Day 7 Monday Glamis #395 #396

It wasn’t the best nights sleep but I awoke raring to go.

The launch was good and I headed directly to the dunes. The air was smooth and cool. The falcon achieved 410 ft/min climb at 3500 RPM. The sky was overcast and not the best light for photography but I took a bunch of shots anyway and even a short video of Jeff Goin and company playing around a single dune below the “Black Diamond Face”. After an hour and 30 minutes my belly was screaming from being too far laid back so I turned to the campground and landed. What a wonderful day, the clouds were keeping the thermals down and several guys were still in the air at 10:45.
That afternoon I checked out Holtsville which is a small Agricultural community about 25 minutes away from our camp. The grocery stores were bare bones so I satisfied myself with a chorizo and some fresh produce.

When I got back , the group were all into “parawaiting”. Chad was assembling a MiniPlane with a couple of guys, the Canadians were sunbathing and a bunch were trying to figure out what caused the fire in the concert bus last night.

The afternoon flight was probably the longest of the trip. I had been out for well over an hour and was ready to return when I hooked up with the Canadian contingent. Luc …Ned… and Cyrille were skimming the dune tops as I approached. When I caught up with them they were approaching a couple of ATV who were running hard on the “Big One” and it wasn’t long before all of us were playing tag.

Mark MacWhirter took some great video earlier in the day of the same thing, http://vimeo.com/9247436 . About halfway through the video Phil Russman bashes into a dune and manages to recover with a few steps.

Later Luc joined up on my left side and I got some nice video on the way back to the campsite. The sunset…wings in the air…it was all good. Returning to the LZ, the sun had set and I turned on the strobe. It was dark enough that it was hard to see the surface and a little tricky timing the flare.

That evening Christian set up a projector and we watched Star Trek on the big screen. Later I watched a video about Donald Crowhurst and his insane attempt to win the first round the world, single handed yacht race. It was a good night for movies.

Chad’s High Altitude Test Flight

Way to go Chad
12,000 MSL

While I was getting my ass kicked at Vance Brand Chad was setting a new record for the 4 stroke Trike Buggy

Here is his report…
Re: 12000′ 4stroker climb out
Posted by: “trikebuggydelta” http://us.mc01g.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=chad@TrikeBuggy.com&Subject=trikebuggydelta
Mon Mar 2, 2009 10:01 am (PST)
Thumper High Altitude TestsI went out to El Mirage and the Flying “J” Ranch this last weekend tofly the Thumper. I wanted to launch and land the machine, maybe ahundred times, and really get a feel for it. I wanted to do some highaltitude tests, to see how high it would go and what the climb rateswould be at different altitudes. I got there Friday afternoon, and pulled the Thumper out of my shedand gave the key a try. BrBrBRrBrBr, it sounded like a jackhammer as Irealized that I should have removed the positive battery lead before Ileft last time. I pulled my Toyota over near the Thumper and gave herthe breath of life. I let the Thumper run for close to an hour,letting her charge the battery up so I had a bit of reserve. The greatthing about the Briggs & Stratton motor is that this thing just runs!You simply start it, and it just loves to run. I changed the throttlea few times to 2000 and 3000 RPM, and sometimes I would run it rightup to full (at the pitch I had the IvoProp at, it topped out at around3400 RPM – should have been around 3800), then let her rest at around1200 idling. Finally, started setting up for a flight. Wrong! Once I got in theair, I could see why the Quicksilver Ultralight pilot looked so amused- it was punchy! On the ground, it was maybe 0-4 mph, seemingly niceconditions, but once in the air it was a different story. I did a fewgo-arounds and decided that it was a bit much for me and landeduneventfully. I spent the rest of the afternoon installing the FootSteering, a Reserve Parachute, more velcro for the instruments,getting some more gas and generally tightening everything andpreparing for the evening flight. At just before sunset, I launched again, and enjoyed maybe 30 touch &go’s before it got so dark I was squinting to see. I was flying theDudek Synthesis 34 glider, and it worked beautifully with all thatThumper weight (220lbs) dangling from the lines. I trimmed this reflexglider full slow for this flight, and it inflated perfectly everytime(5 inflations) with the A-Assists and was still fast in the air.Looking at the risers, I saw that full slow is actually a bit slowerthan trim speed, so I set the trimmers at 0 (there’s actually numberson the trimmer) to put the glider at true neutral for the morning flight.Jerry Frost and Pierre Beney arrived this evening, and we spent a goodbit of time ‘Hangar Flying’ around the campfire, watching the moon setalong with that planet, really spectacular!The next morning, I warmed the Thumper up for flight. With the twistof the key, she stirred to life and seemed to be content. I let herrun for a good half hour at idle, something I would never do to any ofmy two-strokes (they would coke-up and choke) while I prepared forgoing high. I used a Flytec Vario for climb rate, a Garmin GPSmap 76for better altitude, and my iPhone with the V-Cockpit app running, avery cool airplane instrument application that uses the internal GPSfor navigation. Only problem was the iPhone was so dim that is didn’tcome out in the pictures. You can see one shot of it in the photogallery on the Altitude screen, just one of the many functions thisapp has. Check out the main screen by clicking the small icon here toyour right. It’s a really cool Application, and I had fun playing withit as I flew. There’s even graphs of the entire flight showingaltutude, speed, climb rate, heading, but no way to save them! At about 8:30, I launched from the Flying “J” Ranch at approximately2850 feet and velcro strapped the throttle at full and sat back andrelaxed, took pictures, video, and wrote down info at each 1000 feetof altitude. On this first flight, I did not write the time down, butyou can see the time on the pictures of the GPS, so it tookapproximately one hour to climb to 8000 feet and 1:25 to climb to12,000 feet. I was still climbing at 12000 feet, but very slowly, andI was cold – I didn’t wear enough layers to keep out the chill. Plus,I had not pitched the prop for maximum efficiency, at ground level itwas only 3400, and it got slower as I climbed. The motor ran beautifully the whole time, not even a hiccup. I amamazed by the four-stroker’ s incredible reliability. I could get usedto this! Trouble is, when I fly a two-stroke again, I’ll be wonderingwhen it will happen…. the inevitable motor-out. This motor is madeto run, and run, and RUN! I let it idle for a few minutes after Ireached 12K, then shut it down for the long glide back down. I reallyenjoyed the views from up high, there was snow on the nearby peaksnear San Bernadino, and I could see all the way to Tehachapi to thenorth and into the LA basin through the El Cajon Pass.

Salton Sea 2008

Flight #105 to #125
The 2008 Salton Sea fly-in was wonderful!

This was the first time I have been to a flying event where I can truly say that I got my fill. Three days of four flights and two days of two flights…16 in all.
John Seib and I got an early start and drove straight through to Indio California, about 20 miles north of the Fly-in. There was snow and ice for the first couple of hours but as we approached Glenwood Canyon the roads cleared and we powered on until 11:00pm when we stopped at a Holiday Inn and crashed. Wednesday morning we gassed up drove to Vista Del Mar and got in a couple of flights before the end of the day. The only incidents were both non-events. Friday I had an engine out two minutes after take off. I was at 250 feet and still going down wind …no problem. I set down on the beach and called John Sieb to pick me up. It was the same wire I broke last summer during the Balloon fest…the ground wire from the go no go toggle. This time I used a little shrink tubing to protect the connection. A couple of days later my second gas cap got into the prop and parted with a bang. I was startled but no damage.


This was billed as the last Paratoys Fly-in at the Salton Sea and the absence of Michael Purdy…Jeff Goin and some others was conspicuous. Attendance was down a bit and the whole thing had a different feel than past years…There were still campfires at night and kiting wars but there was no Alan Chocolate Memorial Style Competition Somehow it was just more subdued than the past. One of the biggest differences was the large number of trikes and quads. Bob is all about selling his joint venture with Leon. The Paracruiser/Paratoys quad looks to be a winner. And I don’t think you will ever hear Bob calling the trike pilots girly girls again. The day of foot launch being the majority is going away. I hope he finds a wealthy young guy and flips Paratoys for a boat load of money. He deserves it.
John Black made a speech during the Banquet that was reminiscent of an AA Meeting….”HI I’M JOHN AND I’M A DUMB SHIT”….HI JOHN! It was a good thing he did. I guess he is a pretty aggressive pilot but I think he has seen his god. The near fatal crash had to be an eye opener and I doubt he will be doing any mid day flying again. The famous video is at the bottom of this post.

Chad is having a good year, the trike buggy is considered one of the best machines around and I know he is selling plenty. The clubhouse has opened their kitchen for breakfast and it a great time and place to sit and get acquainted. Chad brought his wife who is a delightful woman out going and cheerful.
Bob Armond was also at those breakfasts, drinking coffee and swapping stories. He wasn’t as stressed as years past… he did look tired. I was touched when on the last morning I approached him to purchase an emergency stuff sack and he refused my cash and gave me one as a gift.


I did some trading and am now the owner of an Eden III 26m wing. It has about 100 hours on it but it’s in great shape and the same colors as my first wing. It handles much better at this altitude and I expect it will be real sporty back home. I slept better because of a new air mattress arctic sleeping bag. Food was more plentiful because the club house opened their kitchen but I still ate way too much junk food.

John Black’s Wild Ride