Flying PlaneAircraft flying
And you can flying it without a pilot's licence, without education - without any qualification. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for example, for years permitted two-seater vessels to fish according to ultra-light regulations exclusively in the interest of flying education. The problem was that these airplanes were so great for flying enthusiasts that soon ultra-light producers sold more of them than the single-seaters.
Three years ago, when the FAA launched the new sport pilots programme, its primary objective was to make licences for lightweight aircraft more publicly available. However, it also shut the two-seater, ultrathin hatch. These aeroplanes shall be considered as lightweight sports aeroplanes after 31 January 2008, one of which shall be operated under a recreational flying licence.
In order to open up this niche segment, aircraft manufacturers have developed the coolest aircraft that costs about as much as a basic SUV. Together with flying teacher Dave Cadmus, I went from the show over to the city of Bradenton Beach on the Gulf Coast. That''s where we meet pensioned airliner Warren Fienga - a man who loves to live on the waters bound to his jetty with a cheerful bright red seaplane, the Quicksilver Sprint II ($29,000).
We were anything but airy with big after-market swimmers and two adult men hung in the wind shadow, but that didn't play a role when we were buzzing around at low speeds and the waters sparkled down. Cadmus gave me the control after a quick air session and led me through a flat curve. Cadmus said after a few more turns that I was prepared for a plunge: throttling, descending steeply, gliding over the ripples and settling down softly.
In contrast to some other ultralight aircraft, the cozy, light CGS Hawk Arrow ($28,000) actually looks like an aircraft, and its fundamental flying mechanism works just like that of a Cessna or 747. Complete ly equipped with control surface, aileron, stabilizer and aileron, the rider can directly control the inclination, greed and bench of the aircraft.
I jumped into my back with Steve Bensinger in the front for a 4-mile plane to South Lakeland Airpark, a housing estate around a lawn. Out of all the airplanes I have flown in Lakeland, this one felt most intimate - the only one in which I could take off and landing on my first one.
"It'?s a good all-terrain plane for a microlight," said Bensinger. The falcon arrow is at the top of my wish lists for convenience and aircraft-like flying. The Hawk Arrow's closed cockpit and clear synthetic aluminium hull offer almost as much view as an open-air dashboard. Basically a motorized paraglider, the Trek is fast and steady; the pilots steer by moving their weights.
Known as a heavy-lift glider, a trike is basically a powered hang-glider. It is suspended from a cardan under the triangle wing and the pilots turns, swims and climb by moving the centre of mass forward or backward. Air Creation GTE Trek ($35,000) was agile and quick, with a cruise of 50mphs.
When twilight settles over main florida, my rally driver Neil Bungard brings us to 800 feet, then drags the handlebars to the side and sends us into a bank. "As soon as Bungard had us just and horizontally, he gave me control. In comparison to the traditional aircraft I flew, the checks are exactly the opposite, so everything I did to make the aircraft better flew actually made it even more serious, a troubling feeling that made me return the checks with verve.
It' s the strength, velocity and manoeuvrability of a tricycle that make it a great choice for aero-trekking, the new way to pass the time by tearing down low level wings. Pegasus Powrachute ($19,300) looks more like a go-kart than an airplane: No, the chute is so low (cruising speed: 33 mph) that it cannot take off in wind speeds above 15 inches.
Of all the planes I tried, flying was by far the easiest. "2 "2 hour soil training, 2 flying lessons and you're good to go solo," said my demonstration driver Galen Geigley. When Geigley took off, he placed the slide on the floor behind the plane, then clambered into his chair and blew up the airplane by opening the gas and pushing the plane forward.
Geigley pushed a row wheel and pulled down a part of the hood to turn off. It is unbeatable for the sheer joy of the feeling of flying. Besides, you need a gym pilot's licence to use it. Also the same ship with swimmers and a 5-gale fuel cell -- the Mosquito XEL -- qualified as ultra-light, as the FAA rules give the floating planes a weights permit.
Therefore, no licence is necessary. As I watched design man John Uptigrove put the plane through its paces at Sun'n Fun - gliding over the greenery, backwards gliding - it was difficult not to think about vacating a room in the shop and dealing with my own perpendicular plane.