Titan. #508

Q and I slept on the boat last night so we were close to the field at dawn.  What a beautiful sunrise!  I slipped out of bed and as quietly as possible, raised the anchor and motored back to the marina all the while shooting pictures of the eastern horizon.  It was one of those maroon and orange sunrises with just enough cloud to paint a masterpiece.
John was at the field when I arrived and we both took off quickly.  The air was mostly good with a few areas of down slope turbulence.  I stayed up 45 minutes flying in the park and over the marina.

Marks "Hilltop" at the Arvada RC park #507

Great site. Great flight!
Mark Johnson is moving to Hood River so he invited the flock to his “Hilltop” LZ for a farewell flight. 
Great Video by Mike Bennett
It’s off hwy 93 not too far from my soon to be new home in Louisville.  Where we took off was behind a recently built housing development.  A couple of the homeowners came out to watch and it looks like they are PPG friendly.  The area is a flat hilltop with steep drop offs on three sides.  The weeds are low but there is a scattering of prickly pear that I’m going to have to watch for.   This is probably going to be my new home field and it’s got a lot to offer.  Close enough to the foothills for hill flying with several lakes, a gravel pit. RC Park and not to far to do a cross country to Golden or Louisville.
Mike Bennett, Ty, Mark Johnson and I all took off on the first attempt and landed on our feet and wheels without incident.  

Flat Irons

RC Park

Beery’s Gathering at Monument Valley 09 Video

Move over John Ford, the big dog is moving in.

Beery has captured what the Gathering is all about…
He spares no one… the GOOD… the BAD or the UGLY. Its hanger stories, aerobatics and bloopers all sourounded by the most spectacular landscape in the world.

Beery does home movies the way my Daddy used to make em… what it lacks in polish he made up for in love of the subject. .. and I like it.

When two pilots pull a simultaneous abortion and narrowly miss blending each other’s wing you hear Beery chuckle and shout,” I GOT IT ON FILM! “
Pay attention and keep the remote handy because you will be rewinding over and over to catch it all. If you didn’t go …you will wish you had…and if you were there… You will bust a gut.

Good job Beery, I’ll be enjoying this long after I’ve lost the souvenir hat!
Now available on You Tube

Powered Paragliding Colorado #506

While I was in the area I ran up to Dorr Michigan and visited with Terry Lutke,  designer and builder of the Falcon 4 stroke.  We had a nice lunch and chatted about the pros and cons of training.  I left encouraged but thoughtful about the right way to train prospective PPG pilots.

Terry’s new two seater headed for the Pacific Rim

Q set the alarm for 5:15 and I awoke if a fog but managed to get on the road by 5:30 and was at the apartment and loaded by 6:40.  The conditions at the field were perfect, with a light wind from the south south west.  I’d left the key in the ignition after the last flight which had drained the battery while I was out of town so I drove to the north end of the field and set-up so that I could jump start the Falcon with the truck. 
The launch was fine but I did have to use a little brake and nurse it until  I’d gained a few feet of altitude.  Once up, I noticed that the air was moderately bumpy and the wind was shifting toward the west so I stayed near the patch and avoided the rotor that would be generated by the foothills. 
Often when the wind starts this type of shift an hour after sunrise it also picks up dramatically.  If it was from the south it might be hard to get back from the lake and if it was from the west it would be turbulent so I decided to land after 30 minutes and came in for a nice powered landing.
The Power Play has probably 450 to 500 hours and I’m concerned that it is suffering from high porosity or line shrinkage.  When initiating a turn it either jumps into the turn or is slow to start and then jumps into the turn.  It doesn’t seem as stable overhead either flying too far back or forward.  It might be that the air was more active that I thought and I was concerned for nothing but after talking with John Fetz this morning I’ve decided to stretch the lines and do a oral porosity test.

# 504 Dingy Night

First Evening Flight of the summer
At Five O’Clock I was watching the winds at Chatfield.  It was blowing hard at the apartment but it was showing 4 to 0 at the South Chatfield.  I was torn, looking out from my balcony I saw alot of wind blown clouds to the east,  toward Chatfield it wasn’t so bad. BUT… I was thinking that the air was going to be unstable.  I texted Mike with no response but John Sieb called back and agreed to meet at Titan at 7:00.

 When we arrived at the field the winds were light from the South.  John launched first planning to fly over to the castle at Daniels Park.  He would be traveling cross wind and if the winds acted as we expected would have a nice slide back to the LZ.  I launch 10 minutes later and headed over to the park to check out the dingy races.  The air was smooth  with a mild southerly breeze.

 There they were having a perfect floater. No wind on the lake at all.  I was feeling 8 to 10 at 300 feet but the air was smooth.

 After 30 minutes of watching the dingys and overflying the campground it started to get twitchy.  The wing was being swung hard left and right.  So… I started to head back to the LZ.  The last ten minutes were very active flying.  It was especially bad over by the inlet where winds from the cut were mixing with the air from the flats.  I turned back to the East and bounced my way back toward the LZ where the landing was without event.  It was mixing at 100 feet and had shifted from SSE to WSW but had settled down as I came in to land. 

John wasn’t back but I decided to head over to the lake to say hi to the dingy racers.  When I got there the winds were hard from the North.  I spent a few minutes chatting with Robert Kline and Bob Maloff and because I was sure John would have to land out headed back to the truck to check in. He called a few minutes later having successfully landed at Titan in 15 mph winds.  It was all good.

503 Titan

Got to the field at 6:30.  John was already up. 
The skies were full of high clouds, blurred and blown at the bottom.  The winds were light from the SW. 
While I was setting up John landed and came downfield to brief me.  He said it was not dangerous but it wasn’t much fun either.  Mixing air with lots of surges.  In other words ” Active Flying” 
I decided to try it out.  The launch was interesting.  The wing came up to the left,  I was able to right it and when it seemed stable I powered up.  Rolling at a high speed I got enough lift to bring up the front wheel but it didn’t feel right.  I powered down a bit … rolled …  powered back up and finally lifted off  way down the field. John was right it was smooth for 20 seconds then I’d get pulled, then it would mellow out for a bit until the next patch of mixing air.  There was big lift over the horse ranch and a huge swing south of the LZ.  I decided to call it good and get down.  I wish that I’d had a GPS to track the landing because it was a series of quick drops with long glides in between.
Even though it seemed smooth at the surface the air was disturbed just 20 feet overhead.
Equipment Note:
Order a set of o rings from Michelle for the PPS
Empty the dirt out of the cells

502 Titan

Another Good One. 
There was a 3 mph wind from the SSW and the clouds were thick to the East.
 The humidity was  high,  it had rained most of the evening, making the surface slippery and the hay wet. Since the air was saturated the runout was long, but the field had been freshly mowed and was smooth as a babys butt, so I stayed off the brakes and let the wing decide when it was time to fly.  The air was mixing over the field but as soon as I turned toward Chatfield Res. it smoothed out like butter.  I leveled off at 500 feet and cruised over to the marina.  There was absolutely no one around, none of the staff not even a fisherman so I dropped down to 100 feet and enjoyed the ” low and slow”. 
An hour later people started stirring at the campground,  I did a flyby and was surprised that about half of the people I saw didn’t didn’t even notice me.  It speaks well of the Falcon and the quiet Generac 4 stroke.   There was one person at the RC Park, he wasn’t flying so I took the opportunity to make a close pass at the runway.  I have always wanted to land or do a touch-n-go, and today would have been perfect but rather than ruffle feathers, I waved and decided to stop in on my way home to see what the reception would be.  Over by the south inlet I saw that there were several pools in full algae bloom, vivid, almost neon green.  It was nice to go over there without a down slope breeze from the canyon bouncing me around.  I wasn’t weaving through the trees but it was one of the lowest continuous flights in this machine and  for sure at this location. 
After landing, while I was unhooking the wing I was startled to notice that my lines has dozens of cuts in the sheath.  I couldn’t imagine what would have damaged them so badly and was thinking it was the end of the Powerplay until I got close and was engulfed by thousands of tiny “no-see-ums”.  They had come together near the motor and were landing on everything.  What looked like cuts were really just little pilots taking a break.  It reminded me of a time in Utah when my sailboat had been encrusted by the tiny things and I couldn’t see light through the portholes.
Thousands of tiny fliers

At the RC Park I met John Lipe who invited me to fly on Sept 17th for a BBQ and to possibly do a demo flight.  He is going to see if he can clear it with the Rangers.
It was one of the best flights of the season. I listened to a mix of movie classics and tooled around for a good 90 minutes. The rain must have scared everybody off, there were no balloons and only one or two boats on the lake. I felt like I had the whole park to myself. A very peaceful and mellow flight.