What is your trike story

Published by: Rizwan Bukhari on 5th Feb 2012 | View all blogs by Rizwan Bukhari

Recently I shared my story about triking and then I started getting a bit curious about my friends on TPS and their Trike Story.

So I would invite you to share your trike story. How did you get into triking, where are you headed with this hobby? Any interesting stories or events you care to share? Your most memorable experiences? I am pretty sure that other trikers would love to know a little more about you.



  • Eric Elbourne
    by Eric Elbourne 6 years ago
    Hey Riz, what a great idea.

    I have always wanted to fly, it started when I was very young and dad would take us for a drive on a Saturday or Sunday when he was not at work, there is an airport about 20mins from where we lived and w3e would pass by this, it was only a small airport but had a service running out of it that serviced Newcastle to Sydney and return.

    Dad would stop[ the car and I would watch the planes taking off, it was very cool, but like a lot of dreams it always seemed really out of the question due to costs etc and a bit of lack of support from my parents as I got older, so it was put out of my mind.

    Co,e to present days and my wife new of my love of getting out and doing things that were a little more out there in the way of activities, I have been a Scuba diver for over 30+ years of my life and became an Instructor in this sport and loved every minute of it, one day out of the blue my wife gave me a hang gliding experience and I automatically fell in love with that but thought it was not quite what I had been looking for. My best mate here was learning to fly helicopters and suggested that I have a look around as there was a tremendous amount of flying experiences to be had.

    So with google in hand I started researching the net and found a local Microlight school at another airport 1/2hr from where I know live, the CFI was highly recommended and very skilled so my wife gave me a TIF flight for a present and I think she has been regretting that decision ever since, I fell in love with the experience the freedom and started the very same day, the TIF turned into my lesson TIF out and then the CFI prepared me and I did the first of my training flights back to base.

    The forst flight was a bit daunting but my CFI was pleased with what I had done and it was all a go from there, due to weather and work about 12 months later I am qualified, I have my passenger rating and am still gaining valuable experience, we do have a beautiful area in which to fly, the weather here in the last 12 months has been a bit off with a La Nina effect causing all sorts of drama with heavy rains and wind but I still get out whenever the weather allows.

    I have made some great mates now within the Microlight community here and of course now with online social groups exactly like Trikepilot.

    Where am I headed I would love to eventually introduce others to this amazing flight experience so a TIF trainer would be a goal.

    I trained here in Aus with Airborne Upper Hunter Flight Training and my mate and CFI was Chris Perdulovski, I would recommend this guy to anybody in Australia looking at training this guy has the most patience I think I have ever come across. Thanks to him I now fly and that has been a long time coming, from that little boy who use to watch small planes taking people on trips from Newcastle to Sydney and now having a couple of small cameras being able to show people on the ground what we see and experience has added to the fun.

    Cheers Riz and I hope we get some good stories, mine is not the most fascinating and I am sure there will be some great ones out there same as yours, that was cool.....Eric
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 6 years ago
    Awesome story mate, I guess one thing that is common I have with you is that my dad also instilled the love of flying in me from an early age. When I was a kid, he would build models with me, cut the airplane pictures out of the magazines and paste them on the walls....Now I do the same with my son. The torch is passed from one generation to another.
  • tom speirs
    by tom speirs 6 years ago
    Mine started in 1982 a friend of mine was worked at ATC at Prestwick airport Scotland he was doing his PPL so I thought why not 43hrs and three months later I got mine .After flying Tigers and cheetahs I found myself drifting towards at this time looking at microlights .... Flew a microlight called a Scout a three axis for about 18 months then during some preflight check bolts started to fall out sheer off ,so after this the Scout for retired ,looked at Gyros for a while but never made any moves to get one ,but I always look up at the skies .Fast forward to the time I moved to Aspen co,seen a movie about hangliding and thought mmmmm I would like to do that but training was a pain in the ass there was none but there was paragliding ,so I thought wtf why not .After flying paragliders for eight years becoming an instructor I was looking to fly when I could not go paragliding ....on the laptop looking on barnstormers and google I was sking and met a friend of mine who works for red bull ,long story cut short made the deal bought the trike a Cosmos Phase III and I was in heaven ,Now finding an instructor was a Frikin nightmare ,but I eventually found Tracy Tomlinson / fly Colorado ultralights at falcon Colorado ....after my first flight in 912FU I was glad I didn't buy that long ez .Getting my sport pilot lic. oh the trails and frustrations ,but that was another story .Got my ticket in Oct took 912FU on a road trip that made all the stuff worth while .Got some flying trips planned for this year ,fly back to Colorado from casa grande az via lake powell fly over some 14ers +2000 ,burning man and maybe a bivi flight to SaltLake City ......the sky is the limit (it really is ) hope to fly with some of you soon FLY HIGH AND FAR
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 6 years ago
    Tom, that is an awesome story, do you still fly Paragliders? Did you ever fly "Powered" Paragliders. I would like to know a little more about paragliding, where I live it is a valley and I have thought of trying my hands at paragliding.
  • John Cortesy
    by John Cortesy 6 years ago
    I started flying gliders out of Moriarty New Mexico and that was fun, but I knew that I would always
    be at the mercy of the available lift and that there would be days that a trailer
    recovery would be necessary. Not only that but I felt limited to the local field. I feared
    wanting to stray too far. I soon decided that a Cessna 172 was the ticket for me.
    Lessons resumed in Santa Fe and I was on my way to a Private pilot single Engine Land
    Certificate. That was until I went to the Copperstate Fly-in one year.

    After walking the tarmac looking at planes of every shape and size imaginable, I
    headed over to the ultra light strip. There, several manufacturers had their aircraft on
    display, and the sky above them seemed to be constantly full of buzzing two stroke
    motors. What intrigued me the most about the planes was how, next to the fully
    aerobatic professional pilots of the air show that had just ended, these guys looked like
    they were carving up the sky better than anyone else.
    I stood in line for a demo flight on what can only be described as a powered hang
    glider and soon the pilot, Richard Helm, was giving me the preflight brief. Do this, don't
    do that, I was barely listening as the excitement of what was to come filled my
    thoughts, and soon we were strapped in and taxiing to the departure end of the grass

    The motor screamed to life as we began rolling forward slowly, then faster, just as I
    expected from previous flight training, but immediately we leapt off the ground and
    soared skyward like a homesick angel. Caught off guard by the short ground roll and
    incredible climb rate I thought something was wrong, seriously wrong with the aircraft.
    Rich must have felt me tense up because he was assuring me through the intercom
    and telling me to relax. Once I did relax he let me fly from the co-pilots position and
    soon I was loving it. Before we headed back I asked for a demonstration of what the
    trike could do.

    A little background here. I have been riding and racing motorcycles since I was a little
    boy. The thrill of launching the bike off a jump, tearing down a twisty narrow slot canyon
    with barely enough room for the handlebars as fast as possible, or climbing a hill so
    vertical that gravity is defied in the process, represents just another Sunday out with the
    boys for me. Feeling the rise and fall of the land beneath me as I tear across it at
    breakneck speed is a rush that is hard to explain to someone who has never
    experienced it. The closest I can come is to tell them that it is like a roller coaster ride.

    Well the ride Rich gave me in his trike that day was exactly like a roller coaster ride. The
    steep climbs, spiral dives, and skimming sagebrush at five feet AGL was so much more
    fun than flying straight and level at 10,000 in the 172. With an open cockpit and the
    wind in my face it was just like my dirt bike only in three dimensions instead of two. I had
    to have one!

    Searching the internet for resources like instructors and other trike pilots, I found that
    there was a small but growing community of trike pilots in New Mexico. There are social
    networking websites devoted to trikers and several forums and billboards. I just had to
    plug in, get to know these guys, and find me a machine to fly. Oh yeah, and someone
    to teach me how to fly it.

    Finding an instructor for such an esoteric aircraft in the small town of Los Alamos was a
    stroke of luck. I have since discovered there are currently around 20 trike pilots between Taos
    and Belen. Many like me are Sport Pilot certificated.

    Local around the patch flying was a good way to build hours and learn how the weather
    affects the handling of your machine. Soon I was ready to head out to see some new
    country. My bump tolerance had gone way up from when I first started flying.

    The local trikers regularly scheduled trips to various destinations and feeling confident in
    my abilities, I began to join them on their excursions. I kept telling myself after each trip
    that, this was the best trip ever only to be eclipsed by saying the same thing after
    the following trip. The flying was fun, the landscape incredible, the companionship
    assuring, and every trip promised and delivered, adventure.

    That's my story.
  • John Williams
    by John Williams 6 years ago
    Below is a write up of a flight from Rock Hill, SC, to Cedar Key,
    Florida, undertaken in a Weight Shift Control ultralight "TRIKE".
    The author, Krista Miller, is a fixed wing pilot.   Krista and her
    husband, Jason Miller, are two of the co-founders of ForeFlight, a
    pilot oriented APP for iPhones and iPads.    Krista and Jason were
    partners with John & Maxine Williams in a Cessna 182, based in
    Williamsburg, Virginia, before they moved to Rock Hill.     John
    Williams is IFR certified; he flies his Airborne Trike and a Cirrus

    TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2012
    Adventure with John to Florida... in January... in a trike!
    Crazy, you say?  Perhaps.

    Cold, you think?  Indeed.

    Adventure, you wonder?  Definitely!

    (Pardon the repost of pictures here, but now you'll have written
    context for the visuals.)

    On Saturday afternoon, our very dear friend John Williams arrived at
    our home airport, KUZA, from his home airport, KJGG, which used to be
    our home airport, too!  Remember our precious little 172, the one I
    (and John) trained in, the one I still think of when I get a wonderful
    whiff of old oil and machinery?  We were partners on that plane with
    John, Jim Hamer and another fellow.

    Anyway, John flew from Williamsburg to Rock Hill on Saturday, a
    straight five-hour flight in his Airborne XT-912.  John was John --
    happy to make the trip, energetic and good-natured.  That gave me a
    good dose of excitement about our journey on Sunday.

    For you see, as much as I was really really really looking forward to
    the trip, I was wary of the cold.  I mean, come on!  Who flies in an
    open-air aircraft in January?!?!?!  John, of course, and I wasn't
    about to wimp out because of not being toasty!

    But John's positivity is positively contagious.  :)  We had some
    barbeque, checked the next day's weather (expecting a tailwind!), and
    all turned in early.

    Sunday morning:  pancakes and bacon, then off to the airport!  We
    gassed up the trike and bundled up -- I wore jeans, two pairs of
    socks, sneakers, three shirts, a ski bib, a heavy coat, two pairs of
    gloves and what would prove to be the best scarf ever.  John had
    jeans, a few shirts, a fleece, a jacket and heavy gloves, so I felt
    sure I'd be baking in my getup.

    After gaining about 14" in padding all around, it was time to wedge
    into the backseat:  no small feat.  John had to buckle my seatbelt for
    me, then helped me into the headset and helmet.  He got himself
    situated, cranked up, and gave me the run-down of the avionics and

    He makes it seem so easy.  :)

    We taxied out in the near-freezing temps, did the run-up, and needed
    about 12 feet of runway to lift off.  More than that, of course, but
    it's impressive, all the more so when you're sitting two feet off the
    pavement with very little between it and you.  It's pretty fun.

    John flew us down to KFDW (Fairfield County), ~40nm south.  It was
    cold, indeed, and the sun still seemed pretty low in the sky.  Imagine
    going 60mph on a motorcycle in January and you'll get the idea.  We
    didn't get much of the turbulence we were expecting, but it was still
    early in the day and the ground had yet to warm up.  From the back, it
    seemed like a smooth ride.  I tried to take in the countryside as it
    became less and less familiar while keeping an eye on what John was
    doing so that when my turn came up, I'd know what to expect.

    John landed us as gently as a feather on a pillow and we rolled onto
    the ramp to deplane.  John admitted to being cold, and found that the
    wind was coming in through the pockets of his jacket, which luckily
    had zippers he could close to seal off that leak.

    As planned, we switched pilots and I got my first crack at flying an
    ultralight!  Yes, there are training bars attached to the main wing
    bar so that John can control it from the rear should I lose my grip on
    it or reality.  We had another brief lesson on the ground here and I
    was ready to go!

    Driving the trike on the ground is easy with the brakes and foot
    controls.  For takeoff, it was pedal to the metal with the bar pushed
    all the way forward, and just after lift off the bar comes back
    slightly for a reasonable climb.

    Flying the trike in the air takes a little getting used to.  As John
    said, it's a weight-shift aircraft.  If you want to go up, you push
    the bar forward, which tilts the wing up relative to the horizontal
    line of the trike.  To go down, pull the bar back to tilt the wing
    down.  To turn left, push the wing right, which drops the left wing
    tip relative to you, and to turn right push the wing left.  Mix and

    It took me a lot longer than expected to get the hang of it, pun kinda
    intended.  Partly because it was totally new.  Partly because I was
    getting colder, probably because we were up around 2300-2500' for this
    leg and despite the benefit of the windscreen and enclosure around my
    outstretched legs.  Partly because I was still trying to feel out the
    amount of time required for the craft to accomplish flight inputs of
    different magnitudes.  Partly because I was now feeling the
    turbulence, and wondering how John could possibly have flown so
    smoothly that I didn't notice it before!  There were a few jolts that
    made me instinctively become a vise on the bar.

    John kept reminding me, helpfully, that it's easier to fly when you're
    relaxed physically and mentally.  He of course could tell when I was
    tensing up, and when he said so I'd realize how tense I was and try to
    shake it off a bit -- shoulder circles, finger stretches, and the

    As we approached Columbia's airspace, going around the eastern side, I
    started to get comfortable.  Then I noted on the GPS the corridor
    between KCAE (Columbia) and KSSC (Shaw AFB), two airspaces I really
    didn't want to intrude upon.  Really really.  Can you imagine an F-22
    intercept sent out for an ultralight?  I could, and I didn't want to
    be involved at all, ever, period.

    The GPS showed current position and a line that indicated our position
    in the future, ending with our position in 10 minutes.  As I made
    corrections, I'd glance down and see that OH NO IN TEN MINUTES WE'LL
    BE IN THE AFB!  So I'd hurriedly adjust to prevent that, then glance
    I'd hurriedly adjust the other way.  Guess what I did for about
    fifteen minutes straight?!?!  Add the unpredictable course changes
    based on turbulence and I was not having a good time.

    :)  I'm such a doofus.  You see, the margin between those two
    airspaces is GIGANTIC.  Like 12 miles gigantic.  Had I been the one to
    preflight the route, I would have known that.  More importantly, had I
    been less rusty in my stupid brain, I would have realized that the
    zoom level of the GPS was showing a very wide range, making our
    tremendously huge marker seem mere inches from the areas I was trying
    to avoid!

    So, there you go.  Bared my soul about my doinkiness.  Yep, I'm
    blushing.  Hindsight is something/something.

    First part of my leg of the flight:  learn to fly the trike.  Second
    part:  keep the trike where it should be.  Third part:  relax and fly.
    Ahhhh, that I could finally do.  We were past those enemy zones, so
    now all I had to do was pick a spot on the horizon that generally
    matched the heading the GPS was showing and try to keep it pointed
    there and level.  This part was pretty good.  Turns out that all those
    big nasty fires on the ground make really good references from the
    air; you can track those columns of smoke for ages.  Occasionally I'd
    have to put in a major course correction because I let us wander while
    I was looking around, but nothing awful I think.  John kept reassuring
    me that things were going well and that I was doing a good job for my
    first time up front.  I did have to ask John to fly for a minute once
    when a strand of hair got loose and caught in my eye, and there's not
    much you can do with two pairs of gloves on.  (BTW, when the wind
    could pick up anything loose and pull it over your shoulder into the
    propeller, you're extremely careful when taking off gloves.)

    John co-flew the approach and landing (okay, he flew it and I rested
    my hands on the bar) to 88J, Allendale, our next planned stop.  We
    topped off with fuel and went inside for a bit to warm up.  I think it
    was roughly noon by now.  John, being John, made friends with Norman,
    who may have been the lineman or FBO manager or another plane owner or
    any regular Joe as far as I know!  :)

    I graciously declined John's offer to let me fly the upcoming leg.  We
    had picked two more stops (I don't recall the first, then KAMG) before
    reaching our destination of KCDK -- Cedar Key, FL.  He gave me the
    option of whether to make that first stop or not, and I suggested
    blazing ahead to KAMG, where we would need to refuel.  With that as a
    plan, John took us up and we were off!

    It had gotten bumpy by now down low, so shortly into this leg John
    took us up to 4500' where you can see for miles and miles.  Up there
    it was smooth as glass, but oh so cold.  My warm coat was working
    perfectly, the ski bib was keeping me warm, but those sneakers, those
    damn mesh-topped sneakers were giving all shreds of heat away from my
    feet!  It wasn't long before the cold and numbness in my feet was
    distracting me from the views.  A little bit later, the wind seemed to
    have wicked the feeling of warmth from my whole body right out those
    sneakers and I was shivering all over.  Eventually it was tough to
    think about much else, despite my resolve to not wuss out.  Alas, I
    did wuss out and asked John if we could land before AMG for warmth.
    He asked me how urgent it was, and, still trying to contain the
    wussiness, I said within half an hour.

    During that half hour or so, we flew past an awesome thing; not
    awesome as in "cool, dude!" but awesome as in impressive.  There was a
    huge fire down below.  This was somewhere in mid-to-lower Georgia.
    The dense and intense smoke was rising in a vast column.  When you
    have a campfire, you may have a pile of burning stuff three feet in
    diameter, and the smoke quickly narrows and thins out as it rises.
    Not this.  If it was two acres burning down below, the column of
    opaque smoke covered two horizontal acres going straight up.  It could
    have been a gigantic glass of milk sitting there.  What was neat was
    that it topped out near our altitude of 4500'.  It just stopped
    ascending here, and ever so lightly was getting dragged out to the
    east.  There might have been a temperature inversion layer trapping
    it, like a ceiling traps smoke and gives it a surface to roll along.

    KBHC.  Baxley, GA.  We landed and rolled up to the self-serve pump and
    as we disengaged ourselves from the ultralight, two gentlemen came out
    of the FBO grinning ear to ear.  We must be an unusual sight.  One
    fella said he was coming to collect the landing fee, but they charge
    by weight so it wouldn't be worth it (ha ha ha).  These guys were
    super duper helpful.  John, knowing my proclivity for food and eating,
    asked them for recommendations nearby for a quick bite and they
    offered the keys to their van and a map to get the five miles into
    town.  We didn't take them up on that, but instead munched on a
    granola bar from inside; they were supposed to cost a dollar, but they
    couldn't break my $20 so it was free.

    Bathroom break, weather check, all good.  But despite my non-stop
    bouncing and moving around for fifteen minutes, my feet had still not
    regained any feeling; the rest of me was toasty and John, bless him,
    may even have started sweating.  :)  We were going to have to book it
    straight to CDK to land before sunset, so I was using every
    metaphysical and psychosomatic power I have to send hot blood into
    those extremities.  Much to my disappointment, I found that I have
    none of those powers yet, so I made a belated New Year's resolution to
    develop them.

    Okay, go time.  What to do?  Engineer some foot warmers, of course!
    The FBO guys grabbed some plastic shopping bags and gorilla tape and
    we got to work sealing those shoes.  Two layers of plastic, a few
    rounds of tape and I was ready for the catwalk in Milan.

    They also found two chemheat handwarmers and started the reaction in
    one to heat it up, so I slipped that into my glove and felt guilty for
    not sharing it with John.  Not that he would have taken it had I been
    thoughtful enough to offer.  Now I feel like a jerk for not offering
    or just slipping it down the back of his shirt when he didn't expect
    it :)  Well, that could have led to a dangerous surprise for him, and
    a bad outcome for both of us.  Hey John -- I saved our lives by not
    giving you a handwarmer!  Yay, womanly rationalization!

    Back to the story, and more on handwarmers later.  We clambered back
    into the trike, and as we taxied out we realized that John could talk
    to me but couldn't hear me.  Perhaps my headset's batteries were
    strong enough to receive but not transmit?  Perhaps my scarf over my
    mouth and nose was too much of a barrier, although it had been there
    for the rest of the flight without causing trouble?  Whatever the
    reason, John got a remission from me for the last leg.  He asked
    whether I wanted to stay low where it was warmer but bumpy or go up
    where it would be colder but smooth.  My communications failed; I
    tried to indicate that either was fine with me, thinking that if time
    en route was getting to be an issue, he should make that decision
    based on optimizing speed.  The message that went through was "oh for
    the love of all that is good in the universe keep me warm!"  Ha ha ha,
    not that dramatic, but we stayed down around 1000'.  My feet stayed
    warm, even a little overly so, and I was quite comfortable for the
    rest of the trip.

    At this low altitude, we got a neat intermediate view of the tree
    farms.  Up higher, we could plainly see the patterns and patches of
    row-planted timber.  The row patterns changed periodically, presumably
    to accommodate terrain or obstacles, but it all seemed very mechanical
    and unnatural.  Down lower, we could also make out more detail.  This
    patch has younger trees and that one is all older.  This one has been
    cut, piled and is burning (planned part of the cycle?  intervention to
    stave off pine beetles?).  That one has trails through it.  This one
    has some trucks and four-wheelers, maybe a dad and kids spending
    Sunday afternoon in the woods.  There were lots of pecan groves as
    well, often with a home plunked down in the middle.

    Another advantage of staying down low was the opportunity for John to
    fly us down low for a few minutes over the Suwanee River as it twisted
    back and forth.  We waved to some boaters and they waved back.  That
    was cool.  :)

    The terrain gets somewhat tiresome, unfortunately.  It's just tree
    farms in south Georgia and north Florida.  I figured at some point it
    would start to change to more coastal land and that I'd see the Gulf
    out on the horizon, but that didn't happen until much, much closer to
    the coast than I expected.  Chalk that up to being a girl with
    second-rate spatial reasoning.

    John cranked up our speed along this last leg, and we topped out at 84
    kts.  That's 96 mph.  On a motorcycle in the sky.  I could definitely
    tell we were going fast, from the wind sounds and from the increased
    effort needed to keep my head/helmet stable as I looked around.  I
    gotta admit that I liked it :)

    As the coast approached, we saw lots more birds circling and riding
    thermals.  We saw tributaries and marshy areas.  Before long we were
    out over the Gulf of Mexico, following the one road with lots of
    bridge spans that connects Cedar Key to the mainland.  John circled us
    around the island a few times, pointing out Ms. Melinda's house, the
    airport (with what seemed to be a 5-foot shoulder off each end of the
    runway separating landing surface from boating surface!), and Nancy's
    house.  Short version:  Ms. Melinda is John's wife Maxine's
    94-year-old mother-in-law from Maxine's previous marriage; Dale is
    Melinda's daughter who lives with and cares for Melinda; Nancy is
    Dale's friend, and they are both avid birders who go on exotic
    excursions together to South America and such.  Melinda started the
    Old Chickahominy House restaurant in Williamsburg, which Maxine now
    owns and operates.  Maxine would be driving down a few days later to
    spend a few weeks on vacation.

    Landing was uneventful but special as we glided near the ocean on
    approach with the sun getting low in the sky and the smell of
    saltwater rising to meet us.  It was breezy but much warmer here.  We
    could see Dale and Nancy in Dale's car waiting for us, so John landed
    us and back-taxied to park and dismount.  The two very pleasant women
    with big friendly smiles helped get our gear into the car and then
    gave me a tour of the island on our way to the condo.  We dropped our
    items, freshened up for a moment, then headed out to see Ms. Melinda,
    who is a warm and welcoming woman.  Dale keeps her surrounded with
    beautiful flowers, growing a variety and some gorgeous orchids.  We
    had just a few minutes to chat before it was time to get some dinner
    -- John hadn't eaten since breakfast.

    We made it to the Island Hotel bar for the purported best hamburgers
    anywhere.  With a glass of wine for me and a beer for John, we
    reminisced about our busy day of adventure and made friends with the
    locals, one of whom was the proprietor of Annie's Cafe, where we'd
    dine for breakfast and lunch on Monday:  for breakfast because as the
    locals tell it, there are other options but no one with a brain would
    choose otherwise; for lunch because Jas was coming to pick me up and
    he needed a fix of softshell crab.  John was well into his
    acquaintance with Mr. Annie's before discovering that he was in fact
    Mr. Annie's, so it was easy after that to impress upon him the
    importance of having at least one softshell crab in the restaurant,
    lest Jas decide not to come after all.  He said he'd go and check
    personally, but was fairly sure they had a few in the freezer (this
    not being a harvest time).  Leave it to John to get special treatment
    from new best friends within moments of setting foot in a place :)

    The hamburgers were huge and excellent.  The pasta salad was
    delectable.  The company was great, the atmosphere was relaxing, and
    it had been quite a day.  After a bit more conversation on the way to
    the condo, we were both ready to call it a day.  John did his homework
    (write-up of the trip) promptly, and I got a quick shower and tucked
    in.  It turns out that both of us, despite being worn plumb (plum?)
    out, could neither fall asleep quickly nor stay asleep.

    In the morning, though, we were somewhat refreshed.  John made the
    coffee, we chatted and stretched, and then it was time for science.
    What made those handwarmers work?  There was a small metal disc inside
    that the FBO guy said to "click" to start the reaction.  John studied
    the warmer and googled around until he found as good of a match as he
    could.  I, meanwhile, took a knife to the used one to get a better
    look at the disc.  Being very careful to not contaminate the kitchen
    counter or myself, I extricated it from the granular goop that formed
    after activation.  John, throwing caution to the wind, grabbed the
    disc in one hand and a pinch of gunk in the other -- he is certain to
    mutate in some interesting manner.  The disc appeared to be a single
    layer, killing our first theory that it contained some chemical
    catalyst that was released when the disc was flexed.  (We still don't
    actually know how it works.)

    Having not learned much, we decided to click the unused warmer.  I
    clicked and clicked and flexed and.... nothing.  John gave it a good
    manly click and the reaction spread like a beautiful crystalline fan
    from the disc at the bottom upwards and outwards to fill the pack.
    Cooooooooool.  :)

    Turns out they are reusable.  John continued the experiment after I
    left, using the microwave to "reset" the goop to a liquid state.
    Subsequent reactions did not produce as much heat as the first, he
    says, but darned if they didn't actually continue working!  Had
    scientific curiosity not led to the demise of the first one, he could
    have had two warmers for his return trip!

    Breakfast at Annie's, then we had a couple hours to fill before Jas
    would arrive in the Cirrus just before noon.  John drove me around a
    bit.  We went to Nancy's house and walked out on her dock.  We walked
    out on the main pier downtown.  We shopped a little for souvenir
    t-shirts for the boys and a new painting for me.

    When Jas arrived, we were there to greet him, and even filmed (yay,
    cameraphone!) his approach and superb landing, which you can see on
    his blog at Vectors To Final.  We collected him and returned to
    Annie's for our softshell crab sandwiches.  After catching him up on
    our trip, we headed to the condo to collect my things, then paid one
    last visit to Dale and Ms. Melinda to say goodbye, and off we went!

    The trip back in the Cirrus was a little different than the trip down
    in the ultralight.  We stopped early in the trip at KLCQ for gas,
    where they have a beautiful new terminal building.  On the way home we
    saw many fires, and all of them were vertically stuck at ~6000'.

    I'm a lucky gal.  Two great flights with two great guys who are also
    great pilots.
  • Jan Ferreira
    by Jan Ferreira 6 years ago
    John,thanks for posting this report, always nice to hear people's experiences when flying trikes. Keep them coming.
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