#1051 Placida

Today was a bit of a milestone. I arrived at the field about 15 minutes after sunset. There was a 5 to 7 mph breeze from the SSE. The skies were clear and the temperature was 64 degrees. The ground fog had burned off and the field was very wet.

I set-up diagonally across the road NW of the usual field hoping to keep the wing dry. Taking Paul’s advice I had all the lines relatively tight to avoid the partial tuck I was getting during inflation. The prop pitch had been reduced 1.5 Degrees the day prior. It increased max RPMs to 9400 and greatly reduced thrust at Idle. It was a pleasure to be able to fire up the motor without the prop thrust grabbing the wing. Due to the cockeyed way the wing was laid out, the trike was straddling the edge of the road. I was afraid that it would slow down or otherwise disrupt the first moment of inflation so I tried an old trick from the Simms Landing zone. I used the ramps give the trike a smooth surface to start off. It also raise the back a tiny bit which might have helped to keep the wing out of the prop wash.

The launch was very easy. The wing popped right up into the breeze and stabilized overhead. I had to make a slight turn to correct the heading and when it was time , the slightest bit of brake popped me into the air.

It was 6 on the bump scale up to 400 feet, above was smooth with a strong breeze. I was surprised to learn that I had launched using the tip steering on the left side. It felt perfectly normal. As a matter of fact it felt better in my throttle hand than a regular brake handle. It might be a good idea to fool around with different toggles to see what works best. The winds were considerably stronger at altitude, 15 mph, at least.

I flew, crabbing against the Wind out to the Gasparilla Marina and back to Safe Cove. The Paramotor ran well with a lower pitch. I was climbing easily at 300ft/min at 3700 RPMIt was nice to have a wider power which made it easier to dial in the RPM. Best of all the torque steer has been reduced dramatically. My only complaint is the light action of the throttle. It’s difficult to hold a steady RPM when I stow the brake toggles or use the left hand to adjust the trimmers it’s too easy to rev or drop the RPMs. Just adding spring tension isn’t going to fix it , I need to add some friction as well.

The winds aloft were a steady 15 mph. I was able to penetrate at 15 mph at neutral trim. The upwind turns were fun and tight.

Landing was much better than the last two. Because of the rowdy air I had to actively fly the wing to keep control during decent. For the first time since I got sick I was flying with some weight on the toggles, feeling the wing instead of just giving input when I wanted to initiate a turn or something. When it was time to flair I was much more comfortable and was able to float the wing for a long way to bleed off energy. The lesson of the day was ….fly the wing! Hang a little weight on the toggles and feel what’s happening. I think it’s something that’s been lacking since the long sabbatical due to illness. It feels good to be getting my skills back.

Right after landing a flock of egrets landed right beside me. They even hung out for 45 minutes while I had an old fashioned kiting session and loaded up the rig. On the way out of the field, I pulled off the road for a minute to work with the IPad. While I was sitting there, head down, a couple older fellows rode up to take a look. The were fascinated by the motor but I was more interested in their expensive rides. Full Campagnolo groupos mounted on beautiful “big tube” carbon fiber frames. The kind of equipment that was only available to well funded professions just a few years ago. We shared pleasantries, said our fair wells and then, I headed home.

I stopped to add fuel and was surprised to add a .9 of a gallon for a 30 minute flight. If that’s right I’m burning 2 gallons an hour. I expected a higher fuel burn but this is almost double what the Generac burned. It’s going to limit my range but it’s not like I’m doing a lot of 3 hour flights, so…. no biggie.

LZ Photos

North Las Vegas
Henderson Nevada
Wichita Glider Port
Kati Texas
Simms LZ Denver Colorado
Lake Wales Airport
Meteor Crater Arizona
Glamis California
Meadow Lake Airport Colorado
Snow Mountain Ranch @Winter Park Colorado
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Apex Dry Lake @ Las Vegas Nevada
Lake Havasue Nevada
Dry Lake Jean , Nevada
Glamis California
Dick’s sporting goods Arena Aurora , Colorado
Colorado Springs Air Park
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Galveston , Texas
Conway Arkansas Airport
Monument Valley , Utah
Flying J Ranch Lake Mirage , California
Salton Sea, California
Vance Brand Airport Longmont, Colorado
Louisville, Colorado
Littleton , Colorado
Arvada, Colorado. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Snowflake Motor Park Aurora Colorado
Titan LZ. Chatfield Reservoir, Colorado
San Juan Pass Galveston, Texas
Pine Island , Florida
Shell Creek AirPark Punta Gorda , Florida
North Port Charlotte, Florida
South Gulf Cove, Placida Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Lake Suzi , Florida

Flights 1049 & 1050. Lake Suzi Airpark

This could be the start of something wonderful. I met with Paul Czarnecki at 8am at Lake Suzi Airpark. It’s a very nice airstrip that has 3000ft of beautifully groomed weeds. When I arrived the fog was too thick to launch so I watched Paul teach “carb tech” for 30 minutes. The weed were a little bit “grabby and I’ll have to be more attentive when launching there. The first attempt was aborted because the port side lines got caught causing the wing to come up very crooked. The second try was much better.

Yesterday I reduced the pitch by 1.5 degrees which brought the RPM up to 3900. The difference was significant, there was very little thrust at idle which made the problem of the prop thrust grabbing the wing go away but it also took much longer to get up to speed for take off. The machine seemed to be smoother and I used a lot more of the power band in flight. Today I think I’m going to add just a tiny amount of pitch to see if I can find a happy medium.

Paul took up his student’s wife for a quickly and then the student. We didn’t fly in close proximity but I did maneuver so that they could see where I was. Toward the end of the flight it started to get bumpy and a couple of times I was pulled dramatically to the side. On the surface the air was 90 degrees left of at the runway.

After landing Paul suggested that my A assists were too tight causing the leading edge to tuck a bit during inflation. I’m thinking that it isn’t the A’s it’s me putting too much pressure on them at the start of the launch.

I took a second flight with the lines tighter towards the center of the glider and it was a little better. That flight was cut to a quick circle because it was very active air.

Landing was a little harder , probably because the thrust is lower and my glide slope was steeper. I was a little surprised buy the harder landing and my inability to really pull down on the brakes. I’m going to have to work on my strength and remember to add a bit more throttle next time.

Dismasted

This was a first. After more than five decades a sailor I was dismasted. Truly, it was a non event , thanks to the Isles Yacht Club’s support boat. It was a challenge towing it due to the mast and sail acting as a Chinese rudder.

Back in her slip we stripped, dried and stowed the sails. About then Rudy Trejo came down from “The Yardarm” and inspected the damage. He has the parts and will have her back in service by Wednesday s club meeting.

Tomorrow I have been invited to the IYC Sailing Club Meeting where our incident will be discussed and Rudy will perhaps tell us what failed any why. I suspect the forestry shackle had a sloppy pin.

Back at the slip surveying the damage
Debrief at The Yardarm Bar

Flight 1048.5. Colleen Wright takes me on a sweet flight with a sweet plane

My sailing buddy from the IYC earned her wings, bought a plane and is tearing up the sky. The plane is a Ercoupe that was built in the late 40s. The first thing you notice is the distinctive twin vertical stabilizers. The fuselage has a metal skin and the wings are fabric. Its painted in USAAF blue and yellow. The two part canopy opens from the top sliding into the fuselage allowing open flying with windscreen. Very cool! There are no rudder pedals all controls are in the yoke. Very simple and fun aircraft.

Thanks Colleen!