Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Joy Of Flight - $10 / hour in an ultralight airplane

Please note: James' blog has moved to a Wordpress site. To access it, please visit http://jameswiebe.wordpress.com/. All posts have been transferred to the new site, and all new posts will only be accessible via Wordpress. Thank you for your interest!


Confession of flight:  I fly ultralights. 

I have a video at the end of this brief post which shows a flying experience from earlier this week.  You need to watch this video, but first, you need to hear how strongly I feel about ultralight aircraft and the experience of creating and flying them.

Belite Ultralight Aircraft

When I am in my ultralight airplane, I climb rapidly to high altitudes.  This is just the same as 'real airplanes'.  In fact, it is better, because I have a better point of view. 

I burn less than 2.5 gallons per hour, and I use auto gas.  My operational cost is about $10 per hour for flight.

I do not apologize for my aircraft's performance, because it leaves the ground as fast as many certified aircraft.  In fact, it is better than many certified aircraft.

I repair my own airplane.  When I see something that needs attention, I fix it.  I do not take it to a mechanic, because I have educated myself on just about every component in my airplane.

I practice takeoffs and landings, because I want to be able to land in short places.  And I do.  I've landed in 100 and 1/2 feet  (100.5 feet).  Someday, I'll do better than that.  But I didn't have enough practice a year ago when I did that.

I cruise at 58 mph.  This is more than fast enough for everything I do.  In fact, it is too fast and I will throttle back to about 50 mph.  I achieve this on 28HP.  My airplane is well streamlined, and I am still working on ways to make it fly more efficiently.

I can fit my airplane in small garages, because my wings fold in 2 minutes.  Really, they do.

My airplane was an award winner at Sun N Fun.  A variety of our planes have won a major award every one of the last 3 years.

I'm constantly innovating.  I keep finding ways to improve the experience of ultralight flight.  I share these with others who have similar interests.  I share them with my customers, and I share them with my aircraft.

I use my airplane to help others fly.  So far, I've helped two people with significant physical disabilities.  I hope to help more.

The Federal Aviation Administration does not view my airplane as a real airplane.  This is helpful, because it means I do not need a pilots license.  I just need to know how to fly.  I also do not need a medical, and I also am not allowed to register my airplane.  I have no desire to register my airplane.

I have practiced many things in my airplane.  I know what to do if the wing stalls.  (Push the stick forward, duh).  I know what to do if the engine quits.  (Keep the airplane flying, aim for a landing spot, try to solve the engine problem, if time permits.  If all else fails, pull the parachute handle.)

I taught myself how to fly a taildragger in my airplane.  I am now a very good taildragger pilot.  I enjoy taildraggers more than tricycle gear airplanes, and I never thought I'd be able to say that, or understand it.  But I do.

I have surrounded myself with good airplane people, who have like minds.  I receive great expert advice from Doug, the friendly A&P in the next hangar, who also builds components for helicopters.  I receive advice from  Neal and to his son, both of whom are aeronautical engineers.  My customers give me feedback.  On the business side, my wife is wonderful and balances my dreaming with great financial management.  She helps cover airplanes with dacron, too.

I want you to watch a video that I made yesterday, from the cockpit of a Belite Ultralight.  It's raw and it is jerky, and I spend a lot of time focusing on the instruments, yet it shows the joy of simply circling above fields.  I hope you find it enjoyable, and I hope it helps you dream.  Please enjoy the video.

Here it is.




6 comments:

Mike Bond said...

Excellent.

More and more I'm thinking that Ultralights are the way to go. I just wish there were more ultra-light friendly fields around here.

Anonymous said...

Are you doing anything more with electric propulsion, or are you waiting for technology (e.g. battery capacity) to progress a little more?

Unknown said...

Great post. Someday when this darn economy gets back to firing on all cylinders I'll spring for one of your kits. Until then I'll just have to dream and know that the plane will be just that much better when I build one!

Zoltan said...

“The 7 Group” is the leader company for Gyroplane Aircrafts.
CompanyProfile: http://www.7-gyroplane.com/

With the CEO and Aviation Pioneer Andi Siebenhofer as Head of this concern The 7 Groupget the worldwide biggest leader for Gyroplanes and Helicopter missions in:

• military and paramilitary operations,
• intelligence gathering,
• border surveillance and patrols,
• airfield bird control,
• aerial video surveillance,
• disaster control (such as floods and earthquakes),
• crowd control & policing,
• oil and gas pipeline inspections,
• high voltage power line inspections,
• aerial surveys,
• highway patrols,
• forest patrols,
• national park and game patrols.
p

Zoltan said...

“The 7 Group” is the leader company for Gyroplane Aircrafts.
CompanyProfile: http://www.7-gyroplane.com/

With the CEO and Aviation Pioneer Andi Siebenhofer as Head of this concern The 7 Groupget the worldwide biggest leader for Gyroplanes and Helicopter missions in:

• military and paramilitary operations,
• intelligence gathering,
• border surveillance and patrols,
• airfield bird control,
• aerial video surveillance,
• disaster control (such as floods and earthquakes),
• crowd control & policing,
• oil and gas pipeline inspections,
• high voltage power line inspections,
• aerial surveys,
• highway patrols,
• forest patrols,
• national park and game patrols.

Anonymous said...

Great except for that annoying weedeater sound.