Flight #1108

Another great flight with the Colorado. The XL wing fits the new machine perfectly. It is so much more efficient than the APCO. Both accent and decent are improved by over 100 ft/minute. The engine isn’t working as hard and cruise is almost 400 RPMs lower. It’s a particularly smooth spot on the power band and makes for a very comfortable ride. I haven’t paid much attention to speed but it is a slower glider. On the next flight I’ll see if I can figure out exactly how much slower.

The risers are complicated, with the tip steering threading through two d rings and a bungee thrown in to confuse. The brakes are set in the upper magnets but can be stowed in the lower ones. Its a bit disconcerting to have the wingtip line totally unconnected from the risers only attached at the brake toggle. I do like the way they have put two magnets on the toggles making it easier to stow. The WTS is stationed way down low, just a quarter of an inch above the hangpoint rings. The plastic hose loop toggles are very positive and there is a metal snap in addition to magnets to lock them in.

This mornings launch was interesting. The first attempt was aborted. I had a hard time finding the left A line after starting the motor and I let the motor die. Then I neglected to have the left brake in my hand before I started the motor and reach for the A riser. When I stated to move saw the super fine brake line tangled in the line keeper. Later viewing the video I was able to watch the slack line wrap itself up. The whole situation was caused by pulling extra line through the keeper to have enough reach to turn the key. Either I use the right hand to turn the key or I find a way to start the motor without having slack line. Maybe I should look at routing the finest lines through only one keeper


On the second attempt the wing went off to the left and pulled me up on two wheels. I was right on the edge of tipping over when I turned into the wing and prepared to abort. I looked up to see the wing had stabilized overhead, but… I was off the runway, rolling in a field with the grass armpit high. I could have continued on that course but I didn’t relish the thought of hitting an unseen hole so I decided to taxi back onto the runway. And it worked! I was reminded of the day I flew with Mo Sheldon 16 years ago. He inflated his wing and slowly taxied around for the longest time before committing to launch. I was struck by how slowly he was rolling with the wing happily bouncing along above him. So…When I got back in the hardtop, I turned down the runway and slowly applied power. Takeoff didn’t require brake input and once again the climb out was spectacular!

This morning I figured out the 2D steering. When my arms are outstretched horizontally and I pull down I’m activating the entire trailing edge. It’s very stiff and I doubt that I have enough strength or weight to try a landing moving my arms from 90 degrees straight out arcing downward. If I were 25 and a gymnast with hours on the parallel bars…. Maybe, but not now. Its fine for a slow flat turn. If I pull straight down, I’m activating to outer third of the wing which turns the wing nicely. A strong pull will start a banking turn very quickly. When using the WTS, it’s right there at eye level on the hangpoint and it’s very responsive.

I haven’t tried the reflex yet because the trim tab cams are incredibly stiff. It’s going to take two hands to release them and hopefully I will have enough strength to pull them in before landing. I understand that there were problems with the old style of cams not holding position so they replaced them with super heavy duty. I’ll run it by Andy McGavin but I might try epoxying a button on the center of the lever and see if that helps.

Decent is so much slower than the APCO that I’m going to have to find a better way to lower the RPM without killing the motor. Next time I go high, I should shut it down and free fly for awhile. I’m sure when I try a dead stick landing this wing will be wonderful.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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