Lazy Monday Morning Flight

I decided to try to beat the heat this morning by getting an early morning flight in.  I hitched up the trailer to the truck the night before and had everything ready for an early morning departure.  At 04:30 I crawled out of bed and by 04:45 I was on the road.  It was already 79 degrees F.

I rolled into New Jerusalem Airport at about 05:20 and began setting up.  I first noticed the gnats when I got out to unlock the gate.  There was a huge swarm just hanging out where I needed to open my door.  I got past them and through the gate.  I got to the north end of the field and started setting up.  More gnats!  Yikes!  I started warming up my engine and walked around and stood in the wind created by the propeller to keep them off me.

I drove my PPC to the spot that seemed the best situated and laid out my chute.  The weather was PERFECT.

I advanced the throttle and plowed through the gnats into the warm sky.  Climbing out I was free of the gnats and was treated to buttery-smooth air.  As I climbed out I saw a truck at the far end of the field.  I actually saw it before I took off but I thought it was the local farmer checking his pumps like he does every morning.  As I flew down the runway I could see it was a powered paraglider.  As I got closer I could see it was a friend of mine, Jeff Erck, a super-nice fellow flyer and fellow believer in Christ.

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He was just laying his wing out and getting ready to go.  By the time I turned he had already taken off and tucked in just behind and to one side of me.  I only had my air band radio so I wasn’t able to talk to him so I just flew off over the river and he followed.

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I was somewhat worried that my engine temps would be high but as I cruised along they stayed right where I wanted them.  After surveying the river for a bit time began to catch up with me.  I turned back toward the airport and flew a few approaches.

I committed to landing on the last approach and then got a hair-brained idea…  “Why don’t I just roll off onto the dirt in between the runway and taxiway so my chute doesn’t drag on the pavement?”  The dirt will be far gentler to the chute; this is true.   So after I made a less-than-stellar landing I let my eager craft roll into the dirt and the parachute gently drifted to the ground… And disturbed no less than 800,529 gnats.  All of whom came to visit me personally.  Many of them also gave me “love bites.”  They were very affectionate, all trying to get in my eyes, my nose, my ears, and my mouth!

It took over 30 minutes to put my chute away (should only take 15 minutes tops if I’m being slow and careful).  All the swatting must have looked very comical to Jeff who flew by several times.  I finally got the chute carefully folded and put back in it’s stowage bag and then fired up the PPC and drove as fast as I could back to the trailer!

All in all it was the most wonderful flight I’ve had yet, gnats gnot withstanding.  I will end this entry with a short video I recorded on my phone while I was flying over the river.

What’s In A Day?

Another Father’s Day has come and gone.  It was bittersweet.  I went to have a visit with my father on Saturday and we had a small family get-together.  It was nice.

Sunday on Father’s Day proper we did… nothing.  My only recognition as a father was to stand up in church while all fathers everywhere were recognized.  My daughter caught me after church and gave me a hug and wished me a happy Father’s Day.  And that was pretty much all that made the day special.  No cards, no dinner, not even a cupcake.  I treated myself to a chocolate shake at Carl’s Jr.  Yay Dad!

I feel like my children think I’m optional.  They both relate really well to their mother about which I’m very glad.  But I feel I could drop off the planet and they would be sad for a few days but then life would go on as normal without much impact on their lives.

I have to say I didn’t think this would sting as much as it does; not getting any recognition from my family, but it does.  To my wife’s credit she wrote me a very nice note which I really appreciate.  It helped salve the wound.   And a very sweet woman at work wished me a happy Father’s Day on a sticky note and gave me a bag of cashews… so there’s that.

Okay, I’ve vented.  I’ll slip back into the shadows of irrelevance.

Flying Before The Rain

Not much to report in this update.  Just took some time yesterday to go flying before the rain started.   This is a rare June rain storm for us.  Storm is a relative word, it just means that it clouded over and some rain fell.  Not exactly a storm.

At any rate the flying conditions were perfect at New Jerusalem but somewhat chilly.  I flew around for about 30 minutes before I got cold enough I wanted to land and warm up.   It was a nice, shore pre-work flight.   Here are a few photos I took as I was cruising above the farmland and river.

4th Annual Red Hills Memorial Day Fly-In

Every Memorial Day weekend we all flock to Red Hills Ranch nestled deep within the Red Hills Area of Environmental Concern.  And this year we had another fantastic fly-in! Jack and Myrna were as gracious as ever as our hosts. The turnout was slightly less this year but we also pick up a few new Red Hill Flyers. Actually, with all the yellow planes that showed up we were considering changing the name to Yellow Hills.

I wasn’t able to get there until Saturday afternoon but by Saturday evening I saw parked out in the fields two Sport Cubs, a Husky, a Champ, a couple 152’s, a couple 182’s, and a Super Cub. There were also several fly-bys and stop-bys with folks just stopping briefly to say hello. We had folks from Santa Maria, Yuba City, Lincoln, Fresno, Concord, and one town way up on near the north coast that I can’t remember.

There was a fly-out for breakfast on Saturday morning and water balloon bombing and spot landing contests. Sorry all you cubs and 180’s, it was a Cessna 152 that one the spot landing contest by landing RIGHT on the line without bouncing. Way to go Chris!

Potluck dinner Saturday night was excellent with Blackwater and his wife supplying some really nice wine (for those who were done flying for the day). We sat around the table telling stories and catching up before moving over to the bonfire for more stories.

Sunday morning Myrna made some delicious scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes. Folks packed up but still hung around for a while, no one wanting to leave the peace and serenity of Jack’s little slice of heaven.

I didn’t fly this time around so I’ll leave it to the guys who did to talk about their flyouts to the local strips. Let’s not forget the adventures of those who left their wallets behind and many thanks to those who rescued them.

Many thanks to Rich and Hawk for helping to organize the fly-in, the fly-outs, and the activities. You guys are awesome!

Sunday Morning Flight

It’s been fairly windy in the valley lately but Sunday morning was forecast to be calm.  In hopes that the forecast would be correct I loaded up the trailer on Saturday evening for a quick getaway on Sunday morning.  As it turned out, the winds did cooperate and I was out the door at 6am for a 7am takeoff at New Jerusalem.

The take-off was as easy as last time.  It still amazes me how much easier a take off is on the PPC than it was on my PPG.  It’s much more airplane like in it’s flying qualities.  It’s easy to take off in an airplane, not so easy to land.  This is how the PPC is.  I’ve still got to work on my landings.  But… the flight was wonderful!

I took the opportunity of flying alone to just get a feel for the machine.  Just fly along and enjoy the warm wind.  It was warmer 500 feet above the ground than it was down on the ground.  I had to find something to do with my hands because I was so used to always having to hang on to the brake lines and throttle on the PPG.  So I busied myself taking pictures!

P3 Lite Shoulder Harness Modification

Since it’s too windy and stormy to fly, I might as well do more modifications.  When I flew the P3, I found that the shoulder harness was too short.  I was unable to COMFORTABLY reach the instrument pod where the starter and kill switches are.  To remedy this I took a piece of scrap steel angle I found at work, trimmed it down, and drilled it out to accept the bolt that previously held the harness on the P3’s upright.  I still need to paint it and I need another bolt but… it fits perfectly and allows me more room to move around.  More importantly the switches on the instrument pod are within easy reach now.

P3 Lite Propeller Cage Modification

Although I had ZERO problems taking off I installed the following propeller cage hooks on my P3 Lite.  These hooks will allow my to lay out my canopy in a little more orderly fashion and will greatly reduce any probability of the lines getting hung up on the cage or sucked into the propeller.