The best pilots are masters of minimalism who rely less on equipment and more on their brains, but such pilots are rare.
I was introduced to ultralight flying in 2010, while reporting a story about paragliding with birds of prey in Pokhara, Nepal. When I returned to the States, I learned to fly with Pennsylvania Paragliding and Super Fly Paragliding. In 2011, I received my P2 paraglider pilot rating.
That winter, when the weather became too cold to paraglide, I took an introductory flight at Freeway Airport in Bowie, Maryland. This proved to be a very expensive decision. I began training for my pilot's license shortly afterward, sold my paragliding gear, and eventually passed my private pilot checkride in August 2013.
In the summer of 2014, I joined the Goddard Flying Club by purchasing a share of a 1998 Cessna 172. I put about 150 hours on the plane and received my instrument rating in it before selling my share.
For about four years, I owned a 1947 Luscombe 8E, a vintage taildragger that taught me more than I could have ever imagined.