SARANAC - Roads? Where they're going, they don't need roads.
Spencer Atkinson, and his nephew, Casey Myers, can be seen most evenings flying above the hills and valleys of the North Country, but they're not in your everyday, ordinary aircraft. The two fly ultralight aircrafts known simply as "ultralights," which Atkinson describes much like a hang glider with a motor and seating for up to two people.
"They are a blast," said Atkinson.
Atkinson got into flying ultralights nearly 10 years ago, taking lessons before eventually flying solo. And, even though his first time flying the friendly skies by himself didn't have the best outcome, he came back for more.
"The first time I tried it, I wrecked," said Atkinson.
Atkinson had bought a new engine for his ultralight and it wasn't more than five minutes after taking off that the engine quit.
"I had no place to land, so I had to land in the woods," he recalled. "Find a fluffy tree, you know."
It wasn't long before Atkinson fixed his ultralight and took more lessons, focusing on what to do in the event his motor would give out again.
"And the thing is, with these, if the engine quits, you just find a spot where you can glide to the ground," he said.
Over the years, Atkinson has gained more experience and enthusiasm for the sport. So much so, his enthusiasm was contagious, infecting his nephew.
Myers had been taking flying lessons at the time, which proved to be very expensive.
"It just seemed like it'd be a lot cheaper than taking lessons in a Cessna," Myers said of flying with his uncle.
Myers said he found it was "a bit more fun, too."
"When you're flying in one of these, you're flying lower and you get to see a lot more stuff," said Myers. "There's people living here 60 years that haven't seen what we've seen. It's nice."
The two never fly their ultralights above 10,000 ft. because of Federal Aviation Administration regulations, but that's okay with them.
"The views you get are amazing," said Atkinson. "Even in Saranac, if you climb up a thousand or 2,000 feet, you can see Lake Champlain perfectly."
Atkinson and Myers even enjoy the spectators they find along the way when they're heard flying overhead.
"There's usually somebody waving," said Myers with a smile.
"No matter where we go," laughed Atkinson.
(Editor's Note: Spencer Atkinson is willing to offer tips to people interested in flying ultralights. He may be reached at 572-1170.)