|Once I was asked "How much fun can
you have with an Air-Bike?" My reply
was "I don't know because I am not
done yet." Here's why.
|Having attended many fly-ins and air shows, made bombing runs, conducted photo reconnaissance
missions and journeyed on long cross-country flights one would think that I have hit the Air-Bike fun
limit. But not so, a new aviation activity just expanded it. The experience reinforced the phrase "The
more the merrier".
|Recently while flying Air-Bikes by Doug Moler, Gary Phillips, and myself (Paul Fiebich) plus Dwayne
Life and his Skyraider, we pushed the fun envelope a little further. We experienced FORMATION
FLYING ! All pilots know what coordinated flight is when associated with a single airplane but that
term acquires a new meaning when four planes are flying close together trying to fly as a single unit. Us
four pilots now have a greater respect for the skill exhibited by formation flyers such as the
Thunderbirds, Blue Angles, Aeroshell Team, Snowbirds and the Dawn Patrol. Above: L to R: Gary,
Doug and Paul's AirBikes are ready to roll!
|It all started a week earlier when only one Ultralight
arrived at Doug Moler's Ultralight Fly-In.
Progressively higher winds throughout the day forced
all but the one dawn-arriving plane to stay in their
hangars while their pilots drove to the fly-in. Although
doug's party was a blast complete with refreshments,
hot dogs, live entertainment and plenty of pilot/spouse
camaraderie it still lacked flying airplanes.
At left Doug hand-props Dwayne's Skyraider.
|Because we were "winded-out" and couldn't fly at the fly-in, four of us agreed to meet the following
weekend to fly. We reasoned that the wind wouldn't be as fierce in another week. Well, that was it; the
plan was to just fly in trail from one grass strip to another and never get above 500' for follow-the-leader
style of fun flying
|The landscape bordered by the
towns of Valley Center, Sedgwick,
Bentley, Colwich and Furley
represented our intended airspace
because there are only about 10
houses and almost as many grass
strips in that 20 square miles. The
tallest structures were grain elevators!
|The ground was covered with crops of Milo, Cotton, Hay, Winter Wheat and tilled fields separated
by rows of Osage Orange windbreaker trees. The area was ideal for our intended flying. After all,
Kansas is mostly just one big airfield.
|Two airplanes, three shadows??