Flying at New Jerusalem

I finally got to try out a new LZ recently.  New Jerusalem is a small strip in the middle of farmland.  There are no services there, no buildings, no tie downs, just a runway in the middle of farmland.  The City of Tracy owns and operates this airport and recently built a fence around it.  I emailed their airport manager and she happily provided me with the code to the lock to get in.  Access to the gate is via a rural dirt road that is unmarked and unnamed.  Google Maps was able to help me find the road.

When I got the the wind was blowing at about 5 MPH almost straight down the runway.  There was a large paved area between the taxi way and the runway that proved to be a perfect place to set up and launch from.  It also allows you to meander onto the runway should you need to.  I pulled in and set up my windsock to start watching the wind.  I used the wind to “build a wall” with my glider and this also showed me how I should orient the glider into the wind.  Once that was set up and rolled my trike up and hooked up.  The wind caught my wing a couple of times but I was able to set it back up quickly.

I waited for a student to stop doing touch and goes before launching.  I almost blew the launch because my wing started oscillating from one side to the other.  I was able to dampen them fairly quickly by steering the trike under the wing and applying a little brake pressure.  Once the wing was stable I went full throttle and was climbing out.

I don’t know how much break in time these engines need so I stayed pretty close to the airport.  The highlight of the flight for me was flying over a house where a small girl saw me and started jumping up and down and waving madly.  I started kicking my legs and waving madly back!  This got mom’s attention who also started waving.  Nice!  I never would have seen that if I had been flying my airplane.

I was short on time and the sun was going down anyway so I turned back toward the runway and made an approach to the same spot I had taken off from.  As I cleared the fence I cut my power and just let it glide in.  I have to admit that’s my favorite part;  that quiet glide.  I did, in fact roll to a stop almost precisely where I started from.  With brakes full down I had only to take a couple of steps to roll my trike forward and have the wing come down behind me.  Most of the lines were in the line guides too!  I could have almost just fired the engine back up again.  The wind had completely stopped by now and just like I used to do in my fixed wing, I just sat and listened to the ambient noise for a few moments before unbuckling and packing up.

Yeah, I think I’ll be back.

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