Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Quickilver MX II Sport Introductory Flight

Well, as expexted (it's really easy), I made it through middle school. Now I move on to high school. I really wasn't expecting anything as a graduation gift because it's not too hard to do, yet, to my suprise my mom presented me with a book (Glems Sport Pilot), and an introductory flight with Bill Bardin at his ultralight/light sport flight school ( I was absolutely excited.

We set up a date to head twards the Lodi Airport. When the day came, I was up bright and early at 6:00 am for my flight at 1:00 pm. It only takes about 45 minutes or less to get to Lodi from Sacramento, but I woke up from excitment. I also had a problem getting to sleep the previous day. I probably got a whopping 5 hours of sleep, but that's not bad compared to how much sleep I get on some school days.

When I woke up I recorded a CD as driving directions for my mom. Yes, I did say driving directions on CD. You see, I would predict how long it would take to get from one street to another, so I would talk and play music in between directions. This presented problems somtimes, because there are too many variables to properly estimate how long it would take to get from one street to another.

I allways crack my mom up when I give her the audio directions, or should I call them audorections. This made that 45 minute drive alot quicker. We got there with no problem, and my smile was way overmodulated.

As soon as I arrived, I was quite impressed. Bill Bardin was working on putting together a Quicksilver MX when I arrived. The hangar was quite large and held about 6 aircraft. There was even a plane hanging from the celing, which I think is quite a good idea since lots of times we have plenty of vertical space.
As Bill was showing me the hangar, he walked to a place in the wall and pushed against the sheet metal. The sheet metal moved out of the way and through the door was another hangar. Wow! He showed me even more aircraft, and did the same thing with the wall, which revealed another hangar. Bill rents 5 hangars. His students keep their planes in the hangars for a whopping $35 a month. As of the aircraft, there were a ton of Challengers. Single seat Challengers, dual seat Challengers, single seat with glass pannel Challengers, Challengers that had amazing paint jobs. Did I mention that there were alot of Challengers?

As we were in the second or third hangar, Bill an I went back to the first hangar to get are aircraft ready to fly. I requested to fly the Quicksilver MX II Sport since most likely, I'll end up with the single seat version of the aircraft. We had to push some other aircrafts out of the way in order to get the MX out, but since they weigh soo light, that's not a problem at all. These aircraft weigh lighter than some people.

Bill handed me some foam ear plugs to use during are flight. This was a good idea since this is an open cockpit aircraft, and the engine is right behind you. Bill pull stared the engine and off we we were.

We taxied twards runway 26 (magnetic heading 260 aka: allmost West)

Did the engine run-up. Everything good.
Then it was time to leave the ground.
"Quicksilver 103 is taking off of runway 26, Lodi traffic."

One hundred and fifty feet later we were in heaven. We climed to a safe altitude and flew straight out. When we got about 10 or so miles away from the airport, we flew about 4 feet above the ground weaving in and out of trees. It's a really fun fealing flying close to the ground.
Since it was a hot summer day, we climed to an altitude of 1,000 feet msl. Up there the air was smooth and the temperature was just perfect. Once up there, Bill let me take over the controls.
At the time, I loved stalls, so it was my goal to pitch the nose up as high as it would go, before the wings stalled and the nose pitched down. One time I held the stall and turned it into a spin, which is really fun!

We were out there for about 45 minutes dancing under the sun. It was quite an experiance. It totally proves my theory that I'm a bird stuck on the ground. People say sex is good, but I say screw sex, I'd rather fly. Now I have no idea what sex is really like, but I don't see how anything can top off flying. It's sooooooooooooooo good! Not only that, but it's highly addictive.

Unfortunalely, the flight had to end somtime. We headed back and met up with a trike. We talked to him and did some formation flying on are way back. Since he had the Rotax Hotrod engine, and we only had a Rotax 503, he got to the airport first, but we had more fun.

I don't understand why they use black asphault at airports. They get quite hot under the sun. As soon as we flew over the airport you could feel that blast of heat balloning us upwards. It took some mussle to get twards the ground. As we arrived about 1 foot over the ground, Bill reduced the power, flaired the nose, and made a nice smooth landing.

I taxied back and we shut off the engine as we arrived near the hangar. Bill got out of the aircraft, then I followed. The Quicksilver gently rested on it's tail as I got out of my seat. It was bowing at me for the great flight.

Boy I love this sport!
I need more!

Mark Zinkel

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Golden West Airshow and Fly-In

The skys were as blue as the ocean. The visibility was amazing that cool morning. I got up at 7:00 that day, so I would miss nothing. I had driving directions neatly organized on the table printed the day before. Everything ran smoothly as the morning progressed and we drove towards Marysville to the Yuba County airport.
Traffic was great. The parking lot was small. This confused me at first, until I realized that this was also a fly-in. I would say that most of the people there flew in. Lucky for them, I didn't have an aircraft...yet.
As I arrived, I was surprised at how many light sport and ultralights were there. This pleased me because these are the only type of aircraft that I'm mainly in to. Instead of relying on instruments, you fly by feel, sound, and sometimes smell (believe it or not, the smell part is true). Ultralight's are amazingly safe. They are safer than the big 737s that are commercially flown because unlike 737s ultralights can land just about anywhere. You are more likely to get hurt or die driving to the airport than flying, even if the airport is blocks away. Ultralights are some of the most amazing aircrafts, and the Golden West Fly-In had lots of them.

This article will be continued later...