Day 2: The Ultralight Runway (The Fun Fly Zone!)

Thomson Meeks

Day 2


The Ultralight runway is one of the only places at AirVenture where regular pilots can actually fly during the event!  I had no idea that most pilots who fly here park their planes and don’t fly them again until it’s time to leave.  The fun fly zone is just a small grass strip at the far south end of the airport.  There are so many different types of flying craft in the fun fly zone.  The ultralight runway is where you can watch fixed wings, powered canopies, rotorcraft and auto-gyros (which are super cool to see fly).   In addition to ultralights, there are also some light sport aircraft that get to join the fun.  Around the strip, some of the ultralight manufacturers have booths set up incase you would like to learn more.  If ask extra nice, you might be able to snag a ride for a small fee. ($35 for one if I remember)


The whole ultralight area gives out such a family vibe!  Whenever the flying starts (usually around dawn at dusk due when the wind is quiet), the announcers climb up to the roof (deck) of a small reviewing stand.  They are super knowledgeable about all the aircraft and the pilots-you can tell that they are genuinely having fun!  Spectators fill the stands and also the fence line around the runway.  The announcer narrates flight ops describing the aircraft and interesting stuff about the builder/pilot.  Each pilot takes turns flying the pattern so everybody can enjoy lots of take offs and landings.

I caught some of the rotorcraft ops this afternoon.  Can you imagine flying a helicopter you built from a kit?  Amazing!


It’s just so much fun to see all these different contraptions flying around.  One of my favorites are the powered-parachute backpack!  It’s basically a propeller that they put on like a big, really weird backpack that has a canopy overhead.  They are super quiet and looks like an absolute blast.  Had there been a tandem, I would have begged for a ride!

Even though it’s a ways from the center of the action, it’s pretty easy to get to.  Just hop on a blue tram headed south, and you’ll be there in no time.

Have fun and tell me how it was over on Twitter!


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