Flying Ultralight Trikes
I am just starting to get into this. And I like it! It is so peaceful and freeing. There is nothing like flying over the desert early in the morning. As you can see, I am half-asleep and look very unmade-up and the photo is self-taken on a bad angle. You caught me on a bad day, hehe. But, when possible I do try to look somewhat presentable even if I plan on getting wet diving the sprinklers (as seen below).
Taking off first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. You usually don’t get too nasty from flying if it is early enough. Besides you don’t want to get caught in a bunch of afternoon thermals anyway, unless of course, you actually like riding them. The helmets are forgiving and you can always braid your hair and place it up in the helmet. The only thing I would worry about is protection from the elements (the desert is cold this early in the morning) and the dryness can be just awful.
•Stay Hydrated: It is easier to stay hydrated when flying in the mornings than it is in the hot afternoons. There isn’t much room on some Ultralights, so you can choose to use a Camelbak water pack or carry a water bottle in a small pack. Honestly though, you usually only stay out an hour or two so a lot of water isn’t necessary. However, if you have to make an unplanned landing in the middle of nowhere, it is a smart idea to have sufficient water on hand. Use your best judgment.
•Sunscreen & Clothing: This goes without saying. You are flying a small, and usually open, aircraft around in the sun. Even if it is in the early morning, you never know how long you will stay out or if you have to make an unplanned landing. Plus, the helmet has a large face opening so you will get some UV exposure and that can cause premature aging, ergo facial wrinkles! Covering your arms with long sleeves can be a good idea. Personally, I am pretty cold in the morning air and like a light jacket and gloves.
•Baby wipes: What an amazing concept this item is. These things work for everything. A small, travel pack will do and can help with cleaning grime, hands, fuel spills and other clean-up jobs. They dry out in the heat once they are opened even if you seal them back properly. Seal them further in a small Ziploc baggie if need be and stash them in a cargo pocket.
•Lip Balm: Dry, chapped lips can be an issue when flying. Especially the open Ultralight trikes like I was in this morning. My bottom lip is split right now from the dryness. I like the Vaseline Lip Therapy line, or Noni lip balm but anything you prefer will do. Make sure it has at least a SPF 15 sunscreen!
•Mirror: A small compact is a good idea, not just for beauty but also for signaling in the event of an unplanned landing if your cell phone doesn’t work. You can carry a small one in your jacket pocket and use it to, you guessed it, check your nose if you get the sniffles. Remember to place a Kleenex travel pack in your pocket, as well.
•Make-up: I am usually too lazy to put on make-up this early. But I do put a layer of foundation and powder on to help block UV light. I quickly fill in my brows and add some mascara and I am out the door (okay, so maybe I do put on a little make-up). It is usually cold so I don’t sweat a drop making it easier to stay on. Plus, the helmets are forgiving and usually won’t affect your make-up. However, if you are doing afternoon flying in the heat, you are going to have to freshen up post-flight. I don’t usually bring anything with me on the trike; if I do it stays in the car. Too busy flying to care if the coyotes think I’m cute or not.
•Hair: If your hair is long, keep it braided and double it up like a loop. Even better, place it in your helmet. You don’t want long hair caught in a propeller or any other dangerous, moving part. As with your other sports, you can use an Under Armor skullcap. They come in vented and non-vented styles. They really aren’t a bad idea under your helmet. Please take care with long hair and moving parts!
•Nails: This is a judgment call. I personally, and usually, can fly with long nails. However, if you are not accustomed to doing so, keep your nails medium to short because you may rip one or two of them off like I did the other day (see right). Wear protective, sure-grip gloves, as well.
At The End Of The Flight
If you start out early enough, you usually don’t need a shower post-flight. You may get a little dusty but that can be wiped off with a wet-nap or baby wipe. It’s the sweat that can get you funky to the point of no return. Plan your flight around the time of day you are most comfortable.
Wish me luck on my Sport Pilot license…Blue Skies!
Next Week: Scuba Diving!