Friday, July 05, 2013

Experimental aircraft draw lots of attention at flight breakfast: Estherville Municipal Airport

Experimental aircraft drew a lot of attention at the 6th annual flight breakfast at the Estherville Municipal Airport.

The breakfast was sponsored by the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Terry Osher of Wallingford flew in his Challenger which he bought in Spencer a year ago. Osher has been flying ultralights for 14 years, but his flying goes back much further. He got his pilot's license in 1971. His father used to crop spray and Osher flagged fields and his dad would let him fly the plane back.

Osher's Challenger comes complete with radio and intercom.

"It makes it just like you're flying a real aircraft," he said.

The Challenger will cruise at 65 and with capacity of two hours fuel, it has a range of 100 miles. Osher usually flies it at 500 feet but he's had it up to 4,000.

Osher actually bought his first plane in 1968 when he was a senior in high school.

"I never got a new car in high school but I got a used airplane," he explained, saying he paid $3,200 for it.

He's also had a Cessna 172, T-Bird ultralight, Piper Pawnee spray plane, a two-cylinder T-Bird and two air coupes.

All in all, though, he says the Challenger is probably his favorite.

"It's not the fastest but it's fun."

Paul Slaughter, manager of the Estherville Airport, was giving rides in his Sea Rey made by Progressive Aerodyne. He and Gary Haney totally rebuilt the aircraft, taking two years to do it.

The plane is set up as a flotation aircraft and cruises at about 90 with a four-hour range.

"This is not an airplane for going long distances," Slaughter explained.

The plane has a 100-horsepower 912 cc engine and Slaughter typically cruises at 5,200 RPM. Life jackets and a bilge pump are standard equipment. Slaughter explained that the landing gear pivot up and the tail wheel tucks up.

Sea Reys are found mainly in Florida as well as along the East Coast, eastern Great Lakes, Canada and West Coast.

"This is the only one in Iowa though," Slaughter said, adding there are also three in Minnesota, 25-30 in Australia and some in China, Europe and probably one in South America.

Slaughter flies the plane and lands on High Lake, West Swan Lake and Tuttle Lake.

At Thursday's flight breakfast, he was giving rides, including one to Wesley Eide, 88, who seemed a lot more eager than nervous about getting a ride and landing on the water.

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