Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Ultralight Spirit Is Alive In Pennsylvania's Canyon Country

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon region is alive with light sport, general aviation and ultralight activity. The Canyon Pilots Association and The Canyon Country Ultralight Clubs are seeing a significant increase in folks who want to get into the air in a safe, affordable manner.  Everyone has their own definition of what is affordable and what is safe.  The club environment promotes both and encourages everyone to work hard and be accountable for their own safety.  With that in mind a seemingly wild project to most of us who do not understand it can be very safe to someone who does.
A case in point is from a long time friend of local ultralight activity Mike Reid  who shared the following with me.  I think you will enjoy it.  Be sure to follow the youtube links:
Mike Reid here. I live in Middlebury Twsp. You might remember me (used to have and fly PPG's up until 3 years ago). We met a few times and I am currently on the Canyon Country Ultralight email list.
............. anyway, I'm dropping a line to let you know I really appreciate reading all the emails being sent. As hard as I've tried, due to scheduling, I have never been able to make it up to one of the meetings to get involved. I am a Corrections Officer at the Tioga County Prison and have been on 3-11 shifts until recently. I'm finally on 7-3 days !
I have not actually been too "dormant", however. If you are like Wes McKinney, you might think I am as crazy as he does, but I have endeavored into building an experimental ultralight helicopter. The design is after a micro-lite coaxial helo that was built and has been flying in Stockerau, Austria since 2004. . The one in this video is the only flying model to date. This might be changing here very soon..................
While Franz Schoffmann built his out of scratch parts from his garage, I have done some modifications, light changes and built mine out of aircraft aluminum & grade-8 hardware. We have approx. 25 individuals from all walks of life - America to Scotland, and Australia - working on similar projects. People like me (amatuer) to professional helo pilots. I had the hub professionally made by a machinist down-state. All else I have made myself. Most materials for the build were bought through Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. (some pictures attached). I have recently started the slow and detailed process of testing the machine. Initial run-up went very well with very little vibration and smooth operation all around. I'll be sticking to multiple ground tests and checks prior to any attempt at flight. Even in flight, this machine should never be pushed past a low 25 feet or so.
I figured I would pass this project along, as you might find it interesting.
Anyway, I hope you like the little helo project. Yes, it looks a bit scary, but Franz has been flying his little weight-shift helo for 6 years with no issues or problems at all - just have to know and stick to its limitations. Most get a bit freaked out by the 8-foot props / rotors overhead, but in PPG, the same is true - just on your back :-)
Thanks Mike!!  This is one neat project.  Please keep us updated on your progress!!
   Please meet Mr. Mike Reid!!  Helo Man.




  1. Very interesting. Looks like my hang glider frame without the wing.
    You have probably seen this project as well, but Im sure other's will find this link fascinating also.

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