Your connection with the sky

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 >>

What Type of Certificate? It depends on your flying choices.Maybe Even None At All

, January 21st, 2010

Remos - high end Light SportI was standing in line at a hot dog booth at the Arlington, WA fly-in, a wonderful 5-day event full of airplanes, airplane lovers, vendors, educational sessions, and mostly junk food. I couldn’t help overhearing the two people in front of me.

Person #1: “I’ve GOT to start flying! It looks like so much fun, and I’ve put it off too long. There’s an instructor here who can give me lessons in a Light Sport airplane, and I’ve decided to work on a Light Sport pilot license [certificate].”

Person #2: “Why in the world would you want to go for a Light Sport License [certificate] when you can work on a Private license [certificate]? You don’t want an LS license [certificate] – you really ought to get a Private.” Read More >>

Falling in Love With Ultralights

, January 15th, 2010

IMGI’ve been flying my my Maxair Drifter – an ultralight-type Experimental Light Sport aircraft – for 18 years. It’s my second “ultralight”. My first, a true ultralight, was an Airmass Sunburst – 240 lbs., two 2.5 gal. gas tanks, 40 foot tube and fabric wings, and spoilerons instead of ailerons. It had an inverted V-tail. The seat was low in a cage of aluminum tubing, and I used my feet for brakes. With a 25 horse Cuyuna engine, it cruised at 32 mph and top speed was 38 mph. The only instrument was a tube & bubble airspeed indicator.

How I loved that ultralight! I bought it soon after I began taking flight lessons in 1989 (in a two-seat Quicksilver ultralight,) and was so elated when my instructor allowed me to taxi my own Sunburst up and down the grass airstrip. Of course, the long wing meant it was very susceptible to wind, and since the airstrip is bordered on one side by a row of tall fir and hemlock, I was always worrying about getting “gusted” into the tree line. Read More >>

I’ll Take the Czech: Sportcruiser Reviewed

, December 21st, 2009

In pulling the Czech-made LSA SportCruiser out of the hanger, the first thing I noticed is that the plane is so light that you can practically drag it to the next airport, instead of fly it.  But fly it you should.  The Sportcruiser is spiffy, fun, easy to fly, and quite capable of taking you places.

I have flown several LSAs and the Sportcruiser lives up to everything the category of aircraft should be.  I got checked out at Mid Island Aviation at Islip Airport on Long Island (ISP) and now have half a dozen hours in it.  ISP is a big boy airport, where you que up behind Southwest jets to take off.  So the first thing you'll discover is that, yes, you can fly an LSA out of an airport that sits in Class C airspace. Read More >>

In Community

, November 4th, 2009

Last month a friend in Minnesota sent me an e-mail. “I saw an ad in Barnstormers last week about a Kolb MarkIII for sale in southern Oregon,” he wrote. “But now I can’t find the ad. Do you know anything about it?” I live in northwestern Oregon – hundreds of miles away. But only two weeks before, I had been part of a group of ultralighters (and ultralight-type E-LSAs) that were flying the Oregon coast. And one of them was a friend who owns a Kolb MarkIII– which he was trying to sell! I sent an affirming e-mail and got the two of them in touch. Just another example of the ultralight community – a community that enfolds you regardless of where you are. Read More >>

Glad To Be On Board

, October 16th, 2009

Hello, pilots and those who are exploring flying! I’m delighted to play a part in AOPA’s Lets Go Flying program. In this Blog I want to share the lessons I’ve learned through flying. I especially want to encourage you to “live out loud” — to push your boundaries, and explore new possibilities … to soar even if you never leave the ground.

A bit about me: I’ve been flying ultralights and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft for twenty years. I soloed in a Sunburst ultralight in May, 1989. That sweet bird had a five gallon gas tank, 40 foot wings with spoilerons, a 28 hp Cuyuna engine, and a cruise speed of 32 mph. I flew it happily, often pushing it to its 40 mph limit since everyone I flew with flew much faster than I could. They were the “big boys” flying CGS Hawks, Flightstars, Quicksilvers, and other ultralight types. Read More >>