THOSE Scary Ultralights?

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Postby lazair » Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:16 am ... 047-1.html

April 8, 2004

Those Scary Ultralights?

By Mary Grady
Newswriter, Editor Image

Little ultralight aircraft might seem to us like the least likely vehicles of fear and destruction, but apparently not everyone sees them that way. Last week, after Hamas threatened to destroy the Knesset building in Jerusalem, one member of that legislature worried that terrorists might attack by air, landing on the long flat roof with gliders or ultralights. In Australia last week, a man was jailed after he allegedly "buzzed" his ex-wife's home in his ultralight, scaring her and the neighbors. And Canada's intelligence leaders recently warned that terrorists might use ultralights or remotely piloted vehicles to threaten Canadian troops and their allies. Canada's Auditor General also released a report recently on the country's anti-terrorism initiatives, and found them wanting. Top among the aviation-related concerns was a lack of scrutiny of airport workers with access to aircraft.
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Postby lazair » Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:18 am

ImageSNOHOMISH County, Wash., Hopes to Land a NASCAR Track
Miami Herald - Miami,FL,USA

High flying farming

By MATTHEW WILDE, Courier Staff Writer

MANCHESTER --- Soybean prices are soaring, and so are some soybean growers.

Farmers and crop consultants are taking to the air to scout fields. Flyers say getting a bird's-eye view of crops is one of the best and quickest ways to spot drainage and weed problems, as well as fertilizer deficiencies.

Many are taking off in ultralights --- small, lightweight aircraft with fabric wings --- because they can fly lower and slower over fields and they don't require a pilot's license. Plus, they're cheaper and the training is minimal compared to conventional aircraft.

Yields are tied to soil fertility, insects and other factors. Correcting problems early can boost profits. With cash soybean prices topping $10 per bushel last week for the first time in more than 30 years, Manchester farmer Mark Francis said, relaxing joy rides have turned into aerial reconnaissance missions.

"It's become an important tool," said Francis, a licensed pilot who bought an ultralight a few years ago for fun. He farms 1,200 acres and also uses the aircraft to check on his cow/calf herd while in the pasture.

As farms grow larger, time becomes an important commodity.

"I can check all my fields in less than two hours by air, compared to 10 hours if I walked," Francis said. "From the air, it's easier to see light or yellow spots and drainage problems that you couldn't spot from the road."

Jim Hill, owner of Ultralight Aircraft of Iowa near Manchester, recently began a marketing campaign aimed at farmers. He said ultralights, starting at about $7,000, are tax deductible for farmers, and training costs about $650. Most people become proficient flyers after about 10 hours of lessons.

Hill sells new and used Quicksilver aircraft from his hangar near the Manchester Municipal Airport just west of town. He also offers maintenance and parts.

Some larger aircraft can even be fitted with a sprayer system, at a total cost of about $20,000. Last year, soybean aphids contributed to dismal yields. Hill said farmers wouldn't have to wait for a crop dusting company if they can spray fields themselves. The aircraft is comparable in price to a new pull-behind sprayer and much cheaper than self-propelled "high boy" models.

The cost per acre of spraying with an ultralight is about 10 percent that of hiring a commercial crop duster.

"Farmers looked like a good group (to target). They're often good businessmen that have some money and need a tax deduction," Hill said.

Since running his first ads in December, he's had about a dozen calls from interested farmers. Francis bought his plane and accessories for about $12,000, and wrote off the entire purchase. Hill has also done some crop scouting for a Masonville farmer who's on the verge of buying his own ultralight, he said.

Waverly crop consultant Shannon Gomes considers his ultralight an important part of his business. He uses aerial photography, both color and infrared, to help customers increase yields.

Plugged tile lines can cause flooding and lost crops. Infrared photos can show if a field is deficient in or oversaturated with nutrients and chemicals. Yellow and brown spots appear in color photos of corn if an area is lacking in nitrogen. If caught early, a high boy applicator can sidedress nitrogen to save plants.

"It's ideal for farmers. They can land on a alfalfa field or a grass waterway and check out a field right away," Gomes said. "You get a different perspective. It's helpful."

Cruising speed is about 55 mph, though some planes go faster than 90 mph. Rocket-powered parachutes are available to allow the plane to safely float to earth in case of an engine failure. Most weigh about 250 to 300 pounds and have an open cockpit.

Within the last three years, several Northeast Iowans have been injured or died in ultralight crashes. However, flyers dispute claims the planes are unsafe, saying far more people die in motorcycle and car crashes than flying.

Like any vehicle, Hill said proper training and maintenance is required for safe operation.

"Generally the accidents occur from those who don't follow those two (rules)," he said.

Farmers interested in aiming high and creating their own air force can call 1-800-852-8756.

Manchester farmer Mark Francis, left, and Ultralight Aircraft of Iowa owner Jim Hill both agree the small, lightweight planes can be an important farming tool, from scouting crops and crop dusting to checking on livestock in pastures.
MATTHEW WILDE / Courier Staff Writer
Posts: 345
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 10:25 am

Postby lazair » Thu Apr 08, 2004 7:20 am

CITY will test storm sirens
Pittsburg Morning Sun - Pittsburg,KS,USA
... Police Lieutenant John Koelsch said police would investigate the accident,
but the Federal Aviation Administrations does not license ultralights
or investigate ... ... 0047.shtml

AIRPLANE crash kills Hartford pilot
Topeka Capital Journal - Topeka,KS,USA
... Ultralights are recreational aircraft powered by a small engine. It
wasn't known Sunday afternoon if Mcavoy was taking off or landing when
the crash occurred. ... lane.shtml

KANSAS Man Dies When Plane Hits Hangar
Kansas City - Kansas City,MO,USA
... John Koelsch said police would investigate the accident, but the Federal
Aviation Administration does not license ultralights or investigate accidents
... ... etail.html

PLANE clips tree, crashes; 2 'critical'
Allentown Morning Call - Allentown,PA,USA
... detailed inspection, Hawke said. Hawke said it is customary for ultralights
to fly off the mountain and circle the township. Hawke, a 20 ... ... slocal-hed

ABOUT The Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her
Guardian - UK
... He had always been intrigued by gliders, parachutes, ultralights and
hang-gliders, and now he felt that this would be a facet of their new
life: that they ... ... 45,00.html

WICKENBURG'S least understood asset: the Airport
Wickenburg Sun - Wickenburg,AZ,USA
... single-engine planes, it is also used by heavier, twin-engine aircraft,
"corporate" jets such as Lears and Hawkers, helicopters, ultralights,
and, on occasion ... ... news14.txt
Posts: 345
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 10:25 am

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