Dec 13th

another sad day for trikers.

By monty stone

 one in australia, one in california.            are we experiencing more trike fatals lately? is there any connection between 'transitioning' ga pilots and 'first' solo  crashes? are high performance trikes more likely to be involved? i'm not 'knocking' any particular form of trikes, like any other device, be it motorcycle, dump-truck or bicycle, in the right hands, with sufficient instruction of the correct kind they should be able to be safely opperated. is there a 'central' depositary where CORRECT accident info can be accessed in order to learn from these tragedies to maybe reduce them. we don't get much from the 'papperatzy' publishing their 'if it bleeds it leads' accounts of these events. after all, if they are relying mainly on 'eye-witness' accounts, with the close-up of an excited face of a suddenly famous 'eye-witness' who is more interested in being seen by their buddies than they are recounting an accurate account of what they saw. the ntsb and faa don't seem to be too interested in 'ultralight' accidents, especially pilot only involved. i do realize that every time i challenge gravity and take-off that this might result in 'gravity 1, monty 0, and accept that risk. passengers often don't, or didn't have the info necessary for them to assess the mortal danger of aviating. if sport pilot has done anything good, it maybe flushed the 'wide-seat' ultralights from taking up uninformed passengers on sometimes tragic flights. the house i bought in arizona sold by a lady who's husband, a ga pilot took her grandaughter up in his luscombe, showing her a loop and crashed, killing them both. she still curses him! i guess it all boils down to what happened, why it happened, and what could have prevented it, and how can we learn from it. also, brs were probably carried in these recent events, but sadly, as usual not deployed. my boring 'rants' on 'recovery' systems that rely on the pilot to deploy are too repetative to repeat, so i won't repeat them, LIKE HELL I WON'T! WHEN ARE THE CHUTE MFRS GONNA ' GET WITH IT' AND AUTOMATTICALLY DEPLOY, AS DO AIRBAGS ON AUTOS!  . quote' those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it'.'again and  again..............                                                                                                                                         ps. as the 'big boys' ntsb and faa usually refer 'ultralight' accidents to local police agencies perhaps they could 'encourage' them to ask that the closest 'trike flight instructor' be invited to help with the investigation, with, i'm sure a more accurate outcome.  pps. the use of the word-age  'trike' and 'ultralight' is simply because that's what they are perceived to be by ' non triking' earthlings! ', of course, we 'flex wing opperators' know better, don't we'? ,though, if it looks like a trike, flyes like a trike, it just might be a trike! somehow, 'flex wing pilot social' just doesn't 'cut it'. 'eliptical winged aircraft'? nah! SPITFIRE!                                                                                                                          freazier nuttszoff

Sep 21st

Biggest misunderstanding in flight SPEED VERSES THROTTLE

By Paul Hamilton

It has been very interesting over the years teaching pilots how to fly in airplanes and trikes. The one misunderstanding most have is the fundamental concept “stick/bar is your speed, throttle is your vertical speed (climb and descent rate)”.

Classic examples which I first explore with students and transitioning existing pilots.

1.       I say “increase our speed” and most give it more throttle and keep the speed the same.

2.       Many pilots and CFI applicants say stick back airplanes/bar forward in trikes to climb.

Overall I am amazed that this fundamental concept is so misunderstood in aviation. This is typical for many GA pilots transitioning to LSA airplanes and trikes. Yes you get your best climb rate at a speed about 1.3 times stall speed and climb rate decreases either side of best climb/glide speed. But overall, the throttle is used for VERTICAL  speed and the bar/stick is used for AIR SPEED.

I am most amazed that GA pilots have been taught this way and new pilots are used to adding throttle in a car to speed up. I have found this is one of the biggest misunderstandings in learning to fly.

Oct 22nd

Make money in aviation

By Abid Farooqui

How do you make a million dollars in aviation? Start with two and know when to quit!
What makes an airplane fly? MONEY.

I am sure all of us at least in the US have heard these jokes. Well except they really aren't jokes. 

Its hard to meet anyone who has made much money in aviation.

Aviation is an industry with over one million employees that serve 750k pilots and the 750k is dwindling down to 650k in the last 6 years due to a bad economy. 

By some estimates this industry contributes, on an annual basis, close to $50,000,000,000.00 to the US economy. Yes that's a whopping $50 billion.

Aviation industry sells single engine airplanes for $550,000.00 and in decent times has a waiting list for buying those airplanes. I have never met a pilot on a government program and yet we make little to no money.

Well of course. Its an industry where 2 employees serve 1 potential customer and not all (even most) potential customers even own their own airplane. How would you expect to make money in such an industry. The market size is puny.

Next time, you want to bitch about the price of a new aircraft just remember this. You are an extremely select group and general public does not have the cajones to go fly and sometimes with good reason. For that sin of large cajones, you pay and you pay good and the person you are paying still cannot make too much money regardless of what you may think. They are in it because they love it.

But back to the guy wanting to do this fulltime to make money. The instructor. The dealer etc.

Well its quite simple. If you go to any business school, in the marketing class they will tell you that the ratio for turning anyone to your product is 2 out of a 100 at best. Meaning if you told 100 people about your product, you should at best expect a return of 2 as a general rule of thumb.

So my dear CFI friend, my good trike dealer, how many 100's of potential trike students did you advertise to last month. Did you reach a target audience of 200? Remember I said target audience. Who is the target audience? Don't go telling grandma, that won't help at all. At the same time you remember I said something about I have not yet a single pilot on any government program or on welfare. Well that's because there aren't many. 

So why would you think aviation would be any different than any other business venture?
It requires just as much work in fact more (yes fulltime work), it has the same rules as any other business. Its just that the people in aviation are generally really bad businessmen. They think from places other than their brain. Making this area look this way or making that wing flying that way takes up many 100's of their hours then to actually think about running a profitable business. Their idea of reaching potentials is to go to your typical airshows. Those airshows that are half filled with has been pilots, 25% filled with general public that are not pilots and never will be and are mostly about dumb repititious questions asked and answered in the most inefficient way possible (in person one on one). No other business ever does that and with good reason. 

Airshows are good to go to but what about flyers to that suburban neighborhood, an ad in the local theatre, a stall at a sports cars gathering. How about putting that shiny little trike or gyroplane or airplane in the middle of a mall (I really wanted to do that) and how about running a what the heck this is, what it does, how much does your product cost, what it takes to get to fly one safely in a video with brochure packs for people to take with them. At the least you can probably get good expensive introductory flight sales out of them.

So go fly and teach some students and charge appropriately for your time without feeling guilty. There is no other job that is more risky and more rewarding. We are in the business of making people's dreams come true. What should that cost?

Apr 5th

Is trike flying safe? I am beginning to wonder.

By Toby SkyDog

With all the blogs of people getting hurt in trikes, it sounds like this is common. If I was just looking at trike pilot social for the first time I would not fly a trike with all the people getting killed. Appears that people getting killed in trikes is most popular subject here. WOW. It sounds like more people get killed than have fun. No wonder the insurance companies will not finance them.  I am sure this is where the smart insurance companies, banks and potential pilots do their research and people learn how dangerous it is. Is there any other web sites that provide a more positive look at triking? I am beginning to wonder if trike flying is for me????

Jul 8th

More on turns....

By Bryan Tuffnell

ABOUT a hundred and seventeen years ago, an obstreperous bicycle mechanic with the very United Brethren name of Wilbur was busy concerning himself aircraft control. He figured that to turn an aircraft, yaw - which at the time most people thought held the key to turns - wasn't enough; a turn had to consist of the appropriate amount of roll, pitch and yaw. The Wright's lingering contribution to aviation is the concept that a turn is not a bend in an otherwise straight line but a three dimensional carved curve, and is why to this day we have control surfaces that operate in pitch, roll, and - usually, and it's important for us to understand that as trikers we have a degree of control of this - yaw.

A hundred and seventeen years later, it seems many of us trikers have forgotten Wilbur Wright's epiphany. We insult our wings in turns by rolling at trim speed and keeping it there, counting on the wing's inherent roll-yaw coupling to convert roll into some semblence of a turn. It works - kind of - and around we go, trike wings being generally forgiving of our lack of technique. Any lack of skill tends to go unpunished until a bit of load comes on... which it does when banked and turning... and this gets exacerbated by billow shift... which means that any absence of skill is most likely felt when trying to roll the wings level. In other words, you're more likely to have trouble rolling out of a turn than rolling into a turn, which is a bad time to discover you don't know something.

If you are flying straight and level and add bank, you have commanded the wing to fly straight with bank on - nothing more. The fact that the wing cannot do that is not incidental; the wing will fall off into an uncoordinated turn. But - here's the rub - while as trike pilots we have little direct control of yaw, we absolutely do have a measure of indirect control. To convert a slipping, banked flight into a coordinated turn we must add pitch. So, some rules:

  • ROLL gives BANK and SLIP
  • BANK and SLIP both cause a bit of YAW.

Okay, if that's as far as you go, you'll get a 'turn' of sorts. But it's like shifting your weight on a bicycle while steering straight ahead: your wing is out of balance.

  • ROLL and PITCH UP (pushing out) gives a BALANCED (COORDINATED) TURN.

Now, let's add finesse at the start of the turn: 

  • PITCH DOWN (pulling in) aids ROLL

There's sound aerodynamic reasons for this. You sometimes hear that pulling in a touch increases airflow over the wings and makes billow shift more effective, but that's not all. Who can give the correct reason?

And how do we translate this into real flying? We should have our hands fixed on the bar, a fair bit more than shoulder width apart (if your hands move, I recommend a couple of wraps of electrical tape on the bar to mark where they should stay. I also vastly prefer gloves to bar mitts, which encourage you to grab the bar the way a wino holds a bottle of Chardonnay - I like to have my thumbs either on top of the bar or pointing to each other along the back of the bar, never wrapped below the bar). Try this for an experiment:

  • Take your right hand off the bar altogether. Sit on it.
  • Roll to the left with your left hand.
  • Watch what happens.

You probably pulled the bar back a little as you rolled. No? Then try doing so. By pulling into the turn with just your inside arm, it's easy to simultaneously pull the bar back. Great! Now... when you're getting close to the desired bank angle,

  • PUSH FORWARD with the heel of both hands (not the crook between your thumbs and forefinger) until

If you've done this correcdtly, you'll whizz around and around in cirlces with no change in airspeed or bank. You'll lose altitude - unless you ADD THROTTLE - the final factor.

Rolling level should be the reverse:

  • REDUCE POWER while

I used to preach that any time you lost control in roll, reducing power and pulling in would always allow you to roll level. I don't say that now, because there are now trike wings that require you to have a basic grasp of turns, and such wings are not necessarily bad, they just won't take an insult: if you're slipping badly, you must correct for that before you're back in control (more on that later). This is may sound challenging, but is uttely fundamental to every form of flying, and every 3 axis pilot knows and comes to grips with this.

We're not riding bicycles here, we're pilots; we kid ourselves if we think that all we need to do to turn is to roll. If we do that, we're relinquishing our control from us as pilots and relying on factors such as sweep, dihedral, airfoil section, washout, midspan twist and a whole host of factors - down to the angle of struts and the size of our windscreens - to provide the control that we do not. You know how some wings have winglets? They exist because the designer couldn't achieve the roll-yaw coupling she wanted without compromising other aspects of her design. 

I want to stress that pilots are dying because they don't have a basic grasp of this. Henry and Ken's video is a great lesson: they are alive in all likelihood because Henry knew that pulling in (and reducing power) makes roll more effective, and under the loads they were experiencing was absolutely necessary. Several Arrow pilots have discovered that you cannot overcome billow shift in turns on that wing by rolling with weight shift, and pitching up to remove billow shift is needed before you can roll out of a slipped turn; knowing that has saved lives (my own included). 

I apologise to the majority of you who know all this... but I believe this stuff, and not pilot age or refresher training or lack of maintenance, is the biggest single cause of pilots losing control of their trikes. 

So, for a pop quizz:

  • What happens to billow shift in an unbalanced turn? In a coordinated turn?
  • Where is your weight in a coordinated turn?
  • Why does pulling in increase roll rate?
Feb 13th

Risk Mamagement - ADM - Is triking dangerous?

By Paul Hamilton

Trike flying is dangerous, or is it to who?
Everybody has a different opinion about what is dangerous, crazy, stupid, and/or irresponsible. So here is a risk assessment range that lets us evaluate the risks for ourselves and others.


There is the lower end or Zero (0) risk – those who think trike flying is dangerous, crazy, and stupid.

They think the people who fly trikes (those unsafe ultralights that crash all the time)  are irresponsible to their families and society to fly for fun. There are plenty of these people out there.


There is the upper end of people who fly at the maximum risk which we will call a 10 or maximum risk. Those who do loops, intentionally break the rules, etc.


Then there is most trike pilots. Fly by the rules, do not exceed the manufacturers recommendations, always have a safe landing site available if the engine fails. Does good weather analysis and flies in good conditions only. Stays close to the airport. Has a ballistic parachute. We will call them a 5 and put them in the middle of the pack. These are safe trikes and strive for minimum risk but fly.

Because there are so many factors that effect the typical relative risk factor, some inportant qualifiers will be added here.

First, lack of preflight preperation which includes pilot physical/mental condition, flight conditions, plus preflight of any aircraft will increase the factor by one or even two. Leaving it tied up outside in the sun and wind and/or moisture verses keeping it in a hagner protected from the elements adds a one or two to the relative risk factor. Peer pressure or the video camera running  also can add  a one or two the the relative risk factor. 
The following include a ballistic parachute on the aircraft. Risk factor goes up significanlty by one or two without one.

Pilot skill, hours and expertise of the pilot also effect the "absolute risk factor between pilots". This is similar to the magnatude of the "bumps". However to account for the this pilot skill the "absolute risk factor between pilots" could be decreased by one from the relative scale presented here.

Additional factors that can add an additional point are landing on rough unknown areas, being distracted by messing with your phone, GPS, map, calculator, plus any object that can go through the prop. There are a number of factors that can add to the risk factors.  

The next rung of risk 6 is the long cross country pilot or flying near the airport in bumpy and/or windy conditions. The experienced triker taking additional normal calculated risks above what most pilots do.


The flight instructor gets a 7 for flying with students which is more risky than on your own. Yes CFI’s take additional risk. This is not considered dangerous but flight instructors take additional risks.


Then come the 8’s. Those who knowingly take additional risks above what they should. Flying over water alone, flying in marginal VFR conditions in bumpy nasty air showing landings for the camera and the spectators. Doing s turns close to the ground in bumpy conditions. Here you are asking for trouble that could break or kill you. The next rung is the 9 who flies over water far from shore with a passanger or student. Wing overs close to the ground. Big shiow off in front of people and cameras. Results are probable or serious injury and death. A 10 is a looper with the highest risk resulting in serious injury and most likely death


The person taking an intro lesson who is scared to death, would not normally go up but is forced by peer pressure gets a 3. Someone who starts to fly but stops because they are scared gets a 4.


And a special category (11) for those who do the 10 (maximum risk) without the experience which have a high likelihood of a catastrophic outcome resulting in a “crash” and probable death such as those watching someone doing loops and just go out and “try it”. This is certain serious injury or death.


Yes the “loopers” are a 10 or 11: unsafe pilots with high probability of serious injury or death. The typical good triker is a 5 who obeys the rules, and generally minimizes risks while flying .



What is your maximum risk management number?????

What do you try to achieve for every flight???? 

What do others rate your risk management number as????

Dec 6th

Todd Ware's comment on QuikR's wing

By Abid Farooqui

I asked Todd Ware how he likes the QuikR wing from P&M. His comment was interesting and is below:


"Abid. Great stable wing for speed and cross country trips. Is hardly effected by turbulence. However for racing and tight turning.... I was telling the Britts today that to really pitch up around a tight turn feels like I have to bench press a baby cow! They all laughed and said they have a similar phrase for it, "if you're not lifting a steer you may be a bit queer". 

HUGE Pitch pressure, and high roll pressure. After a minute and A half race I feel like I've been at the gym for an hour. 
But that also makes it usually stable at high speeds. It's a well behaved rocketship but hard to turn. 
Also if you are going slow it will pull to the left and if you're going fast it pulls to the right so you're constantly having to wind the role trim knob if you fly at different trim speeds. But of course while racing you just don't have time to do that. So you just go fast all the time. Also while going slow the role pressure increases drastically. 
It's nearly physically impossible to get the control bar within 3 inches of the compression strut. 
If I raced it all the time I would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 
But for beginners and normal flying, I think it's a superior wing."


Jul 2nd

Reb Wallace died in a trike crash

By Rizwan Bukhari

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. Our beloved Trike Instructor Reb died in a trike crash. There is not much information on it since it happened yesterday. He was with a student at the time of the crash.

I had the pleasure of flying with him many times and was inspired by his knowledge. He will be dearly missed. My condolences are with his family. When I was in Nevada, I flew with him at Lake Meade and the Hoover dam. I went to his house, where he burnt DVDs for me of that flight. I had the pleasure of meeting his wife and also their dog.

I am creating this blog with a very sad heart. And as we find more information about the accident, we will add it to the blog to learn more about what exactly happened.



May 13th

Actual G loads or load factors in flight for trikes.

By Paul Hamilton
After one of my long lunch discussions with trike CFI Bob about some of our “big students”, we were wondering how many G’s we actually hit in bumpy air of which we get plenty here. I thought of buying an aircraft G meter at $200 but we found a free iPhone app that has a G meter application “The G meter” from All Works. It appears to work pretty good (but I have not calibrated nor tested it). My first experience with it I could barely get past 2 G’s in a normal spiral, a high speed pull out  and in the bumps. Any experience out there with G meters and trikes? Trying to evaluate actual flying situations. I understand the text book but looking for any other experience. Landings might be the highest G loading???
Jul 7th

912s simple cooling enhancements

By Paul Hamilton

Thought this would be a helpful subject for all 912 owners.

At 6000 feet MSL, 95 degrees F max continuous my oil temperature is at 250 F using Aeroshell plus 4, and CHT at 250 with Dexcool 50/50. This is within limits but higher than I want.

I was told by a very reliable source who has a similar installation (you may identify yourself if you want but I know you want a low profile), that if I add AMSOIL Coolant Boost to my 50/50 Dexcool  system, I will get 10 to 10 degrees drop in coolant temperature.

I was also told that if I go to the AmsOil motorcycle 10/40 fully synthetic oil I will get a 10-20 degree drop in oil temperature and that the AmsOil is better overall when running only auto/MOGAS.

Any words of wisdom or experience with these two cooling enhancements?  I am pretty much going to do them since it makes sense.

Will running at these temperatures lower the life of the engine?