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.