Fathers Day Weekend Sun Simms #419

I took the machine with me to the lake and woke up an hour before the alarm. I had a hard time getting out of bed because it was cold in the boat but I dragged myself out of my nice warm berth and got to the field early.
The take-off was terrible. The field has been posted no trespassing and so I was forced to use a small section by the High School. The surface is rutted and the mud has dried leaving lots of little nubs that love to grab and hold the lines. In the field the weeds are thigh high and the ground is bumpy as hell.
This place is the opposite if Vance Brand, the run outs are bouncy slow challenges. The trike is trying to power through the weeds and the wing is bouncing above the trike. I can only imagine the lousy air flow over the wing. Invariably I get airborn too soon at too low an air speed. It is more like lurching into the air. Looking back, I should have aborted but once up, the air was smooth as butter. There was a fresh breeze from the West making it turbulent over by Red Rocks so I spent 90 minutes playing over the golf courses and Bear Creek Park. Not much activity this early… just me and the coyotes

I did go east to Wadsworth and circle the big lake there. On the way home just to remind myself that things could be worse I flew to the prison. There were some people walking around the quad and I thanked god I wasn’t one of them. I climbed to 8700 feet ASL and did a hard spiral over the prison. The Power Play Sting isn’t a aerobatic wing but with enough pressure I was able to achieve the steepest dive ever. I dropped 3000 feet in short order and pulled out over the prison at 300 feet.

It’s good to be alive
Back at Chips house I layed out the Eden III and did a serious inspection, the damage was much worse than I thought. Seven lines need to be replaced and there is a 1/4 puncture by the left wingtip. While I was doing that Chip fixed a wonderful breakfast and debated whether to fly, run or bike. Terrible dilemma… but the conditions were perfect and the sky won. I sat on the deck and sipped coffee while he hiked up and got in three flight over the next several hours. My thoughts kept drifting back to my girls, I wondered what they were doing and if they were thinking of their “Ol Man”.

How cool to be able to land in your own back yard !

Chip’s last flight of the day with a pal

Final approach

Fathers Day Weekend Sat. 417 – 418

Beautiful Country !

Marek does a foot drag on the swoop pond

I knew this was going to be a very sad weekend so I scheduled myself to be as busy as I could. Friday night I slept over at Chip’s. I went to bed early and got up to go to Vance Brand airport by 0600. Once again the plan was to meet up with Robert and Marek at 0700. Last time they stood me up but I doubted they would do it again. It was a beautiful morning, as I drove by Boulder there were balloons lifting off… a good sign that the weather would be favorable.
At the field … Marek, Robert, Mike Bennett, Greg and Gary were admiring Kurt Hill’s prototype PPG Trike that Robert had dubbed the “Wheelchair”. It has two small counter rotating props and is configured as a tail dragging trike with a rudder. The seat is trick, it is an aluminum bucket that wraps around the torso and goes all the way up to provide full back neck and head support. It lays way back in the same position as a low hook in free flight harness. It will be great for watching the wing but it might strain the neck while watching the road during take off. He didn’t fly because he is having trouble steering while on the ground. Seems the trike looses control and starts to spin out when it comes up to speed. It has a rudder but it is more of an air baffle for the props than a steering vane. I’m no expert but it just seems to me that the small back wheel is just too squirrley and prone to over steer. But… it looks cool and who knows maybe one day he will work the bugs out and fly it.
Vance Brand is farmland flying. It’s pretty but there are no elevation changes and the landmarks are all major x-county flights. I wasn’t in the mood to get to far away from the patch so instead I worked on take off and landing and got in (4) 30 minutes flights. The best thing about this site is the nicely groomed field. It’s as good as launching off of a golf course. There was just barely a hint of breeze and for the heck of it I did one launch and landing with the trimmers full out. It’s a great feeling to keep off the brakes and see how fast you can go and still keep the wheels on the ground. When the machine does rotate I add power and watch her climb. Terry… I neglected to charge the batter on my GPS so I cannot document the climb rate but it was stunning! Landing with the trimmers out on a smooth field is also great fun. Hands up… till the very last second and then…with a nice smooth steady flare you can float at one or two feet for a long way while the energy is bled off, swapping speed for lift.
Sometime during my last flight, Dan K. suffered a motor out just after take-off. He got up to about 15 feet and was starting a hard banking turn when the motor died. With almost no time to flare he came down in a butt landing right into a small berm. Had it been a flat surface it probably would have damages the frame and we would all have had a good laugh but the berm was bad luck. Robert Kittila. and Mike Bennett loaded him into a truck and off to the ER. At the hospital Dan learned that he had two compression fractures, surgery was not required but he will be wearing a back brace for the next couple of months. I later learned that the day before he had a motor out at 200 feet. The problem was a loose spark plug which he replace with an old plug at the bottom of somebodies tool bag. The replacement plug was even worse.
After stopping at the piano store for a couple of hours I hit the sooper market and bought the fixings for the CSYC Raft-Up I was hungry and decided on Italian sausage and thanks to Stefania … chocolate crepes. The Raft-Up was nice all the usual suspects brought way too much food. I got a good chance to check out Dana’s boat which is much better suited to go to Blue Water than my Hunter. I think it is an Island Packet if not it is very similar. He has done a great job getting it ready for adventure, it has a generator and except for some more instrumentation it looks ready to go.

Larry Bob & Roy … Swapping stories

Good Food … Good Company

Greg provided entertainment by flying low and slow all along the shore.

I have to give him credit, 2 hours in the morning and another two that evening.
It’s the passion!

Roy Burley came out with me… planning to make it an early night but after the last boat peeled away we found ourselves below deck on the Hunter swapping stories and getting to know Dana and his companion. Good folk. Next week Roy will be racing in San Fransisco … Good Luck

#296 #297 #298 East Springs Airport

A Beautiful Summer Morning with the PPPPG Club

There was rain last night but it was beautiful this morning. I was out of the house and on my way to East Springs Airport by 4:30am. It’s 20 minutes farther South and East of the soccer field. For Some reason the GPS routed me through about 10 miles of dirt roads. Whats that about ? Last time it took me a few more miles south but at least it kept me on the pavement. So I arrived at the Air strip in a cloud of dust about 6:00am. On the way into the area I spotted a solitary glider and silently congratulated him on the early start.

There was a good crowd setting up ….Jerry K…Kevin K…Mathew W…John B…Shad…Mike B.. Alex D (was seen blazing out of the air port early. I saw him later but we never did talk so I don’t know what that was about).

(photos by Mike Bennett)

Anyway The air was great with a layer of warm air sitting on top. It was fun bumping through into the warmth. There was also a bumpy area directly east of the LZ right above some cattle. Somebody was making jokes about the cows creating bumps. It was a pleasure to launch in such perfect conditions. Light laminar air….nice smooth surface to rollout in all directions and super flat terrain, the prescription for low stress flying. The PPS 250 came up clean every time and it was great how the buggy took the load and kept on pulling as the wing inflated. Those are the right tires for the surface… I noticed that I was staying on the “A’s” longer than normal and it felt good to stay with the wing until it was well overhead.

I topped out at 1000 feet and practiced a little low and slow , nothing special but getting the feel of the Power Play.

While packing up I saw Ranger Bo…great to see him! Turns out he was the pilot I had seen on the way in … he had launched from another field at dawn and was doing a fly-by. We chatted a little about the X-Country that John Black is talking about and he made a good point. Monument pass may be splitting the air flow because I seem to remember mostly SW breeze for early flights in Denver and the Springs boys tend to get Northerly air. I’ll have to do a little research and see if i can spot a trend.

When I got home the girls had fixed a special Fathers Day breakfast and later we all went to the Paradiso for a lazy afternoon on the lake.