Flight #1174 X-Country

Great flight! I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to get out of bed after staying up past midnight but when the alarm rang I was up and raring to go. It was 72 degrees and dead calm.

I launched without a plan but ended up flying all the way to Crossroads Academy home for boys. Once I got past the Redneck Yacht Club I figured what the heck and was rewarded by buzzing the campus and making some kids smile.

Flight #1169 & #1170

Two mornings at Shell Creek. No Drama

There is story that came from the second flight. In a nutshell… I spent an hour chasing my air pods. I thought they had been carried away by a critter and according to the “find My” app … the critter was staying 10 meters ahead of me. I followed the app and wandered around the runway with growing frustration until finding the lost air pod was lodged in a crease in my hat.

Return to Shell Creek … Flight 1168

I wish I was greatly inspired to write because todays flight had all the elements. Yesterday I stopped at Shell Creek to see if I could resume flying there. I’d seen that the SW Florida Sky Diving Club had changed hands and was hoping that I might be welcomed back.

I was! Richard, who I had thought was dead, told me he was indeed the manager and the Skydiving Club had no right to run me off. Frank said basically the same thing. I’m back!

It looked to be a beautiful morning. There were patches of ground fog and the sky was clear. BUT … when I turned back to the airfield, it was completely socked in. I was able to see the Airpark on the FlySkyHi app but it wasn’t until I had descended to 300 feet that I was able to see enough of the surface to locate the runway.

Flight Day #1166

This was my first flight in a month and the first since my friend Matt Bell was killed when he augered in at The Meadows. I kept it simple and boated around the patch for 30 minutes. Screw up of the day was flying with my emergency stuff bag unsecured. (Non event).

The winds aloft were 10 to 15 and light n twitchy at the surface. Nice and easy. No Drama.

Another Good Man Down

Matt Bell was an experienced pilot. He wasn’t the kind of guy who slalomed around the palms or practiced wing tip drags. He was just a regular guy who showed up whenever the weather allowed and who attended every Fly-In within a two day drive.

A couple of weeks ago he got a new 18 meter Gin Carve that is described as a “responsive and dynamic wing”, it was small and spicy. This morning this morning shortly after takeoff at about 200 ft that wing unexpectedly entered diving spiral that ended after one and a half turns. Matt was killed instantly.

The accident was witnessed by Joe Taylor who contacted the authorities and initiated a search. When they found Matt the only clue to the cause of the crash was that his trimmers were … one out and one in. How they got wildly out of balance is not known. Perhaps he launched with the trim in and when he tried to “let them out”, one cam released freely while the other didn’t. New risers can be stiff. My Colorado certainly was and MacPara exchanged them for another set with modified cams that were easer to use.

We will never know if this was equipment error or pilot error.

RIP Matt.

Thank You Officer Kaufman for standing up for the PPG community.