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.
Flight 399 and the Big number 400
It was 27 degrees at 0600 hours. The skies were clear with no discernible breeze. I’d left the Falcon in the truck so it was just a matter of pulling on my cold weather gear and getting on the road. One of the best things about living with Chip is that Simms is only 5 minutes away. The field is looking better than it has in a couple of years. The heavy wet snows have packed the weeds down and other than a general bumpiness I’ve no complaints.
The first attempt was botched when the wing came up crooked. The breeze had picked up a bit and I missed the shift. When I set-up the second time I adjusted and took off without problem to the West. Looking at the wing I thought the brake lines looked wrong. One line (left inside) seemed unusually slack. I couldn’t see a problem and when I tried some input it reacted ok, but… it didn’t feel right so I turned back and landed by the truck. On the ground I still could not find a problem, so I re-set and launched. The air was good and did not feel as cold as I knew it was.
It was more comfortable with the seat positioned more upright but the brake lines are still too far aft. It pulls my arms back and stresses my shoulders. I’m not sure what the fix is…move the seat back… put some kind of line guide on the hang point rails. Maybe I just need to work on upper body strength. It’s better but there are still a few tweaks to get it right.
The Falcon was climbing great. At 3400 RPM I had 290 ft/min and when I adjust the prop a little more I’m sure that will improve. Considering that I was 300 RPM below optimum 375 ft/min should be attainable.
As I traversed Bear Creek Park it started to get bumpy. I had a clear view of Red Rocks, there were lots of cars in the parking lot but it didn’t look like a full house because the top 2/3rds of the seats were empty.
It looked like the wind was going to pick up, there was a bank of hard blown clouds to the North. Concerned that I would get into a wind storm or strong turbulence from the up slope meeting the down slope…I decided to turn back so that I would be over home field if I needed to get down in a hurry. It would have been nice to buzz the amphitheater but no sense pushing it.
The landing was good; the wind had come up considerably with a gust that popped me up on final. Fortunately I had plenty of room and landed close to the truck.
This was a good thing to do. Getting ready yesterday and climbing out of bed before dawn occupied my mind giving me a little respite from the troubles that have been consuming my attention the past several months.
The rest of my universe is a total disaster but after months of waiting the Falcon has landed!
I can honestly say this was the first time I’ve smiled in 7 weeks. Pam the u-ship gal showed up an hour early and we unloaded in no time. Best of all she was able to take the Thumper back to Terry on her return trip. He will have it in the first days of Feb.
1. It has the best visibility of any of my previous trikes. I can see all points of the compass. For the first time I will be able to look back through the prop and it will be easy to check fuel level. It will be much easier to launch when I can see the wing inflate without using a mirror. It’s going to be great to be able to look behind and see in all the traditional blind spots. I’m thinking that it will be closer to the foot launch experience. The bucket seat puts you “out there” so… instead of being cocooned inside of a harness or low down in the trike buggy… you’ve got your ”knees in the breeze”, as Brett Cam would say. The forward rail is narrower and the front wheel is out of view which also reduces the “visible stuff” out in front. I’m really looking forward to flying this thing!
2. The bucket seat was a good option, designed for go carts it is very suitable for the Falcon. It fits my small frame great and I think bug guys will like it too. The side rails make great attachment points for the reserve and if I want I can mount a “saddle bag” on the other side for cameras, water, mini parachutes… toys.
3. The electric start was smooth but there is no optional pull start like the Briggs & Stratton. It’s not really an issue… since I never had to use the pull start on the Thumper. Terry relocated the ignition to a central point just forward of the bucket seat. Good move since the first thing I did with the side mount was to break the weld. It also does away with the pivoting arm that the switch was mounted to. Last spring I launched with the hang strap inside of the pivot arm. The strap stressed the arm and I killed the motor trying to sort it out.
4. It’s BIG ! With a 66 inch prop and one piece construction the rig is too big to get inside of my store…except for the front double doors. I can’t get it into the shop for hang testing. So… I’ll just have to stop at an elementary school on the way to my first flight. I probably should have had Terry make it so I could remove the cage but it’s not a big deal. I’ll cope.
5. The 5 point seat belt looks like it came off of a Russian tank. It’s 3 inch webbing with rough cast hardware. When I cinch it up I’ll be able to fly but I won’t be able to reach the GPS or do any weight shift. Most likely after the first few flights I’ll ditch the crotch and shoulder straps. The waist belt is very comfortable and I like the way it snug’s me into the bucket seat. The buckle is primitive but it is a good clean quick release. I’ll braid a lanyard to the Q.R. to make it easy to find in an emergency.
6. I was a little concerned about the wheels but the new mags are bigger than I thought, it will be no trouble rolling over the rough stuff with these babies. Also the rims are split which will make it easy to change out a flat. The front wheel is small so…I might have to use ramps on soft surfaces … Time will tell. I do like the reverse camber of the nose wheel. It will keep it tracking if I decide to be a jerk and take my feet of the pegs… :).
7. The battery came off during transport, so I secured it with zip ties and filled the gap in the battery tray with some stiff closed cell Styrofoam. It will probably benefit from one more Zip tie but it’s not going anywhere the way it is.