G-CDFZ is difficult to classify. It has a French built "pendular" trike unit but is not a flex-wing microlight. The wing does not flex!
Neither is the description weight-shift accurate because although the control movements are similar to a weight-shift microlight, weight is only used to control pitch. It turns by using spoilers in the upper wing surfaces.
G-CDFZ uses a Exxtacy 160 rigid hang-glider wing, made principally from carbon fiber. It has no king post or wing bracing struts, acheiving its rigidity from the composite leading edge tubes. The wing has a 12.2m span, nearly constant chord, an aspect ratio of over 10:1 and trailing edge control flaps.
The Alize trike is also unconventional for a microlight. Designed by Michael Gaiguant and manufactured for him by DTA in France. It has a space-frame, constructed from aluminium and steel in place of the conventional three piece triangular design. As a result, the pilot sits lower within the frame rather than balancing upon the base pole and the engine has a wide frame to fix on, rather than having to grip the rear pylon tightly and hope it will not turn round!
The Alize trike is perhaps the lightest production unit in the World.
Although not familiar by name, many will have seen pictures of an Alize trike being flown by Christian Moullec who famously trained a flock of geese to follow his microlight. Click on the picture here to see more images of Christian flying with his geese.
* The UK's only ......
Sub-115 (sub one-fifteen) refers to the maximum empty weight (kg) permitted for this class of aircraft.
There are a number of foot-launched rigid-winged powered hang gliders operating in the UK. These aircraft do not have a trike unit with wheels so are not classed as microlights.
There are several fixed-wing sub-115 microlights in the UK, these have 3-axis controls. Rigid wings are controlled in pitch and roll only.
The author would be interested to hear if there is another rigid-wing sub-115 microlights in the UK even though he will have to withdraw the claim that G-CFDZ is the only one!
World wide there are about 30 other rigid wing trikes built and flown by enthusiasts. A list of these aircraft and known manufacturers can be found in The World Directory of Rigid Wing Trikes.