No Fly Day.

Nine Hundred and Ninety-nine times out of a thousand

I would have cleared that stop sign.

This was the #999th.

It started with dog piss in the shower and continued to go south the rest of the morning. While unloading, I discovered that the battery was dead. The wind was light and forty five degrees off the runways. The plan was to launch into the intersection and turn down the runway. The wing was a little behind my turn and the outside tip steering line caught the top of the stop sign and popped the tip right off. I felt it and immediately aborted. I honestly think I could have hammered the throttle and launched only to find myself flying a badly compromised wing. The left side would have had very low pressure and who knows what would have happened. Anyway I aborted and the only damage was to wingtip and a couple of lines.

Elisabeth is months out and Paramotor City is 6 weeks, so it’s going to be awhile. Tonight I picked up a Paramania Revolution 36 for a decent price. It’s a couple of years old but very low hours.

I was worried that 1000 was going to be underwhelming … the wait is going to make it special.

Epic X-Country

Port Charlotte to Lake Wales

Flights #995 #996

Falcon 4 stroke APCO LIFT EZ. LG. 31

Miles logged 85.1

Time. 2 hours 37 minutes

1000 feet

Ave 31 mph

Trimmers in neutral

It was Mike Lange’s birthday last week and the crew got together to celebrate. After dinner we were sitting around the dining table and, as usual, the topic of cross country came up,and as usual, it was Port Charlotte to Lake Wales. However, unlike every other time, it came to pass.

Bob was the key. Early in the week someone posted about flying and I came back, Friday morning. Nothing came from it until Thursday afternoon when I got a message from Mike L, “Looks like we’re going to make that flight tomorrow!”. For the rest of the day the texts and messages were flying. We crammed 3 months of musing into half a day. Routes, logistics, misgivings, reassurances all the typical issues were brought up and handled. At 10:00pm, just as the texts were starting to slow down, I was ready.

At 4:45 the alarm went off. I went through the usual rituals and hit the road. Then everything went to hell. We were to meet at the Orlando LZ and I got lost. Nothing looked right. I turned on Orlando and drove right past the LZ. When I realized I missed it I texted Mike and he said they were launching from Yorkshire instead. Yorkshire?, Yorkshire? I knew I’d flown from there recently but I couldn’t for the life of me, remember where it was. I was fishing on the nav app trying to figure it out when I got a text from Mike that they were going back to Orlando. I’d just been there so I pulled a u-turn and after 5 minutes of driving around and once pulling within 500 feet of the gang and turning around again, we finally hooked up. Luckily we planned the meet a little early and it was still nautical twilight.

Bob the Pilot Harrison says it best.

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Adventure flight #1

Mike Lange and Otten hv bn wanting to fly a x/c for a while. Well all the gears aligned for a North Port to Lake Wales flight via Avon Park Wally World for a slushie of all things.

We all gathered at Mike Lange’s house to reconfigure the chase vehicle. Meeting Joe at the LZ for a 06:45 departure.

Except for departing at sea level, it was a maximum effort takeoff having calm winds, high humidity/Temp and heavily laden with fuel, energy drinks and granola bars. Mike Otten kited my wing up nicely with a longer run than usual, then foot dragged half a football field mowing a new path in an already mowed grass median, eventually easing into the air. We weren’t sure if he was going achieve positive rate for gear up or a high speed face plant. Mike Lange and Joe Onofrio kited their wings into lifting position and were off with a bit longer runs.

I had programed road crossings into my GPSTest app for course monitoring. Was a bit of a challenge to keep up utilizing back country roads.

The Wally World stop was like adding an exclamation point to the adventure for Mike and Mike, I think Joe is still scratching his head. ūüėČ It was an open mowed lot with low obstructions for normal takeoffs. We used the philosophy of asking for forgiveness rather than permission, we used neither, so we’ll save it for next time.

On takeoff Mike Lange let the fast inflating Hadron XX get ahead of him, experiencing a 1/3 collapse, he kept the flying side straight while the other reinflated, throttled up and liftoff. Joe’s wing had a little waddle to it in the beginning. He straightened it out in taxi and throttled up.

Mike Otten controlled the wing nicely but didn’t have a normal takeoff. After mowing another path through already mowed grass, he had to add heavy right brake to counter a sharp left turn after liftoff while navigating between two oak trees a light pole while NOT stalling a strange wing. That took a level head and skill. Once through the obstructions he circled around to the left for another landing.

Mike was flying my APCO Lift and forgot to clear the four control lines or verify their proper connections. The L/Tip steer toggle was either wrapped around the risers or snapped into the brake snap causing an aggravated left turn.

Mike lange and Joe Onofrio were in a holding pattern until the event was over. I must say using radio communications, keeps everyone in the loop for changes and normal decision making.

The rest of the flight was a non event. They landed with fuel to spare at the AviatorPPG facilities located on Lake Wales airport. Jon allowed us vehicle access to load gear. After which we shop talked over lunch at the Depot restaurant downtown Avon Park before heading home.

Looking forward to the next cross country flight.

Bob the Chase Pilot

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I’m afraid that my 1000th flight is probably going to be a let down. The last three flights have been fantastic! The weather has been remarkably cooperative. I look forward to the winter sun and longer flight windows.

Above solar farm … Below our pit stop LZ

Tony’s First Flight

Today was a milestone. ¬†My first student got his first flight ūüôā
Arrived at the Placida LZ at 6:30.  Winds were 7 from the NE, cycling every couple of minutes.

Tony set up and launched perfectly.  He flew for 30 minutes at 500 ft.  The winds were strong enough at that altitude that he was just barely penetrating.  Landing was excellent.  

Notes:
His belt needs to be tightened. ¬†It was slipping a little and made his climb-out too slow for my taste. ¬†I could hear it squealing and possibly slapping although I don’t know how it could slap with a pulley on the slack side.
He needs to practice with the kill switch … He had a little trouble finding it and killed the engine late.
I’m going to encourage him to transition to trike. ¬†The rig was bobbling too much for comfort. ¬†I think those big wheels up front are catching the air. ¬†
I’m glad this phase of training is over. ¬†He’s finally popped his cherry now and can start gaining experience.

The Mile High Club. SCA 840

This was a good one. ¬†I woke up at 5:30 without an alarm. ¬†What’s to do ? ¬†While performing morning ablutions I checked the weather and saw it was calm with nill winds expected. ¬†I arrived at the field at 7:00 and was airborne by 7:10.

Fabulous Air! I climbed out over the sand quarry just as the sun was rising. There was ground fog in patches for as far as I could see. ¬†The sky was clear to the East and the clouds that we’re building were all to the West over the gulf. ¬†The winds were light but increased steadily as I climbed. ¬†When I reached my goal of 5280 it was 20 mph from the Nort North West.¬†

At 5333 I trimmed the wing to full out, fast reflex and shut down the motor. ¬†It was wonderful, I pulled a few wing overs and finished with a hard spiral descending at over 700 fpm. ¬†At 3500 feet I restarted and climbed back up to 4500 so that I could shut down again and glide back to the field. ¬†The landing was clean, I pulled in the trim at 100 feet and put it down dead center on target. ¬†Sometimes things work just as they’re supposed too.

On funny thing that happened was a glitch in my sound system. ¬†For some reason I select only songs that were stored on the IPhone. ¬†At first it was fine but when Dianne Reeves cut out and restarted two times I started to get annoyed. ¬†Eventually it went silent which was just fine with me. ¬†The crazy thing was that when I reached the top and shut down the engine the tunes came back on with a vengeance. ¬†All the way to touch down I listened to Queen finishing with “We are the Champions”
It wasn’t epic but it was wonderful.