Monday, January 15, 2007

The Trike Flight

The flight was scheduled for 4:00 pm on a wonderful clear blue Sunday. The drive there showed me what a great evening it was for flying. Before I saw the airport, a Quicksilver flew over the car.

The Lodi airport (1O3) was full of all sorts of ultralights in the traffic pattern. It was a friendly greeting and a sign of how great my flight was going to be. I found Doug and Doug's hanger without a problem. Doug seamed to be a nice guy excited to share the sport with me. After my mom signed my life away, Doug and I were ready to fly.
My mom had never seen a trike before. She later told me that it looked like "a little toy." The smooth fiberglass parts of the trike, gave it shiny toy-like look to it. It truly was a beauty. It's my version of a girlfriend.

When Doug and I got in the girlfriend, I heard something over the radio:

"Lodi Traffic, Piper Cherokee is on right downwind for runway two six. Lodi"

At first, I thought It was Doug talking to me over the intercom system, but it was actually over the radio. It was sort of surprising because I never remember transmissions being so clear when flying with Bill and Ray. This was either due to the icom radio, or the Lynx headset.

We taxied to runway 30 applied full power, and was off! The 4:00 air was very smooth and silky, which made for a very enjoyable flight. I remember when flying with Ray, the air was very disturbed and choppy with tons of little cotton ball thermals. Also with Bill and our 12:00 flight, we had to fly higher than normal where the air was less disturbed. This time, the air was so much nicer, which allowed us to fly lower.

When I was allowed to take over the wing, I quickly got a hold of the technique. This was nice because I was able to fly it (except throttle) to Lake Comanche without concentrating on flying the trike, giving me maximum pleasure. Once we arrived, Doug showed me some low flight. After that, he gave me the wing and we climbed back up and followed the creek back to the airport.

When flying back, I pointed out two ducks to Doug, which was flying faster than us! Doug replied in a disappointed tone of voice "Yeah...they are." Ducks are basically rocks with tiny wings. If a duck needs to fly, it must overcome these problems with pure thrust. I wouldn't feel so bad, Doug.

When the airport was in sight, I was disappointed, yet still very excited for the landing. I still had the wing when we were entering the traffic pattern at a 45
degree angle (standard procedure). A little time passed, and we were on the downwind leg. I still had control of the wing. Time passed and I found myself on base. It was an amazing feeling of importance that I felt when I was flying my first traffic pattern. When I was turning on to final, I started to hear Doug talking to himself. About 2-ish feet above the ground, Doug and I pushed forward on the control bar at the same time. We were on the same brainwave, thinking the same thing, at the same time. It was absolutely amazing and Doug is insanely lucky to have such a great job.

This was an incredibly great flight, and I learned several things:

1. Flying is fun. In a 3-axis, trike, etc. Aircraft type doesn't matter.
2. I prefer open cockpit designs.
3. I'm desperate to fly. I can't wait until I finally get my own ultralight.

Get me in the sky,
Mark Zinkel