#939 Shell Creek Airpark
50 minutes clear skies .... Light breezes
This flight was the first after several modifications.
1) I raised the back of the seat and lowered the front. I also put 2 inches of memory foam under the seat cover. I'm trying to reposition my body so that the helmet will not contact with the cross brace (above the motor) and make it easer to reach the wing tip toggles.
It worked but I'm not sure that it is the final solution. The new seat position is a few inches forward of where I had it, putting more bend in my legs. It's not a problem when taxiing but it feels strange when I'm flying. It has also reduced the size of the seat and its configuration. Where the original seemed to wrap around me, this one feel likes I'm sitting on top. I suspect it's more perception than reality because I was just as exposed before this change..... it just feels like I'm, "hanging it out there". I think that I'm going to try it no pad and with the pad cut into two parts, seat and lumbar.
Never the less.... It worked. My head was plenty clear of the crossbar and it was easy to reach the toggles. Its definitely a step in the right direction.
2) I made was a new set of line keepers. Over the last couple of months I've been having problems with lines being chopped. In one instance for sure it was an outside wingtip line that was sucked in through the cage. The other prop strikes ... I saw lines below the keepers as the wing was inflating. I don't understand how slack lines were getting kicked out. Even when I took care to position the lines in the keepers, in the same order that they would leave, lines were being kicked out prematurely.
The double loop is a bit artsy but the second loop puts a bit more pressure against the lines. Hopefully this will keep slack outside lines under control until they are tensioned. Aluminum tape covers the parts of the frame that the lines slide against including below the keeper in case one does go stray. There is electrical tape in the portion that hold the lines prior to inflation, it's slightly tacky and should protect against lines going slack between the hang-point and the keepers.
3) Belt has been replaced. It was still serviceable but after 600+ hours, but what the heck? I didn't think it was slipping much ... I could hear it squeal during take off and climb out occasionally but it never lasted long and the belt was never hot..... I was wrong. There is a noticeable increase in thrust and it is certainly quieter.
The flight was great. I think the new configuration has moved enough weight forward that the front wheel is lower and the thrust line is more horizontal. I will have to test it but my climb rate seems better and cruise RPM is lower. This could be a huge improvement in efficiency. It makes sense that a more horizontal thrust pushes me farther forward under the wing, increasing the angle of attack. To think all these years I've been doing with a mediocre climb just so I could have my nose wheel a few inches higher.