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Easy Riser Ultralight

Easy Riser Ultralight Story
About our Easy Riser Ultralight
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Easy Riser Ultralight Story

The Easy Riser ultralight - an early version is shown above - was created and first piloted by John Moody, now known as The Father of Ultralights.   The Easy Riser was based on the Icarus II hang glider, but fitted with a chain-saw engine.   Moody equipped it with a two-cycle McCulloch 101 engine, and called the resulting aircraft the first registered, experimental, homebuilt, foot-launched, powered hang glider.

The Easy Riser was controlled by weight-shifting.   It was first demonstrated in 1976 at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual convention.   Moody’ s Easy Riser went through a few unscheduled maneuvers and was nearly banned from future events.   Moody was able to convince the organizers that the wild flight was unplanned and unintentional, and the ultralight category was born. Moody opened Ultralight Flying Machines of Wisconsin, and his customers included Bill Lishman, whose more advanced version of the Easy Riser is now part of TAM's collection.

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About Our Easy Riser Ultralight

Our Easy Riser, C-IBYE, shown above, is the very same aircraft used by Bill Lishman to train a flock of Canada Geese to migrate south.

As a young boy, Lishman joined the Air Cadets because he wanted to fly.   But a mandatory eye test revealed he was colour blind, stopping him from becoming a conventional pilot.

So, he decided to become an unconventional one, and used his ultralight-piloting skills in 1988 to lead a flock of 12 Canada geese on local flights.   In doing so, he made ornithological and aviation history. Then, in 1994, he and partner Joseph Duff together led the first aircraft migration of 18 geese from Ontario to Virginia.   You can read more about this adventure in Lishman's book,  "Father Goose".

The Easy Riser is a custom piece of technical art with clear mylar covered shiny aluminum wings.   Assembly and disassembly takes about an hour.   Weight is 185 lbs fully fueled , wingspan is 28', height 7.5' and length is 15.5'.   The biplane configuration gives it a load strength of +6G -4G.   With a top speed of 55 mph, the Easy Riser cruises at 48 mph and stalls at 20 mph — though the latter is a "non-event", in that the plane simply begins to settle with the nose held up by the canard.

Bill Lishman tells of herding a flock of wild geese back toward his Purple Hill home in a desperate attempt to recover his experimental group, only to realize later that his tame Canada geese had already landed and were waiting for him.   Obviously, it is maneuverable enough to turn with a goose in flight.   When he tried to make the Easy Riser spin for a crash into a cornfield scene in the movie, it simply would not do it.   Under full power - all 24 hp - drag from cables and struts keeps it from exceeding the top speed. The original foot-launched Easy Riser was weight-shift controlled, resulting in some early accidents due to PIO (pilot induced oscillation).   Bill’s version is flown with a single stick — no pedals — connected to wingtip drag rudders.   These bank the aircraft perfectly: in fact, he says it is impossible to make uncoordinated turns or to cross-control.   One drawback is that landings and takeoffs must be generally into the wind rather than cross-wind — but then that is the way the birds do it, too.

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