On Saturday Kathleen and I took advantage of the chance to take a short class in Trike flying and then go up for introductory rides.
We arrived to find Pete Marsh's Antares MA-34 R912 Ranger with an 80 horsepower Rotax 912 engine sitting outside the hangar. So I took several photos of the engine, cockpit, and wing while we got a good look at it.
After checking it out, Pete spent about an hour telling our class about Trike flying in Alaska, answering our questions about the sport and the machines, and giving us a little bit of an idea what to expect.
For the record, this Trike has electric trim and will cruise at about 70-75mph while burning 2.5 gallons of high octane auto gas per hour. So mileage is comparable to most cars. But the ride is a hell of a lot more fun! And with a 15 gallon fuel supply, you can fly a lot longer than your bladder will let you.
Several of us had reserved times to fly 1 hour $99 introductory rides with Pete, and before I knew it my time had arrived. I was really looking forward to the experience.
Pete helped me get strapped in and I took a few pictures and a vide as we taxied over to the run-up area for runway 31R.
Here's a short taxi video:
After a couple other departures, we were cleared to take off!
And before I knew it we were in the air and flying.
The first few seconds were kid of freaky, given how open the cockpit is. But that quickly faded away and I began to really enjoy the flying. We headed a bit south and then over the first ridge toward the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton where we could play around a bit and I could get a better feel for flying the Trike.
Back there I got to try various flight maneuvers, really get a feel for the air, and even did some soaring in thermals. I was really impressed by how well we could feel the air as the wing tried to move and the distinct changes in temperature as we flew into different pockets.
Turns were easy once I got over the idea of forcing them. We also performed a few stalls (though they hardly compare to stalls in a larger airplane or glider)--very benign. I was impressed by how stable the aircraft was too. Let go and it'll pretty much fly straight and level if you're in calm air.
The view was, of course, amazing. And being able "feel" the air more directly makes you feel a lot more connected to the atmosphere you're flying in.
All in all it was a much more "raw" experience then the glider flying I'm used to. I really enjoyed it.
After almost an hour of flying, it was time to head back in and land.
After landing, we taxied back to the hangar so that Pete could pick up his next
Next up was Kathleen...
The took for for a similarly fun 1-hour flight.
I was there to grab a few pictures as the taxied back to the hangar area.
We both had an absolute blast flying the trike. It's a little like flying a power plane and a little like flying a glider, but it's a very different experience from both. It's a very raw and natural form of flying that really puts you in touch with your surroundings and gives you an amazing view of the area you're flying in.
Thanks again to AeroDynamic Aviation for organizing this event. Not only do they provide excellent flight training and aircraft maintenance, Owner Zdravko Podolski has consistently organized events to help pilots expand our flying horizons.
We're both very tempted to get a weight-shift control add-on for our pilot certificates. It's worth noting that many Trikes make it easy to swap out the wheels on the landing gear for floats (land on lakes!) or skis (land on snow/ice).
Pictures and Video
I have the whole set in this Picasa album: Trike Flying at RHV
Or you can see a subset in my Trike Flying album on Flickr.
The videos are in my YouTube channel as well.
Posted by jzawodn at August 02, 2009 08:22 AM