing so, to promote the future of recreational and sport aviation activity in the north west, particularly at Sligo Airport.
for club information see Sligo Light Aviation Club
Phone: Padraic Gallogly +353(0)877478946
FlyinginIreland · July 2011