Your connection with the sky

Lessons from the Edge

Arty Trost is a female ultralight pilot who flies cross-country, multi-week flying adventures that cover thousands of miles. Her Maxair Drifter looks like an ultralight, but is actually a registered Experimental Light Sport Aircraft. About Arty Trost


June 7th, 2011

Today’s weather was made for flying. Slightly overcast and absolutely no wind. So I decided to skip my chores and head for the airport. I’m trying to get in all the flying time I can before I leave for Oshkosh on July 19. I want to practice one-wheel landings, short-field landings and takeoffs, dead-stick landings, etc., etc., etc.

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I pulled the Talon out of the hangar and refueled, then began my preflight. I have a set order for doing the preflight; I begin at the left- front and work my way back, around the tail feathers, and then forward to the right-front. I didn’t get very far today. Read More >>

EAA AirVenture—Here I come!

May 31st, 2011

Rain, rain, rain…and more rain. Only a very few brief windows for flying. I try to keep myself from severe flying withdrawal by reading anything to do with flying and watching movies featuring great flying. Then the phone rings. A good friend of mine in Tennessee has bought a Maxair Drifter – from a friend of mine here in Oregon. He’s going to fly his new Drifter home instead of pulling on a trail. But he doesn’t want to do it alone. If he makes a detour to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh – do I want to fly along? Read More >>

Flying a Microlight in South Korea

April 11th, 2011

In my last post I said I’d write about some of the places I’ve flown internationally – and why I’m so grateful for our comparative lack of flying limitations here in the U.S. I’ll start with my experience in South Korea.

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First, let me be very clear that my experiences happened in the fall of 1994 and the regulations have changed since then…but how much, I don’t know. I searched the Web before writing this post but could only find the Korean Civil Aviation Authority website in Korean, not English, and so wasn’t able to track down current regulations. I also found one flying club –, which provides LSA training– and a company that gives scenic tours – – but couldn’t find any of the four ultralight clubs that existed when I was there. Read More >>

We Have It So Good…

March 14th, 2011

Two seemingly unrelated events got me thinking about how incredibly much freedom we have to fly ultralights—and all private aircraft—here in the U.S.

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First event:
I was at a meeting of my ultralight club last month, and one of the members began a familiar refrain. He was grumbling about the FAA and how difficult they made things for pilots. “We need to be free to fly!” he groused. “They do everything they can to throw obstacles in our way.” On and on, like a broken record, with others nodding their heads, until the subject shifted to a discussion about whether or not doing crow hops was safe. Read More >>

Up In The Air Again…Sort of

January 21st, 2011

I went up to the barn this morning at 0-dark-thirty, to check if we’d had any new lambs born. The moon was full, and so bright that I didn’t need a flashlight. After weeks of rain, seeing the moon and stars was delightful. “Stay clear, stay clear,” I said, promising myself a flight once the sun came up.

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By 8:00 a.m. the sun was up and it was COLD: 29° outside. But the sky was crystal clear blue! By the time I got to the airport there were a few clouds on the horizon, and by the time I took my gas cans to the gas station, got back to the hangar and fueled up, the sky had grayed up completely. Read More >>

The Ying and Yang of Flying, Part 2

October 14th, 2010

“When we last left our intrepid heroine…” (Sorry – I just couldn’t resist. )
In my last post, I was in a hay field, having dead-sticked in after my engine died.

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I called a good friend, told him of my predicament, and asked if he’d load up his trailer and come get me. (Ultralight pilots are an amazing group. They are always ready to come to each others’ aid. Even if it means a 3-4 hour drive.) Dave first asked me if I knew what had caused my engine out. I had checked the float bowls, and it wasn’t fuel starvation. Even if I was able to get the engine re-started, I wouldn’t have been able to fly it out—the uncut hay was much too high. So he said he’d round up his wife and son, load the trailer and an ATV, and be on his way. Read More >>

The Ying and Yang of Flying

October 4th, 2010

There is a large annual airshow in Arlington, Washington that takes place the weekend following Independence Day. I’ve been flying there in my Drifter for the past 15 years. The first time I flew to Arlington, I was with 10 other ultralights. In the years since, sometimes there are four or five, sometimes there are two, and sometimes I fly alone. This year was one of the “fly alone” times for the 250-mile flight. I flew my new Talon, knowing that people would be amazed that they weren’t seeing my Drifter. As always, the airshow was a time for seeing old friends, meeting new ones, attending educational forums, and browsing aviation-related vendor booths. Read More >>

The REST of the Story

September 20th, 2010

I lasted posted to this blog the end of January, 2010. A lot has kept me away since then – both external events and internal. My husband was seriously injured in a car accident in October, 2009; his surgeries didn’t begin until January 2010. As you can imagine, I cleared the decks and focused on him. By May, after the last of his surgeries, I began trying to catch up with other parts of my life. I had a big note on my desk that just said “BLOG” ; but there were so many other things that needed my attention that soon I didn’t really see it.

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In the past few weeks I’ve had two people e-mail me, saying they’d read my Jan. 27 post and wanted to know “the rest of the story”…did I ever buy a new ultralight, and if so, what was it?” I still put off writing, feeling embarrassed that I had failed to keep my commitment to AOPA and Let’s Go Flying. A third e-mail this morning caused me to say “Enough’s enough! Stop procrastinating and sit down and write!” So, I’m back, and — here’s the rest of the story! Read More >>


September 20th, 2010

With great regret, I’ve decided to sell my Maxair Drifter and get another LSA. Fellow pilots have been urging me to “upgrade” for years. Many of them are frankly astonished that I’ve continued to fly my venerable Drifter, especially on such long distance flights. (Since 2000, I’ve made a long-distance flight each year; the shortest was two weeks and 2800 miles; the longest was seven weeks and 7500 miles.)

My Drifter was built in 1984 and I’m the third owner. It’s completely open and has been described as a molded plastic seat mounted on an irrigation pipe with a lawnmower engine and wings. However others may disdain it, it’s served me well in the 18 years I’ve been flying it. But its cruise speed is 55-65 mph, although I can push it to 70 mph if I absolutely need to. The pilots I’ve been flying with are all flying slightly faster E-LSAs, and are getting tired of waiting for me on our long distance flights. Another 10 mph will make a big difference in keeping up. Read More >>

So Many Choices…Which Should I Buy?

January 28th, 2010

Drifter on the beachWith great regret, I’ve decided to sell my Maxair Drifter and get another E-LSA. Fellow pilots have been urging me to “upgrade” for years. Many of them are frankly astonished that I’ve continued to fly my venerable Drifter, especially on such long distance flights. (Since 2000, I’ve made a long-distance flight each year; the shortest was two weeks and 2800 miles; the longest was seven weeks and 7500 miles.). Read More >>