Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
SOME OPPORTUNITIES ARE LOST...MOVE ON
I made up for it with a nice one this afternoon. There were lots of clouds mid day that built and diminished by 5:00pm. I was concerned about the virga dropping all over the place but once again I didn't notice any "puffs" and figured that the virga was too high to be affecting the surface.
After watching and pacing for 45 minutes at the house I said to myself ....What the heck go to the field and if you don't fly ...it won't be the first time. I arrived at 6:00pm, the winds were very light from the SW. The air was warm. It turned to the WNW while I set up and dropped to 1 knot or less.
My take off must have looked pretty bad but I was grinning from ear to ear. It fell to the left and overshot...started to frontal...fell to the right...came back up and when I finally felt good about it...I added some throttle and did a proper run-out. The new Throttle set-up is much better. The Brake toggle is held in the 3rd and 4th finger leaving my index finger and pinkie to work the throttle. I'm sure the control issues will go away as I get used to the low hangpoint.
As bad as it looked I never felt as if it were not recoverable. GO THUMPER!
The air was good 2 or 3 on the bump scale. I didn't travel too far and mostly carved smaller and smaller turns over the patch. One thing that has been bothering me is the left beaner is one inch longer than the right. I was able to equalize them later and I'm glad I was able to take the time to examine it while in flight. The loops in the new footsteering got in the way but I'm not ready to change it until I've flown it some more.
When I started to notice the bumps were getting bigger I turned back to the truck and landed. It was a nice landing, I came in from the North and managed to stay just above the surface for 200 feet even though the grade was ascending. When I set down it was where I wanted to be, maybe a bit close because I almost took out the windsock with the wing. As I was packing up the breeze dropped 10 degrees and picked up. It felt good...It was a no muss ...no fuss flight...just a nice taste of the sky before the cold front blows in. Tomorrow it's forecast to be 23knots at 3:00pm. Think I'll go sailing.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Gouldings Lodge proved to be an excellent site, with all the necessities, including restaurant, grocery, and a well appointed campground with an indoor swimming pool.
During the non-flyable hours Gouldings provided jeep tours into Monument Park which allowed the pilots an opportunity to explore the park from the ground and to plan their next flight. It is also the trailhead for several fabulous hikes to hidden box canyons and spectacular vistas.Unlike most fly-in’s where you can roll out of bed and climb right into your paramotor, the LZ was three fourths of a mile below the campground. We used Goulding’s 3500 foot airstrip and for the most part it worked out nicely. Some of the pilots left trailers at the airstrip others drove down and were ready to go. The runway apron was sufficient to launch in any direction and the trike pilots really enjoyed the luxury of the long gently sloping runway. This airstrip also services tourist flights to the Monument Park and nearby Lake Powell, conveniently they didn’t begin until 9:30am after most of us had landed and were gone before the evening flights began.Friday evening we discovered that Flying Monument Valley has its own unique set of challenges. The airstrip at Gouldings is sheltered by 900 foot buttes on the south and west side. That evening the wind was light and from the west so the majority launched toward the western butte and then turned east, staying low to avoid any turbulence from the top. It was a picture book flight, as the breeze dropped to zero I flew south and watched as a couple of pilots made low level passes over the southern butte. Later after sharing a “potluck BBQ” we sat around the campfire we were entertained with their experience of going from 20 ft. AGL to 920 ft. AGL in the blink of an eye.
Saturday morning provided the best flying and most of us were at the field by 6:30am. The winds were light on the surface and 8 to10 aloft. Heading northeast, I flew toward Eagle Rock and circled around it to Brigham's Tomb and Bear and Rabbit Summit. Flying level with the top of the buttes I started to feel the bumps from mile away so I climbed 300 feet to smoother air. I had wanted to get a trophy picture of my shadow against the face of one of the buttes but decided to make do with shots from above rather than risk the turbulence below. The ride home was smooth and fast and checking my tank I wished I’d stayed in the park longer. When I got back I stayed high and enjoyed the view, it reminded me of a dozen of butterflies playing in a rock garden.The most satisfying aspect of the event was watching the veterans return from a flight. Pilots with hundreds of flights would land after a long cross country. I’d watch them gather up their wing and swagger back to the staging area. Only, instead an “Ah Shucks Ma’am” look on their face was more like the look of a beginning pilot after their first flight, grinning from ear to ear, totally amazed at what they had just experienced.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I've been having trouble with the SenDec Max Tack ever since I remounted it on the forward tube next to my GPS. It would read half or two thirds of what I knew the motor to be turning. After trying three different gauges of wire and getting bad advise from the manufacturer, I stopped at the local hardware store where a good ol boy listened to my problem. He suggested that I use a heaver gauge of wire and try to avoid running it anywhere near a ground source. Bingo! It's reading true and the heaver gauge of wire is mounting in the receiver on the tach more snugly.
The last thing is get the thrust up. Chad is bringing a set of 62 inch IVO's and a set of GSC's for me to try at the Monument Valley Gathering.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I moved the hang point rings to a horizontal position attempting to lesson the friction on the trim tab. No Joy...the problem is in the webbing that acts as a back-up in case the ring brakes loose from the bullet bar. I've replaced the heavy webbing with a slightly lighter and longer one which will hang loose over the risers and hopefully I'll be able to use the trim tabs. If I end up hanging from the reserve or the H.P. ring brakes, the hangpoint will spread about two inches but I don't think it will adversely affect how the buggy hangs or the how wing flys. The next flight will tell allot.
The wing came up crooked again but, like yesterday, it stabilized quickly. I think I'm not lining up square with the wind. I did notice that when I went from idle to full power the front wheel would dip about 6 inches and return to about 3 inches below the starting position. I expect that it will be even more pronounced when I am able to use the trimmers. I'll move the H.P. Rings forward 3/8ths and see if It helps with the wheelbarrow effect.
The incident of the evening came as we were returning to the field. Marek's hero camera came off it's mount on top of the cage and went through the prop. He landed without issues in the LZ but was a long walk from the car. I knew something was wrong so I landed by the truck and walked out to meet him. We wandered around the field finding parts of the prop and eventually found the camera. Up on top is probably a good position for the camera but the vibration was working the mounting bolts loose...some lock tight would help if it does not have to be changed after every flight. I hope Marek got video all the way back to earth but I'm betting it stopped when it got whacked by the prop.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I set-up on the far North end in a patch of shallow weeds. There was a nice down hill grade and even if I had to Taxi into some tall stuff, I figured that I would be moving fast enough to plow right through. Marek got off first and I was right behind him. We both went north past the dam and I chased him west into the sun.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The wind was SSW variable 4 to 7 which meant I had a slight uphill grade and rotor from the "Club House". The wing came up fast and the buggy had stopped rolling after the first two feet, I was able to add a little "foot power", but the wing stalled and fell to the left, by now, I was starting to roll, so I added right brake and watched the wing swing to the right until the tip was about 6 feet above the ground. Now some left brake and this time it centered and was rock solid over head. Small wing Heavy trike... The Eden III is easy to muscle around because it's smaller, lighter material and more responsive than the Power Play. I don't think this would have tipped the Trike Buggy Basic but I'm sure that I would have felt the trike start to lift on one side. Because of the extended wheelbase and low and heavy CG, the Thumper is incredibly forgiving. When the wing was about 40 percent loaded the "side pull "was just discernible.
I took some shots of the Marina, landed power on and practiced the low and slow. Then took a brake and did it again. The overcast had damped any thermal activity...I could have flown for two more hours it was that good!
Chad...Please bring some different length hang straps and help me dial in these wings for the Thumper Bullet.
1. Measure the current straps and Riser position in relationship to the hang point rings
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It might be time to go to a maneuvers clinic or have some quality radio time with a good coach. It’s absolutely a good day to go over the machine and wing with a fine tooth comb.
Optimistically, there is an epiphany that stays with the pilot for the rest of their career, because on that day... the bag of luck is now half empty and the bag of experience is not yet full.
When I realized that my life was being supported by a glorified key
chain and some thin 1/2 inch webbing...
I thanked the Creator that I was still alive.
Then I looked for the best way,
to proceed to earth…
as directly as possible.
I'm still shaking my head trying to figure out how it happened.I attached the riser on the left side to the cheap plastic beaner that I use for the foot steering instead of connecting to the heavy stainless beaner that ties the wing to the buggy. I didn't realize my mistake until I noticed that the foot steering cable was pressing against my left side. When I saw that the rig was being supported by a glorified key chain and thin 1/2 inch webbing...I couldn't believe that I was still alive. Not only was the beaner unrated and not designed to carry a load, the loop it was attached to was loaded against the stitching. There were two places where a failure was imminent. Looking at the materials it should have failed when I loaded the wing before take-off ...and... I wish it had. It would have been more dramatic and made a bigger impression but it wouldn't have killed me. As it was a non-incident, I hope that the magnitude of the error sticks with me.
I had to get down ...right now! I was 400 feet AGL and about the correct distance to glide back to the field, so I did a slow flat turn toward the field and landed without incident.
What were the causes that lead to this huge goof ?
1. I had switched to the Eden III which does not require the extra loop of webbing to get the hangpoint right. When it is configured this way the hangpoint loops are not long enough to reach the normal keeper on the bullet bars. So...I end up attaching the beaner to a loop on the foot steering for transport.
2. I must not have had enough coffee because it is almost impossible to imagine an alert mind attaching a plastic carabiner to the riser. It is so much more difficult to thread the correct carabiner that it should have set off alarms when that slim plastic beaner tip slipped through the loop so easily. The length was about right and when I pulled on the riser to take out any slack, it pulled the hangpoint loop just as if it were correctly attached.
I thought perhaps I should move the foot steering forward on the bullet bars to get them away from the hang point straps, but I don't think I'll do that. Having the webbing behind my shoulders is cleaner and I doubt I'll ever look at the foot steering again without remembering the day I hung from a cheap 2 inch plastic carabiner.
This is the first real stupid mistake I've made in PPG and certainly the first one that endangered my life! I was deeply affected by the experience, and it was heavy on my mind for several days. I will strive to learn from this and be a more responsible pilot.
I vote for better pilot.
Greg and Marek on the other hand stayed below 100 feet and they found the air to be just fine. I watched Greg yank and bank, practice swoops and dives and I just couldn't figure why I found it to be so ratty.
The gradient had me beat.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Question for Terry
Motor is mounted to the frame with two bolts. There are two other spaces available, is this as you want it?.
IVO Prop is "flexing" about 1 1/2" at Idle. Chad has used a GSC (?) adjustable and likes it.
Terry is looking into the Warp Drive Prop. Maybe at MV I'll get the chance to try a different prop.
Tightened up the Reserve Harness. it was getting sloppy.
Steve pulled in right after I landed and he convinced me to go up again. The launch was just the way I liked it. I was able to get allot of speed on the smooth surface and when the wings was fully loaded and begging to fly I popped some brake and zoomed into the sky. It remind me of launching at Monument Valley last summer. Gawd I love a good runway!
It was swinging me all over the place so I landed after about 10 minutes. Even then, I aborted the first landing when the wind shifted 180 degrees. Steve went up and flew another 30 minutes. He said if you go directly west it's calm over there. I'll have to remember that.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
After I decided to quit for the morning Dan Paul and John continued. I should have as well because the thermals that would be expected didn't start until almost ten. Ramon was out of the action so he stood around and kited. I used the opportunity to take out the Eden III and replaced the lines that were cut over a month ago. Maybe I'll use it tomorrow when I fly at chatfield.