Dec 21st

2016 Aviation Trike Make Models Year in Review

By Paul Hamilton


This year has been a great year for trike development and  improvement with a number of new designs released into the market. Here is a year in review (my opinions) of the major brands to reflect on.




Evolution trikes.


Will start with the introduction of the REV from Evolution trikes builder of the Revo. The REV is an ultralight, made in the USA, which is a completely new design aimed at the lower cost introductory ultralight market. I have not flown one but I hear they are really nice and a new concept on folding and transport. For many of these details I will put links to the products rather than details here




Along with Evolution trikes new REV the world famous REVO has continued to have constant design improvements as the trike is continuously evolving with improvements such as anhedral/dihedral, sail tension, wing camber, strut angle, hang block, roll dampener, and the list goes on.  Incredible wing Evolution. I must thank Larry for such a master piece and awesome contribution to triking. His service is incredible and his expensive top of the line trike is worth every penny.


Switching to a Revo is one of the best decisions I have made running a full time FBO flight school.


There is a strong rumor from reliable sources that Evolution Trikes is going to come out with a new lower priced 2 place model. No details but it might be at Sun @ Fun this year. From my information, it will be another game changer for affortable trikes. Not a speed machine is as much as I can say..... Stay tuned




Airborne Trikes.


Airborne finally made a much needed improvement to their flagship trike with all the basic things people wanted: greater comfort, more room, better handling, greater stability, MGL glass panel option, dual disk brakes. Why does it take so long for airborne to make the needed improvements? Because the more stringent certification in Australia. It is more expensive and time consuming to make changes to the trike design.  With the engine canted and wing fins it should get rid of that incredibly irritating right P-Factor and torque turn that drove me crazy on long full speed full power legs. This was my biggest complaint of the old Tundra/Outback design.




Does not look like Airborne have incorporated the 100 HP carbonated or fuel injected engine.




I will be taking delivery with one of these new Airborne M3-Sport trikes here very soon, middle January 2017 I hope, and will provide you my report.  Will be able to crank out some hours and see how she flies.




P @ M Aviation




Well for a trike carriage breakthrough, the new PulsR has made it to the USA market for commercial operation and looks really nice. The new carbon composite body with enclosed cockpit really looks sharp. A great addition to the top of the line trikes.


Looking at the pricing, WOW, if everyone wants to complain about the high price of trike here is a new clear leader as the target. It looks like it leaves the Revo in the dust after you add all the accessories. But if you want the most futuristic looking trike this is it. I would personally like to get my hands on one out west here and run it through its paces and give you my unbiased report. HINT, HINT to anybody out there.....

Also P@M has released a new Trike the HypeR. More room and all the improvements you would expect from P @ M.





I know Northwing has been incredibly busy building hang glider wings, their own S-LSA/E-LSA trikes and Ultralight trikes in addition the wings for the REVO. Northwing provides the lower cost trike made here in the USA. I must congratulate Northwing in being one of the pillars and foundation for triking here in the USA. They came out with a new wing the Conquest which is their Speed wing. and an upgraded Masverik trike They are continually evolving their trikes and getting trikes and trike wings out to the industry.




Air Creation.




The trike I did my first ultralight pre sport and “official  FAA training” back in 2004 to get my CFI and DPE for trikes was in an Air Creation. This was the first trike I rented from Lockwood aviation.  I flew their new top of the Tanarg in Hawaii in demanding conditions.  Air Creation is another standard in the industry producing a full range of quality trikes.


AC made a complete upgrade to the BioniX with the BioniX2 wing wing which is the flagship product. Better in every way


They have great trikes but still no strutted wing yet. This continual and rigid opposition to the strutted wing design I feel has slowed sales of the product. Many of the E-LSA get a used Tanarg and put a competitors strutted wing on their Tanarg and have a pretty nice E-LSA. However this is not possible for a S-LSA. However, for 2016, I see that they have a new single place iFun 13 SP model for "short pack" wing that is strutted for easy takedown but still has a king post and top wires.


Perhaps they see the light/future and will join the rest of the world and start producing quality strutted wings.


 Aeros trikes.


Aeros has added the ANT trike which is so small and compact it can easily fit into the trunk of a car.

This is a nice breakthrough for the ultralight trikes.




Apollo trikes.




Well, Apollo produces a very nice competitively priced trike which is a nice trike. An upgraded Monsoon. However, they/Abid are moving more into Gyrocopters but continue to support my fleet of S-LSA Apollo trikes including the Delta Jet, the Monsoon and the new Delta Jet 2 which is coming back to Reno/Carson soon with a new student who bought it from the original owner. I must thank Apollo/Abid for continuing to support Apollo trikes in and offer the Delta Jet 2 as an option. If for some reason you want to get into a Gyro, perhaps the SilverLight Aviation Abid's own gyro should be a consideration.





That is the end of my look at 2016. Please provide any other opinions or additional information as you see it. Positive information is welcomed here to get a comprehensive year end review of our beautiful machines.




Nov 14th

Important information to Students and CFI's for the new Student Pilot to Solo

By Paul Hamilton

We have had a big problem here for students trying to solo for airplanes and trikes. This is important information to help CFI's and Student pilots I just added to my web site. Please pass this on......

Notes on how, when and why to apply for a student pilot certificate:

  • A new process was enacted by FAA under the direction of TSA to apply for a student pilot certificate starting early 2016. There is now NO immediate issuance of the student pilot certificate as there was in the past before early 2016. This has caused some big hassles/delays for student pilots to solo.
  • Now, the applicant goes through a background check with TSA before the FAA can issue a student pilot certificate. This student pilot certificate is the same for Sport/Private. No difference. Same student certificate for sport, private, airplane, weight-shift control trike, PPC, gyrocopter, etc …….
  • Once it is submitted to FAA via IARCA it takes about 3 weeks for the green plastic student pilot certificate to arrive in the mail to the applicant after the student pilot certificate has been applied for. Takes longer if you use paper. If a student does not have a US pilots certificate, they need this student pilot certificate to solo.
  • If the student is participating in an accelerated course, solo could be one to two weeks after the student starts flight training. Therefore, it is important for the student pilot certificate be applied for AT LEAST 3 weeks before solo is anticipated.

Guidance for student pilot certificate application:

  • Student/applicant go to the FAA IACRA web site and set up account
    • Top right – click register
    • Top – click Applicant box
    • Read terms of service – click agree at bottom and you will come to the IACRA User Profile Information screen.
    • If you do not have any FAA certificate (which you probably do not), skip the top section asking for pilot certificate number and start filling out your information.
    • Under SSN click “Do Not Use”
    • Create your user name and password. Mark these down in an important place – click register. Now you have registered with the FAA which will be your pilot certification account for your complete flying career.
  • After you have registered, you must log in and apply for a “pilot certificate”.
    • Choose student
    • You will receive an FTN number. Again, write this important number down in an important place with your user name and password.
  • Get your student pilot application approved and submitted
    • Once you have applied for the student pilot certificate you need to see some sort of FAA official to get your application approved. This can be the local CFI (FAA flight instructor) at any local flight school. They do not have to be sport pilot specific, they do the same for private pilots. There is no difference. ANY CFI/Flight Instructor can do this for you. There may be a fee for this service.
    • You can also use the local FAA FSDO office and they will do it for free. Some FAA FSDO offices may be more willing to take the time to do this than others depending on their work load. See to locate your nearest FSDO office.
  • Once this has been submitted by the approving FAA representative, a green plastic student pilot card/certificate will come to in the mail in about 3 weeks unless there is some sort of problem which you should be notified.



For further information on getting started see:


Oct 22nd

Bumps and turbulance for trike pilots

By Paul Hamilton

Here is a blog from 5 years ago that talks about bumps and flying trikes:

This is an important concept so it has been put here for all to look up easily:

Bumps in the air add spice to a flight. How big the bumps are and how to enjoy flying through them is our topic here.


Lets start by looking at two completely different attitudes to flying in the bumps.


The hard core soaring pilot. Not happy unless nose is pointed at the ground but climbing at 2000 foot per minute into big cumulus clouds. The bigger the bump, the higher the potential climb rate. Happy to have clouds forming around and barely maintain visual contact with the earth. Wakes up and gets ready to fly after brunch is finished on Sunday.


The New Ultralight Pilot. Scared if has to react to any atmospheric movement what so ever. Lands immediately when first bump is felt, even if it is his own wake turbulence. Wakes up automatically three hours before sunrise to evaluate the weather and takes off 30 minutes before sunrise with a strobe.


Most of us are somewhere in between these two extremes. But we normally start off flying in calm air and develop a bump tolerance as we progress in our flying career.


What are bumps and turbulence?


Bumps and turbulence are simply the result of flying through air that is moving at different speeds and directions. Bumps is a common term used by pilots many times for lighter to moderately active air, where the word turbulence is used by pilots for stronger air. Turbulence is also the FAA definition for bumps. The terms “bumps” and “turbulence” generally can be used interchangeably.


Here we will focus on atmospheric turbulence which is the result of thermals or wind rather than mechanical turbulence, which is the result of flying in the lee side of buildings, trees or mountains.


The FAA provides a good definition of bumps and turbulence that we will use in our discussion here. Light turbulence are minor bumps you can feel but are not considered uncomfortable, with slight changes in altitude and attitude. Light chop is rhythmic bumps with little change in altitude and attitude.


Moderate turbulence is significant changes in altitude and attitude, but the aircraft remains in positive control at all times. There are strains against seat belts. Experienced pilots call it "BUMPY" and newer pilots are may be stressed and wishing they were safely on the ground.


Severe turbulence is large and abrupt changes in altitude with the aircraft momentarily out of control. Extreme turbulence is when the aircraft is violently tossed about and practically impossible to control. Ultralight and Sport pilots should stay out of severe and especially avoid extreme turbulence.


How do we develop tolerance for light and ultimately moderate turbulence?


Hopefully, your instructor took you up to fly in some wind and bumps before you started soloing to prepare and show you that they are not that bad if you know how to handle them.


But when first learning to solo, your instructor provides you limitations so you avoid moderate bumps when first flying the aircraft on your own. This develops your ability to maintain altitude plus pitch and roll attitude by flying in relatively smooth air. Flying comfortably and perfecting your skills in calm air is the first step in developing skills for bumps. This could be 20 to 50 hours of air time in light air.


My bump proverb provided to students: “Do not look for the bumps, the bumps will find you”.


Even though you do your “Weather to Fly” and predict the air conditions reasonably well, you will encounter turbulence in your desire for smooth air. Little bumps will feel big at first.


If you do your Weather to Fly procedure for sport pilots, you have a good chance of not having the bumps get bigger than your capabilities. A significant problem in getting used to bumps in not the ability to deal with them, it is the fear of the unknown. Gradually fly later in the mornings as the bumps usually increase and work up your tolerance slowly. Take a lesson from a qualified instructor in light to moderate turbulence.


If you know how to gage how big the bumps are, than it will help you realize if you are in light to moderate turbulence and can evaluate the situation. Realizing you are in light and not medium turbulence, is the first step to developing bump tolerance.


Here are some guidelines I use to describe light turbulence for ultralight and sport pilots based on flying a constant airspeed, straight and level with an effort to correct the bump when it hits you:

  1. No more than five MPH variation in airspeed induced by the bumps.
  2. No more than 20 degrees bank induced flying straight.
  3. No more than 300 foot per minute variation up or down induced by the bumps

You will probably get light turbulence even if you do your weather and hope for calm conditions. Soaring pilots will not even bother to go flying but new motorized pilots might consider this scary at first. Light turbulence should be easy to maintain control even for newer pilots. The secret is to evaluate how bad it is quantitivly, rather than let your emotions run wild and make bad decisions.


Moderate turbulence can similarly be described as

  1. 6 to12 MPH variation in airspeed induced by turbulence.
  2. 20 to 40 degrees bank induced flying straight.
  3. 300 to 1000 foot per minute variation up or down in vertical speed from normal.

Soaring pilots seek moderate turbulence to provide the ability to climb and fly cross country by riding the updrafts. New ultralight or Sport Pilots would have their hands full maintaining control and would probably want to be safely on the ground. Experienced ultralight or Sport Pilots can handle moderate turbulence but would be happier finding lighter air to fly in.


If you get into the situation of severe or even extreme turbulence, simply focus of flying the aircraft straight and level, stay away from the ground and find better air.


Summary tips for managing bumps and developing bump tolerance.

  1. Do your Weather to Fly preflight preparation to predict what the air will be doing.
  2. Learn to fly competently in calm air or light turbulence before you fly in moderate turbulence. Slowly build up to bigger bumps.
  3. Evaluate the turbulence objectively and determine its real classification. Do not let your emotions run wild.
  4. If you get in turbulence above your abilities or comfort level, focus on flying the aircraft straight and level and evaluate the situation to find better air.

Developing your abilities to actively control the aircraft and enjoy the air while flying through light and moderate turbulence, allows you to fly more and the ability to fly cross country.

Here are comments from some of the trike pilots:

by dave kempler 19 days ago
I liked your step by step approach to bump tolerance. Yet, academics is no substitute for experience. Unfortunately, there are no bumps in the desert of Nevada to practice in ;) .

I was TERRIFIED of turbulence. Actually, I must admit that fear of the unknown, as you said, is bigger than the fear that I couldn't control the trike. You and others said that I'd get used to turbulence. It did not come quickly. I became discouraged when what I thought was a washing machine, others considered smooth. I really thought my days as a trike pilot were numbered. I bet you did too.

But, its amazing what a little attitude change can do for turbulence. Sure, getting into it and landing safely time after time builds confidence. I think thats the conquering of the unknown fears. But, if others ever have the wonderful opportunity to get so stinking depressed that they have nothing to live for...well, that's the ticket. Then you find out that light and moderate turbulence just wont kill you and then you begin to RELAX!

When a new pilot is told to relax, my reaction was "you've got to be kidding me." But finding the balance of when to react and when to ignore the trike's reactions was probably the hardest thing to figure out. But, that was the key. And it certainly took time to figure out that *I* was the one making it harder than it had to be. The more tense I was, the more violent the trike reacted. It just took time. I didn't believe it, but it was true. I was the link.

One of the biggest confidence builders I had was taking a lesson when I would have chosen to land immediately after taking off. I made the choice to keep flying. I was instructed to do all the PTS manuvers in conditions that 40 hours previous would have made me cry. To my joy, I was able to make the trike do what I wanted it to do with a strong level of confidence.

So, to put things in perspective, it did take me around 40 hours to be merely upset that I had to fly in turbulence, but at least the fear has subsided. A couple of flights ago, it was so smooth that I got bored and went looking for turbulence on the sunny faces of the hills.

So, if anyone cares, that's been my experience from terror to fun.

Who woulda thunk?
Abid Farooqui
by Abid Farooqui 19 days ago
Interesting topic Paul. This one is better experienced but it took me a good 100 hours of flying trikes to be able to even begin to relax in moderate conditions. I used to have my shoulders ache after flying (which I did 326 hours in the first year) a 45 minute session in mid morning Florida in a Tukan with a 17 meter single surface wing. Somewhere in there during that first year I started getting comfortable and at the end of it I was flying in the afternoon just before T-storms of July August would hit (that was pretty stupid) because I almost got caught in T-storm cells once or twice (ok may be thrice).
Abid Farooqui
by Abid Farooqui 19 days ago
My key points to students:
1) Give up the death grip on the control bar
2) Breath out deeply on purpose and let your shoulders drop (drop away the tension)
3) Look at the front strut (I put a bungee on the front strut somewhere) and get a sight picture. It should look like a holy cross against the horizon. If that holy cross starts to look like a tower of Pizza, if it is like that for 2+ seconds, correct it by matching pressure in opposite direction (pull, don't push the bar into the right direction). Many times the slight tower of Pizza will correct itself in 2 to 3 seconds so don't bother. The bungee rising up against static sight picture of the horizon = you are climbing, pull in and bungee against horizon dropping from the original S&L height = you are heading down
Rizwan Bukhari
by Rizwan Bukhari 19 days ago
Great topic...I use to and still at times have a death grip. My friend Tom who is a very experienced pilot has told me many times to relax the death grip when hitting the bumps. I guess with time and experience I will get better. The fear in the back of my head is what if I get hit with one extreme bump and end up losing the positive control of the trike. My other tendency is whenever I hit the turbulence to pull the bar in and give more throttle (to help the wing cut through the turbulence)..I am not sure if that is the best way to handle it either, it kinda worked with my Streak wing, which was awesome and despite have approx 100 hours I did few cross countries with it in mid day conditions and it handled pretty well.
Gregg Ludwig
by Gregg Ludwig 18 days ago
I teach pilots to use what I call a "white knuckle grip" for t/o and landing under windy/turbulent conditions or otherwise very close to the ground. But sure..enroute let the wing do its thing.... Gregg
B Alvarius
by B Alvarius 18 days ago
It was my experience that moving my thumbs from under (around) the bar to on top of bar helped reduce the tendency to grip the bar tightly.
anton jansen van rensburg
by anton jansen van rensburg 18 days ago
After 3000h i still SH#% in my pants at alt, but at low level i just do not care not a prob you have to get use to it and fly in what you can handle do not push your luck i know one or two pilots that came short THEY THOUGHT THEY KNEW how to fly in bad TURBULANCE so take it slow do not fool your self
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 18 days ago
I am more scared closer to the ground since the ground that is what usually gets you. That sudden stop.

If the turbulence it is real BAD next to the ground, it does not matter how good you are, BAD things can happen.

The real question is how to avoid real bad turbulence near the ground. Good Weather to Fly and common sense in the air go a long way..
Tony Castillo
by Tony Castillo 18 days ago
Interesting discussion here! ... good posting Paul. If a triker ever intends to get out of the "pattern" for some x-country, at some point then he/she would venture into the "bump-yonder" so ... good to have some discussion about this issue.

The nice thing is that we have quite a lot of control on how we progress. I found myself more comfortable starting early afternoon as weather seems to start pretty bumpy... then gradually get better ... so after a "wild ride" ... later it was really nice and smooth and the icing on the cake with a real nice landing.

A few times I went out early in the morning, to find myself battling bumps later and a heck of a wild landing!!.. so decided to test better test my bump skills in the afternoon when things seem to smooth later on!
Rizwan Bukhari
by Rizwan Bukhari 18 days ago
After I had soloed and had accumulated few hours did I experience my worse experience in turbulence. It rained for many days and I didn't have a chance to fly the trike. The very first chance I got, I ran to the airport, did't check the weather or anything and got ready to take off. There were red flags everywhere but I ignored each one of them.

The wind sock was moving in every which direction. As I took off I started getting hit with the turbulence right away. I said to myself, I will just make a circuit and land. But I was getting thrown around quite a bit and decided to get out of the pattern, gain some altitude and get a better control over my trike.

And as I was climbing, it was not getting any better and then it hit my .... All around me there were puffy cloudes some as low as 700-800 feet. I will never forget as long as I live, I looked at my left wing and (some distance away, not that far) there was this big puffy cloud at my wing level (looked like a giant space ship)...oh boy did I s**t in my pants...and as I noticed this cloud I got hit with some real challenging turbulence (I am not exaggerating). I must have gained 8-10 feet altitude one second and then lost 8-10 feet...I pulled bar in, gave it some throttle and start thinking "Oh boy what did I get myself into and started praying and thinking that I would never see my son again".....Anyway long story short...I was somehow able to put the bird down and thanked God a million times...As I was taxiing back to my Hangar, I tried to communicate with broken sign language to a helicopter pilot that it is very turbulant up there. He nodded at me but I could read the expression in his eyes (yes I know you idiot).

For you experienced pilots maybe this kind of turbulence is nothing but I had to change my underwear after that.

We all make mistakes, going forward with this experience and my two emergency landings back in Jan, safety has become the biggest priority for me because even though I know that inherently, flying is not dangerous, I also know that it is not very forgiving either. Now my preflights take about the same amount of time as my "actual" flight (OK a bit exaggeration here, but my preflights are pretty long now). Also even if the weather looks ok but doesn't feel right, I don't fly at all and keep myself busy with other trike tasks, such as cleaning it or cleaning the hangar etc. And I feel this is the key for my longevity in this sport, there will always be a tomorrow. I got the bigger part of the equation figured out (to own a trike) so there is no rush.
Victor Okunev
by Victor Okunev 18 days ago
I have noticed on many occasions that if I concentrate on dealing with the bumps while piloting the trike, they will get on my nerves. But if I am focused on some other agenda, say staying in formation or finding a new landing spot or just making an approach, suddenly I realize that I handle the bumps pretty much automatically, my arm muscles are relaxed and what used to be a big deal is just a slight inconvenience. But it is not always that you have "an agenda", often you go up just for a pleasure cruise. So I have developed a technique to "get busy" with some kind of made up objective whenever I feel I am getting involved into the war with the bumps. It works wonders for me :)
Rizwan Bukhari
by Rizwan Bukhari 17 days ago
Sometimes I just talk to myself and say things like "It's ok, just calm down, the bird is flying good etc". Surprisingly it always has worked so far.
Larry Mednick
by Larry Mednick 17 days ago
My advice is work up a tolerance safely while staying in the pattern landing every 5 minutes. I remember the first time I made it past 9:00 AM. I remember the first time I made it to 12:00 and I remember the first time I realized all day flying was no factor and was just as fun to fly in. (I'm not saying mechanical turbulence, wind shear, high wind, I'm talking about mid day bumps and average 10-15 mph wind.)

Guys that only fly in glass air are pressing their luck for when they do accidentally run into a front, or sebreeze or venture too far away and encounter changing weather. Work up slowly it takes hundreds of hours.
Rich Arnold
by Rich Arnold 16 days ago
Thanks to everyone for this forum and the comments. I just joined and dealing with bumps and landings are currently my biggest concerns. I have been soloing for a month and I am very intimidated by turbulence. I am following what everyone here says I should: flying when bumps are less likely, but here in North Louisiana with our extreme temps this summer, I know and have experienced sudden changes during my flights that were not visible or expected. When those occur, I am the guy Pual described: wishing I was not flying and white knuckled thinking about the inevitable final approach in such conditions. I have intentionally done an extra landing or two knowing I needed the practice/experience, and so far, I have dealt with all the whooptidoos and got my Sea Wing back home in one peace. Its a stong bird and good thing it is because some of my touchdowns certainly needed a lighter touch.

I have been experiencing all the worries implied in the article regarding cross country flights etc. I know I am not ready for the unknown conditions at the next stop along some planned flight, so I tend to stay close to home base which has lots of flat agricultural fields and two crop duster strips within line of sight.

It is encouraging to here all you folks say you have been where I am and it does get better.

Thanks again,

Rich Arnold
Abid Farooqui
by Abid Farooqui 16 days ago
Rich, if you did not feel the way you did at this point in your trike flying life, there would be something not normal there.
It takes 100's of hours to get comfortable with these things. Keep digging at it. The trike won't flip over
David O
by David O 16 days ago
Abid is right. Sometimes flying with a buddy helps too. I remember flying with Henry on our first long cross-country together and we were encountering turbulence crossing a mountain pass in the middle of no where. Fortunately from hang gliding, where the entire goal is to try and read the sky and FIND the good turbulence that goes up, I was able to assure him this was OK, where I thought it was coming from, how to avoid it, when it should pass, etc. Even better, for him is we started a rating system- that day, I gave the turbulence a 6 out of 10. It seems weird but knowing an approximate amount of turbulence helps a lot. Up until that point, Henry wasn't sure if maybe this was severe turbulence or not, should he be worried or not and when. Is this a normal amount? How normal? We used a rating system. There are those who know much more than me, but I just wanted to relate some of the benefits of flying with friends.
Rich Arnold
by Rich Arnold 16 days ago
Thanks David and Abid! I have wished for a trike pilot friend who could fly with me. I have been considering making the trek to Hearne, TX for the Trike fly-in just to maybe meeting some other trike pilots and learn from them. I noticed one person planning to attend is from Texarkana which is only 35 miles from my ranch and there might be others. I would really like to know I had an experienced WSC pilot in the bird with me at times of uncertainty and it would just be more fun. I know I would benefit greatly from flying with my instructor Doug Boyle again now that I have a month of solo experience, but NC is way out of range. I still fly with mental recordings of his voice reminding me "small corrections" "control the roll""dance with the wind"etc. The instructions are more meaningful now.
jeff trike
by jeff trike 16 days ago
Great topic.

One thing to realize when trike flying through turbulence is while it may feel like you are rocking and rolling all over the place, the wing is not moving much. The carriage is a pendulum and its swinging around is causing all that motion between you and the control bar. This motion is transient and will average out. Don't fight it. Go with it, but keep the average position where it should be (wings level, pitch neutral) When you realize the wing is not moving much, it is much less scary.

Occasionally you will get a good puff of tailwind that will put you in a stall. These are nothing like the "stalls" you experience in calm conditions where you push the bar out to the nose tube and feel it get mushy. A true stall results in a loss of lift that puts you into free fall. If you don't feel the bottom fall out, you haven't stalled. Often a wing tip will drop and you will enter a slipping diving turn. When this happens, just hold the bar centered and neutral. This is no time for any drastic pitch corrections on the control bar. Fight the instinct to pull in all the way. You are in vulnerable to tumbling now. Once you are through the transient, first get the wings level to stop the diving turn, then slow down to a normal flying speed.

When you are getting hammered by updrafts and downdrafts you are thinking, "How can I land this beast? I am all over the place?" And that would be true if your runway was floating in the sky. But our runways are on the ground, and ground has a valuable property, air can not flow through it. There are no updrafts and down drafts in that bottom 20 ft of air over the runway, because the air has nowhere to go. You can have side-to-side gusts or forward backward gusts, but no vertical gusts. This is no time to be messing around with dead stick landing practice. Use power to slowly lower your trike through that bottom 20 ft. Lateral gusts are transient, so if you are getting gusts now, it will stop in a few seconds (unless it is mechanical turbulence). Use the entire length of the runway if you have to and don't hesitate to go around.

If you are trying to land in strong mechanical turbulence, caused by wind blowing over terrain or buildings, you are in trouble. Find another place to land.

You should get all this figured out before heading out on a long cross country.

That's my two cents.
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 16 days ago
About this tipping over in a trike. This is what I tell my students. Think of it this way and you will be OK
"I flew a hang glider where you are always looking and needing bumps (updrafts to climb). The wings are almost as big as a trike wing, your speed is generally slower, and you have not much weight (body only) really high above the control bar and close to the wing. If you run the numbers, look at the physics, hang gliders are much more able to “tip over” than a trike which has 4 times the weight twice as low below the wing and flies faster. If you judge the conditions to fly in light to moderate turbulence tipping over is not a big concern.”
Henry IMGW
by Henry IMGW 16 days ago
Thank you Paul, this is a great subject. I don't have any hang riding nor any other airplane flying experience other than trike. I learned a lot from here.
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 15 days ago
Some of my thre useful phrases I give to people when flying in the bumps and it gets "bumpy" flying.

"This is Normal" I am sure you can figure out what this means.
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 15 days ago
In Hawaii flying when there were whitecaps that abruply changed to to calm water, as group leader flying through this wind sheer I would broadcast "Everyone please tighten your seat belts"
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 15 days ago
Why the "Everyone please tighten your seat belts" friends help friends.
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 15 days ago
To get someone ready for the bumps before you hit them. This works good flying early in a morning inversion where the air is nice at airport (4700 MSL) when the wind is blowing over 20 knots at 9000 feet ridgetops. It starts nice and gets bumpy.
"there are always bumps, it is just a matter of how big they are. We will see calm, bumpy and alll kinds of air on this flight."
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 15 days ago
Looked at the posts and I will say this. Yes it is best to relax in bumps and not use a death grip. But when things get ULGY, with severe and extreme turbulence, you better grip that bar with all your strength and make sure it does not get ripped out of your hands. Otherwise it is VERY BAD. Not sure who said this but generally “maintain control of the trike”.
Evan Caldwell
by Evan Caldwell 15 days ago
Rich and others,

I'm not a trike expert, but I have a bit over 600 hours in my trike (17.5 meter single-surface wing). I'd like to share with you some thoughts I had after reading your post.

When I fly into rough air I try to remember that I have the option to turn around and fly back into the air I just came from (hoping it's still stable).

In my early trike flying I had a tendency to grip the control bar too tightly in rough air. In effect, I turned my trike into a fixed wing aircraft, so every bump the wing experienced was transferred to the entire aircraft (and me).

I've had a few abrupt experiences with thermals during summer in N. California. In these instances I've had one side or the other of my wing slice through a strong thermal. The result was that the wing slammed up on that side to its full limit of travel, and it was done so violently that the control bar was yanked out of my hands. Some of these rattled me so much that I have turned around and put the trike away for the rest of the day.

Since then I've intentionally stayed flying in conditions that are on the edge of my comfort zone to have more experience flying in the rough stuff so that I won't be surprised by it on the days I encounter it.

My instructor said it so often that I hear his voice each time I my piloting skills are being challenged, "Keep flying the trike!"

Blue skies and favorable winds,

Jim D
by Jim D 15 days ago
Evan, thanks for sharing your experience. However I HOPE that after this event you had the wing inspected, sail off frame......."""The result was that the wing slammed up on that side to its full limit of travel, and it was done so violently that the control bar was yanked out of my hands."""
Rich Arnold
by Rich Arnold 14 days ago
This forum has been most helpful. I actually applied some of the advice yesterday morning when I was surprised to find a strong head wind less than 100 feet above the runway with lots of bumps up to 1000 feet. When I decided to abort the flight I had planned since I could only do 11 mph ground speed in the direction I intended, I had to bring it back down through the bumps on approach. The information about the last 20 feet not having ups/downs really gave me the confidence i needed to not rush it to touch down.

Thanks to everyone.

Joe Swift
by Joe Swift 14 days ago
I had an experience that I had on landing my bird in the hot Texas August summer last year at my home airport. It was 11:30AM and I was returning from a long flight to the airport in strong winds and medium to moderately heavy thermal conditions which is normal for Texas at that time of the year. I over flew the airport to observe the wind sock and joined the downwind pattern leg and lined up my final and started my decent to the threshold and touch down at my normal 70-75mph. There is a grassy area just before the runway where there are always heavy thermals popping off so there is a need to carry that kind of speed to cut through the bumps there. I held the wing with 'positive tension' to keep it on track to the runway and cut through the thermals. As I was bumping my wing out to start my round-out at 50 feet above the runway, I very suddenly lost 40 feet in an instant and was now only about 10 feet above runway. I immediately applied moderate power and gained control stability and landed the plane but I was puzzled as to how fast it happened and why. I called my hanger mate and mentor Steve Burns about it on the phone after the flight to ask him about what happened and he said that I had hit a 'sink'. 'What's a sink?' I ask. 'It's when you encounter a heavy downdraft caused by a strong thermal'.

Well that experience got me thinking about how I was landing my bird and how to avoid or at least minimize the adverse effects of this in the future. Up to that time, my normal landing technique was to pull in my wing on final to get the downward glide speed to 70mph and carry only idle RPM. This was how I was taught to land by the 3 instructors who I had trained with and it worked well for me but my experience that day changed the way I thought about how best to land the airplane. I got to thinking about a blog that Jeff Trike contributed to where he advised a longer approach carrying moderate RPM and flying the airplane onto the runway. I started to experiment with it and found that it suited the normal conditions we experience here in Texas very well. I now use Jeff's technique 90% of the time and feel like I'm landing the plane well with it.

I have a question for you Paul, Larry or Abid or you other veterans out there who care to answer. If and when I encounter a very strong 'sink' over the runway in the future using the long approach, powered landing technique, would that dampen the effects of that sink? I'm thinking yes but I haven't experienced any 'sinks' since I have changed over to using the powered landings. If I hit a strong downdraft at landing, would there be any difference in the amount of altitude I would loose? I think that applying full power at that moment of hitting the sink would be the right decision to make to get the plane to start to climb and then after I stabilized and had control of the plane to continue to land further down the runway. I would appreciate any input or feedback you could give me on this.

Charlie Porter
by Charlie Porter 14 days ago
Joe, There is a difference between normal mechanical turbulence and a thermal or dust devil passing through where you are planning on landing. When the conditions are such that there are strong thermals I usually make an upwind pass and if I encounter any strong lift or sink I will wait a short while before landing. That way I avoid landing when there might be dust devils or sinks in the area that I could possibly hit.

Although it is different than most people here advise, I almost always approach and land with the engine off. I feel it is much safer to do so.
John Olson
by John Olson 14 days ago
I'm with ya there Charlie. I's the glidehead approach though. I don't expect everyone to understand. But if you carry all your airspeed down to the roundout you don't need thrust. Jose; if you hit sink near the ground you counter with the bar.
Jim T
by Jim T 14 days ago
Just like there are stronger thermals there are stronger sink rates. There is also wind gradient that can cause similar effects. The only time I land at idle or engine out is in calm conditions. I almost always land between 3000 - 4000 rpm. It has served me well.

The most important thing I learned is "always be committed to going around if your approach is not the way you like it."

I learned to fly at Granite Shoals, Texas. 32TE It is a 2000 x 50 runway but in reality there is only about 30' wide. There is almost always a cross wind with trees on both sides of the runway. So there is always mechanical turbulence if the wind is blowing.

There were several times I experienced this sink. If you experience sink at idle it will indeed be more dramatic than with power added.

The other skill that is very useful in landing is the low pass. I actually did a low pass on my solo flight and I have been practicing ever since. I feel being confident doing low passes and being close to the ground is very important skill.

Practice. Practice. Practice. And practice more.
Joe Swift
by Joe Swift 14 days ago
So an upwind pass to check out the conditions, counter the sink with the bar movement if you are carrying speed and not apply extra power because there is no need and practice, practice............ All very good advise guys that I will apply and use in the future I assure you. I'm getting to be a better pilot by the minute just by asking. Thanks very much...I appreciate it ('much obliged' in Texan) :=)

Larry Mednick
by Larry Mednick 14 days ago
Landing with power should just change your approach angle which puts us usually in the trees if the engine quits on final. Most trikes have a nice enough glide that power is really not necessary for the entire approach. Also during the flare, if you are sill in the power you are doing something wrong in my opinion. But when you encounter sink then burping the throttle is your best option. However the most common problem I see is people hold the throttle too long. Stopping the descent or climbing is the worst thing you can do unless you are doing a go around.

Due to the way our trikes control their pitch, most of the time when the nose is up and you need to get it down (unless you are holding the bar out and pull it in) your trike will have low energy regardless of being bar in. So the last thing you want to do is change the attitude of your carriage. A good sink correction usually is an abrupt full throttle correction followed by coming back off to idle without slowing down below your original sink rate. Example if your approach is 600 fpm and you hit sink that would other wise get you dropping at 1000+ fpm and you give it the right burp of throttle, you will continue to sink at 600 FPM. If you arrest the sink and wind up in level flight you may have done more harm than good. The key to holding energy in the wing is to have consistent energy in the wing. A full pull in on the bar and wind gusts do not ensure constant energy in the wing.

A steady descent rate and CONSISTENT energy in the wing is what's important to me when landing.

Also not always does high airspeed at idle with good energy mean high descent rate. And not always does bar in mean high energy. A constant glide angle with throttle burps to keep the descent rate equal is the easiest way to keep consistent energy in the wing and a consistent descent rate. These concepts are easy to demonstrate but harder to verbalized and even harder to comprehend through writing.
Larry Mednick
by Larry Mednick 14 days ago
The most common reason for sink at 50-150 feet AGL is transition gradient. And it is inertia that causes TEMPORARY changes in airspeed that cause "sink". Wind gusts cause (temporary) lift... A full throttle burp causes temporary increase in airspeed before the trike pitches up. Causing your trike to pitch up on short final can cause temporary loss of air speed followed by high sink rate and the trike then pitching nose down with low airspeed and high sink rate which is the WORST possible combination Near the ground.

So remember KEEP YOUR NOSE DOWN! :-)
Joe Swift
by Joe Swift 14 days ago
Thanks for this input Larry. I followed you and understand what you're saying. I've been experimenting with throttle 'burps' for the past 7 months and understand exactly. Fully understanding how to control that throttle and integrating it into your flight tools bag is a very large part of finessing the airplane to do what you want it to do. I have found this technique works best for my power approaches as it gives me better control of what's going on.

Thanks and much obliged, Larry. :-)

Larry Mednick
by Larry Mednick 14 days ago
Charlie, the one thing I have found the ability to add throttle works especially well for are gusting Xwind landings. Timing the point of touchdown as the nose yaws back and forth requires use of throttle in some cases. I would say 99% of my landings are at idle and often enough with the engine off (I enjoy silent gliding as well), but if it's gusting and especially a xwind I like to have the engine at my disposal just in case I want to burp the throttle given the choice.
Abid Farooqui
by Abid Farooqui 14 days ago
Hi Joe
I read your landing shakeup post above. Steve was probably in the mark.
However in general there is never a reason to start roundout at 50 feet high. Also second Larry

Rule of Thumb that generally will hold true
No pushing the bar out on approach between 200 feet to 15 feet AGL.
John Olson
by John Olson 14 days ago
Jose, if you are flying a really fast wing, and you have the bar sucked-in and you are plummeting towards the ground, that's a good time to start a round-out at fifty feet. In fact, I would suggest it is imperative. No mames buey!
Joe Swift
by Joe Swift 14 days ago
I copy you loud and clear, Abid...I should have said it better.

When I land at the airport in high summer it's very difficult to get the airplane to loose altitude because the runway holds so much heat that I need to get a pronounced down angle by holding in the bar close to my chest to get the 75mph glide speed when I carry idle RPM's. I usually change that angle in stages by 'bumping' the bar at about 40'-50' above the runway. This changes the glide angel only slightly but doesn't bleed off the speed. I will usually input only one or two 'bumps' of the bar depending on what's called for and that is only to get to a less pronounced glide angel. I don't hold the bar out input but just 'bump' it. That is the technique that I used to use exclusively up until my experience that day. On the powered approach that I now use 90% of the time, I fly the airplane onto the ground in a constant approach angle and input my flair out and power back to idle just about 3 feet above the runway and then I'll bleed off the speed until touchdown. I feel comfortable with that.
Charlie Porter
by Charlie Porter 14 days ago
Larry, I find with my little trike that I can make power off approaches at 2x my stall speed and have plenty of time and energy available to level out and touch down with the rear wheels first. That usually takes care of any yawing around that is happening in a x-wind. If your trike continues to yaw around as you land you probably need a better trike or more training. (Abid, that was a joke!)

I feel that landing with power is a tradeoff in safety that I am not willing to make. I agree having power available you have more descent rate control and also the ability to go around. Most people feel that it is safer that way and that is apparently the accepted training method. I don't feel that these advantages outweigh the disadvantages though. I personally feel that with the engine running people tend to make shallower approaches and spend more time in what I call the danger zone between 10 and 100ft altitude. Training yourself to always have the power available if you need it is also just setting yourself up for landing short on the eventual day that your engine quits on approach instead of the continuous repetitive training for an emergency engine out situation that power off landings provide. Also with powered approaches people will tend to level out with excess energy and touch down at a higher speed than is really needed to land. With power on and the engine running, even at an idle thrust setting, you will tend to crash much harder and cause more damage to yourself and your trike if you screw up and hit while still going sideways and roll over. You will also have less of a tendency to throw up rocks and damage your prop with the engine off. And, most importantly, I find that engine off approaches are much more fun and have a much higher entertainment value. In the end, I would suggest that everyone find the landing method that works best for them and that they feel most comfortable with and stick with that.
Abid Farooqui
by Abid Farooqui 14 days ago
Hi Joe,
I use power-on approach in real flying only rarely. May be 3 - 5% of the time. Generally when I am on a short runway with trees or mechanical turbulence with wind from a side coming on or when we are flying and landing in frontal conditions. Regular mid day stuff I rarely ever use power-on approach. May be pump the power a hair if things aren't right at 10 feet but usually not. One of these days you won't have the power and if you are doing this approach 90% of the time, you will become much more reliant on it.
I saw Ole's comment about flying fast trikes and starting a round out at 50 feet, I don't agree. I have been flying some of the fastest trikes around and no such need is there. In the Revo with 11 wing for example, loaded two up, I approach 70 to 75 and touch down mains at around 45 ... mid day or not, start round out at 15 just like anything else.
jeff trike
by jeff trike 14 days ago
Landing with power in gusty challenging conditions is not the time to be practicing engine out landings. In calm to moderate conditions, I go with power off landing every time. I would say the vast majority of my landings are power off. But when it is nasty, you should not hesitate to use every tool available to set down easy.

In the past I used to power idle landings every time, even in gusts and strong crosswinds until one day about two years ago I was doing multiple landings is gusty crosswind conditions. At the time, I welcomed these conditions so I could get in some "challenging landing practice". I pulled it off 4 good power idle landings and was probably feeling a little over confident and about my landing skills. During last landing I mistimed my roundout and made the hardest landing I have ever made. For the first time in a long-long time, I bounced. It was a small bounce, but I have seen too many bouncing trike videos that ended with the trike flipping over.

At that point, I totally changed my attitude about landings in challenging conditions. No need to up the difficulty factor. In those conditions, I now use every tool available to set the trike down as easy as possible. That means use a long stabilized approach where I line up on the spot, but do not obsess on it. You are vulnerable to engine out on the shallow glide, so I set up to land further down field, so I am protected at all times. If I am not centered on the strip and wings level, I stay on the power until I can make it right.

When everything is right I commit to a landing and go to idle. I bleed off my speed at about 1-2 ft altitude to set down with minimum energy. When you level out just above the runway, every second you can milk it, you slow down about 3-4 mph. You are holding off gravity by draining the kinetic energy of the trike. Count out loud, try to get to 3 or 4 before touching down. I do this last part, stretching out the glide on every landing, whether I use a powered approach or not. Then finish it off with a wheelie landing to set the nose down easy. That's how they land the space shuttle, and commercial airliners. The 3-point landing is for tail draggers, not tricycle gear aircraft.
Paul Hamilton
by Paul Hamilton 14 days ago
Great discussion from industry experts on a most important subject for pilots.
Sun, Sep 25 2011 11:38am CDT 2
David Trikeman
David Trikeman
8 Posts
Thanks, very interesting and useful!!


Aug 8th

Video, Picture and content police.

By Paul Hamilton



Everyone has their different opinions about what should be posted on this or any other trike web site.


I would like to hear from the collective group of where the video, picture, and content police should ban and/or attempt to disallow trike content.


 Other sports are not critical of this but shoul;d we as trike pilots draw a line as to what we and the public should see?


 Should trike content be banned/shunned that:




1. Shows a trike without a visible landing area?


2. Bank or attitude out of the manufacturers limitations?


3. Formation flying?


4. Flying in high or bumpy winds?


5. Ground skimming?



6. Flying near a cloud?


7. Flying in crowded airspace?


Jul 26th

How to find Trike instructor or trike pilots near you.

By Paul Hamilton

Always being called from people who are looking for trike pilots and instructors near them.

I send them to

Please send people here to find the most updated pilots/CFIs, add your self to the map, and let me know if this represents your area. People are especially looking for flight instructors to get started. I personally do my best to keep this updated with the most accurate information.

e mail me at if you have any updates.


May 30th

How to avoid a tuck/tumble, power on stalls, whip stall avoidence

By Paul Hamilton


To start out, what is "attitude"?


 There are two types of attitude for avoiding a tuck/tumble:


1. Pilot attitude - mental decision making which can prevent whip stalls/tuck/tumble and


2. Aircraft attitude which we will talk about here - the position of the aircraft as determined by the relationship of its axis and a reference, usually the earth's horizon.


 Simply, aircraft attitude which we will cover here is the angle the aircraft is with the earth's horizon.


 For those of you newbees concerned with this, you can easily avoid the details here by using your mental attitude for tuck/tumble avoidance by:


1. Flying within the manufacturers limitations,


2. Flying in milder conditions/good weather,


3 Obtaining the proper training in pitch stability.


 This is just another tool for the toolbox where we will be discussing the aircraft high and low attitude avoidance specifics.


 Whip stalls, which result from a very high pitch attitude (nose high) can be avoided simply by keeping this pitch attitude down. Please reference a high and low pitch attitude in the FAA Weight-Shift Control Flying Handbook Figure 2-8 for a visual of aircraft high and low pitch attitude. Additionally there Is a Whip stall/tuck/tumble sequence figure 6-23.


 The goal for all of us is to not get into a situation where the pitch attitude is extremely high or low.


 Generally the nose up pitch attitude will result in about the same nose down attitude. Example: If your nose up attitude gets to 45 degrees, this will result in a nose down attitude of about 45 degrees. Nose up 60 degrees, nose down 60 degrees etc....


 Generally to avoid a tuck/tumble you simply keep the aircraft attitude within manufacturers limitations typically 30 to 45 degrees nose up/down.


 So how do we minimize the nose up attitude to minimize the nose down attitude?


 This was not covered very well in the  FAA Weight-Shift Control Flying Handbook so here is an effort to provide guidance to all future trike pilots.


 Tumble avoidance will be broken down here into 3 separate phases.


 PHASE 1. Nose up - for one reason or another. Wind shear, pilot induced, etc.


PHASE 2. Stall and initial rotation nose down.


PHASE 3. Low pitch attitude headed for the ground.


 The important phase for all of us is to know what to do in these 3 separate phases.


 First the basic physics of increasing and reducing aircraft attitude. As a pilot, you have control over the bar and the throttle.


 If you want a higher nose attitude you:






 If you want a lower nose attitude:






 Let's look at each phase described above:


PHASE 1. Nose up - for one reason or another. Wind shear, pilot induced, etc.


If you feel the nose going up for one reason or another you should reduce the aircraft attitude by simultaneously:






This are the corrective actions to reduce the nose high attitude.


 PHASE 2. Stall and initial rotation from high pitch attitude to low pitch attitude.


OK this is where timing is critical. You should/would have the bar in from the previous PHASE 1. The instant you feel a stall or the nose start to rotate down, immediately and without hesitation,


GO TO FULL THROTTLE to minimize rotation down and push out on the bar. Hopefully at this point you bring the bar to neutral and resume normal flight.


 PHASE 3. Low pitch attitude headed for the ground.


If you keep rotating down, keep the bar out and full throttle until you level out and resume normal flight. If you have gained speed in the dive and the nose starts to shoot up go back to PHASE 1, pull in the bar and let off the throttle.


This is the basic procedure for preventing the tuck/tumble.


I have heard that some say to go to full throttle in a climb to avoid a tuck/tumble. This is partly true but the "timing" in PHASE 2 is the important factor that must be understood. Do not go to full throttle in a climb when the nose is going up or you will increase pitch attitude and make things worse. Only get on the throttle as you start to rotate from the high pitch attitude (nose up) to the lower pitch attitude (nose down).


Mar 31st

Two Used Revos ready to go for spring

By Paul Hamilton

Right now I have two used Revos in stock.


My demo N66PH which has about 350 hours and customized for my operation with heating, camera/video mount with GoPro sound wired into the com system. Great condition and beautiful trike. Ready for personal or commercial flight instruction. I am currently getting the new Revo Fuel injected ready for my personal use so I will be parting with this beauty


Just got a 25 hour "Like new" fuel injected back from a customer who has decided to pursue different interests. This is a great deal.


See for details and pricing:

So if you are thinking about a Revo, here are a couple of great options

Mar 13th

More trike CFI's needed.

By Paul Hamilton




One of the best ways to promote triking is to take people up and get paid for it. Intro flights and primary training. A new way of life. I started it as a full time job 5 years ago and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Each day is "Another day in paradise".




Join in and live the dream.


Feb 18th

Airplane pilot transitioning to trike - lessons learned

By Paul Hamilton

This is a complete excert from web site

that might help everyone understand about transitioning from airplane to trike........



There are two ways to transition to weight-shift control (WSC) LSA (light-sport aircraft) trike.

You can go for the “adding a category” at the sport pilot level which is being trained by one CFI and than taking a proficiency check with another CFI per 61.321. Here there are no minimum hours required, no knowledge test, no solo and it is a logbook endorsement for an additional category. An FAA 8710-11 form is sent into the FAA to add this to your current pilot certificate. Even if you are a private pilot or ATP airplane, you must fly with the sport pilot limitations of 61.315 except you do not need any of the airspeed or airspace endorsements as specified in 61.303.

It must be noted that if you add a category per 61.321, this does not count as a flight review because it is NOT adding an additional rating, it is adding a log book endorsement same as adding a tail wheel endorsement. So as ridiculous as it might seem,  if you are not current as a pilot and you do a proficiency check to add the WSC trike to your airplane private pilot certificate, you need to do a flight review in the trike (or airplane) to be current as a pilot.

Also note you do not have to solo to add a category per 61.321.

You can also go for the Private Pilot WSC Trike. This is almost like starting from scratch. It is like adding a new private pilot category such as helicopter. You need all the 20 hours dual training in WSC plus 10 hours of solo plus all of the cross country requirements per 61.109 (j). You get a break with no knowledge test required. This gives you the privileges of a private pilot for the trike without the limitations of the sport pilot.

We have the capability to do either here at Sport Aviation Center. We have two trike CFI’s for the sport pilot proficiency check option, and two private pilot CFI’s and a private pilot examiner (Paul Hamilton).

How long does it take for an airplane pilot to transition to a WSC trike?

Trike controls are different than the three axis airplane. New skills/habits must be learned by the airplane pilot. It is very different at first for an airplane pilot because you take away the thin walls that provide a false sense of security of being inside something, you take away the horizon reference the pilot usually uses to control the aircraft, than you reverse all the controls so nothing is familiar. It is like learning to ride a motorcycle after just driving a car. We can all do it it is simply different.

Typically, airplane pilots feel disoriented for the first 20 minutes, and must “think” about the movements for the first hours of flight. But it is very interesting how some pilots pick it up really quick and others it takes a while. This large variance in how quick an airplane pilot feels comfortable flying a trike is not easily explained. The “danger zone” for an airplane pilot is the time between when they feel comfortable flying the trike and when the correct body motion habits are developed for flying in bumps. Some pilots can feel comfortable flying a trike in as little at 5 hours in calm air, but it typically takes at least 20 to 50 hours for the proper habits to be developed to instinctively do the right pitch and roll movements in bumpy air when things get challemging.

The dreaded “control reversal” unfortunately is common for airplane pilots transitioning to trikes.

The main danger is flying close to the ground in bumps where pushing out to slow up and increase pitch angle and pulling in to speed up to reduce pitch is critical. Some pilots pick it up quickly, others take longer. It is a matter of learning to “fly the wing” rather than move and coordinate the controls. It is in those “moments of truth” when airplane pilots get pitched up or down when the old airplane control habits may come out and cause a problem.  The shortest flight hours for a pilot to transition from airplane to trike has been 8 hours and the longest has been 25 hours. Even as it may appear the airplane pilot is doing great in the trike, we always make sure to fly in bumps to assure the transitioning pilot does not still have this “control reversal” deep in his/her brain.

We highly recommend any transitioning airplane pilot fly at least 30 hours in calm air before flying in the bumps.

I have found that 150 to 500 hour airplane pilots take the longest to learn. ATP, helicopter and jet pilots appear to pick it up quicker. Perhaps the low to medium time airplane pilots are still trying to think about the movements and the body language habits are highly ingrained. The high time pilots fly more by feel of the aircraft.

A number of analogies used that work on most airplane pilots are:

  • It is like the stick is on the top of the wing and you are controlling it from the bottom
  • it is like driving the car with your hands on the bottom of the wheel rather than the top.
  • It is like a motorcycle, pull in/lower your self to resist drag and speed up, push out to go slow, sit up and cruise
  • Move/pull your self in the direction you want to go
  • The wing is in your hand, there are no controls

Usually one of the above assists in airplane pilots transitioning to trikes.

Overall, the best way to transition is to get the DVD’s and watch them and start to visualize that to do before you start doing it. This visualization usually is a big help in reducing the time it takes to transition.

Training materials for a transition trike pilot are:

  • Training Syllabus and Workbook Weight Shift Control Trike
  • FAA Weight Shift Control aircraft Flying Handbook
  • Weight-Shift Control Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  • Learn to fly a trike DVD
  • Sport Pilot Checkride book

All these can be found at

How do we go through the training process?

Typically, we follow the training syllabus of a new pilot learning to fly. This provides the most efficient procedure for transition pilots.

What do you get when you complete a proficiency check to add a trike to your private/commercial/ATP pilot certificate?

After you complete your proficiency check, 8710-11 paperwork is sent into the FAA and they send you a new pilot certificate with the added category and you get a log book endorsement for the added category/class by the instructor who performed the proficiency check.

Feb 4th

An Epic day part 2. Heather shows up to get her hours for private pilot .

By Paul Hamilton

Some background. Heather Davis from Petaluma CA is an incredibly talented pilot. She started out hang gliding and has evolved to triking. Besides flying in the USA, she has flown trikes in Europe.  Starting out with a hang glider pilot background, I feel, is better than starting out with a GA airplane background for transitioning to trikes.  


Heather contacted me and wants to get her private pilot trike. Her first training session we went onto Reno Class C airspace for the airspace endorsement, did the spiral recovery, full power stalls, nasty air  cross wind landings (not by choice).  I may as well go to sleep in the back. Heather had this all figured out. We burned off some productive hours and our first flight she got her Towered Airspace endorsement. Bad weather for a month or so.


She calls back and wants to "get more hours" for the private. My confidence as a CFI is incredibly high with Heather so how do I challenge her to  make this "get more hours"  productive?


The first DAY she came was epic for this. CLOUDS. Perfect for flying in the high Sierra's with decisions on how to fly in the mountains and deal with clouds.  



Story will be in the pictures. Enjoy