7. Other flying

Not all of my recreational flying has been in gliders.  This particular event was a Taylorcraft owners convention in Ohio. Across Lake Erie on 65 horses. The owner was a co-worker with whom I would sometimes swap flights; he would fly us to the gliding club in his T-craft, and I would fly us around in a glider. Great fun!

I have flown a couple of different ultra-light aircraft, and once I even jumped out of a perfectly flyable airplane at 12,000 feet.

The first ultralight I flew was a Lazair that I helped a co-worker build. High wing, single seat, inverted V tail, two 8HP engines on the wing leading edge. Had a tendency for the carbs to vibrate loose, resulting in the engine quitting and no amount of rope pulling would restart it. However, the Lazair was designed by a glider pilot and unpowered flight was no big deal.

My second ultralight experience was in a two-seater owned and flown by the famous (at least around Kitchener-Waterloo) author, photographer and pilot, Carl Hiebert. Carl took me for a couple of flights in and around Elmira. In return, I took him for a couple of glider flights at SOSA.

My only parachuting experience happened while on a business trip to Minnesota. I was stuck there for a weekend, so located a gliding outfit and rented a glider for a couple of hours. Located on the same field was a jump club, who (for the tawdry sum of $100) would walk you through some rudimentary training, then take you for a tandem jump. Awesome experience! I would do it again.

An ironic detail about my only parachute experience was that although as a glider pilot I always wore a chute when flying solo, I had no idea what it would be like if I had to “hit the silk”. This tandem jump took away any misgivings I might have had.


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