Christmas Eve 2021
This was my 5th flight with the Colorado. I had planned to fly tomorrow morning. But…Deep down, I wasn’t looking forward to it. The forecast was for 57 degrees F with 1knot of wind. The thought of crawling out of a warm bed in a cold house just wasn’t calling me. I’d spent the morning at the brokerage stewing over the results of a transmission fluid inspection and watching the Christmas tourists milling around the Village. There wasn’t anything going on at home… the winds were light…. Change of Plans.
Todays flight was delightfully ordinary. For the first time in awhile there was no Drama. I launched from the field into a light breeze toward the Boca Grande. There was enough wind to kite a little bit which made layout a snap. The unsheathed lines are much easier to keep snag free when I can pressurize the wing. The lines tend to lay down in nice straight lines lines with the stubble keeping them in place. When I was hooking up to the rig I took care to line them up in the keepers in the order of their departure.
It worked like a charm. With my right hand in position. I started the engine, then, after it was running i quickly took the right brake and A-riser to hand. I could feel the wing tugging but there was no threat of it pulling me backward. When I added power it came up straight and clean. There was a slight hesitation before there was enough thrust to get the trike rolling but it felt familiar. The roll-out was noticeably slower than on pavement. It was easier to monitor all the “moving parts”, and I could feel the trike getting lighter which isn’t something you get on asphalt. Rotation was smooth and the climb began after a very short pause to gain airspeed.
I spent the next 8 minutes flying toward the gulf and climbing to 2000 feet. It was chilly and the breeze had dropped significantly. The Jetport to the north was quiet. All the hangers were closed and the few vehicles in their lot could only have been for a security guard or two. Gaspirilla Sound and Placida Harbor were beautifully calm with a single boat running full throttle toward the gulf. After a few turns I headed back toward Safe Cove. Decending to one thousand feet I enjoyed the warmer temperature.
The Colorado was rock steady, handling the convergence very benignly. It felt like something was dampening the bumps. The new risers are an improvement, to be sure. The modified trim cams are much easier to use. I didn’t try to adjust both at the same time but did let the right side out a bit to trim for drift and torque. It’s hard to see the trim tabs unless I turn the buckle toward me. It will probably be more a feel thing than setting the cam visually.
I landed after 25 minutes when the fields were in the shadows. My dark sunglasses made it a little difficult to gauge height but the wheels touched very lightly and there was still plenty of flare authority in the wing. I buried the brakes and the wing dropped nicely behind the rig with only the brake lines not falling into the keepers.
While loading the rig I noticed that the pin holding the wheel onto the right strut had come out and was in danger of throwing the wheel. So… there was a little Drama. Cheated Death Again.