“It’s like a convertible.”
“It’s like flying a J-3 Cub with the doors off.”
One of the more “fun” attributes of our Fun to Fly Remos is that you can take the doors off and fly. And other staff pilots have done just that. Ian Twombly and Alyssa J. Miller have both flown doors-off for the Fun to Fly Road and Runway Rally, and they loved it–so much so that they almost left the doors behind. Ian described how much he and Rally partner Steve Chupnick enjoyed flying along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, several hundred feet off the water. Dave Hirschman and Sgt. Michael Blair have flown sans doors too.
“You haven’t done it?” people would exclaim. There’s a reason I hadn’t. Several years ago I’d gone up in a Kitfox with another pilot. I was looking forward to the thought of flying with the doors off, but when we got up to about 2,000 feet, all I could think of was that there was nothing holding me in the airplane except my safety belt. (Can’t recall if there was a harness.) I pressed against the PIC so much trying to lean away from the door that I’m surprised I didn’t push him out the other side of the airplane. We couldn’t get on the ground fast enough.
But last week was just too beautiful to let an opportunity go by. Clear and calm and very low humidity–a rarity for the Mid-Atlantic at this time of year. And, I reasoned, maybe my anxiety on that Kitfox flight had been because I wasn’t the pilot in command. And you know what? I was right.
When you remove the doors on the Remos, you simply pull one pin out and unsnap the hinge. Repeat. Carefully stow the doors and pins (a blanket is a nice thing to have for these types of operations). The hinges fold back behind the seat. Secure everything else that might be in danger of blowing out of the airplane. I’m used to doing this because I do drive a convertible, and even a parking receipt will fly away if you’re not careful. Tighten the seatbeat of the right seat and tuck the ends under if you’re flying solo. Scout around for loose pens, pencils, or anything else that could become airborne when you do. When you start up the airplane, be prepared for a little more breeziness than usual. Check the radio volume before you take off–you don’t want to be in the pattern and miss radio calls. Then get ready to have some serious fun.
I’m so glad I flew the convertible. Future winner of the Fun to Fly Remos, you will be, too.