Your connection with the sky

Learning about life – from flying

, November 30th, 2009

As I look back on over 20 years of flying, I realize how much I've learned - not just about flying itself, but about taking on new challenges, making risk acceptable, and pushing away the fears and anxieties which hold us back from what we’d really like to do. One of the things I've learned is that you need to be Pilot-In-Command. You should listen to experts, but then you need to rely on your own judgement and make your own decisions. 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 >>

Flying (Soaring) on the Cheap

, November 4th, 2009

The country's in the midst of the "Great Recession" and it costs $250 to fill the tanks on a light airplane.  You need some time in the air for "mental heath" but the cost is daunting.  What's a person to do?

As a poor college student in the fall of 1959 I faced the same problem. Pratt Read2 I chose to join a soaring club - the Orange County Soaring Association who based two WWII ex-military 2-seat training gliders,  a Pratt Read and an LK-10A , and a single seat Schweizer 1-26 at Skylark Field at Lake Elsinore, CA.  I paid OCSA  $100 to join and $10 a month in dues. Instruction in the sailplanes went for $0/Hr - something I could afford.  A half century of inflation has bumped the membership up to $300 and the dues to $55 but the hourly rate for OCSA's modern fleet of gliders and instruction is still $0.  If you're under 22 and a full time student, the cost is about half that.   That means you can start learning to fly sailplanes for the cost of a fuel stop.    What a deal!  See:

To make things even cheaper, we took camping trips to the El Mirage Dry lake in the Mojave Desert to launch the gliders with auto tows. OCSA still does this except urban sprawl has pushed the camps deeper into the desert.  Here's a story from my early experiences with this type of flying. Read More >>