Greatest new activity on St Croix!!
I'm a local here on St Croix and a new fun thing to do has arrived. Today, I flew around the island and Buck on a Ultralight. It has hang glider wings, a body, 2 seats and a prop. It flys at about 80MPH at 2000 ft. It took an hour to fly around the entire island and man was it cool. Check out www.flystcroix.com and talk to the instuctor. I think his name was Tracey... Totally worth the money. Got something to show my friends in addition to diving when they visit!! (tu)
How does this work? Does he give rides for free or do you play games and call this ride flight instruction?
As far as I am aware a weight-shift-controlled trike is considered a Light Sport Aircraft by the FAA. There are no commercial operations allowed in Light Sport Aircraft. IE no operations allowed for hire. This includes not only sightseeing tours but also single pilot operations like photography or inspection flights.
This type of operation has been discussed but has not yet been authorized. Make sure that they are insured.
A CFI is allowed to give flight instruction in a LSA or rent the LSA to a licensed pilot. It is a gray area when the purpose of the flight is really sightseeing but it is called a lesson, what do you spend your time doing on the flight?
The other question to ask is whether the aircraft is certified as an Experimental-LSA or Special-LSA. Special-LSA is a factory built version whereas Experimental-LSA is homebuilt. Experimental-LSA can only be used for flight instruction for the owner of the aircraft.
I'm a local here on St Croix and a new fun thing to do has arrived. Today, I flew around the island and Buck on a Ultralight. It has hang glider wings, a body, 2 seats and a prop. It flys at about 80MPH at 2000 ft.
Saw one hovering in the thermals over Udall like a frigate bird a few weeks ago during an early morning hike at Isaac's. Freaked the sh!t out of me!
Linda: The death of the cruise ship visitor was a tragic accident. There is risk in everything, but if you look at the number of people who go parasailing here in a year, this is the only fatal accident I have heard about. I think it is much more dangerous to get on a safari "bus". But rotorhead is asking the better questions. There was a guy here on St Thomas several years ago with a strange dinghy plane. He was shut down by licensing, I think.
My name is Tracy and I am the owner/operator of Fly St Croix. To answer a few questions and to clear up a few responses, this is what Fly St Croix does.
I offer primary and proficiency training, flight reviews and introductory flights for weight-shift controlled aircraft. All my flights are flight training, even the intro flights. The introductory flights consist of, at minimum: pre-flight inspection, checklist usage, passenger briefing, entering and exiting, control inputs, the 4 basics of flight (straight & level, climbs, descents & turns), normal takeoffs, collision avoidance, positive exchange of controls, airport markings, headings, wind considerations, pattern procedures, landings, taxi procedures and more. This is better than a tour, you actually learn about and get to "fly" the aircraft under my supervision.
I am a certified flight instructor (CFI) with the FAA. I have been flying weight-shift controlled aircraft for over 16 years and am proud of my 100% accident free safety record! The aircraft I fly and train in is a Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA), NOT an EXPERIMENTAL!!! It is factory built and certified. It also is professionally maintained, receiving every 100 hour condition inspections by a licensed FAA A&P mechanic. The aircraft is made in America (Florida) and has more avionics than most aircraft. It even has a ballistic parachute (which I've never had to use) for added safety, which very few other types of aircraft cam claim!
Fly St Croix is licensed and fully insured. Safety comes FIRST!!! I only fly when conditions are within the limits, making for a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Feel free to call me at 340-514-7740 with any other questions you might have!
I think the best way to see most of the island in a day is to run the St. Croix Scenic 50 mile ultramarathon:
It's a little more effort, but well worth it 🙂
The biggest shock to most will come when you are required to sign a liability waiver/hold harmless agreement. This is not normally required for a commercial flight but is normal for flight training. You are required to acknowledge that you are participating in a risky activity and that the flight instructor/operator is held harmless in all cases. You usually are required to promise never to file a lawsuit against the flight instructor/operator. Many flight schools post these on their websites. You can find a few by googling "liability waiver flight training"'.
This sounds like a good operation, I just wanted to make sure that people were aware of the difference between this and a normal commercial sightseeing operation.
That said, I would do this in a minute. It is the same with SCUBA diving, another risky activity that is very much fun.
It takes aprox 2 hours total time for a 1 hour flight (1 hour pre-flight instruction, 1 hour flight time). Some, not all of the items taught are ground time, the rest are demonstrated and performed while flying (hands on). Needless to say, the MOST EXCITING part is the flying! Most everybody talks about that and "how cool" it is as opposed to the ground instruction. If it wasn't fun and "cool", would anyone want to continue training? How would one know if this were something they would like to pursue if not first being introduced to it?
I flew in one of these back in the 80's while visiting the Barossa valley region of South Australia. Must have been after some wine tastings for sure. They pilot (well let's assume he was licensed) was a mad bugger and probably built the thing in his garage on the farm. We were cruising along at 1000 ft and he says over the radio "do you want to see what it's like to be a crop duster?". I said sure! Before I could blink he drops one wing and we fall rapidly toward the earth sideways for a bit before he drops the nose into a dive and levels out about 20ft, skimming the ground. Of course I was in my reckless 20's back then and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
I know nothing about the new local operation, but highly recommend the experience of flying in an ultralight. Glad to see a new attraction here on STX and wish the operator the best of luck. 😎
Tracy: I notice that your testimonials are all from Colorado this summer. When you say you are licensed, are you licensed in the VI?? And have VI liability insurance? I am surprised you were able to get that done so quickly, here in the land of the snail's pace, especially where new technologies are involved....
Probably much better than any other type of aircraft! A couple of points. The airspeed is slower than most. This aircraft has a ballistic parachute, which the manufacturer states will be effective at an altitude of only 500'. Both occupants wear helmets with headsets built into them. Both occupants wear PFD's (personal floatation devices) which are auto or manual inflated. I also carry a PLB (personal locating beacon) which works on the 406 MHz and 121.5 frequencies as well as GPS for locating by search and rescue/coast guard within 10'. The aircraft frame is made of welded chromoly steel and the body is made of a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber. Of course prevention is our best insurance! I WILL NOT FLY when conditions are outside the limits! There is a saying in aviation, "there are old pilots and bold pilots, but not old & bold pilots". I'm 51 yrs old!!! I'm not a youngster anymore! Guess which category I fit in. I also have been flying this type of aircraft for over 16 years.