General Aviation

Published on February 2nd, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


Leadership Change at ILAS

At the AGM of the Irish Light Aviation Society (“ILAS”) in Weston on Sunday 29th January, Noel Maher stepped down as Chairman and was succeeded by former Membership Secretary Loman O’Byrne.

Noel Maher has served as Chairman for eight years since the foundation of ILAS and has been re-elected to serve as an ordinary member of the ILAS committee for a further year.

In paying tribute to the outgoing Chairman, Loman O’Byrne recalled that Noel had served as president of CACI prior to his key role in the merger with SAAC, thereby bringing together the homebuilt and classic/vintage sections of the permit aviation scene.  Since his election as its founding Chairman, Noel had seen ILAS through its birth pangs and has led the development of robust procedures and excellent relationships, particularly with IAA.  The current healthy state of the organisation is largely the legacy of his leadership.

Loman O’Byrne said that ILAS’s priority was to maintain and develop the freedoms provided by its permit-to-fly scheme but that it would also focus on its education and social roles while promoting low cost and safe flying.

ILAS has just over 300 members and a fleet of 102 aircraft operating under permit.  It also supervises approximately 40 new-build and restoration projects at any one time.  Membership and fleet numbers have both grown steadily over the years, particularly since ILAS took on additional responsibility for factory-built gyrocopters.

Loman O’Byrne is a Vans RV-9 builder and a student pilot who is taking his training at Newcastle airfield. The FII Team wish Loman the very best in his new role. ILAS can be contacted via its website on or by email to

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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