Airsports fans will be delighted with this publication; it covers a vast array of canopies, sails, trikes and two stroke motors.
PARAGLIDERS, PARAMOTORS AND hang gliders do not figure in aviation’s established reference directories. The hugely expensive Janes’s All the World’s Aircraft concentrates mainly on bigger things. Brassey’s World Aircraft & Systems Directory cheaper, but still no snip covers what it calls ‘recreational aircraft’ (microlights and homebuilts), gliders and motor gliders, but it still leaves out the really light and inexpensive stuff.
Enter the World Directory of Leisure Aviation, a reference book of Franco German origin, priced lower than most paperbacks. Airsports fans will be delighted with this publication; it covers a vast array of canopies, sails, trikes and two-stroke motors. Being unfamiliar with the publishers, PPLs and PFA types might reasonably ask ‘What aeroplanes and rotorcraft does it cover and how accurate is it?’
226 ‘fixed-wing’ (read three axis) microlights, 117 homebuilts, 19 helicopters and 20 autogyros is the numeric answer. They’ve included all the principal microlights Pilot has covered in recent issues: the Jora; the Slepcev Storch; the SG Storm; the Dyn’Aéro Ban bi and the CFM Shadow. Comparison with Brassey’s did reveal some possible oversights, although ‘possible’ is the operative word, because manufacturer, name and production status seem to change almost daily for some types.
Homebuilts are not so well covered and the PFA itself is ill served; the World Directory only lists the Isaacs Fury II (and mentions the Isaacs Spitfire, in passing) under its ‘Popular Flying Association’ entry. What about the Wot? J R Currie’s classic design is listed under ‘PFA’ in Brassey’s, along with the Luton Minor plans for both come via the Association. Nor is there any sign of the popular Pietenpol Aircamper, and Lynn Williams’s little Flitzer got missed out too…
How accurate is it? Well, searching is not helped by things like the ‘Fred’ being listed under ‘E’ (for Eric Clutton) and you do find transposed or wrong pictures as well as the odd error in the text the Stoddard Hamilton GlaStar is most certainly not all metal, for example. For the better part, though, the entries are correct.
In the final analysis, it is not fair to get too steamed up about the odd mistake in a volume that covers so many of the aircraft and manufacturers that slip the nets of the big aviation publishers. This is a useful and interesting directory and it comes at a bargain price. Philip Whiteman.