2010 July 13 Fly-In at Jim Leon's "The Ultralight Place"
The usual hoot was had by all. Only this time the weather cooperated.
Tim Kaiser and I motorhomed down the short drive to Kankakee for two
full days of flight and frolick. It's obviously nice to have gatherings
in your back yard and why I'd hate to miss it.
Lance Marczak is amazing. Every group needs one of these. We fired up
Tim's motor and the integrated kill switch had a problem where the
merest touch would kill the motor. Even knowing this to be the case it
was impossible to launch without at least touching the kill switch. I
couldn't figure out a way to fix it without tearing the thing apart but
lance found a way.
I gave him my old tore-up black devil exhaust system in completely
un-repairable form. He's building another frankenmotor, this time using
a Black Devil motor, and if anyone can use this scrap metal, it's Lance.
I didn't try out a lot of gear because we concentrated on getting
footage for Master PPG video 2 (launching). We got LOTS of great footage
including several scenes that I'd been wanting to do for a while but
didn't have the conditions for. We got one that I don't have any need
for, too, when I did a tailwind launch. Some advice: don't launch
downwind -- although this one worked, it's a really good way to fall or
experience cool new wing blends.
Another cool shot was running, with
the wing overhead, in a 360 degree turn then launching. That was fun and
demos clearly how to control the wing while running. An even better, and
more fun, shot was a piece where I had an actor (Lance, as it happens),
set his wing down right in front of me while I prepared to launch.
You'll just have to watch the video to see how it was handled!
great seeing so many familiar faces, too.
Another treat was seeing 74
year old instructor Don Jordan pull off a difficult very light-wind
forward. I'm just hoping to be taking in solid foods at that age and
this guy is foot launching in tough conditions. Nice job.
was up to his "PPG for Morons" antics. Just google that and enjoy the
I finally got to the quarry. In past years I never really
went on a cross country but this time, after most flying was done, I
figured a little ride would be fun. Lance joined me and we enjoyed good
communications and great scenery. Have I recommended 2-meter radios
lately? Tim, Lance, Paul Paulikas and I were using these things and
enjoyed being able to talk clearly. The
Hamman system for
communications still is the best and most versatile I've come across.
It works with the most radios and most helmets. The M116/G 5 ohm mic
seems to work as well as the M101/A 5 ohm. Here's the section on comms.
Yes, you do need a ham license to use these radios but that's one
concentrated day of study and testing. It's well worth it. Lance built
his from about $50 worth of parts and an old aviation headset.
I did two more tandems with Tim Kaiser. That leaves 15 more before I
can take up non-pilots. This REALLY is a good idea because there are
some scenarios where you'd really rather have a pilot up there instead
of a student. Both of these flights went off perfectly. I was trying out
Check DeSantis' ITV tandem which worked perfect. It's just an oversized
beginner wing with decent inflation, easy handling and slow enough speed
to be launchable in light winds. I'm also using the Black Devil now
which provides a better climb rate for two people.
There are some
quarks to work out, though, and I hope to do so over the next 15
Pitts & Upside Down World.
Nick Scholtes, the first person I went to for information on
paramotoring, flew in with his shiny new Pitts S2 engine.
Sorry--airplane--although it's mostly a big engine trailing a tiny
airplane-like form. What a hoot!
I've never been one much for
aerobatics, and still probably won't be, but that was quite a bit more
fun than I expected.
Nick got out of PPG instruction a couple years
ago, diving head first into the deep end of general aviation. After
getting his ratings, he did some two years of primary flight instruction
and is now getting into tailwheel sign-offs (where the single wheel is
in back instead of in front), instrument training and, soon, aerobatics
He took me up for an introduction to acro and wow, that's
a trip. I've been upside down plenty of times but not like that. For one
thing, this airplane has enough power to get there in style, stay there,
go up again and flit about in more ways than I cared to explore. And
this is the two-place version. Shoot, just the takeoff was cool. With
enough horses to pull around a cabin class single-engine airplane
around, this 1500 pound airframe has push-to-spare. After various types
of rolls, inverted turns, and other stomach-churning romps, we came back
for a perfect little wheel landing. Nice job Nick.
After flying and feasting on Saturday we headed home but the
adventure had one more piece. While driving down (strangely, with me at
the wheel) the ride started feeling like washboard then "bang!"
can't be good, we thought, but it was driving OK so we pressed on to the
turnoff and into a gas station. Sure enough, an outer-rear wheel blew a
tread. Then we made the discovery that there was no Jack. Oh boy.
Thankfully, my AAA includes motorhome service so we were able to call
them and get it taken care of.
It's always an adventure, isn't it?