Skip to main content

With the growth of the microlight movement (and the subsequent ‘Light Sport Aircraft’ classification by the FAA and other bodies) bringing flying ever closer to those on moderate income, there was an explosion of new light aircraft designs in the 1980s. One of the most unusual was the single-seat MBA Tiger Cub 440, designed by Micro Biplane Aviation of Worksop, and marketed in kit form in the UK. Here we see the prototype Tiger Cub 440, G-MBUE, c/n 001,  (first placed on the British Register in April, 1982) suspended from the roof beams of a hangar at Newark Air Museum, Nottinghamshire.

Amongst the unusual features of the aircraft is the alloy-tube structure, joined at 90 degrees by metal fixtures; even the wing struts are constructed the same way. The power is provided by an inverted Fuji Robin EC44PM, a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine producing 50 hp. Three toothed V-belts run from the crankshaft pulley at the front of the engine to a larger drum, which is connected to the 2-bladed propeller at the end of a short, longitudinal shaft (turning at a reduction ratio of 2.4:1 in the prototype, 2.6:1 in other aircraft). The Tiger Cub was unusual for a microlight, in that it was a biplane (most aircraft in this category couldn’t afford the weight penalty associated with a biplane) and also that the wings could be folded back against the fuselage, making it easy to tow on a trailer. There is a photograph of G-MBUE on a trailer at the Biggin Hill Air Fair in May 1983, with the legend ‘Micro Biplane Aviation’ painted on the fuselage sides.

The EC44PM engine was used in other microlights, such as the Lightning DS/Tri-Flyer 440,  and Gemini Sprint 440 (both by Mainair Sports Ltd) and the Panther XL-S by Solar Wings Ltd, also, amazingly, by Polaris snowmobiles and the Turbo Wedge 235 hovercraft! Most of the early microlight companies mentioned have now ceased trading, including MBA, as the first-generation microlights were marginal performers and there was, in general, little after-sales support.

Several MBA Tiger Cub 440 microlights were preserved. G-MMIX was collected by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, Heathall, Dumfries, Scotland, and G-MJSU is on display at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton, Suffolk. Newark’s G-MBUE is unfortunately incomplete; it is minus the panels which would normally surround the ‘cockpit’ and partially cover the engine. Not only that, if you look closely the undercarriage wheels are NOT those with which it was fitted at Biggin Hill, but instead bear a suspicious likeness to those found on a garden wheelbarrow!

Despite this, the MBA Tiger Cub 440 is an important exhibit, since it was one of the earlier microlights, and fits nicely into Newark Air Museum’s acquisitions policy, as it was locally built in Nottinghamshire.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site