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Illinois Style: Ultralight Trikes Are Motorcycles of the Air

The ultralight tricycle is a propeller-fueled hang glider with wheels and seats. One builder of the device is Tom Grimm of Earlville, Illinois. When he pulls the wing of the trike to the right, the vehicle banks and veers to the left, and when Grimm pulls the control bar left, the trike moves to the right. Grimm has spent around 600 hours flying his trike, and the machine has typical speeds of between 60 miles per hour and 70 miles per hour when airborne. Flight in an ultralight trike is controlled by shifting weight, and operating its triangular control bar moves the aircraft's center of gravity. Pushing the control bar forward moves the center of gravity back and moves the nose up, causing the trike to travel slower. Trikes are typically flown at an altitude of between 1,000 feet and 2,000 feet, and a significant number can reach 10,000 feet. While the majority of trikes are produced in Europe or Australia, they are increasing in popularity in the United States. Trikes generally cost twice as much as ultralights.

October 17, 2008

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