Last Foot Launch

May 28th, 2007
Today is a good day to look at the options. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks rebuilding the motor. The little incident did more damage that I first thought and I had to take off the motor and bend and weld the frame to get it straight enough to fly. Probably 12 shop hours. After all that I was more than ready to fly.
Yesterday was a “No Fly Day” The wind was very light and I has several botched attempts. The last one was a doosey. I fell during the run and really trashed the machine. The frame has to be replaced as does the prop and airbox. My wrist is sprained and as usual the knee is going to have me limping for a couple of weeks.
I’m strongly considering going to a trike. So here I am sitting on the front porch waiting for the girls to come home and looking at the pros and cons.
Pros of going to trike
1. I’ll break less equipment
2. I won’t have to get the knee operated on
3. It will reduce the number of no fly days due to lack of breeze and sore knees.
4. It will take the drama out of take-off
5. Less stress on body mind and soul
Cons
1. You can do it! You have done 45 of them already.
2. When you are foot launched you have more flexablilty for sites.
3. There is something special about running into the sky. If I go to trike I’ll be driving instead of running.
4. Foot Launch is king!

The question is …Have I lost my MOJO? It seems like I’m not running as hard as I was. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been dislocating the knee even with the new brace. I do know that I’m not able to look up at the wing during launch. Partly because I have to watch the ground to keep from tripping and partly because my helmet hits the frame and makes it hard to look up. The best I can do is see 10 and 2 o’clock which is great when the wing is already out of balance but by then it’s usually too late. I don’t think I’ll ever get much better and probably will get worse as I continue to damage myself.
Maybe it’s time to quit foot launch and continue my carreer in aviation with wheels.

Emergency Landing !

#43
There is an old saying that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Well today on my 43rd flight with my daughter Stefania watching I had my first difficult emergency landing. It made the engine out at the Salton Sea look like a piece of cake. Stefania and I got out to the field about 4:30 pm. The heavy winds of the last several days seem to have subsided and it looked perfect with a light breeze from the nnw. The big lenticular clouds that dominated the majority of the day had broken into smaller versions of the same thing.
I kited for a bit and decided it was just not enough for a reverse but perfect for an easy forward.. Stef got the video camera and went upwind while I set up. After sitting on my box for a minute the wind was right and I pulled it up and started to run. The wing came up nice and straight and I moon walked at half throttle toward Stef.. I was feeling good, leaning back int the thrust and at just the right time I made a clean lift-off with just a touch of brake. The climb out was a bit shallow 40f/min but I easily cleared the lines and flew over Titan Rd at 100 feet. Just past Titan I turned to the east and the motor stopped, no burp or sputter , it just stopped. I should have turned back to the north and glided in but stayed on an easterly course and came in between the barns and several corrals. At the last minute I turned 90degrees toward the south and came down hard in a turn. It was a bit of a slide and I tweaked my knee again. The motor frame was slightly bent but no major damage.
I don’t know why I didn’t turn into the wind. I think there would have been room to find an LZ, perhaps I was thinking of heading back to the field. Landing where I did was foolish and if there had been significant wind I would have been in the rotor of the barns. As it was I landed in a small corral downwind.
It took Stef and I about 45 minutes to get the glider out of a small willow like tree and I was glad to have my extra long windsock pole to use for the job. I never was able to determine what caused the motor to die. The best guess is that when I fooled with the high screw on the carb I messed up… but it acted ok during the warm up.
Anyway, we were able to get the equipment back across Titan and I kited the wing to make sure everything was untangled and undamaged. We watched Ty go for a quick flight and chatted with his wife about my “incident”.
I hope the lesson was learned, I dodged what could have been a real bad thing and was able to walk away.
Stefania got the whole thing on video and her reaction to my experience was revealing. I hope she will come out to the field again soon so that she can see that her old man is a better pilot.

Salton Sea 2007 a

Salton Sea 2007
#34 #35 #36 #37 Feb.1, 07
One memorable thing was the time I killed the motor while trying to get into the seat. I had just enough time to turn back into the wind and land at the downwind end of the field. Nobody raised an eyebrow …a non-event.

#38 #39 #40 Feb. 2 07
A Grand Day

NO Fly Day Bad Knee Feb 3, 07
It was ironic that the orthopedic surgeon called me while I was hanging out on the field watching and wishing. He had reviewed my MRI and was suggesting surgery as soon as convenient.

#41 Feb,4, 07
Johnny Fetz “Allen C’s Memorial Style Competition


Last day at the Salton Sea I blew the first launch but got of clean on the second attempt. Great flight! Over an hour in the air at both high and low altitudes. I was nice to revisit the area and say goodbye. I’ve come a long way from last year but there is much to master.

21st thru 33rd

9/4/06 #21
The morningof the wet wing… Strange takeoff “Lift no Lift” run out.

9/06/06 #22 Great Flight …Saw one man personal Balloon by the Swim beach… going farther afield

9/12/06 Incident with equipment damage

The whole fam damily showed up to watch a flight and I blew it when I got a wrap around the left hand and fell on takeoff. The wing came up good but started to turn during the run. I popped up briefly but came down immediately on my left side, breaking equipment and injuring my knee and wrist.

#23 9/25/06 Most Excellent Flight!
Got video of the whole thing…Including John Sieb’s exploding “cheap Mexican” propeller.

this was a milestone flight. My first long flight in Denver with another pilot. The DVD is the best video yet.

#24 9/28/06 Lots of People some didn’t fly. Sunset with layers of cold air mixing and causing bumps

#25 10/06/06 Short lap and landing after noticing a half twist in the risers

#26 10/13/06 Flew till out of gas . Pulled lots of break with no power and experienced quick turn and rapid decent Poor landing

#27 10/23/06 Clint Murphy was observing from home field…great to see him
Tweaked knee on run out

#28 11/03/06 Short flight Perfect takeoff and landing..Some virga scared me down…using knee brace all the time. video of landing is good and later ended up on my Ipod.

#29 11/8/06 Good flight …Broke exhaust bracket…exhaust was clipping prop.

#30 11/19/06 So So flight butt landing

#31 11/22/06 High winds Experienced extreme crabbing of the wing..Good reverse good landing

#32 11/25/06 Good long flight

#33 11/26/06 2nd Annual Birthday flight

Death of Barton George

No Fly Day 12/08/06 Rookie mistake… Jumped into sky …Broke prop and bent Frame…This was the end of my first season. It would be a long time till I flew again.

#33 Second Annual Birthday Flight

And…Boy was it a tough one !
I tried three reverses a forward and another reverse before I finally got off. During the reverses I wasn’t releasing the A’s soon enough and then I would turn before the wing was stabilized. AND the forward wasn’t any better…it seemed like no matter what I did the wing would come up to the side or I wasn’t able to get moving fast enough etc.
After half a dozen failed attempts Monte and John landed and Monte said, “Come On you’ve got to get up on your birthday. So with Monte’s encouragement I tried one more time and and made a successful reverse launch.
I’d let my leg straps be as loose as ever and had a heck of a time getting into the seat. The wire on the north end of the field was coming up so I turned to the west and as soon as I cold let go of the brakes and used both hands. The landing was not pretty…I flared too soon and did a partial face plant…. no injury to body or machine.
Happy Birthday to Me !

Flights 21 to 33

9/4/06 #21
The morning of the wet wing… Strange takeoff “Lift no Lift” run out.

9/06/06 #22 Great Flight …Saw one man personal Balloon by the Swim beach… going farther afield

9/12/06 Incident with equipment damage

The whole fam damily showed up to watch a flight and I blew it when I got a wrap around the left hand and fell on takeoff. The wing came up good but started to turn during the run. I popped up briefly but came down immediately to the left side, breaking equipment and injuring my knee and wrist.

#23 9/25/06 Most Excellent Flight!
Got video of the whole thing…Including John Sieb’s exploding “cheap Mexican” propeller.

#24 9/28/06 Lots of People some didn’t fly. Sunset with layers of cold air mixing and causing bumps

#25 10/06/06 Short lap and landing after noticing a half twist in the risers

#26 10/13/06 Flew till out of gas . Pulled lots of break with no power and experienced quick turn and rapid decent Poor landing

#27 10/23/06 Clint Murphy was observing from home field…great to see him
Tweaked knee on run out

#28 11/03/06 Short flight Perfect takeoff and landing..Some virga scared me down…using knee brace all the time. video of landing is good and later ended up on my Ipod.

#29 11/8/06 Good flight …Broke exhaust bracket…exhaust was clipping prop.

#30 11/19/06 So So flight butt landing

#31 11/22/06 High winds Experienced extreme crabbing of the wing..Good reverse good landing

#32 11/25/06 Good long flight

No Fly Day 12/08/06 Rookie mistake… Jumped into sky …Broke prop and bent Frame…This was the end of my first season. It would be a long time till I flew again.

Barton George is Killed in Mid Air Collision

Report on Barton’s Incident


From Bubba:
No one will ever really know exactly what happened the day Barton died. There will be a report posted on the USPPA site. But, here, after much discussion by those of us that were there, think happened.It took two simultaneous mistakes for this accident to happen. Both pilots were in the pattern. One pilot was trying to adjust his radio to find the right channel for the clinic instructor. Someone had given him the wrong channel to monitor. The other pilot simply turned onto his base leg without clearing first. If either pilot had been alert, this tragedy never would have happened. The higher pilot looked up from his radio equipment to late and found the other’s wing in his lap. He pushed the wing off his lap and then pushed the remaining lines off, hoping that the lower pilot’s wing would re-inflate as it fell. There was enough altitude for this to happen. Unfortunately, when the lower pilot fell free, he fell backward into his wing. As he did, he pulled full throttle and ate his wing and fell to his death. The other pilot, fortunately, recovered and landed.In the 14 years that this sport had been in North America, only one other major mid-air collision has been reported and both pilots survived with minor injuries. That’s a pretty good record when you compare hang gliding, free flight paragliding and other ultralight sports. PPG is still the safest way to take to the air. So safe, in fact, that it appears we may have become complacent.This should be a serious wake up call for all of us. First, always be aware of the air space around you. Above, below and to both sides. If you need to remove your hands from the toggles to perform some task, first check the air space. You may need to fly away to a clear area first. Never do this in the pattern. Second, always clear the air in the direction you intend to turn before you do.

USPPA Incident Report

General Information:
Fatal Midair Collision
Date: 10/09/2006Time: 0800
Location: Albuquerque, NMPilot
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Pilot weight (without motor): 150 US Pounds
Rating: None Experience: Less Than 10 Hours Solo
Incident: Collision with Other Aircraft/Ultralight Primary
Cause: Pilot Error
Inflight Contributing Distractions: Radio Transmission
Windspeed: Light (Less than 5 MPH)
Wind Type: Variable Thermal Conditions: Light (Less than 300 FPM)
Visibility: 6+
Surface: Dirt or Small Rocks
Terrain: Flat Site Elevation: 5300 (feet above sea level)Phase of Flight: Cruise Purpose of Safety Gear Used: Helmet
Communications: Two-way Radio w/ Helmet Mike & PTT
Damage to Pilot’s Equipment: Severe (Greater than 20% of New Price) Wing: DHV 1Motor: n/r
Injury InformationPilot: Fatal

Narrative: While flying a morning session of practice and general familiarity, a collision occured between two powered paraglider pilots. Pilot Y was flying a yellow wing in an east direction, climbing slowly and in a shallow turn to the right. Pilot B was flying a blue wing in an east-southeast direction, straight and level. Pilot Y was to the North (left of) pilot B and they converged on a generally southeast course. They were about a half-mile from the field, east of the pattern in use, and heading away from the field. Pilot B says that he looked around then looked down to change radio frequencies and when he looked back up he was upon the yellow wing which was turning towards him. The middle of the yellow wing hit his feet and tangled in pilot B’s body/motor. The yellow wing hung up, slowing him down and causing the blue wing to surge forward. Pilot B emerged headed down steeply, pulled the brakes hard to recover from the dive at about 50 feet. The force pulled Pilot Y’s wing sideways forces which likely whipped pilot Y upward and sideways, causing him to fall into his wing. He hit the ground from this condition, wrapped up in the wing. Pilot B landed immediately, essentially unhurt. Others arrived soon after to administer CPR but Pilot Y could not be revived.

No one will ever really know exactly what happened the day Barton died. There will be a report posted on the USPPA site. But, here, after much discussion by those of us that were there, think happened.It took two simultaneous mistakes for this accident to happen. Both pilots were in the pattern. One pilot was trying to adjust his radio to find the right channel for the clinic instructor. Someone had given him the wrong channel to monitor. The other pilot simply turned onto his base leg without clearing first. If either pilot had been alert, this tragedy never would have happened. The lower pilot looked up too late and found the other’s wing in his lap. He pushed the wing off his lap and then pushed the remaining lines off, hoping that the lower pilot’s wing would re-inflate as it fell. There was enough altitude for this to happen. Unfortunately, when the lower pilot fell free, he fell backward into his wing. As he did, he pulled full throttle and ate his wing and fell to his death. The other pilot, fortunately, recovered and landed.In the 14 years that this sport had been in North America, only one other major mid-air collision has been reported and both pilots survived with minor injuries. That’s a pretty good record when you compare hang gliding, free flight paragliding and other ultralight sports. PPG is still the safest way to take to the air. So safe, in fact, that it appears we may have become complacent.This should be a serious wake up call for all of us. First, always be aware of the air space around you. Above, below and to both sides. If you need to remove your hands from the toggles to perform some task, first check the air space. You may need to fly away to a clear area first. Never do this in the pattern. Second, always clear the air in the direction you intend to turn before you do.