Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Trike Flight!

Well, my birthday has passed and I got another hour flight in Doug's trike! It has been an entire year since I've flown and it was great to finally be flying again. Unfortunately flying is like a drug; the more you fly (NOT on the airlines), the more you want it. Flying on the airlines does the exact opposite and makes you want to kill yourself.

I'd lost the antenna on my Icom A-3 transceiver while biking to the local airport one day. I was hoping that my mom could listen to my radio during the flight to listen to us depart and arrive back at the airport. Another birthday gift given to me was the antenna, but it was still in the mail. Literally five minutes before we left to go to the airport, a package arrived and it just happened to be the antenna! It was like magic! As if it was supposed to happen.

About fifty minutes later, the car was parked just outside the Southwest most hangar. The energy inside me was at the boiling temperature. I shook Doug's hand and he had a genuine smile on his face.

After attaching my camera to a neckband, so it wouldn't accidentally fall out (and through the prop) I got strapped in with Doug's assistance. He pushed the trike out of the hangar, warmed up the engine, and off we taxied towards the runway.

After doing a 360 on the ground looking for traffic flying the wrong side of the pattern (idiot traffic), I heard a click through my helmet. "Lodi traffic, Weight Shift something, something, something, I don't remember is taking off runway three-zero for Southwest departure." We taxied onto the runway and the Rotax 552 (blue) melodically hummed (the fat, ignorant people on the ground that sit on their couch watching the Sopranos all day will complain that it screams). While the trike was rolling (not very long), Doug was explaining how the trike will take off by itself. He didn't give the bar a push or do anything to get flying earlier, he just let the trike do it all by itself while placing his hand just an inch or two away from the control bar. Soon enough, I was no longer shackled on the ground.

About twenty feet above the ground, reality set in. I realized that I was flying! Actually flying! The left side of my brain (the mathematical and systematic side) knew that we were going to fly and was not shocked when we did, but my right side of my brain (creative side) was surprised. There was a definite feeling relief at that moment. It's the feeling of all your worries and stress being left behind.

We climbed even further then made our left turnout. It was a little hazy, so we decided to climb above it and get a clear view of mount Diablo. Along the way we discovered an inversion layer. At 1,400 feet we were above the haze and saw Diablo quite clearly as we headed towards it. To our left was the city of Lodi.

When passing Kindon Airpark a multi engine aircraft took off and it made me realize how slow we were actually going. He rocketed away as we putted along at 42 mph. He can enjoy his speed because we were having so much more fun than he was. Those general aviation guys just don't understand what ultralights are all about. I know that a general aviation guy (or gal) is probably reading this right now, and therefore I challenge you to find an ultralight instructor and get a flight in a Challenger, Quicksilver, trike of any sort, Kolb, etc. Just be warned, you'll soon be purchasing one shortly after.

Soon enough, we were flying over the delta (at a safe altitude of course). This is the place where I've been to many times...on boat and even by air with Dennis. Ahead of us was Lost Isle. After Doug pointed it out, I informed him that that's where all the crazy parties happen.

The rest of the trip was a bit of a blur. I remember seeing all sorts of boats and birds. At one point of the trip, Doug took back control of the trike and I took out my camera and started taking pictures. This was also the time when my body started shivering. Here (below) are those pictures that I took. You can click on any of the pictures, then click on the "all sizes button" to get a high res version. I give you personal permission to use any or all of them for any purpose including commercial uses as long as you let me know what you're doing beforehand to answer my curiosity.

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 010

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 009

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 008

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 007

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 006

2007-11-21 Mark trike flight 005
This last picture is my favorite out of them all and I have it hanging on my wall to remind me of the flight.

After leaving the delta, we did some low flight (about 20 feet AGL) over a road in the middle of a massive field. As we gained some altitude when the road made a 90 degree turn, there was a bunch of fake rubber birds to our right in the field. We had a feeling the ducks were used for hunting of some sort. Flying low in a hunting field doesn't give you the best of feelings.

The aiport was near and the flight was almost over. As usual we entered on the 45 into downwind. On the fourty five there was a multi engine airplane (a Baron I believe) departed the airport and flew about 200 feet away and above from us. He took some military guys from Iraq to visit their families in Lodi. As we turned onto downwind there was some idiot (he wasn't flying the idiot pattern though) in a single seat Quicksilver who took off runway 26 and flew in front of us and all over the pattern. Doug felt uneasy and took back control. Once we were on short final we both had control and made our landing pushout on the control bar.
Despite that it got a little cold, it was still a fantastic flight. I can't wait to go again. If you're a pilot and in the Northern Califonia area leave me a comment! Hehe.

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