October 2012

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: http://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/84816

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Page 41 of 47

Light Plane World a well-rounded aviator, somehow I had never gone for a flight in a powered parachute. It wasn't be- cause I didn't like them—and I had many opportunities—but most of the time I was flying some- thing of my own. At fly-ins, I didn't want to take a seat away for a newcomer who might decide to take up flying. The years kept slip- ping by, and I was still a powered parachute "virgin." Finally, a recent introductory lesson with a certificated instructor in an LSA powered parachute has given me a better understand- ing of their charm and appeal. During the takeoff roll I was struck by the extremely powerful pull of the canopy as it swung overhead. In cruise flight I came to the con- clusion that few ultralight pilots, aside from those who flew the early designs, have actually experienced this degree of slow, open-cockpit flight. Many of us can slow our ul- tralights, trikes, or fixed-wing light planes down to 30 mph or less, but this is completely different. We are not hanging on the edge of a stall, delicately controlling pitch and throttle while keeping the wings level and ensuring we have plenty of altitude for stall recovery. The powered parachute experience is far more relaxed. If I wanted to buy a first open- cockpit airplane experience for my spouse or another relative, this would be it. You should try it, too. It's hard to imagine anyone going up for a ride in a powered parachute and not wanting to get back in the air again in some type of aircraft (as Leonardo da Vinci once said). Next up for me is a gyroplane like those shown in this video from the 2012 Popular Ro- torcraft Association Convention in Mentone, Indiana. If you have thoughts or suggestions for this column, please send your comments to dgrunloh@illicom.net. Dan Grunloh, EAA 173888, is a retired scientist who began flying ultralights and light planes in 1982. He won the 2002 and 2004 U.S. National Microlight Championships in a trike and flew with the U.S. World Team in two FAI World Microlight Championships. Dan Grunloh grinning during his fi rst fl ight as a passenger in a powered parachute in Kankakee, Illinois, in August. 42 NO. 2/OCTOBER 2012

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