I’ve been looking forward to number 500 since before my first flight and this was a good one. 

Yesterday, I hung and pitched the spare blades to 3750 RPM.  Mike’s did a great job repairing the rig, he replaced the bent steering bar and broken cage parts, made two new axles and repaired the broken wheel where the bearing failed.  After tuning the blades, I rolled around the complex at moderate speed.  It would be nice to have some brakes other than the soles of my feet, but thats a topic for another posting.
It was a bit of trouble getting out of bed but the snooze feature saved me and I was at the field before 6:30.  The surface was wet and muddy from last nights downpour.  I used the fan to blow as much of the water out of the hay as possible.  It was a good trick using the motor like a hair drier.
I wanted the trike to get rolling a little easier and keep the wing as dry as possible so I layed out on the jeep track.  Luck was with me, there was no breeze so I could take of in any direction and… why not have a runway if you can?  While I was getting ready to hook in the risers, I noticed the line keepers were missing.  Mike had taken them off when he was repairing the machine and even though he pointed it out to me I’d missed it when preparing the machine..  At first I was devastated, my tool bag and spare parts were at the apartment and  I had just cleaned the truck, and  knew, there would be nothing in the cab to cobble together a temporary set.  But … in the truck bed under the 4 by 8 plywood sheet I found some broken zip ties and a few feet of 6 ml line. AND …Wa Laa … the new keepers were in place and not necessarily temporary.
Flying in the Clouds

Pilot Rainbow

The launch was perfect.  Climbout was slow because of the high humidity and possibly because of the new blades at a different pitch.  But soon, I was climbing with enough authority to make a go of it.  I headed out to the lake, and…there they were… a huge bank of low clouds.  There was a large cluster that went up maybe 2500 feet and around it were  several dozen smaller clusters with little floaters going down to about 400 feet. 
For the next 50 minutes I played in the clouds.  Several times I got chilled to the bone but this was too good to quit.   I went above, below, between and around but avoided going into the cotton candy.  It was cold and wet and a little scary.  I did fly right along the tops and kick a few just so that I could say that I did.  I knew that I was technically bending the rules but…. at this altitude …. in this place.  I wasn’t worried about encountering any other aircraft.   The sun was obscured most of the time so I wasn’t able to get any spectacular trophy shots of my shadow but I did get one with a faint pilots rainbow. 

What Fun!

Abort …. Abort … Abort

 This was one of those dumb incidents
that should have been avoided
The wing came up crooked and I tried to recover.  I was pulling it just above the ground and reached the A’s and got it back overhead. When it was stable I powered up and noticed it was rolling rough and I was surprised at how bumpy the ride was… the wheel was probably wobbling.  I got some lift and floated back down when I touched the trike yawed and quickly rolled.  I think the bearing rubbed against the axle connection and trashed right away, slowing the trike.  I used a little brake to get off and didn’t have enough speed causing the trike to come back down on the bad wheel.  The lines got into the prop and chewed one blade pretty bad.  Mike is going to be able to receive it Tue. evening.  With luck I’ll be back in the air soon.