SYesterday was a shorty. Mike Lange and I met at Placida. There was heavy ground fog covering the whole area but two weeks of heavy wind had us jonesing for a flight and we were both hopefull that it would be thin enough to launch.
Well, yes and no…. Yes….We both launched but … in the blind. I climbed out of the fog quickly but there was a thick white blanket below as far as I could see. If I had been pleased with the Paramotor I might have kept climbing and waited out the fog but I had changed the prop to a coarser pitch hoping to increase thrust. It had the opposite effect on my climb, the Paramotor felt rough and the prop sound was a terrible roar. I poked down into the fog to see if I could get a glimpse of the LZ and decided to land. Two quick circles and I set down 100 yards from the truck. Mike didn’t fair any better. He had a motor out shortly after taking off and landed 1000 yards to the south. Any farther and he could have had problems with canals and wires. As it was he had a long damp walk back to the vehicle.
I wished that I had pictures but I wasn’t exactly feeling good about the flight and didn’t want to go hands free for even a second. Never the less….It was beautiful. My shadow on the top of the fog created the perfect rainbow halo. I’d been hoping to get that shot for ten years but I’ll have will have to wait a little longer. My only impression from the flight was that I was all alone … Blue Sky above and cotton candy below, it was a vast two color universe.
Max RPM 3400
Max Climb rate 180
Flight 2 (today) SCA
50 minutes 3500 agl. Changed prop to slightly less course pitch ….
Max RPM 3600 but settled at 3540 most of the time.
Climb rate 200 – 250. Prop noise was smoother.
Finally met Frank Moss.
The winds have been strong, dawn and dusk, for the last two weeks making it impossible to fly.
It’s frustrating because I’ve changed the pitch on the props so that max RPM is 3500, 200 below norm. Hopefully this will increase my thrust and climb rate. My friend John Fetz who has over 10,000 logged hours isn’t as optimistic, he expects higher vibration and decreased thrust. He is thinking that this course pitch would be helpful after gaining altitude but useless during climb out. We will see.
It’s too windy to fly, So…. Dawn and I rounded up the SW Florida contingent of Colorado Sail and Yacht and went for a sail yesterday afternoon. Best weather and best sail since we sailed the boat back from Burnt Store Marina with Bill and Katie last spring. Everything fell right into place. Steady 14 mph winds out of the North East made for an easy broad reach out and back. The repairs to the diesel and electronics all seemed to be holding together and we had a high high tide. There was a ton of food left over from the SCA meetings earlier in the week and Dawn did me proud making by making sandwiches and finger foods for all to share.
A good time was had by all.
Nice flight climbed to 4800 feet where the cold stopped me. First experience with the selfie stick in flight. Very light northerly breeze clear sky. Dead stick from 500 feet.
Last night I got out too late. Almost funny, the weatherbug said sunset at 7:30 but it was way too dark by 7:15. Winds were building and storm clouds were approaching. Aborted launch and settled for some kiting.
To thing spectacular to report. Nice flight with a dead stick landing. The kill switch was found to be inoperable during preflight. I killed the engine at 200 feet with the key and enjoyed a quiet landing.
Two days later I drove up to Placida because I found myself awake at 5:00am and didn’t see any reason to go back to sleep. It was dead calm at the house but there was a steady 10 mph wind at the LZ. Since I was there before sun up I got the rig ready and waited. About 15 minutes after sunrise the winds started to abate. When I got out of the truck to check conditions, I heard before I saw, a rain shower. It was really quiet strange to hear the rain smacking into the earth but not seeing the shower. I pulled the wing into the cab and waited, the rain only lasted a couple of minutes. I wiped off the seat set up the wing (three times due to shifting winds) and eventually launched down the road in nill wind conditions. It may have been calm on the surface but it was anything but at 350 feet. Strong turbulence began at 300 and worsened the higher I got. At 400 feet I was doing the puppet on a string thing and decended back down to 300. It was lumpy but manageable. If it had been just a little calmer I would have tried out the new selfie stick but no sense in that.
After 20 minutes of loitering at 300 feet I went back up to 350 to see if it had mellowed but the air was still unstable so I landed. The repair to the kill switch was done before leaving so i field tested it by killing the motor at 50 feet and just for fun greased the landing.