Flight #1062

Nice flight. When I got to the field the wind was 8 to 10mph, swinging 30 degrees W to WNW. I found a well hidden cul de sac pointing W and partly set up. The windsock went up and the motor was warmed. It didn’t look promising but I hoped it would come down before sunset. To kill some time I scraped the worst of the weeds growing through the cracks, in the center of the cul de sac.

Twenty minutes before sunset the wind had come down slightly and was blowing right down the runway. I kited the wing and built a wall.

The takeoff was excellent. I think it would be more comfortable if the hang point were slightly aft allowing the front wheel to lift sooner but I’ll take it. Flying to 2000 ft. I took some sunset shots and enjoyed the view. The ride back was quick and the landing was undramatic.

This was a good confidence builder before the big air show this weekend.

Flight #1059

Last minute flight

No Drama. Joe Taylor was already in the air when I got there. It was blowing pretty good, 8+. We chatted while I was setting up. He is on his way back to Michigan tomorrow is his last flight for the season. I’ve a busy day and the Fleet 6 award luncheon but I’ll try.

Air was 4 on bump level. Winds came down nicely closer to sunset. Landed with trims in neutral position. Sunset was much better than the camera showed. Lots of sink after sunset.

Flight 1058 Placida

This was a very satisfying flight. Yesterday, I was at Lake Suzi and decided not to fly, it just didn’t feel right. The wind was cycling between 3 and 8 mph and shifting randomly through 45 degrees. I didn’t want to have another 2 minute pucker flight because I was being thrashed as soon as I cleared the trees. So, with not a small amount of reluctance, I turned back and headed for home.

It’s early in daylight savings time, the sun is rising at 7:30. Like yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and was out the door an hour later. The predicted winds were 30 degrees off the forecast, making for a cross wind launch at Suzi so at the last minute, I changed plans and skipped Suzi and went to Placida instead.

There was a beautiful pink full moon setting as I drove over the El Jobean Bridge. When we hit the dew point of 70 degrees the windshield fogged up. It was certainly a much warmer morning than usual.

The inflation and runout was,” the best overall “ in a long time. It took about 150 feet to reach takeoff speed but the rotation was clean. It was a little twitchy up to 300 ft and the winds aloft were 45 degrees further south. The clouds were coming in bands. Flying just above them, it looked like a total overcast. The cloud bands were moving southwest at about 12 mph. I’m adverse to landing blind, so, I paid close attention. I was confident that I would not lose sight of the surface but the overcast illusion was persistent until I was 1000 feet above the clouds. They were thickest to the north and very light over the Gaspirilla causeway.

I quit climbing about 15minutes into the flight and enjoyed “buttery air”. The only turbulence I encountered was my own prop wash after some button hook turns. The decent was smooth to 500 feet where it got spicy real quick. I setup to flyby the windsock and hit some nasty sink at 200 feet. In a heartbeat I was 100 feet lower and still descending . I powered up and flew level through some strong rotor coming off the jungle. Eventually I got above it and circled back to a surprising soft and slow landing.

The APCO Lift EZ did really well with the turbulence despite being trims in for landing. I was getting pushed around pretty bad but the wing didn’t oscillate. Today would have been a good day to experiment with 2D steering while I was at altitude in smooth air, I really should have tried flying the wing with both wing tip and brakes together.

After the flight I kited for a bit. Again, the wing felt great. It was a bit damp but still came up nicely. Another point of note; this was the first time I flew with the new flight suit and swamp boots. No bugs or wet feet. No weeds snagging my legs and at altitude I was warm and comfortable. It fits great, even after I landed and tied the top part around my waist. (The alterations cost more than the suit). I’m not sure I care for the color (red) but performance wise …. I’m happy.

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Flight #1056 Six pilots and 3 spectators

Last night texts were flying and a flock showed up at the patch. Paul had two students ready for their solo, Rob Nordlund, Joe Tayler and I needed a flying fix.

I arrived first, the wind was very light from the north. Rob had already launched and was floating around the patch. He called me from the air on his cell. Excellent clarity ! I set up and stumbled into the air with one of the sloppiest launches in a long time. The wing caught the prop wash immediately and I had to start the rollout completely unprepared. The wing was all over the place and the trike came up on two wheels twice before I managed to get into the brakes and settle things down.

At 300 feet the wind picked up and changed direction. I was making 50 mph heading west and barely penetrating against it. Never the less it was smooth so I was happy to stay up and enjoy the view.

When I landed the winds had increased to 8 and it was getting bumpy. Paul’s new guys didn’t stand a chance. The first tried a forward and almost turtled. His reverse was appropriate but he needed more kiting practice before he would be able to pull that one off.

Among the spectators were two young boys with eyes as big as saucers. Seeing them was the best part of the morning.

Tomorrow we are going to try again from Lake Suzi.

Flight 1055 at The Meadows

It’s been blowing consistently for the last two weeks. I’d been looking forward to trying out the cruise control and the new camera mounts. This morning was one of those days that you get everything ready and hope it will be flyable in the morning.

This morning there was a light breeze from the NNW, blowing right down the runway. The grass has been good for the last few flights but the road was wide and freshly paved so I decided to go for the luxury of a smooth surface.

I took a little more time with the equipment and launched with both cameras running the seatbelt attached and everything else where it should be. Unfortunately the Hero 7 was set to 4K which I discovered does not work with my current software. Didn’t matter, the skies were mostly cloudy and the light was terrible.

Aloft, the winds were strong from the west. I’d thought about heading to the causeway but it would be a long slog and the air over the beach would have been rowdy and heading out to sea. I satisfied myself staying over the patch and fooling with the cruise control. At 800 ft the air was warmer with a bumpy thermocline.

The landings are getting better. I did a long final with power that allowed me to grease the landing on the blacktop.

#1054. Spoofed by the Marine Layer

Video of last 4 minutes ………youtube.com/watch

Short but nice flight. The winds were coming in from the SSE. Launching from the patch was a problem because it had me flying right into the rotor coming off the east side so I moved into the development a bit. The surface was bumpy but with a good breeze I would be “rolling light” fairly quickly.

The launch was clean except that I forgot to start the cameras, check list needed. As soon as I’d cleared the wires at the west end of the field it started getting rowdy. The wind shifted to East and I was pulled pretty hard to the right. By 400 feet I’d cleared the bumps and was climbing steadily at 350 rpm toward Gasparilla. The sun was 20 minutes from sunset and I was approaching 1000 ft. when I saw what looked like a light rain shower to the north. On the second look, I worried about a possible wind front ahead of the rain.

So…. I cut power and turned back to the LZ. After passing through the bumps I greased the landing right by the truck. The rain and wind never arrived, I could have stayed up another 40 minutes but it was already twilight at the surface and if I launched again, I’d be packing up in the dark.

Reducing the pitch was a real eye opener  for me.  With the lower pitch my top RPM is betweenn 3800 and 3900.  I’m able to get the idle to stay near 1300 to 1550.  The motor surges and searches a bit, but it’s not a problem.  The big thing is that the prop wash isn’t catching the wing, before I’m ready.  I don’t like to sitting there with the motor running but it’s important that I be able to turn the key and still have enough time to get my hands in position for launch.  Terry’s suggestion was a good one. Another thing I’ve noticed with the “new pitch” is that I’m better able to modulate engine speed and there is a wider powerband.
It was a great flight and I’m disappointed I cut it short but it feels good to be getting my chops back. The next few days are not promising but I’m getting back up soon.

#1053

Preflight…the hang points have been moved forward 3/8th inch to raise the front wheel slightly. Idle has been decreased slightly and cable adjusted to correct lost motion. Replace nose wheel tube and tire.

Weather is predicted to be perfect. 4 mph out of the south west. 80 degrees. Leaving early to rig cameras.

When I arrived at 4:45 , there was a fellow kiting at the field. Turns out he was waiting for Joe Tayler and a couple of fellows who were going to get a demo. The wind was approx 8 to 10 and twitchy. I decided to take my time and let it mellow a bit.

I left them to their devices and went to the Lee side of the field to set up. The launch was fine and I noticed the front wheel getting lite just before lift off. In flight I was not able tell if the front of the trike were any higher. Maybe… just a tad. It did feel better and I’ll make several flights before considering changing it.

The air was mostly smooth with the occasional bump. The winds were decreasing, at launch it was approx 5 mph. Not mentioned earlier, but adjusting the steering bars back and raising the heel loops, made for a much more comfortable ride and more control on the ground.

Joe Taylor is looking good. Look fast and find him starting in the top right corner.

Joe Taylor makes a rapid decent.

Landing was better but there is room for improvement. The decent at idle is fast and I’m starting the flare too early. Next time try a little more power.

Tech note….. Change the “cruise control” mounting to allow loop over the end of the throttle lever…. I think it’s backwards.

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Short Bumpy Flight

Aborted first launch because I couldn’t stabilize the wing. Second attempt was successful but it was so bumpy that I immediately turned back and landed. The good news was that I met the airport owner and his wife who seemed very nice and happy to have me there.

Notes:

Adjust idle and possibly cable slack

Test phone mount, interfered with my leg.

Nose wheel needs to be moved back 2 inches and inflated.

Camera boom needs to be shortened. Hero 7 on helmet or chest and Hero 9 on main spar.