Earlier this week a homeowner in Coteau had an unexpected guest land in his yard. That guest was the pilot of an ultralight aircraft that had to make an impromptu landing. Fortunately, the pilot of the aircraft nor anyone on the ground was seriously injured in the incident.

That got me to wondering, besides having a unique spirit of adventure, what does it take to fly an ultralight aircraft. It turns out. It isn't that much. Some ultralights don't require the pilot to even have a license. Let's be clear, not requiring a license doesn't mean a pilot shouldn't get adequate training before taking to the air.

Besides the desire to see the world from a unique perspective those who enjoy flying ultralight aircraft point to the affordability of the aircraft as another bonus. An average single-seat aircraft could be yours for less than $10,000 in most cases. That's a small amount compared to a very basic single-engine airplane that would set you back at least $75,000.

However, I think the real reason ultralight enthusiasts enjoy their flying machines is the freedom it gives them. The aircraft is maneuvered by basic stick and rudder manipulation. The pilot actually gets to feel the wind in his face. The flight path is usually low and slow compared to conventional aircraft allowing for some spectacular sightseeing opportunities.

I would imagine it's the same feeling that motorcycle enthusiasts would describe when comparing their choice of transportation to that of driving a car. It's the exhilaration of the experience more than the destination you're going.

As for me, I freak out when I climb a ladder so I will be happy to watch you guys and gals buzzing around overhead. Just watch out for the power wires and radio antennas. And if you're flying around my house there is a momma Mockingbird that will likely come after you. I think she has a nest in one of our trees.


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