Rollover !

Sunday July 27, 2008

I screwed up…Basically… before getting to all the gory details I attempted a flight in high winds and tried to save the launch when I should have aborted. At first I thought it was curtains for the trike buggy but I think I’m going to get away with buying a new cage and prop. It’s a good thing too, because I’m leaving for Los Vegas in a week and it would be a real expensive push to build up a new machine with all new parts in just a week.

Now for the details…at 6 am the wind was 7 to 10 mph so I pulled out the 26 meter glider and kited. After adjusting the harness that I’d just got back from Tim Goldstein I was flying the wing like old times. Better in fact, when Marek pulled up at 7:00 I had the wing up and flew it for a good five minutes. I was getting it to recover from oscillations that would have been impossible a couple of years ago. The 26 seems very easy to muscle around and after today I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to have Michelle inspect it. It may be bagged out and I wonder about it’s porosity. Well, Marek went up and landed almost immediately complaining that the combination of wind and the loaner Spice he was flying were “no fun at all”. I should have taken the hint but the wind was coming down and it looked flyable. I set up and blew the first launch. So I tried again and never did get the wing under control. I had the trimmers out about an inch on each side but the wing still came up like a rocket. It overshot so I pulled brake and added throttle, the ground was pretty bumpy and sometimes it takes a kick to get the buggy rolling.
This time the buggy took off just fine…probably a little to fast. The wing did a little jog to the left I corrected with some brake and maybe some turn …then it did a big jog to the right and just kept going. I felt the left wheel start to lift and thought I would be able to stop it with my foot but before I could get my foot out it was too far over so I stayed in the machine and we rolled about 160 degrees. I’m sure that I could have aborted and saved the rig because the roll was very slow…but…I think I forgot the difference between muscling the wing while on foot compared with trying to launch a trike in 5+mph winds. I’m sure it would have been easer on a nice smooth surface. At least I could have had a little more control of the speed of the buggy.

I climbed out, checked myself over and was feeling pretty good about having escaped without any injuries. Marek ran over and we looked appraised the damage to the trike . I thought the whole frame was tweaked and it looked like nothing short of a new frame and cage was going to work. The power loops were all akimbo and the prop was sticking through the webbing on the top cage. When I got back to the house I pulled the cage and looked it over again, after talking to Chad I decided to order the parts and get the buggy working rather than build a whole new trike. The prop has a bad crack straight across the blade which I’ll send to John Fetz for repair.

To add insult to injury the right top side of the wing was perforated by dozens of needle like pins from some kind of weed. It wasn’t a cactus and they were very fragile but stiff enough to penetrate the fabric.

179 & 180

#179 & 180 July 26th 2008
Two flights. It was nice to have the GPS and tach back. The air was humid and light fog was on the hills. As expected the take off run was longer than usual but it was very smooth once in the air. The screw-up of the day was when I took of without my helmet. About 20 minutes into the flight I felt my hat fly off. I immediately started a turn but I was never able to see the cap or where it went down. The funning thing was that I remembered saying to myself …”Damn you forgot to put on your sunglasses” …No I didn’t they were on the top of my favorite Mount Gay Hat. I dropped down and looked but no JOY.
The landing was great! I used more power and got deep into the brakes. I’m going to practice and learn the low and slow!
The second flight was short and mostly to practice the landings…It was ok but not as good as the first.


Nice long flight! I think I have all my electrical issues resolved. First the new (used) Garmin 176-c arrived, second I installed the tiny tac that Matt gave me and last the starter battery took a charge when I remembered to open the circuit on the master panel.
The wind was light and variable…so variable that when I tried to launch it had shifted 180 degrees and I aborted after draging the wing downwind for half the field. Second attempt was fine and after a long runoutIwas up and cruising.
Nothing really to note except that I came in really hot…I glanced at the GPS and was doing 26 mph when I flared for touchdown.

#177 South Park ! over flight of home

I noticed that they have finally mowed South Park. So..last night, I went out and kited the 26 meter waiting for the wind to come down…it didn’t.

This morning I woke without the alarm and was at the field by 6. Light wind from the SW and an easy launch. It was a bit disconcerting because there are so many structures and so few emergency landing sites…and wires everywhere! I circled the field until I was at 1000 feet and then flew east to my house. The wind was definitely stronger aloft but since I was going cross wind it went fairly fast. I took a couple of pictures of the house and turned back to the field.

I was planning to fly over to Vivien’s but there were two white vehicles blocking my truck at the field and from a distance they sure looked official! I spiraled down and took two passes at the LZ before I was in a good glide slope and then landed in the middle of the field. The vehicles turned out to be a couple of guys wanting to learn more which was a relief but it did cut the flight short.

Fagawie 2008

The fifth annual Fagawie went of without a hitch. Beautiful moon with just enough clouds to make it interesting. Five boats rafted up prior to the race and shared a potluck dinner. The start was very light windsa and I was 3 minutes late getting to the line…after a sail change to the new drifter I took off and had caught up with the fleet at the first mark. From 2 to 4 I was feeling good about my choice of sails but by the time I rounded 5 it was building to the limit of it’s rating. After the downwind run back to 2 I decided it was way too much and doused sails to return to the marina and pick up Joe Aiello and Tom. For whatever reason they didn’t show so I changed into long pants, reefed the main a put up the jib.

Good choice! The rest of ther night went fast! Strong winds and a beautiful night. Every once in awhile a cold breeze would come thru followed by a warm one. I chased Bruce Budy for about two hours before finally catching him at mark 5. It was perfect, I ran south as far as I could when he decided to tack to the mark, he ended up tacking three times and I only tacked once. When we got to the mark he was going slow and pinching and I was on a beam reach and hauling. As he rounded I cut inside and blew by. Bruce called, “out well done!” and we raced back to 2. Later he passes me on a reach but I coasted by at the finish…so I won before the handicap which was of course reversed by the PHRF. The real winner was Joe and Denise Chinburg who really raced well and didn’t miss a stroke. We celebrated after the race with a breakfast at IHOP.

#176 Caught in a gust !

Its Better to be on the ground…”Wishing”
This morning started out beautifully calm. When I got out of bed a little before 5am it looked to be the perfect morning for a long flight. Expecting just that, I mixed an extra gallon of AV Gas and headed out to Hampden & Simms. In the beginning it was a steady 1 or 2 mph but after setting up it had increased to 5.
When I started to launched I saw that my heading was dangerously close to clipping a metal fence post but… before I had rolled 20 feet and a long way from the post, a gust blew in and picked me up. I was pulling brake to the level between my shoulder and ear. The wing was barely penetrating. When I eased the brake input, I aaccelerated and climbed to 50 feet where I did a slow roll and landed by the truck. I’m not sure when I started to pull brake, I may have added a little pressure when I noticed the fence post but it’s more probable that I was in the air and was just reacting to the wing.
The wind front continued to build over the next 20 minutes and when I left it was a steady 20 mph. The lesson to be learned is that a trend tends to persist and wishing it will go down…”don’t necessarily make it so”
Equipment Notes:
The Garmin 176-c is dead..I’ve located and purchased a used unit for $260 on E-Bay.
The Fortrex battery is not holding a charge for very long at all.
The new FB battery lost it’s charge so there are doubts that the alternator is charging the battery.

CSYC Race # 2 Summer series

We made up for the disaster of last week and won clean including the Barn Door!
The course was 6 … 3 x2. Crew was John Sieb, Ollie,Stefania, Michella and myself. We had a good start and stayed with the J boats all the way. Even managed to squeeze past a pair of C Fleet boats on the last rounding of 6 with no wind …just our inertia. The big light wind genoa was the trick. Lil Bus got their spinnaker in an hourglass and finished last so I guess they won’t be the boat to beat this series like I thought. Robert & Marsha Kline cleaned everybodys clock on the combined fleet…Good for them! Roy and Mark caught up with me toward the end but I had 50 boat lenghts on em for awhile. Good Race

#175 A Beautiful Sunset Flight ( 3 Flight Day! )

Almost a Full Moon…

Stopped by the lake at 6pm because the wind was blowing too hard to fly. The dingy fleet is going at it but no sing of any on the shore …so I headed out to Simms and Kip. When I got out there I took my time setting up because it was still blowing.. At 7:30 I was ready to go, the wind had come down and was blowing 2 or 3 mph from the south. The wind sock was farther infield than normal and I had set up so that I would be running right at it. I smiled at the image of running into my own sock. I was pretty sure I would be able to avoid it ….if not fly right over it. The air was great! I headed over to the golf course and flew a low power glide down the slope toward the clubhouse. Someday I’m going to fly to a CSYC board meeting !

So I flew for 45 minutes not getting much over 800 feet and not too far from the field. Before I landed I’d tossed the parachute and watched it glide to my stuff bag, taken a few pictures and danced with Marek who showed up late. The landing was a nice floater. Most of the flight was with the trimmers out and I noticed that I flew almost the whole time with both hands on the controls. I’m liking the feel of a little brake pressure especially with the trimmers out.

There was a guy named John waiting when we landed…Guy had never seen PPG before and was blown away. I’ve had people waiting at the LZ before but this guy was certainly the most enthusiastic. I think Marek gave him the flock website which is a good thing because he put me off a little bit. I just want to enjoy the moment. So I let Marek talk while I kited the wing. There was just enough breeze to do a nice reverse for the spectators.

#173 & #174

Smooth Air Morning!

Very light variable winds. Blew the first launch when the wind did a quick 180. The second and third were smooth as glass. I caught some weed in the left wing tip which cause me to turn but with a little yanking on the brake line it shook loose.
I let the trimmers out and immediatly started to get swung and bounced. Pulled trimmers back in and it smoothed out. Whats that about? Probably just the patch I was flying over but I kept the trimmers in for the rest of the two flights. I did a couple of fly by passes on the second flight and called it good.

New Strobe

Now that its warmed up I’ve been flying later and later in the day and really should be using a strobe. But…I only need it when I need it and I hate to have equipment hanging on the rig “just for show”I found a strobe thats priced right ($20) and installs in 10seconds. On my FB cage it can be clipped right into the netting andwith a couple of zip ties it could go just about anywhere. I’ve flownit two hours with no visable wear on the netting.Made by Leland, USCG approved and sold at West Marine its designed tobe attached to life vest with a very clean stainless steel clip. Ituses one “D” cell battery.It is visable for slightly more than a 180 degree arc so to get maximum visability you might want to use one on each side up and down.
Here is the link
Photos to follow