© 2019 Cloudbase Trading Ltd T/A Cloudbase Airsports

Company registered in England

Registration number: 06887967 | All rights reserved

 

ABOUT CLOUDBASE AIRSPORTS

We are a well established paragliding and microlight flying school offering all levels of paragliding and microlight training from air experience flights upwards to Club Pilot and NPPL.

Microlight flying takes place at our airfield near Membury and paragliding training happens at a number of sites in the Thames Valley and abroad.

About Cloudbase Microlighting

 

There has been a microlight club and part-time school at Redlands Airfield, near Swindon, since the early 1990’s. The school has grown steadily and operates year round; flying every day that the weather allows.

 

 

 

 

At Membury, we have an office and shop, briefing room.

There is coffee and tea available all the time.

Naturally, we are a registered school with the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA).

In June 2017 the flying school was taken over by Cloudbase Paragliding Ltd to become Cloudbase Airsports teaching microlighting and paragliding under Lee Bligh and Fiona Burgess.

We chose Redlands Airfield not only for its prime position near major routes, but also for the superb facilities it has, as well as the wonderful atmosphere on the airfield.

Meet The Team

David Sollom

David is our Chief Flying Instructor and teaches primarily on the Flex Wing

Teaching Experience

I started teaching hang gliding in 1984 in the Isle of Wight. I gained my BHGA Senior Instructor rating during 1986. At the same time I gained my BAPC Paragliding (it was called ‘parascending ‘ in those days) Instructor and Senior Instructor ratings. Apparently, I was the first person to be Senior Rated in both disciplines.

I set up my own paragliding school in 1990 called ParAvion in Marlborough, Wiltshire. I ran the company as Chief Flying Instructor until 2001/2, when I sold it to concentrate on microlight tuition.

In 2001 I gained my CAA Assistant Flying Instructor rating and worked in the UK and Spain to build up my teaching experience. I achieved my upgrade to Qualified Flying Instructor in 2002 and carried on working in Spain until 2006.

On my return to the UK I set up Clearprop! Microlight School with a partner at Redlands Airfield in Swindon. The set up was designed to be a temporary partnership where my partner was to buy me out as the school became established. This happened somewhat ahead of schedule in 2010, so I now have no financial interest in the school; they just provide me with as much microlight tuition as I want. I am still the Chief Flying Instructor, flying primarily in the Flex Wing.

As well as teaching microlighting, I am also a CAA Examiner, which allows me to test candidates who wish to gain a National Private Pilot’s Licence with a Microlight Rating attached.

Flying Career

I come from a flying family; both my father and brother were airline pilots with British Airways. I started gliding in 1975 at Lasham but I was unable to dedicate sufficient time and money to get to a satisfying skill level. I also dabbled in hang gliding then, but the gliders were too basic and too dangerous.

I resumed hang gliding in 1979, after I had heard that a pilot had flown a hang glider further than 50 miles cross country. By 1984 I was a reasonably proficient pilot, and, when I took a break from surveying, I bought a house in the Isle of Wight to concentrate on hang gliding. During that summer, the proprietor of the local hang gliding school offered me a temporary job teaching. This turned into a permanent position – poorly paid but more fun.

During 1984 and 1985 I competed at National Level in hang gliding competitions, and set a number of cross country records. I believe I still hold the Isle of Wight hang gliding distance record (but it is only a small island!)

I stated paragliding during 1985; we developed the sport and the paragliding equipment at the school where I was working during the summer and the hang glider (and then paraglider) manufacturer where I worked during the winter. I flew and competed throughout the world for the next ten years; holding various cross country distance records and gaining good competition results in France, Spain, South Africa and Australia.

During the 1990s, whilst running my own paragliding school, I helped develop a number of competition, sport and training class paragliders for various UK and European companies. I retired from competitions in 1995 after a serious (and entirely my own fault) accident, although I carried on teaching and flying both paragliding and hang gliding.

During 2000, I gained my microlight Private Pilot’s Licence with the idea of adding microlight tuition to my paragliding school activities. The Foot and Mouth problem during 2001 closed my paragliding school sites, but fortunately I was able to use the compensation offered by the government to ‘re-train’ as a Civil Aviation Authority Microlight Instructor.

I have now amassed almost 3,000 hours flying microlights, as well as a similar number of hours paragliding and 2,000 or so hours hang gliding. I fly both fixed and flexwing microlights for fun as well as work, and I also have a powered hang glider to fly on thermic days; usually with the engine turned off.

Other Experience

I was a member of the BHPA Flying and Safety Committee from 1986 to 2002. My responsibilities were initially to help create the Paragliding Technical Manual and update the Hang Gliding Technical Manual. These manuals have subsequently been combined into one. Later I was in charge of hang glider airworthiness in the UK and helped formulate the world wide hang glider airworthiness program.

During the mid 90s, I co-authored, with Matthew Cook, the book “Paragliding – from Beginner to Cross Country”. This became one of the standard texts on paragliding; sold to many student pilots and flying schools throughout the country.

Dave Cox

Dave (better known as Coxy) is our primary Flying Instructor on the Fixed Wing

Coxy’s Background

I was born in 1967 and spent my early years in Poole and Dorchester in Dorset. Educated at the Thomas Hardy Grammar in Dorset, I joined the Royal Air Force as an Airframe Engineer in 1985 and remained with the Services until 2006. Most of my career was spent working with the C130 Hercules fleet at RAF Lyneham, with various short tours and detachments including Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, USA, Canada, and mainland Europe. I also had a very enjoyable posting at RAF Abingdon, working on Jaguar fighters, until Abingdon was closed as part of another round of relentless military cutbacks.

During my time in the RAF I was heavily involved in Powerlifting, being RAF Champion three times and setting a number of RAF records. I also dabbled with boxing (badly) and was generally involved with any sporting event that got me off duty!

Coxy’s Flying History

My first forays into the world of aviation were in the form of balsa wood models as a child, and after joining the Air Cadets I had my first ever flight in a Chipmunk trainer at Exeter and was hooked from then on. I first flew solo in 1984 in a Venture motor glider and soon after became involved with the RAF gliding clubs and continued to expand my experience.

In the early 1990’s I switched to paragliding as a more convenient way to bet airborne, and soon after began to fly hang gliders. I became a paragliding instructor then senior instructor and tandem pilot, working with a civilian school and the Joint Services association, in both the UK and Germany, and competed in many competitions in the following years, becoming the Joint Services alpine paragliding champion four times.

I then moved back into powered flight once again, gaining my microlight and full PPL licences, flying out of RAF Halton, Brize Norton and Lyneham. On leaving the RAF in 2006 I continued to fly at the Lyneham flying club, where I moved into aerobatics, flying the Bulldog and Firefly aircraft, until RAF Lyneham closed in 2012.

After leaving the RAF I continued to work with the local paragliding school, moving to Cloudbase paragliding when it was started by Lee and Fiona. At the same time I was working as an instructor and examiner at a local microlight school on fixed wing and weight-shift aircraft, and in 2013 moved to the school at Redlands, where I now operate primarily with the fixed wing training for the newly christened Cloudbase Microlight School. To date I have flown almost 4000 hours in powered aircraft and 3000+ hours in paragliders and gliders.

In 2014 I began building my own single seat sports aircraft, which I completed and first flew two years later, after 1200 hours of building and testing work.

And if the flying ever falls through, I could always get work as a Hobbit impersonator!!

Lee Bligh

Lee is the co-owner of Cloudbase Airsports and has been flying since 1987

Lee is busy being the boss but has promised to write something to go here as soon as he gets time!

Fiona Burgess

Fiona is co-owner of Cloudbase Airsports and is a keen paraglider pilot

Like Lee and Coxy, Fiona is also ex-RAF but has kept flying in her blood and finally took up paragliding after several years of living in Wiltshire and watching the paragliders soaring over the local hills.

Fiona doesn’t instruct but joins the team out paragliding whenever possible in Britain and overseas and is always happy to chat on the phone or out on the hill to help other people.

Fiona and Lee created Cloudbase Paragliding in 2009 to bring the joys of paragliding to anyone who is willing to listen to them. In June 2017 they expanded the business when they took over the microlight school at Redlands Airfield near Swindon and now moved to Membury.

 

OUR AIRCRAFT

Find out all about the aircraft we can teach you to fly

 

IKARUS C42

Three-Axis Fixed Wing

For Three-Axis (Fixed Wing) training we use an Ikarus C42.

This is a conventional aircraft and is controlled using a centre mounted joystick and rudder pedals.

The seating is side by side within an enclosed cockpit ensuring no frost bite in the winter!

Powered by a four stroke Rotax engine the aircraft cruises at around 80mph and has a maximum fuel capacity of 65ltrs burning around 12 ltrs per hour giving a very respectable range.

PEGASUS 912

Flex Wing

Our flex wing aircraft is a Pegasus 912.

This aircraft stems from the early microlight designs where an engine was attached to a hang glider. Nowadays they have fantastic performance similar to that of the fixed wing microlight aircraft.

The seating arrangement is front to back and the cockpit is open.

Flying suits are worn for extra warmth as well as helmets and headsets.

These aircraft are controlled in the same way as a hang glider using weight shift.

TESTIMONIALS

Some of our recent feedback from our students

I just wanted to express my thanks for the very enjoyable flight I had yesterday with Dave. The efficient ground operations meant that we were quickly in the air. Dave’s relaxed, professional and informative approach added greatly to the enjoyment of the flight and I will gladly recommend Cloudbase to anyone who wishes to experience a microlight flight in expert hands.

Peter HAir Experience Flight

Had a great flight bought for me by my sister, friendly people, relaxed but reassuringly safe, really made sure it was MY flight by offering to take me over my house and things I wanted to see. 10/10 would microlight again! Thanks!!!

Pete M

Air Experience Flight

Wonderful experience flying with Cloudbase Airsports. Can’t thank the team enough. The whole day from beginning to end was absolutely awesome. I totally recommend to anyone wanting to learn new skills within a lovely setting. The team were reassuring, enthusiastic and the training was delivered in a truly professional manner with great banter and fun. I never thought before I got up in the air, just how much of a buzz it would give me. Want to do it all again. Thanks so much to everyone at Cloudbase. 5 stars. Excellent service.

Elaine C

Air Experience Flight

Had a great flight bought for me by my sister, friendly people, relaxed but reassuringly safe, really made sure it was MY flight by offering to take me over my house and things I wanted to see. 10/10 would microlight again! Thanks!!!

Pete MAir Experience Flight

Can’t rate these guys highly enough! I was given a gift voucher for a half hour lesson microlighting for my birthday and I decided to go for the fixed wing microlight rather than the flex-wing as it was my first time. We arrived at Redlands an hour or so early so we could watch people doing their parachute jumps and the atmosphere was great, very relaxed. My instructor Dave was very professional yet friendly and he talked me through everything he was doing during take off, flight and landing. During the flight, he pointed some places of interest on the way and we could see the Isle of Wight on the left and Wales on the right, and Poole Bay in the distance. I even took the controls at one point which was really exciting – you think ‘I’m flying a plane!!’ and I could have stayed up in the sky all day. But we eventually had to come back down and now I can’t wait to visit again and fly the flex-wing. Maybe even have a go at paragliding. Thanks for everything Dave, you were brilliant!

Tracy C

Air Experience Flight