Day #8 Tuesday Glamis #397

Here is a link to Paul Anthem’s video of Flying at Glamis …Kudos Paul!

This time, at Chad suggestion, I launched with the Eden III in a low hook in configuration. Surprisingly it worked great. I was able to let the trimmers in or out without any friction lock at the hang point rings. Perhaps because they were attached so much lower than on the Thumper, maybe because the load straps are more in line with the rings. Also the lower line guides on the cage were a help. I could grasp the A lines above the mallions which gave me a much better feel for the wing.
This flight was perfect in every way. I taxied at a slower pace and was able to recover the wing when it fell to the left and tip-touched. Most of the flight was flown with the trimmers out. The Eden III is so much more fun to fly at a place like the Dunes. I could yank and bank and even felt confident enough to get down and dirty with the sand. The 4 stroke winds up slower than a good two stroke so you have to anticipate need for power, it takes practice and it doesn’t approach the performance of a light guy footlaunching, but its do-able. At one point I was running along a sharp ridge with the right wheel kicking up sand on the crest. When I started to feel the trike lean to the left, I added power and it was no problem keeping things level. It is much easier to modulate the power with this machine, I think part of it is the longer movement with this throttle but also the Generic 32 has a wider power band than the Briggs & Stratton 22.
After landing I packed up… said my goodbye’s and set off for Albuquerque. It’s a long drive and I arrived at the Route 66 Casino barely in time for the $5 Buffet. My way of beating the casino is to avoid the slots and load up on the shrimp and prime rib. They didn’t make any money on me!
The next morning I was hoping to fly at Paramotor City but there was a front blowing in So I got back on the highway and headed for home. The snow started falling before I was got to Albuquerque and it was slow going all the way to Raton Pass. The rest of the trip was smooth and I arrived home by 3:00.
Trip Data: 2400miles 38 ½ hours 62 mph average speed. It was a good trip, I had a chance to clear my head and the flying was good for my soul.

I have no idea what the future holds …
But…I’m a little better prepared to cope with it.

Day 7 Monday Glamis #395 #396

It wasn’t the best nights sleep but I awoke raring to go.

The launch was good and I headed directly to the dunes. The air was smooth and cool. The falcon achieved 410 ft/min climb at 3500 RPM. The sky was overcast and not the best light for photography but I took a bunch of shots anyway and even a short video of Jeff Goin and company playing around a single dune below the “Black Diamond Face”. After an hour and 30 minutes my belly was screaming from being too far laid back so I turned to the campground and landed. What a wonderful day, the clouds were keeping the thermals down and several guys were still in the air at 10:45.
That afternoon I checked out Holtsville which is a small Agricultural community about 25 minutes away from our camp. The grocery stores were bare bones so I satisfied myself with a chorizo and some fresh produce.

When I got back , the group were all into “parawaiting”. Chad was assembling a MiniPlane with a couple of guys, the Canadians were sunbathing and a bunch were trying to figure out what caused the fire in the concert bus last night.

The afternoon flight was probably the longest of the trip. I had been out for well over an hour and was ready to return when I hooked up with the Canadian contingent. Luc …Ned… and Cyrille were skimming the dune tops as I approached. When I caught up with them they were approaching a couple of ATV who were running hard on the “Big One” and it wasn’t long before all of us were playing tag.

Mark MacWhirter took some great video earlier in the day of the same thing, . About halfway through the video Phil Russman bashes into a dune and manages to recover with a few steps.

Later Luc joined up on my left side and I got some nice video on the way back to the campsite. The sunset…wings in the air…it was all good. Returning to the LZ, the sun had set and I turned on the strobe. It was dark enough that it was hard to see the surface and a little tricky timing the flare.

That evening Christian set up a projector and we watched Star Trek on the big screen. Later I watched a video about Donald Crowhurst and his insane attempt to win the first round the world, single handed yacht race. It was a good night for movies.

Day 6 Sunday #387 thru #394

The wind started picking up right after sunrise.

I spent the time having breakfast, packing up my gear and policing the campground. When the wind finally abated I was on the field practicing take offs while was John was tooling around on his LZ buggy.

John Fetz

Today was much better, there were no incidents and I was feeling good about things. With the wing laid out in a chevron, I was able to bring it up clean and taxi the trike keeping the throttle just above idle. I didn’t stray too far …just launch take a few laps …land… and do it again. Eric came out to the field and complimented me on the improvement. He spoke well of the Falcon which meant a lot coming from a Green Eagle Dealer, one of the finest pilots in the world and a gentleman.

After my 7th flight Mo Sheldon asked if I would be willing to test fly new tandem rig they had just assembled. I was a little hesitant and worried that I wouldn’t be fast enough but it went very well. The only hitch was that my 120 pound frame was lighter than Mo had hang tested for so after we launched, I was hanging two feet higher than Mo and it was blocking his vision. At first he handed me the brakes because he couldn’t see to fly but he quickly sorted it out and took back the toggles. When my hands were free again, I pushed down on the stretcher bar which redistributed the weight and we rode almost level. The takeoff run was longer than I thought it would be but the landing was smooth as silk.


Dinner was at the Mexican place… Jeff Goin, Jeff Hammon, Phil Russman and Mark MacWhirter. We reviewed recent videos,…. the conversation revolved around the twists of Aerial Videography …new technical innovations and the latest cameras and players. All topics beyond my experience. I’m amazed… hours of video to get a couple of minutes of good footage. For me it’s hard enough to Fly… to be a master photographer, editor and pilot all at the same time. Well…

If it was easy everybody would do it!

After dinner we gassed up and I followed Jeff Hammon’s Hummer / Camper under a full moon all the way to Glamis. Jeff graciously allowed me to crash on the floor of his RV so I would not have the hassle of setting up a tent in the dark. Thanks Jeff!

Day #5 Saturday #383 #384 #385 #386

Got up early, showered, had breakfast and was at the field by 8. The launch was a little feisty and I soon realized that my right brake pulley had wrapped between the C and D mallons. It was just barely reachable without taking off the seat belt and I struggled to free it for 5 minutes. Finally I managed to get the toggle up and between the lines. It looked mostly clear and I should be able to free it with one pull. NOT…. When I pulled, it added one more wrap to the tangle and dashed my hopes of clearing the brake lines. Since I was able to reach the brake pulley, I still had control but it wasn’t enough for a good flare and certainly no fun. It was time to land. To make up for the lack of flare authority I used power to reduce the glide and landed clean.The next flight was short as well because the wind had picked up and it was moderately bumpy. This machine is much more comfortable in the bumps but I didn’t know if it was going to get worse so I flew a couple of miles up wind and when it got hard to penetrate, I turned back and landed. At the last second the wind picked up and shifted to the west. During the final 100 feet I slipped 20 feet to the left and touched down off the mark. It looked bad because 5 more feet to the left and I would have landed on another fellow’s wing…but fortunately…no incident today!

This year we had a National Points Competition which consisted of a cloverleaf and spot landing. This may be the only competition of the year and the winners will accumulate points to qualify them for the international events later.

Chad wins with the Mini Plane

I spoke too soon… First PM launch… I turtle’d.

Rocket Boy

The Eden III fell back into the prop wash and pulled the trike back. Gawd I hate being in the field in the “Rocket Boy” launch position! I had trouble staying on the A’s yesterday too and this was bound to happen sooner or later. Fortunately I’d managed to kill the motor but not before some good sized chunks were taken out of the prop. I knew there was no hope of finding 66 inch GSC blades so I went off in search of prop repair. An outfit from Washington State was advertising but they deferred to John Fetz who appreciated the work. With three tubes of super glue and several tablespoons of baking soda Johnny had the blades flyable in less than an hour.
What a Guy!

After putting the prop back on and spinning it up to make sure the balance was acceptable, I rolled the rig back to the field for another try. This launch was another disaster. The wing came up to the left and once again, I was pouring on the power. The wind was blowing hard enough to roll me 270 degrees. Michael Purdy made a point of coming up to tell me that I deserved style points for such a dramatic roll. The EMT’s who had been standing by all weekend came running out to the crash site and were very disappointed when they found that the only injury was to my pride. It’s bad enough when you are all alone but to screw up so badly in front of the whole community really humbling. I know there is one pilot from the club formerly known as the Sod Flyers who got a chuckle.
I inspected the Falcon and was surprised and delighted that it was not damaged. The cage was still perfectly round and there was no evidence of stress to any of the welds or tubing. I had to look hard to find a place where the paint was scratched. As official crash test dummy I’d demonstrated the Falcon’s durability. As official dummy… I was feeling pretty low. Terry designed a great machine…Now I had to prove that I deserved to fly it.
I took a half hour to collect my thoughts …
I’d had over 100 flights on the Thumper without this problem…so what was different? POWER! The Falcon had 30% more horsepower and a lot more prop. Plus, I was 200 feet below sea level instead of 5500 feet above. I was letting the motor come up to full power when I should have used a burst to get the wing inflated and start the trike rolling, then back off while I sorted out the wing and got it stable overhead. Also when I looked into the mirror, I saw the wing centered, what I didn’t know was that the wing was not stable it was oscillating and my split second glance at the mirror was really just a freeze frame of the wing passing through the mirror on it’s was to the other side. This time, I was determined to make use of the Falcon’s great visibility and instead of looking at the mirror I would look back and watch the wing directly.It worked just fine. I took my time, backed off the power after the initial burst and craned my neck to watch the wing all the way up. Instead of mashing the throttle I brought it up to 60% and held it until the front wheel lifted. MUCH BETTER! Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke I landed and did it again.

That evening was the banquet, I had found a wrist band earlier in the day and gave it to John so he was able to join us. We sat with Eric & Elizabeth Dufour and Luc Trepanier and his gang. I wish it had been a little less noisy because Elisabeth and I were starting to have a nice conversation and it just got too loud to hear each other so we shrugged, smiled and moved on.

Paul Anthem and Michelle Danielle were the MC’s. Paul was in “Moron Mode” with bad fart jokes but Michelle saved the day with grace and talent. Bob Armond said a few words and Mike Robinson made an appearance as PPG MAN. Jeff Goin announced the winners of the competition, of course Chad Bastian won every event including the 10 mile race to the “Rock Pile”.

The highlight of the evening was when Michelle won the grand prize…a new Paratoys Wing. While waiting in the buffet line I spoke with Eric Dufour who coached me to slow down… “ You never need to rush a takeoff. You have a great machine …just take your time.” I wish it had been a little less noisy because Elisabeth and I were starting to have a nice conversation and it just got too loud to hear each other so we both shrugged, smiled and moved on.

After the banquet

I searched out the hot tub and soaked,

it was just the thing for a

semi-professional crash test dummy.

Day #4 Friday #379 #380 #381 #382

Home Sweet Home

It was a beautiful Day, light cloud cover and almost no wind. I got two flights in the morning and two in the afternoon all on the PPS. The 1st mechanical problem of the trip was at the beginning of the third flight when the prop started clipping. I cut power and landed out …very close to the place where I had destroyed the Simonini trike buggy last year. Southern California had received a large amount of rainfall just prior to the event and much of the “beach was a muddy mess…So… it was a real chore to push …pull and fight the Falcon back to solid ground. When I got to the campsite, I was able to determine that the prop was hitting the lower pulley but I couldn’t see how it could flex that far. I started it up and wasn’t able to get it to repeat until I went to 1/2 power. Then the pulley started to drift back on the shaft and I took a few more splinters out of the GSC triple. The prop wan’t flexing the lower pulley was floating on the shaft. Totally bummed, I pushed the Falcon back to the field hoping that Leon Wacker might be able to help me out. Leon scratched his head and went to look for a bolt that might secure the pulley. It wasn’t going to fix the problem but it would have stopped the pulley from flying off. While he did that John Fetz came by and after looking over the situation determined that we needed to bush the shaft with something. I went to get my tool bag and discovered it was not behind the wall where I had left it.

I looked everywhere around the campsite and resolved that it was gone forever. In total dismay I walked back to the field and announced to John that my bag had been lifted. He smiled at me and said, “Maybe it’s like that camera you lost last year”. Well… after staggering around for a bit, looked at the Falcon and there it was sitting on the seat. This does not speak well for my current frame of mind.
I searched out a pop can and we cut a rectangular strip that would go around the shaft and bush the collar. In twenty minutes John and Ron had repaired my ride. I re-tensioned the belt took it out to the field for a test. It’s all good.

Pulley bites prop

For the next several flights I checked the bolts on the lower pulley and each time, I got slightly less turn. This was also true of the prop bolts. It is also important to check the collar and confirm there is a gap between the pulley and the shaft…this also goes for the GSC hub. Next time I visit Vince I’ll ask him to re-secure the pulley using a copper bushing.

(The Falcon has great visibility all the way around)

The 4th flight was wonderful. I revisited the sight of my emergency landing and floated along the beach at 2200 RPM. The PPS was great I could put tremendous pressure on the brakes and float along without fearing a stall. A few minutes later I’d climbed to 100 feet and spotted a patch of beach that looked like the perfect place to do a touch and go. I pulled some brake and dove toward the beach. At 10 feet I added power, eased up the brakes and touched down at full speed. It was a good thing too!…The dry looking surface was only a thin skin covering about 10 inches of goo.
“Not really cardboard” … MUD FLAP & Custom Mirror
As soon as I touched down black clay was flying everywhere! I silently thanked Terry for the, “Not really cardboard” …mud flap. I’d teased him about it looking “cheap” but the darn thing was doing a yeoman’s job of protecting my instruments and face.
Just as I was beginning to feel myself slow down I mashed the throttle and the Generac 32 h.p. 4 stroke clawed us back into space. I smiled… one slog through the muck was enough for the day. Looking back I could see that the Falcon had touched with all three wheels for probably 30 feet and dug in at least 6 inches. It’s hard to say if I could have pulled out with the 23 horse Briggs & Stratton. Possibly not, another trike pilot with a two stroke had tried the same thing and was not so lucky. I saw him at the water truck washing the mud off his rig.
Back at the LZ I spoke with a fellow triker who commented that I was losing the A’s to soon, I agreed and he suggested that I lower the line guides on the cage so that they would be closer to my hands. Later flights proved him right. (I never got your name, but thanks!) I also learned that with a bigger cage it’s important to experiment with different ways to hold the A lines during inflation, Today I learned that I can grasp the lines way past the mallons and then slide back to them as the wing inflates.
That evening I shared a wolf camp dinner of frozen chicken and Italian sausage wrapped in Italian flat bread. (Of course I didn’t eat the chicken!) When we heard the fireworks going off we killed the campfire and wandered down to the beach for the bonfire and prop burning.

Bob Armond leads evening prayer service

Bob Armond was in rare form and it was a joy to watch him in action. With all the passion of a traveling preacher he exorcised the demons of poor judgement from we humble and unworthy pilots. Jim King introduced a gent who had just soloed and everybody cheered his achievement.

The moon was full…The dogs were howling… it was all good.
Day #3 Thursday #378

Windy! It was looking good at dawn but by the time I had breakfast and got out to the field it was blowing too hard for a maiden flight. I satisfied myself with housekeeping and catching up with the gang. Chad and some of the guys were playing on the beach doing touches on a ATV while Phil Russman stood in the back and shot video. Very cool!

Careful Chad !

Later in the afternoon it came down and I went up for a nice flight on the PPS 250. My arms are forced back around the hang straps and it isn’t going to be comfortable for long flights. I tried putting my arms behind the straps but that causes my belly to tighten up and there is no way I’ll be able to fly that way. I think if I tilt the seat forward and put my arms behind the straps it will solve the problem.The Falcon is flying great. There isn’t as much pitching as with the thumper and the visibility is great! While buying supplies at the truck stop I found the perfect mirror. It’s a semi truck hubcap, one of the small ones that just cover the lug nuts. Five bucks and it will never break, always look good and is sure to be a conversation starter. That evening Sky King and I went to the Mexican place and had a huge meal.

Salton Sea 2010

Paratoys Day 1 Tuesday Lake Havasue

The alarm went off at 2:15am but I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed until 3:00. That’s ok… I was rolling before 3:30 and powered to Lake Havasue with only 15 minutes of non moving time in 13 hours of driving… I didn’t realize that I was going thru Havasue, but when I saw the sign I impulsively called John Fetz. He asked if I would like to spend the night and I sheepishly accepted his hospitality. The GPS made a circuitous route to their home but once there I had no doubt it was the Fetz place. John’s shop isn’t big but it has enough scrap material lying around to build a space shuttle. There were motors and frames and trikes scattered all
over the back of the property! John and his wife Jill have a wonderful place with a very open architecture and the perfect Mother in Law apt. for me to crash in. Gawd I love desert living, the homes have such clean and simple lines that can best be described as light and airy.
After chatting a bit we went out for dinner at a local rib place that was adorned with a Pitts hanging from the ceiling and aeronautical memorabilia all over the place. John and Jill are quiet the pair… Ex Horse people, lifetime aviators, certified aircraft mechanics and real folk. It’s a pleasure to share some time with a happy couple living a normal happy life. We swapped stories and Jill gave me some good advice about my current situation.
When we returned from dinner John and I watched Salty Dogs from the 2007 Paratoys Show and by 9 p.m. I was ready for bed.

Day #2 Wednesday

Woke at 6, John was up and playing on the computer. He and I drank coffee and chatted for an hour. We tried to figure out the problem with the radios and ended up with one for transmitting and the other for receiving. John has a Greyhound type bus that he has rigged as a camper. They are not doing as much traveling and he is thinking about selling it for a very good price. … who knows?
I set off about 9am and was at the sea at noon. Once there I spent the day taxiing around the field. The idle was way too high and I could hardly slow it down until I backed down the idle. The paratoys guys had a very nice Bob Peloquin simulator attached to their RV that they were letting us use for hang testing. So… I took advantage and was happy to see that I didn’t really need to move a thing. I did play with a couple of different hang points but ended up prety close to where Terry had guesstimated it to be.
It was too windy to fly so I rode the Big Wheel around the RV Park and the LZ to chat with all the usual suspects. Good group ! Jim King and I went to the rib house for dinner. Shower and Bed.