After a particularly difficult night where sleep was elusive and disturbed I awoke at 0600 to clear and calm conditions. I pulled on my shorts and left the house immediately. Perhaps the clerk at Circle K could tell I needed it, because she didn’t charge me for the coffee.
Arriving at the field, I discovered the same old mistake rearing its ugly head. After my last flight, I had bagged the wing out in the field and motored back to the truck killing the engine with the throttle kill switch and… as has happened so many times before, I left the key in the ignition, draining the battery. If there is one thing I would change about the Falcon, its the keyed ignition. I would much prefer a start button that toggles on or off … Anything to keep me from repeating this bone headed blunder.
For two seconds I considered returning to the house and going to back to bed…. Sometimes your just not meant to fly. But the sun was starting to rise and conditions were perfect so I unloaded the rig, laid out the wing and jump started the Paramotor.
Take off was a little sloppy because I got on the breaks a bit to soon and had to milk it in order to climb out and away from the airstrip… but once up … It was magic.
I climbed to 1000 feet and flew over by the radio tower. A couple of days ago I had a start, when I couldn’t locate it even though I knew it was close by. My head was on a swivel until I finally spotted it an knew I wasn’t going to skewer myself 800 feet above the surface. This morning the anti collision lights were on and it was easy to spot. I’m not sure what the problem was but I’m not going to venture into the area until I’ve got it pegged.
I did experience an unusual kink and it’s one that the manual mentions. When you get a particular trim and trust, the wing will start to oscillate. It’s not dramatic just a gentle persistent rocking. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about because it doesn’t keep building to greater and greater swings. If I change the thrust, it settles down and the same, if I change the trim. I’m going to watch and see if I can induce it with different trim setting. It’s torque related I’m sure.
For the first time in months, the air close to the surface was relatively smooth. There was a light breeze from the South so I descended toward the North end of the field, closed the trimmers and enjoyed a long slow run back toward the tower. I didn’t have my GPS with me and so I don’t have exact speed measurements but it was classic low and slow. I was starting to feel better about things.
After and hour and fifteen I returned to the field a new man.
These were two morning flights at SCA. That’s four mornings in a row! Have not done that for awhile.
Yesterday evening I went out to Placida to meet up with some new guys. The wind was gusty and since I’d had some good flying in the morning …. I passed. But I did get some nice shots.
I wrote this up for Terry
It’s a nice wing it might be a bit too EZ for some guys but I have no complaints. It is absolutely the easiest launching wing I’ve ever flown. I’ve heard lots of wings discribed as coming up straight and “locking in ” overhead but this one really does. I’ve tried to get it to overshoot and it just doesn’t. I did away with the A assists after the first couple of flights and am amazed at how little pressure is required on the A’s to get a clean inflation.
I’d recommend it for a beginner …but there are some rules. Like, set the trimmers for launch, which is not full closed. I’d tell em to fly in that setting for the first several flights and don’t touch the trimmers. They could close them for landing but it flares and slows down just fine in the launch mode. The tip stearing is nice and light and you can bring it around pretty damn fast. Some guys may brand it as a beginner wing and then assume that it will be boring to fly but I’ve enjoyed it. Without using a speed bar I’ve noticed about 8 mph difference from full closed to full open and I can slow it down another 5 mph with some brake. I don’t think I’ve come close to stall speed yet and I’m not likely to but APCO claims that full speed with speed bar is 3 times stall speed. Climb rate is 300 fpm at 3600rpm. I was expecting a little better glide and I will check it again but it does decend faster than the Eden 3. I’m guessing 400fpm.
APCO also says that you can fly with both the tip steer and brake toggles but I think I would have to have longer tip steering lines to do it because the tip steering engages well before the brakes. This morning I tried landing with both and ended up releasing the tips before touch down because the tips were too sensitive and not in perfect balance with the brakes. So, I’m working the tips to stay straight but not able to flare deep and even. Tomorrow I’ll see what it’s like to “carve it up” at altitude with both toggles.
I’ve got probably 10 hours and about the same number of launches so there is still plenty to learn and I’ll let you know it’s “kinks” when I find them.
I’d love to get with somebody like Chris Santacroce and have him talk me through some maneuvers to see how far you can push it but it’s not likely I’ll get that opportunity so for now I’ll just say I’m happy flying the wing, well inside it’s design parameters.
(Not proof read, for your reading pleasure)
It was a good morning. Got out to the field at 6:16 and cracked of a couple off nice ones. There were boomers off shore but the air was good inland. During the second flight Ty Jenkins and James Peace showed up. James has a Nirvana Rodeo with the carbon trike. Very nice rig…. It took him several attempts and one turtle to get off but he got some good airtime once up.
Spent time practicing with the trimmers. I’m not so much looking at the scale anymore as letting trim out or in then checking that the wing tracks straight. Tomorrow I’m going to see if there is a way of pulling the trimmer so that the scale is more visible.
There was a distinct layer at 250 ft where the air settled down. I climbed to 750 ft and flew off to the Gaspirella Causeway. I was sorely tempted to drop down on the jet port for some touch and go but decided to let it go until another day.
Landings are getting better. For awhile the wing was carrying too much energy after touch down. But I’ve been closing the trim all the way before landing and getting a nice long float.
Mike Lange seemed to be having the most fun with at least 12 flights and numerous touch and goes.
I hadn’t really planned on flying this evening but when the wind came down and it looked good, I jumped in the truck and drove out to Shell Creek. When I got there the wind was blowing 5 mph from the east. The launch was going to have to be crosswind to the South so I motored out to the runway. The plan was to launch perpendicular to the runway and after it was overhead turn south and launch down the runway. A bit technical but nothing extraordinary, there was plenty of room to inflate and make a turn and clear air for 1000 feet to the south.
So anyway, there I was all laid out and strapped into the rig when the wind starts to increase. I decided to wait it out and 3 minutes later a gust front blows in. After a moments hesitation, I unbuckled and started releasing the glider. The wind was gusting past 20 when I had the first Carabiner undone and before I could get to the other, the wing decided to fly, it half inflated and lifted overhead. The trike was pulled around 180* before the loose riser went downwind and the wing was disarmed. After that, life was easy.
I’m not really sure why I didn’t launch as soon as I bucked in. I was looking forward to the challenge of a crosswind launch. It looked good. …..
The winds were starting to come up but it was still doable. The clouds did appear to be heading my way but I sure didn’t expect a major gust. It was part experience and a bunch of luck. The best that can be said was that I was prudent and it paid off.
The take offs were long and low for both Mike and I. After getting up a good head of steam I felt confident that a small amt of brake would launch me. I was wrong. A little brake got me off the ground but then I was stuck in that awkward situation where I couldn’t gain any altitude because of the brakes and if I let off brake I would start coming back down. So there I was 6 inches off the surface waiting for the rig to pick up enough speed so that I could get the flock out. It really wasn’t a big deal but it seemed to take forever before the rig started climbing. I slowly let off the brakes and eventually it happened. I can see why Dan D. had some issues after leaving Porto Valarta and going to 5500 ft. I’m not sure this would be the best wing for Monument Valley and certainly not for launching out of a bumpy horse meadow. It requires speed for launch.
The first flight was short. I was concerned about the weather and after running into some particularly nasty air I returned to the LZ and landed. I can’t explain the bad air that spooked me. It wasn’t short like going through my prop wash but there wasn’t anything close that I could see to cause the instability. I did see it depart when it passed over a pond.
I waited a few minutes and relaunched. Same thing, long slow climb out but the air was good and I enjoyed the moment.
The big news of the day was that I’ve removed th A Assists and launched without them. The Lift doesn’t require a lot of pressure and the shoulder feels fine.
Mike Lange took this shot with the faint rainbow. The air was good dispite the boomers to the South West.