Western PA Ultralights 2012

I just returned from a great fly-in event in McIntyre, PA. This was the first annual Western PA Ultralight Fly-in. It was another chance to toss the camping gear in the Tornado and fly somewhere. The 81 mile flight from Bellefonte was directly into a 15-20 MPH headwind which slowed my progress, but that just gave me more sight seeing time.

I got a little altitude to stay above Black Moshannon state park. There are not many safe landing opportunities on this area, except for Mid State airport.

My path took me just north of Prince Galitzin lake and park. 

This is Jimmy Stewart airport in Indiana, PA.  Actor Jimmy Stewart was born in Indiana and the town is quite proud of that. The airport building has a lot of Jimmy Stewart artifacts on display. “Merry Christmas Mr Potter!” 

McIntyre is a little east of Pittsburgh and lies between a couple power plants.  This one is south of the field and makes a good landmark.

When I arrived at MacIntyre the wind was still blowing too much for the ultralights to fly, so the other pilots were all on the ground. The field has a mostly shale base, but it's fairly smooth. A collection of makeshift hangers line one side of the runway, and on the other was a pavilion where most of the crowd was gathered.

later in the evening the wind died down and everyone flew. This is Rick, the event organizer, out for a little evening sortie.

Rick and the gang rolled out the hospitality providing a welcoming, social, fun environment.  Mixie, who owns the field, brought over some delicious stuffed sweet peppers.  Rick and crew grilled up sausage for sandwiches, and there was pork, corn on the cob, and a lot of other goodies to eat and drink.  In the morning Rick was at it again making breakfast tortillas.

After breakfast several more ultralights flew in, including these two old Pterodactyls, and plans for the days flying were finalized.

Eight of us fired up our engines and headed for Davis field, north of Indiana. I took off last because the Tornado is quite a bit faster than the other airplanes in the group. Plus, I didn't know where we were going! 

We all arrived safely at Davis field. Joe Davis has a super piece of real estate that sits atop a hill making the approach and departure very easy, and he has done an amazing job with the runway.

It was very exciting to see this amount of ultralight activity again. 

The group is quite active and enjoys dropping in at the various private fields in the area.

I said so long to the gang and headed back home. On the way I was rewarded with a 15 MPH tailwind giving me a ground speed of 100 MPH.

I climbed over the scattered cloud layer and cruised back to Bellefonte. 

What a fun weekend.  I want to thank Mixie, Rick, Sean, AJ and the rest of the crew that worked to make this event possible.  This brought together a great bunch of pilots that just plain love to fly.  Their machines are simple and inexpensive (relatively) but that doesn't limit the amount of enjoyment that they get out of them.  We often get discouraged looking at the price and complexity of the newest go-fast homebuilt with all of the bells and whistles.  If that happens to you I would suggest that you drop in to McIntyre, PA and get a first hand look at pure flying fun.  Can't wait till next year!