Nine Hundred and Ninety-nine times out of a thousand
I would have cleared that stop sign.
This was the #999th.
It started with dog piss in the shower and continued to go south the rest of the morning. While unloading, I discovered that the battery was dead. The wind was light and forty five degrees off the runways. The plan was to launch into the intersection and turn down the runway. The wing was a little behind my turn and the outside tip steering line caught the top of the stop sign and popped the tip right off. I felt it and immediately aborted. I honestly think I could have hammered the throttle and launched only to find myself flying a badly compromised wing. The left side would have had very low pressure and who knows what would have happened. Anyway I aborted and the only damage was to wingtip and a couple of lines.
Elisabeth is months out and Paramotor City is 6 weeks, so it’s going to be awhile. Tonight I picked up a Paramania Revolution 36 for a decent price. It’s a couple of years old but very low hours.
I was worried that 1000 was going to be underwhelming … the wait is going to make it special.
I met Marek at Simms at 7:30. There was a cop at the gate who told me “no motorized vehicles allowed”. He was cool about it though and overlooked the motor on the machine I agreed to park outside and push the machine into the field. There was no wind at all, so I set up right at the entrance and was going to use the road to launch. we were both in a rush to get airborne and I really didn’t spend enough time scoping out the site or laying out the wing. I didn’t build a wall with the motor and the surface was filled with fist sized rocks and mud nobs to grab the lines.
The wing came up crooked probably because a line got caught and instead of aborting like I should have, I tried to save it. The left tip caught a piece of steel fence post that was hidden in a patch of weeds and tore the wing pretty badly. The tip is torn and some panels are going to have to be replaced. I’ll give the wing to Michelle at Bubba’s and let her determine if it is worth repairing. I won’t be surprised if she declares it dead because between Monte and I there are probably 350 to 400 hours on the wing. Maybe it’s a good thing…it was time.
If I’d looked the area over better I would have seen the post and maybe set up differently. Doesn’t matter… the wing is out for several weeks.
1. If I had used the motor to build a wall … I think the lines would have been above the surface and I’d have had a good inflation.
2. I could have laid out the wing better
3. Don’t rush it !
This was an interesting flight. I didn’t plan on flying tonight but I glad I did. The air was smooth and the breeze was light. Marek and I flew south over the open fields. We are both a little wary of the massive group of high Power lines and got plenty high to cross the 5 sets of parallel wires. It was similar to this morning with Greg. I stayed high and shadowed the pilot down low. Both Marek and Greg are pleasure to watch Greg with great wing control.
I moved the hang point rings to a horizontal position attempting to lesson the friction on the trim tab. No Joy…the problem is in the webbing that acts as a back-up in case the ring brakes loose from the bullet bar. I’ve replaced the heavy webbing with a slightly lighter and longer one which will hang loose over the risers and hopefully I’ll be able to use the trim tabs. If I end up hanging from the reserve or the H.P. ring brakes, the hangpoint will spread about two inches but I don’t think it will adversely affect how the buggy hangs or the how wing flys. The next flight will tell allot.
The wing came up crooked again but, like yesterday, it stabilized quickly. I think I’m not lining up square with the wind. I did notice that when I went from idle to full power the front wheel would dip about 6 inches and return to about 3 inches below the starting position. I expect that it will be even more pronounced when I am able to use the trimmers. I’ll move the H.P. Rings forward 3/8ths and see if It helps with the wheelbarrow effect.
The incident of the evening came as we were returning to the field. Marek’s hero camera came off it’s mount on top of the cage and went through the prop. He landed without issues in the LZ but was a long walk from the car. I knew something was wrong so I landed by the truck and walked out to meet him. We wandered around the field finding parts of the prop and eventually found the camera. Up on top is probably a good position for the camera but the vibration was working the mounting bolts loose…some lock tight would help if it does not have to be changed after every flight. I hope Marek got video all the way back to earth but I’m betting it stopped when it got whacked by the prop.
There have been a few “No Fly Days” lately.
Last Wednesday at Simms when we stood around and watched the grass blow and today when I discovered that two of the trike tires were flat. I picked up some new tubes and after much cussing and found that bicycle tire irons were not going to work getting the tires mounted. So… I stopped at the local tire shop and they were more than happy to do it for 6 bucks a wheel. The tech over inflated them but that was no problem, I’d set the tire pressure when I put them on the trike. Later that afternoon at work we heard a loud bang and one of the guys in the shop saw a black saucer shaped object fly past the second floor window. I’d left the tires stacked in the bed of the truck. Apparently they were inflated correctly for the tire (60lbs.) but the wheels were only rated to 2 bars (about 28 LBS.) The bottom tire had blown after heating up in the truck, and when the bead broke it threw the wheel on top across the parking lot.
Luckily, nobody was injured but I had to go back to little wheels where I learned how to mount my own tires. It’s not tools…it’s leverage and technique
It has been a long wet spell
So… I was raring to go and up at 4:30 on the second bell. When I got to the field the wind wasn’t noticeable but as soon as I put up the refurbished windsock i could tell there was a strong southerly aloft. This isn’t technically a new site because I’ve flown Dick’s before but this time I’m on the south end instead of the north end of the complex and it is much better. The surface is sand with short and sparse weeds and even though it rained last night the sand was plenty solid enough to walk and fly from. Mike Bennett showed 15 minutes after me and set up closer to the parking area and I’ll do the same next time I’m here.
The first launch was a surprise. I popped up quicker than expected and started to float down but with a little brake I got climbing and started to circle the field while Mike got ready to launch. About 5 minutes into the flight at 1000 feet, I thought, “Did I open the fuel lines?” I had spent longer than normal warming it up and I taxied out to the launch site…AND…I’d been flying for at least 5 minutes. There was no reason to expect that it would still be running but it was and I knew I’d made a big mistake without even looking. When I got twisted around enough to get to the fuel I opened the vent and before I could open the flow valve the motor died.
Now What? I had some altitude, I could try to open the fuel line and restart. I had my doubts though because couldn’t prime the carb. I would’ve had to unbuckle and hang halfway out of the seat to blow into the vent hose, one bump and I’d be swimming. I was in a good place to get back to the LZ and if I fooled around and wasn’t able to restart the motor, it would have been a long push back to where I could re-launch. So…prudence being the better part of valor, I choose to go in “dead stick”. The rest of the story was a non event. I turned downwind, got in position and did a gentle S-turn to bleed off altitude. The landing was smooth but it would have been better if I had taken a wrap to get a little more brake input. It seems like there is a point in the flare where I cannot muscle any more brake. It might be fixable by shortening the brakes.
The second flight was great! Nothing to report.
(Old Stapleton Airport Tower)
(Dick’s Sporting Goods Arena)