Frequently Asked Questions

How long have you been flying Trikes?

I first learn to fly in 2000 in Jacksonville, Florida at Herlong Airport with my Instructor Gary La Pierre. He did a wonderful job of instilling life saving skills that I can honestly say saved me many times! Kudos to Gary! I bought my first Trike from Frank Dempsey back in 2004 and after a few touch up lessons, have been flying regularly ever since them.

How many students have you brought to Solo?

9 so far, and you are more than welcome to talk to any of them in regards to my teaching abilities! Just email me and I'll email you their details. Some of my students have had experience with other instructors so they can give you a good unbiased review!

How much does it cost?

Contact me! Here is what I always say, training will be the CHEAPEST money you will spend and good training will save you thousands of dollars and also it could save your life! I've been flying many many years and seen many people skip on training to save a few bucks ONLY to be involved in a mishap which cost thousands of dollars most likely they end up giving up. And then on top of that any injuries they suffer So please, regardless of who you go to for Instruction NEVER go cheap on it! If you want a cheap hobby, buy yourself a Playboy Subscription (or even better, Penthouse!). Flying is a pure gift we have and it does take investment in your time, money and dedication, but I can tell you, if this is your dream, it is WORTH IT ! Just watch all my videos !

What happens if the Engine Stops Running?

The Trike will glide and you will make an elegant landing! Don't worry we train for those scenarios. In 15 years of flying my own personal aircraft I have never experienced an engine failure. Though I have had 4 engine failures in student trikes all preventable.
1 Rotax 582 about 8 miles from the airport. After Landing determined it was dirty carbs. 1 582 downwind in the pattern, ran out of fuel. 1 582 on take off, unknown reason. 1 912ULS on Final, carburtetor issue.
Check out these practice engine outs I did. Also at the 3.29 mark in this video in my Northwing Trike. As you can see with good training and solid practice you will master this important skill.

Where is a good spot to shop for Trikes?

Barnstormers is the best place to look. Click on "Search Ads", and down the left hand side menu (under "Directory") click on Trikes, and there you go! I'm a big fan of getting a good deal on a second hand one to start with, and not breaking your bank! I had tons of fun on my first Sabre Trike with a 503 engine and a big single surface Still 17 meter wing. If money is no object then go for what ever you want, don't let me stop you!

Will you help me out to buy a Trike?

For sure, I can give you my honest opinion. Actually I've stopped a few people from spending more money than they planned and they were happy they took my advice! Seriously I'll help you out. Take a look at Barnstormers to get an idea for the second hand market and get in touch with me.
In my experience anytime a student shows up with a trike, there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done and worked out before we can get in the air. My last example is we needed to order new Main Jets, Float Bowl gaskets and Control Bar. Just be prepared for this and have patience, we will get you in the air safely!

Would you pickup a Trike for me and have it ready to train on?

Yes I can. Normally if I charge a fee to help you buy it, I would presume you will be driving me out there so we can pick it up together. If you need me to pickup in my own vehicle, then I will add on the gas/wear and tear on my vehicle to get it. Government rate is normally 57 cents per mile.

You seem overly protective of your equipment? What gives?

This stuff is expensive! Here is a perfect example, I dropped my headset and broke the volume switch on it. I posted it to Lynx Avionics in England for repair and it cost almost $300! and it took 4 weeks out of my time! So if I seem overly protective it's because I'm saving you and me from this thing happening!

What Questions should be asked when buying a Second Hand Trike?

Q) Look up N-Number at FAA Registry and make sure data is good (make sure the expiration date is in the future, and the person who owns it is correct, Fractional Owner should be NO)
Q) Does the Airworthiness (pink card signed by a DAR) have an "Unlimited" in the Expiry field? (Get the seller to take a photo of this card and send it to you.)
Q) Does it come with a Radio/helmet system? and does it come with the passenger helmet too? Get them to take a Photo of the Equipment and send it to you.
Q) How long have you owned it for, how many hours did you put on it, who owned it before you (get their contact info if you feel) ?
Q) Does it have an Electric Start option? Does it have a Pull Start option?
Q) If it is Pull Start Only, does it have a Battery? and is that Battery Charged from the Engine? Does the engine power your 12volt accessories?
Q) Do you know if it has been in any accidents?
Q) Who was your CFI that taught you to fly? (I find contacting their CFI is a smart idea, also the CFI most likely knows their trike and give you some more information on it.)
Q) When was the last Annual Inspection done and who was it done by? Get their contact information and call that person.
Q) When was the last time the fuel lines/filter/Pheumatic pump replaced/rebuilt?
Q) When was the last time it was flown, and how often do you fly it? (An aircraft should have it's engine started and run at least every 4-6 weeks.)

I just bought a brand new Airborne Trike and it showed up on my door, what do I do now?

I have done this before (and feel like a professional at this!). The basic story behind my Airborne Trike was that it was sitting for 2 years after being bought by a student and never registered with the FAA.

STEP 1, lets get it registered and get assigned an N-Number! The instructions are here FAA Light Sport Aircraft Registry
This is what I sent in to get mine Registered and assigned an N-Number. I made a few phone calls to the Registry and they were super helpful with this process!

I posted it off on a Friday via registered mail. It was delivered to the FAA on Monday, and by Tuesday I was in the system and now have my N Number assigned!! How great is that!!! The Airworthiness is blank at this stage, as that is the next step.
So far all I have spend is $11.65 ($5 for the FAA Registry and $6.65 to mail it)
STEP 2, I went down to Instant Sign shop on San Mateo here in Albuquerque, NM and got my N Number and LIGHT-SPORT stickers cut out for $15.. There is a very good Advisory Circular AC_45-4.pdf which goes through the Identifying/Markings and Placards you need for a Light Sport Aircraft. I would advise you to print out the latest AC and read through it thoroughly (cross out any sections not needed for Weight Shift Control) and then go over your Trike and make sure nothing is missing. I found 1 missing on mine per the AC for 13(a) "THIS AIRCRAFT WAS MANUFACTURED .....". I contacted Airborne and it was in the mail right away for $40.

So far I now have $11.65 plus $55 (N Numbers and 1 Placard) for a total of $66.65 into the process.
STEP 3, time to get the Airworthiness (pink card that you must have on your trike). FAA Part 21 Subpart H Airworthiness.
You will need form FAA 8130-6 - Application for U.S Airworthiness Certificate completed and filled out. For tips on completing this, go to http://www.faa-aircraft-certification.com/faa-form-8130-6-instructions.html
I called up my local FSDO and had them come out to do the inspection. 3 gentlemen from the FAA came out as they were doing my Airworthiness as a training exercise. This is the nerve racking part! They have a checklist that they work from which is basically FAR 21.190 which details issuing a special airworthiness certificate for a light-sport category aircraft.
There is also 8130.2H - Airworthiness Certification of Products and Articles section 6 Light-Sport Aircraft Category Airworthiness Certifications. In this document they refer back to 21.190 in section B. Elegibility. This is a much more detailed document and you should read the LSA part entirely.
As my Airborne Trike was sitting for 2 years, the FAA requested a Condition Inspection be done, which I got done. This cost me $150. 2 Things which I didn't have on hand but called up Airborne and they sent them over in PDF format was the following:
21.190 (c)(3) Quality Assurance Documentation from the Factory. Airborne sent me their document GJP-246 Assembly Trace for the XT-912 base and Wing, which was a signed QA checklist.
21.190 (c)(7)(i)(ii) Flight Test Documentation. I have the flight test logged in the Aircraft log book, BUT not the actual paper documentation with the details of it. This is also referenced in 8130.2H section d. LSA Construction and Manufacturer Requirements (4).
If you really want to get into it, you can read FAR 21.35 Flight Tests and FAR 21.37 Flight Test Pilot.

How do I get my license to fly?

Both Frank Dempsey and myself can work together to take you from Zero to Hero (Sport Pilot - Weight Shift Control) all in the same Hanger located at Double Eagle Airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Not many places can offer this all in one location, so take advantage of it! We can train 7 days a week weather depending.

Have you got any good tips for me?

Tip 1) Affordable Harbor Freight Trailer to tow your trike

Tip 2) Simple Trike Checklists I urge you to have something that works for you, forgetting something is not a simple manner when you are in the air.

Tip 3) Winter Bar Mitts These are fantastic and affordable to keep your hands out of the wind on cold days!