Day #5 Saturday #383 #384 #385 #386

Got up early, showered, had breakfast and was at the field by 8. The launch was a little feisty and I soon realized that my right brake pulley had wrapped between the C and D mallons. It was just barely reachable without taking off the seat belt and I struggled to free it for 5 minutes. Finally I managed to get the toggle up and between the lines. It looked mostly clear and I should be able to free it with one pull. NOT…. When I pulled, it added one more wrap to the tangle and dashed my hopes of clearing the brake lines. Since I was able to reach the brake pulley, I still had control but it wasn’t enough for a good flare and certainly no fun. It was time to land. To make up for the lack of flare authority I used power to reduce the glide and landed clean.The next flight was short as well because the wind had picked up and it was moderately bumpy. This machine is much more comfortable in the bumps but I didn’t know if it was going to get worse so I flew a couple of miles up wind and when it got hard to penetrate, I turned back and landed. At the last second the wind picked up and shifted to the west. During the final 100 feet I slipped 20 feet to the left and touched down off the mark. It looked bad because 5 more feet to the left and I would have landed on another fellow’s wing…but fortunately…no incident today!

This year we had a National Points Competition which consisted of a cloverleaf and spot landing. This may be the only competition of the year and the winners will accumulate points to qualify them for the international events later.

Chad wins with the Mini Plane

I spoke too soon… First PM launch… I turtle’d.

Rocket Boy

The Eden III fell back into the prop wash and pulled the trike back. Gawd I hate being in the field in the “Rocket Boy” launch position! I had trouble staying on the A’s yesterday too and this was bound to happen sooner or later. Fortunately I’d managed to kill the motor but not before some good sized chunks were taken out of the prop. I knew there was no hope of finding 66 inch GSC blades so I went off in search of prop repair. An outfit from Washington State was advertising but they deferred to John Fetz who appreciated the work. With three tubes of super glue and several tablespoons of baking soda Johnny had the blades flyable in less than an hour.
What a Guy!

After putting the prop back on and spinning it up to make sure the balance was acceptable, I rolled the rig back to the field for another try. This launch was another disaster. The wing came up to the left and once again, I was pouring on the power. The wind was blowing hard enough to roll me 270 degrees. Michael Purdy made a point of coming up to tell me that I deserved style points for such a dramatic roll. The EMT’s who had been standing by all weekend came running out to the crash site and were very disappointed when they found that the only injury was to my pride. It’s bad enough when you are all alone but to screw up so badly in front of the whole community really humbling. I know there is one pilot from the club formerly known as the Sod Flyers who got a chuckle.
I inspected the Falcon and was surprised and delighted that it was not damaged. The cage was still perfectly round and there was no evidence of stress to any of the welds or tubing. I had to look hard to find a place where the paint was scratched. As official crash test dummy I’d demonstrated the Falcon’s durability. As official dummy… I was feeling pretty low. Terry designed a great machine…Now I had to prove that I deserved to fly it.
I took a half hour to collect my thoughts …
I’d had over 100 flights on the Thumper without this problem…so what was different? POWER! The Falcon had 30% more horsepower and a lot more prop. Plus, I was 200 feet below sea level instead of 5500 feet above. I was letting the motor come up to full power when I should have used a burst to get the wing inflated and start the trike rolling, then back off while I sorted out the wing and got it stable overhead. Also when I looked into the mirror, I saw the wing centered, what I didn’t know was that the wing was not stable it was oscillating and my split second glance at the mirror was really just a freeze frame of the wing passing through the mirror on it’s was to the other side. This time, I was determined to make use of the Falcon’s great visibility and instead of looking at the mirror I would look back and watch the wing directly.It worked just fine. I took my time, backed off the power after the initial burst and craned my neck to watch the wing all the way up. Instead of mashing the throttle I brought it up to 60% and held it until the front wheel lifted. MUCH BETTER! Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke I landed and did it again.

That evening was the banquet, I had found a wrist band earlier in the day and gave it to John so he was able to join us. We sat with Eric & Elizabeth Dufour and Luc Trepanier and his gang. I wish it had been a little less noisy because Elisabeth and I were starting to have a nice conversation and it just got too loud to hear each other so we shrugged, smiled and moved on.

Paul Anthem and Michelle Danielle were the MC’s. Paul was in “Moron Mode” with bad fart jokes but Michelle saved the day with grace and talent. Bob Armond said a few words and Mike Robinson made an appearance as PPG MAN. Jeff Goin announced the winners of the competition, of course Chad Bastian won every event including the 10 mile race to the “Rock Pile”.

The highlight of the evening was when Michelle won the grand prize…a new Paratoys Wing. While waiting in the buffet line I spoke with Eric Dufour who coached me to slow down… “ You never need to rush a takeoff. You have a great machine …just take your time.” I wish it had been a little less noisy because Elisabeth and I were starting to have a nice conversation and it just got too loud to hear each other so we both shrugged, smiled and moved on.

After the banquet

I searched out the hot tub and soaked,

it was just the thing for a

semi-professional crash test dummy.

Day #4 Friday #379 #380 #381 #382

Home Sweet Home


It was a beautiful Day, light cloud cover and almost no wind. I got two flights in the morning and two in the afternoon all on the PPS. The 1st mechanical problem of the trip was at the beginning of the third flight when the prop started clipping. I cut power and landed out …very close to the place where I had destroyed the Simonini trike buggy last year. Southern California had received a large amount of rainfall just prior to the event and much of the “beach was a muddy mess…So… it was a real chore to push …pull and fight the Falcon back to solid ground. When I got to the campsite, I was able to determine that the prop was hitting the lower pulley but I couldn’t see how it could flex that far. I started it up and wasn’t able to get it to repeat until I went to 1/2 power. Then the pulley started to drift back on the shaft and I took a few more splinters out of the GSC triple. The prop wan’t flexing the lower pulley was floating on the shaft. Totally bummed, I pushed the Falcon back to the field hoping that Leon Wacker might be able to help me out. Leon scratched his head and went to look for a bolt that might secure the pulley. It wasn’t going to fix the problem but it would have stopped the pulley from flying off. While he did that John Fetz came by and after looking over the situation determined that we needed to bush the shaft with something. I went to get my tool bag and discovered it was not behind the wall where I had left it.
HAD SOMEBODY HAD STOLEN MY TOOL BAG ? !

I looked everywhere around the campsite and resolved that it was gone forever. In total dismay I walked back to the field and announced to John that my bag had been lifted. He smiled at me and said, “Maybe it’s like that camera you lost last year”. Well… after staggering around for a bit, looked at the Falcon and there it was sitting on the seat. This does not speak well for my current frame of mind.
I searched out a pop can and we cut a rectangular strip that would go around the shaft and bush the collar. In twenty minutes John and Ron had repaired my ride. I re-tensioned the belt took it out to the field for a test. It’s all good.

Pulley bites prop

For the next several flights I checked the bolts on the lower pulley and each time, I got slightly less turn. This was also true of the prop bolts. It is also important to check the collar and confirm there is a gap between the pulley and the shaft…this also goes for the GSC hub. Next time I visit Vince I’ll ask him to re-secure the pulley using a copper bushing.

(The Falcon has great visibility all the way around)

The 4th flight was wonderful. I revisited the sight of my emergency landing and floated along the beach at 2200 RPM. The PPS was great I could put tremendous pressure on the brakes and float along without fearing a stall. A few minutes later I’d climbed to 100 feet and spotted a patch of beach that looked like the perfect place to do a touch and go. I pulled some brake and dove toward the beach. At 10 feet I added power, eased up the brakes and touched down at full speed. It was a good thing too!…The dry looking surface was only a thin skin covering about 10 inches of goo.
“Not really cardboard” … MUD FLAP & Custom Mirror
As soon as I touched down black clay was flying everywhere! I silently thanked Terry for the, “Not really cardboard” …mud flap. I’d teased him about it looking “cheap” but the darn thing was doing a yeoman’s job of protecting my instruments and face.
Just as I was beginning to feel myself slow down I mashed the throttle and the Generac 32 h.p. 4 stroke clawed us back into space. I smiled… one slog through the muck was enough for the day. Looking back I could see that the Falcon had touched with all three wheels for probably 30 feet and dug in at least 6 inches. It’s hard to say if I could have pulled out with the 23 horse Briggs & Stratton. Possibly not, another trike pilot with a two stroke had tried the same thing and was not so lucky. I saw him at the water truck washing the mud off his rig.
Back at the LZ I spoke with a fellow triker who commented that I was losing the A’s to soon, I agreed and he suggested that I lower the line guides on the cage so that they would be closer to my hands. Later flights proved him right. (I never got your name, but thanks!) I also learned that with a bigger cage it’s important to experiment with different ways to hold the A lines during inflation, Today I learned that I can grasp the lines way past the mallons and then slide back to them as the wing inflates.
That evening I shared a wolf camp dinner of frozen chicken and Italian sausage wrapped in Italian flat bread. (Of course I didn’t eat the chicken!) When we heard the fireworks going off we killed the campfire and wandered down to the beach for the bonfire and prop burning.

Bob Armond leads evening prayer service

Bob Armond was in rare form and it was a joy to watch him in action. With all the passion of a traveling preacher he exorcised the demons of poor judgement from we humble and unworthy pilots. Jim King introduced a gent who had just soloed and everybody cheered his achievement.

The moon was full…The dogs were howling… it was all good.
Day #3 Thursday #378

Windy! It was looking good at dawn but by the time I had breakfast and got out to the field it was blowing too hard for a maiden flight. I satisfied myself with housekeeping and catching up with the gang. Chad and some of the guys were playing on the beach doing touches on a ATV while Phil Russman stood in the back and shot video. Very cool!

Careful Chad !

Later in the afternoon it came down and I went up for a nice flight on the PPS 250. My arms are forced back around the hang straps and it isn’t going to be comfortable for long flights. I tried putting my arms behind the straps but that causes my belly to tighten up and there is no way I’ll be able to fly that way. I think if I tilt the seat forward and put my arms behind the straps it will solve the problem.The Falcon is flying great. There isn’t as much pitching as with the thumper and the visibility is great! While buying supplies at the truck stop I found the perfect mirror. It’s a semi truck hubcap, one of the small ones that just cover the lug nuts. Five bucks and it will never break, always look good and is sure to be a conversation starter. That evening Sky King and I went to the Mexican place and had a huge meal.

Salton Sea 2010

Paratoys Day 1 Tuesday Lake Havasue

The alarm went off at 2:15am but I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed until 3:00. That’s ok… I was rolling before 3:30 and powered to Lake Havasue with only 15 minutes of non moving time in 13 hours of driving… I didn’t realize that I was going thru Havasue, but when I saw the sign I impulsively called John Fetz. He asked if I would like to spend the night and I sheepishly accepted his hospitality. The GPS made a circuitous route to their home but once there I had no doubt it was the Fetz place. John’s shop isn’t big but it has enough scrap material lying around to build a space shuttle. There were motors and frames and trikes scattered all
over the back of the property! John and his wife Jill have a wonderful place with a very open architecture and the perfect Mother in Law apt. for me to crash in. Gawd I love desert living, the homes have such clean and simple lines that can best be described as light and airy.
After chatting a bit we went out for dinner at a local rib place that was adorned with a Pitts hanging from the ceiling and aeronautical memorabilia all over the place. John and Jill are quiet the pair… Ex Horse people, lifetime aviators, certified aircraft mechanics and real folk. It’s a pleasure to share some time with a happy couple living a normal happy life. We swapped stories and Jill gave me some good advice about my current situation.
When we returned from dinner John and I watched Salty Dogs from the 2007 Paratoys Show and by 9 p.m. I was ready for bed.

Day #2 Wednesday

Woke at 6, John was up and playing on the computer. He and I drank coffee and chatted for an hour. We tried to figure out the problem with the radios and ended up with one for transmitting and the other for receiving. John has a Greyhound type bus that he has rigged as a camper. They are not doing as much traveling and he is thinking about selling it for a very good price. … who knows?
I set off about 9am and was at the sea at noon. Once there I spent the day taxiing around the field. The idle was way too high and I could hardly slow it down until I backed down the idle. The paratoys guys had a very nice Bob Peloquin simulator attached to their RV that they were letting us use for hang testing. So… I took advantage and was happy to see that I didn’t really need to move a thing. I did play with a couple of different hang points but ended up prety close to where Terry had guesstimated it to be.
It was too windy to fly so I rode the Big Wheel around the RV Park and the LZ to chat with all the usual suspects. Good group ! Jim King and I went to the rib house for dinner. Shower and Bed.

Colorado Falcon lands in Denver !





The rest of my universe is a total disaster but after months of waiting the Falcon has landed!
I can honestly say this was the first time I’ve smiled in 7 weeks. Pam the u-ship gal showed up an hour early and we unloaded in no time. Best of all she was able to take the Thumper back to Terry on her return trip. He will have it in the first days of Feb.
Quick observations
1. It has the best visibility of any of my previous trikes. I can see all points of the compass. For the first time I will be able to look back through the prop and it will be easy to check fuel level. It will be much easier to launch when I can see the wing inflate without using a mirror. It’s going to be great to be able to look behind and see in all the traditional blind spots. I’m thinking that it will be closer to the foot launch experience. The bucket seat puts you “out there” so… instead of being cocooned inside of a harness or low down in the trike buggy… you’ve got your ”knees in the breeze”, as Brett Cam would say. The forward rail is narrower and the front wheel is out of view which also reduces the “visible stuff” out in front. I’m really looking forward to flying this thing!

2. The bucket seat was a good option, designed for go carts it is very suitable for the Falcon. It fits my small frame great and I think bug guys will like it too. The side rails make great attachment points for the reserve and if I want I can mount a “saddle bag” on the other side for cameras, water, mini parachutes… toys.

3. The electric start was smooth but there is no optional pull start like the Briggs & Stratton. It’s not really an issue… since I never had to use the pull start on the Thumper. Terry relocated the ignition to a central point just forward of the bucket seat. Good move since the first thing I did with the side mount was to break the weld. It also does away with the pivoting arm that the switch was mounted to. Last spring I launched with the hang strap inside of the pivot arm. The strap stressed the arm and I killed the motor trying to sort it out.

4. It’s BIG ! With a 66 inch prop and one piece construction the rig is too big to get inside of my store…except for the front double doors. I can’t get it into the shop for hang testing. So… I’ll just have to stop at an elementary school on the way to my first flight. I probably should have had Terry make it so I could remove the cage but it’s not a big deal. I’ll cope.

5. The 5 point seat belt looks like it came off of a Russian tank. It’s 3 inch webbing with rough cast hardware. When I cinch it up I’ll be able to fly but I won’t be able to reach the GPS or do any weight shift. Most likely after the first few flights I’ll ditch the crotch and shoulder straps. The waist belt is very comfortable and I like the way it snug’s me into the bucket seat. The buckle is primitive but it is a good clean quick release. I’ll braid a lanyard to the Q.R. to make it easy to find in an emergency.

6. I was a little concerned about the wheels but the new mags are bigger than I thought, it will be no trouble rolling over the rough stuff with these babies. Also the rims are split which will make it easy to change out a flat. The front wheel is small so…I might have to use ramps on soft surfaces … Time will tell. I do like the reverse camber of the nose wheel. It will keep it tracking if I decide to be a jerk and take my feet of the pegs… :).

7. The battery came off during transport, so I secured it with zip ties and filled the gap in the battery tray with some stiff closed cell Styrofoam. It will probably benefit from one more Zip tie but it’s not going anywhere the way it is.

High wind trike landing by Brent

To follow on from the Reverse Trike launch in higher winds to now safely
controlling and collapsing a PG wing after landing with a trike while touching
down in a breeze.

As from my own personal experience I have found that there are quite a few
different options on controlling and collapsing a PG wing while landing in a
slightly stronger breeze with a trike, I also know that some pilots fly with
quick releases and just jettison the wing once safely on the ground, which IMHO
is not such a bad option but requires the task of untangling the mess
afterwards.

I have personally tried quite a few different ways, but the one method I often
use is that immediately upon landing into the oncoming wind, (and while still
moving forwards with all wheels firmly on the ground) I quickly and safely turn
my PPG trike through a 180 Deg turn and try to end up facing the wing, (end up
facing now downwind), as in hopefully turning the trike 180 Degs, relative to
the on coming breeze, and with my both feet placed firm on the ground, to
deflate the wing I quickly use just one (1) “B” Riser to fully stall and
collapse one (1) side of the wing down onto the ground, while I am doing this, I
have now let go of the other opposite toggle (as in letting the other side of
the wing fly) I now quickly pull in on the toggle that is still in my hand
(being the same as the 1 B riser side stalled) by using both hands on that one
side steering line with a hand over hand wrap, this brings the tail quickly in
towards the trike, I have found that this action quickly deflates the wing and
stops you from getting possibly dragged sideways, or rolling over on your side
or possibly down along your landing field.

I have personally found that by collapsing just one side of the wing using just
(1) “B” Riser, it is much easier than trying to fully collapse the wing using
deep brakes or trying to use a full B Riser or C Riser full stall of the
entire wing, as opposed to with just (1) B Riser, as the wing just ends up
flapping out like a flag and lying down flat upon the ground, I have found that
this method is safe and works well.

The most important think that I can say is for you to “Practice” “Practice” and
Practice some more! Try as many different methods as you can possibly think of,
and then use the one method that feels the best for you and for the conditions
on the day.

I believe that to practice these methods all you need to do is just take your
wing and a kiting harness and go out in a nice easy breeze of say about 3 to 5
Knots (4 to 6 mph) and do lots of ground handling by inflating and deflating the
wing in as many different ways as you can possibly think of, you will be amazed
at the many different ways you can kite and then deflate a wing if you use a
little imagination.

Happy trike landings. 🙂
Cheers: Brent C.