#322 & #323 Dicks Soccer Fields

It has been a long wet spell
So… I was raring to go and up at 4:30 on the second bell. When I got to the field the wind wasn’t noticeable but as soon as I put up the refurbished windsock i could tell there was a strong southerly aloft. This isn’t technically a new site because I’ve flown Dick’s before but this time I’m on the south end instead of the north end of the complex and it is much better. The surface is sand with short and sparse weeds and even though it rained last night the sand was plenty solid enough to walk and fly from. Mike Bennett showed 15 minutes after me and set up closer to the parking area and I’ll do the same next time I’m here.

The first launch was a surprise. I popped up quicker than expected and started to float down but with a little brake I got climbing and started to circle the field while Mike got ready to launch. About 5 minutes into the flight at 1000 feet, I thought, “Did I open the fuel lines?” I had spent longer than normal warming it up and I taxied out to the launch site…AND…I’d been flying for at least 5 minutes. There was no reason to expect that it would still be running but it was and I knew I’d made a big mistake without even looking. When I got twisted around enough to get to the fuel I opened the vent and before I could open the flow valve the motor died.

Now What? I had some altitude, I could try to open the fuel line and restart. I had my doubts though because couldn’t prime the carb. I would’ve had to unbuckle and hang halfway out of the seat to blow into the vent hose, one bump and I’d be swimming. I was in a good place to get back to the LZ and if I fooled around and wasn’t able to restart the motor, it would have been a long push back to where I could re-launch. So…prudence being the better part of valor, I choose to go in “dead stick”. The rest of the story was a non event. I turned downwind, got in position and did a gentle S-turn to bleed off altitude. The landing was smooth but it would have been better if I had taken a wrap to get a little more brake input. It seems like there is a point in the flare where I cannot muscle any more brake. It might be fixable by shortening the brakes.

The second flight was great! Nothing to report.

(Old Stapleton Airport Tower)


(Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena)

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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