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The Adventure unfolds...
Click below for updates:
Feb 14, 2005
Feb 23 - Camarillo,CA
Feb 24 - Test flight
Feb 28 - Blythe,CA
Mar 1 - Casa
Mar 2 -
Mar 4 - Coolidge,AZ
Mar 5 -
Mar 6 -
Mar 8 - The Pup
Mar 11 -
Mar 12 - Test
Mar 15 - Got
Mar 16 -
Mar 21 - Reflection and a new plan!
A closer look!
A closer look!
The "Make it happen folks!"
Greenville to Dexter
Coast to Coast #1
It has been quite a long
time since we last updated the American Spirit PPC website. A lot has
been happening in my life since the flight across America in the 2
seat Trainer PPC.
During the summer following the last big flight I had my third major
back surgery, and it was a mixed blessing. I had a terrible recovery
and gave up PPC flying for about a year, even sold all of my
Once I had recovered from having titanium steel rods and screws
installed to hold my spine together, I bought a single seat PPC and
flew it for a while to be sure that I could still fly safely before
taking any passengers. Later I sold that one and bought a 2 seat
Trainer again and got back into the sport with a renewed drive.
Since that time I have learned with the help of Don Stutts, a
prominent PPC designer, and others, how to build powered parachutes
from scratch. I have built 3 planes so far and even designed this
latest one, which I call the Mini Me. It is basically a scaled down
version of my favorite 2-seat design with a few personal touches.
Why the name Mini Me? One reason is because it is a scaled down
version as mentioned above. Another reason is because I had gained
weight terribly to the point of weighing 265 pounds and wearing 54
waist pants! I have since reduced myself to a Mini Me and now weigh
195 pounds and wear a 36 waist pants.
The Mini Me was designed and built with the thoughts of flying it
across America. It was a challenge flying the Trainer across America
the last time, but this will be many times the challenge. While the
Trainer had a 10-gallon fuel tank and a second seat to carry gear
in, and there was always a person chasing in the truck, this time will
not be so luxurious.
The Mini Me is a 100% legal Ultralight vehicle and meets the
requirements of FAR 103. The empty weight is less than 225 pounds
including all of the accessories. With a full fuel tank (5-gallons)
the gross weight of the plane is still less than 255 pounds.
Steve and the Mini Me, November 2004:
The planned route for March 2005:
The flight across America in the Mini Me is set to begin around the
first of March 2005 from Camarillo, California. It will follow much of
the previously flown route, but is a bit different. The path is
straightened out as much as possible and still avoids congested areas
and restricted airspaces. It starts a little further north and also
ends further north than the previous flight. The final destination
will be Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Both the beginning and
final airports have a control tower so this is a new twist for my
flights as well.
This flight will have another twist besides being done in a FAR 103
Ultralight PPC. It will also be done without a dedicated chase crew. I
plan to ship the Mini Me to Camarillo, and catch a commercial flight
out to LAX. I will have some help along the way from volunteers as
many have already volunteered ground support in various parts of the
country. Where there are no volunteers I will have to be resourceful
and determined in order to obtain fuel, oil, food and lodging. That
should be enough to keep things interesting!
Chris East is volunteering her time and resources to maintain this
website, like she did on the prior flight. Chris and many other people
have come together already to help make this flight a success. I have
received many offers of help in various forms, from advice, to goods,
services and cash. An undertaking of this magnitude is expensive and I
very much appreciate all of the help that I can get. Soon we will have
a section on this site devoted to acknowledging those that have made
contributions to help the cause. If you would like to help in any way,
please e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or send your
1828 Hopkins Road
Murray. KY 42071
We will add your name to the list of contributors unless you request
that we do not.
Check back to the website often to see the updates. Once the flight
gets underway we will be updating every few days as I have the
opportunity to send in my reports and photos, like we did on the last
Have a good one!
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