Feb 18th

Airplane pilot transitioning to trike - lessons learned

By Paul Hamilton

This is a complete excert from web site http://sportpilottraining.sportaviationcenter.com/pilot-training-cost/transition-trike/

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 www.pilot-stores.com

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 8th

Part 103 Anti-Collision Lights

By Josh Jones

I fly a Part 103 trike (Ace Easy Riser) that does not have any lights installed. As you are probably aware, FAR Part 103 specifies that no aircraft in that category can operate in the half hour before sunrise or after sunset unless it is equipped with an anti-collision light visible for at least three miles. Given that those hours provide some of the best conditions for flying, I have concluded that it would be well worth my time, effort, and expense to install a qualifying light on the trike.

I am quite new to triking (last fall I logged 5.6 hours dual instruction and about 1.5 solo in my trike). So I am somewhat unsure about what type of light, how many lights, and where and how to install them. I am curious about how others have set up their trikes for dawn and dusk flying.

My current plan is to simply buy a strobe light like this one.


I'm thinking a good place to install it would be at the top of the king post, taking care not to interfere with any of the cables or connections. I'd then put a quick-connector in the line at the hang point in case I want to remove the wing. Then I'd run the line to a switch beside the seat, and then the line would go from there to the battery through a fuse. Fairly simple.

But there are probably better solutions. One problem I am considering with my plan is that my strobe light would not be visible from below because of its position above the wing. If you have any input you'd like to share on this topic or would like to describe your setup, please share.


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.

Jan 27th

the life of thread ? (not brian!)

By monty stone

i have two wings, the original 12m chronos , 1993, and a 15m northwing maverik, appx 200hrs. i,m flying the maverik on my cosmos echo  here in arizona, where i winter ( ain,t i a lucky bastard!). i have to tie it down here in the desert , my home-made wing covers (made from some $1 per yard cotten, ) over the wings. i hang empty plastic milk jugs all arround the edges to keep the covers on. i used to put water in 'em but with the covers frequently wet with dew the extra weight wasn't needed. (till the wind blows!). even though the material is soft it still seems to abrade the stitches (aided by the dust). some of which show fraying. i paint the leading edges of both wings black and yellow, plus the two outer wing panels, partly for visability, partly 'cos yellow is the fastest color! the paint stiffens the maverik leading edge panel and it SEEMS to climb better, that could be the yellow too! i use water based latex which dries very quickly, covers well ,sticks like shit to a blanket, and adds very little weight, 1 pint only. sometime ago i built a 'bettsywhanger wing rippa' (i posted pics here), and tested my 'test panels' stitched to the rear of the wing. couldn't rip it, but i lack the 'gonadia' to try it on my stitches! (especially the 'wounded' ones). i don't have any parameters to  compare it to. i'm sure the 'purists' out there will castigate any moron that would fly with 'frayed' anything, and maybe i'm overplaying the 'wear and tear' on the stitches. i do look at the 'worn ones', as well as 'kicking the tires before 'most' attempts to aviate, and not much change is apparent to the fraying. i'll stick my scrawney neck out and ask " why not paint the UV damage - prone top surface when new with some kind of protective 'paint' that would delay the UV onslaught? the weight would be significant, but on a 100# wing wouldn't be a dealbreaker, though the passenger seat warmer might have to go! i'm thinking more of single surface 'dacron' not the 'high budget' fast wings out there, obviously they 'ain't covered with 'bed-sheet' cloth! my 12m chronos, although celibrating its 23rd birthday is still 'stiffer than a wedding dick', and when i tried my 'wing-rippa on it all that happened was the needle hole stretched a bit, no ripping. i believe it is 'trilem' or something like that, i think it's used to make french chastity belts .i haven't, (and won't ) tried to rip the stitching after all what would i achieve with out 'factory' figures to compare to. i have no idea what wing stitch material is, it well could be cat-gut for all i know! if any one out there in trike-land, oops! flex-wing-dom, has tried painting his wing, results? replacement ain't gonna happen, i'll run what i brung, (unless theres an abandoned revo, (low hours) out there somewhere! (preferably yellow). hugs and farts, monty (not python!)































Jan 21st

My first engine out

By Maarten Lobker

My first flight of 2016 turned out to be much like the stock market - going down quickly for no apparent reason.

I am flying a 2006 Northwing Apache ST (currently branded as a NW Navajo) with a Rotax 582. Only 231 hours total time, well cared for. However, as eluted in the title, I had my first engine out a few weeks ago.  I'm sharing this story because I learned a lot in the process and it reminded me that even the most trusted engines can fail.

It started with a non-eventful 20 minutes flight from a drylake to KBVU. After a short pause at the FBO, I restarted and took off again. At 200' above midfield my engine seized without warning. I had enough runway to put it down safely (thanks Leo Fitzgerald for training me well). Once on the ground I was able to restart and put it on a quiet taxiway to do some tests. Fuel, mags, temperatures, high RPM, etc... all looked good. So I gave it another try. Unfurtunately, just over 200' it seized again. This time I was prepared. Once on the ground it would not restart.

Back in the garage I took the entire fuel supply apart and checked & cleaned the usual suspects. Fuel pump, filters, carburators, spark plugs, etc... all good. I replaced the fuel pump anyway. After all that, the engine ran again, so I decided to give it another try. This time I had help (thanks Lauren Attaway) and we opted to test on the dry lake. Unfortunately, same story all over. I felt like an early aviation pioneer, barely reaching 50'. The engine was completely locked up this time.

Time for an overhaul.
A quick visual inspection showed scratches on the rotary valve, so we sent it to a repair shop (Thanks Glen for transport help). Once in the hands of a  licensed Rotax mechanic, I got the call that this was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. Failed crankshaft bearing, damaged piston, damaged engine casing, and metal shavings that went through the rotary valve.

While the cause of all this remains unclear, there are a few things that may have contributed:

1.  I bought this trike used with only 145 hours, but it had been stored for more than 2 years without use. I learned that low hours on an older trike does not mean everything is ok. Sitting still for too long is bad. 

2. I pre-mix my fuel with high-grade Amsoil. However, the oil pump was still installed on the engine, basically running without functioning.

3. I used the same fuel after my trike sat for 4 months this summer. I know, that's a no no. Won't do it again.

Lessons to be learned. I'm sharing all this, hoping it will help others. If someone has another idea of what might have caused it, feel free to contribute.

I'm happy to report that I got myself a brand new engine yesterday (thanks Steve Beatty). Leo F. helped me install and test it. Runs like new :-)

Jan 14th

For Sale - Flight Suits, Gerbing Electric Gear

By Craig Valentine

I have 4 winter Flight Suits for sale, including an older red/black summer Ozee, a like new red/black Ozee Millinum, new gray HMK Snow Mobile Suit and a superb blue/yellow Fladden Suit for cold WX. 

Additionally, Gerbing liner jacket, vest, pants, socks and gloves for 12v. 

Everything in XL or XXL. I'm 6'3" and 215 pounds. Figure roughly 1/2 price for everything except less for the older summer Ozee suit.

Craig   cvalentine10@gmail.com   510 220-4905   Photos available

Jan 6th

TSA compliance audit this AM

By Doug Boyle

Flight Instructors are getting audited for Compliance to the TSA rules.  I had mine this morning!  It was friendly and informative, and served notice to expect a comprehensive review in 3-4 months.  They want to ensure we are collecting copies of Birth Certificates or unexpired Passports, and  proper ID's.  In addition, maintain logbooks and copies of above for a period of five years.  No need to do this for one-time Discovery Flights, Proficiency Checks, Flight Reviews, and recurrent training.

Dec 31st

2015 Year Triking Review

By Paul Hamilton

From my perspective, it has been another great year for Triking. Larry continues to Evolve the Revo with many new upgrades and introduced another great addition to triking, the ultralight REV. Abid continues to support the Apollo line plus continues to supply the Delta Jet 2, a great option for a USA supplied/supported trike. P&M introduced the PulsR and the "British" dominated the world games.  Thanks to our one USA entrant to the world games 2015 by team USA Todd Ware the USA had a significant presence. The Brits currently provide great exposure through the world games.


 Also we must congratulate Henry TrikeLife for getting his CFI, transitioning to a Revo and getting people interested ion triking through his videos. Henry is a big asset to triking. My other Henry Boger  trike friend, from Pacific Blue Air  LA, has been providing an incredible number of  intro flights that introduce people to triking. It was almost exactly two years ago he came up for his trike CFI and has been a huge success in southern California.


As far as safety, We were able to get spiral dive awareness (thanks to Henry and Larry again) to a new level and start the process to get spiral dive recovery into the FAA PTS.  


Thanks to all those others introducing those to triking in one way or another and providing a POSIIVE  influence for triking . Many who are not mentioned here. We are all lucky to have industry experts/professionals as well as new bees providing positive input for the form of aviation we love.


Any other accomplishments/progress for 2015 you feel are significant please include.


My best to all for a great 2015 and the upcoming 2016.


May the positive trike force be with you....



Paul Hamilton

Dec 27th

Looking for a spinner for my Ivopropeller

By Rizwan Bukhari



I am thinking about putting a spinner on my Ivoprop (just for cosmetic beauty). I ordered one from trikebuggy, but it turned out to be the wrong size. The diameter of the spinner I got was 4 inches and I need a 6 inch spinner.

Now I have searched aircraft spruce and other websites and have come across some bigger spinners but they are for Cessna and other aircraft.

Can anyone point me in the right direction for a 6 inch diameter spinner.


Thank you,