I used to go to university in Boston and then, afterwards, do research at the University of California in San Diego. Those two cities are close to my heart, even though they are very far apart from each other. Not just geographically. Boston is the rambunctious, rebel where San Diego is laid back Dude town. Boston is the little sister of New York, and San Diego is the step-cousin twice removed of Los Angeles. But by some inexplicable irk of my personality I love them both.
I had left the U.S. in 1998 and really felt it. And then, in the winter of 2008, an idea formed: why not be the first to fly all the way across North America in an ultralight gyrocopter, on a route from Boston to San Diego.
I convinced my friend Robert, also a pilot, to go on an epic adventure together. All it took was an evening and a few bottles of excellent red wine and we had hatched out a great plan.
We were going to disassemble our gyros in Austria, ship them to Boston, meet them there and put them together. Then fly to San Diego, where we would dismantle them again to be shipped back home.
Sounds simple? Well it ain’t, ma boy! There’s shipping laws, customs, aircraft licensing issues, pilot license validation problems, etc. But in the end it all worked out. We got them there.
Then we flew to San Diego in 11 days. And returned home.
Yes, I realize that the interesting part is the flight and you probably want to hear more about it. Well, without giving anything away: it had it all! So much of it, actually, that it would be impossible to cover in one blog post. So I have several options for you:
- I made a short video documentary of the flight. Downside: it’s in German. But you still see the pictures. And one day I will get around to adding subtitles.
- When we arrived in San Diego in one piece, there was a TV station waiting for us. They included a little blurb in their evening news. Here it is:
- Before the time blogs were the fad, I actually kept a “travelogue”. Yes, what today you’d call #travelogue or #Boston2SanDiegoInAGyro. It starts with all the preparatory planning and a detailed day-by-day account of the trip with photos. In English. If you want to skip all the prelims, the actual trip part starts on May 16, 2009 (page 7, I believe).
Travelog on Rotaryforum.com
- Here is a write-up in German with individual photos, sorted chronologically.