Mosquitos Invade Gilchrist County?
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
For the price of a nice, new car, you can buy a nice, new...ultralight helicopter. Chopper lovers of all ages and all places descended on Trenton to get a look, and take a ride. It's not hard to see how easy it is to get hooked.
These Mosquitos have a buzz too. But unlike the insects, they don't bite. It's part of the first helicopter fly-in held by Composite FX, an ultralight helicopter manufacturer based in Trenton.
"I think people are mesmerized by helicopters because at heart, i think that everyone would like to hover," says Dwight Junkin, CEO Composite FX they like the idea of a hummingbird and the helicopter is the only vehicle in the world you can do that with."
Pilots have come from as far away as thailand to hover in florida.
Cam Habeger put his green mosquito in a trailer and hauled it 2200 miles from Minnesota. It took him 350 manhours and two years to build... completing the project in 2005.
"Owning a Mosquito is kind of a rare thing," says Habeger. "There's not a whole lot of Mosquito owners so it's a great opportunity to get together with other owners and share stories and tech tips."
But it wasn't just owners who showed up for the day Saturday. Gary Nicely drove down from Lake City with his two kids Noah and Elizabeth to see the Mosquitos dart around.
"I think the kids would love it," says Gary Nicely. "I would love it, so we came down to see what it's all about."
"I think it's awesome!", says Noah.
Enthusiasts could also take a look around where the helicopters are manufactured. About 30-thousand dollars will buy you a kit so you can build your own. 37 thousand dollars will purchase a ready-made and tested one.
"Yeah, that's not bad," says Nicely. "That's the price of a car nowadays."
Though you don't need a pilot's license to fly an ultralight, I wasn't about to try. But I was glad there were a few larger helicopters where i could just enjoy the view...and take a quick trip around Trenton. I spotted Trenton Elementary School, the water tower and the field of Mosquitos before it was time to turn around.
"This is the only company that you can buy a kit, get it shipped to your home, you can build the thing in your garage over time and you can actually fly it legally without written permission," says Junkin.
The FAA puts weight and gas tank restrictions on ultralight helicopters. But as long as you meet those, you don't need a license or registration. For more information, you can check out their website at www.innovatortech.ca.
A special thanks goes out to Gary Marquis for letting me ride along.
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