Flight #1076

Weather- Hot, 78 degrees. Humidity 98 percent. High cloud layer with some wispy bands at 150ft. It was so hot and muggy that I chose not to wear the flight suit.

This was the maiden voyage of the Bluetooth helmet. It connected very quickly to the phone and pad and Seri was able to play a specific album on request. The sound was good. I tried to place a call but was not able to get a response from the assistant. Need more practice.

The wing was heavy and sluggish during inflation but it eventually stabilized overhead. The run up and takeoff was fast. The wing oscillated 3 or 4 times, (as predicted by APCO), so I reduced power and raised my hands which allowed it to calm down pretty fast.

Tha air was very stable making for a greasy landing using both WTS and Brakes

Flight #1074

The launch was bizarre. Nil wind, trimmers in one notch. The wing would lag back or drift off to one side or another. It almost felt like a downwind launch. I drug and fought the wing for several hundred feet before I was able to get it overhead and the eventual launch, was at a very fast speed. Next time in light air ….try letting trim out a notch instead.

Smooth air above 500 ft …. Nasty below.

Flight #1073

No Drama ……

BUT….I did blow the first launch. Somehow I neglected to have the left brake in hand with the A’s and throttle. The wing came up fine but when I went to damp the surge, it was only right brake, my left hand came down and “surprise” …. No pressure. Immediate abort.

I reset into the wind and prepared for a forty degree left turn either on the runway or in the air, depending on launch distance. The APCO behaved nicely, coming up straight and turning quickly above the trike as I steered to a better course for launch and climb out. Takeoff was quick and the climb rate was impressive.

The pond where I spotted a family of wild bore a couple of days ago is dry. I was expecting to see it filled from the recent rains. Surely, this area got dumped on like everywhere else. Why didn’t it retain any water? Its a mystery.

I tooled around the patch for half an hour climbing above 3000ft. The cool air felt good. I started encountering bumpy air at 700ft and it was downright rowdy at 200. My plan had been to go low and practice power management for awhile but the thermals were popping and the wind was building. It was time to get down ….now.

Using both WTS and brakes, I made one pass by the truck to confirm wind direction, then powered through a 360 turn and used the energy from the turn to swoop the landing. I popped up , lined up and greased the best landing this machine has had. It took conscious effort to get the last couple of inches of brake and I had to work the shoulders and position my arms for maximum effort but it paid off with the rig bleeding off speed nicely. Despite the rough surface I barely felt the rear wheels touch and the front came down very gently.

The wind had come up considerably and continued to build while I packed. When I was ready it leave it was a steady 15mph.

Very nice little flight.

Flight #1072

Light breeze from the east. 30 minutes of “church” around the patch. Stayed below 1500 ft. Toward the end it was getting bumpy. Puffs blowing through.

I was able to get more strength into the flare. It was just a matter of planning on using serious force and having the correct arm position to apply pressure.

Walking back to the rig after landing and retrieving the wing bag I discovered that my wing had caught a puff and turtled the Falcon. It cast a funky silhouette and for a second , it looked as though the entire unit had been town apart and was laying in pieces. The rear wheels were in the right place and the seat bottom could have been the motor. It sure looked like something had torn the cage and prop all to hell and gone. Before I could react, I realized what had happened. It just fell over backwards into a turtle. So…. Big Smile and apology to “buddy” because I had seen the possibly of exactly that, right after landing and ignored it. No Damage ….Non event.

There was a nice breeze but the wing was so heavy from the humidity that I couldn’t keep it aloft.

While putting everything away, I received a text from Andy saying that 20 weeks was optimistic for receiving a new Colorado. I asked him to check on availability for a substitute , perhaps a large Charger 2.

Flight #1071

Another good one. Met up with Eli at dawn and cracked off an hour flight to Boca Grande and back. There was a little bit of everything to see. Passing over the causeway I flew into the clouds and got a nice Glory for my troubles. The whole fleet was in the Boca pass fishing for Tarpan. I saw a bunch of Rays and a Tarpan boil just comfortably out of reach of the fleet. Coming back I played around a partly dry pond, full of Egrets and a family of wild boars.

Flight #1070

This was a good one. I arrived at the field just before sunrise. Wind was null. The takeoff was clean with the trimmers adjusted 1/4 “ in. Yesterday I lengthened the wingtip steering toggles about two inches so that I could use them in conjunction with the brakes while flaring for landing. landing was excellent if a bit fast. The input pressure was significantly higher, limited by my own strength. The nose wheel stayed down while burning off energy rather than lifting during the flare followed by banging down shortly after the rear wheels touched down. Next time, I’m going to start a little higher and see what happens.

After launch I set the cruise control to 3750 RPM, left the trimmers where they were during launch and climbed with big counter clockwise circles to 5570 ft. Gloves and additional clothing under the flight suit helped but not enough to encourage me to keep climbing. At 5570 I was cold and shaking. Next time I’ll wear a fleece vest and I think sweat pants might do the trick. Also a neck cover will help. The gloves didn’t fit tightly and were clumsy on the touch screens so I’ll need to dig and see if I have anything better.

Rotunda

Very satisfying. I turned off the motor and spent the next 15 minutes descending without noise or vibration. As it warmed up, I restarted and putted around the patch for a bit before final.

The kiting was good at first but declined when I setup the camera to video myself. I look forward to the next flight with such mellow conditions.

Flight # 1069 The Return to Health

earth.app.goo.gl/q3vQd3

First flight since before the Bone Island Regatta. Light 4 knot breeze from the ESE. Launch was slightly crosswind. New “low profile” brake toggle is a great success. It was much easier to modulate the throttle and work the brakes. Missed in Preflight, was the trimmer setting it was possible (likely) that they were pulled in , for landing. If so, it’s a good thing for light wind launch. This should be tried again and experimented with because today I popped up nicely but it was a combination of higher RPM and trim setting. Next launch I will try 1/2 inch below neutral. In stronger breeze, perhaps a bit above neutral.

The breeze was 15 to 20 knots above 400 feet and steady 20at 3000. I played with the brakes and tip steer and decided that the tips had to come down. Possibly I can shorten the brake slightly and lengthen the tip steer. It would be nice to have more authority with less pressure during landing.

After the flight, the surface wind had picked up to 6 or 7 which made for a good kiting session. It felt wonderful!

Because…

I have been suffering from a malady which has caused stiffness and pain in my shoulders hips and legs. The disease has been getting persistently worse and during the week after the BIR it became apparent that it wasn’t going to go away. I felt as though I had aged 30 years in 30 days. The last morning, before going to the doctor, I couldn’t raise my arms above my head and could barely bend over to pick up a Kleenex. It was beginning to look like my flying days might be over. All manner of horrible diseases haunted my thoughts.

Two days ago I went to the doctor who preliminarily diagnosed it as Polymyalgia rheumatica or PMR. She gave me a shot in the butt and a 9 day regimen of steroids. That evening, I was much improved and awoke fully cured of the symptoms. Next Tuesday, I will hear the test results and what the drug regimen I will have, going forward. With luck and a prolonged light dosages I will have no further symptoms.

The most amazing and gratifying thing, is how quickly the symptoms went away. The doctor said that my symptoms were casebook and that she was very confident that her diagnosis would be confirmed. When she said, “What will you give me if I can make this pain go away in a day?” I was stunned. I would have given a lot!

One notable symptom was that the pain and stiffness was worse first thing in the morning. The first morning in Key West I could barely get out of bed. Once I was able to push through the pain , I could function but if I sat still for awhile it was hard to stand up. It’s interesting that the constant motion of sailing kept me able bodied. Then once back in the land of, “reclining easy chairs”, I was disabled in a couple of days.

https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/polymyalgia-rheumatica

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