Monday, June 15, 2009

Zooming over Nha Trang Bay

10:52' 15/06/2009 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge - High-flying trikes could soon be a common sight around Nha Trang on the central coast.

Mai Linh Group has been test-flying motorized hang gliders at Do Island in Nha Trang Bay and will make them available to the public soon. The trikes, as they are commonly known, can reach an altitude of 3,000 meters but will be restricted to 150 meters, according to a regional executive of Ho Chi Minh City-based Mai Linh.

Ho Minh Chau, Mai Linh’s general director for the south central region and the Central Highlands, said each test flight lasted less than 20 minutes.

Similarly, they can reach 70kph but will be restricted to 48kph for paying customers, he said.

Quite a few people have been invited to take a test flight.

One woman who claimed to be scared of heights described it as “sensational.” Another said flying in a motorized glider gave him a feeling of lightness and wonder.

The trikes have two seats (one for the pilot), a three-blade propeller and a boat-like bottom for sitting in the sea. The wingspan exceeds 11 meters and the fuel tank at the rear can hold 40 liters.

Donning a crash helmet and seat belt is a must before take- off. When everything is ready, the glider rolls down the sand into the water and lifts off when it reaches sufficient speed.

Chau says Mai Linh plans to operate five trikes for tourists in Nha Trang.

Anyone wanting to leave the pilot behind and go it alone will have to produce a flying certificate from the Vietnam Aviation Institute in Nha Trang.

To be certified requires completing a training course and getting in 21 hours of flying practice.

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