When I got the the field Thursday night a few flyer's were there including Mike, Ken and Jay. Mike and Ken jumped right in helping me to put the finishing touches on the Buggy. Needed to make sure all was right, do a hang test and get it in the air. There were 4 pilots, 4 wings and 4 different skill levels that flew it last night. Mike took it up first, keeping it low just in case, He was on a L power rush. After a few uneventful minutes he landed- with a big grin. I convinced him to fly it again just to make sure, see how i take care of my friends. He said all was well and to get into the air with it. I had other plans, let Ken fly next, which he did for 10 minutes or so, he too had that big grin when he landed. He was flying a Muse 33. Then Jay took it up, he has never flown a trike ( he is a damn good pilot though) with his new Ozone Viper and he really put it through the paces, did not think he would land till he was out of fuel. All three launches and landing were smooth. Several touch and goes by everyone.
Now it is my turn, and I am ready but nervous as I get into the seat. Mike has me on radio, loud and clear. Wing comes up great- the riser hit the kill switch and I just brought the wing down to do again. next attempt he tells me all is good give it more power and I am flying. The launch was a non event with his help. I fly an Edel power atlas and it was rock solid. I feel pretty comfortable and head out to the pastures to boat around. As I was flying over the green fields, looking at the cows, the coyote, the hawk I was thinking, this is what I have been waiting for in aviation for years. I was at home with the machine and the calm warm evening air. Next Ken and I do some " formation" flying, mike picks us up and flys with us a while, Jay is off carving it up. Here I was with three of my closest flying buds, in a machine I am comfortable with, having the flight of my life. I have been lucky to have flown a number of fixed wing aircraft(nearly 40) even owned a couple but have never enjoyed the air like I did on this flight. This buggy is such and ideal set-up. I cannot imagine a better craft for me to fly. I made my first approach to land and was coming in hotter than I was ready for, no big deal add power roll for 30 feet or so and back in the air. Loop back around and set up, this time I am ready, just fly it onto the ground with power and ease off and add brake. Big grin from me now.
Tonight- friday I tried 3 times to get the wing up but the left side over flew and I aborted each time. I was told i was not giving it enough power to get the wing up quickly. So I gun it, head straight for mike and he clears out of the way, hit the top of a road cone that had already taken out two props. I just grazed it with the left side of the axle. that thing has to go. I bobbled around a bit, got the wing level and head out to play with my new "low rider" as Mike is calling it. Ken had been up for a bit and swung around to find me out in the back fields flyin low, he had the helmet cam on and took some great videos from what I could see on the camera screen later @ dinner I took a bit stepper turns and flew lower, still staying above 10 feet or so for now. At one point Todd joined up with us and flew along a couple times. Saw a cow with a still born calf and she was not leaving it, the coyotes will get to it soon enough. Flew with some ducks for a few as they took off from a pond as I was swinging around to catch Ken. I was wondering how far I should stay back from the ducks so I did not get waked by the whole lot of them. ;) Or not get too close and take one in the intake.... Bruce knows about birds and trikes. At the end of the flight I made a pass by the LZ then came around and set up for the landing you see on the vid. Again so nice to fly and land, the launching will take a bit more.
For me the trike represents not having to take my hands off the controls to get into the harness, not having to hang in there till I get to 200 feet so I can get in and not having to worry about the landings. I am comfortable the second I sit down and buckle up. Not some distant point after I have flown for a while and hopefully relax so I can try to enjoy the flight.
Here are a couple vids,
Well, a lot is happening for me and my new trike. I got to the field last night, took my time setting up, still a bit nervous about launching. I needed to lower the brake handles but did not want to lose the travel so I came up with a different solution. I got a couple 18" climbing loop straps from REI and put them around the toggles. I did not want to have to think about them coming off in flight till I was holding them in flight so I took a big needle and some heavy thread and secured them.
I had nothing left to do but fly so I got in and buckled up. This set up is so damn easy compared to foot launching. Gave it the gas, wing came up great, ready to stop the surge and the riser hit the kill switch again, quick move the switch away from the riser and keep the wing under control. power back up wing looks great and smooth as butter I am off, once again I am flying. I head out to the back area and started topo flying. That is another thing I like about a trike, I do not mind flying really low. Lose power, roll to a stop, at least that is how it looked in the lab.
Over the wheat fields I stirred up some ducks, pheasants and even a couple geese. Fly high over the barbed wire fences, let up on the breaks off the gas and swoop back down low. I was following the creeks while honing my tuning control skills. The new lowered break handles worked perfectly. My hands are now low enough to take the stress off of my shoulders and I can fly without the pain and discomfort that was there before.
After 25 minutes or so I head back to the the LZ, Todd had said he wanted to fly the low rider so I wanted to give him a chance to fly before he had to take his son home. On landing I crossed the threshold, off the gas enough to slow down but wanted to see if I could taxi back to my truck, I crossed the field and stopped about 4 feet from the trailer let the wing come down finally. What a feeling to land and work the wing all the way back.
Todd went up for 10 or so came back with that all too familiar trike buggy grin on his face. That is now 5 of us that have flow this set up and all agree, it is a blast to launch, fly and land.
We talked for a bit, the sun was getting low and I thought " there is time still before sunset" so I set up the wing, started the FB up, strapped in and hit the power. Wing came up good again, hit the kill switch AGAIN ( note to self, stop doing that) by the time I get the revs pick up the wing had fallen to the left to the point that the tips was less than 10 feet from the ground. I control the throttle pulled opposite brake, told myself I had seen Mike Fifield do this and still launch, lets see if I can. The wing came back up over head I stopped it from going too far over. added power and trimmed some of the tall grasses at the end of the LZ as I once again was up in the air, smooth no PIO to worry about just fun flying this thing.
Here is the thing in one week I have had 3 days I have launched 2 times and was happy with it. Yet when foot launching if I did make it in the air, once on the ground I had had all I wanted of launching and landing. There is such a big difference for me to fly with a trike and this one I think makes all the difference in the world.
I made several passes over the LZ coming in low and flying across the field, making sure I could keep it straight and as low as I could without touching down. When I decided to land a few minutes later, I came around tight, eased off the gas, crossed the threshold, chopped the power, got into the brakes a bit too much too soon and the front wheel came up. So I eased the breaks back up, wheel came back down and rolled right up to the truck again. Exhilarated is an understatement.
I have been flying for a year now and in one week I am at nearly the same amount of flying time as I was the whole year previously. Actually more if you take in the nearly 3 hours of free flight I got in at Pacifica on Sunday.
I am enjoying this more than I expected, flights 4 and 5 in the books.
This is ike, I bought that Trike via Eric from you at Salton Sea.
I finally got it up in the air today in Albuquerque. Because of work and windy days this was the first opportunity.
Let me tell you that I am 100 % satisfied. I have been foot launching for about 5 years, but this is great.
With a couple of taxi practice runs complete, I throttled up and climbed out did about 5 touch and goes. What a blast.
Thanx for a great trike. It does not even compare to what the others are flying.
Route 66 flyers