What is Aerotrekking?

MetaGlossary defines aerotrekking as long distance low level flying, following the contours of the earth in open cockpit weight shift aircraft. While nap of the earth flying has been around since the beginning of aviation, it is best known in military aviation circles where pilots fly at extremely low levels to avoid being shot down by the enemy. Here outside of Rodeo in the 1200 square miles of the New Mexican boot heel is the perfect area for low level flying and the military knows this too. It is not uncommon for jets to come screaming down Cave Creek Canyon and out into the valley, much to the chagrin of the local residents. In fact 2 military operations areas cover the north and south parts of the valley

Weight shift pilots have been nap of the earth flying for years, one of the guilty pleasures. The advantage weight shift control aircraft have over fixed wing aircraft is the second energy management system, especially useful in case of engine failure. By pulling in on the control bar the carriage swings forward, the angle of attack is reduced and energy is stored. Of course a higher power setting is required to maintain altitude but if the engine quits the pilot can allow the control bar to return to trim. The excess stored energy is then converted into altitude providing extra time for a landing decision.

Flying low over open terrain is fun but does require a sharp eye for obstacles, equipment that is good condition, and practice. Several videos, Learning to Aerotrek and Learning to Aerotrekk II Open Terrain address learning how to Aerotrekk.

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