Discover PA: flying the Pennsylvania skies

“This is my second midlife crisis”, explained one of the pilots. “I traded in my motorcycle and boat after taking my first ride in one of these [ultralight flyer] planes -- there’s nothing else like the feeling of being free.”

A version of this statement was heard from many of the almost one hundred flyers at the 23rd Annual Father’s Day Fly-In. The three-day festival was held south of Dillsburg, PA at the Shreveport North Airport and sponsored by The Mason-Dixon Sports Flyers, celebrating twenty-five years as a club.

The event was a non-stop smorgassboard of low-flying aircraft (fixed winged ultrilights, weight shift ultralights, powered hang gliders, powered parachutes, helicopters, and gyrocopters) that sported something for the whole family. Whether it be the fly-by, parade of sports cars, toy drop, pilot games, or the movies and popcorn on the flight line, the weekend was too short.

Especially since the weather was picture perfect. Powered parachutes and hang gliders were out at the crack of dawn, taking advantage of the lower wind speeds, while the larger aircraft took to the clouds in the afternoon, showcasing what their unique flying machine could do.

How does someone get involved in ultralight flying?
Some of the pilots flew remote control airplanes and wanted to go to the next level, others claimed to be adrenaline junkies who got involved to quench their thrill-seeking thirst, a few saw an advertisement to build their own flying machine, while the majority said it simply took one ride to be hooked.

The next step was to get involved with an ultralight flight community. The United States Utralight Association (USUA) has a listing of almost fifty clubs around the country to join. Most of these organizations have fly-ins, like the one in the Dillsburg area, which give people a taste of what ultralight flying is all about.

“It’s about having fun...and enjoying freedom in the air,” said Capital Area Light Flyers’ safety and training member Lee Fritz. Both were obvious at this event.

On a personal note, I took a ride -- and now I’m hooked!


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