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.

The Big 900

I awoke without an alarm at 5:00.  Not having prepared to fly but remembering the Strawberry moon and it being the first day of Summer, I decided this was a good excuse to crack off another century mark.  The wind was blowing from the North East at 8 mph with little gusts and puffs up to 13.  It was cool (67 degrees) so I pulled on fleece top and bottom with a wind breaker.

The launch was excellent.  The wing came up smartly and my run up was short and steady.  Once airborne I was climbing at 350fpm at 11 mph ground speed.  Wow!  I don’t usually get excited about things like that but this was really well above the average.
Flew slowly against the wind out to Track and Trails and fast back to the patch.  The landing was sweet.  It was a little bumpy on final but the touchdown was slick and there was enough wind to keep the wing up after I’d come to a full stop.  I sat in the trike and kited the wing for a couple of minutes before pulling break and calling it for the day.    Nice……

Strawberry Moon … Solstice and the first day of summer…. First Strawberry moon in 70 years.

Ten Years of flight #847

Foggy day.  The first launch was aborted at the last minute because I was running out of runway and the fog closed in.  I reset and waited twenty minutes and launched into spotty fog.  I could see that it was going to be totally socked in quickly.  Even staying over the field was a challenge because There would only occasionally be a hole that allowed me to see through the fog to get my bearings.  The first time I set up to land I was too high and I had to circle around to the north end of the runway.  The second time I was lower but the fog was almost a perfect white out.  Just as I was about to give up and climb back over the fog I saw the trees on the West side of the runway and I followed it down to the surface.

The rest of the day was spent with the CSYC guys sailing on Charlotte Harbor.

First Florida Cross Country 841

It’s about time.  
My old friend Rex came down from Colorado to study with Paul at Planet PPG.  I had a pretty full week but still managed to get down to Pine Island a couple of times to cheer him on.  The first time was Wednesday and they were towing.  Poor Rex.  One new hip and another about to be replaced… He got up though and was making it work.  I caddied the wing a couple of times and when Rex had had enough I surprised myself and asked for a sled ride.  Paul hauled me up and I enjoyed my first foot launch and landing in a long time.  It was only a short hop but I think I’m hooked.  Foot launching is almost effortless when you don’t have to worry about running it  out with a motor on your back.  I will definitely try it again.  
Thursday morning I drove down even though the winds were predicted to be a bit on the high side.  When I arrived it was blowing about 10mph.  In the wind shadow of the runway it felt much lower but it was coming from the North North East across the runway.  I inflated fine but wasn’t able to stabilize the wing and aborted.  I’m not exactly sure what all my problems were but from the way the wing was reacting I think I should have damped the surge a little better and probably moved the trike a little slower.  Anyway before I could reset, Paul went up in his Falcon 38hp,  he got off fine but it was clear that there was some rotor to contend with.  He landed within 5 minutes and pronounced it “sporty”.  I choose to bag the wing.
That evening I drove back down and had dinner with everybody at Pine Island.  Somehow during the course of the meal Paul suggested that I fly down from Shell Creek.  My first reaction was, Hell No!….but of course I said , ” Sure that would be fun”.
  ……Well, I got to thinking  about it….and it has been a couple of days since my last flight…. and there is a low front moving in which is going to nix flying for awhile….and they did offer to provide a shuttle back up to the truck… The more I thought about it, the better it sounded.  Later back at the house, I fooled with FlySkyHy and managed to lay a few waypoints that would steer me around the Restricted airspace and get me over Pine Island Airport.
I wasn’t convinced that I was going for it but decided to plan on a SCA flight regardless and if it felt good …  go for the cross country.
The next morning the winds were 10mph from the North East, almost a straight shot to Pine Island Airport.  The launch was clean and quick.  Without missing a beat I headed South West and made my way around Punta Gorda Airspace.  The air was pretty smooth with occasional patches of bumps.  I had to crab around the airport and even so was flying between 35 and 40 mph.  After clearing PGA and hwy 75  I was able to turn directly downwind and race toward the Burnt Store hwy.  Acending to 2800ft agl I encountered turbulent air and so I decended a few hundred feet until it smoothed out.  Just past Burnt Store Marina I had to turn and crab the wing South East to stay onshore until I was lined up to cross over to the Island.  I was thinking to continue south till I got to the causeway, cross there and work my way back to PIA but the winds were picking up and I decided it was better to go with the flow.  I certainly had enough altitude to make the crossing without power so I turned South West, crossed my fingers and instantly I was “feet Wet”.   My biggest concern was without merit.  I was worried that I would not be able to spot the small airstrip….. Nonsense, Pine Island is tiny and the airstrip stuck out like a beacon.  AND…. There was Paul and Rex flying a couple hundred feet over the patch.  I was still pretty high, they looked like a toy Paraglider pulling circles down there.  Shortly after I spotted the guys they landed and so I over flew the patch and glided into the wind for a nice steep landing.
Rex, Paul and I fooled around the airport for a little while and then Rex and I set of to retrieve my truck at SCA.  Later we stopped at Peace River Seafood for blue crab.  It was a victory lunch for both of us.

838 Placida at Dawn

Mike Lange and I.  I Blew the first launch when I let go of a brake toggle to catch my sunglasses.  Dumb chute…..  Air was good except for a layer at 400 feet.  Both Mike and I went for altitude. He climbed to 3800 feet and I topped out at 2500.  No drama. Need to work on grabbing both wing tip and brake toggles for landing.