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.

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.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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