Another good one. Met up with Eli at dawn and cracked off an hour flight to Boca Grande and back. There was a little bit of everything to see. Passing over the causeway I flew into the clouds and got a nice Glory for my troubles. The whole fleet was in the Boca pass fishing for Tarpan. I saw a bunch of Rays and a Tarpan boil just comfortably out of reach of the fleet. Coming back I played around a partly dry pond, full of Egrets and a family of wild boars.
Month: May 2021
This was a good one. I arrived at the field just before sunrise. Wind was null. The takeoff was clean with the trimmers adjusted 1/4 “ in. Yesterday I lengthened the wingtip steering toggles about two inches so that I could use them in conjunction with the brakes while flaring for landing. landing was excellent if a bit fast. The input pressure was significantly higher, limited by my own strength. The nose wheel stayed down while burning off energy rather than lifting during the flare followed by banging down shortly after the rear wheels touched down. Next time, I’m going to start a little higher and see what happens.
After launch I set the cruise control to 3750 RPM, left the trimmers where they were during launch and climbed with big counter clockwise circles to 5570 ft. Gloves and additional clothing under the flight suit helped but not enough to encourage me to keep climbing. At 5570 I was cold and shaking. Next time I’ll wear a fleece vest and I think sweat pants might do the trick. Also a neck cover will help. The gloves didn’t fit tightly and were clumsy on the touch screens so I’ll need to dig and see if I have anything better.
Very satisfying. I turned off the motor and spent the next 15 minutes descending without noise or vibration. As it warmed up, I restarted and putted around the patch for a bit before final.
The kiting was good at first but declined when I setup the camera to video myself. I look forward to the next flight with such mellow conditions.
Why we land
Flight # 1069 The Return to Health
First flight since before the Bone Island Regatta. Light 4 knot breeze from the ESE. Launch was slightly crosswind. New “low profile” brake toggle is a great success. It was much easier to modulate the throttle and work the brakes. Missed in Preflight, was the trimmer setting it was possible (likely) that they were pulled in , for landing. If so, it’s a good thing for light wind launch. This should be tried again and experimented with because today I popped up nicely but it was a combination of higher RPM and trim setting. Next launch I will try 1/2 inch below neutral. In stronger breeze, perhaps a bit above neutral.
The breeze was 15 to 20 knots above 400 feet and steady 20at 3000. I played with the brakes and tip steer and decided that the tips had to come down. Possibly I can shorten the brake slightly and lengthen the tip steer. It would be nice to have more authority with less pressure during landing.
After the flight, the surface wind had picked up to 6 or 7 which made for a good kiting session. It felt wonderful!
I have been suffering from a malady which has caused stiffness and pain in my shoulders hips and legs. The disease has been getting persistently worse and during the week after the BIR it became apparent that it wasn’t going to go away. I felt as though I had aged 30 years in 30 days. The last morning, before going to the doctor, I couldn’t raise my arms above my head and could barely bend over to pick up a Kleenex. It was beginning to look like my flying days might be over. All manner of horrible diseases haunted my thoughts.
Two days ago I went to the doctor who preliminarily diagnosed it as Polymyalgia rheumatica or PMR. She gave me a shot in the butt and a 9 day regimen of steroids. That evening, I was much improved and awoke fully cured of the symptoms. Next Tuesday, I will hear the test results and what the drug regimen I will have, going forward. With luck and a prolonged light dosages I will have no further symptoms.
The most amazing and gratifying thing, is how quickly the symptoms went away. The doctor said that my symptoms were casebook and that she was very confident that her diagnosis would be confirmed. When she said, “What will you give me if I can make this pain go away in a day?” I was stunned. I would have given a lot!
One notable symptom was that the pain and stiffness was worse first thing in the morning. The first morning in Key West I could barely get out of bed. Once I was able to push through the pain , I could function but if I sat still for awhile it was hard to stand up. It’s interesting that the constant motion of sailing kept me able bodied. Then once back in the land of, “reclining easy chairs”, I was disabled in a couple of days.
Once Upon A Time….
Once upon a time…
There were three brothers Brayden, Braxton and Blake. They loved going to their grandma’s house and they especially liked staying overnight.
Grandpa had a boat, with three beds. It was mostly cool, except sometimes it sounded like ghosts. Grandma’s had the best bed. It was the coolest bed in the whole wide world! The brothers would fight over who got Grandma’s bed. At one end there were pillows and stuff, at the other end, was a space ship, with screens and lights and lots of buttons.
See….The boys figured, that if they visited often enough, they would finally discover out how to launch the spaceship. One time, after Brayden found the electric plug, Braxton did something with the buttons and the engine started! But … they didn’t go anywhere. They knew, sooner or later, if they visited often, they would fly to Mars.
And, if they didn’t… Well….. they’d just have to steal Grandpa’s boat and sail to Key West!
P.S. Their Mom And Dad liked the Rocket Bed too but that’s a story for another time.
Bone Island Regatta 2021
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?
I forgot to stop for gas so I wasn’t sure how much was in the tank. It was reading 1/4. After 15 minutes of flight it was reading empty. Later, at the house, I drained the tank which had a little over a gallon. So… my reserve is probably good for about an hour at cruise (3200 rpm) . Not a bad thing.😄. The flight was good. The air was smooth and I was sorry to land so quickly but at least now, I know what’s in the tank when it first reads empty.
Another thing of note was that I discovered some wear on my riser at the hang point. Exactly the kind of wear that caused Tony’s rig to fail. Fortunately I found it before any action worthy damage was done. A small zip tie was the problem and it was easily repositioned.
Preflight / Postflight . It’s important to keep an eye on your equipment.
Light winds from ESE. Launch was improved by insuring that the brake handle would not impede the throttle. I stayed over the patch and enjoyed the view.
Temp was 74 at launch. High humidity with a marine haze. Good flight. Winds were building and I cut it short.
The field was cut yesterday which made for a better runway but the cuttings are thick and I had a small branch hitchhiking in the C lines. Not an issue.
Somewhat less than perfect. The first launch was aborted when I noticed that the left riser was twisted. It’s good that I spotted it, because after launch it could have been very uncomfortable.
Second attempt was clean. The air was bumpy below 500 ft. And the winds increased as I ascended. The higher I went … the stronger it blew. I set the trim to full reflex and slowly worked my way back to the LZ. Looking at the surface, the ponds didn’t have a ripple and the windsock was barely moving but it was close to 30mph at 1000 ft.
I descended into rowdy air at 400 feet and lurched my way around to a good landing by the truck. Shortly after landing the wind started to fill in. I kited for a bit and loaded up. By the time I was finished the breeze had filled in at the surface to about 12 mph.