All The Way From Wash to Osh
By ANN Contributor John Ballantyne
A lot of us come to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh (WI) in long,
silver tubes with United, US Airways or some other such commercial
logo on the tail. Others come in four-wheeled, ground-bound
vehicles across interstates. The luckiest ones fly their own little
airplanes. But only a very few get to arrive in swinging lawn
chairs suspended by butterfly-like wings in that "Great Ocean of
Scott Johnson and Carl "the Rider" Ryder mounted their Airborne
XTS 912 ultralight trike in eastern Washington state, determined to
make it to Oshkosh. They navigated across the mountains of Idaho,
into Montana and South Dakota, sometimes topping out at 10,000
"The first day we flew over the Black Hills of South Dakota and
dropped into Custer where we got pictures of the new carved
monument of Crazy House, then made it into Sioux Falls (SD) that
night," said Johnson in an interview with ANN. "The second day we
made it into a casino about 53 miles short of Oshkosh (WI). I had
lunch in the casino while Carl lost two quarters."
In less than three days, they swung into the ultralight traffic
pattern of the largest aviation event in the world, EAA
"It was a beautiful flight. God kinda split the weather and said
'take this path, kids' so we did," said Johnson.
"I'd say the word was uneventful," Ryder agreed. "Awesome beyond
"We found that we could gain permission by radio to fly into any
airport, and we were always welcome, even at the international
airports. The GARMIN 196 GPS is amazing with lists of airports,
their frequencies, facilities and more," Johnson said. "For lunch
we'd try to find airports with a restaurant nearby."
Ryder started out wanting to fly paragliders before he made his
first trike flight with Johnson in an Airborne Classic. Carl
couldn't sleep after that first trike flight. He lay awake trying
to decide between powered paragliders and trikes. His final
decision: do both!
"The trike is definitely easier than powered paragliding," said
Ryder. "It always takes off, where paraglider wings are sometimes
difficult to get properly inflated during take off. Yet powered
paragliders are so wonderfully basic, he said. "They are easy to
transport. Powering a paraglider is safer than simple paragliding
because you can take off from flat ground instead of having to deal
with mountain launch conditions."
Ryder ended up taking trike lessons from "Oly" Olson at the
Arlington Airport (WA), even as he continued powered paragliding
lessons. Soon he was the owner of an Airborne Classic trike with
two wings, the Wizard and Streak. The student is now a teacher.
Ryder is now a Basic Flight Instructor.
Scott Johnson runs US Airborne Sport Aviation Center. It is a
full service ultralight, paramotor, paragliding, hang gliding and
kite surfing center. He offers beginner to advanced training in
ultralight trikes, paramotors and paragliding as well as aero
towing hang gliders. Scott Johnson is an Advanced Flight Instructor
in trikes, paramotors, and paragliders.
Now that AirVenture has wrapped up, both say they're looking
forward to the trike flight home from Oshkosh (WI) to Asotin