Wal-Mart Supercenters across the country are making room in their Sporting Goods departments for a new line of ultralight aircraft kits. The small single engine aircraft were made popular after John Walton, heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, recently made news headlines in his very own ultra light airplane.
"We aim to bring the thrill of flying to ordinary Wal-Mart shoppers. By undercutting the pricing of most ultralight retailers, we will introduce flying to low income Americans," said Robert Mayday, head of the new aviation division at Wal-Mart.
"Our lowest priced ultralight is a Chinese manufactured single seater kit that features cardboard wings, Styrofoam struts, and a single cylinder cast iron diesel engine. The kit comes with a nice pair of scissors, a large bottle of school paste, and well-written Chinese directions for kit assembly. We've sold several hundred kits in our test markets, and so far, only 17 people have been killed while flying them."
Spoof reporter Morgan Truce was able to visit one of the Wal-Mart stores that had the ultralight on display. There was a mob of people in the sporting goods department. Hanging from the ceiling was the new AirChin model 5000, which had been preassembled by the Wal-Mart associate who usually assembles all the bicycles. A "price rollback" tag hung down showing $247.88. Not bad for something you can fly in! Below the display sat a plastic trashcan which was catching the steady drip of oil leaking from the engine.
The reporter was able to track down the associate who put the kit together: "It went together like a breeze. Although I was left with a small handful of nuts and lock washers, I feel pretty confident that it would fly well enough for our average customers. To be honest, I did have this one small gizmo left over, and I haven't a clue what it was. No, I didn't take it for a test flight… my boss said he didn't think it was a good idea… something about insurance."
Pushing a shopping cart with a screaming youngster in tow, a customer asked an associate if she could put one of the ultralight kits on layaway. "Sure thing Ma'am… first you have to sign the standard liability waiver. You'll be flying before you know it! Last week, one of our customers assembled the AirChin right out there in the parking lot and flew it home!"
Industry sources hint that Wal-Mart will soon be a major player in the general and business aviation markets.