Sun, Apr 06, 2003
By ANN Correspondent John Ballantyne
My excuse (as transparent as it may be) for this
night's gathering is to learn how to achieve a private pilot
certificate (glider) while flying a powered hang glider (usually
called trikes or weight-shift control aircraft). This night,
approximately 100 folks have gathered under the wings of 14 trikes
in this one hangar. Trikes can really be jammed together, if
necessary, for maximum hangar capacity.
Our host was hangar owner Don Wolf, at South Lakeland
airport, four miles southwest of Lakeland, Florida on April 3,
2003. Don is a USUA trike instructor with over 15 years of
experience and opens his hangar annually during Sun n Fun for a
gathering of trikers from all over the world. South Lakeland
Airport (X49) is a fly-in community that has many ultralight
activities and an active EAA ultralight chapter.
Guest speakers were John Ballantyne (only person so far to have
obtained FAA commercial and CFI-G in a trike) and Scott Toland
(Chair of the FAA/ASTM committee to develop airworthiness standards
for trikes). Other notables included Barry Palmatier, Mike Marron,
Chuck Goodrum, and Jon Thornburgh.
Probably 20 dedicated individuals focused the presenters on the
legal details of FAA regulations for trike pilot certification,
plus trying to get a handle on the likely requirements for the
FAA's long-promised Sport Pilot certificate -- that does not
yet have established requirements. Problems include the fact that
there are few airworthiness inspectors and pilot examiners who
are willing to serve the trike community.
All of the others in attendance remained largely befuddled by
the myriad of rules and regulations-actual and/or proposed. The
broad feeling was that the complexity of the regulatory situation
is overwhelming. When (if) FAA actually releases a final rule for
Sport Pilot, it will clear up the fuzziness created, as many are
trying to outguess what FAA could-might-maybe require. Issuance of
a final rule will surely contain elements that do not suit every
taste, but, at least, there would be a factual basis for debate.
We'll keep you updated...
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