Arrived well before dawn and took my time setting up. Tony arrived just as I was about to take off. The wing and buggy were aligned so that I was directly into the wind but slightly off center with the runway. the plan was to inflate the wing and turn back to the line. I had kicked most of the weeds so that I would not have any lines catching during inflation.
Launched clean 5 minutes before sunrise into smooth air.
Flew for 25 minutes and took a few pictures of the sunrise and Gasparilla Island. Great new music was Bernard Herrmann's brilliant soundtrack from the movie Taxi Driver.
Max altitude was 1200. The only bumps were when I flew through my own wake. Spiraled down and did a few S turns before final. Landed clean.
Tony did 4 successful taxi maneuvers with prop. He also had two unsuccessful with a slow motion roll over no real damage . The cage isn't perfectly round anymore but there is still clearance for the prop. After viewing the video its clear he was braking the low side of the wing and turning away from the wing. It was not a perfect session but after the roll over he tried again and did perfectly. I think he is getting it. One more day of practice and he will be ready to go.
The trike buddy was great in theory but not so much in practice. To be fair the Carburetor is very low quality and I have not been able to get it to run smooth and only with partial choke. It makes for poor motor control and I think was causing more problems than its worth. My APCO will be done this week and I'm looking forward to delivering it to Eric Dufour.
NOTE: Get new battery for the remote motor shut off.
918 was wonderful. The air was smooth as butter. I lain he'd from Shell Creek before dawn and roamed far and wide. After playing around at Tracks and Trails I turned North East where I spotted a herd of livestock that just didn't look right. Descending to 200 feet I realized they were Bison. They were a little more skittish than cattle so I wasn't able to get too close but I saw probably 80 or 100 animals all cows and calves.
The A assist issue has finally been resolved. One of the cams was slipping. I replaced it.
No Drama but a good short flight with a bumpy layer at 50 feet. I set up for landing and after passing through the layer it smoothed out enough that I decided to turn it into a touch and go. Brian would have said the climb out was a little rowdy. :) I was comfortable and even enjoyed the change up.
Tony and I spent some time kiting after having no joy with the Trike Buddy. The issue is now a rough running motor. I have cleaned it up, checked the air filter drained the tank and carberator bowl. The needle valve is moving freely.
I think we have the traction issue solved by tightening the lashings, this will tension the fiberglass rods transferring the load to the Trike Buddy.. I noticed that Tony's rig was not tensioned. (Thanks to Leon Wacker for saving me the time to figure that one out by guess and by golly.
Light breeze on the surface, 21-23 mph above tree line. The new cams on the A'assist
are holding the lines without slipping but are not easy to adjust under pressure. After landing I fooled with it and believe the cam tabs might release ... it needs testing. Today I had to unclip the cam from the A'assist, both were too tight by an inch. Also.... The tail of the A'assist line needs to be shortened to prevent it looping around the horizontal iron.
I didn't stay up long, 30 min was enough to satisfy. Landing was sweet but I had to work through swirly air between 200 and 75 agl.
Kited awhile and headed home.
Later I dropped a kiting harness with Tony. He has his trailer built and is ready to start using his equipment. We are looking at 3 days for taxi training this week.
The first was when I pulled on to the dirt road that leads to the airstrip. I heard a terrible mechanical noise somewhere off to the left. I heard it all the way to the parking area. When I opened the door I realized that it was the starter on the Trike Buddy was going. The kill switches didn't work and I ended up disconnecting the battery. I'm thinking the foot bar on the trike may have touched the leads for the starter. Oh well,enough of that, I'll figure it out later. After all, I got up early to fly
So I unloaded the trike and discovered that I had left the key in the ignition. Bummer. The battery still had enough juice that when I gave the key a quick twist, I could hear the starter cough. So I turned the prop half way through a compression and gave it a try. The motor started right up and I let it run while I geared up. So.... I motored out to the runway, layed out and got ready to launch. Damn! I left my phone in the truck. Oh well I had the ear buds so at least I could launch. Damn! The GPS is dead. Ok, here are the spares. So, I'm finally in the seat, the GPS is reset and everything is ready to go. I start the motor and begin the inflation.
The wing comes up to the right, I pump the left brake and as the wing stabilizes I feel my sunglasses come off the top of my head and go south. No time to worry about that, the front wheel is lifting, pay attention to the flight. Climbing out, the air is pretty turbulent, I take a quick glance behind me and catch a glimpse of an earpiece on the top of the motor. Ok, they're still with me, I'll see if they're still there when I get to altitude. Once up in clear air, I turn around and retrieve the glasses. I was only able to penitrate at 4 to 7 mph so I headed toward Shell Creek and climbed to 800 feet. I could see virga off to the right. The air was incredibly humid, just above the dew point. The winds were increasing and I wasn't making any forward progress. After 15 minutes I swung back south to the sand quarry. Downwind I was going 55 in slow trim. After a couple of turns I decided to decend and head back to the field. Final approach was interesting. There were distinct layers where I was either going 4 mph or 16 mph. At 100 feet I hit some sink and decended dramatically to 20 feet, while accerating to 20 mph. Adding power I stopped the decent and stayed at 10 feet until I was ready to land. Nice.
On the runway the wind was brisk with some gusting. I kited for 15 minutes and packed up.
No Drama. Mike Lange and I. He took off and landed within minutes when he noticed a broken weld on his cage. I took of into a 7 mph wind. It was pretty bumpy until I got up to 500 feet. Fought increasing wind speed up to 700 feet ... took a few photos and landed. It wasn't bad. I just didn't feel like fighting it. Mike and I chatted a bit about Dave and he lent me a kiting harness for Tony to try.