This was a flight that had a few challenges.
The first was when I pulled on to the dirt road that leads to the airstrip. I heard a terrible mechanical noise somewhere off to the left. I heard it all the way to the parking area. When I opened the door I realized that it was the starter on the Trike Buddy was going. The kill switches didn’t work and I ended up disconnecting the battery. I’m thinking the foot bar on the trike may have touched the leads for the starter. Oh well,enough of that, I’ll figure it out later. After all, I got up early to fly
So I unloaded the trike and discovered that I had left the key in the ignition. Bummer. The battery still had enough juice that when I gave the key a quick twist, I could hear the starter cough. So I turned the prop half way through a compression and gave it a try. The motor started right up and I let it run while I geared up. So…. I motored out to the runway, layed out and got ready to launch. Damn! I left my phone in the truck. Oh well I had the ear buds so at least I could launch. Damn! The GPS is dead. Ok, here are the spares. So, I’m finally in the seat, the GPS is reset and everything is ready to go. I start the motor and begin the inflation.
The wing comes up to the right, I pump the left brake and as the wing stabilizes I feel my sunglasses come off the top of my head and go south. No time to worry about that, the front wheel is lifting, pay attention to the flight. Climbing out, the air is pretty turbulent, I take a quick glance behind me and catch a glimpse of an earpiece on the top of the motor. Ok, they’re still with me, I’ll see if they’re still there when I get to altitude. Once up in clear air, I turn around and retrieve the glasses. I was only able to penitrate at 4 to 7 mph so I headed toward Shell Creek and climbed to 800 feet. I could see virga off to the right. The air was incredibly humid, just above the dew point. The winds were increasing and I wasn’t making any forward progress. After 15 minutes I swung back south to the sand quarry. Downwind I was going 55 in slow trim. After a couple of turns I decided to decend and head back to the field. Final approach was interesting. There were distinct layers where I was either going 4 mph or 16 mph. At 100 feet I hit some sink and decended dramatically to 20 feet, while accerating to 20 mph. Adding power I stopped the decent and stayed at 10 feet until I was ready to land. Nice.
On the runway the wind was brisk with some gusting. I kited for 15 minutes and packed up.