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Frequently Asked Questions about the sport:
Q: How fast do they go?
A: Most trikes average a speed range of 40-60 mph. Some are slower with larger/high-lift wings for floats & training, but smaller performance wings can fly as fast as 120 mph!
 
Q: How High or Low can they fly?
A: Carrying oxygen, a warm coat, & free of controlled airspace, we’ve cruised at over 12,000 feet to clear mountain ranges, weather, enjoy the view, or cut the engine & glide home. Trikes have flown over 30,000 feet! But, we specialize in “Low & Slow.” We typically fly about 50’-300’ depending upon the safety of the terrain or whatever we happen to be looking at on the ground… You should always take precautions from spooking animals or simply annoying the public even if you're being legal.
 
Q: How far can they go?
A: Most Trikes use around 3 gallons per hour yielding a range of approximately 200 miles. Power, wing, load & type of flying have various effects on that range. Shutting your engine off and using the thermals for gliding will increase range. Trikes have flown around the globe on several occasions with large fuel capacities and 4-stroke motors yielding a 500-600 mile range.
 
Q: Do I need a license?
A: No license or registration is required for a Single-Seat Ultralight. Since September 4th, 2005, a Sport Pilot Certificate or Basic Flight Instructor Rating is required for legal operation of a Two-Seat Aircraft. We can endorse & certificate you for both. We will need to meet with you and discuss which would apply to your best intentions. We offer Ground School, Tuning Classes & Maintenance Courses along with Flight Training. We also offer seminars, events & certificates for Cross-County, Controlled Airport, Float-Trike, Ski-Trike & Advanced Terrain Navigation.
 
Q: How much distance is required to take off and land?
A: As little as 80 feet with wing size and engine power being the determining factors. You should have 300-400 feet to make a safe approach & landing. Unique to trikes, we can perform on basically any terrain with the aid of snow skis, oversized tires, as well as water with floats of course. Pilot skill level & weather conditions are important factors to consider as well.
 
Q: How much weight can they carry & will I fit in one?
A: If you weigh less than 400lbs! Depending on the trike, payloads are usually 400-500 lbs. Custom builds are available for extra tall and extra wide. This sport, instruction and aircraft are available for many physical limitations. We have instructed people with lower extremity paralysis & are familiar with the modifications necessary.
 
Q: What about portability?
A: Portability & Versatility are the most unique characteristics of a Trike. A pickup is perfect or small utility trailer. The wings fold into a 16 foot X 14 inch Bag & weigh approximately 70-110lbs depending on type. Some wings can be folded back & trailered or docked while still attached to the trike. The trikes weigh approximately 174-400lbs. 40 minutes will be sufficient for complete setup or breakdown of the aircraft.
 
Q: What is the difference between "Light Sport Aircraft" and "Ultralight Aircraft?"
A: An “Ultralight” is defined in Part 103 of the Federal Aviation Regulations/Airman’s Information Manual (FAR/AIM). A “Light Sport Aircraft” and the requirements for a Sport Pilot License are defined in Part 61. Note: As of January 1st of 2008, basically anything with One seat will be considered an “Ultralight” and anything with Two seats will be considered a “Light Sport Aircraft.”
 
Q: How long does it take to learn to fly?
A: It typically takes 8-12 hours to gain necessary training to fly a single seat “Ultralight.” The FAA requires 15 hours of training plus 5 hours of supervised solo time to gain necessary training to fly a two-seat “Light Sport Aircraft.” Most people complete their training in about 3 days pending weather & scheduling. Taking lessons once in awhile is fine, but will prolong the learning.
 
Q: How much does training cost?
A: Instructional cost can depend on the situation and location but you should budget for around $120.00/hour. We are honestly more expensive than General Aviation (if calculated an hourly basis) but we require considerably less total time & total investment for certification. Frankly, it’s more fun too. We offer discounts on training with the purchase of an aircraft or even a purchase agreement. It is important to note that the training is not boring, nor classroom-oriented like that of General Aviation. It is actually fun, application-based, one-on-one training done with other students, club members & instructors around for reference. The relationships with these people will help you with all aspects of flying, maintenance, excursions and aircraft knowledge forever.
 
Q: Can we train when it's cold outside?
A: Actually, the colder the air, the more stable it is. Giving respect to potential storms & adverse conditions, we have heated suits & bar-mits along with full face helmets with internal communications & music. The snow actually offers use of our skis on the aircraft and opens up infinite terrain that is not accessible without skis. If you can get away for a few days, our Arizona Training Trips offer a 3-4 day concentrated course and are worth looking into.
 
Q: How much do they cost?
A: A one-seat Ultralight is around $8K-$12K. A two-seat Light Sport Aircraft will be around $16K- $20K. A package with a 4-stroke motor will cost around $30K- $40K. Floats can add $4K- $8K. We’ve sold packages in excess of $60K for the ultimate portable, amphibious, or specific-purpose machine. Note: We typically quote high to reflect the cost of options that most pilots end up adding anyway such as electric start, communications, and other accessories.
 
Q: What about Used equipment?
A: “Caveat Emptor.” Do you know what it means? There are obviously other dealers, private sellers & used aircraft on the market. But, unlike General Aviation there are no regulations on maintenance or record keeping. Wing, Airframe & Engine condition can be extremely difficult to determine on your own. Although we have special training, instruments & resources for doing these tests; parts, service & accurate information can be very scarce in the industry. Note: For that of your safety & ours, we cannot promise that we will test-fly, service or train you in an aircraft that is unfamiliar, unsafe, or simply not equipped for effective instruction. If you’ve found something used, we may be willing to assist, inspect, interview the owner & ship for a fee.
 
Q: What are the advantages of New equipment?
A: We highly encourage you to purchase your first aircraft brand new to enjoy the benefit of support, affiliation & piece-of-mind, actually flying the aircraft while avoiding the many frustrating pitfalls commonly associated with used aircraft. As we’ve learned ourselves, this is definitely one sport where you get what you pay for & service can be everything. We obviously provide priority of instruction, on-going support, training discounts, equipment service, private events, technical seminars, facility usage & extended efforts to those who purchase aircraft & services through us. Our company generates an essential part of its revenue by selling & supporting new purchases. 100% this profit is put back into the facility, club, flight school & events for you to benefit from.
 
Q: Most important, are they Safe?
A: “An aircraft’s safety depends primarily on that of its pilot.” We are not interested in putting our lives, equipment, team or company in danger, and consequently, not your life either. You will be trained to correct for hazardous situations, but we believe prevention and good judgment are the ultimate concept. You are statistically 10 times more likely to be hurt or killed in an automobile than in an ultralight aircraft. These statistics are confirmed by the FAA & DOT. They are based on accidents per hour of operation, so regardless of how many cars there are vs: ultralights, the statistics are reliable.
 
Q: What if the engine quits?
A: A trike is a natural glider which typically enjoys at least a 10:1 glide ratio. This means that for every mile you’re up, you may glide 10 miles. This is actually fun. A trike also has amazing stability. Due to a trike’s weight (center of gravity) being far below the wing (center of lift), we enjoy a pendulum effect or very stable characteristic of flight. It would resemble that of a sailboat with a heavy keel. Frankly, if you let go of the controls, the aircraft will typically right itself. The wing is flexible which washes out most turbulence that typically bothers sensitive stomachs. Another aspect of trikes is that you can land almost anywhere. Because of slow speeds & short landing distances, landing zones are abundant. Frankly, if the flying conditions are bad, you can land & taxi it to safety or even remove the wing within minutes and drive it or put it on a trailer.
 
Q: What is a BRS, or Ballistic Parachute System?
A: Unique to Ultralights & Light Sport Aircraft, elements beyond the pilot’s control & unforgiving terrain can be prepared for by installation of a state-of-the-art Ballistic Parachute System which can be deployed as low as 100’ above the ground. Its purpose is to save the entire aircraft & crew
 
Q: How are they built and are they certified?
A: We have traveled world-wide and only promote, import & sell what we consider to be the safest trikes in the world. Most trikes are now certified; just like motorcycles, wave-runners & snowmobiles. We register our aircraft with the FAA & DOT. The aircraft in general is designed with CAD & even manufactured with a large amount of labor being done by precision computer driven equipment. One brand even works with BMW for airframe manufacturing. These aircraft are built from the highest quality structural aluminum, titanium, composites & steel available with every component passing inspection & tracking procedures. Unfortunately, the price reflects the cost of these exotic materials & testing. However, the result is that the aircraft is built to withstand 6 times the force of gravity and your learning curve… From experience as well as an engineering profession, I trust my life to its materials and workmanship but as with any sport, damage and material fatigue are inevitable without proper maintenance.
 
Q: Can't I buy an old Cessna or Piper for the same price?
A: Go for it. It's a totally different world. I'm going to say a few things here that I normally don't but here I go: We understand that some people enjoy claustrophobia, a face full of guages, endless instruction, infinite regulation & being dependent on multi-million dollar airports & lots of expensive (if available) gas. But,we really don't find that as 'fun'. And what is that damn smell in the cockpit??? Your opinions might differ but don’t overlook the reality that 80% of the aircraft being flown in General Aviation are 30-40 years old. Regardless of maintenance, consider how cars, motorcycles & even bicycles looked & performed in the 1960’s & 70’s compared to how they look and perform today. We sell & promote only the latest in aviation innovation. It's no secret that most of what you learn in General Aviation and what you pay for is based on the fear that your high-speed flying gas can won't make it to the next multi-million dollar airport. Trikes have more Plan-B’s than any other aircraft in the sky so the piece of mind is very different. Many of our clients, including myself, have come from GA after tricking themselves for years that it was fun. It's great if you want to go somewhere once a month but 71% of GA pilot log less than 24 hours per year! We log that in a month! And, there is only one articulating part in respect to controlling the wing. There are no pulleys, cables, hydraulics, flaps, ailerons, rudders or elevators to become faulty or hard to thoroughly inspect. Look, people don’t necessarily buy motorcycles because they cost less than cars. This is simply more fun, adventurous, affordable, and honestly more rewarding to us. Now, just like General Aviation, we realize this can be an expensive sport and it’s not within everyone’s budget to do it the “right way.” Be careful. Please note that we do this for fun and won’t tolerate bad attitudes or frustration because you weren’t honest with your budget or the powers that be…
 
Q: What is Aerotrekking?
A: This is what it’s all about! We are the only operation in the Pacific Northwest that offers both Local & Cross Country Guided Excursions. These are mulit-day, multi-aircraft expeditions for private parties or even 10-12 trikes! These trips can be supported or unsupported by a ground crew of RV’s & vehicles with enclosed trailers with full catering, camera crew and activities at all of our stops. We’ve done excursions in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Idaho & even one in France. They are planned & executed as a team-oriented expedition that will build memories & friendships to last a lifetime.
 
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