Big puffy cumulus over the plains and wind blown cumulus in the foothills. I got to the field right at 7:00pm and sunset was at 8:00. It was blowing 12 mph from the south west swinging all the way over to north west and back. Marek and I kited for a bit and Tracy even took a hand at kiting the sting. At 7:20 the sun set behind the foothills and we knew there was going to be a short window of good air. As I was getting the helium tank out some cool air flowed in without a breath of wind…I popped a black balloon and sure enough it was smooth and dead calm up at least 300 feet.
Marek got up first and with a little manual assist from Tracy to get the buggy rolling on the super soft soil I followed. The wind had started to pick up from the west a so I was forced to take off toward the wires and turn as soon as possible. The run out was a bit long and I noticed some bad friction on the right side but it didn’t prevent a clean right hand turn over Hwy 285. I followed around till I was heading toward the high school and took a minute to get some altitude and take the twist out of the right brake pulley. The air was nice and smooth at first but as I got to 6000 feet there were the beginnings of not bumpy but mixing air.
The Thumper was spinning at 3650 and I noticed that there is a little lurch when I goose it from idle. Probably getting a little belt slap as well. It sure sounded sweet when I backed off the throttle and…at idle I could not hear anything at all. For some reason I chose not to use the Emoitic plugs and IPOD and enjoyed the comfort of standard foam plugs. I’ve been missing allot by filling my head with music. It pays to be able to hear the motor and it would be great to flip back the ear cups when I’m descending or maybe even at level flight!
Over the High School I did some slow turns and worked on slight changes in the throttle. It would be nice if I could find a simple way to increase the throttle travel but I’m finally getting used to it. It helps to use the two little fingers on the throttle and the bigger two on the brake.
After climbing to 6200 I did slow descending spirals over Soccer field and and made an approach toward the truck. The air had “turned” down low…there were areas of sink and lift making it difficult to make a long low approach so I did a fly by at 40 feet and went around again. Turning clockwise at full power I was really disappointed with the climb but it was as much sinking air as lack of power. Hopefully a new set of blades that are two inches longer will be enough improvement to make me happy. Maybe I’ll even be able to get a little bank on a full power turn.
The second approach was smoother and I set down right by the truck. Tracy hung around while we packed up and promised to e-mail some photos if he got anything good. Short but sweet….Just what I needed to kill the funk after spending the last 4 hour stretch alone at the store.