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.

Airframe Done

When I purchased my powered parachute it was purchased as a rolling airframe, meaning, it was completely assembled and on wheels except for the engine and instruments.  When I ordered it I asked for a few changes like thicker (turf) tires, and a front wheel brake.  Well the factory is finally done with the additions I asked for and it is ready for pickup.  Here are a few pictures that were posted in the company’s Facebook group…

I’ll be driving up to the factory to pick it up at the end of the month.  Stay tuned for more photos and the completion log.

 

Anderson Ultimate Hitch 2

I just received comment in my blog from Andersen Hitches.  It seems they have improved the coupling device on their hitch by adding a funnel which guides the ball hitch into the coupler.  This makes hitching up far more easy and gives a little room for “slop” when hitching up.  I know that this feature will definitely be a benefit to me personally. 🙂

Here’s what the hitch comes with…

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You can see the new addition of the funnel and how cleverly designed it is.  It just bolts on the receiver assembly which bolts to the kingpin of your coach.

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Not sure if owners of existing hitches can fit these to their units but it would appear you could add it easily.  If the size of the aluminum billet hasn’t changed then this would be a no-brainer addition.

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You can see that once fitted on the kingpin of your coach, it will be much easier to hitch to your tow vehicle.  You can be 3 inches off-center in any direction and still hitch up easily.

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Andersen seems to be an innovative company that keeps refining and enhancing their products.  I think my mind is made up.  I’m going Andersen Ultimate 2… too!

 

NOTE:  I’ve received no promotion or incentive from anyone to write this article.

 

House Of Music

I’m blessed with two women who LOVE to play the piano.  I met my wife when she was a pianist at our church.  I sang in the choir, it seems to be a match made in Heaven.  Now many years later, in fact exactly 29 years after I married her) we have this young lady who happens to be our daughter and also loves to play piano.  Here is a cover she did of a Katy Perry song…

And another of “Be Thou My Vision”

Flexible J-Pole Antenna

I’ve been looking for a small powerful antenna for my Yaesu VX-6 and KK6ES recommended this to me…

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It’s basically a roll-up J-Pole antenna.  I have a line with a weight on one end that I can toss up over a tree branch and just pull it up into a the tree and use that as a mast.  I tried it out the other night and was able to get really good transmission and reception on a local repeater.  It was marginal with the rubber ducky antenna that came with the radio.

Today I tried to come up with a portable mast.  I have a telescoping windsock pole that I use when I fly my powered paraglider but it’s made of aluminum and the antenna is not as efficient when hung next to metal.  So I bought some sections of PVC tubing and some slip couples and made a mast.

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However, it was too floppy.  I had to use the tree to prop it up so that it wouldn’t flex too much.  If I can come up with a way to stiffen the PVC pipes it will work nicely.  Or… maybe the folks out there have better ideas?

First QSL Card

Making contact with other Ham operators are what Ham operators love to do.  The code for this is QSL.  It has become tradition for operators to send a QSL card as proof of the contact.  Whether across the state or across the globe many Hams still do this.  It was a privilege of mine to have a dear friend be my first Ham contact.  He is a radio engineer and a dear brother in Christ.  He doesn’t get on the Ham bands much anymore but made an exception for me.  We chatted as he drove home from Modesto to Valley Springs.

I was so excited about my very first Ham contact and conversation I decided to make up a QSL card of my own.  Note here that it is tradition to send paper QSL cards, which are very similar in size to a standard postcard.  Being in the digital age I decided to email him.  Here is what I sent:

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A few days later I received the following in the mail:

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Anyway it was really fun to carry on this tradition with a very good friend who has been very encouraging of me to get my Ham license.

KM6FDT clear