When you cover aviation as we do at AVweb, a certain siege mentality sets in. The field is broad, literally and geographically, and as with every other aspect of journalism these days, we work with minimal resources and even less time. So when we venture afield to try a new airplane or shoot a video of a show or a new product, everything is chop-chop, hurry it up, get done, move on to the next thing.
In this hectic environment, it's easy to lose sight of why we fly in the first place, which is often for the pure fun of flying little airplanes just for the hell of it. I am especially susceptible to this because one of my dozens of character flaws is an unyielding adherence to the practical. I expect expensive things to deliver practical advantages that make them worth the money you pay to have them. So I need people like Kerry Richter to rock my world once in awhile.
Richter is president of Progressive Aerodyne and co-designer of the SeaRey LSX light sport amphib. Jeff Van West and I ventured into the heart of steamy Florida yesterday to give the airplane and whirl and shoot some video, which will be posted on AVweb shortly. Seaplanes and amphibs add a dimension to flying that's hard to grasp until you spend a little time flying on and off the water. And boats that fly kick that up a notch or two, in my view.
As we were shooting the video, Richter offered to do some landings close in to the shore so I could get some footage. At one point, he was doing vigorous step taxi turns, engine screaming, geysers of water blasting off the hull, with the airplane's sliding canopies open on both sides. What's left of Van West's hair was blowing in the breeze and the two of them were grinning like six-year-old kids just off a roller coaster.
Looking at the video later, I realized that this is an aspect of flying that the LSA communityand especially people like Richterreally have figured out or, more accurately, have never forgotten. The LSA segment was supposed toand iscarrying the flag for pure, recreational flying.
But to appreciate it, you have to take the time to actually fly any of these airplanes you might actually be interested in. Yes, you can read our reviews or watch the videos, but that's not enough. You actually have to sit in the seat. It's worth the time, effort and whatever money it takes. It's a good enough tonic to coax even a skinflint like me ever close to buying an LSA.
Watch the video and you might agree.