Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands

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Ultralight flying

Ultralight flying

Mark Larson, in the shorts, is the only friend I know who’s flying these tiny air craft. He’s talking with one of the hundreds of spectators at this year’s Fly-In at the Friday Harbor Airport.

Mark bought the wing and placed in on the frame which he built, then rebuilt after having a “hard landing” or crashing a couple times, each time making it more sturdy (and maybe learning what not to do next time).

I’ve always had a dream to fly one of these simple planes, but knowing how forgetful I can be, have decided flying is probably not for me. I know local pilots who have died because they forgot on take off to dial out the flaps from their last landing. Flaps on landing a good thing, they help to slow the plane and at the same time provide lift for a smooth landing. Flaps on take-off provide lift but prevent the plane from gaining speed. I may have that right, but who knows? I don’t know anything about flying and even if I did, I’d forget something crucial just when I shouldn’t. Forget, that is.

There have been two dramatic crashes of commercial flights recently where the two pilots aboard, while landing, either couldn’t agree on the proper action, or miscommunicated some crucial bit of info. They call it “Pilot Error.” There’s one middle name I don’t ever want, so no flying for me. As pilot that is, and I’ll just have to leave it to prayer if it’s someone else. Hope he/she knows what they’re doing!

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