It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying trike! Popular in Europe, this new sport called “aerotrekking” is gaining followers in the U.S. The “trike” as it is called by users is a kind of motorized hang glider in which the wing is coupled to a propeller-powered, three-wheel undercarriage. This Spokesman Review video accompanies Washington state pilot Denny Reed on an early morning ride over rolling hills and dashing coyotes on the ground below. Shot in the soft light of dawn, the video includes striking images from the air and from the ground, giving the viewer the feeling of soaring right along with the pilot. Reed hopes to someday make his living from his passion, and he recently made a connection that got ESPN Outdoor interested in doing an aerotrekking episode, which he hopes will attract others to the new sport of flying trikes.
Fun facts about those trikes: Reed specializes in “low and slow” flights at altitudes ranging from 50 to 300 feet; trikes can fly as high as 12,000 feet but on-board oxygen would be required. Average flight speed is between 40-60 mph. Trikes burn about three gallons of regular gasoline an hour. Maximum flight range is roughly 200 miles. Single-seat ultralights are unregulated; two-seaters fall under the FAA’s light sport aircraft designation and must be federally registered and flown by licensed sport pilots or flight instructors. Trikes cost anywhere from $7,000 to more than $60,000.
Video and Production: Dan Pelle
Story: Paula Davenport