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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kayak at Manatee Park and Flight #955 Placida

Got up early and drove down to Manatee Park in Fort Myers.  Unfortunately the put in time had been moved up an hour and I didn't receive the e-mail.  Luckily I wasn't the only one.  We late comers had the place to ourselves.  The water was a couple of degrees shy of optimum for the Manatee but there were a few around and a good time was had by all.


After a short paddle I drove over to the Manor rehab facility to visit my friend RJ Hart who is recovering from a bad bicycle accident.  He is hoping to go home next Tuesday after 2 full months incarcerated.  We joked about his upcoming meeting with the surgeon by calling it the "parole board"
On the way back from Fort Myers I received a text from Mike Lange that he and Mike Otten were heading off to Placida.  I was surprised that they were going to launch so early in the day.  There was no way that I would be able to get their in time to launch with them but I prefer calmer air anyway.
Arrived at the field about 4:30, the wind was 10+ from the West.  I drove around and found a road that was almost directly into the wind and set-up while an older fellow on his motorcycle watched.  The launch was clean despite several nasty weeds that had pushed through the asphalt.

The flight was good, I caught up with the two Mikes and tooled around the patch for 30 minutes.   It was too late of go for a cross country but there was still a pending sunset.

No camera ...but there really wasn't any structure for the sun to work with.   I did look for the Green Flash though, I imagined the orange flame dying and just as it goes out .... a flash ..... reversing the burnt orange  to a cool lime hue.
I saw it......
Sadly it wasn't the sun burning its dying image on the back of my retina.   I was only seeing it in the after image... my minds eye.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#954 Shell Creek

Calm at the Surface  20+ above 200 ft.
Launch was a little spicy when the wing decided to hang off to the right.
Not sure why the wing misbehaved but I was able to get it back overhead and got up just fine.
30 minutes
900 ft. max AGL
Once up, I turned into the wind and was able to penetrate at 6mph.  I set the trimmers all the way to full reflex and bumped it up to 15.

No Drama.

Friday, January 6, 2017

952 & 953 WOW 2017

Dawn launch, Shell Creek.
50 minutes 
1200 ft.  AGL
Light ground fog.
Chase cam footage.

Dawn Launch, Lake Wales Municipal Airport WOW 1017
1200ft AGL
Foggy conditions.  
Hung around the airport for 40 minutes and landed when it looked like it was closing in.  
No Drama

WOW was a bust.  Well, not exactly but the weather looked like it would shut down aviation after Friday. It was pretty obvious so I changed my plans and drove up Thursday afternoon.  Mike Lange and another pilot and I had a Mac Dinner and it was off to bed.  The next morning I  flew early and left after visiting a few friends.  Jeff Goin said it best in his blog post.  lots of new blood.  The most poignant moment was standing with Leon Wacker and Eric Dufore while The Aviator Staff and students put on a show for the cameras.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

950. Buffalo

nice flight ... no Drama
50 minutes
1200 max AGL

Used new IPad with the FltSkyHi app.  The new mini has a barameter.   Yea!

Saw and buzzed a bunch of buffalo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

949 Placida

Nice flight.
30 min
max 1200 ft AGL
North West wind 8MPH

No Drama.  I installed the new A assists with the upgraded "Nite Eyes" cable cams.  They worked well.

Monday, December 19, 2016

948 Shell Creek ... Fog

The flight deserves a good write up.
16 minutes duration
1300ft max. alt

It was 68 degrees before first light.  When I left the house it was just hazy but got thicker as I went inland, it was pea soup as I pasted Hwy 75... it was so bad that I missed the turnoff to Washington loop.  I tried to gauge the wind but couldn't get a view of the flags, atop the derrick at the water treatment plant.  Surprisingly at the airpark it wasn't so bad, I could see across the runway and figured that I could probably see well enough to launch and climb into clear air.

While setting up, the fog lifted slightly and I could see clearly from the surface to about 50 feet.  The wind was out of the ENE at 4-5mph.  I inflated without issue and turned down the runway launching about 70 degrees off the wind.    Almost immediately, (50ft/AGL), I was blinded by the fog.   At 250 ft the wind direction changed to ESE and I raced toward Shell Creek at 50mph.  Every once in a while I was able to get a glimpse of the creek meandering below me.  Turning into the wind I steered toward the radio tower which was the only visible landmark.

I was hoping to see through some holes to navigate but was just barely able to make out a few high contrast shapes.  At 1300ft it was cotton candy as far as I could see and it didn't look like it would get any better,  and.... could possibly get worse.  I didn't want to try a blind landing.  The GPS was great for flight data but as a map and navigational aid, not so much.

So... While I could still make out the where the airstrip was I turned back and circled down at the south end of the runway.  I spiraled down at 450ft/min and held my breath.  Finally, I could see Richards house from 100ft AGL.  I turned onto final and glided in.   I overshot the wing bag by several hundred feet but that was just fine compared with landing short and maybe hitting a fence.

This was a really marginal flight but I'M GLAD I DID IT.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

947 Peachtree LZ

It's been a busy day.  Social Sailing in the morning followed by helping a club member buy some folding bikes for X-mas.  Then watching the new H20's arrive and off to Mike's LZ for an evening flight.  The winds were brisk and puffy when we arrived.  Mike and I kited for awhile and when Mike Otten showed up we didn't have any more excuses.  So... Mike n Mike launched and I followed about 5 minutes later.  I don't know,  sometimes you just don't feel the love and this was one of those times. The air wasn't bad, the wind wasn't strong, there was nothing to put my finger on, it just felt wrong.  So, after about 30 minutes of flying in circles I came in to land.

This is not my favorite LZ.  the surface is big time bumpy under the grass.  It feels like they dragged the surface to make irrigation rows and the rows never washed out.   During the run out, the bumps got worse toward the middle of the field and about the time I was at take off speed I crossed some particularly bad terrain.  I could feel the airflow above the wing being disturbed and the trike losing lift.  Eventually I got up and all was good with the world.
This LZ (as I've said) is a bit of a challenge.  The field is ringed by wires and trees.  During takeoff I was launching into the tree rotor and on landing I had to make a short final to land into the wind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

946 Shell Creek

Great flights without drama.

Light breeze at surface, 12 mph above 100 feet .... Probably increasing with altitude.
45 minutes air time.
There was thick ground fog and low clouds moving west off shore.
The first few minutes were pretty cool.  The land was only visible through a few small holes and off to the South East the Radio Tower was poking up through the fog looking like it was 10,000 feet tall instead of 500 ft.
The moisture had started to coalesce by 30 minutes after sunrise and when it was time to land, I had no problem descending through the layer and setting down by the wing bag.

I think I've finally got past the string of incidents where I was breaking lines right and left.  I don't think I'll ever know exactly what the cause was but It appears that I stumbled onto the fix.

Good air, good tunes, and a good time was had by one.