Electric is hot! Even in a dull economy with sluggish airplane sales, the spark of electric power is crackling with life. Numerous projects have been announced and organizations like EAA are making way for electric airplanes to showcase themselves at big shows like AirVenture. *** Now, from an Italian manufacturer comes the work of world champion hang glider pilot, Manfred Ruhmer, and his Icaro 2000 electric weight-shift trike. *** OK, you may be a pilot who wants structure around yourself and perhaps a glass cockpit with autopilot or the maximum speed permissible. But check out the video below. To me, it looks like a dream… very low noise (except for a whir from the prop blades — blades that fold back when you cut power); easy, one-handed flying; a low cost way to see the countryside on a pretty day. The video showed the electric-powered trike being flown by an expert but I can imagine the fun I could have with this.
John K. Moody is widely acclaimed as the “Father of Ultralights,” and he makes effective use of that unique title to publicize his new millennium act featuring his last millennium ultralight.
Is Moody really the father of ultralights or the first to fly one? Several other enthusiasts were experimenting with power units for various kinds of hang gliders in the mid-1970s when Moody started. His distinction was that he was the first person to foot-launch and climb from flat terrain without benefit of wind or a slope.
I saw Moody fly in the summer of 1975 when he performed before about 250 hang glider pilots in a contest on the sand dunes near Frankfort, perched on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. He began this risky behavior on March 15, 1975, above a frozen lake southwest of Milwaukee, at age 32.
Into almost still winds at the end of a day of hang-gliding competition, Moody ran his heart out and coaxed his Icarus II biwing hang glider off the beach with a 10-hp West Bend engine giving him some push.