2020 update

Not mine… but awesome!

Dear Diary 2020 Edition,

In January, Australia caught on fire. I don’t even know if that fire was put out, because we straight up almost went to war with Iran. We might actually still be almost at war with them. I don’t know, because Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt spoke to one another at an awards show and everyone flipped the f— out, but then there was something happening in China, then Prince Harry and Megan peaced out of the Royal family, and there was the whole impeachment trial, and then corona virus showed up in the US “officially,” but then Kobe died and UK peaced out of the European Union.

In February, Iowa crapped itself with the caucus results and the President was acquitted and the Speaker of the House took ten years to rip up a speech, but then WHO decided to give this virus the name COVID-19, which confused some really important people in charge of, like, our lives, into thinking there were 18 other versions before it, but then Harvey Weinstein was found guilty, and Americans started asking if Corona beer was safe to drink, and everyone on Facebook became a doctor who just knew the flu killed way more people than COVID 1 through 18.

In March, shit hit the fan. Warren dropped out of the presidential race and Sanders was like Bernie or bust, but then Italy shut its whole ass down, and then COVID Not 1 through 18 officially become what everyone already realized…a pandemic and then a nationwide state of emergency was declared in the US, but it didn’t really change anything, so everyone was confused or thought it was still just a flu, but then COVID Not 1 through 18 was like “ya’ll not taking me seriously? I’m gonna infect the one celebrity everyone loves.” and totally infected Tom Hanks, but then the DOW took a shit on itself, and most of us still don’t understand why the stock market is so important or even a thing (I still don’t), but then we were all introduced to Tiger King (Carol totally killed her husband) and Netflix was like, you’re welcome, and we all realized there was no way we were washing our hands enough in the first place because all of our hands are now dry and gross.

In April, Bernie finally busted himself out of the presidential race, but then NYC became the set of The Walking Dead and we learned that no one has face masks, ventilators, or toilet paper, or THE FREAKING SWIFFER WET JET LIQUID, but then Kim Jong-Un died, but then he came back to life… or did he? Who knows, because then the Pentagon released videos of UFOs and nobody cared, and we were like man, it’s only April….

In May, the biblical end of times kicked off historical locust swarms and then we learned of murder hornets and realized that 2020 was the start of the Hunger Games but people forgot to let us know, but then people legit protested lockdown measures with AR-15s, and then sports events were cancelled everywhere. But then people all over America finally reached a breaking point with race issues and violence. There were protests in every city, but then people forgot about the pandemic called COVID Not One Through 18. Media struggled with how to focus on two important things at once, but then people in general struggle to focus on more than one important thing, and a dead whale was found in the middle of the Amazon rain forest after monkeys stole COVID 1 Through 19 from a lab and ran off with them, and either in May or April (no one is keeping track of time now) that a giant asteroid narrowly missed Earth.

In June, science and common sense just got thrown straight out the window and somehow wearing masks became a political thing, but then a whole lot of people realized the South was actually the most unpatriotic thing ever and actually lost the Civil war, and there are a large amount of people who feel that statues they don’t even know the name of are needed for … history reasons….. but then everyone sort of remembered there was a pandemic, but then decided that not wearing a mask was somehow a God given right (still haven’t found that part in the bible or even in the constitution), but then scientists announced they found a mysterious undiscovered mass at the center of the earth, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT, but then everyone took a pause to realize that people actually believed Gone With The Wind was like non-fiction, but then it was also announced that there is a strange radio single coming from somewhere in the universe that repeats itself every so many days, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH IT, but then America reopened from the shut down that actually wasn’t even a shut down, and so far, things have gone spectacularly not that great, but everyone is on Facebook arguing that masks kill because no one knows how breathing works, but then Florida was like hold my beer and let me show you how we’re number one in all things, including the new Not Corona Beer Corona Virus. Trump decides now is a good time to ask the Supreme Court to shut down Obama Care because what better time to do so than in the middle of a pandemic, but then we learned there was a massive dust cloud coming straight at us from the Sahara Desert, which is totally normal, but this is 2020, so the ghost mummy thing is most likely in that dust cloud, but then I learned of meth-gators, and I’m like that is so not on my f-ing 2020 Bingo card, but then we learned that the Congo’s worse ever Ebola outbreak is over, and we were all like, there was an Ebola outbreak that was the worse ever?

In July…. Aliens? Zeus? Asteroids? Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware?

#1029 Back in the air

It’s been 9 months since the last flight but this morning I finally got back up. It was a short flight, (only 11 minutes), but I was able to accomplish my objectives….. Test flight the Falcon and break the drought.

The new Falcon … First Impressions.

First, the Briggs & Stratton, Vangard 35 hp 4 Stroke is quick to power. Time from Level flight to full climb was much quicker using the same prop and hub used on my previous motor, a Generac 31hp. It was a little rough at idle but within flight parameters, (1500 to 3650 RPMs) it was very smooth with just enough vibration to “feel” the motor. I want a few more flights before I call, “best climb rate”, but I expect it will be , North of 300ft/ minute.

The machine does however, have some little kinks that need to be addressed.

First, it requires a long warm up with the choke. Not a big deal.

Second, the idle is not happy, it bounces between 900 and 1500 when cold and even when it’s warm it won’t lock in at 1400. I’m hoping that after break-in and the first oil change this will self correct. The idle screw turns too easily and probably should have a lightweight thread lock applied.

The throttle assembly needs some work. It is routed from the right side and when I run it behind my back to my left hand, it’s a couple of inches short of optimum. More importantly, the, “throttle action” is too light, making it difficult to smoothly modulate engine speed. I expect the best thing will be to rebuild the throttle assembly with a longer and higher grade cable. Shimano makes a nice one that has a Teflon sheath between the cable and the housing. Then I’ll use a stronger return spring to give the action a more positive feel.

I’m going to have to move the nose wheel back a little bit. It too long for me to rest my feet on the steering bar and use the heel strap.

When I hang tested the rig and set the pivot points, they ended up slightly aft of my center, which causes my arms to be slightly behind my shoulders. I had the same issue with the last machine and because this motor is bigger and heavier, it’s more noticeable. It also makes it harder to see the trimmers and magnets. Fortunately there isn’t a brace behind my head which gives me some maneuvering room.

Terry had an interesting suggestion. If I were to relocate the battery to the front , (above the nose wheel), I might be able to move the hang point forward enough to make it worthwhile. It’s certainly worth trying. I’m sure, over the next couple of flights I’ll figure it out.

Last , the old Falcon had been crashed and bounced so many times that the frame was bent in the middle which changed the thrust line to at least 20 degrees above horizontal. I could run up the motor with the wing laid out behind and it would not ruffle the wing. The thrust line on this rig is 5 degrees above horizontal and I’ll have to be careful not to have “premature inflation”. This morning while I was sorting out the toggles, the engine died and during its last bouncing gasp, it caught the wing, popping it up.

Once up, the Falcon flew well. The torque steering to the right is a little more pronounced, I had no problem trimming it out. I wonder if moving the right hang points slightly forward would counter the torque. I must remember to ask both Terry and Robert what they think.

I didn’t pay enough attention to the avionics to report on speed but I’m expecting to be faster. The brake pressure was slightly harder indication the rig is a bit heavier. I should weigh it.

It’s a new machine and like all of them, it’s going to need some tweaking, but all in all, I’m pleased and confident that it will serve me well….

I’m flying again 😎

Grounded

A surprise attack of Diverticulitis in November has grounded me. I have taken the opportunity to have a new paramotor built and will resume asap.

This is the first time in 15 years of blogging that there has been a significant gap between posts. The majority of the time lost has been consumed with the Diverticulitis Attack, resulting surgeries and recoveries. While this topic may be interesting to some , it holds interest for me, only because it is my body. Intellectually I appreciate that I must learn what’s going on but I have no desire to share and or revisit the experience.

In a nutshell….

I’ve got more portholes and thru- hulls than a than a 1980s McGregor. I was hoping that the last surgery would be the end of it but I won the
“5 percent of patients” award and earned another 4 months of bio-mechanical plumbing. All I can say is that if this had to happen ….. now is the time because I’m not missing anything. I’m not complaining because … The whole freaking world is having a bad year.

So… with that out of the way, there are some very good things that have happened and deserve to be included in the blog for myself and posterity. Primarily, Dawn and I took an Epic Cruise in Europe. I will put together a write up.

#1027 Placida

Nice flight. I managed to leave the house without my phone or IPad.

ITS JUST NOT SMART TO FLY WITHOUT A LIFELINE!

So…. I satisfied myself with a few laps around the patch, watching the birds and a couple of kayaks fishing in the backwaters.

Takeoff and landing were picture perfect. The wind was very light and turned to be a downwind launch at the last minute. I could feel the wing going slack as it passed through the prop wash but my forward speed exceeded the wind quickly. The rotation and climb-out were normal.

No devices means, no pictures or pretty flight tracks on google earth.

Nuff said.

#1026

Hooked up with Mike Nelson. There were multiple cells and one boomer offshore. We both flew about 30 minutes and set down due to impending weather. On the way out of the Meadows I got a little sprinkle and a “blue sky shower” at the Malachi bridge.

The air was great below 500 feet and moderately bumpy above.

#1025

Nice.

Cross wind take off and landing, 10mph steady from the SE.

Rowdy near the surface but butter above 300 ft. After the flight I spent 45 minutes kiting in moderately difficult conditions. Good workout.

#1023

Placida with Alvaro.

Light wind from West at Launch. Wing came up nicely so I kept off the brakes and really built up speed allowing the wing to reach trim speed before lifting off.

We flew Gasparilla Island. I mostly stayed high except for a a portion of the beach run. Ground speed out was 21 or 22 knots and return was 47 or so.

Winds had picked up considerably at the LZ upon return. After a nice touch and go

Alvaro took the opportunity to catch a reverse and got off twice. Two and a half years in the saddle and looking good.