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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Ultralights long - and green - this year

By RANDY DUFAULT
Talon
Arty Trost flew her Talon as one member of a gaggle of light planes that traveled from the West Coast here to AirVenture. Photo by Mariano Rosales

Five years ago Bob Coombs built his Titan light airplane with intentions to travel long and far. And over the short life of the plane Coombs has accumulated 630 hours on the airframe with trips to Idaho and California in the logbook. But when Arty Trost, another Oregonian, called indicating her intent to fly into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011, asking if Coombs wanted to fly along, his first response was, “You want to go where?” Seven days and some 25 flight hours later Coombs, Trost, B.J. Moore of Memphis, Tennessee, and Wayne Eckerpson of Eugene, Oregon, landed here.

Five years ago Bob Coombs built his Titan light airplane with intentions to travel long and far.

And over the short life of the plane Coombs, of Portland, Oregon, has accumulated 630 hours on the airframe with trips to Idaho and California in the logbook. But when Arty Trost, another Oregonian, called indicating her intent to fly into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011, asking if Coombs wanted to fly along, his first response was, “You want to go where?”

Seven days and some 25 flight hours later Coombs, Trost, B.J. Moore of Memphis, Tennessee, and Wayne Eckerpson of Eugene, Oregon, landed here. Trost arrived in her Talon, Moore in his RANS S-6 and Eckerpson in his RANS S-14.

Grass on the Ultralight area runway saw visitors arriving from the east as well.

Kirk Mills spent 14 hours in his Hummel UltraCruiser traveling from his home in Elbridge, New York. Even with a metal skin the Hummel is a true ultralight, and Mills powers his with half of a Volkswagen engine.

Also arriving from the east was Haresh Jadeja of Breslau, Ontario, Canada, flying his X-Air.

“They flew so long they had to change oil here,” EAA’s Timm Bogenhagen said. “Volunteers here helped them get oil, dispose of the old oil, and get the resources they need.

“That’s a great thing about EAA. People are ready to help you here, any way that they can.”

Electric flight headed up the new light plane technology front this year.

“Light aircraft lend themselves very well to electric flight, Bogenhagen said. “They are lightweight and have high efficiency wings so it’s a natural fit for electric power.”

Two “green” light airplanes are flying regularly this week that exhibit the low carbon footprint possibilities of battery power: Dale Kramer in his twin-motored electric Lazair and Mark Beierle in his Earthstar Gull 2000 electric. Crowds flowed out from all sides of the ultralight forum tent during a session Kramer and Beierle presented on their projects.
“These are both development projects, and both guys have been very open about sharing what they know,” Bogenhagen said.

Rising air is another hot topic down on the ultralight farm. For the second year now the Balloon Federation of America has a booth. An ultralight balloon is flying tethered when conditions permit, and a mass balloon launch off the ultralight runway was planned for early this morning. A number of ultralight and experimental balloons will fly unless prevented by the weather or winds.

Despite the name, the Ultralight area is open to any type of aircraft able to safely operate from its 1,200-foot runway. That includes ultralights and any light aircraft with ultralight-like flight characteristics.

Light-sport aircraft rules enacted over the past several years did change the training process for prospective ultralight pilots. Bogenhagen encourages anyone interested in what can only be described as the purest form of recreational flying to seek out a sport pilot instructor from the list EAA maintains at www.SportPilot.org.

“This has been one of my most enjoyable years,” said Lee Crevier, ultralight chairman. “Things are going very smoothly, attendance is good, we’re having a good safety record on our flight operations, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

“And it’s a lot drier than last year!”

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FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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