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
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
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!!!