Powered flight

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Powered flight

Although I do not fly powered aircraft, I have always built plastic models of them and taken an interest in them. Additionally, the early days of modern hang gliding (mid 1970s to late ’70s) gave rise to powered ultralights (known as microlights in Britain because of an existing ultralight category). They were therefore included in the content of the hang gliding magazines of that time, to which I subscribed. That part of this story is linked to by Early powered ultralights under External links later on this page.


Cessna Skymaster undergoing restoration in 2004

Cessna O-2

When I was undergoing hang glider aerotow training at Villamartin in Spain in 2004, this Cessna O-2 (or possibly it is the civilian version) was undergoing restoration in one of the hangars. The O-2 provided twin engine reliability as a replacement for the smaller O-1 Bird Dog used in the forward air control (FAC) role in Vietnam until the introduction of the purpose-built North American OV-10 Bronco.

For an unusual variation of the Cessna O-2 see Science fiction/fantasy in Other plastic model aircraft.

Antonov 2, Popham, 2005

Multi-paned canopy of the Antonov 2

The Antonov 2 is a transport biplane. It was used by — among others — North Vietnam during their war against the south (and against the USA) in the 1960s and early ’70s. You might wonder what I was doing flying one instead of attending school! This example was at Popham, Hampshire, England, in 2005.

The An-2 is like a seaside blockhouse with five portholes, some random cables and a little conservatory on the roof.

The two-horned, floor-mounted yokes stand on over-strength binnacles, and the instruments are laid out at random like salvage in a museum display.

There’s never been a noise like it.

— from Flight Test: Antonov An-2 by Pat Malone in Pilot magazine, 15 October 2015

Coincidentally, the manufacturer of the hang glider I flew at the time, Aeros of the Ukraine, was originally part of Antonov.

Antonov 2, Popham, 2005

“When I flew An-2s in ‘Nam…”


This Ryan (North American) Navion sometimes appears at Newton Peveril, a powered ultralight strip in Dorset, England, in 2018.

Ryan Navion at Newton Peveril in August, 2018

Ryan Navion at Newton Peveril in August 2018

Pilot and passengers deplane from a Ryan Navion at Newton Peveril

Pilot and passengers deplane at Newton Peveril

Cabin of a Ryan Navion at Newton Peveril

Ryan Navion cabin

Ryan Navion Full power check prior to take off at Newton Peveril

Full power check prior to take off

Notice that, compared to my 2007 photo, the power lines have been re-routed underground instead of crossing the approach.

Ryan Navion take off at Newton Peveril

Lift off

Ryan Navion gear up after take off at Newton Peveril

Gear up

For lighter aircraft using this airfield, see Defying Newton, powered ultralight operations at Newton Peveril in Dorset, England.

Internal links

A ridge too far, my review of the movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri, 1955

Airplane art

Chargus of Buckinghamshire, England, related topics menu containing links to photos of the 1977 powered Midas

Clive James on the North American P-51 Mustang and Other Aircraft

Easy riser, my review of the movie Fly Away Home, 1995

Righteous stuff, my review of the movie Toward the Unknown, 1956

Saving Major Tom, my review of the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice

Space flight and hang gliding

T minus 15 seconds, guidance is internal—my review of First Man, 2018, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11

External links

Early powered ultralights in Hang gliding history

Flight Test: Antonov An-2 by Pat Malone in Pilot magazine, 15 October 2015

The following are videos on Dan Johnson’s YouTube channel Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer. Dan provided much hang gliding industry information in the early years, some of which I have drawn on in my hang gliding history pages. These are just a few vintage powered ulralight videos I spotted in the list:

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