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A nice day to get a bird's eye view

Jay Barrett/KBBI

      On a nice day you can sometimes see a powered paraglider flying lazy figure-eights on one side of the spit or the other. Piloting the rig, which looks like a three-wheeler hanging by a parachute, is usually Len Fabich of Homer.

    KBBI’s Jay Barrett was one of several people who pulled over to watch the flight demonstration Tuesday morning, and chatted with Fabich as he was packing away his flying trike.

KBBI    When you landed, your buddies were all pretty excited and so were you. It must be, uh, just a thrill to fly this thing.
Len Fabich    There's really nothing like it. I mean, it's literally, this is a little bit more like a plane, I guess, but when you sit in, when you have the, you have that same unit on your back and you're just running into the wind, there's, there's just nothing like it. You can skim, you know, with your feet touching the ground. It's, you're as close to being a bird as you're ever going to be. It's really exciting. It's the first time these guys have seen it. So they are pretty in awe of what was going on. I'm just always happy to be back on the ground safely when I land. That was a okay landing.     
KBBI    So you get a lot of people like me coming down and stopping and watching when you're flying here?
Fabich    Usually every time. Yeah. It's not uncommon to have a few people watching on the road. They'll, they'll line up on the road and watch, and anybody, a lot of people come down in here, want to see it and talk about it. So yeah, it's pretty, it's kind of an eye catcher when you're driving down the spit. If you see someone flying around, it's a lot of times I'll be on the other side of the spit. All depends on which way the wind is blowing in the morning. We have a morning breeze comes from the head of the bay. It's ideal for kiting and these guys, I'm just getting them practiced up. And so an ideal wind to practice your kiting. And then it'll go to a no wind situation, which is what we had today. Um, before it turns to a day breeze, we'll get a no breeze here. And that's ideal for my trike at like slow wind. And so I flew and now you see the wind is coming from the other direction. We've got a day breeze. So if we were to fly now, we jumped to the other side and it'd be perfect breeze here now for a few hours to practice.
    So yeah, it's a great sport. If anybody wants to know more about it, have them look me up. I'd be happy to help anyone out, you know. And I'm not a certified instructor. Anybody can fly. You don't have to be licensed. Anybody can do it, but strongly recommend getting some lessons and doing it right. It's not something, you know, just want to buy one and go fly because you know, 90 percent of it is in the wing control. You have to put your time on the ground before you ever go into the air.
KBBI    Seems to me during this age of COVID, that getting up in the air by yourself is the ideal way to socially distance yourself.
Fabich    Yeah. I'm not terribly worried about social distancing myself. I just as soon that the herd immunity builds, but like I said, it's, it's fun. I've, I've taken this thing from the head of the bay all the way up on top of Ptarmigan Head around the mountains of landed up on top of the mountains. I've gone to the head of the bay up to the edge of the  snow fields. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy where you can go with it. There's people that do a thousand mile cross country unsupported race with it every year.
    It's an expensive sport to get. Well, if you're flying, I guess it's not compared to an airplane, but it's a little expensive. You're looking at, you know, anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000, 10,000 for a para motor. I believe these are going probably for around 8,000. And then a wing. If you buy a brand spanking new wing, you're looking at another three and a half, $4,000 just for the wing. But all that can be used, you know, you can get all that used as well, but then you know, you'd want, to take some lessons on top of that.