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.

The Dutchman Flies Again

Well if last Saturday was great, this past Saturday was greater!  I returned to Lincoln airport and their powered parachute field hoping to fly my P3.  It’s a long drive and I really didn’t want to drive all that way again but it was the only place in the Central Valley that wasn’t experiencing high winds.  And really there is quite a community of powered parachute enthusiasts there so it’s a fun place to fly.

I showed up a couple of hours before sunset.  There was one other person there waiting to fly as well.  We chatted and talked about, surprise, flying.  A married couple showed up, he flies a PPC, she flies a PPG.  We all busied ourselves with getting our respective machines ready.  Wings laid out.  Last minute wind direction checks.  I have to admit I was a little nervous as I prepared myself to fly the P3.  It had been 3 months since I had flown as pilot and one week since I had flown a two seat PPC with Ken.  I didn’t do very well flying his machine, or should I say landing it.

Finally I ran out of excuses not to fly so I climbed aboard my machine and gave it the gas.  Now, on my PPC when accelerating you had to guide the canopy up, and steer both the canopy and the machine on the ground until you were flying.  With the PPC the canopy came up and locked itself in overhead as if supported by poles.  It was just rock solid.  I went ahead and pushed the throttle all the way forward and gave my rudders a little kick and up it went.

Once up in the air it flew very much like my PPG did but felt more stable.  Climb rate was slightly less and turns were not as fast when only using the rudder bars.  I could increase the turn by grabbing the steering rope and pulling it in.  I spent about 20 minutes just flying around and making approaches, coming in lower and lower before going around again.  I just wanted to see how fast it reacted to the throttle.   When landing many PPC pilots give a burst of throttle just prior to touchdown, once I was satisfied I knew how much throttle to apply I set up for my landing.

The landing was nothing to write home about.  I was late on the throttle and bounced but it wasn’t bad.  I killed the engine and rolled to a stop while kicking the rudder bars.   Kicking the rudder bars causes the canopy to collapse behind the PPC.  Much better than having it come down on top of you.  All in all a successful flight and I look forward to many more.

P3 Lite PPC Flies

Had a great Saturday this past weekend!  I drove up to Lincoln, CA to meet up with the local Six Chuter dealer.  I wanted to give him an opportunity to give my PPC a once-over and also to help me rig the wing.  There wasn’t much help going on he pretty much did everything.  We headed over to the PPC field and started laying out the wing.  Ken the dealer went over wing layout and stowing.

Then we went for a flight in his PPC so Ken could show me the big difference between PPG’s and PPC’s; the slower response.


It really did feel like flying a bus around the sky.  At least compared to my PPG.  After a few circuits and a landing I asked Ken to do the first flight on my P3 Lite.

Ken reported that it flew great but needs a little tweaking to get the exhaust gas temperature down.  Will be working on that this week.