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An astronaut checks out my e bike, sort of.

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    An astronaut checks out my e bike, sort of.

    I was at an aviation event in Montana this weekend, and had a brief encounter with retired astronaut and Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman, now a spry and fit 88 years old. His list of achievements in all things aviation and space is much too long to post here, let's just say he's been there and done that, twice.

    He was walking by my plane, that still had my E Montague stowed in it's usual place, and I asked him if he'd like to see something in aviation he probably hadn't seen before. Remember, he flew the first space mission that first orbited the back side of the moon, so he was one of the first humans to lay eyes on the backside. As we neared my plane I went into my now practiced summation of the unique capabilities of the folding Montague combined with the BBSHD, Rohloff hub, 2 wheel folding Travoy trailer, 9 gallon Nauta fuel bladder, and my "bushed out" (special mods for landing off airport) Rans S-7S kitplane.

    I can blurt all this out in a pretty short time, and I ended up as usual making my main point: that this combo of features allows me to be free of the need to land at airports to get very expensive (at least $2.00 more a gallon, as much as 3) and LEADED Av gas, but allows me to use the much less expensive, lead free, Mo gas/car gas. I paid $2.25 a gallon this weekend. My combo of equipment is pretty unique, as in I'm the only pilot I know operating this way, and it slashes my flying expenses to the bone and of course I also have the usual fun you can have on a E bike.

    Now maybe I talked too fast, or maybe my explanation was too technical and he, (Master of Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Tech, past professor of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics at West Point, pilot since age of 15, holder of Congressional Space Medal of Honor award, enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame, Air Force fighter pilot, Society of Experimental Test Pilots member, Harmon Trophy winner, to name just a few of his accomplishments) just couldn't keep up, it was too much to soak in. But when I finished he looked me in the eye and said "you have a nice day now," and walked off to his pristine T-34 and flew off to his nearby ranch.

    I don't know what I expected, maybe an "atta boy, looks like fun," or even, "why don't you just radio ahead like I do, and have the fuel truck waiting for you?" But my little operation was so far out of his realm of vast experience, he just didn't get it I guess. I'm pretty sure he didn't have to run around getting Apollo 8 fueled up himself, and Air Force ground crews probably fueled the fighters he flew. Ha ha, I doubt he has EVER had to get his own fuel for anything he's flown. REAL pilots get their own fuel, via E bike, that's what I should have told him!

    Enough flying BS, earlier that morning I had rode 3.5 miles up a gravel road back uphill to the airport I had left the plane at, from the small town I had spent the night at. One hand on the handlebar and thumb throttle, the other with a large to go coffee, drinking it as I rode. I put over 30 miles on the bike running around several small Montana towns this weekend, what a great set up, having a fun way to get around while grounded. The only glitch in the whole weekend was that the sensor embedded in the pavement that raises the security gate to get OUT of the airport was not activated by me and the bike, so I had to climb a 10' fence with barb wire at the top to get out, so I could open the frigging gate with the keypad outside, the watching cattle seemed to be amused.

    Thats a great story, and having an ebike system that can easily do 20 miles with no pedaling is serious range, (and of course can be pedaled as much as you like, and pedaled after the battery is used up).

    Can you charge the battery of the ebike from the plane while flying? (24V?)


    • CPG
      CPG commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, at almost 2 amps!