Flight #1105

No Drama….I drove all the way to Gaspirilla Rd before I realized that I had left home without a wing. An hour later, I’d run back to the house and was back the the field, setting up. Conditions were fine with a light breeze from the NNE. The landing was extremely lifty .

Flight #1099. Lack of power

This was interesting and potentially dangerous. One of the push/pull rods in the throttle assembly came undone causing a lack of power. The takeoff was slow and climb out was worse. I steered between the clumps of Palm trees, stayed on the throttle and made a flat turn back to the truck at about 50 feet of altitude.

I wanted to fly beyond the truck and turn back to land into the 6 to 8 mph winds. Unfortunately I was losing altitude and there were still a bunch of palm trees that I would have had to clear. So, I picked the first available road and set down 90 degrees crosswind. The palms blocked the wind and the landing was soft.

I taxied back to the truck and diagnosed the problem. Safety Wire should prevent another occurrence.

Flight #1097

It’s been awhile, mostly because I was balancing and refinishing the blades, poor weather and a bad case of bronchitis.

I had a boat showing at 9:30 at Safe Cove which worked perfectly to get in a morning flight. There was a large storm cell offshore which was predicted to be overhead shortly after nine. It was destined to be short and sweet.

The launch and landing were perfect. I powered up slightly during the flare and touched down so lightly, I didn’t even feel it. Twenty minutes after landing a gentle rain started that didn’t let up for 3 hours.

The blades felt great. The vibration has been reduced to almost zero and it’s probably only in my head but it seemed quieter. I neglected to bring my IPad so there was no way to gauge performance but I think that cruise is a lower RPM. Next flight will confirm. The torque seemed higher but I don’t know why that would be. Also there is a strange friction in the throttle.

Storm moving onshore

Blade Days

A bout of Bronchitis and some inclement weather has grounded me so I’ve used the time to refinish and balance the blades.

Instead of spar varnish I’ve decided to try a “primer and paint”, in the can. To make it pretty, I selected a vintage gold finish, top coated with clear gloss.

There were a few good dings on the leading edge that I had planned to fill but after sanding they were small enough that I decided to let them be or perhaps cover with prop tape.

Three coats of gold were applied, (2 cans), and one can of clear gloss. I wish now that I had weighed the prop before and after. The manufacturer told me there would not be much after the finish had cured. I hope not.

Kittila Throttle

On it’s way! Black wire is ground,  red to the coil, the other two blue and yellow to the electric start relay.

My first impression was, “this is too big for my hands. I couldn’t reach all the buttons and controls unless I could changed hand position on the fly.

But… The biggest issue on my mind, was that, the throttle was going to be integrated into the brake handle. Which meant, that, I wouldn’t be able to modulate the motor while using the WTS.
And… With my current wing, (APCO LIFT EZ), the WTS is what you use when in reflex mode. The brakes are forbidden and using them in Reflex could cause a collapse. I suppose, I could hang up the brakes, set the RPM and fly but it would be a different style of flying. There would be no backing off the throttle coming out of a hard turn to dampen the bounce or adding power to steepen the bank. Perfect for X-country but not for high speed banking and cranking.

How hard would it be to disengage the brake lever to use the WTS? It would probably mean another strap to attach the throttle to the hand, the same as a conventional set-up.
I fashioned a strap using one wrap and an adhesive backed piece of “male” Velcro attached to the body of the throttle. Moving the strap around the handle I was able to find the sweet spot that put all the controls within easy reach.
The twist ties are not necessary. The brake handle nestles into its groove nicely. I don’t think the throttle would fall out of the brake toggle, even if it were hung in the risers. Yet… it can be removed easily, allowing the pilot to go to the WTS.
Day 2
This morning after a nice sunrise flight, I started the swap. After a trip to the hardware store and a few bruised knuckles, I was ready to test it…
First attempt was a huge success. It started right up and the kill switch worked. The second attempt was a disaster. It took awhile to figure it out. What happened was, the start button failed and stuck in the start position. I think the machine is alright, the starter was red hot but I was able to pull the battery cable before it burned. I spent the next hour removing the throttle. I wanted to reinstall the old throttle but it needs a new brake cable that won’t be available until tomorrow.
Day 3
Today, I reinstalled the original throttle and happily the starter works. I was able to find a 5’ cable and housing, at, “Rich’s used bike shop, across the street from the new Trek/Bicycle Center. So now, at least, I’ll have full extension with my left hand. I don’t think I’ll be able to reach my reserve but everything else.

Another silver lining from this “field trial” was discovering Rich’s Bike shop. It is so old school!
OMG … IT was like the good old days of Pettee Cycle. I was instantly transported back 35 years to when I was an independent rep to the industry. I introduced myself, disclosed that I was an old J&B Rep. and …
we were off to the races. Instantly we were brothers of the wrench. Richard showed me around his shop and …. Low and behold … they also do small wheels. Go carts, wheelchairs, novelty vehicles and…. Ultralights. I’ve finally found my wheel and tire guy. The next project is going to be new rear wheels and eventually a front brake.

Day 4
Today I spoke with Terry and we figured out what caused the problem. Instead of two wires attached to both posts on the starter I just néed one wire attached to the post between the solenoid and the relay. What I had done was run a direct circuit through the button and the battery. We welded the button in the closed position. I’m going to try it with the SkyTec throttle and see what happens.

To be continued…

Robert’s new throttle.

Black wire is ground, red to the coil, the other two blue and yellow to the electric start relay.

My first impression was, “this is too big for my hands. I couldn’t reach all the buttons and controls unless I could changed hand position on the fly.

But… The biggest issue on my mind, was that, the throttle was going to be integrated into the brake handle. Which meant, that, I wouldn’t be able to modulate the motor while using the WTS.

And… With my current wing, (APCO LIFT EZ), the WTS is what you use when in reflex mode. The brakes are forbidden and using them in Reflex mode could well cause a collapse. I suppose, you could hang up the brakes, set the RPM and fly that way but it would be a different style of flying. No backing off the throttle when coming out of a hard turn to dampen the bounce.

How hard would it be to disengage the brake lever to use the WTS? It would probably mean another strap to attach the throttle to the hand, the same as a conventional set-up.

I fashioned a strap using one wrap and an adhesive backed piece of “male” Velcro attached to the body of the throttle. Moving the strap around the handle I was able to find the sweet spot that put all the controls within easy reach.

The twist ties are not necessary. The brake handle nestles into its groove nicely. I don’t think the throttle would fall out of the brake toggle, even if it were hung in the risers. Yet… it can be removed easily, allowing the pilot to go to the WTS.

Day 2

This morning after a nice sunrise flight, I started the swap. After a trip to the hardware store and a few bruised knuckles, I was ready to test it…

First attempt was a huge success. It started right up and the kill switch worked. The second attempt was a disaster. It took awhile to figure it out. What happened was, the start button failed and stuck in the start position. I think the machine is alright, the starter was red hot but I was able to pull the battery cable before it burned. I spent the next hour removing the throttle. I wanted to reinstall the old throttle but it needs a new brake cable that won’t be available until tomorrow.

I’m returning the unit to Robert and look forward to seeing the next generation.

Update… the job is done. Three layers of metallic gold and 3 coats of high gloss topcoat.