Friday, October 02, 2009

There's a Twist

Just when you think you can predict how things are going to end up, I make a change in plans.

As you might know, the FAA doesn't always make logical decisions. This lack of logic has impacted me this time. After January 31, 2010, the FAA is not allowing any Sport Pilot training to be done in Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (ELSA). Instead, you are only allowed to get training in Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA). Why is this a problem? Well, there is absolutely no SLSA aircraft in the entire state of California that flys like a Pterodactyl Ascender.

Unfortunately, my Pterodactyl project turned out to be a bigger project than I expected. I know that I won't be able to have it ready to fly with enough time to get training before the deadline. With that in mind, I've run into a dead end. I am aware of a place where I can get semi-proper training illegally, however the hours spent there won't be able to go towards any Sport Pilot or Private Pilot ratings and that's a waste of money.

I could certainly get training in a Sportstar, Remos, CTLS, etc, however they are all enclosed cockpit, slick, fast, heavy, and higher inertia aircraft. Flying ultralights requires a certain skill that's not obtainable in these planes. Some GA (General Aviation) guys think that their all superior private pilot ticket means that they can fly an ultralight without any specialized training. With that mindset, they decide to fly one and quickly realize that they are wrong when their body hits the ground dead. I'm not going to be that guy.

At the dead end I've arrived at, I have no choice but to sell my Pterodactyl project. Now the letter "P" in has become irrelevant...or has it?

The Pterodactyl Ascender is an absolutely great airplane. It is safe given that you fly it within its limitations, it's fun, it will climb like the space shuttle, and it is by far one of the most unique ultralights out there. It has a place in my heart which is here to stay. I will fly a Pterodactyl one day, but it won't be anytime soon.

With all of that in mind, what am I going to do now? I'll give you a hint: the silent "P" in won't be silent for much longer.

To be continued...

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