Vance Brand #654

Another short bumpy ride.
When I got to the field a little later than usual I thought it might get ratty and it did.  The conditions were consistent with what my friends the balloonists called last week.  It had been hot yesterday and stayed hot over night.  I have no doubt that if I had got out earlier the conditions would have been stable but because of the latent heat and the normal morning down slope of cool air the conditions degraded faster than normally.
The a assists worked better with a little more tension but it makes the inflation feel different and the wing comes up slower.  Also….  It might be a good idea to slack the assists after take off so that if I land into a good breeze I won’t have to worry about getting the wing down.  Next time I’m going to try a conventional wall instead of the chevron.  It might be why the wing is slow to come overhead.

After the flight the dog and I went to Carter Lake and watched them raise Duane’s Santana.  Very cool…. First divers went down to 140 feet, one with a rebreather and the other with nitrox.  They attached 4 lines to the boat and a crane barge brought her to the surface.  Once up they muscled her upright and pumped her out.  

We finished the day with a visit to the Spirit of flight Museum with Mike and Marsha.
Very cool …. I will return.

Beautiful night that turned out to be a pucker # 653 at Vance Brand

I labeled this post with bad launch and Hairy Flight but really it was not bad just challenging.

It was hot all day and 89 degrees when I got to the field at 6:45.  I took my time setting up to let the air mellow.  At 7:15 I had set up with my new A Assists and blew the first launch.  The keeper I had used to attach the ratchet to the Assist wasn’t strong enough and it blew out.  I reattached them with heavy zip ties and tried again.  This time I wish I had someone with a video camera.  The wing hung back and so I reached up and gave the assists a little help.  I must have got a better push with the right arm because the wing shot up but was only flying on the right side.  I looked to the left and the whole left side was hanging down like a limp dick but the air was still and I had lots of room so I backed off the throttle and coaxed the wing back up with a few pulls on the brake.  It was the longest roll out and take off since the time in Meadow Lake with the 23 hp Briggs.

The air was OK until I got to 500 feet where there was a layer of rowdy air.  I powered through that and found good air at 1000 feet AGL.  I went South and West until I found my self at Boulder Reservoir I was at 6000 feet MSL and there wasn’t a puff on the lake so I descended to about 200 feet AGL and cruised the shoreline.  When I got over the Marina area it started to get bumpy so I climbed out and started back.

About half way home I encountered a headwind and was flying at 10 to 15 mph.  The air temp dropped several degrees and I was feeling “puffs which is not normal.  I was able to pick up speed by crabbing but it still took a long time to get back to Vance Brand.  The wind had shifted from Northerly to Easterly and I was about 1 and a half miles west of the field when I encountered some really nasty air.  I was starting to get some minor tip collapses and being bounced up and down 50 to 100 feet at a time.  Earlier I’d flown through some patches of big lift and sink but that was at 6500 ft. It was a whole different story at 300 feet and it stayed that way all the way back to the field.

The landing was very steep and after touch down I pulled a couple of yards of the right brake to disable the wing.

Walsenburg Spanish Peak Airport … 648

Not a soul except one unhappy old man.  Light breeze out of the SSW.  Launch was slightly rugged due to the portside brake toggle locking up. The forest fire had been knocked down from the high plumes of the day before.  Instead of the dramatic footage I was hoping for there was a faint smokey haze covering the horizon.  I changed plans and checked out the north end of Walsenburg.  Nice flight …. Calm air
Great airstrip

Route 66 and the Wild Horse Canyon

Every 2 years Michelle Daniele Hosts 

Route 66 Flyers Fly-In 
at Paramotor City

This year I did a sprint. Drove down on Friday and drove home on Saturday…. 

It was too windy to fly Friday night (at least for me) but Jim King went for a quick spin in the sunset.  Sue had stopped by the tent announcing that the wind was coming down and that she was thinking of going up.  So….. While Jim and I  walked back to our trucks we debated the value of rigging up for such a short window of flyable air.  Jim was saying it was hardly worth the effort and I said yea , but it might be real good.  Jim looked at me and said , Ya know, You might be right.   Five minutes later Jim is setting up. AND…
It was spectacular!   Jim took off with a beautiful full moon behind him and rode toward the Sunset. After he had tasted the air,  he found it not so sweet, so… he turned back to land. and, “stuck it”,  like a gymnast going for the gold.  Jim Doyle and I stood there in awe of Sky King, one of the unsung heroes of  PPG history.


A personal highlight was sleeping in the bed of my truck under the stars.
It brought me back to the summers when I “slept out” 6 days a week.  That night we were experiencing what is called the “Super Moon”, the brightest moon in 75 years.  About 11:00 somebody foot launched and flew around the field for about 20 minutes.  Very cool.  His wing wasn’t light enough to video but it did reflect the moonlight on the turns.  I’m going to have to try it someday.  Tonight was the perfect night and all I can say was good for him.  One of these days …. It’s officially on my Bucket List.  Maybe at Lake Jean or Apex in Nevada.   But one of these days I’m going to do a moonlight flight.
Saturday morning I got up at 5:00 and launched with Jim Doyle who was leading the cross country to Wild Horse Canyon.  Great flight …. good air all the way.

After the flight we enjoyed the traditional omelets in a bag breakfast.  My jalapeño bacon was a huge hit, they ate all 5 pounds!
The Route 66 crowd is family and it was so great to see my friends.
Thanks Michelle for having us back.

646 VB

Good morning.

There was absolutely no wind when I got to the field, so I set-up and while I was at the truck putting on my helmet the wind came.  I was on the South East corner and it was 3 mph from the South West.  DAMN.
I re-bagged the wing and motored over to the other end of the field where I had a perfectly nice launch.
There was one balloon high in the South so I held the throttle down and climbed to meet him.  At 600 feet I powered through a layer and continued to climb.  At 1500 feet I encountered another layer and after climbing for several minutes it only got worse so I bailed on the intercept and descended towards Boulder Reservoir.  The winds were increasing from the South and when I got to the beach I was barely penetrating. There was very little activity compared with yesterday and I saw the balloon was starting to descend so I turned back toward Vance Brand and was over the runway in no time flat.  I made a couple of passes at the ballon and landed.  Nice Day  Next stop is Rio Puerco.