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Dead Stick Takeoff Flying Adventures at AirVenture 2010

Dead stick takeoff
Steve Henry (seated lower right) discussing hardware and methods with AirVenture attendees.

Something looked different about the Just Aircraft Highlander on tundra tires as it taxied for takeoff on the ultralight runway at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010. The big taildragger was taxiing tail up, even at slow speed; at the hold line, the plane paused, waited for the signal, and then made a 180-degree taxi turn, all with the tail up and in perfect control. The pilot was Steve Henry, known for his dead stick takeoff videos, and he was promoting his DVD, Dead Stick Takeoff Flying Adventures.

Steve Henry of Caldwell, Idaho, created a sensation in 2008 when his video showed him coasting down a steep hillside in his Highlander with the engine off and then taking off to glide silently down to a sandbar far below. We linked to it in the first issue of Light Plane World. That video was withdrawn for a time which at first appeared to validate comments from a few readers that it was simply too reckless and irresponsible to be shown or publicized. Thankfully it was recently reissued. The temporary removal had nothing to do with insurance or safety issues. Steve said there was a possible issue with the Bureau of Land Management related to a wildlife area, but that matter has been settled; he’s back in business documenting the outer limits of back country flying. Watch the amazing teaser video for his DVD and see how he can juggle brakes, rudder, throttle, and elevator to accomplish feats you thought were impossible. Most of the footage on the DVD is from the backcountry of Idaho and the desert hills of eastern Oregon. Order your copy from www.DeadStickTakeoff.com.

Announcing his DVD on the Backcountry Pilot online forum, Steve wrote this:

“I explain what I’m doing a lot, and there is very little music. It is not about the scenery either; it is about the flying and landing and taking off in some pretty challenging places. I have a lot of fun sharing my fun by taking others flying, too, and it is usually other pilots that get the most nervous when they go with me because they realize the difficulty of these places. I show landing a few places that many think are difficult, like Mile Hi and Dewey Moore, and then go to some other places that are way more challenging! It is about 45 minutes long.”

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