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Walter E. O'Donnell
My name is Walter O'Donnell. I am a native New Orleanean and survivor of Hurricane Katrina. I live on the west side of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area on the east bank of the Mississippi River. I am a manager for a global telecommunications company and have little free time but I manage to squeeze in late nights and lunch breaks for research time.
I literally started flying 6 days before Hurricane Katrina hit. I learned about $49 Demo Flights from local flight schools from the Be A Pilot program (http://www.BeAPilot.com.) I took my first demo flight at New Orleans Lakefront Airport (KNEW) and was hooked. I immediately went to CompUSA after the lesson and bought a joystick and FS2002. Since then, my wife has upgraded my Flight Sim equipment for the past two Christmas's. I now have a joystick or yoke option plus pedals and have FS 2004 and FS X from Microsoft. I will also be getting X-Plane for my new iMac as well.
As for real flying, I have just over 20 hours spread out over 2006-2007. In August of 2007, I passed my Sport Pilot written test with a score of 40 out of 40 questions correct in 22 minutes. I am looking forward to obtaining my Sport Pilot certificate sometime after this aircraft's completion.

I chose to go with the UltraCRUISER for 4 reasons:

1) It is an all-metal aircraft (unlike most ultralights.) Along with the use of a canopy cover, this aircraft can be tied down at a local airport at a very inexpensive rate and be available anytime the weather is right without having to be transported. This reduces storage and transportation costs as well as aggravation.
2) It is simple and inexpensive to build. By using a 1/2 VW engine and seeking out the best deals on metal, parts, and instruments, my preliminary estimates indicate that this aircraft can be completed for under $10500.00 from prop to rudder.
3) It is a legal FAR Part 103 Ultralight Aircraft that does not require a pilot certificate to fly. This allows me to practice before taking my Sport Pilot checkride without paying for rental fees and lessons on topics I already know (although you cannot log the time but it is still fun AND educational.) This also reduces costs.
4) Being FAR Part 103, it also relieves it from being N-numbered as well. This reduces cost as well red tape.

Once I have completed the aircraft and test flown it, I will use it to practice maneuvers until I am ready for my checkride. I will then rent a two-seat aircraft that I will use to pass my Sport Pilot checkride with the examiner.

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