Jan 19th

Brain teasers for those that believe down wind turns are

By Joe Hockman

If you believe that downwind turns are "different" from upwind turns, or if you think that a pilot can "feel" the direction of the wind, or that an aircraft tends to "weathervane" to point into the external, meteorological wind, then you might enjoy these brain teasers. Primary context is hang gliding but also applies to flying trikes.

Brain teaser #1:

1.) You are flying indoors.  In an immense, enclosed room.  The walls and floor and ceiling are black. You've launched off a platform near the ceiling and are practicing turns, stalls, stalls from turns, etc.  There is no evidence of any air movement in the room. Does your aircraft behave differently when flying in any particular direction?

2.)  Sunrise. You realize that what you thought were black walls, are clear glass panels. The room is actually the enclosed gondola of an enormous balloon.  As you look down at the newly visible earth, you see that the ground is passing by very swiftly far below. The balloon is in a stiff south wind, and is being blown northward over the land.  Now does your aircraft fly differently in any particular direction, within the closed room? Is it now more dangerous to turn downwind (toward the north) than upwind (toward the south)?  Just because the sun came up and now you can now see the ground? What if you close your eyes? Can you "feel" the wind by the way the aircraft responds when flying in different directions?

3.)  You notice that each of the transparent walls of this enormous, enclosed room has several large windows.  Someone comes and opens all these windows. But no air blows in through them.  Likewise the flags that decorate the outside of the gondola hang limp. Anyone who has ever been in a balloon will recognize this to be true, and the explanation for this is simple: the balloon is moving freely with the airmass without resistance, and so the balloon's velocity is constant, and so acceleration is zero, and so net force also must be zero: the wind cannot be "pushing" on the balloon in any way.  Since the windows are now open the airmass in the room is now the same as the airmass outside. Now does your aircraft fly differently in any particular direction? Is it more dangerous to turn downwind (to the north) than upwind (to the south)?

4.) The balloon is too heavy and needs to shed some weight.  Someone hits a button and all of the walls get jettisoned. The floor, ceiling, and corner pillars are all that is left of the "room".  Again, no air is blowing through the "room". Now is a downwind turn (to the north) somehow "different" than an upwind turn (toward the south)?

5.) You fly out of one of the missing walls and into the clear blue sky.  Now is a downwind turn any "different" than an upwind turn? Is it easier to stall when turning downwind than when turning upwind?

(P.S. Part 3 of brain teaser #1 brings to mind another old puzzle: if a fly takes wing within an enclosed aircraft, do the wings of the aircraft no longer need to support his weight?  What if a window in the cabin is open?  What if the fly is buzzing around the cockpit of an old open-cockpit biplane?  What if the fly flies out of the open window (or out over the side of the open cockpit) and then flies along in formation with the aircraft?  What if he positions himself directly over one of the wings?  At what point as the fly approached the window (if any) did the aircraft stop "feeling" the weight of the fly?)


Brain teaser #2:

We are flying in still air over the San Andreas fault. Suddenly the block on the west side of the fault starts sliding rapidly northward.  (Devastation is breaking out below).  As we fly from across the fault from east to west in the still, uniform, airmass, we suddenly find ourselves flying in a north wind in relation to the land immediately below.  Does this affect the way the aircraft flies?  When we are on the west side of the fault line, are we in more danger of stalling during a "downwind" turn (toward the north) than during an "upwind" turn (toward the south)? 


Brain teaser #3:

Aliens arrive.  After consulting with Art Bell, they decide to use their advanced engineering prowess to abruptly halt the earth's rotation.  You are piloting an airliner at 30,000' over the equator, and the effects of this little disturbance have not yet propagated to your altitude--the layer of the atmosphere surrounding your aircraft is still rotating at a normal rate.  From your perspective, the ground has suddenly started moving toward the west at 1,038 mph.  Relative to the ground, you are now flying in a 1,038 mph west wind.  Does this have any affect on the way that the plane flies?  Are "downwind" turns (toward the east) now different than "upwind" turns (toward the west)?


Brain teaser #4:

You are in still air. Looking straight down, you see a train driving south at 60 mph.  You decide that the train constitutes the "surface" of the earth for the few seconds that you are overflying it. As you overfly the train, you are in a 60mph south wind, in relation to the "surface".  Does this affect the way your aircraft flies?  If you close your eyes and fly in circles over the train, will the "feel" of the aircraft tell you which direction the wind is blowing, i.e. which direction the train is travelling?  Is there a greater danger of stalling when you are flying "downwind" (flying toward the north), or when you are performing a "downwind" turn (flying toward the north), than when you are flying "upwind" (flying toward the south), or when you are performing an "upwind" turn (turning toward the south)?

(Extra credit for hang glider pilots: do you have to "flare" your glider differently when landing on top of the southbound train with the nose of your glider pointing south, than when you land on top of the southbound train with your nose pointing north?  Obviously answer is "yes"--landing with a 60mph tailwind would be disastrous--but why?  Does it have to do with the behavior of your glider in relation to the air?  Or does it only relate to the fact that you are trying to minimize your glider's groundspeed at the instant that your feet touch the ground?  If you were practicing flares at high altitude, aiming for a given profile in the airspeed and sink rate with no concern for ground track and groundspeed, could you tell when you were over the train by the way the glider felt when it flared?)


Brain teaser #5:

This one also applies to those who believe that an aircraft flies differently in "lift" (rising air) than in "sink" (descending air).

Let's ignore the earth's surface, and take the sun as our reference point. In relation to the sun, the earth's atmosphere (as well as the rest of the earth) is moving at 66,674 mph.  If we are near the equator, the direction of motion of the atmosphere (as well as the rest of the earth) is (roughly speaking) toward the west at noon, toward the east at midnight, straight up at sunrise, and straight down at sunset. So we have an east wind at noon, a west wind at midnight, an updraft at sunrise, and a downdraft at sunset.  (Don't confuse yourself by factoring in the earth's rotation around its axis, which is a mere 1,038 mph at the equator).  Bearing this incredible wind velocity in mind, does an aircraft fly differently when turning to the west at noon, then when turning to the west at midnight? Does an aircraft fly differently in the sunrise updraft than in the sunset downdraft?

Sep 8th

Triple Tree (Who's going?)

By Charles Moore

This weekend is the annual Triple Tree fly-in located near Woodruff, S.C.  Last year we only had one trike attend. Doug Boyle with his Tanarg. This year looks to have a few more trikes flying in. As of now (1:15pm 9/8/16) Doug should have already arrived, Tony Ford and Fred Snyder are coming, John Williams from VA in his Revo (hope I got his name right), a gentleman named Quinn with a Delta Jet (I think), Todd Halver is flying down Friday afternoon in his new Tanarg, Chris from GA is supposed to be bring an Aeros Ant and I plan to leave at first light to fly down in my XT. Did I miss anyone? 

Sep 1st


By Todd Halver
AIRBORNE XT-582 SLSA • $21,750 • DON'T MISS OUT • Look no further for your first or next trike! This 2008 Airborne XT-582 with Cruze wing has been meticulously maintained (335 total hours) and is certified for flight training. N569DL is powered by a Rotax 582 (recently overhauled by Aircore Aviation). Aircraft is equipped with oil injection, intake silencer, Micro Air VHF radio, strobe, SkyDat GX2 EFIS, and BRS (new 9/14). Enjoy NEW Flycom intercom, radio interface and two helmets ($1,200 value) for comfort and performance. This is a value-priced quality aircraft that you can be confident in flying both locally and cross country. Contact Todd Halver - PAPA TANGO AVIATION, located WinstonSalem, NC USA • Telephone: 336 558-6800.
Jul 9th

Rotax 912ULS New engine sale scam

By Abid Farooqui

Hi All:
I wanted to warn everyone not to fall for a scammer advertising a brand new in crate Rotax 912ULS engine with serial number 6785467
In fact if you find this engine listed for sale, inform the website that this engine is being sold by a scammer. Absolutely under no circumstances wire this person a deposit. You will never see your money back. This is a Nigerian scammer who takes pictures from other people of various ads and then after they have sold the engine or other items, advertises them under aliases and takes you for all you got. He gets all the pictures, details from the original legitimate poster so it seems really legit. He even supplies photos of brand new logbook and Rotax documentation. He also advertises some other avionics. They are all scams.

I unfortunately fell victim to his 912ULS scam on June 24, 2016.
I wired him a deposit. Yes pretty silly of me.

But once I realized it was a scam, I told him I will track him down and his best bet is to return my money and I did track him down, no thanks at all to Police or FBI, who basically told me that I will never see my money again and they can't really do anything. Bank Of America where this account was could not give any information due to privacy laws. 
I had to figure all of it out on my own and this guy has an extremely low public records or web records footprint but I found him and then found his family in Nigeria who have no clue what he is doing in the US and through them shamed him into getting my money back. I was a security analyst in my past life for one of the largest databases in the world and if it was someone else, they probably would have no chance of tracking this guy down. He lives in Dallas currently but moves every few months. Uses VOIP unlisted numbers and proxy servers so his IP address cannot be tracked. This was likely the first time he has been tracked down.
Save yourself and your friends this hassle.

May 6th

Revo 12.5 on a airborne 912XT

By Jim Ross

i know there's been dozens of chats on this subject but I like to know anyone who has put a Revo 12.5 meter wing on a airborne 912, I've had a arrow which I did not like at all, so I bought a new ArrowK that's with King post which is a really nice wing but I could really tell the glide really declined, so I went back to the Streak 3 which I love, I know then I should just keep it on, bad thing is I've got to lower my wing everytime and I also use the tall winter windshield which I have to remove, anyway I know there's a couple guys around Zephyrhills that went to the Revo wing on there XT912 just appreciate any input on the difference between the two,, thanks for any information Jim

Apr 12th

Flying the Polini Powered ANT with Fox TL 13 wing

By Abid Farooqui

Just flew the ANT trike with Polini Thor 250 (36 HP) engine and Helice 3 blade propeller. The engine's red line is supposed to be at 7800 and I could get there. I think a little larger prop may be more appropriate because I should see 7500 to 7600 without diving.

The wing is a single surface strutted wing that can fold right on the trike quickly and put in a hanger taking up hardly any space (almost as good as a gyroplane), allowing multiple people to share a hanger.

It takes about 0.5 hours to setup the trike and wing otherwise and may be less with practice.

The trike concept is to be able to carry the trike in any 5 seat passenger sedan or SUV with the wing carried on the roof rack. The trike has backup rescue parachute system powered by compressed air in case of an emergency. Struts have backup cables inside as well. The trike with this wing and rescue parachute weighs a little over 225 pounds empty.

The trike even with this wing flies at 37 mph or so but it can reach 55 to 60 mph and fly there pulling in a little and with a little more power. Climb rate is plenty and I never felt the need to go to 7800 RPM. I usually felt climbing at 7000 RPM was plenty.

I carved a few turns at 45 degree bank angles and then a couple of 360's going up to about 60 degree bank. At high power setting I can feel the torque effect a bit and it could benefit from a little offset in thrust line to the right. 

Winds were almost completely crosswind at about 6 mph sometimes gusting to 8. Takeoff and landings were not difficult to do in crosswind and gusts were easily handled. 

I found the shoulder harness useless for a skinny guy like me. They are obviously made for someone with a bit more stomach than me and if I tightened them I would not be able to reach the nose strut so I kept the shoulder harness loose.

Seat is comfortable, light and stylish. Foot pedals are ergonomic and brake is only on the front wheel and strong. I was warned not to apply hard braking right after touchdown and allow the trike to slow down using the wing. The engine has a clutch so as soon as you come off power there is no thrust forward and trike on the ground slows down quite quickly. I did not feel brake was too strong, it was just as it should be.

I did not fly in dead calm conditions but in wind changing slight direction and in crosswind (light 6 to 8 mph). There seem to be no issue handling that for me in this little ANT. For lighter guys like me and near sea level, the Corsair powered 25 HP engine model which is priced $2000 lower at $14500 may be just fine.


Mar 5th

Aeros and Antares to display with SilverLight Aviation at Sun N Fun 2016

By Abid Farooqui

Hi All:

Aeros from Ukraine and Sergey Zozulya of Antares will be displaying with SilverLight Aviation at Sun N Fun.

Aeros nano soaring trike called ANT will be available for sale. It ranges in price from $13000 to $16500 if you are interested.

SilverLight Aviation will be assembling all Antares trikes for the US market and will hold the design and production SLSA processes for the US market. Come see two of the upcoming SLSA models of Antares. These are rugged trikes with a lot of history and their production is coming back to the US.

Mar 5th

Sun N Fun 2016 discounts during the show from SilverLight Aviation

By Abid Farooqui

Hi All:

SilverLight Aviation will be at Sun N Fun 2016 airshow.

We will have a red trike available for purchase. It has 80 hours with all the goodies and available for $60,000.00

Furthermore, any one who places a $5000 non-refundable deposit on a Delta Jet-II during the airshow (not later) will get $4000 discount. This offer is for people who get the check over during the airshow. So if you have been waiting on the sidelines, this is the time you place the order. Do not expect this offer to remain valid afterwards. You can place the order with a check mailed to us, money wired to us or with one of our dealers. SLSA 912 80 HP Delta Jet 2 LITE starts at $44k SLSA

 e-mail for further info: info@silverlightaviation.com


1) Frank Dempsey (New Mexico) 



2) Scott Johnson (Washington, Pacific Northwest)



3) Paul Hamilton (Nevada)



4) Gregg Ludwig (Houston Tx) - Gregg I hope will be our dealer :)

e-mail: gregg.ludwig.cfi@gmail.com


5) SilverLight Aviation (Manufacturer, East)


e-mail: info@silverlightaviation.com


Even if you are not ready right away to pay rest of the first deposit, this secures your discount for up to one year and lock in the price. Your deposit will go into an escrow account till your full first payment is in and your order production begins in our workshop.

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

Jan 30th

An Epic Day Flying Trikes Part 1 First Flight

By Paul Hamilton

The story starts at the Reno Air Races September 2015. Two beautiful woman approach the booth and ask about this Revo trike and become very enthusiastic about flying. Visiting nurses. No solid reservations. They will call. Yea. 


Surprisingly I get a call about the visiting nurses who want to go up. We book. First attempt we schedule, and it looks good but when they show up it is cranking out of the south not predicted. I have to send them home. Disappointment for all.


The second attempt I was able to predict to call it off the night before and nobody drive down because  a strong storm was coming through. Even then it was canceled they were unhappy since it was there on day off together and they had to scrap it.


Third attempt. Everything looked OK, winds 20 to 26 at 9000 so it is flyable. Nice inversion below 7000. We get there and it is completely calm at the airport  and the mountain top measured winds at 10,000 MSL were 30 gusting to 45. Typically I call it off at 30 to 35 knots at 10,000 measured. I had to call it off when it was calm on the ground. Hard to do. They were almost insistent on going up and a agreed but said it would be nasty. Disappointment for the third time. First time I have ever had to cancel someone three times.


They decided to book separately now since their schedules were hard to coordinate.  Well finally, the winds looked calm but there was fog and low lying clouds. We took off not knowing whether we could even make it to Tahoe. Looked like a nice passage under the clouds but anything could change.


Got through and climbed up and got above the clouds.


Yea. Sunshine. Clouds and mission 1 accomplished by getting to Tahoe.


Now to get down through the higher layer and the lower layer.


Looks good.


We descended on down and was able to scoot under the lower layer and skin the dry lake bed.


Her comments I will remember "this is like being in Heaven" and "Now I know why you do this. The best thing I have ever done"



We finished at 9:30 and I have the lovely and talented Heather Davis from Petaluma scheduled to fly the rest of the day.