#1051 Placida. “Just a lovely morning”

Just a really nice day

Today was a bit of a milestone. I arrived at the field about 15 minutes after sunset. There was a 5 to 7 mph breeze from the SSE. The skies were clear and the temperature was 64 degrees. The ground fog had burned off and the field was very wet.

I set-up diagonally across the road NW of the usual field hoping to keep the wing dry. Taking Paul’s advice I had all the lines relatively tight to avoid the partial tuck I was getting during inflation. The prop pitch had been reduced 1.5 Degrees the day prior. It increased max RPMs to 9400 and greatly reduced thrust at Idle. It was a pleasure to be able to fire up the motor without the prop thrust grabbing the wing. Due to the cockeyed way the wing was laid out, the trike was straddling the edge of the road. I was afraid that it would slow down or otherwise disrupt the first moment of inflation so I tried an old trick from the Simms Landing zone. I used the ramps give the trike a smooth surface to start off. It also raise the back a tiny bit which might have helped to keep the wing out of the prop wash.

The launch was very easy. The wing popped right up into the breeze and stabilized overhead. I had to make a slight turn to correct the heading and when it was time , the slightest bit of brake popped me into the air.

It was 6 on the bump scale up to 400 feet, above was smooth with a strong breeze. I was surprised to learn that I had launched using the tip steering on the left side. It felt perfectly normal. As a matter of fact it felt better in my throttle hand than a regular brake handle. It might be a good idea to fool around with different toggles to see what works best. The winds were considerably stronger at altitude, 15 mph, at least.

I flew, crabbing against the Wind out to the Gasparilla Marina and back to Safe Cove. The Paramotor ran well with a lower pitch. I was climbing easily at 300ft/min at 3700 RPMIt was nice to have a wider power which made it easier to dial in the RPM. Best of all the torque steer has been reduced dramatically. My only complaint is the light action of the throttle. It’s difficult to hold a steady RPM when I stow the brake toggles or use the left hand to adjust the trimmers it’s too easy to rev or drop the RPMs. Just adding spring tension isn’t going to fix it , I need to add some friction as well.

The winds aloft were a steady 15 mph. I was able to penetrate at 15 mph at neutral trim. The upwind turns were fun and tight.

Landing was much better than the last two. Because of the rowdy air I had to actively fly the wing to keep control during decent. For the first time since I got sick I was flying with some weight on the toggles, feeling the wing instead of just giving input when I wanted to initiate a turn or something. When it was time to flair I was much more comfortable and was able to float the wing for a long way to bleed off energy. The lesson of the day was ….fly the wing! Hang a little weight on the toggles and feel what’s happening. I think it’s something that’s been lacking since the long sabbatical due to illness. It feels good to be getting my skills back.

Right after landing a flock of egrets landed right beside me. They even hung out for 45 minutes while I had an old fashioned kiting session and loaded up the rig. On the way out of the field, I pulled off the road for a minute to work with the IPad. While I was sitting there, head down, a couple older fellows rode up to take a look. The were fascinated by the motor but I was more interested in their expensive rides. Full Campagnolo groupos mounted on beautiful “big tube” carbon fiber frames. The kind of equipment that was only available to well funded professions just a few years ago. We shared pleasantries, said our fair wells and then, I headed home.

I stopped to add fuel and was surprised to add a .9 of a gallon for a 30 minute flight. If that’s right I’m burning 2 gallons an hour. I expected a higher fuel burn but this is almost double what the Generac burned. It’s going to limit my range but it’s not like I’m doing a lot of 3 hour flights, so…. no biggie.

High wind trike landing by Brent

To follow on from the Reverse Trike launch in higher winds to now safely
controlling and collapsing a PG wing after landing with a trike while touching
down in a breeze.

As from my own personal experience I have found that there are quite a few
different options on controlling and collapsing a PG wing while landing in a
slightly stronger breeze with a trike, I also know that some pilots fly with
quick releases and just jettison the wing once safely on the ground, which IMHO
is not such a bad option but requires the task of untangling the mess

I have personally tried quite a few different ways, but the one method I often
use is that immediately upon landing into the oncoming wind, (and while still
moving forwards with all wheels firmly on the ground) I quickly and safely turn
my PPG trike through a 180 Deg turn and try to end up facing the wing, (end up
facing now downwind), as in hopefully turning the trike 180 Degs, relative to
the on coming breeze, and with my both feet placed firm on the ground, to
deflate the wing I quickly use just one (1) “B” Riser to fully stall and
collapse one (1) side of the wing down onto the ground, while I am doing this, I
have now let go of the other opposite toggle (as in letting the other side of
the wing fly) I now quickly pull in on the toggle that is still in my hand
(being the same as the 1 B riser side stalled) by using both hands on that one
side steering line with a hand over hand wrap, this brings the tail quickly in
towards the trike, I have found that this action quickly deflates the wing and
stops you from getting possibly dragged sideways, or rolling over on your side
or possibly down along your landing field.

I have personally found that by collapsing just one side of the wing using just
(1) “B” Riser, it is much easier than trying to fully collapse the wing using
deep brakes or trying to use a full B Riser or C Riser full stall of the
entire wing, as opposed to with just (1) B Riser, as the wing just ends up
flapping out like a flag and lying down flat upon the ground, I have found that
this method is safe and works well.

The most important think that I can say is for you to “Practice” “Practice” and
Practice some more! Try as many different methods as you can possibly think of,
and then use the one method that feels the best for you and for the conditions
on the day.

I believe that to practice these methods all you need to do is just take your
wing and a kiting harness and go out in a nice easy breeze of say about 3 to 5
Knots (4 to 6 mph) and do lots of ground handling by inflating and deflating the
wing in as many different ways as you can possibly think of, you will be amazed
at the many different ways you can kite and then deflate a wing if you use a
little imagination.

Happy trike landings. 🙂
Cheers: Brent C.

Reverse Trike Launch by Brent Cameron

This is a little info for the PPG trike flyers, it is a description of the
Reverse launch method I personally use when launching with a breeze. As I now
just about always use the “reverse launch method with my PPG trike when
launching into a breeze.

So to first control the wing, I will do a full canopy hook-up and full flight
inspection in an area that is away from the wind, I then gather the lines and
rosette the wing, move my trike into the launch area and with the wing still in
a rosette, with the centre of the nose facing upwards. (I found that the rosette
helps to control the wing from being blown about

I then stretch out the centre A lines to a full line stretch while angling the
trike at about a 45 deg angle facing towards the wing, I also try to have the
nose wheel turned in the direction I want to rotate the trike.
Now I get comfortable in the trike and warm the motor while getting the toggles
and risers sorted, still with both feet placed firm on the ground, when ready to
launch with both brakes in the correct hands (as I have a left handed throttle)
and with the top crossed A riser (one only) in the right hand I then twitch that
A riser to help get air into the nose of the wing and start to inflate the wing
from the centre cells outwards to build a nice wall.

Still with both feet firm on the ground, I kite the wing up to over head and
when it’s stabilised over head, I apply power, with both feet now placed onto
the trikes steering pegs I spin the trike around to face the wind and complete
the reverse launch with the ground roll to lift-off into wind.

I try to do this launch all in one smooth motion, I have found that if you do a
start stop kind of action during the kiting of the wing from the ground to over
head, the wing has a greater tendency to want to fall off to one side and then
you have to start all over again. Once you have the feel of this method to
reverse launch a trike you will find it a lot easier than the forward launch
method while there is a slight breeze blowing.

Remember it takes plenty of ground handling practice and at first it can be a
little frustrating getting the feel and the timing correct but I find the
reverse trike launch quite easy to do (with practise). As all new tricks take
time to dial in the technique, but once it’s there it’s a nice one to have in
that magic little bag.

(Q) Do you face 90 degrees to the wing? (A) “NO” My reason for not facing 90
degs sideways to the wing is that it’s harder to get your risers and brakes
sorted and to control the kiting of the wing from the ground to over head, due
to the risers being so uneven sideways across the trike base.

(Q) Do you still face forward? In stronger winds? (A) “No” As the reverse launch
is far easier than doing a forward, and it reduces the chance of becoming a
turtle or being dragged backwards if the wing decides to make it’s own wall.

(Q) When launching your trike in winds above 5 mph: Do you face your wing as in
a PG reverse launch? (A) “similar to this but slightly turned off to one side by
about 45 degs in the direction you want to turn your trike”

(Q) Do you plant your feet on the ground to try and prevent the trike from being
pulled by the wing or do you use a helper to hold the trike and prevent it from
rolling as the wing comes up? (A) Yes I plant both feet firm on the ground until
I have the wing kited safely over head.

(A) To the use of a helper? Well this is okay for a forward launch with a
breeze, but what happens if you have to land out and re-launch and you don’t
have a helper, I try to launch every time completely by myself while learning a
method that is successful on every attempt. (doesn’t always happen but I can
always launch by myself)

(Q) Do you face forward and try and use throttle to prevent the trike from being
pulled backward? (A) Again this is Okay but it can depend on the wing and how it
reacts with the prop blast and then when coming over head one has to be careful
not to let the wing over shoot as it will have a lot of energy when it comes up
to over head and one will need to apply deep brakes, then apply power and let
the wing fly again, which can be a problem for a new pilot getting it all in
co-ordination with correct timing and into a successful launch with so much
happening at such a critical time.

For myself I have found that with the reverse trike launch I can now launch in a
breeze and as such have increased my flying time greatly to more of the daily
met conditions, I believe that one should have as many tricks as possible, as in
this way you can enjoy a lot more time in the air.

Please understand that this information is given freely, if you choose to use
this method, then it’s at your own risk.

Cheers Brent C.