Top Dog Flight
Advanced Flight Instructor Ted Nesmith (left) gives actor
Arnold Schwarzenegger (maybe best known for his screen character
"The Terminator"), ground instruction before taking
the actor for an introductory flight in a Top Dog trike.
Top Dog Ultralights founder and advanced flight instructor
Ted Nesmith travels around the U.S. giving introductory flight
lessons and selling Top Dog trikes. While in Sun Valley, Idaho,
Nesmith had the opportunity to introduce trikes to many people,
including actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Schwarzenegger
had never flown in an ultralight before and was very excited and
amazed that such a small aircraft could fly so well," Nesmith
recalls. "He said the trike was the 'ultimate sport utility
"We started making trikes in '98 and spent 1 1/2 years
in research and development before we put our first ultralight
out," says Nesmith. "In the last year and a half we've
put out more than 40 trikes."
Top Dog trike frames are constructed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum,
and the brackets, fork assembly, engine mounts and everything
else is 4130 chromoly, according to Nesmith. "One of the
big things is, we've got hydraulic disk brakes on the back wheels,"
says Nesmith. "No other trike manufacturer has that."
Built in Colorado, the 2-seat 315-pound trikes are powder-coated
in-house, and are now available with the Butterfly trike wing
from Butterfly Wings by GibboGear and a choice of three engines:
a Rotax 40-hp 447, 50-hp 503 or 65-hp 582.
"What we've tried to do is take the best features of all
the different trikes on the market and put them into one,"
explains Nesmith. "Then we added some new features like disk
brakes. We've got a chromoly internal bushing in the front steering
assembly, which obviously makes it much nicer, and we have the
big tundra tires. We provide everything including the engines.
It's a very strong, lightweight, heavy-duty design. They're kind
of like Schwarzenegger said, they're the ultimate SUV."
In addition to giving introductory flights and lessons and
selling trikes, Nesmith sets up dealerships all over the country
as well. "We also put out a good information package, a 10-page
brochure and a video," says Nesmith.
Info: Top Dog Ultralights, PO Box 1284, Dept. UF, Cortez,
Phone: (970) 749-4838 e-mail: