Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 Golden West Fly-in

Since I've gone to this fly-in before and have posted all about it, I'll make this one short.

The people at fly-ins are amazing. Unlike the air show, I was allowed and encouraged to sit inside almost any aircraft I chose (as long as the owner was near). Everyone was happy to tell me about their airplane and give advice. No questions are left unanswered.

The ultralight side of things were ugly. I saw one trike trainer and an uncompleted Quicksilver II. The powered parachutes were happy, and I saw a powered paraglider in flight.

The sport pilot side of things was very happy. I got to meet someone from an ultralight Yahoo group, and saw his Rotax 912 powered Eurofox. I also had the opportunity to sit in a Sportstar, which almost put me to sleep (the seats were amazingly comfortable). Everywhere I turned there was another LSA.

The best part of the fly-in was the dinner with Mike Melvill, pilot of SpaceShipOne! The stories he told were amazing. There were two stories he told that I really enjoyed. One was when he was coming back into earth and started playing around with the space ship doing barrel rolls. Knowing that the FAA might be upset about that, he finished having fun and announced on the radio "Roll test complete." My other favorite part of his speech was the story of when he strapped himself on the top of a UAV with limited controls. The autopilot on the UAV failed and he could not keep the aircraft level (he was able to hold 45 degrees from level). Being the brilliant man he is, he shoved the stick in the direction of the lowered wing while close to the ground, and used adverse yaw to get him safely to the ground. This proves that knowledge is power!

Another very exciting at the Golden West fly-in!

Cheers everyone,
Mark Zinkel