Wise words from Chris Santacroce

Quick PSA

One of the hardest things about foot launched flying etc. is that every last thing is on a sliding scale. Conditions, equipment, skills – you name it… you can be totally cool one second and totally not cool the next. You can’t always tell by looking – exactly what you are signing up for. You can do one thing over and over again with no problems and then the next day it’s a huge problem.

What does this mean? It means that it’s really tough to tell where you are in time and space. It’s tough to tell where you are in terms of progression – there is no real good way to quantify. It’s a little bit tough to tell how you compare to the people you see on YouTube because you can’t quite quantify exactly what they have put into it. You can’t quite tell if what they’re doing is a 10 out of 10 on the crazy scale for them or if it’s only a 2 out of 10.

In the old days – we were a fair bit better off. We just went out and flew on her own and we did what felt right —-> intuition was the guide and we all knew that a thoughtful the progression was key. We didn’t have any crazy ideas what was possible because we had never seen anything.

The world has changed quite a bit and now we are seeing the repercussions ref: dudes crashing in suburbia, crashing into things in spectacular fashion for all to see. We all loathe hearing these stories and and makes us sad because generally we feel like the only real mistake is that the pilots are under trained and don’t have a strong team.

There’s absolutely no doubt that any monkey can fly and that any monkey can teach any monkey to fly. The greater question is if said monkey will somehow be able to figure out what’s cool and what’s not cool. This is where a guide, mentor, instructor, community and team comes in… The team helps you to figure out where you stand. They keep you in check.

I am speaking to the philosophical side of this pursuit. It’s actually way more interesting than the mechanics of flying. Anytime you hear somebody speak about it please listen in. Please give it some deep thought and take some time to get to know some people and get a feel for their idea of what’s cool. Then compare that to what they have invested. In many cases you will notice that people have dropped everything, lost wives and homes and jobs, moved into cars and sacrificed lots and lots of opportunities all for the sake of flying. This makes their flying exceptional and qualifies them for all sorts of things.

On the other hand – you might want to ask yourself how willing you are to make that kind of sacrifice. If you’re not willing to ditch your family and quit your job then how long will it take you to catch up to the aformentioned brother? Well – the answer is that you will never catch up.

Even when you do honor all of these important cornerstones – bad luck still happens. This is the prime reason why we don’t need to make it easier for the bad luck to strike.

Here’s my point – cross country, low flying over water, aerobatics, adventure flying, altitude records, flying next to the big mountains, flying in thermals and the sketchy take off and landing places are all for people who have sold their soul to the devil in one way or another. They have given up a lot in exchange for a lot of airtime, some flying skill and they have worked their way along the progression. They also accepted a high level of risk and have made a deal with the universe that they’re willing to take a chance and hope for the best. I do it.

Some of you may be wondering about the picture attached to this post – I included it because I want to point out that flying is not quite like beating a ball with a stick (ref: ball sport) – it’s not like running a marathon and it’s not like any other navigation that happens in two dimensions and has a pause button that you can access anytime. It’s a big deal and it’s not for the faint of heart. If you choose to engage in it then you would do well to do some soul-searching about it and would do well to tap into your spiritual side a little bit and harness the power of your intuition because an attention to these subtleties is probably your best asset in terms of staying out of trouble.

If you are at all new to the sport then you can strike the aforementioned adventure flying off the list in general. You have permission to just go fly around a simple field in simple conditions because we all know that it’s plenty cool enough to completely max out the fun scale. You can always take a selfie, fly next to your bro, gain a little altitude and take in the view – fly a little low and watch the grass go by etc. No one is trying to talk you out of that. Just don’t mindlessly adopt other peoples risk profile as your own risk profile.

If you like this kind of content then please come over to our Facebook page where we share these types of notions on a daily basis. https://www.facebook.com/superflyparaglidingschool/

Flight #1007

Safe Cove Boatyard

This flight was ….just because.

The wind was swinging 90 degrees East to North. I set up and was ready to go before I noticed the first swing and thought I had it figured, twice, before it finally settled down and blew a steady 4 mph from the East. This was probably a good thing because while I was setting and resetting the wing I had time to find and loose the 30 or so fire ants I’d picked up while putting up the wing sock. Eventually I was able to launch without drama.

The wing continues to pull to the right. Planning to check with Terry Lutke about lowering the right hang point or moving one of the power loops to compensate for the torque. Also….. It needs a bit of one wrap at the reserve bridal (top left).

Flight #1005

Woke without alarm at 5:45 from a flying dream. Out of the house at 6:10 and in the air before 7:00. There was 5mph breeze from the East and bumpy air up to 300 ft where it smoothed out. I flew over to Gasparilla Marina climbing to 2200 ft where the winds had increased to 20 plus. There was a big cell offshore and some boomers up toward Naples.

The Lift EZ was pulling to the right and I flew with right trim out 2 inches to compensate for torque and wind. Crabbing back toward the locks the wind continued to build. I overflew the old RC air park and made a big circle over safe cove before heading back to the LZ. By this time I was barely penetrating and had to descend to get back. The wind had shifted 45 degrees off the runway so I set down in the grass stopping right at the truck. The wing draped the passenger mirror. :). It’s a good day to be alive.

45 minutes

Max altitude 2200

Think I’ll go sailing.

Refitting Glory

The plan was to find an inexpensive boat to sail around the harbor.  

Nothing fancy just a nice cheap day sailor.  

Eight months and several thousand dollars later we have the most pimped out Hunter 28.5 in America.  I think the plan changed that first week, in the boat yard.  When I had the option of either touching up the existing bottom paint or a complete new one, I chose to bead Blast down to the gel coat and start over. Needed done anyway and it was the right choice because the previous owner had put on a new bottom every two years but never stripped off the old one. Best I can tell there were 15 layers paint. It was so thick that it had huge foot wide sections where water was trapped between layers. Probably two nickels thick.

Well anyway, once it had a first class bottom job it deserved new standing rigging. Then running rigging. And…As long as the mast was down, might as well run new wire to go with the new instruments and antenna. On and on. From October through June my goal was to get something accomplished on the boat every day. A new coat of varnish on the sole, a part fabricated for the binnacle…. something.

and today …. after having given up on ever getting the speed thru water on my MFD.

(Letter to the electrician)

Hi Ed!

I can’t believe it.  Over the last couple of months I’ve probably spent a dozen hours trying to fix or replace the old speed transducer.  I spoke with the techs at Standard horizon who sent me to the techs at Airmar who ran me through a bunch of hoops.  I sent them measurements and pictures, they responded with the model number and said there was no replacement for that size anymore.

I took the old transducer to a small electronics repair who tried, and failed, in splicing the stump.  I finally investigated rebuilding the transducer using the old body with new sensors and paddle wheel.  Air Mar wasn’t willing to help me get a new sensor … “wouldn’t support it”.  Eventually I gave up and was resigned to wait until I hauled the boat next year to install a new thru hull.

So… I’ve pretty much finished the refit.

We’re racing in the moonlight regatta tomorrow, I spent the day doing final little detail stuff and cleaning up the shop.  I was sorting through all the junk I was taking to the marine consignment store.  And there…. in a box of miscellaneous stuff was a brand new (20 year old) paddlewheel speed transducer with 30 feet of cable! The original owner must have bought it years ago and forgot all about it.  It felt like a mini miracle.


Would you confirm for me how I connect it to the ITC-5 analog to digital converter.

The cable is only one wire (white) with a screen of silver wire shielding it.  Like a small coax cable.

It looks like I connect the white wire and the shield to two of the 5 connectors on the speed/temp bar inside the ITC-5.  All the diagrams I’ve found show a modern triducer with 5 wires .

Don’t do a bunch of research,  I can call Ray Marine Monday.  I only ask if you know off the top of your head.

Take care. …. Let’s go for a sail again sometime when there is a bit more wind and let me know how the delivery job is going.

There it was … the last piece of the puzzle. From here on it’s mostly just embellishments. There are still plenty of jobs and parts to acquire but for the most part…she’s done.

Here are some pictures