Rob picked us up from the hotel in Redlands in his trusty Suburban and towing a trailer. After the obligatory stop for donuts – it’s tradition – we were on our way to El Mirage Dry Lake for our first taste of “Trike” Flying.
As we arrived at the site, the sun rose over the Shadow Mountains. A motorized paraglider and another “Trike” were already up taking advantage of the still calm air of the early morning.
After pulling the aircraft out of the trailer, assembling the hang glider wing and mounting it to the frame (literally one engine, two seats and three wheels), and donning our helmets, we were ready to go. Pressure on the throttle, a quick build up to take off speed (about 40 miles an hour), and we were airborne.
We did several circuits of El Mirage – a triangular shaped flat surface about a mile wide at its base and five miles long – at various heights from about 1,000 above ground, to spinning the wheels along the ground. Then we “chased rabbits” around the edge of the lake where small clumps of vegetation formed random obstacles to dodge in and out and over. Awesome, is the only word I can use to decribe the fun of this kind of flying. Better than a motorcycle. Better than a snowmoblie. Better than a seadoo. Imagine a video game where the spaceship dodges asteroids. Like that, only real, with wind in your face!
We climbed out to about 7,000 feet altitude, surrounded by arid land. We could see Edwards Airforce Base in the distance. Rob cut the engine and we glided, noiselessly, for ten minutes back down to a gentle landing.
Both Ben and I had a chance to fly and now we’re both hooked.
During the few hours we were at El Mirage, we saw other Trikes and motorized paragliders, an unmanned Predator doing tests, radio controlled model aircraft, and even a small private aircraft enjoying the flying conditions.
Thanks Rob, for the introduction to this incredible sport, and beautiful location.over 5 years ago