Flights
"Wonderfully magical play, somebody has to do it!"

These impressions emphasize the enthusiasm trikers have for flying. Enjoy their flights, like you could be doing if you owned a trike. If you do own a trike, then email your flight experiences to Chuck for others to enjoy.


"Why I Go" - August 2008 - I can't adequately put it into words but something about trikes makes [me] lose interest in "where to go", as in a spam can, and focuses [me] on the "why I go". It's different for everybody, but we all glow when we know! Doug Boyle

Commitment - October 2006 - I decided that my trike was worth more to me as it was than downsizing to a 1-seater. Plus there was a likelihood that it's resale value would hold if I got it registered. So I did the SP thing. ... I have long been a staunch proponent of fully utilizing the portable adventure aspects of a trike. I have now flown in 9 different states from over 100 different fields - including more than a handful of cow pastures. And I have an extensive list of flight locations still to go. ... [Visit his site Appalachian Triking to see where he's been]. - Harrison Shull.

Transition, Solo a Trike - August 2006 - Today was my first solo in a trike, and it went off without a hitch! \ I have solo'd in a Cessna 172SP before, and I figured that the trike solo wasn't going to be as exciting, but it was awesome and just as thrilling to be on my own while my instructor kept a close eye on me from the field. My instructor had me take off with him and do 4 landings and then he asked me if I felt comfortable on my own. I felt OK with going up alone and I was off for my first trip around the pattern. The weight difference made controlling the trike a bit different but other than that everything else was the same. After landing I met with John to discuss the first trip around on my own, and my observations etc. I made another 2 landings all on my own without any trouble.... Thanks goes out to John Beaman of Cloudbase Ultralights for his incredble instruction, patience and friendship. He's helped me understand some flying fundamentals that I wasn't even getting after 60 hours flying a Cessna. Now I am looking forward to being able to fly further away from the nest! I'm still trying to figure out how to get my girlfriend and daughter to stop calling the trike a flying go-kart, or bigwheel, or whatever other clever names they can come up with.. That might be the toughest of all...Joe Jenkins

John Travolta flies a Trike - June 2006 - I met John Trivola today in Madrid, New Mexico. They are filming a movie there. John is a fellow triker too. Knowing this, I printed out a picture of myself with two trikes in the background out in the Rio Puerco. A place where Damien and I landed. With pen in pocket, I drove out to Madrid. Between film sets, I was able to talk to him a little bit and he autographed the picture. He's a nice guy. I think I'll frame it and hang it in the hanger. - Frank Dempsey

(A link from Claude Gates - Trike flight to Greystone)

Still Flying - May 2006 - "I have been a pilot for 40 years and flying still scares me. Mostly I am a worrier about what might happen if... , not a good way to enjoy yourself. If you are going to fly, you have to accept that there is a certain risk that you are willing to take. Once you decide to take that risk, then force yourself to stop worrying about everything. Easier said than done, but if you fly with a purpose instead of just wandering around for an hour, you will be surprised at how much better you will feel. Make a plan before you leave the airport and stick to it. The plan should include where you are going, how much time it will take, how high you will fly, how much fuel you will burn, what kind of weather you should expect, details of any airports that you might be landing at. This is much better stuff to occupy your mind than worrying about random things that might go wrong. The balance has to shift toward making things go right to accomplish your mission. Like you, I only have 30 hours in trikes. Up until a few hours ago I kept a death grip on the control bar and fought every little motion. After an hour of this isometric exercise my arms and shoulders would ache. Yesterday afternoon my wife and I took a 1-1/2 hour flight over the local mountains and when we got back I wasn't tired at all. In climbing from 1500' to 8000' we went through some bumpy air, but since I had a destination, it was easy to continue on. On the way back, the bumps were still there, but I already knew that they would only last a few minutes, so hardly noticed. Flying over canyons and mountains, you simply can't go from one landing spot to another. I minimized that worry by buying a four stroke engine and BRS chute. In all honesty, I still don't know if I would have the courage to pull the chute handle instead of trying to land the trike. In the end, you have to decide if flying is worth the emotional discomfort. Yesterday afternoon it was worth it for me." - Bill Barton

California Cruising - April 2006 - "... right after we moved in [the new hangar] to get out of the continual rain the weather cleared today and we had blue skies, bright sun and big thermals. I rolled the trike out this evening and took off about 1830. Strong gusty wind from surface to 2000'. Did the pattern twice, climbed to 2000' and headed 270 to the coast. Clear as a bell, could see Pt. Reyes 20 miles away and beyond that, the Farallone Isles, 25 miles offshore and 40 miles from my position. Off my left wing was the long-narrow ( 13 x 0.5 mi) Tomales Bay, created by the San Andreas Fault, the same fault line that destroyed San Francisco 100 years ago. The fault runs out into the Golden Gate from the SF side at Daly City and back into Marin County, where it forms Tomales Bay and then gets lost somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. I descended below the 2000' bird sanctuary limit after I got north of Bodega and buzzed the beach at about a 45 deg crab as the onshore winds must have been 15 - 20 mph. Headed back to the barn at 1000' using the boost from those onshore winds to get a wild and bumpy ride the 25 miles back to Petaluma. The hills and valleys are bright emerald green from the continual rain and the setting sun behind me was turning the groves of trees below and in front of me a rich golden orange -- oh man !! does anything beat flying one of these fabulous machines?? And how nice it is to just roll up to the hangar, roll open the doors, push the trike in, close the doors and you're done. Hope the weather stays like this for a while." - Jim Waters, San Rafael, CA Clipper 912, Kiss-450

Fly-in Recon - September 2005 - "Well, I fired up the Pegasus formerly known as JuneBug and headed northwest to Jasper [Tennessee]. Left my house [at Blue Mountain Airpark, south of LaFayette, Georgia] at 0900 and averaged 72 mph across the ground thanks to a nice 10 mph tailwind. Crossed Pigeon Mt, Lookout, and finally Sand Mt on the short 34 mile flight. Smooth, beautiful, and the motor humming nicely. Sweet. The fly-in was MUCH smaller this year. I'm afraid the passing of TL Primm took some of the organization away from the happening. Nonetheless, there were about 10 trikes and 6 or so fixed wings on the ground when I landed. The weather was perfect with nearly clear skies and light winds so trikes were constantly launching for short sorties around the Sequatchie Valley. I hung out for a couple hours and met some good folks. The rumour was that next year's fly-in may move north to Tom Pelfrey's place in Crossville. It's supposed to be triking nirvana. Check out www.buckcreekranch.com Heading home at noon, I bucked the 10 mph headwind and retraced my route. More turbulence with the mid-day thermals but fun. Saw hang gliders over Lookout and two hang gliders flying over the east facing Pigeon. I hadn't landed the Pegasus in that much turbulence but she mellowed out once below the treeline and greased on in." - Jim Finger

First Passenger - July 2005 - "... Against My instructor"s wishes I took a passenger up with me today. Flew for 1 1/2 hrs in my Klass geo trike. With only 6 hrs solo time not the wisest thing i have done. My flying will need to improve some. My passenger was very green when I landed. ... It was a green tree frog that has found a home under the cover I have on the trike. Actually their is a pair of them. Saw one on tarp as usual but the other wanted to see tha world anyway. Come to think about it, the frog on the trike did look a little more pale than his or her mate. Must need more practice flying. Also I must have done a piss poor job preflighting. But then the little bugger could have been any where. Love the flying thing. ..... - Al Griffin

First Post Solo Flight - July 2005 - I must admit, I was more apprehensive about taking SeaWeed up by myself today than when I first soloed her the other day. I guess because the other day we had just flown for quite awhile, so I was "in tune" with all of the processes. All day I thought about smooth landings and pulling the bar in right after take off. It was absolutely beautiful all day today. I decided the tide would be right and I'd have SeaWeed all pre-flighted, so that right after dinner I could take her up! Then. . . right after dinner a breeze picked up from the north. It quickly stiffened to 10 MPH. ... After about 20 minutes of trying [to check the WX via the internet], I gave up in frustration. I walked down to the bulkhead and the breeze was still stiff. I decided to lower the wing and tie SeaWeed down for the night. Yet still I thought that the breeze MIGHT die as the evening sun got lower. By the time I had her all tied down, sure enough, the breeze dropped to about a steady 5 MPH. "I'm goin'" I told Dory. "OK", she said. I showed her on a map where I would be flying and said I'd only be up for an hour or an hour and a half max. It was a quick job to untie SeaWeed and raise her wing. The mast bolt still did not line up. But as soon as I lowered the trolley and the back of SeaWeed's floats began to float, I easily popped in the mast bolt and secured it. Earlier I had written and taped a reminder note on the instrument pod to: 1) put in the mast bolt, 2) vent the fuel tanks, and 3) "remote" the trolley higher up the ramp I started SeaWeed up while she was half floating on the trolley, put on my life vest and helmet, unhooked the winch strap, crawled under the control bar, lowered the water rudder, revved her up and headed away from the bulkheads. Then I circled around and ran the trolley higher with the remote. I went through the CIGARS check, pointed Seaweed into the now slight north breeze, visually scanned the sky and water, pushed the bar out, leveled the wing and cranked the throttle. SeaWeed POPPED out of the water! I smoothly pulled the bar in as I compensated for the prop torque. I made a broad, circling turn to the left and was at 300 feet by the time I was once again in front of our place! Then continued to scan the sky, settled back and just ENJOYED flying! I just flew around Henderson Bay. I went about half way to Purdy along our shore then "cleared left" and headed back along the far shore. I flew mostly between 250 & 300 feet. . .occasionally climbing to 500. I waved to a few boaters below and to quite a number of boats and people at Deadman's Island. Then I flew across the bay to Kelly's place. Steve's family was out there this weekend and I saw them waving to me from their deck. I flew a nice, tight circle in front of their place at about 250' and waved before heading toward the mouth of Horsehead Bay. I was so enjoying myself that I decided NOT to fly over land (and probably some bumpy air), so I didn't fly over your house this time. By now the sun was just setting behind a cloud bank, so I followed the shore past Deadman's again and headed for home. I was just wearing a Tee shirt and shorts, and it was beginning to cool down. By the time I reached Allan Point I was at 250. I went through my water landing check procedures and, seeing the breeze patterns on the water, decided to make a low pass just to see what the air was like. I descended to 40 feet and found the breeze steady. . .no bumps. So I gave Seaweed some gas and circled in front of our house to prepare for landing. "Kiss it! Kiss it! Kiss it!" I kept telling myself as the water's ruffled surface came closer, and. . . KISS IT I DID!!! A PERFECTLY SMOOTH LANDING!!! I could see Dory on the bulkhead by the trolley waving her arms excitedly! When I got closer and took off my helmet I could hear all the neighbors cheering and clapping!!!! I raised my arms and gave everybody two thumbs up!! Then I "remoted" down the trolley and powered SeaWeed smoothly onto it until she "stuck". Wow! It couldn't have been more perfect! All in all I was only up for 30 minutes. But it was a MOST MAGNIFICENT 30 minutes!!! Dory took my helmet and, after I had climbed off of SeaWeed she gave me a BIG HUG and kiss. "Finski couldn't have made a more perfect landing!" she grinned. I just grinned back. As I buttoned SeaWeed up, I checked her gas tanks. As best as I could tell she only sipped about a gallon, maybe a gallon and a half, during that 30 minute flight. PRETTY GOOD!!! Anyway, it was a GREAT truly solo, first flight! And now it's "Miller time"! - Robert Cliff

Over the Peak and across the Valley - July 2005 - "I had another fantastic flight in triking nirvana, Central New Mexico, USA. Took off at 6:30am from Belen, flew over to the spine of Ladron Peak and started the climb to the top. What a great view from up here, what could possibly top this? 40 miles to the east I saw the Manzano Mountains, which rise to 9600 ft and are over 45 miles in length. I dropped down low to cross the Rio Grande Valley at 500ft AGL and slip under the jet traffic between Albuquerque and El Paso. Made my way to Abo Gap, and started the climb up the Manzanos. The winds were calm, and I just floated along for 40 miles to the far end of the range, then came back 20 miles to the mid point before turning east to land back at Belen. One of my best flights, only to be surpassed by yesterday's flight over the summit caldera of 11,301 ft Mt Taylor. But that is another story." (Check out my picts at http://www.jeffsflightlog.com . Click on "2005_07_14_Ladron_Manzanos" ..." - "jeff_trike"

Touch and Goes - March 2005 - "It was a beautiful sunny day, light winds and a very balmy 38 degrees. Typically March brings really crappy weather here..., windy, snowing, rainy, (etc.). So it was a real treat to get a day like that. These are comfortable temps too, (for Wisc.) believe it or not. I noticed how pleasant it was to do a prefight in the warm sun under blue skies. The neat thing is the lakes here are still frozen, so I got to drop down on a couple of [them] that are nearby my airport. It's a real hoot to go swooping and skimming along just above the ice, doing multiple touch and goes over miles of frozen "runway", and flying around the perimeter near the shore line." - Marquis Childs

Wildflowers - March 2005 - "Yesterday afternoon I drove out to the hanger straight from work. Tom was already there and he told me he had seen fields filled with wildflowers on his drive to the airport, and he wanted to go check them out. Tom and I took off from runway 3-0 at 4:15pm (the airport is 190ft MSL, and there was 1,000ft density altitude). I flew without my insulated jumpsuit for the first time this year. I wore sweat pants, a "T" shirt, a light denim jacket, and thin bicycle gloves (it was 73f). 15 minutes into the flight we landed on a remote access road so I could remove the cardboard I had covering the lower 1/4 of the Apache's radiators. We continued Northbound past Sugarloaf (the local hanggliding hill) toward Butte College. The air was fairly smooth considering the temperature and time of the day. As we flew past the equestrian Steeplechase course we saw the fields of wildflowers. There was about 5 acres of white flowers in the wide open country fields. I'm not saying we were low, but the fragrance of the wildflowers smelled heavenly. As we continued flying among the buttes we found large patches of golden, yellow, and purple wildflowers. Each color of flower had their own fragrance. We continued North and flew among the buttes and canyons between the college and Chico. We spotted half a dozen coyotes (we thought of you Paul M.) and a small heard of deer. When we reversed the direction of the flight and headed South toward the hanger we spotted a bald eagle perched in the highest tree just south of the college. We arrived at the afterbay with just before sunset, so we stayed out for another 25 minutes before landing back at the airport. We checked our fuel levels on our return and discovered the HKS 4-stroke had used roughly 1/2 as much fuel as the 582 blue head. I had stayed warm enough during the flight, but I had flown with my dark sunglasses instead of my yellow lensed wrap-around shooting glasses, so things got a little dark before landing." - Evan Caldwell

Antonio to Padre Island - Summer 2004 - "I had an amazing triking adventure a couple weeks ago. Flew my Buggy from San Antonio, Texas to South Padre Island. For those who don't know…South Padre is a hot resort Island officially in Texas but right at the Mexican border. Many say that it is really an Island of Cocaine covered with a few sprinkles of sand. It is where the infamous “Girls Gone Wild” videos are made and generally an open anything goes cowboy kinda town. The trip is 260 miles one way and I did it (including 3 stops) in 5.5 hours. Granted, I had a tail wind and my average ground speed was 68 mph. Left San Antonio late enough to heavily press the window of time in which I had to arrive. There are a lot of funky airspace areas along the way and right at the Mexican border. I had to make a very careful study of the sectionals the night before leaving to create a legal and safe GPS guided route. Emergency landing sites that appeared reasonable from the air would have been fraught with danger had I been forced to test them. I wasn't able to land on the active beaches near the hotel epicenter of the city. However about ½ mile down the beach from the crowds I was able to land and take off both legally and safely. The sand is extremely fine and hard packed and I just had my standard Baldy Tires on for feet. I hooked up with the Para Sail guys who were working a brisk business with three boats and Para-sails and a constant barrage of customers waiting for their 15-minute turn. They literally worked from Sun-up until Sun-down. The winds were brisk but steady and Laminar at about 15-20 mph on Saturday. On Sunday morning the winds were calm as they could be on a coastal beach. But by Sunday afternoon they were out of the South and pushing 10-15 mph. Of course…I did! Yes,…. I provided several introductory flight lessons to eager students, had them sign waivers, and I was able to pay for my entire trip in a few hours on Sunday morning. Including: Gas, Food, Taxi and Motel for two nights. On the bay side of the Island there are several nice restaurants with decks overlooking the bay and it is a popular place for the tourist and locals alike to watch the sunsets. During an absolutely lovely sunset on Saturday night, as I aimed my bird for the airport, I flew along the shore line at about 60 feet above the water and right at eye level with all the people on the decks of the restaurants. Almost everybody stood and waived and a lot of camera flashes could be seen as I lifted a wing to make a sweet profile against a setting sun below my wing. I went back to a couple of the restaurants and left a picture of my trike and a message asking that if anyone got a good picture of me flying by them the night before to please email it to me and I would be happy to pay them for it. You know you have to be working out some really good Karma in your life just for knowing the pleasure of flying a trike …..but when you get a tail wind on both legs of a 5.5 hour trip on the same weekend, it would be an omission of consequence not to acknowledge your good graces. I was able to make the trip back to San Antonio on Sunday afternoon and it was smooth sailing with a little help all the way. ....... It just doesn't get better than that!" - Souup

Awesome - "The wind was from the south at 5 mph. The sun was in the early stages of falling and sky was loaded with big mountainous, fluffy clouds climbing to thousands of feet. As I flew at several thousand feet, the magnificent clouds with all their colors kept drawing my attention upwards. Before I knew it, I was at 8,500 feet enjoying a most spectacular view. Clouds abound everywhere with colors ranging from light amber to dark red. In the far distance, huge anvil shaped thunderheads could be seen, lighting up with all their might as they discharged. The temperature was a cool 41' degrees. The view was so breathtaking that the cold seemed negligible. I kept thinking how incredibly lucky I am to experience this beautiful moment. Several general aviation airplanes flew below, as the clouds parted beneath my feet. I am lucky to be in my trike - smelling the smells, feeling the breeze, with no walls to confine me. The skies over Martinsville Indiana are AWESOME!" - Don Elsner

Eagle's Nest - 2003 - "I just soloed last summer (2002) and have less than 100 hours right now. I try to get up at least once a week, but our winter weather has limited me to maybe half that frequency. As we head into spring/summer I plan to increase my average airtime. I prefer the dawn patrol. The sun coming up over the North Cascades and nudging awake the fields of the Stillaguamish river valley is awesome. Now that daylight savings time is in effect, I do more evening flying. It's more comfortable than the rowdier times of the day. I just love to fly. Last saturday afternoon I went out to check the eagle nests in the tall trees along the river - can count the eggs from 400 AGL. I found a northbount freight train coming out of Marysville, sucked in the ole bar, burned a little extra fuel, and met him at a crossing and flew with him out to Stanwood over the green fields. Once, a few weeks ago I just sprialed up over the valley in class E airspace watching the lights on the PAPI for Arlington runway 11 change. There's always an 'adventure' out there." - Paul Grindall, Bothell, WA

Listening To The Wind - 2003 - "I went up once when I truely believe that conditions were not right. The wind sock was dead and that dark cloud that was off in the distance seemed friendly enough. Not so. I was standing out on the runway and something bothered me about that cloud. Still, I thought I would get at least one trip around the pattern. As I took off I decided to stay just above the runway a few feet (I do not normally do that) and as I approached the wind sock I noticed it go from dead, to straight out and start whipping around. My eyes finally confirmed what my gut instinct already told me--abort this trip immediately!! I will not go against my instincts again. I had to have help to get my trike back in the hanger. It was a bad experience. In your post you mentioned a black cloud and that a farmer mentioned gusty conditions. A cold chill went down my back when you said that." - Ron Davis

Someone Has To Do It - January 2003 -"The wind finally died down here in North FL, after 6 days of cold, windy wx, the temp got up to about 55 this afternoon. I was working on the field, dragging out the high spots, the big wind sock was flat, the small, light one was just flipping a bit. By 3:30 it was flat also. Did a preflight and bundled up as it was still cold, i.e., 57 degrees. Took off as the cold, dry air shoved me into the sky. Great life. No turbulence, just great flying. Did a series of landings and take offs on the new smoothed field. A string stretched along the runway indicates it goes up and down about 3 inches for a 100 feet in a couple of places. Pretty good for a pasture runway. Rusty flew over in his MX and said "Do you want to Fly?" Bang, we were both off and flying over to Bradley's field about 5 miles west. Flew low over a pasture, popped over the trees and landed on Bradley's field. Rusty always flies just above the tree line. I don't think I've ever seen him more than 300 feet. Nothing doing at Bradleys so off we go zipping over the trees to a large pasture, low and slow in perfect air, 57 degrees, 35% humidity, no wind, sun getting low in the West. Buzzed over to Bob's field, landed and chewed the fat for a minute with him, then off over the Sante Fe River, and buzzed Kenny at the field where Rusty keeps his plane. Kenny is seeing his girlfriend and wasn't flying????? Sun just hitting the horizon on a crystal clear day. Do my low and slow over some fields. There is this one field where a bunch of kids live in a trailer. When they hear me they come running to the fence and wave. I cruse by about 10 feet above the ground waving to the kids, swoop up over the trees into a big field, spook a dozen deer with the trike as I see their white tails flash as they run. The sun sets. Pop over to my field and touch down just as the sun sets. It's cooler. Taxie in and tie down. Life here in North Florida is rough. It's a tough job keeping the traditions of lite aviation going, but someone has to do it." - Bill Dickert

Triking Mexico - February 1998 - Go to "Mexico Trike trip..." - Rob Rollison

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