For a change I'm not escaping
anything. It warmed up enough in my backyard to meet up with friends only
40 minutes away. After one email posting led to another, the IL boys ended
up with almost a fly-in at one of our favorite haunts, the polo field in
In addition to tasting the
local air, I had a mission, getting some pictures that illustrate certain
techniques and hang styles. Unfortunately camera woes and uncooperative
winds limited my success in that regard although I did get a few. I needed
very light or calm winds and we never had that. When it got close, the
camera coughed. Oh well, thanks to Marc Damon for helping, anyway. Marc,
by the way, has gotten quite skilled at flying 3D remote control
airplanes. He practices in his living room although his wife, Christy
isn't always enamored with that locale.
Eugene provided me my 9th trike
flight aboard his classy looking DK unit. Very nice! It has innovations
that I thought were introduced on later Fresh Breeze setups. Namely
pulling the A's automatically and self steeringóboth features of the DK.
The Fresh Breeze Flyke does both and the Skip 1 trike pulls the A's for
PPG on Rollerblades
Photos by Kevin
I also got to try something
I've wanted to do for years but was never willing: the roller blade
launch. There's plenty of video and Kevin's still shots are featured
The challenge was actually pretty minimal
due to soft ground. But then, with all the video cameras rolling, that was fine by
me. It'll be much tougher with hard ground although I learned some
necessary techniques. No matter how it's sliced, risk is high for a cage
Thanks to Kevin
Kanarski for sharing his wonderful pictures.
Bringing up the wing reversed
required a "snow plow" stance with the skates towed inward. That
allowed me to resist the pull during inflation. Turning and running were
no problem in the soft grass and, I gotta tell ya, the foot drag that
followed was pure fantasy!
Coming around for more taxi
tests was interesting since my machine leans back a lot and my feet wanted
to squirt out ahead. One behind the other was helpful but those boots
don't lend themselves to bending so it was more difficult than with
regular shoes. It was sufficiently fun that I'll try it again. Having a 45
pound Top 80 machine made handling the motor easier, too.
It'll also be fun to be on the
skates and use the wing like a traction kite. I'll be curious to see how
that works out. I might be investing in pads.
Lance Marczak is 140 pounds of
nuclear energy. It's hard to slow this boy down and he's always got some
gadget cooking. Besides his strobes (see picture) he had a pretty simple,
but effective, foot camera mount. But I digress. His flying machine is a
ParaPower, a mostly Fresh Breeze knock-off that is apparently no longer
available in the U.S. It has some important differences, namely that the
motor does not jettison and so the harness is rigidly fixed to its frame.
I haven't flown one of these in
a long time and, given all the motor reviews I've been doing, asked to try
it out. What I found was fascinating.
For years I've been saying that
torque could be essentially eliminated if makers would sufficiently offset
the motor. If your machine twists you to the left, move the motor so that
it pushes more on your left shoulder. When doing my usual torque test on
the Parapower, I made an interesting discovery. I could make it twist me either
way! If I leaned to the left, that moved the thrustline leftward and,
sure enough, it made me twist right. Lean right and it made me twist left.
I could COMPLETELY counter any torque twisting effect. In spite of trying
on other machines, I've never been able to do it. That was cool.
Warming up is relative. By 5 pm
it was 45 degrees. That's below my minimum operating temperature so my
last flight was to move my motor and wing the 100 feet to my car. A quick
trip around the pattern polished off the evening. Ahhhh, it feels good.
(L) Mikey Canella helps make sure the nose stays on the
ground as I launch the DK trike. It was windy and I wanted to help reduce
the chance of tipping backwards.
(R) Marc Damon has that "well, ok, I think I'll finish
this inflation now." look.
(L) Christy Damon flashes that pretty smile in spite of
being grounded by a spark plug.
(R) Lance Marzcak poses with his Parapower.
(L) Side view of the solo powered Parapower.
(R) Lance and Dave model their strobes.
(L) It took a few tries with a slow shutter and closed aperture
but I captured the strobes flashing.
(R) Yours truly trying to get photos of a light wind
technique. Too much wind and camera problems put the hurt on, though.
(L) Eugene next to his pride and joy, a DK Skytrike
(R) Eugene is behind the scenes, biting his fingernails
while I do a touch and go with his pride and joy.
Thanks to Marc Damon for taking the pictures that