Monday, October 01, 2007

Fly like a Sky Gypsy

By Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY

RODEO, N.M. — At sunrise, John McAfee guides his kite-winged aircraft between granite spires in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona, then yells to his back-seat passenger: "Hang on now, and don't panic."

The winged tricycle dives into a slalom run through Cave Creek Canyon, skirting the tips of giant Ponderosa pines and dodging rock formations at 85 mph as it reaches the desert floor.

This is aerotrekking, an evolving new sport that brings human aviators almost down to earth, but not quite. The idea is to follow terrain, skimming a few feet above the ground, visiting wild and beautiful places that could never be reached on foot or by car.

To the chagrin of some environmentalists and neighbors, McAfee, founder of McAfee Software, has spent $12 million completing an airfield near Rodeo — midway between Tucson and El Paso — and is developing an 1,100-mile circuit of six more aerotrekking ports in isolated parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

"It's what Icarus dreamed of," McAfee, 62, says after landing. "This is really human flight. You are attached to the wing, and you feel every sensation, every movement, every breath of air that goes by."

Read the rest of this story in the USA Today

Visit the official website of the Sky Gypsies

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