#358 Chatfield Marek breaks a Prop

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.

314 & 315 Vance Brand Airport

Broke two lines on Eden III Layed out wing wrong.

Ironically I did it the day after I was patting myself on the back for finding the right system. I don’t know why I choose to do it differently …just because I was flying a different wing? The winds were 7 to 9 and it was a smaller wing. I set the trimmers out and probably damped to soon or too much. I wish I had a video so I could see what happened. The buggy was pulled into a partial turtle and came back up before flipping all the way… but the prop caught two lines CM1 and DM1. I think the wing fell back and then surged and folded…if so… I could have saved it if the buggy were accelerating faster. The whole thing would have been avoided if I layed out the wing in a chevron instead of a tight little wall that was like a a coiled spring ready to release. Duh?

I might have been able to avoid cutting the lines with a 2 stroke but the 4 stroke takes a while to wind down. The outer cage ring was slightly bent below the crossbar..I bent it back part way and there is plenty of clearance for the prop. I will probably have to get it welded and true before mounting the New Power Fins.

The TV crew turned out to be a crew from Indonesia. Three people two cameras and a tiny little girl who was either director or translator. It was hard to tell since she never talked to the camera men and could hardly talk to us. Nice …pleasant but not real fluent. Robert and I just kind of went about our business and at the end I gave her my card and she said that she would send me a link after it was edited.

#314 was 40 minutes of tooling around the field waiting for Robert and crew and #315 was a quickie for the camera. It was getting late when they arrived and the air was too thermal for me. I knew it was getting late during take off…I floated above the ground at 5 feet for 300 feet then I entered the lift and was swooped up like a f-16 launch. I hope it made some good video. Robert did some good stuff, nothing hairy some nice hard turns and low level dives and climbs. The swoop divers really looked good. One fellow pulled a 270 between Robert & I and the film crew while we stood about 15 feet apart.

Tomorrow it’s Meadow Lake

Flight #278 & #279 Meadow Lake Air Park

Meadow Lake Air Park Colorado Springs, Colorado

Up at 4:30 am and on the road by 4:50. It was a beautiful morning without a cloud in the sky. The night winds were blowing at 15 kts but I was confident that it would come down with the sunrise and I was right. I had no trouble finding Meadow Lake Airpark which is located 20 minutes east of Colorado Springs. The LZ is a nice grass field east of the runways. Matt was laying out his wing as I bumped across the field and while we caught up I saw Kevin crawling out of the bed of his pick-up where he had spent the night. While we were setting up Jerry Kerr arrived and everybody took off.

I had a hard time getting off. The wing was coming up very fast and falling to one side or the other, once it overshot and tucked. I tried using the ramps but it didn’t seem to make any difference. Finally after 3 aborted launches Jerry gave me a little pull and I had enough forward speed to keep the wing inflated. I think the problem wasn’t so much the altitude (6800msl) as it was that the wing was in a wall and the lines were tight before I started to power up. If I had layed out the wing in a V so that I could start building some momentum before the wing started to inflate it probably would have worked out better. The climb out was slow but smooth. I flew south to the pond and then turned East around the housing development and into the huge open area where there are no altitude restrictions.

I stayed at 800 to 1000 feet while Alex played below. Watching him I was very aware that I missed the power to weight that I had with the Simonini. The hardest bank I could achieve was pitiful compared to compared to a good two stroke. Maybe a different wing will help but I don’t think so. After 20 minutes the whole gang was in the same area. I danced with Jerry on his trike and eventually followed him back to the LZ to land.

The second flight was short because it was starting to get thermal. It came on fairly quickly it was smooth at 500 feet and when I dropped to 300 there was lots of sink and lift. It wasn’t abrupt and shocking but more like riding a river with gentle transitions from lift to sink and back to lift. I had to do a couple of approaches because I got lifted causing me to overshoot.

Good Group…Alex, Jerry, Matt, Kevin, and Mike Bennett

Marek Crashes !

Last night I spoke with Marek…Seems that he got his throttle cable caught (I’m not sure on what) during take off and threw himself in a spiral. I think the throttle hand was pulling massive brake. Anyway…He is ok except for a sore leg…but his rig is reduced to motor having destroyed the cage and frame. I told him that John Black has some Walker Jet stuff that cost him nothing so hopefully he will be able to get back in the air soon.

#259 and Carnage at the Sea

hLast flight of the Simo
It was a normal launch in every way…Until… I looked up to check the lines and sure enough there was a great big twig twisted into the A lines. It was deforming the leading edge near the center of the wing and I decided right then to get down so I flew over the field and the scrub that borders the north edge and set down in the first sandy patch available. Up to this point it was a non event, I had plenty of clear space ahead and the surface was soft but not too soft… so I set up for another launch. The wing inflated and the taxi was going fine until the sand got allot softer and the buggy sunk in to the mixture of sand and shells. Instead of killing the engine and aborting I added power and a split second later heard a loud crack.
Some lines were cut, the prop was broken, both of the top pieces of the cage were bent and the frame broke at the top motor mount. It’s hard to believe that a line in the hub could do so much damage.
I was hugely bummed to say the least. Grounded and there was still 6 days of flying ahead!

Camp Chief Ouray

Second Generation Campers
Blue Rag Sunrise
Blue Rag Sundogs

Boating Pond


Down Valley View

Snow Mountain Ranch

Camper’s Cabins

Way Down Valley

Flight 195

Friday Aug 29,2008
The first thing after checking in I approached the camp director Marty Ferguson to get clearance to fly. He kicked it up the ladder until I was introduced to the President/CEO Kent Meyer who gave me permission without hesitation. I was prepared to argue my case with statistics and video but it wasn’t necessary, seems like “The Chief” was till supporting my adventures after all these years. I had a USPPA waiver ready to go and gladly gave it to Juanita Muntz ( a friend of 40 years ) to file with the rest of the paperwork.
Sat. Aug 30 2008 #195 6am Light breeze from the SW
I decided to launch in front of the pavilion and dinning hall. It’s a natural drainage with cool air flowing down valley. While I was setting up I chatted with Bob B. from 1976. Bob and I had talked about PPG the night before and I have to admit I was in full missionary mode when I pulled out the Ipod and showed him some of the better Acro videos. I guess it was no surprise that he got up early to see a flight. There were also a couple of CCO counselors who had slept by the council ring.
I made a mess out of the first launch. The buggy had a hard time breaking loose and when I did get rolling I heard a tick tick sound that I’ve never heard before. Turns out the prop had got into the starboard top part of the cage and taken out the netting. At first I thought I was going to be grounded for the trip but after looking and cussing I decided to cut away the lines and launch anyway. I couldn’t see how I would be able to get my hand back far enough to hit the prop and I figured that if I was careful on landing it would not be a problem getting the lines into the rig.
The second attempt was better. The wing came up slightly to the left, instead of using brake to bring the wing around I decided to follow it with the buggy and follow the slope of the field. It was the right move because the buggy rolled better and the wind loaded up quickly. One thing I missed was that my convex mirror was fogged by condensation and I couldn’t see the wing to get it centered. Not a big deal I slowed down. looked up and stabilized the wing when it felt good I hammered the throttle and resumed. The run-out took as long as I expected but once I had rotated the climb was quickly 150 ft / min. I climbed to 9600 asl and explored Snowmountain Ranch. After a few pictures and some easy wingovers I started a 30 degree spiral and descended to 9000 feet. After a couple of laps around the LZ I flew down valley and set up for final.
The landing was sweet but there was a wire I had not seen when I first scoped out the field. I was on final at 100 feet when I saw it 200 feet ahead and a bit below my glide path as long as there wasn’t any sinking air I’d probably clear it by 20 -30 feet but just to be sure I powered up to give myself a little more space. As soon as it was past I cut power, let the wing surge and dived to get back on the glide path. Brian …You would have been proud! The landing was right on spot
NOTE TO SELF…When flying a new place…
look hard for obstructions!

Aug 31 08 #196

This was a better flight! The air was as smooth as glass, no wind. Take off was perfect…It’s always easier without spectators! I flew to the highway …down valley and up to the pond. The air was sinking over the valley and rising over the ranch. I was suprised to find so much lift this early in the day, the buildings were probably giving off some heat but I think it was probably caused by the exposed earth where they had cut down dead trees. At one point I was still climbing 90 ft/minute at 4500RPM.

The only technical glitch was that the motor was lugging down at full thrust. I descended from 9700 to 9200 ASL and finished the flight keeping the motor below 5400RPM.

Get a 145 and a 148 jet for the carb!

Landing was a surprise…When I got back there was a group of people having church service right where I was planning to land. I was already feeling a little self conscious and didn’t want to draw more attention, so I climbed out and set up an approach that would set me down closer to the horse barn. I was still going to buzz the service but at least I’d be at a higher altitude and not as noisy. The alternate LZ looked good …the grass was a bit higher but it looked good and flat and it was still an easy walk to the truck. What I didn’t realize was, that the grass was high because it was boggy. When the wheels touched down, instead of rolling, they stuck. No roll out at all! I went from 17mph to zero in about 2 feet! It was a rude surprise but I didn’t think it was anything more than a hard landing.

Turns out the frame was damaged, and that was the end of CCO flying… just as well since I got my fix and was free to do other things.

Rollover !

Sunday July 27, 2008

I screwed up…Basically… before getting to all the gory details I attempted a flight in high winds and tried to save the launch when I should have aborted. At first I thought it was curtains for the trike buggy but I think I’m going to get away with buying a new cage and prop. It’s a good thing too, because I’m leaving for Los Vegas in a week and it would be a real expensive push to build up a new machine with all new parts in just a week.

Now for the details…at 6 am the wind was 7 to 10 mph so I pulled out the 26 meter glider and kited. After adjusting the harness that I’d just got back from Tim Goldstein I was flying the wing like old times. Better in fact, when Marek pulled up at 7:00 I had the wing up and flew it for a good five minutes. I was getting it to recover from oscillations that would have been impossible a couple of years ago. The 26 seems very easy to muscle around and after today I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to have Michelle inspect it. It may be bagged out and I wonder about it’s porosity. Well, Marek went up and landed almost immediately complaining that the combination of wind and the loaner Spice he was flying were “no fun at all”. I should have taken the hint but the wind was coming down and it looked flyable. I set up and blew the first launch. So I tried again and never did get the wing under control. I had the trimmers out about an inch on each side but the wing still came up like a rocket. It overshot so I pulled brake and added throttle, the ground was pretty bumpy and sometimes it takes a kick to get the buggy rolling.
This time the buggy took off just fine…probably a little to fast. The wing did a little jog to the left I corrected with some brake and maybe some turn …then it did a big jog to the right and just kept going. I felt the left wheel start to lift and thought I would be able to stop it with my foot but before I could get my foot out it was too far over so I stayed in the machine and we rolled about 160 degrees. I’m sure that I could have aborted and saved the rig because the roll was very slow…but…I think I forgot the difference between muscling the wing while on foot compared with trying to launch a trike in 5+mph winds. I’m sure it would have been easer on a nice smooth surface. At least I could have had a little more control of the speed of the buggy.

I climbed out, checked myself over and was feeling pretty good about having escaped without any injuries. Marek ran over and we looked appraised the damage to the trike . I thought the whole frame was tweaked and it looked like nothing short of a new frame and cage was going to work. The power loops were all akimbo and the prop was sticking through the webbing on the top cage. When I got back to the house I pulled the cage and looked it over again, after talking to Chad I decided to order the parts and get the buggy working rather than build a whole new trike. The prop has a bad crack straight across the blade which I’ll send to John Fetz for repair.

To add insult to injury the right top side of the wing was perforated by dozens of needle like pins from some kind of weed. It wasn’t a cactus and they were very fragile but stiff enough to penetrate the fabric.

95 Simms

Chip Marek and I. Also a very strange little dude who had followed me from the gas station. Not the best of days, Marek and Chip were planning a long flight and I had only enough gas for about 45 minutes.
Marek got up quickly and I went north to the golf course and then to the Park. When I got down Chip was standing by his machine which was badly damaged. he explained that he had put it on his bumper rack to check out a problem and forgot to bolt it down properly before testing the machine. It jumped out of the rack and broke the prop…cage…and muffler. $1000 + in damages.


John Sieb and I covered alot of ground all over Chatfield and Roxboro Park. Three Ballons were up with us and I was digging it. On landing I broke the lower motor mount on both sides of the frame. it was not a hard landing so I think it was just metal fatigue. Also damaged were the prop tips and netting.

Last Foot Launch

May 28th, 2007
Today is a good day to look at the options. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks rebuilding the motor. The little incident did more damage that I first thought and I had to take off the motor and bend and weld the frame to get it straight enough to fly. Probably 12 shop hours. After all that I was more than ready to fly.
Yesterday was a “No Fly Day” The wind was very light and I has several botched attempts. The last one was a doosey. I fell during the run and really trashed the machine. The frame has to be replaced as does the prop and airbox. My wrist is sprained and as usual the knee is going to have me limping for a couple of weeks.
I’m strongly considering going to a trike. So here I am sitting on the front porch waiting for the girls to come home and looking at the pros and cons.
Pros of going to trike
1. I’ll break less equipment
2. I won’t have to get the knee operated on
3. It will reduce the number of no fly days due to lack of breeze and sore knees.
4. It will take the drama out of take-off
5. Less stress on body mind and soul
1. You can do it! You have done 45 of them already.
2. When you are foot launched you have more flexablilty for sites.
3. There is something special about running into the sky. If I go to trike I’ll be driving instead of running.
4. Foot Launch is king!

The question is …Have I lost my MOJO? It seems like I’m not running as hard as I was. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been dislocating the knee even with the new brace. I do know that I’m not able to look up at the wing during launch. Partly because I have to watch the ground to keep from tripping and partly because my helmet hits the frame and makes it hard to look up. The best I can do is see 10 and 2 o’clock which is great when the wing is already out of balance but by then it’s usually too late. I don’t think I’ll ever get much better and probably will get worse as I continue to damage myself.
Maybe it’s time to quit foot launch and continue my carreer in aviation with wheels.

Emergency Landing !

There is an old saying that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Well today on my 43rd flight with my daughter Stefania watching I had my first difficult emergency landing. It made the engine out at the Salton Sea look like a piece of cake. Stefania and I got out to the field about 4:30 pm. The heavy winds of the last several days seem to have subsided and it looked perfect with a light breeze from the nnw. The big lenticular clouds that dominated the majority of the day had broken into smaller versions of the same thing.
I kited for a bit and decided it was just not enough for a reverse but perfect for an easy forward.. Stef got the video camera and went upwind while I set up. After sitting on my box for a minute the wind was right and I pulled it up and started to run. The wing came up nice and straight and I moon walked at half throttle toward Stef.. I was feeling good, leaning back int the thrust and at just the right time I made a clean lift-off with just a touch of brake. The climb out was a bit shallow 40f/min but I easily cleared the lines and flew over Titan Rd at 100 feet. Just past Titan I turned to the east and the motor stopped, no burp or sputter , it just stopped. I should have turned back to the north and glided in but stayed on an easterly course and came in between the barns and several corrals. At the last minute I turned 90degrees toward the south and came down hard in a turn. It was a bit of a slide and I tweaked my knee again. The motor frame was slightly bent but no major damage.
I don’t know why I didn’t turn into the wind. I think there would have been room to find an LZ, perhaps I was thinking of heading back to the field. Landing where I did was foolish and if there had been significant wind I would have been in the rotor of the barns. As it was I landed in a small corral downwind.
It took Stef and I about 45 minutes to get the glider out of a small willow like tree and I was glad to have my extra long windsock pole to use for the job. I never was able to determine what caused the motor to die. The best guess is that when I fooled with the high screw on the carb I messed up… but it acted ok during the warm up.
Anyway, we were able to get the equipment back across Titan and I kited the wing to make sure everything was untangled and undamaged. We watched Ty go for a quick flight and chatted with his wife about my “incident”.
I hope the lesson was learned, I dodged what could have been a real bad thing and was able to walk away.
Stefania got the whole thing on video and her reaction to my experience was revealing. I hope she will come out to the field again soon so that she can see that her old man is a better pilot.