#226 4th Annual Birthday Flight at Chatfield!

It’s been a week since my Knee was repaired with Arthroscopic surgery but I’ve healed enough to get in another birthday flight. Not the prettiest take off. The wing came up as cockeyed as the last time and I’m beginning to wonder what I’m doing or if it’s the equipment. It would probably be a good idea to send them down to Michelle for inspection. I think it might help if I got on the brakes a little sooner. Any way nice flight… trimmers out …59 degrees…almost no breeze. One spectator…same guy that was out the last flight. He sent me an e-mail interested in finding a used trike. I told him about Mo and Robert and promised to reply to his e-mail with some links.
The motor sounded different again and I noticed the rpms were 150 higher than normal. I kept it down to 5500. I’ll feel allot better when Mo has done a ring job and “Pimped out the ride” with EGT and CHT gauges.

Flight 225 Simms

A small milestone

It’s looking allot like the end of the season and in a couple of days I’m going to have my knee repaired…So…I REALLY WANTED TO FLY TODAY. Weather Underground was predicting 15 mph NE and later NW winds. Away from the foothills and out on the plains it look better with 4 to 5 mph. I was looking for places in Aurora and trying to find the old Aurora Air Park on google and map quest and decided to drive out east and take my chances. On the way home I noticed that the wind was considerably less than predicted. I decided to try Simms and sure enough there was a very light breeze 1 to 3 mph from the ENE. Perfect !

I set up and launched at 290 degrees. The wing came up wanting to turn left and it changed my intended bearing so that I was pointing right at the truck when I took off. Fortunately it was a non event because I had marched far enough out into the field so that I would be able to clear or turn once in the air. Later I realized that I had let one trimmer out an inch before taking off which explains the cockeyed launch. Some thing must have distracted me because I know to do things like that in pairs to keep things symmetrical. Anyway, I flew trimmers out as well and in this flight I really like the firmness of the wing with the trimmers out but the mixing air got me to thinking it was better to play it safe.

The air was smooth except for a few spots. I’ve noticed that when I get into rowdy air, I have a tendency to turn away and seek clear air instead of plowing through and getting to the other side of whatever is mixing the air. It really wasn’t that bouncy but I was leery of the cut in the mountain and what could be flowing down the hill. So I turned and ran toward the home field. What I should have done was to turn 90 degrees and then when the air was good turn back to the direction I wanted.

When I was back over the field I did some low passes and apparently scared a dog who ran away from it’s owners. I didn’t know about it until I landed and met the family. Their little boy who was probably 13, approached me right away and asked if I’d seen their dog. I felt terrible when I met his mother and she said my PPG is what spooked him. I remembered flying right over the lady at maybe 30 feet. She was concealed by her truck until I was within 100 feet. I remember thinking, “That’s not Cool”, but I don’t make a practice of flying over people, it was just one of those things” …I wished it hadn’t happened and apologized sincerely. She was very cool about it and said there was no way to know that the dog was going to react that way. I think she had more warning of me than I had of her and probably would have been able to secure her dog if she had thought it was necessary. At least I hope so …

So I offered to go back up and look which she was all in favor of. The wind had shifted to the WSW and for some reason the wing hung back and came up crooked. I aborted when I started to feel it pulling.

Huh…maybe I’m finally starting to get a feel for the wing.

A breakthrough at 225 flights!

Anyway… I aborted the first attempt and when I was collecting the wing …What should come on to the IPOD that was playing random songs? ….John Blacks near fatal accident. It was just the audio but that got my attention.

I could hear the paramotor clearly in the background and the camera man was saying oh o…oh shit…. John? Well it caused me to pause and when I set up the second time Damn if the wing didn’t do the same thing coming up off to the side. I probably had room for one more attempt but the sun was getting low and I decided to call it quits. The lady still hadn’t found her dog when I pulled out. I’ll give her a call tomorrow to see what happened.

It was a nice long flight ! Over 50 minutes and if I hadn’t heard some strange sounds from the motor I would have stayed longer.
I spoke with the owner the next day and…they found the dog!

Flight #223 Simms

Just a quick 30 minute fix

Light to Nil Wind at launch. Lots of sand in the right wing tip.
50 degrees F and hands still got cold in winter grade gloves.
Flew into possible mountain cool air draining from Floyd Hill.
It was nice to get into the air. I didn’t stay up for more than 30 minutes for a couple of reasons. First i was in such a hurry to get out that I forgot the earplugs. I used the Bose NR headphones but the seal was bad and the noise level was way to high. Second the sun was almost behind the mountain when I arrived and I had to fly to 1000 feet before I was back in the sun. and cold hands of course.

Wheeley Casters

You want my wheels?
For What?
I’ve turtled the buggy twice. once on smooth surface and once in softer sand. Both times the wind was under 10 mph and it would have been an easy reverse. Until I have mastered the three wheel reverse I’d still like to fly.

I’ve designed a prototype set of wheeley casters for the trike buggy.
One inch aluminum square tube clamped to the bottom of the frame.
3/4 inch square aluminum strut inserted and pinned
The wheels are very light blown plastic toy wheels.
When the conditions warrant I can put them on in 2 minutes.

I look forward to trying them out.

Glider Flight


The wind was blowing hard all day. Which was great as long as it was blowing my trailer north. I was afraid that it would not be flyable but Bob showed up 30 minutes early and we were in the air by 2pm. He joked that people often got sick , I assured him that I knew there was a wave out there waiting to turn me green but I’d been lucky so far. I knew when he broke out the reserves Doc Holliday was serious. Since I wasn’t a paying customer he was entitled to do whatever he wanted . I challenged him to show me his stuff and he did. We rolled and stalled and a couple of other maneuvers where we dropped a wing and recovered by going inverted.

We got in 3 flights. 35 minutes…45 and 25. Each time we were towed to 3000 feet and on the second flight we climbed to 8500 feet. By the last flight the thermal activity had come down to where there was no lift…only stong wind from the south.

Someday I’ll get poetic and try to discribe it….For now …all I can say is awesome!

Galveston Texas WingNuts 1st Annual Fly-In

After spending Thursday night with Walt Burchfield and his bride in Dallas I headed south toward Houston. Just past the city I started seeing signs of damage from hurricane Ike. The first thing I noticed was the big McDonalds arches on posts high above the highway were missing parts. Then when I got to Galveston it was all beat up, there were blue tarps on the majority of roofs and lots of storefronts were closed. By the time I crossed over to the island it was total devastation, all the homes left standing were on stilts with the 1st floor blown away. Maybe one in 50 houses showed signs of people living there and the rest were either being worked on or waiting destruction. There were debris piles 6 feet high piled up[ along the Hwy. waiting for the trucks to come and haul it away. It’s 18 miles from the center of the island to the west end where we were camping and 8 miles to the nearest convenience store.

When I got there the wind was blowing too hard for me to launch but the texas wingnuts are primarily foot launchers and several of the guys were in the air. I decided to wait till sunset and used the time to set up camp. Jeff Goin had arrived the day before, he greeted me warmly and at his suggestion we went out to the beach to practice reverse kiting with the trike. It took him a couple of times to get a feel for the risers being attached to the power loops but in 45 minutes he had it figured and with me behind the prop to provide thrust he was doing successful reverses no sweat. Later I shared some leftover ribs with Jeff in the Enterprise and we had a great time. No topic was left out (except politics) from pianos to particle physics.

The next morning I got up early and took 2 long flights. The wind was about 8 mph and no problem since I had some experienced guys who knew how to hold the trike so that I wouldn’t turtle during inflation. Once up it was wonderful flat air near the sea I flew at about 700 feet parallel to the beach. Then when I flew over the scrub on the other side of the Hwy it started to get a little bouncy. The locals told me this is what to expect but I was thinking BUMPS and really it never got over about a two on the bump scale. I went about 5 miles up the beach and basically enjoyed the view.

Chris Page spotted a sea yak in the no mans land north of the residences so he and “Cowboy” went on a salvage mission. They got the kayak but I guess it was harder than dragging a bull elk through dense undergrowth. After Lunch I had three more flights. Two to figure out that I had left the choke on again and a nice long one. When it was time for the xc I had to stay behind because the wind had come up and “Cowboy” insisted that I would be asking for trouble. I still think if he had held the trike I could have gone for it but I wasn’t going to argue with a local instructor…so I licked my wounds and wished I was with the guys going out to Woody’s Bar.

The XCountry was a long flight and several of the guys ran out of gas and had to be picked up. In fact, had I gone ,I would have been walking too because we were told that it was about 12 miles each way and it was more like 20.

Later that evening Beery broke out the boudin, Sonny built a huge campfire and we had a damn good campfire. Lon even brought out a couple of busted props for us to sacrifice to the gods of PPG. I hung at the fire till about 9pm and went to bed early.

The next morning I was up before dawn the wind was 6mph and I took off without assistance. It was a great flight. After more than an hour in the air I landed and had something to eat. Jeff had just landed so I took a couple of Monster coffee drinks over to the Enterprise and as usual he was more than happy to stop whatever he was doing to spend time with a fellow pilot.

Ever since the Monument Valley Fly-In when this log was used by various people and the address was given out during the PPG Radio show I’ve been a little self conscious about what I write. So… even though Jeff might read this someday, I’m going to put down my thoughts about this guy. Jeff Goin is a genuine person with a remarkable history and an amazing set of credentials. He is passionate about the sport and truly one of the finest PPG Pilots in the world. There wasn’t a minute of the weekend that he wasn’t flying … kiting …working on the equipment…or just talking flying with the guys. His knowledge of aviation is encyclopedic and his curiosity is without end. I watched him work on a reverse with my trike, he was having trouble getting the wing to come up straight and when one guy would have been cussing, Jeff was fascinated and said “Wow! Now why is it behaving like this”. Then he proceed to work with the wing like a horse trainer with an unruly charge until eventually he figured it out and had the wing “behaving” as it should. He is selfless and tolerant and gracious about his notoriety. I’m honored to know the man and consider him a friend.

After a break I went up again and spent the better part of the flight flying as low as I could west along the beach. Most of the time I was at 6 to 10 feet but for huge chunks I was within two feet or less. Every once in a while the wind would pick up and I’d feel it pull me a little off to the side. It was a great opportunity to practice subtle wing control. I landed into much stronger winds and that was the end. I could have probably had someone hold the trike for me to get one more flight but it was time to pack it in.