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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sport Flying



I know a few people with small private planes. That's one hobby I've never been able to afford. I decided to get married, buy an house and have a family instead. We all make choices. That doesn't mean I don't miss the road not taken once in a while.

I was tempted again when the FAA developed the Sport Pilot License. It's a cheaper way to get into the air. The planes are smaller, but not too small. While it's a lot less expensive way to get into flying, it's still out of my budget.

I must admit that occasionally I think of Ultralights. In the US, ultralight aircraft are less than 254 pounds, carry less than 5 gallons of gas, and have a top speed of 55 knots. No license is required. This is real seat of the pants flying. Unfortunately, I'm really too fat and heavy for such a plane. (this is one instance where being fat might save your life) Of course, I'm dieting and exercising again . . .

Then there are the hang gliders. A couple guys in my hometown used to hang glide. One got splattered against a cliff and suffered sever head trauma. He survived, but had a complete personality change. The other hang glider died after a botched landing. When the only people around doing the sport meet with bad ends, it takes the shine off the whole idea.

In the summers my lake gets buzzed by guys in powered parachutes. It's probably one of the cheapest ways to get into powered flight. Those guys seem to have a good time, but there's something about the sport that puts me off. They just might be too slow and noisy for my tastes.

Of course, we are in the 21st century, where's my antigravity flying car?

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. I used to think about things like that. Anymore, I remember some words from The Good Book, "Tempt not the Lord thy God!"

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    1. Maybe I shouldn't tempt gravity either. :)

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  2. Sixbear your antigravity car is still at area51 it has been moved from prototype to production thanks to reverse engineering of the Roswell alien spacecraft.As soon as the greys return you can take delivery but at present no power source has been found on this planet.If you still feel the urge to be free take you wifes advice and go take a flying leap. :} remember FLYING IS EASY ITS LANDING THATS HARD.

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  3. You might like to try a Flying Tortoise.
    It's great way to travel if you're scared of heights...

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    1. It does appear to be a magical mystery machine that takes you wonderful places.

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  4. I was learning to fly many years ago and quickly learned it was a rich man's sport and I had no business doing it. My wife's dad was an instructor and her brother is a private pilot. I have flown with both of them.

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    1. It is a rich man's sport and I'm not a rich man.

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  5. I went up in my brother's microlight some years ago. The only time where it felt fast was taking off and landing. When you're suspended up there the ground moves very slowly...Onece, his engines packed up in mid air...he landed in a field of sugar beets, upside down, he couldn't get out his harness, the farmer let him free!

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    1. He's lucky he survived the landing. Still, I bet it's loads of fun.

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  6. The last of my gliders was an over sized delta wing with a V tail with a small engine and tricycle landing gear. It was a blast to fly. The most important piece of the equipment was the addition of an altimeter. I credit that for saving my bacon many times over. It was important to know the rate of descent to be able to make a safe landing. The old rule that any landing you can walk away from, still stands. Especially, when talking about delta wing gliders. I used to take off under power up to cruising altitude, spend several hours flying and then head for home. I would spend the better part of an hour bleeding altitude and air speed before landing. Landing was a flare out, almost a stall, followed by a few jarring bounces and a long coast to stop. The landings gave me the most pucker factor and I never got good at them or used to them. If I had to do it all over again, I would have got into an auto gyro. They are way safer.

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