The exposure is unlimited, and the view is fantastic. Mike Butterfield practically lives at the Yakima Air Terminal. He and the terminal are connected to the days of primitive aircraft, goggles, barnstormers and crop dusters. In the old days a pilot could take a little instruction and climb into the pilots seat. Those pilots didn’t always walk away from their landings.
Everything connected to aircraft improved over time. Aircraft designs have been refined, instruction is thorough and standardized. Pilots are tested and required to pass physicals. But something was lost too. The exhileration of flight was lessened. Tightly enclosed cabins and other improvements insulated the pilot and passengers from the sounds of engine and wind. Most people flying todays great commercial aircraft will agree there’s not much fun in flying in those technological wonders.
That’s why the Breezy was invented. It is an airplane that could be the answer to the question “What if a motorcycle were fitted with the wings of Pegasus?” It’s as simple as that. There is nothing to interfere, to come between pilot and passengers and the vast expanses of blue sky. No cabin, no windscreen, just wings, a motor and four seats bolted to a frame.
Mike has built three Breezys. The plane was developed by Carl Ungar and friends in 1965 and revealed to an astonished crowd at the Experimental Aircraft Exposition. Some peple asked “What is it good for?” The answer is that Breezy’s are good for nothing, except flying. The plane harks back to simplicity but the material and design is all top notch. The breezy is as airworthy as an airplane can be.
Every pilot begins flying with their imagination. Picturing oneself at the controls, throttle forward, nose up, accelerating down the runway…and then the wheels leave terra firma. It is a thrilling moment, but there is so much more. Like an addiction, the thoughts of flying, soaring and perhaps performing aerobatics become irrestible. You become a flying junkie. That’s where instructors like Mike come into the picture.
He instructs, builds and upgrades planes for a living. He has also walked away from every landing since he began flying more than 30 years ago. Yeah, you can fly with Mike and learn how to fly or just share the joy of flight in a breeze. The exhileration of flight is in the simplicity of flying.
Mike Butterfield is an evangelist when it comes to the joy of flight. He is more than happy to share his addiction.
You can reach Mike at 509-453-3412 or www.ykmaerosport.com
Gregory W. Spearing is a writer and licensed pilot living in Yakima Wa.