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Mon, Apr 18, 2005

Less Is Best

Skycycle

By ANN Correspondent John Ballantyne

The first Skycycle was born in 1992 at Lookout Mountain Flight Park, Tennessee. Since then approximately between 150 and 175 people have bought one.

"All the time I get folks who say they had one of the original Freedom Machines (Early Skycycle), then moved into a big two-seater, and now want to come back to the simpler, more fun side again. The most positive aspect of this machine is its delightful handling in relatively calm air where the finger-tip control and sensitivity to every nuance of the air is right in your hands," reported Matt Tabor, company spokesman in an exclusive interview with ANN.

The new FAA rules for Light Sport Aircraft and sport pilot have nothing to do with these delightful flyers. They require no regulatory certificates for either the pilot or machine. Flight training is not complex because the mode of operation is not complex. Likewise the mechanical needs are easy to understand and within the grasp of most household mechanics reports Tabor.

Tabor continued, "And the rewards are so great! For example, just this morning I got a call from a fairly new Skycycle pilot who was simply flying around his home airport this morning when he flew into a little rising air. His vertical speed went up about 200 feet per minute, so he throttled back a little. Then he started going up about 300 feet per minute so he completely went to idle. Still up so he shut it off and spent the next 30 minutes soaring the area. His total hang glider time had been about 20 minutes total in five years of disappointing attempts, and just this morning he more than tripled that time with no foot launching, finding a hill, paying for a tow plane or any of that. It was a highlight of his life. He had to call me right away."

Factory specifications include that the Skycycle has two models, the X and S. Because the chariot (or trike or carriage) is attached to various hang glider wings, performance becomes specific to the combination of engine, wing and pilot weight.

The chariot X sports a 4130 spring steel landing gear, titanium axles, four-point safety seat belt harness, padded seat, and 48" or 54" diameter propeller. It's made in the USA. A Skycycle with 28 horsepower will typically take-off and land in less than 100 feet, with at least a 500 feet per minute climb, fly 22 to 54 mph, and weigh a total of 95 pounds for the chariot depending on options.

OPTIONS
  • Electric start on all but the MZ 100
  • Fairing package to fair all round down tubes
  • Front fender
  • 2 gal, 2.5 gal, and 5 gal fuel tanks
  • Wheel pants, rear
  • Larger wheels and tires for rougher terrain
  • Sharp, faired saddle bags with hand throw chute pocket
  • Folding gauge package with cht/egt, hour meter and tachometer
  • Sleek front pod with wind screen
  • Mast fold option (required with wheel pants and front pod)
  • Xtralight frame package
  • HD/HR (Heavy Duty/ Hot Rod) frame package
  • BRS ballistic safety reserve parachute
  • Free flight 24 gore PDA hand throw parachute
  • Flytec Flight instruments
  • Engine cover
  • Propeller choices
FMI: www.gtultralights.com

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