|The Air-Bike has no doors|
|Flying an airplane is said to be inherently dangerous, therefore I stay within my Air-Bike's performance envelope and never violate the laws of physics nor test Mother Nature's benevolence. Both are very unforgiving; gravity never loses (the best you can hope for is a draw), and Mother Nature doesn't like surprises.
Occasionally an air show visitor will ask me where are the doors to my Air-Bike. This question was once posed by a white-haired lady in her early 80's who obviously was quite concerned about seeing so much "openess" in the fuselage. She noticed that I never quite got "inside" of the plane. She felt I would be safer if the plane had doors.
|After explaining that doors would make the plane wider thus increasing drag, heavier therefore reducing performance and they would need to be openable for ventilation, she agreed that they probably were unnecessary.
Then, pondering my absolute exposure to the elements while flying, she expressed additional concern for my safety. Explaining that safety is paramount and that I always want to have the number of landings equal the number of takeoffs. Also, a four-point seat belt/shoulder harness keeps me securely fastened to the plane. Finally, I wear a helmet.
Noting that she still wasn't satisfied, I pointed out the little blue "suitcase" attached to the aft cockpit area and proudly announced that it was a parachute. The immediate inquiry was "how do you put it on when you're buckled in? Now I had an opportunity to describe the Ballistic Recovery System parachute.
Because pilots like me fly at low altitudes it would be unlikely to exit the plane and have a personal parachute open before splatting on the ground like so much bird do-do. Therefore the parachute is attached to the plane, not the pilot. Opening the 'chute brings both the pilot and plane together down safely, Some injury and damage may ocurr but that is a fair trade-off for the bird do-do alternative.
|Still not satisfied with my precariously perching on that little seat the lady asked what I do when seeing something that scares me. Like any red-blooded, virile hairy-chested man in a scary situation, I told|
|her that I tightly grasp the seat cushion with both hands and close my eyes. When asked if that helps, I answer: frequently, but not always. "Well, what then?" is the next question to which I responded that I scream a lot and that makes things seem better. Needless to say, in this open cockpit plane I get plenty of practice screaming. She looked at me with an incredulously blank stare and seemed to say "you are just plain (plane) nuts aren't you?"
At that the white-haired lady turned and walked away shaking her head while mumbling to herself something about the reason God did not give man wings.
|Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute attached to aft cockpit area.|
|The above and similar conversations with air show visitors is one of the reasons it is so much fun to put my plane on display. You meet the most interesting foks at an air show. I hope to meet you at one soon, stop by and introduce yourself.|