From the Cockpit Part 29: Ikarus C42

Ryan Flies

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY JUL 20, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is part 29 of an ongoing series documenting the flights of active-duty US Navy Pilot Ryan Rankin on his journey to fly 52 planes in 52 weeks through the year 2017.

Flying doesn’t have to be about pushing the limits or getting that adrenaline rush. Sometimes flying is just about relaxing—about soaring through the air, seeing the sights and taking joy in the wonder of flight. And after a busy two weeks flying around the UK taking off from Lincoln, England with Colin Law in his Ikarus C42, Rankin found exactly that.

A pharmacist by trade, Law’s passion for flight doesn’t come from past military service or thrill seeking, but in that pure enjoyment of the act. And the C42 fits perfectly. German-built and introduced in the late ‘90s, the C42 forgoes the fancy for a relatively stripped down flying machine designed to comfortably and efficiently cruise the skies alone or with a friend. Powered by a Rotax 912 engine (a common and reliable engine Rankin has encountered many times this year) and comprising largely of a cockpit and a simple support beam wrapped in Kevlar-like material extending out as the tail and body. A “pleasure craft,” says Rankin, the C42 found its fans as a safe and easy-to-maintain craft. Minus many of the frills of more expensive craft, “a lot less can go wrong,” he says.

Flying over the English countryside for roughly half an hour or so, Rankin revels in the change of scenery and its green rolling hills—and its history. With Law as his guide, the pair flies low, picking out details. They look down on Lincoln Cathedral—once the tallest building in the world, a title claimed from the Great Pyramid of Giza in 1311 and lost to St. Mary’s Church in Stralsund, Germany in 1549—and Law points out the numerous WWII-era airstrips dotting the countryside, some still active, others still bearing marks of the war.

It’s the decompression that Rankin needs, and he slips into the zone, just flying to fly. In a simple craft like the C42, it’s just him and the sky. “You can just take a second and let the moment last a little while longer,” he says. With every flight, Rankin dips again into the stream that is the history of aviation and wonders at the opportunity. “It’s incredible how far we’ve come,” he says.

For more about the flight in Rankin's own words and a video of the flight, follow the link below.

Pictured: Ryan Rankin and Colin Law fly the Ikarus C42. Photo courtesy of Ryan Rankin.

Ryan Flies

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