Golden State Trikes
Flying For Your Pleasure
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Douglas Donaldson – Flying Bio

    Private Pilot, Airplane - 1973
    Instrument rating - 1975
    Commercial Pilot, Glider - 1978
    USUA Pilot and Basic Flight Instructor, Weight-Shift - 2001
    Sport Pilot and Sport Pilot Instructor, Weight-Shift - 2005
    Light Sport Repairman Maintenance for Airplane, Powered Parachute, Weight-Shift - 2006

First Flights: Schweizer 2-22 glider and Piper Cherokee at the old Antioch Airport in California. Jerry Graham instructed in both and enjoyed soaring the Cherokee on the slopes of Mount Diablo (engine off!). I’m just a kid but I know this is something special. First Formal Instruction: 10 hours in 1970 while vacationing in Hawaii. The weather was great and the scenery wasn’t bad either! More time in a Cherokee. Solo: 1972 in Colorado flying a Cessna 150. Private Pilot: 1973 in Oakland, California. Back to a trusted Cherokee – this time an Arrow (200 HP, retractable gear, variable pitch prop). Instrument Rating: 1975 in Oakland. Still in the Arrow. Solo, Glider: 1977 in Calistoga, CA. Jim Indrebo operates a gliderport that is literally in the middle of downtown. The scenery in the upper Napa Valley rivals Kawaii. I learn to soar in thermals above the vineyards, ridge lift along the bluffs, and even in occasional mountain wave lift. I fly Schweizers again (2-32, 2-33, 1-26, 1-34, 1-35) and a PIK-20. Commercial Glider: 1978 in Calistoga. I am hooked and buy a used Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus. Dark Ages: A combination of life’s twists and turns takes me down a path that leads away from flying (marriage, children, divorce, etc. – flying becomes too expensive). In my desperation I ride motorcycles, mountain bikes, rollerblades, and skis while keeping one eye on the sky. Renaissance: The lure of the skies becomes unbearable again and I resume my flying. I will fly a helicopter (fantastic but I can’t afford it), earn my Hang 1 rating in Hang Gliders from Pat Denevan at Mission Soaring in Milpitas CA (this is a lot of work – my shoulders and knees can’t take it), and fly Jim Indrebo’s newest two place sailplane (a glass Schleicher) at his new location, Crazy Creek Soaring in Middletown CA (near Clear Lake). I even take a lesson in a 3-axis Flight Star at Fletcher’s Ultralights in Turlock CA. Then I discover Trikes … Ultralight Trikes: John Fletcher takes me up in his 52 horsepower Hercules trike with Mustang 17.5 wing. We fly low and slow, landing in a nearby field just because we can. This is the bare essence of powered flight with the wind in my face and the wing in my hand. I remember everything I enjoyed about flying! I start instruction, progress rapidly through solo, buy my own NorthWing Apache, earn my Pilot registration and continue on to obtain a USUA Basic Flight Instructor registration in July 2001. Ultralight Trike Flight Instruction: I build experience flying for Fletcher’s Ultralights giving demonstration lessons and pilot flight lessons. I share the thrill my students enjoy during their first flights, take-offs, landings, solos, etc. and I am proud of their progress. Not every operation is picture perfect but the Apache takes the abuse in stride – it proves to be a good trainer with a gentle wing and powerful engine. My students learn quickly! I am a happy man. Golden State Trikes - Lodi: I have developed my own style of teaching, my own attitudes about safety and maintenance, and my own record of safe and successful instruction and now I have my own school. Lodi Airport is a great facility with an active community of responsible ultralight flyers, parachute jumpers, and general aviation pilots. The Apache is retired and replaced with a new Antares trike. A great set-up that I expect to last a long time! In July, 2005 I travel to fly with John Beaman in Oregon. He is a graduate of the first class of Sport Pilot Examiners and I am the first Sport Pilot/Sport Pilot Instructor he examines.

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