To me, the phrase “going ultralight” had always meant going backpacking without my stove, water filter, half my tent, etc….just taking the absolute bare minimum and keeping my pack weight under 16 pounds. That was last week. Now I’ve got a new meaning to the phrase.

Gene and his UltralightI just got back from a working vacation – spent a week and a half working and hanging out in a shop gleaning some machining info and repair tips. While I was there, one of the employees invited me for a ride in his ultralight…a little go-cart type contraption with a parachute attached. I politely declined but then was later talked into it. I was having serious second thoughts about going up when one of the other guys called the guy over that I would be flying with and told him to stay away from a certain house in the area. Apparently, some nut case in the community threatened to shoot the ultralights down if they came within firing range.The parachute laid out on the ground, untangled


But it was awesome….after I got over the initial panic of seeing the ground get farther and farther away and realized we weren’t going to plummet to our deaths, anyway.

We cruised at about 600 ft, going about 25 miles per hour. We were able to talk back and forth over the system in our helmets so I got a tour of the area as we soared across the country side. The views were absolutely beautiful.

I’m not about to go out and buy my own ultralight but it was a great experience I’m glad I didn’t pass up.

Ultralight from opposite side Ultralight from front Where we’d be sitting Another ultralight going up just after us That pile of material was going to keep us in the air??? The parachute laid out on the ground, untangled Our shadow as we take off Still climbing A quarry in the distance A reflection of me taking a picture of the back of Gene’s helmet Some hay bales all lined up Nice view…look at how small the scattered hay bales are here Some swimming cattle Gorgeous view Flying over Gene’s house. The other ultralight that took off after us A closer shot A view of Springfield on the horizon Parachute is still there - whew! The other side too Landing