Your connection with the sky


, 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Flying the Remos GX – And Why It’s the Conversation that Matters

, September 22nd, 2009

2009-08-03 086-Crop

Aviation is always and ever about having new experiences.  And, ideally, sharing those experiences with others.  At Oshkosh, I had the opportunity to fly the Remos GX, a light sport aircraft (“LSA”) manufactured by Remos Aircraft.  And I did it with a group of good friends that ran the gamut of skillsets, missions, and capabilities. Read More >>

Despite Success, LSA’s Have An On-Going Image Problem

, September 9th, 2009

The wild early success of the light sport aircraft industry and the excitement over the entire category as we enter year number six, belies one disturbing fact:   The LSA sector still appeals mostly to older pilots  who are concerned about losing their medical. Show up to any LSA event and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about-- those in the cockpits, asking the questions, and working the controls are 70 year old pilots who see an LSA as their only way to keep flying and avoid spending all their money on golf. Read More >>

“Automatic rough” – Bumps in the Night

, June 19th, 2009

I know I'm supposed to write about sailplanes and soaring. However, I spent a lot of my flying career driving single engine light planes just about everywhere and in just about every weather it's possible to do so. I also read all the blogs on Lets Go Flying which led me to think this subject might interest some readers. Read More >>

The “A Pilot’s Story” Contest goes Live…

, March 18th, 2009

Tell us your pilot story for a chance to win prizes!

The producers of "A Pilot's Story" are pleased to announce the launch of the first contest in connection with the film. You now have an opportunity to have your own "Pilot Story" featured in the film if you are the "Grand Prize" winner of the contest.

LSAs Bucking the Trend– Upward

, February 17th, 2009

There are few bright spots in the aviation world.  Cirrus, Cessna, Piper, Diamond, and the rest of the mainstream, standard category airplane makers are all announcing production and job cuts.

But not the LSA sector. True, the LSA industry is  a patch-work of family run companies that have revenue in line with the local deli.  But Dan Johnson is right to say Sebring and the LSA sector is a “welcome gift to the global aviation industry. Read More >>