First Backyard Flight of 2008
June 1, 2008 Naperville, IL | Go to the Evening Flight
The leaves weren't moving. Oooh yeah葉here be calm!
I've got lots to test, too, with the Miniplane having arrived home
and other things.
I'm soon to venture to my first ever trip to Europe. Hopefully they
won't send me back early. One intriguing plan includes soaring the Alps,
a place that most consider the birth of paragliding. I have some
trepidation, for sure, they're big mountains with some pretty active
air. Consequently, I'm not taking the Spice, rather I'll be flying the
Mistral. So this morning that's what I flew.
Being beautiful and calm was a treat, but I had a lot to accomplish.
1. Try out the slippery tubing for forward launching the Miniplane
(see review here). It worked splendidly and the launch was perfect. I
landed in a field and did another one with the same results. First
observation is that the tubing needs to come up higher around the hoop.
Second observation is that I can now see why it's a bit more difficult
to forward launch low hook-in machines. Although successful, I can see
that the risers spend more time going around the rim and the wing did
seem to come up slower as a result. Not much different, mind you, but in
a marginal situation I can see where a newer pilot may struggle a bit
more than with a higher hook-in.
2. More flying and weight shifting reinforced that this is the
berries. As you'll see in the pictures, my hands are down in the perfect
position. Not too low that they excessively limit brake authority (no
wraps) but down in a more comfortable position than high hook-ins. And
it does not tilt forward on launch.
This thing is really a dream to fly. The weight shift is effective,
loose and unobtrusive. I still wouldn't recommend it for newer pilots.
They may struggle with the launch and may not like the left/right
busyness in bumps.
3. Try no-wind reverse. It was probably about 1 mph and it worked
quite well, even on the Mistral which doesn't come up quite as fast as
the Spice. I started by blowing some air over the wing曜ust above idle
though葉hen brought her up and launched. Not having the prop spin while
you're backing up is nice.
4. Try some power-off spot landings using the Mistral. The FAI
landings went well but I'm trying something new. Something that Eric
Dufour is probably the king of: spot landings with minimal run out.
Plus, I'm adding one more twist様anding over a 5 foot rope. The quest is
to see what it would be like to land in a small fenced area but without
the risk of a fence. I'll admit, it didn't go well. I clearly need more
practice. I could swoop and get it four out of five times. But landing
over that fence is tricky. If swooping, you must time it just right over
the fence. I'm thinking that the steep approach may be best but be
careful, that's a good way to stall and fall. Practice, practice,
practice, careful practice.
5. Run it dry. I haven't added Gas since I bought the machine and
this is my third flight. The first one was only 10 minutes but the
second one was at least 30 minutes and the tank started from just over
1) Where I launched and landed. 2)
Bonus balloon. 3) Where I landed to do the tests and spot landings. 4 &
5) Unhappy clutch. Notice the boxes of PPG Bibles in the background.
That's one of three pallets and that's still only half the books, the
others are at Sport Aviation Publications. 5) Bummed Tim揺e wanted to
I wanted to see how it quit (would it putter?) and whether or not it
would suck all the fuel. Then I'd me weigh it. Finally, I want to mark
the tank in Gallon increments for future reference. This is one miserly
mother! When it quit, at least 30 minutes later, it wasted no time,
going from a slow climb to silence immediately. One bad thing,
though葉he prop stopped. Uh oh. Something had obviously gone amiss in
the clutch department葉hat prop should be windmilling. Thankfully, that
turned out to be just a pair of clips coming out as I found out later
but removing the clutch isn't just done with a socket. You need a gear
puller or do the hack job I did as described at right. Hey, it worked
and doesn't damage anything!
6. See how fast the Mistral was. Spicely has been getting all my
attention but I'd be flying the Mistral in Europe. If Alpine bliss was
to be found, I better know where to look and getting comfortable with
the wing would help. Speed isn't that great but I didn't have my
accelerator hooked up. I measured 7 and 35 (headwind and tailwind) so
its 21 mph unaccelerated. Hey, maybe FootFlyer did a review on this
Overall the flight was a hoot. Shortly after launch it became obvious
there was a stronger wind aloft as I needed to crab east to stay over my
taxiway. At a few hundred feet, I was crabbing 45ｰ. Later in cruise, I
would find the wind to be a perfectly smooth 14 mph. It didn't get bumpy
until the last part.
A fitting return home. Thanks Illinois!