This one I’ll be kicking myself for a long time. The flight was nothing dramatic. No Balloons … No Bird strikes … just a nice AM flight.
BUT… After I landed and bagged the wing I was driving the trike back to the truck and saw Ian was at his hanger so I thought to go over there and shoot the breeze with him.
Well, as I was along side the truck I tossed the wing off to the side and as soon as I did it I heard that horrible sound of a wing getting parablended. Apparently it took a bad bounce and I didn’t toss it hard enough because the prop sliced right through the wing bag and took out two top panels plus a rip on the bottom.
Another technical note:
The belt has been squealing more the last few flights so I took Terry Lutke’s advice and removed the belt, washed it with soapy water and applied conditioner. Well, now it’s not making any noise but I noticed that there was rubber on the pulleys. Maybe it was the conditioner. Maybe it’s too tight. I’m going to fly one more flight and evaluate it then.
Taxi practice went well until I hit one of the sand pits and slowed enough for the glider to stall
|Notice the A line is pulled ahead of the rest of the rest|
For the last two weeks I’ve been experimenting with A Assists. The idea is to have the A lines uniformly pulled during inflation with an attachment just forward of the hang point loops. The line that hooks to the A Mallon is adjustable and can be released in flight.
So far I’m undecided, the wing comes up slower than if I’m the one controlling the A’s and unless I’m doing something wrong they don’t always come up as straight as advertised. One time it was because the assist line got snagged and another time the lines might have been uneven. Another thing I’m not to fond of is that unless they are detached on landing the wing is prone to inflate itself. This morning while I walked back to the truck to retrieve the wing bag, the wing inflated and built a nice little wall. One little puff and I think it would have launched itself. Yesterday it did! If there is any breeze at all I’m going to have to remember to release the tension on the A’s.
I like holding the A lines during inflation. It allows me to feel the wing and adjust with brakes or steering the trike. Using the Assists I can only monitor the wing by watching it. That may be better if my helmet doesn’t get in the way. On the next flight I’m going to pull the A’s out another 1/2 inch and see if it does n’t come up a little faster.
This morning there was a light breeze from the south I could see 4 balloons that had launched from the Gunbarrel area. It was perfect, I could fly into the wind and meet the balloons half way, and then, hopefully, they would come back to Vance Brand to land. The take-off was good and I passed through two layers of bumpy air, one at 300 ft. agl and another at 1600 ft. agl. The breeze changed direction at 300 ft and died completely above 1600. There was no way to know where the balloons would land. So… what I thought was going to be a headwind toward the balloons turned out to be a tail wind. When we met at about 2000agl I couldn’t tell what direction the air was moving. I did a few fly-bys and headed back.
At the field the wind had turned 180 degrees from when I launched and was picking up quickly. I should have guessed it from the bumps I encountered returning. Good Flight
Egil came out but didn’t fly due to a tear in his wing.
Chip, it was good talking with you yesterday. Here is a picture from THAT flight to Red Rocks.
The 2013 Steamboat Balloon Festival
right place right time
|Steamboat 2013 LZ|
It wasn’t great, there was a narrow runway of hard pack that ended abruptly into a field of tall weeds. There were some trees to avoid and of course the pond that separated us from the rest of the festival. It looked possible but I was going to have to get the inflation right immediately and make the go- no go decision within 30 feet of the start.
Steamboat is a beautiful place to fly and I look forward to coming back. The valley air was calm and the ski mountain looked like a great climb 3000 feet to the top. There was a freight train rolling down the valley and lots to see. I could have stayed up all morning and would have, except that it was starting to sprinkle and I was worried that it was only going to get worse. After flying around the smaller balloon I turned back to check out my landing options. I used the radio to ask Dawn to clear the field and by the time I had circled once it was free of spectators.
The landing was much like the take off,. narrow with obstructions to avoid. There was no clearing turn before final, I just set up over the Yampa and followed it in. As soon as I cleared the trees I went to idle and touched down exactly right. It felt good,
|Time for showers and breakfast|