Flight #1068

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?

Exciting take off.
Warm and wet in there!

Flight #1067

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.

Flight #1066

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.

Flight #1065

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.

Flight #1063 Placida

This was a last minute decision. The sky was clear and the temperature was high. I should have gone to the traditional field but chose to launch from the cul de sac that I’d partially cleared last time out. The wind was 45 degrees off the runway so I chose to launch from the grass. It looked a bit dicey with a couple of trees that could catch a wingtip. I didn’t like it but there wasn’t enough time to pack up and reset. The surface was bumpy so I laid the ramps out to give the trike smooth start. The launch was … spicy.

Nice flight. The front tire blew again. I don’t know if it was low to start or if the landing caused it. It wasn’t a hard landing.

While packing up Avero came by and we caught up. I was confused by a strange sound that I couldn’t identify. I thought it was coming from the paramotor but it was behind me in the brush. Best guess it was wild bore. Unless the wind is perfect I don’t think I’ll go back to that site.

Flight #1062

Nice flight. When I got to the field the wind was 8 to 10mph, swinging 30 degrees W to WNW. I found a well hidden cul de sac pointing W and partly set up. The windsock went up and the motor was warmed. It didn’t look promising but I hoped it would come down before sunset. To kill some time I scraped the worst of the weeds growing through the cracks, in the center of the cul de sac.

Twenty minutes before sunset the wind had come down slightly and was blowing right down the runway. I kited the wing and built a wall.

The takeoff was excellent. I think it would be more comfortable if the hang point were slightly aft allowing the front wheel to lift sooner but I’ll take it. Flying to 2000 ft. I took some sunset shots and enjoyed the view. The ride back was quick and the landing was undramatic.

This was a good confidence builder before the big air show this weekend.

Flight #1059

Last minute flight

No Drama. Joe Taylor was already in the air when I got there. It was blowing pretty good, 8+. We chatted while I was setting up. He is on his way back to Michigan tomorrow is his last flight for the season. I’ve a busy day and the Fleet 6 award luncheon but I’ll try.

Air was 4 on bump level. Winds came down nicely closer to sunset. Landed with trims in neutral position. Sunset was much better than the camera showed. Lots of sink after sunset.

Flight 1058 Placida

This was a very satisfying flight. Yesterday, I was at Lake Suzi and decided not to fly, it just didn’t feel right. The wind was cycling between 3 and 8 mph and shifting randomly through 45 degrees. I didn’t want to have another 2 minute pucker flight because I was being thrashed as soon as I cleared the trees. So, with not a small amount of reluctance, I turned back and headed for home.

It’s early in daylight savings time, the sun is rising at 7:30. Like yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and was out the door an hour later. The predicted winds were 30 degrees off the forecast, making for a cross wind launch at Suzi so at the last minute, I changed plans and skipped Suzi and went to Placida instead.

There was a beautiful pink full moon setting as I drove over the El Jobean Bridge. When we hit the dew point of 70 degrees the windshield fogged up. It was certainly a much warmer morning than usual.

The inflation and runout was,” the best overall “ in a long time. It took about 150 feet to reach takeoff speed but the rotation was clean. It was a little twitchy up to 300 ft and the winds aloft were 45 degrees further south. The clouds were coming in bands. Flying just above them, it looked like a total overcast. The cloud bands were moving southwest at about 12 mph. I’m adverse to landing blind, so, I paid close attention. I was confident that I would not lose sight of the surface but the overcast illusion was persistent until I was 1000 feet above the clouds. They were thickest to the north and very light over the Gaspirilla causeway.

I quit climbing about 15minutes into the flight and enjoyed “buttery air”. The only turbulence I encountered was my own prop wash after some button hook turns. The decent was smooth to 500 feet where it got spicy real quick. I setup to flyby the windsock and hit some nasty sink at 200 feet. In a heartbeat I was 100 feet lower and still descending . I powered up and flew level through some strong rotor coming off the jungle. Eventually I got above it and circled back to a surprising soft and slow landing.

The APCO Lift EZ did really well with the turbulence despite being trims in for landing. I was getting pushed around pretty bad but the wing didn’t oscillate. Today would have been a good day to experiment with 2D steering while I was at altitude in smooth air, I really should have tried flying the wing with both wing tip and brakes together.

After the flight I kited for a bit. Again, the wing felt great. It was a bit damp but still came up nicely. Another point of note; this was the first time I flew with the new flight suit and swamp boots. No bugs or wet feet. No weeds snagging my legs and at altitude I was warm and comfortable. It fits great, even after I landed and tied the top part around my waist. (The alterations cost more than the suit). I’m not sure I care for the color (red) but performance wise …. I’m happy.