The Proud New Owner of a Rally 2B
"Ok, now I am officially an ultralight pilot, now what?" As I pondered this thought in my mind, I was
experiencing the usual dilema of all new flyer's, do I rent or buy? The year is 1983, (yea, I messed up on the
date I named in one of my article's "Honey I've Got to Have One of those Things!") and now I am ready
to log some hours. The owner of Texas Ultra-Flite was Jim Thomas. Jim and his wife were great people! My wife and
I really became close to them over the later years as I became an airpark hanger. You know...hanging around the
airpark all the time! Jim had the usual start up airpark, a large field, a runway which was a strip in the field
mowed like a runway, and a trailer next to it. He also had a hanger, dirt floor. Next to it was his trailer. He
really loved the business and was quite a business man. Strange thing was, he didn't fly. That worried me a little
when I began to receive my training. Don't get me wrong, he was great on ground school, but he just didn't know
how to fly! Jim, being the good business man he was had a couple of hot shots to train us, Frank and James. Now
these guy were great pilots! You should have seen the manuvers they could do in an ultralight. Both were from the
days of hangliders and really knew their stuff. More about them in another story.
Jim, being the business man he was, knew how to cut a deal. I had been signed off in a Condor III, ultralight by
Frank (one of the hot shots). This was a tricycle gear, similiar to the quicksilver. She was a great plane but
Jim wanted $25 an hour to rent her. I know, that sounds reasonable, but remember this was in 1983. Now that I think
of it, that was a good deal! Jim had a clear understanding however, that when you had the fly bug, you would eventually
buy. Ok, here come the sucker, David. "Hey David," Jim said one day, "You need your own ultralight
and I have a great deal for you!"
Now let me describe what was around the hanger and trailer. Out to the left of his trailer was a wrecked Weedhopper.
It's sails were all faded with holes in them, the landing gear collasped and it just sat there as if this was it's
final resting place. It wasn't even tied down. In fact as you approached Texas Ultra-Flite on 290 Jim had another
wrecked ultralight tied down next to a sign introducing you to the Airpark. That's what was neat about Jim's place,
ultralights were everywhere, all kinds and all models, sitting outside. Some good, and some not so good. Jim never
worried much about the sun fading the sails, after all, he wasn't going to fly those things! Sorry, Jim...
One ultralight continued to catch my eye! Jim, the smart business man he was, made sure it was near the area where
I parked my car. She was blue with yellow and orange stripes. The engine was mounted over the wings and she looked
army tough, at least to me. Thing about it, she looked as if the army had used her in the last war! "Hey Dave,"
Jim said , as I drove up on a Saturday morning, January 1984. I knew it was trouble when he called me Dave! "I'll
make you a deal on the Rally 2B! "I don't know Jim, it's a tail dragger." "So what, it's not that
different," Jim said. "Why is the stick mounted from above?" "I'm not sure, I think it's because
the owner of Rotec liked helicopters," Jim said. I did not know helicopter's had a stick mounted from above,
I thought to myself. Boy was I in denial, I am speaking to someone who doesn't even fly ultralight's and believing
every word of it. Love is blind! "How much do you want for it?" Man, I wish I had not said this, I thought.
"I'll take three thousand," Jim said. "I don't know, the sails are pretty faded." "A little
Armor All will fix that," Jim said. "How about $2500 (hope my wife isn't listening)? "She's yours
for $2,650," Jim said. "You've got a deal!" That was it, I had just bought me a Rally 2B.
The next few week's I spent cleaning her up. She was beautiful! Funny thing about me, I love cleaning up my plane's
almost as much as flying! Well..almost. Go ahead, take a look at the proud owner and my new bird!
My new bird had the latest technology. She was powered by a 30 HP Cayuna 2 cycle engine. What power! If you didn't
put the nose down immediately after you rotated, you would be in a stall. What climb! She would climb at 400 ft
per minute, ok.... Cruise speed was 45 mph (if you weighed 110 lbs). Actually she produced her own power as you
watched the wings flap in the wind for lift! Oh, I must not forget the control system, parachute string for your
rudder and elevator controls. Only the strongest material used for the tail wheel (it only fell off twice during
Yep, she was a manificent bird and she was all mine! One thing about it, you could depend on the reliable Hall
Air Speed Indicator, (that is unless a mud dauber's nest had clogged up the hole).
Although I kid about this old bird, I really loved her! We had some great experiences together, as we traveled
the skies. There is nothing like owning your own plane. Next to a wife, there is nothing greater! Wonder where
she is now? Probably beside some old trailer or perhaps next to a hanger, taking in a little more sun and waiting
for her next new student buyer. I know she yearns to go up again and live in the sky where she was intended. If
you see her before me, get your money out. She is worth it, but don't forget the Armor All!
David M. Bucklew
April 22, 2003