Linda Weible talked her nephew, Grant Gardiner, into
the ride of his life Saturday afternoon.
Grant, 12, is accustomed to riding a horse or an all-terrain vehicle at
the sprawling Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland. But when Grant returns to
town, he'll be able to tell his buddies about flying in a powered
The 45-minute spin, courtesy of pilot Dwane Richardson, gave Grant a
bird's-eye view of the countryside. The boy was breathless when he
returned to solid earth after setting sail at 25 mph.
"That was fun - really fun," Grant said. "I was a little bit scared when
we took off. I didn't think I was up there very long. It was great fun."
Grant's aunt also flew in the second Central Kansas Powered Parachute
Fly-In. Morris Yoder's ranch, 3612 South Mohawk Road, will feature more
rides at 6:30 a.m. Memorial Day. Saturday afternoon's light winds and
partly cloudy skies were perfect for takeoff. The powered parachutes
don't take off if low clouds or winds higher than 15 mph exist.
"It was every bit worth $20," Weible said. "We even saw some cows that
looked like they were stuck in high water. That was all fun."
Tom Angell, retired from the Hutchinson Police Department, took up
parachute flying after a friend who works for the Reno County EMS
service started talking about it. Angell flew Cessnas and Piper
Cherokees in his younger days.
"But it was hard to justify the cost of flying at $50
an hour," Angell said. "But I've always loved flying. It's something I
always wanted to do again someday."
Angell considers Yoder's flight instruction in a two-seat craft a
perfect learning environment. Some instructors teach their students, who
fly in one-seat crafts, via radio communication.
"What I like about Morris' instruction is we fly together with dual
controls," Angell said. "We can talk back and forth about what we're
doing. Flying with an experienced pilot takes a lot of pressure off the
Angell said the pilots stress safety. Bombardier's Austrian-owned Rotax-designed
engines and parachutes are carefully inspected. The preflight routine of
making sure the parachute is sitting just right is crucial to getting
off the ground.
"Everything depends on the parachute being properly positioned," Angell
said. "You won't see anyone take off if the parachute isn't stretched
The powered parachutes aren't cheap. A used model can be bought for
$10,000, but noew PowraChute models cost $17,000. More than a hundred
people from a five-state area were expected for Saturday's fly-in.
Report Jim Misunas can be reached at email@example.com or by
calling (620) 694-57090, ext. 315.