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.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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