Trike Flight


Or flying by "weight-shift" rather than by "stick and pedals". In which Saul embarks on a test ride to learn more about this type of aviation - and evaluate its (dis)comforts, perils, and delights.


6269  Take one recumbent bicycle, make it into a tricycle and add a "King and Queen" pillion seat, strap 80 horse-power's-worth of Rotax engine on the back and hang it all from a kite. What could be finer?

(The machine hangs from the kite on a universal joint, the kite can be tilted side-to-side or forwards-backwards by shifting the handle-bars which are attached to the kite and hang down in front of the pilot. Pushing the handle-bars (for example) to the left results in the main body swinging to the right, thus shifting the center-of-gravity to be under the right wing, which results in an automatically co-ordinated turn to the right with neither slip no slide.)


6276  The fitting of the helmet with headset and mic.


6277  At this point the enormity of it sinks in - "What have I got myself into?"


6280  Fasten seatbelts while the pilot-in-command does a walk-around. (Note that this craft has dual controls, in that the back-seat rider can also reach the "handle-bars" via the ears that reach back on each end of this primary control. The front-seat rider just grabs the main bar directly in front.)


6287  Start the engine and proceed down the ramp to the taxiway with a debonair wave....


6290  And we make our way to the run-up area


6294  Hold very tight and we take off into the wild blue yonder.


6303  Climb to pattern altitude


6316  Round the pattern for a pass over the runway


6318  Pilot has a good grasp on the handle-bars as we head off over them thar hills.


6327  They went that-a-way...      somewhere...      Didn't file a flight plan...


6339  Half an hour later, the bird re-appears directly on final approach, losing altitude precipitously


6345  Coming back down the taxi-way


6346  Safe Return. And a proud display of still-white socks - a good sign...