Goodbye Lucent…I hardly knew ya
Last night I drove to the Lucent site and discovered that they plowed half of it. The north south “runway” is two thirds shorter. Damn it! I talked with Jerry Kerr and Marek and we decided to go for it anyway.
I got out there at 5:15 with almost nil winds. It built slowly and when Jerry showed up it was light breeze from the south east. I had set up and launched shortly after he arrived and loitered overhead until he got airborne. My launch was a bit unusual I recovered the wing going far right and far left before getting it stabilized. Then… when I did get up and over the grass there was some serious sink and I didn’t get above 30 feet up until I was well out over the next field and my first turn was a tad low for my taste.
I circled the field several times to get altitude and wait for Jerry. I did see him take off and noticed that his wing seemed to be “hanging back”. I didn’t think much of it and circled for a bit longer when it looked like he was planning to stay around the “patch ” , I headed off to Chatfield. Great ride, nice air …bump scale of 2…Flew out over the ol marina and it sure felt great to be back at my first home field. On the way out I did a circle and took a 360 degree panorama series. That’s gonna be fun to mess with.
The landing was cool, the wind had come up considerably and I did a quick turn to a short final and landed dead on. Throttle control is getting better. Later Jerry & hit a bad Waffle House, and on the way out I took him to see South Park ….only to find that it has been fenced out and the church doesn’t want any stinking paragliders….:(
Set up in nil wind but it came swiftly from the south west and kept on building. I waited an hour and packed it up when it reached 12 mph. One good thing was that I discovered that I will be able to launch against the grade. I made a few test runs and the 4 stroke had no trouble accelerating against the slope. So…until they develop this site I’m gonna have a nice close LZ.
The Big Three Oh Oh
Lucent…Light winds S.E.
I awoke before the alarm…. again …so I decided to check out the new site south of C-470 and west of Lucent. Yesterdays rain had made the freshly graded soil a little slick but I decided to go for it anyway. I was able to lay out the wing without gettingit all muddy but my boots had aquired about 2 inches of clay and the wheels on the buggy were carring a bunch of extra weight. No problem…After I set -up. I just sat in the machine and scrapped the mud off my boots and the wheels. It wasn’t wet, more like clay than anything else.
The climb out was slow but once I was clear of the graded soil and over grass I got some lift and explored the area. This is a pretty good site, enough room to abort, lots of places to set down in an emerency and easy axcess to chatfield. It was mildly bumpy so I didn’t go over to Chatfield next time I’d like to try. I noticed a balloon over the lake and it would be great to play with one of those guys again. The sky looked good but later in the flight I noticed that the clouds were starting to get blown out and I think there was some serious mixing at high altitude.
I did use more brake pressure and that helped smooth things out. It would be great to know exactly how much travel I have in these brakes…I’ll just have to keep pulling more and find out where the stall is.
Landing was a drag….It got real bumpy at 50 feet, it might have been the elevation changes around the field but whatever it was caused me to overshoot and I rolled right into the drainage where the mud was like soup. The wing got a little mud and the buggy weighed a ton. It took an hour to get everything cleaned up back at the house. No damage.
Yesterday I talked with Terry and he is going to start the new cage on Monday. The 64 inch GSC Prop should boost my climb rate considerably.
Another Beautiful morning! I had to launch with a cross wind to stay out of the tall weeds. The wing came up …I turned 20 degrees off the wind and punched it. Take-off was fast and I started crabbing as soon as I left the earth. Unusually smooth air so i went east over the high School and along the edge of the prison …(don’t want to give the guards any ideas)…then did a couple of laps around the golf courses. There are three golf courses within a mile of each other!
When it was time to land I did a touch and go first and landed right on top of my target!
A Beautiful Summer Morning with the PPPPG Club
There was rain last night but it was beautiful this morning. I was out of the house and on my way to East Springs Airport by 4:30am. It’s 20 minutes farther South and East of the soccer field. For Some reason the GPS routed me through about 10 miles of dirt roads. Whats that about ? Last time it took me a few more miles south but at least it kept me on the pavement. So I arrived at the Air strip in a cloud of dust about 6:00am. On the way into the area I spotted a solitary glider and silently congratulated him on the early start.
There was a good crowd setting up ….Jerry K…Kevin K…Mathew W…John B…Shad…Mike B.. Alex D (was seen blazing out of the air port early. I saw him later but we never did talk so I don’t know what that was about).
(photos by Mike Bennett)
Anyway The air was great with a layer of warm air sitting on top. It was fun bumping through into the warmth. There was also a bumpy area directly east of the LZ right above some cattle. Somebody was making jokes about the cows creating bumps. It was a pleasure to launch in such perfect conditions. Light laminar air….nice smooth surface to rollout in all directions and super flat terrain, the prescription for low stress flying. The PPS 250 came up clean every time and it was great how the buggy took the load and kept on pulling as the wing inflated. Those are the right tires for the surface… I noticed that I was staying on the “A’s” longer than normal and it felt good to stay with the wing until it was well overhead.
I topped out at 1000 feet and practiced a little low and slow , nothing special but getting the feel of the Power Play.
While packing up I saw Ranger Bo…great to see him! Turns out he was the pilot I had seen on the way in … he had launched from another field at dawn and was doing a fly-by. We chatted a little about the X-Country that John Black is talking about and he made a good point. Monument pass may be splitting the air flow because I seem to remember mostly SW breeze for early flights in Denver and the Springs boys tend to get Northerly air. I’ll have to do a little research and see if i can spot a trend.
When I got home the girls had fixed a special Fathers Day breakfast and later we all went to the Paradiso for a lazy afternoon on the lake.
Most excellent day!
It was drizzling while I loaded the truck at 5:15am. There was a low cloud cover 0n the North and Eastern horizon and patches of virga over Lakewood. I checked out the Lucent site and was just about to unload when a puff came out of the south and spoiled the moment. One morning it’s going to be coming out of the east or north and I’m going to try this place out!
So…I headed off to Simms and repeated yesterdays trick of setting up in the short grass and running hell bent for leather into the taller grass. Today I learned another reason for wearing the flight suit…it would have kept the grass seed from embedding itself in my fleece top and pants 🙂
Today I didn’t have any GPS so I couldn’t tell what the climb rate was …but it felt just fine…I might be making a fuss over nothing but I think it would be a safer machine if I could levitate a little faster.
There was very little wind and the clouds had mostly moved to the East so I took the opportunity to fly over to Red Rocks Amptheather. It was a beautiful flight, clear and light in the west and cloudy and dark behind me. The sun had just started to peak thru as I was approaching the hogbacks …great light for photography…and lots of lift. After circling the theater and taking a few pictures I flew back toward the golf course and used the lift band at the dam to get a bounce. Probably the best air I’ve experienced in a long long time. The descent took a good long while and I worked hard to position the buggy for a long final approach. Finally I was able to run 500 yards to the truck just a few feet up and touch down light as a feather exactly where I wanted. It was nice to get a little fine control I’m even getting a better feel for the throttle. If I have the room to maneuver this machine puts out plenty of power, it’s only where I’m working in tight quarters that I get puckered up.
Later I took the crew for a dinner sail. It’s all good
I got up early to see if the Lucent site would be a good replacement for South Park. Unfortunately not, it looks great but the slope is to the north and the prevailing winds are from the south. If it is coming from the north it might work as long as the winds are nil to light but trees on the north end could create some rotor. An easterly wind would also work but that almost never happens. At the same time I was appraising the site, John Sieb called and I gave him the good and bad news…Great for foot launch bad for trikes. We decided to meet at Simms
He beat me by a few minutes and was setting up by the road. The weeds have grown to waist height over most of the field. John couldn’t drive on the field and was planning to walk out to find a place to set-up, I drove out and found a place where the vegetation was lower at the North end of the field. The wind was light from the South East which was perfect because I could roll down the grade and stay in the short weeds. John took off while I was setting up and the wind shifted 180 degrees pinning me to the earth.
So…I sat in the buggy and watched John while he carved up the sky. At one point he flew over and made a gesture to say….What are you doing? The wind continued to build from the North West and I was resigned to a No Fly Day. Just as I was ready to give up the wind came down and I bit the bullet and started the 4 stroke. Amazing…I don’t know if it could be considered a down wind launch, but in the time it took to get up and turn back, the wind had returned as strong as ever.
John and I stayed up 45 minutes and had a great flight. The air was a 3 on the bump scale so I didn’t attempt to go all the way to Red Rocks but I did go to the far end of Bear Creek Park and only turned back when I started getting tossed by the air flowing over the hump backs. Landing was strange, every time I set a final approach for the truck, the buggy would catch some lift and I had to go around again. Finally I said the hell with it and landed long in the tall weeds.
It’s All Good.
South Park…Blue Sky….Light Breeze from SW
First launch was quick and I wonder if the little rougher terrain had anything to do with getting up fast. I really do not see how but it was pretty warm and there was high humidity so I expected it to be a long runout.
No Earplugs ! Damn quiet motor…….
I changed my routine by setting up before getting into the flight suit and I think thats what caused the problem. I can say that even at full power I could live with the noise…I landed after 5 minutes anyway …just because.
Second Launch was also quick. I flew for an hour and crossed Santa Fe and C-470. It was smooth as glass once at altitude but that field is a bitch. Bumpy air and so small that you have to start the turn as soon as possible. The south east corner has a huge drop off and when I started to turn, the buggy dropped with the terrain. It was not like a bump, just sinking air where the land drops off. Maybe the reason for the quick launch was the breeze….lite as it was…it was flowing up the lip and making lift.
Pre Flight….Pre Flight….Pre Flight…When I landed my left tire rolled off. No damage but I hate to think what would happen if it had come off in flight. This is the second time that bolt has loosened up so I’ll either have to use lock tight or check it every flight. I was trying to come in slow and it’s a good thing I was using lots of power and lots of brake. I don’t think I had much speed at all when I touched down. The back of the buggy only drug about 2 feet and the wing didn’t overshoot.
It was a really beautiful morning …To bad my camera is broken because I had great views of Chatfield, Downtown Denver, and the house.
The best thing about this place is that it is close to home with great scenery and an easy hop to Chatfield Reservoir. But it is also a very challenging launch site. You have to start to turn as soon as possible to avoid High Power Lines and the business park. There is way too much concrete and structures all over the place and unless the wind is from the South it’s no go …and there is barely enough room to make a trike approach for landing. We are going to lose it soon because they are going to build a church here…Not a huge loss. I’m going to try the field off Lucent where I met the “Mid Day Flyer” last week.
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