I’ve been humming the tune, “Up, Up and Away” by the Fifth Dimension
and not because it is my favorite. I’ve been thinking about flight for the last several years, manned flight; perhaps manned by me. The
song must be my subconscious’ reaction to what is on my mind.
I’ve always loved airplanes. As a child, I received several airplane
magazines and would check out books about airplane engineering
whenever the bookmobile came to Viking. I remember the big fly-in held back in the seventies at the Thief River Falls Regional Airport.
This fly-in featured a large B-25 bomber from World War Two and
airplanes rides courtesy of Arctic Cat. My brother, Steve, had taken
me to the show and joined me for a flight. It must have made an
impression on me because it has been almost forty years and I’m
writing about it.
Somewhere during my teens, I got a little scared of flight. One of
the older guys at my high school died while working as a spray-plane
pilot and I decided flight would not be my avocation. Every time I
read about a plane accident, the idea of flight became more distant.
After graduation, I took a flight to basic training which was awful.
I had always heard that bags would be provided if my stomach became
sick but no such bags were present so I just breathed deeply, thought
happy thoughts and waited for the plane to land.
Early adulthood was my first try at a large jet plane. I thought as
we left Grand Forks that this plane was simply a cattle car with
wings. It was rough and the person I flew was more worried than me. I
had to act confident and say that everything was going to be okay
when the main thought running through my brain was that we were going
to die on that flight.
Okay, so I still have the flying bug. Paraplanes are basically a
go-cart tube frame with a parachute mounted on top and a propeller on
the back. I thought this might be a simple solution to my need for
flight so I searched Youtube video of paraplanes. Unfortunately, the
top two pages were basically all paraplane accidents. I decided that
cheating death wasn’t the way I wanted to explore the skies and so
kicked the idea to the curb.
I’ve tried remote-controlled helicopters. Most of these come with a
label that states you must be ten years old to fly one. I believe
they should say you must be UNDER ten years of age to fly one. I have
had zero luck trying to work the controls properly and my last
helicopter ended up in a tree and lost to the ages.
I thought about the simplicity of which I so often now speak. I
thought about my need for some sort of flight experience. I thought
of how I enjoyed paper airplanes as a young man. I searched around
the internet for a new spin on paper airplanes and found it. There is
a small power unit now sold for less than $15 dollars made to mount
on a paper airplane. As long as you can fold a flyable plane, this
little motor and battery unit fits seamlessly into the main fold of
the plane and uses a small pusher propeller to power your paper
airplane through the sky.
I tried the “Powerup” paper airplane unit a few days ago. It required
nothing of me other than to design a good paper airplane and slide
the power unit into place. To let go of the plane and allow it to fly
where it wanted was the very freedom I sought. It was a voyage
without strings, nauseas or chance of death; a simple, windless,
sunny flight back in time.