This flight was a good way to end a 4 day run. The takeoff was sketchy and landing ended with a bang but the flight was excellent.
This was the first time in a long time that the winds were predicted to be nil. I set-up on a short cul de sac that I’d flown from a couple of days before. Because it was short, I walked to the end to see what I would encounter if I didn’t get off quickly. Yikes! There was a wide and deep hole 10 feet across the center of the cul de sac. There was also a fire hydrant to the right side. Knowledge is power and since I knew about the hazard, I decided to go for it.
The wing came up a little crooked which used up the first half of the runway. So,…when I arrived at the end of the runway, I wasn’t up to take off speed. I pulled some brake and “hopped” over the hole. It was a short hop but enough to clear the hole. The real glitch was that my brake handle had somehow gotten between the throttle lever and the grip. I couldn’t close the lever and was probably only getting 2800 rpm. Eventually after an uncomfortably long runout, I was able to take off but my climb rate was minimal. But…at least, I was climbing and after I’d cleared a bunch of trees and had enough altitude to release the throttle for a second, I was able to reposition the brake handle and get back the top end of my power. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this problem and I’m going to have to find a cure. Maybe, replace the 1/2 dowel inside the handle with something thin and stiff or find a different way to hold the brake. Maybe both.
The air was calm, I climbed to 2000 feet and started chasing the clouds flowing in from the sea. For awhile I flew alongside trying to get a good shot at the glory. Unfortunately the marine haze and higher clouds were diluting the light so the glory was faded and dim. I’ve never been one to dive into the clouds but today everything seemed benign so I decided to get up close and personal. In I went and in the blink of an eye, I was blind. It was like a weak steam bath , warm and wet. It was a little bumpy but there were no sharp edges.
The landing could have been better. I probably started the flare a tad early because after burning off the energy in the wing the back wheels touched lightly but the front wheel banged down dramatically. In the video it looks minor but it can’t be good to slam the nose wheel. That might be the reason I went through two Harbor Freight tires in the last 20 flights. Changing the hang point to raise the nose couldn’t have helped either. So… either I go back to a more balanced hang point or change the hard and slick go cart tire for a softer one that will absorb the impact. Before I change anything, I’m going to shoot for landing with a little more energy and roll the last bit with the back tires down, hoping to drop the nose a little more gently. Maybe a bit more throttle at the end?