Flights 1040 & 1041

Three mornings in a row!

My skills are improving. I’m still not happy with folding the leading center edge under the wing to keep it out of the prop wash but I’m getting used to it. The trike rolls forward about 3 feet before the wash starts to inflate the wing and its abrupt and strong when it catches. This morning I had severe oscillations, probably because the prop wash caught the wing improperly. I was happy to be able to back off the throttle and get it back overhead before committing to takeoff. It helped to be on smooth and clean blacktop.


Yesterday’s flight was also good. I fumbled with the A’s because the wing was starting to dance as soon as I started the motor. Once up, all was good. I’m getting familiar with the wing again. I started a spiral and was surprised at how fast the wing descended. It’s a little disconcerting to be hanging out so much in turns. Not having a side rail or a seat that wraps is taking some getting some getting used to. I don’t feel like I’m going to fall off but I’m sure it looks that way.

Flight #1039 First flight as a free man.

After 2 No fly days I finally broke the fast.

The wind was 5 to 7 from the west. The field was wet and the humidity was 99%. I found a road that was pointed into the wind, set up and launched without incident. The density of Altitude was obviously higher than normal by the long runout at takeoff. I popped a little brake when it started to feel like there was something sticky holding me down. The climb out was bumpy and slow until I achieved 200 ft where the air smoothed out.

Next time I’m going to pull the wing into a chevron before tucking the front center cells away from the prop wash. This morning the wing came up very quickly but it was strange to have the A’s so mushy for the first few feet.

Once up, all was good . I boated around the patch penetrating into the wind NNW at 10mph and racing back toward the LZ AT 50+.

The landing was fine. The front wheel is a few inches lower than they were on thumper. I’m going to leave it for now but may move the hang points back a bit in the future.

When I got home I opened up the wing in the guest room to dry.

No Fly Days!

It’s been 8 weeks since I had reconstructive surgery on my intestines. The external waste bags have been removed and the intestines have been reconnected. I’ve been anxious to get back into the air but the weather has not been cooperative.

A couple of days ago I went out for an evening flight only to get soaked by a sneaky rainstorm that approached from behind.

This morning the humidity was 100% and the wing absorbed enough water during set up that it was not Flyable. It might have been possible had there been a breeze to launch into but this morning it was nil wind.

It’s a bit humbling after more than 1000 flights to have such a miserable showing. I will dry the wing and watch the weather for another opportunity.

Flight 1038 Placida

It’s all good. This morning the mid summer pattern of calm at dawn with gradually increasing breeze from the NE continued. There was one large storm cell, 20 miles offshore, directly west.

Take off and landing were uneventful. I can feel my skills improving.

Falcon idle needs to be lowered. Today at 3000 feet, after running strong for 30 plus minutes it idled at 1800 and would not go below that. It is not as cold blooded as it was 5, (running), hours ago. I opened the choke at start but needed to start closing it right away. After the oil change, which I plan on doing as soon after the surgery as possible, I’ll adjust the idle again . Hopefully it will run a bit smoother at 1200 to 1400 RPM. If that does not work, I’ll try Terry’s idea and reduce pitch 1 degree.

At full throttle 3600 RPM it climbed at about 360 ft / min. The Humidity was 98% and it was 74 degrees Fahrenheit. I will do it several more times in different conditions to see what happens.

The nose wheel pegs seem a bit too far out. Bring it back 2 inches.

Next flight…. let the trimmers all the way out to full reflex then pull left trim in till flying straight line at power. Evaluate if this setting would be good for cruise mode.

Blue Falcon 35


Gasparilla Causeway


Port Charlotte Harbor , Punta Gorda

Myakka River. Gasparilla Road

Boca Grande

Coral Creek Airport

Flights 1034 35 36. Placida

Last night I posted on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in flying Sunday morning. Alvero came back that the Sky Pirates Club was coming down from the North. So…. We had 6 pilots at the LZ ” at 6:30. The winds were 4 to 6 from the NE with mostly clear skies.

I had to cut the first two flights short because of a tangle with the right tip steering toggle. The first flight the rig locked into hard right turn and it pointed me at some very real trees that I missed by steering between them. At the next tree, I’d climbed just enough to clear the top. The second flight was a repeat, as soon as I was off the ground we were in a hard right turn. I couldn’t see the snag but I should have known what the problem was by the way the wing was behaving. If I’d grabbed the toggle I’d probably have cleared it right away …. my bad.

The third flight was a charm, I’d found the snag with the tip steering but I’d lost the best flying time so… wasn’t able to follow the flight plan, which was to cross the Inter-coastal and run the Gasparilla Island Beach. Whatever…. it was nice to get up and three successful launches was good practice.

When I landed most everybody had returned. We chatted, took the group photo and broke up. It’s all good.

Flight # 1033 Placida

It was 76 degrees and 99% humidity when I arrived at the LZ . The wind was 1-3 from the NE. I opted out of launching from the road and set-up in the middle of the field. The last few take-offs had been forced and sketchy. This morning, I wanted a clean launch that wasn’t rushed and didn’t require popping the brakes to force takeoff.

I tucked the center leading edge and used a chevron shape to lay out the wing. It worked fine, the prop wash didn’t catch the wing. After rolling a couple of feet I started to feel pressure in the A’s. The wing came up clean. I accelerated to 20+ and rolled 400 feet before rotating. It was satisfying to climb out smoothly instead of staggering along near stall speed. Even so, that was one of the fastest launches since leaving the Rocky Mountains.

I’m getting used to the new machine. It torques firmly to the right at 3000+ RPMs requiring the right trimmer to be let out at least 1.5 inches. Cruise is about the same as Big Red, 2800 to 3000 RPM. The boat seat Terry recommended is comfortable but it makes me feel a little “exposed”. It doesn’t “wrap around”, like the old bucket seat did.

The GoPro 7 was mounted to the frame in front of the A’assist and it was quickly apparent, that wasn’t going to work because it was shaking beyond the ability of any stabilization program. It had also been set to 4K which was too much for my old iPad.

Two upgrades are in process. The first is a new gas tank with fuel gauge that Paul Czarnecki turned me onto and second is a new throttle assembly with a more positive action.

New helmet, feels good.

Flight 1032 Placida

Boca Grande
Gaspirilla Pass in the distance
Spiraling down to land….

I launched against a light crosswind. It was not pretty. The turn away from the headwind was begun too soon preventing the inside tip from pressurizing properly. I oversteered the wing to the outside and finished the run up, off the runway and in the grass. Climb out was a bit sluggish. Due to high humidity and brake input forcing the launch.

I recall looking over my right shoulder a couple of times before I was satisfied that the whole wing was flying. By then I was off the road and crosswind about 25 degrees . It’s all good but it was 50 degrees off the expected course and on a starboard tack instead of port. Anyway it took awhile to get up to speed and I had to use the brakes to get off the ground.

Climb out was smooth with a pronounced right hand torque steer. I trimmed out the right side 5 clicks and used minimal left break to hold course. Climbed to 2000 and flew, “hands in lap”, making a slow circle around the jet port. Was able to maintain level flight at 2800 -3000 RPM

The throttle is still a problem. The cable needs to be 18 inches longer and the throttle lever action is very touchy. It might improve to increase the lever travel but whats really needed is some kind of dampening to assist throttle control. Terry and I both noticed there was very little friction in the cable.

Next flight I should practice with the throttle. It would be fun to buzz the private jet port but it would be just as effective to run a low and slow close to the LZ.

Flight #1031 Placida

Little things are getting better…. getting better, all the time.

I met with Paul Czarnecki at 7:30. There was very little wind and mostly cloudy skies. During warm up I tinkered with the idle screw and brought the RPM down a bit. It is still running a bit rough and floating between 1100 and 1700 RPM but when warm it does settle down enough to live with.

This morning, I set up in the grass so that the launch would start a little slower. I tried Terry Lutke’s suggestion and folded the center of the leading edge under the wing to prevent it from getting caught in the prop wash. My first attempt was aborted when I realized that I had the throttle and the A line but no brake in my left hand. Geez?

The second attempt was magic. I started the motor and because the wing was not in the prop wash, I had plenty of time to get set with the risers and toggles. I added power and for the first time with the new machine I felt the wing pressurize through the A’s. Looking over my shoulder I saw exactly what I expected. This paratrike has a much more open cockpit. It’s possible to tip my head back where before I would hit the frame.

The last two launches I was rushed, as soon as the motor was started the wing would be caught and there just wasn’t time to do anything but focus straight ahead and trust that the wing was coming up clean. In one case I was fumbling for the toggle and only the A Assists were guiding the wing.

I flew for 28 minutes and climbed to 3000 feet. The humidity was high at low altitude but once above 1000 I was easily climbing over 300/ft/min.

Today it came together and it did wonders for my confidence. Yesterday I was wondering if my flying career was coming to an end and now there’s no end in sight.😎