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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Denver to Galveston Pier to do's

From: Denver, CO 80210 US> To: 2502 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550-1463
US> > DRIVING DIRECTIONS> -------------------------------------------------->
A) Denver, CO 80210 US> -------------------------------------------------->
1. Start out going SOUTH on S RACE ST toward> E EVANS AVE. (go 0.1 miles)>
2. Turn RIGHT onto E EVANS AVE. (go 0.1> miles)>
3. Turn RIGHT onto S HIGH ST. (go 0.1> miles)>
4. Turn RIGHT onto E ASBURY AVE. (go> 0.3 miles)>
5. Turn LEFT onto S UNIVERSITY BLVD. > (go 0.3 miles)>
6. Merge onto I-25 S (Crossing into NEW> MEXICO). (go 214.3 miles)>
7. Take the US-64 E/US-87 E exit, EXIT 451,> toward RATON/CLAYTON. (go 0.2 miles)>
8. Turn LEFT onto CLAYTON RD/US-64/US-87.> Continue to follow US-87 E (Crossing into TEXAS). (go> 127.3 miles)>
9. Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto> US-385/US-87/RAILROAD ST S. Continue to follow US-87> S. (go 38.8 miles)>
10. Turn RIGHT onto US-287/US-87/S DUMAS AVE.> Continue to follow US-287 S/US-87 S. (go 46.4 miles)>
11. Merge onto US-87 S via the exit on the> LEFT toward I-40. (go 2.3 miles)>
12. Merge onto I-40 E/US-287 S toward> OKLAHOMA CITY/FORT WORTH. (go 8.4 miles)>
13. Merge onto US-287 S via EXIT 78 toward> FORT WORTH. (go 288.8 miles)>
14. US-287 S becomes US-81 S. (go 30.9> miles)>
15. Stay STRAIGHT to go onto I-35W S/US-287> S. (go 8.9 miles)>
16. Merge onto US-287 S via EXIT 51. > (go 8.4 miles)>
17. Keep LEFT to take US-287 S via EXIT 34A> toward WAXAHACHIE/DALLAS. (go 1.5 miles)> 18. Keep RIGHT to take US-287 S via EXIT 444> toward LITTLE RD/WAXAHACHIE. (go 50.7 miles)>
19. Merge onto I-45 S toward CORSICANA. > (go 246.4 miles)>
20. Take EXIT 1C toward TX-275/HARBORSIDE> DR/FM-188/TEICHMAN RD. (go 0.3 miles)> 21. Stay STRAIGHT to go onto BROADWAY> ST/AVENUE J. (go 0.5 miles)>
22. Turn LEFT onto HARBORSIDE DR. (go> 4.6 miles)>
23. 2502 HARBORSIDE DR is on the LEFT. > (go 0.0 miles)> -------------------------------------------------->
B) 2502 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550-1463
TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME: 17 hours 19 minutes > DISTANCE: 1079.46 miles> > >
To view your map, click on the link below or copy and paste> it to your browser: >

Booking #44J0W7
1)Velcro for Sat Radio
2)Get Regulator checked

Saturday, July 25, 2009

321 Simms

Finally a launch before the sunrise !
(Green Mountain)
(home field)

I've been trying for weeks and today I finally did it. At 5:30 I turned on the strobes and went up to meet the sun. Beautiful !

Chatfield Reservoir
This had to be one of the best flights of the season. I stayed up as long as possible and would have pushed it till it got thermal if I had the fuel. Even then I put off landing with a touch and go and eventually did the low and slow for the full length of the field before setting down between the wind sock and the truck. It looked good but the wing came down on the sock and broke the pole. Oops.
(home field and beyond ! )

The air was as good as it gets, no bumps and almost no wind. I could barely feel the motor at 2900 RPM. This flight I spent alot of time working the throttle and I think I'm finally getting it. I lengthened the webbing for the foot steering and hooked it up. What a pleasure to have both hands free again! I flew at low RPM and chilled till I couldn't see any gas in the tank. Terry was right...the more you fly the 4 stroke the more you appreciate it.

(Morrison & Red Rocks)

Friday, July 24, 2009

#319 & #320 Simms

Two very short flights

I'm still trying to get a flight before the sun comes up. Yesterday it was the motor that delayed the launch and today it was the weather. When I got to the field the eastern horizon was just begging to show some color. I had 20-30 minutes before I could see enough to launch and it looked perfect, 65 degrees with calm air. While I was unloading the buggy, the wind started to build. I thought it was going to be the typical little gust front we get so often at sunrise, but it continued to build over the next half hour enough that I couldn't even kite the wing without being lifted off my feet.So...I sat in the truck and listened to Jazz until 6:30 when it finally started to come down.

Now in full daylight, I launched to the west. The wing came up and the buggy didn't move. I did the Fred Flintstone / toddler thing and got rolling. By now the wing had fallen off to the left but with some right brake and throttle I was able to recover even though the wingtip was touching the ground. It swung to the right 30 degrees, came back and stabilized. After that the take off was a breeze. Until...I got to 50 feet and encountered very strong turbulence. I could barely penetrate, maybe 5 mph forward and I was being bounced at about a 5 on the bump scale. So I crabbed around to the N. E. corner and landed by the truck. There was definitely a layer because as I descended the buggy started to pick up speed and the air smoothed out. The landing was clean and soft.

The second flight was no different except that the wind on the surface had dropped to 2 mph or less. I thought it had mellowed out but it was still too ratty for my taste. Perhaps I would have found good air at altitude but more likely I would have encountered increasingly higher winds. So... figuring discretion is the better part of valor I called it a day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

318 Simms

New Camera Canon SX200IS
This was a strange one. I got up early so I could launch before the sun only to find that I'd left the ignition on and the battery was dead. I pulled on the starter cord until I was sweating like a dog. This was different: every other time I've pull started the 4 stroke, it was a piece of cake. I don't know if I was just weak or perhaps a circut was switched off .... whatever. I couldn't pull start it. Two hard inspections didn't turn up the cause. Eventually I decided to try jump starting from the truck and it fired right up. The motor idled while I set up the wing and when it was time to launch it started on the first pull. Huh? Is there something special about a dead battery that prevents the motor from firing?
The air was good except for a layer at 250 feet that bounced me pretty good during the final approach. The lift off the dam was more turbulant than most mornings. Breeze was coming from the west so I stayed away from Red Rocks and did a lazy loop around the golf course and over by Marston Lake. There was virga in the east and the light was more yellow than usual. Very vivid in the yellows. 45 minutes after launch the wind had shifted from WEST to WSW.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3rd Race of Summer Series

Paradiso takes 1st for the third week !

Crew: Joe... Paula...John Sieb
After a slow start in the Spring Series, Paradiso is making a good show during the first races of the Summer Series. Moderate winds 5 to 7 . Final results are not posted but we finished 3 minutes over 2nd to cross.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

#316 & #317 Meadowlake Airport

Perfectly calm morning! Jerry, Kevin and I delayed taking off for 30 minutes, while we watched Robert (John's new student) attempt his first flight. No Joy but one hell of an attempt. after two aborted inflations, he got it up ok and was running with the wing stable overhead. Jerry commented that he was a little hesitant on the throttle and I could hear it running up and down. So...Robert got up some speed and was looking good when he jumped into his harness and started to come back down. Amazingly he went to his knees and managed to get back up and keep going without loosing control of the wing. After running right up to the edge of the cut grass he launched and climbed to 10 feet and let off the gas...., eventually coming down too fast to stay on his feet but not so bad that he was injured. Maybe a few bruises but thats it. He's almost there. Probably next time.

I launched and flew for 40 minutes mostly down low. Jerry came alongside and we explored the north and east side of the area. It was a huge pleasure to fly low and I felt very comfortable. Cruise RPM was about 3200 to 3400 where the vibrations and noise are considerably reduced. Just a great little flight!

#317 was shorter and it was starting to get thermal, I landed before It was even close to being an issue. The wind was picking up above 150 feet where I was only able to penetrate at 8 mph. Coming down to 75 feet I was moving along at 17. Both landings I came in under power to very soft touch downs. Then, Jerry went up in Johns U-turn and seemed to like it... "mostly benign but when you "got on it" the wing became sporty".

Later we went to Carl Jr's for a bite and debrief.
Jerry over our freshly cut LZ

PPG News:

A fellow named Alex is trying to get a google Map PPG site going

...It could be great if the bugs get worked out...Stay tuned

Saturday, July 18, 2009

314 & 315 Vance Brand Airport

Broke two lines on Eden III Layed out wing wrong.

Ironically I did it the day after I was patting myself on the back for finding the right system. I don't know why I choose to do it differently ...just because I was flying a different wing? The winds were 7 to 9 and it was a smaller wing. I set the trimmers out and probably damped to soon or too much. I wish I had a video so I could see what happened. The buggy was pulled into a partial turtle and came back up before flipping all the way... but the prop caught two lines CM1 and DM1. I think the wing fell back and then surged and folded...if so... I could have saved it if the buggy were accelerating faster. The whole thing would have been avoided if I layed out the wing in a chevron instead of a tight little wall that was like a a coiled spring ready to release. Duh?

I might have been able to avoid cutting the lines with a 2 stroke but the 4 stroke takes a while to wind down. The outer cage ring was slightly bent below the crossbar..I bent it back part way and there is plenty of clearance for the prop. I will probably have to get it welded and true before mounting the New Power Fins.

The TV crew turned out to be a crew from Indonesia. Three people two cameras and a tiny little girl who was either director or translator. It was hard to tell since she never talked to the camera men and could hardly talk to us. Nice ...pleasant but not real fluent. Robert and I just kind of went about our business and at the end I gave her my card and she said that she would send me a link after it was edited.

#314 was 40 minutes of tooling around the field waiting for Robert and crew and #315 was a quickie for the camera. It was getting late when they arrived and the air was too thermal for me. I knew it was getting late during take off...I floated above the ground at 5 feet for 300 feet then I entered the lift and was swooped up like a f-16 launch. I hope it made some good video. Robert did some good stuff, nothing hairy some nice hard turns and low level dives and climbs. The swoop divers really looked good. One fellow pulled a 270 between Robert & I and the film crew while we stood about 15 feet apart.

Tomorrow it's Meadow Lake

Thursday, July 16, 2009

#313 Simms

First Sunset Fight of the Season

Finally an afternoon without thunderstorms building over the foothills! I packed and was at the field at 7:30. There as hardly a cloud in the sky and the breeze was half a knot from the south east. I set-up on the high side of the field where the weeds were a bit shorter. There was no problem getting the buggy rolling because of the slight grade and the wing came up perfectly. I think I've found the best was to lay out with a slight V and the center tucked up to the cell openings. Take off speed was 24 mph which leads me to think there was a gradient just above the surface.

The light wasn't great for photography but I tried a 360 degree series anyway.

The air was good with a little mixing going on. I watched a kid practicing motocross for a while and as the breeze built I played with crabbing the wing across the field. When the sun set behind the foothills I turned on the forward strobe. It would be great if I could find a way to turn them both on while in flight. I boated around the field for 20 minutes and when the breeze started to shift to a Westerly decided to land.
For no good reason I was uncomfortable and flew as I expected something bad to happen at any minute. Huh where did that come from? Perhaps it was because I had to sort out a brake line which was not tangled but had wrapped and tightened on the wrong side of the risers. (NON EVENT)
I did have an issue where I had changed the position of the throttle and pinched my hand badly during landing. Part of it might have been because I wasn't wearing the trusty golf gloves, the "D" ring on the Velcro was pinching the flesh between thumb and forefinger and when I flared it bruised the area behind my knuckles big time.. I'm going to have to sit in the garage and play with it since I'm still having trouble finding a comfortable grip.
Jeff Baumgartner has sold his PPG Plans for Sky Bolt and website to Jeff Goin and his inventory to Terry Lutke. Jeff and Terry plan to keep this excellent design available for pilots who want to build their own. This level of cooperation speaks volumes about their unselfish love of the sport and I applaud them for it.
Bubba has invited everybody to his place next weekend for a midsummer fly-in. I'm bummed, this is the 3rd one that I'm going to miss. Next year for sure!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

312 Simms

Launched at 6:00 light air. Flew over to Green Mountain stayed at 1000 ft AGL landed after a touch and go. No Drama. Only bump was when I flew through my own wake. I'm feeling the wing a lot better expecially during landing.

Heard from Terry L. today...the prop has not arrived yet.

Yesterday the interview with Will Jones was sounded good!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

310 & 311 East Springs Airport

It's a good thing I got up early because the thermals were starting to kick up by 7:20.

This morning is the warmest of the year 63 degrees at 6:00am...Light breeze from the North.

Two short Flights 20 minutes and 10. First to 1200 feet and the second to 500. I cut the first one short to greet the new arrivals and should not have because the good air didn't last.

Kevin later explained to me that, often the dawn breeze is from the North or else calm. It might stay that way for several hours but eventually it starts moving either to the east or south.. If it switches to the out for bumpy air. Also, the more Westerly the SW breeze also makes for bumpy air.

Jerry Kerr

I launched just ahead of Jerry and we stayed together for awhile. He kinda hung off my left side at 8:0clock and then flew over the top. The difference in our climb rate was dramatic. I think our decent is about the same but I'm guessing that he has a 100 ft/min or better advantage. I hope the Power Fins will do the trick ...I'll settle for a noticeable improvement at least 175.

Oops! Forgot my Helmet
Once again ...It seems like when ever I change the routine I forget to put on the helmet. Today I'll blame it on the new thigh mount for the Garmin 176-c. This time I was grooving to Cirque Du Sol ...getting al cosy with my lap toys and meanwhile, my helmet was on the ground next to the buggy. I must have rolled over it during the initial power-up, ...I do remember a slight hesitation before I started to accelerate. Anyway it must have been rolled in the prop wash because it was full of vegetation. No harm done ... at least it didn't go through the prop like my Monument Valley Cap.

Equipment Notes

I look forward to getting my radio back from Capt. Black. I'll actually be able to talk with my friends...imagine that? I haven't had radio communications in the air since my second flight with Brian Smith and I've missed some good opportunities because of it.
Jerry and I were talking about seat belts and the value of a 5 point with quick release. After thinking about it, mine does have a good quick release and do I really need shoulder straps? It might make it hard to reach forward. On the other hand if I have a really hard landing or roll it will keep me under the roll bars better.
John Black showed up late. His flight to the coast fell through and he needed to burn off a little anger. So... Jerry Kevin and I hung around and shared a soda pop. I teased a little about the latest video and he made like his starter button was fouled by water. No hard feelings was a non-event. The winds were variable and after switching from reverse to forward he went up for a quickie and came down with a smile. Below is the second instalment of Capt. Blacks incident videos. No Crash Dummies were injured in the making of this video.....

Capt. Black and the Pond of Doom

By Alex Donaghy

John Black's famous fall

Saturday, July 11, 2009

308 & 309 Vance Brand Airport

X-Country at Vance Brand

Marek and I got there early and flew before everybody else showed. Both back tires were flat, probably from the tall weeds I'd been rolling in. A can of "Fix-A Flat and Marek's air pump took care of that. We took off about the time Robert Kittilla and his student showed up. The winds were very light and steady. After about 30 minutes we landed and prepared for the cross country.

Vance Brand from 4 miles out

I blew the first launch when I let off the A's too soon but the second attempt was perfect. It was starting to get thermal almost immediately and so I went for altitude and steered to avoid the blacktops and other heat sources. Beautiful country with lots of small ponds and country estates. Unfortunately we didn't stay together because it would have been fun to travel as a flock but I did see John flying low and Mark off in the distance.

Hay Stack Mountain

Boulder Reservoir

When I got over the Reservoir I choked because it looked like two wings were in the water I flew closer and decided it was just a couple of boats rafted bow to bow. Both ways I concentrated on level flight and my throttle control is getting better. The earth was warming and I was flying through areas of lift and sink that were dramatic. The 4 stroke couldn't overcome the sink and I was dropping at 80 ft./min. with full power.

I never used the foot steering because I had the trimmers out most of the time but I was allot more comfortable flying cross country in this machine than anything else I've flown.

When we got back I watched Robert's student crash on take off. It was a combination of switchy light air. warm air and too full a gas tank. No injuries or equipment damage. John got back 20 minutes later than the rest of us and seemed to have no issues with the bumpy air. In fact he took a quick flight on Roberts Velvet. It's the first wing he has flow other than his Paratoys "Muse". He said, "It made me a little nervous to be so fast down low". As talented a pilot as he is he should be flying a spice.

As usual there were swoop divers to entertain us.

Friday, July 10, 2009

307 Simms

Another Downwind Launch!
It was a 890 ft downwind run out through the weeds.
30 mph take off speed 2833 ft AGL...42 minutes flight time.
When I got to the field it was dead calm, so I set-up SSE on a gentle grade with 200 feet of short weeds. Sure the time I had hooked up the buggy and put on my helmet the wind was coming from directly behind me at 4 mph. If I were going to reset I would have had to move more than 150 yards and the odds were that the wind would have shifted again. So...I cussed and decided to wait. After 5 minutes it looked like the pattern was set against me.... so I watched the wind sock and when it looked like it was slacking ...I punched it.
Off we went, like something out of a Disney Movie, a couple of times I hit a particularly big weed (more like a small bush) and felt the buggy slow down. It was very like the launch a week ago in Colorado Springs. I was moving fast and could feel it wanting to fly but the tall weeds were keeping me in the ground. I finally popped some brakes going 30 mph and the buggy came up. It's lucky I didn't damage my delicate IVO prop because I was plowing through some pretty thick stuff. It broke the ignition off the stem but it was only a spot weld on less than 1/4 inch rod and inherently weak. My fleece jacket was impregnated with hay seed, each one is going to have to be pulled out individually and I bet it's going to take an hour.
Very nice flight. I saw a Delta trike flying between the hogback and the foothills moving like a bat out of hell North to South. At first I thought it was two in a tight formation until I realized that the trailing craft was really his shadow on the mountainside. Worked on level flight and steeper spirals. I really pulled some brake on the final flare ans was surprised by how much resistance there was. I'm thinking that this wing can take allot more input than I've been giving it. I picked up a big twig during take off it was in the brake lines close to the wing. There was enough drag on the right side that I had to let out the right trim to fly straight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

306 Simms

Nice ordinary flight, light breeze from the WSW.

I launched from the only place I could find where the grass was short enough to get the buggy rolling. The run out was going to be 30 degrees off the wind but I figured it was worth a try. So...I layed out 10 degrees off and prepared to damp the right side during inflation. The wing came up crooked as expected, I added power and with moderate brake input got it stabilized almost immediately. Cross wind launch went surprising well. It's all good!

Down wind of the damn over the golf course there was allot of sink I was just barely able to hold altitude at full throttle. I didn't want to fly over the golfers at 100 feet so I flew west until I was up wind of the dam and there was the lift! After doing a few turns I headed to Red Rocks but cut north before leaving Bear Creek Park figuring that the west wind would be throwing some rotor by the cut in the Hogback.

I explored the far north area returned to the field and did lazy circles until I was low enough to set up for final.

The landing was 10 yards off the target at idle. Not good enough for competition but sure as hell PPG 2

When I got home Marek called and said that I was on News 4, Tracy recorded it and will burn me a copy. Very cool.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

305 Meadowlake Air Park

Great Day Flying above the Clouds!

54 degrees.... Very light breeze from SW...Glass Smooth Air

The take-off was quick despite the humidity and calm air. I flew to the south of the LZ and played with Mathew and Jerry. We were not in close formation but I was close enough to see a big smile on Jerrys face.
I noticed that the RPM's are dropping to 3450 instead of 3650 which confuses me because the air density should be lower making for higher RPM's. It might have to do with motor break-in. The climb was an improved 125 ft/min with the PPS 250. I experimented with adding brake pressure and watching the climb increase and practised harder turns.

After Jerry & I split-up I headed South East for about 5 miles climbing all the way to 9237 MSL or 2430 AGL which is a new high for this motor. I saw some low clouds forming in the south and flew to them catching some lift. When I got to the clouds I was 500 feet above them and it was clear that I wasn't going to get a trophy shot without diving into unknown conditions, so I headed back to Meadow Lake with the clouds chasing me all the way. I landed with 50 minutes of airtime.

For the next 15 minutes we watched the clouds build and were glad to be on the ground. Jerry and Matthew did a little kiting and both commented on their wings hanging back and not wanting to fly....Humidity?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flight 304 Simms

Nice long flight. Nil winds 55 degrees.
Max Altitude 2340 AGL.
This morning I used the ramps to get the buggy started rolling over the weeds and it worked great. There was lots of lift and in calm air I was getting 125 ft/min. Flew to Red Rocks and tried but failed in getting a good shot of the Rocks from west to east. Huge lift over the hogbacks but lots of sink beyond them. I made two passes over the "humps" to get high enough to get up and behind the Theater. I noticed that the development NE of the rocks looks like a possible temp LZ at least until they start building. The roads are in and a few houses but I doubt (hope) that they are occupied yet. If the wind is south or sw it looks like a nice down grade paved runway.
It was already getting bouncy down low by 7am but I did a touch and go just because I didn't feel like quiting when I first touched down. With South Park and Lucent out, this is gonna have to be it for awhile.