It’s been blowing consistently for the last two weeks. I’d been looking forward to trying out the cruise control and the new camera mounts. This morning was one of those days that you get everything ready and hope it will be flyable in the morning.
This morning there was a light breeze from the NNW, blowing right down the runway. The grass has been good for the last few flights but the road was wide and freshly paved so I decided to go for the luxury of a smooth surface.
I took a little more time with the equipment and launched with both cameras running the seatbelt attached and everything else where it should be. Unfortunately the Hero 7 was set to 4K which I discovered does not work with my current software. Didn’t matter, the skies were mostly cloudy and the light was terrible.
Aloft, the winds were strong from the west. I’d thought about heading to the causeway but it would be a long slog and the air over the beach would have been rowdy and heading out to sea. I satisfied myself staying over the patch and fooling with the cruise control. At 800 ft the air was warmer with a bumpy thermocline.
The landings are getting better. I did a long final with power that allowed me to grease the landing on the blacktop.
Short but nice flight. The winds were coming in from the SSE. Launching from the patch was a problem because it had me flying right into the rotor coming off the east side so I moved into the development a bit. The surface was bumpy but with a good breeze I would be “rolling light” fairly quickly.
The launch was clean except that I forgot to start the cameras, check list needed. As soon as I’d cleared the wires at the west end of the field it started getting rowdy. The wind shifted to East and I was pulled pretty hard to the right. By 400 feet I’d cleared the bumps and was climbing steadily at 350 rpm toward Gasparilla. The sun was 20 minutes from sunset and I was approaching 1000 ft. when I saw what looked like a light rain shower to the north. On the second look, I worried about a possible wind front ahead of the rain.
So…. I cut power and turned back to the LZ. After passing through the bumps I greased the landing right by the truck. The rain and wind never arrived, I could have stayed up another 40 minutes but it was already twilight at the surface and if I launched again, I’d be packing up in the dark.
Reducing the pitch was a real eye opener for me. With the lower pitch my top RPM is betweenn 3800 and 3900. I’m able to get the idle to stay near 1300 to 1550. The motor surges and searches a bit, but it’s not a problem. The big thing is that the prop wash isn’t catching the wing, before I’m ready. I don’t like to sitting there with the motor running but it’s important that I be able to turn the key and still have enough time to get my hands in position for launch. Terry’s suggestion was a good one. Another thing I’ve noticed with the “new pitch” is that I’m better able to modulate engine speed and there is a wider powerband.
It was a great flight and I’m disappointed I cut it short but it feels good to be getting my chops back. The next few days are not promising but I’m getting back up soon.
Preflight…the hang points have been moved forward 3/8th inch to raise the front wheel slightly. Idle has been decreased slightly and cable adjusted to correct lost motion. Replace nose wheel tube and tire.
Weather is predicted to be perfect. 4 mph out of the south west. 80 degrees. Leaving early to rig cameras.
When I arrived at 4:45 , there was a fellow kiting at the field. Turns out he was waiting for Joe Tayler and a couple of fellows who were going to get a demo. The wind was approx 8 to 10 and twitchy. I decided to take my time and let it mellow a bit.
I left them to their devices and went to the Lee side of the field to set up. The launch was fine and I noticed the front wheel getting lite just before lift off. In flight I was not able tell if the front of the trike were any higher. Maybe… just a tad. It did feel better and I’ll make several flights before considering changing it.
The air was mostly smooth with the occasional bump. The winds were decreasing, at launch it was approx 5 mph. Not mentioned earlier, but adjusting the steering bars back and raising the heel loops, made for a much more comfortable ride and more control on the ground.
Joe Taylor is looking good. Look fast and find him starting in the top right corner.
Landing was better but there is room for improvement. The decent at idle is fast and I’m starting the flare too early. Next time try a little more power.
Tech note….. Change the “cruise control” mounting to allow loop over the end of the throttle lever…. I think it’s backwards.
Aborted first launch because I couldn’t stabilize the wing. Second attempt was successful but it was so bumpy that I immediately turned back and landed. The good news was that I met the airport owner and his wife who seemed very nice and happy to have me there.
Adjust idle and possibly cable slack
Test phone mount, interfered with my leg.
Nose wheel needs to be moved back 2 inches and inflated.
Camera boom needs to be shortened. Hero 7 on helmet or chest and Hero 9 on main spar.