The Road Trip Begins

I loaded the truck and was on the road before noon.  The first stop was Panama City Florida where I had dinner with John Black and his girlfriend.  John and I flew together in Colorado.  He was training in Colorado Springs and did well there.  Later he started Beach Blast which has turned into America’s Premier Fly-In.  I was hoping he has a good trike friendly place for me to fly in the morning but no such luck so I drove to Pensacola and crashed at a cheap hotel.

The next morning I drove through New Orleans, stopping on Beale Street for oysters and some street Jazz.  I made it to Galveston Island late that evening and mad arrangements to fly with Andy McAvin and his gang in the morning.

The Cathedral

Three hours outside of New Orleans, I saw a biplane fly slowly across the highway, then another and another.  My head was on a swivel, aviation was happening around here, somewhere.  A minute later I passed the fly in. dozens of Stearman biplanes were lined up in a field alongside the highway.  I got off at the next exit, turned around and drove into the fly-in.  It was the 36th Annual Jennings “End of Season”, Stearman Fly-in.  What a great venue for a fly-in.  There was a nice hotel next to the field so that you could taxi to the line and walk to your room.  I must have seen the last of the arrivals because there were very few people around the line.  I did speak with one fellow who told me a little about the event.  The planes were all Stearman so there wasn’t much variety but the surprising thing was that they almost all had the same yellow paint job.  I don’t know, unless there was some crazy squadron rule about color scheme, I would have chosen another color.

920 Placida

Arrived well before dawn and took my time setting up.  Tony arrived just as I was about to take off.  The wing and buggy were aligned so that I was directly into the wind but slightly off center with the runway.   the plan was to inflate the wing and turn back to the line.  I had kicked most of the weeds so that I would not have any lines catching during inflation.
Launched clean 5 minutes before sunrise into smooth air.
Flew for 25 minutes and took a few pictures of the sunrise and Gasparilla Island.  Great new music was Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant soundtrack from the movie Taxi Driver.
Max altitude was 1200.  The only bumps were when I flew through my own wake.  Spiraled down and did a few S turns before final.  Landed clean.

Tony did 4 successful taxi maneuvers with prop.  He also had two unsuccessful with a slow motion roll over no real damage .  The cage isn’t perfectly round anymore but there is still clearance for the prop.  After viewing the video its clear he was braking the low side of the wing and turning away from the wing.  It was not a perfect session but after the roll over he tried again and did perfectly. I think he is getting it.  One more day of practice and he will be ready to go.

The trike buddy was great in theory but not so much in practice.  To be fair the Carburetor is very low quality and I have not been able to  get it to run smooth and only with partial choke.  It makes for poor motor control and I think was causing more problems than its worth.  My APCO will be done this week and I’m looking forward to delivering it to Eric Dufour.
NOTE: Get new battery for the remote motor shut off.

Note the antenna light to the left of the sun. 🙂

918 Shell Creek

918 was wonderful.  The air was smooth as butter.  I lain he’d from Shell Creek before dawn and roamed far and wide.  After playing around at Tracks and Trails I turned North East where I spotted a herd of livestock that just didn’t look right.   Descending to 200 feet I realized they were Bison.  They were a little more skittish than cattle so I wasn’t able to get too close but I saw probably 80 or 100 animals all cows and calves.  

The A assist issue has finally been resolved.  One of the cams was slipping.  I replaced it.

916 Shell Creek

No Drama but a good short flight with a bumpy layer at 50 feet.  I set up for landing and after passing through the layer it smoothed out enough that I decided to turn it into a touch and go.  Brian would have said the climb out was a little rowdy.  🙂   I was comfortable and even enjoyed the change up.

Tony and I spent some time kiting after having no joy with the Trike Buddy.  The issue is now a rough running motor.  I have cleaned it up, checked the air filter drained the tank and carberator bowl.  The needle valve is moving freely.  
I think we have the traction issue solved by tightening the lashings,  this will tension the fiberglass rods transferring the load to the Trike Buddy..  I noticed that Tony’s rig was not tensioned. (Thanks to Leon Wacker for saving me the time to figure that one out by guess and by golly.

915 Shell Creek

No Drama.  

Light breeze on the surface, 21-23 mph above tree line.  The new cams on the A’assist 

are holding the lines without slipping but are not easy to adjust under pressure.  After landing I fooled with it and believe the cam tabs might release … it needs testing.  Today I had to unclip the cam from the A’assist, both were too tight by an inch.  Also…. The tail of the A’assist line needs to be shortened to prevent it looping around the horizontal iron.  
I didn’t stay up long, 30 min was enough to satisfy. Landing was sweet but I had to work through swirly air between 200 and 75 agl.
Kited awhile and headed home.
Later I dropped a kiting harness with Tony.  He has his trailer built and is ready to start using his equipment.  We are looking at 3 days for taxi training this week.