#1051 Placida

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.

LZ Photos

North Las Vegas
Henderson Nevada
Wichita Glider Port
Kati Texas
Simms LZ Denver Colorado
Lake Wales Airport
Meteor Crater Arizona
Glamis California
Meadow Lake Airport Colorado
Snow Mountain Ranch @Winter Park Colorado
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Apex Dry Lake @ Las Vegas Nevada
Lake Havasue Nevada
Dry Lake Jean , Nevada
Glamis California
Dick’s sporting goods Arena Aurora , Colorado
Colorado Springs Air Park
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Galveston , Texas
Conway Arkansas Airport
Monument Valley , Utah
Flying J Ranch Lake Mirage , California
Salton Sea, California
Vance Brand Airport Longmont, Colorado
Louisville, Colorado
Littleton , Colorado
Arvada, Colorado. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Snowflake Motor Park Aurora Colorado
Titan LZ. Chatfield Reservoir, Colorado
San Juan Pass Galveston, Texas
Pine Island , Florida
Shell Creek AirPark Punta Gorda , Florida
North Port Charlotte, Florida
South Gulf Cove, Placida Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Lake Suzi , Florida

Flights 1049 & 1050. Lake Suzi Airpark

This could be the start of something wonderful. I met with Paul Czarnecki at 8am at Lake Suzi Airpark. It’s a very nice airstrip that has 3000ft of beautifully groomed weeds. When I arrived the fog was too thick to launch so I watched Paul teach “carb tech” for 30 minutes. The weed were a little bit “grabby and I’ll have to be more attentive when launching there. The first attempt was aborted because the port side lines got caught causing the wing to come up very crooked. The second try was much better.

Yesterday I reduced the pitch by 1.5 degrees which brought the RPM up to 3900. The difference was significant, there was very little thrust at idle which made the problem of the prop thrust grabbing the wing go away but it also took much longer to get up to speed for take off. The machine seemed to be smoother and I used a lot more of the power band in flight. Today I think I’m going to add just a tiny amount of pitch to see if I can find a happy medium.

Paul took up his student’s wife for a quickly and then the student. We didn’t fly in close proximity but I did maneuver so that they could see where I was. Toward the end of the flight it started to get bumpy and a couple of times I was pulled dramatically to the side. On the surface the air was 90 degrees left of at the runway.

After landing Paul suggested that my A assists were too tight causing the leading edge to tuck a bit during inflation. I’m thinking that it isn’t the A’s it’s me putting too much pressure on them at the start of the launch.

I took a second flight with the lines tighter towards the center of the glider and it was a little better. That flight was cut to a quick circle because it was very active air.

Landing was a little harder , probably because the thrust is lower and my glide slope was steeper. I was a little surprised buy the harder landing and my inability to really pull down on the brakes. I’m going to have to work on my strength and remember to add a bit more throttle next time.

Dismasted

This was a first. After more than five decades a sailor I was dismasted. Truly, it was a non event , thanks to the Isles Yacht Club’s support boat. It was a challenge towing it due to the mast and sail acting as a Chinese rudder.

Back in her slip we stripped, dried and stowed the sails. About then Rudy Trejo came down from “The Yardarm” and inspected the damage. He has the parts and will have her back in service by Wednesday s club meeting.

Tomorrow I have been invited to the IYC Sailing Club Meeting where our incident will be discussed and Rudy will perhaps tell us what failed any why. I suspect the forestry shackle had a sloppy pin.

Back at the slip surveying the damage
Debrief at The Yardarm Bar

Flight 1048.5. Colleen Wright takes me on a sweet flight with a sweet plane

My sailing buddy from the IYC earned her wings, bought a plane and is tearing up the sky. The plane is a Ercoupe that was built in the late 40s. The first thing you notice is the distinctive twin vertical stabilizers. The fuselage has a metal skin and the wings are fabric. Its painted in USAAF blue and yellow. The two part canopy opens from the top sliding into the fuselage allowing open flying with windscreen. Very cool! There are no rudder pedals all controls are in the yoke. Very simple and fun aircraft.

Thanks Colleen!

Flights #1048 , #1049. Revolution Test Flight

Same weather as last flight there was a fresh breeze 5 to 7 mph from the south.

Paramania Revolution 36 meters……

The wing inflated beautifully, the launch was smooth and predictable. Once aloft it was clear the brakes needed to be shortened. While kiting the wing, I guessed 5 inches. But once aloft it looked more like 12.

The brakes were way too heavy, It was a chore just to fly a figure 8 and land. I came in pretty hot and without much flare at all. I think it will be much better with shortened brake lines but …. will it be enough to make it flyable for me? A big part of the problem is that I’m heavy on the wing. Maybe 450 lbs. all up. Eric warned me that it required strong brake input but that and brake lines 12″ too long, made for a very uncomfortable flight. I was able to eventually take a couple of wraps but even then I didn’t feel like I could apply enough pressure to achieve a good flare. This wing needs a footlaunch guy who weighs in around 200 lbs.

Revolution test flight.

The second flight was with the APCO Lift EZ. No Drama, comfortable and familiar. My folding the leading center edge is getting better. I allowed the motor to run for over a minute and it didn’t catch the wing. The launch was quick and the wing, felt so much better. I would have stayed up longer but the Revolution was still in the field and I wanted to have the truck loaded before dark.

Flight #1047

Working on my skills. The “wing tuck was better tonight. Starting to master the GoPro7.

Launch was 68 degrees with 6mph winds. No Drama

I was a little wary of a group of 5 cars that cruised around while I was flying. They had driven past my truck and windsock earlier in the flight and toward the end had all stopped about 500 yards north of it. I waited them out and landed shortly after they had gone on the move.

Flight #1046 It was like butter…..

Sunday afternoon flights in the winter used to be a thing. I remember the warm glow driving home from the field after a magical twilight flight. The air was so calm that you could hear the sounds of nature with extra normal clarity.

I arrived at the field about 4:00. “GOOD NEWS….! The weeds have been cut down to stubble. I wasn’t restricted to taking off from one of the roads. There was just a hint of breeze from the east so I set up centered at the western edge. The clouds were thin and high, but still thick enough to dampen the bumps. It was the perfect recipe for buttery air.

I took my time laying out the wing perfectly flat with a tuck in the leading edge. It worked well to deflect the prop wash and today the motor was running about 30 seconds before starting the rollout. So we had that working for us, ….however, it took forever to get the wing up and inflated. There was a cravat on the left side which required brake input and looking to the right, I caught a glimpse of a poorly inflated and unloaded wing. It was a good thing to be in a field where I could look up and pay attention to the wing and not worry about staying on the road. It might have been lines snagging in the stubble or perhaps the 30 seconds of prop wash, whatever the cause, the wing was poorly prepared to initiate inflation. Eventually it got sorted out and I accelerated to liftoff.

It was a soft grey day. The overcast sky washed out the colors and removed any sharp edges. The horizon was indistinguishable over the ocean. I headed west to the Gaspirilla Marina climbing to 2000 feet. After a few turns I cruised over to the northwest corner of the Mangrove preserve where I observed a large sedan doing donuts and powering through shallow bogs. There was also a pickup that looked to be stuck in the mud. So Florida Man, was having fun tearing up the nature preserve and exercising his vintage sedan. Eventually they raced out of the bog and charged into the Meadows going at least 70mph.

I’d descended to 200 feet while watching the car play, so I added power and turned back toward the LZ, taking care to avoid the new houses that had sprung up over the last year. I flew to the far eastern corner looking for good launch sites and there was Florida Man, tucked way back into one of the wooded cul de sacs. There was a bunch of steam coming out from under the hood and kids pouring out of the back doors. I circled down and waved at “Florida Man and his family. They didn’t seem distressed by the clouds of steam and were happily waving so I did some mild wing overs and waved back.

I stayed low and enjoyed the calm air for awhile before returning to the LZ and landing. It was a great flight that reminded me of another Sunday afternoon in another place and another life.

Flight 1045 Sunset

This was a much better take off than this morning. The wind was barely showing a breath 25degrees off the runway. Hardly enough to consider it a crosswind launch. The wing was laid out straight ( without Chevron ) on a clean surface runway. I carefully folded the leading edge trying very hard to get every thing square and flattened so the prop wash wouldn’t catch it. I hate a premature inflation! 😡

So, anyway it came up cleaner and I was able to stay on the road and get up to speed before the road started to curve. I could feel the cart wanting to fly and just before I was about to drive into the rough , I popped a bit of brake and launched cleanly.

The air was buttery and warm. I passed back and forth along the western edges of the development along the nature preserve, watching the sunset. About 5:20 , ten minutes before sunset the winds came up from the NE so I turned back toward the LZ.

Landing was thrilling. I ran into some sink on final and had to add some thrust to hit my mark.a2

Little Boca. And the Gaspirilla Causway.