Stepping Out For A Moment

2011-Sept-1 Seduced by morning dew

Stepped away from my editor, where I've been since darkness, to see morning mist calmly holding back an impending sunrise. Oooh, that looks nice.

Winds were forecast to be south which is unlaunchable from my backyard but: I have to launch north. If I get out early, though, the tailwind won't be too bad and might even be calm. Of course it'll probably be a slight tailwind up at wing height but that's manageable since I can run pretty quick on pavement. Just can't get too far left or right lest the trees reach out and touch something.

I used Stan Honey's idea for telling wind direction: "Hunter's Smoke". Little bottles of fine powder that you squeeze out a puff of what looks like smoke. It drifts clearly with the slightest air motion. It went straight up. OK, I'll go for it. Thanks Stan.

Yes, I must run like a gazelle for this launch, but I've got nobody to blame since I'm on an 18 meter Pluto. I thought about taking a bigger wing but, what the hey, I might as well practice spot landings with this one since it's what I fly most anyway.

It's still magical lifting off from here, behind my house, in what is essentially a dream come true. The helicopter is fun, too, but it's a big machine with lots of expensive things that carry much mass so I don't play in the same way.

After a brief sojourn over the dewy prairie I headed to a nearby big open field with soccer fields where I can practice spot landings and soak my shoes on foot drags. I'm doing the launch video so I figured I'd play with some of the techniques. After landing, I let the wing come down behind me as straight as possible. It was a decent layout although the leading edge curled over -- that's hard to avoid in this situation even with a big tug of brakes just before it touches. Maybe with practice.

So I launched from that layout using one of the techniques that has you power up into the run, let off, then power up again as the wing passes 60 degrees or so. It's particularly good for small wings since the pop up so quickly. I did it once with the trims fast and once with them slow. Had to stay on the A's with the trims slow because my brakes may be just a biiiit too short.

The wing did come up crooked once but it was quite manageable by turning towards it slightly, accelerating, THEN correcting it overhead. Speed is life. You'll hear that in the video.

By the time I landed there were bumps, probably about level 1 on the bump scale, with some wind out of the southwest. I shut off the motor landed to the south back where I started.

What fun, and what a nice break.

Back to editing. I'm adding final touches after a visit to San Diego where Phil Russman gave me many good pointers as did two other screeners. As a result, I reshot some scenes and rewrote two complete sections. But they've been recorded and imported.

The end really is nigh!!!

This is the place albeit 7 years ago. I'm one lucky human, this is 200 yards from my backyard launch.

2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!