The link below is from my flight in Katy Texas on Oct 3, 2017
The link below is from my flight in Katy Texas on Oct 3, 2017
WOW ! busy day at the patch! It was one of the warmest days of the year. I got to the field a little after 6 and launched without drama. The first touch and go was lovely but the second not so much. I got some kind of bouncing thing going on between the left and right rear wheels. Obviously i was using too much brake and didn’t have the lift when I needed it. Powered up and got out of trouble.
After the touch and goes I flew by the ski lake and boated around until I was joined by Matt Heckler on his quicksilver. We flew together for 20 minutes or so and returned to the airfield.
Yesterday there weren’t any balloons but I was hoping they would be flying so I could take some video and I wasn’t disappointed. I could see one flying low over the Gunbarrel neighborhood and 3 others inflating at the balloon port. I made a beeline for the flyer who was beginning to ascend. When I was 1000 yards out he was 300 feet above me I powered up and started to circle around him. He must of seen me because he slowed his accent and allowed me to come level with him. We waved and circled for awhile and I turned back to the LZ.
Heading back to the field there were several aircraft up. A Bonanza heading South flew over and a ultralight circled about 100 yards off my wing. The NEK Airborne were dropping 60 skydivers at a time with 3 planes. I loitered to the South of the field until the sky divers were down and landed by the truck.
I hadn’t planned to launch again but the ultra lite was doing touch and goes on the dirt strip along the South fence and the air was still good. So I set up and launched. This time I was getting allot of lift and was climbing at 350 ft./min. Climbing to 2000ft AGL I shut down the motor and enjoyed the quiet for 10 minutes. At 500 feet I restarted and landed clean.
While I was packing up a fellow came over and introduced himself. Craig Frank is a PPC and Light sport pilot. He was waiting for the ultralight to land so that he could try it out. There were several PPC guys who were planning to fly later and he invited me to go along with him on his Six Shooter. When the little single seat Quicksliver landed Craig introduced me to Barney. Barney has just just rebuilt the Quicksilver and was planning to fly it to the Fly In in Fort Lupton the next day. He briefed Craig who then climbed in and headed over to the main runway. I chatted with Barney for a bit and watched the skydivers who were finishing their 3 jump of the morning.
After an hour and no sign of Craig I decided to go over to the other side of the airport to see if I could find my ride. It didn’t take long to spot them. They had the quicksliver on dollys and were wheeling it into Barney’s hanger. I took a minute to figure out what was wrong with the picture but eventually I got it. The wheels were missing and the landing struts were bent. Craig had stalled 5 feet above the runway and pancaked. He felt terrible and had decided to find a way … somehow.. to repair the plane so that Barney could fly it to the Fly In. Barney is a fixture at Vance Brand and has been the Ultralight guru there for 20 years.
The hanger is filled with Ultralight parts. and more than a couple broken planes. We located some landing struts and determined the nose wheel was repairable. The only thing missing was a set of axles. Barney made a cal and 5 minutes later “Bob showed up. Bob is a retired Mechanical Engineer and collector of small aircraft. He offered to make a set of axles if we would follow him back to his home and work shop.
So off we went, Bob has a wonderful shop complete with all the tools to machine just about whatever was needed. While he worked on the axles I poked around and tried to absorb as much as I could. His son stopped by and the four of us chatted about Bob’s aircraft. I was taken by the Hovey Delta Hawk, a tiny little biplane that in another time I would have bought in a heartbeat. Bob offered to sell it to me for $4,000 which shocked me but he was serious. Wow a real airplane for $4,000! Later I thought about it and figured that $4,000 was just the down payment. By the time I got flight instruction and all that would be needed to keep the wonderful little plane it would be closer to $25,000. Well I guy can dream.
Dawn and I planned to drive out to the fly in but the weather didn’t cooperate so we stayed home. Sunday was no good because Obama was going to be speaking in Boulder and all but the big commercial flights were grounded.
It was wonderful, there was a group of 6 balloons close enough to rendezvous … and so I did.
|Robert and Marek|
|Mike Bennett carving it up|
|off to the regatta|
I will let the experts analyze this incident. I was disapointed and revolted by the bashing from all quarters of the paraflying community. I will say this…. I knew the pilot and flew with him and his son at the “Gathering”. He was a healthy and mature pilot with a good conservative attitude toward flying. While at first blush it is easy to assume the accident was the cause of careless or reckless flying, I prefer to believe that it was “just one of those things that could have happened to any one of us. Of course mistakes were made but flying with other craft in the air adds risk. If the pilot had more hours it might not have happened but all of us have been in situations that could have ….. should have bit us in the ass.
Thank God no one was killed
It was 54 degrees when I left the house but cool air flowing down from the hills reduced the temp at Titan to 41 degrees! I left the cold weather gear at the house thinking the temp was the temp…wrong. Lesson learned. The launch was great, it sure helps to have a nice smooth surface and plenty of room. I inflated and taxied for a long way before I powered up and committed to launch. At 1000 feet it warmed up considerably so I flew over to the marina and took pictures. Not much going on over there.
|My friend here is landing on just a spit of land with water on three sides … Good Job !|
The “Ol Balloon Man” was launching 30 minutes into the flight, I was thinking about landing but the opportunity to fly with balloons comes far to seldom so I turned back and played tag for awhile. I circled him a few times and then passed over the top to catch his thermal. What a rolercoaster that is! On the last pass he opened the vents to decend and I shot up like a bubble of champane in a long stem glass. It’s a very small but intence thermal and wanted to see if I could hold a power on climbing spiral and stay in but …no joy. What a rush. Looking back I should have taken some pictures but flying around those massive things spooks me and I stayed “hands on” the whole time we were together” He had a hell of a day and was still flying after I had packed up and drove back into the park. I caught up with his wife and asked if they needed any help packing up, she said that they had a ton of crew, but thanks. We stood around and watched while he thrilled his passengers by landing on a little tongue of land sticking out of the SCUBA pond.
|near the end of the season|