FL Whirlwind

11/10/2013 Several Bits of FL

Living on the Enterprise now and liking it. Tim & I are taking a vacation before the real work of selling the Naperville house gets underway.

We started with a visit to my parents in Naples then stopped at Pine Island where I got to try out the speedy new Mac Para Pit Bull. Now we're at Wings over Winter. Thanks to Bob Siebenaler for taking care of FootFlyer orders that couldn't be filled from the Enterprise.

I feel lucky on many accounts but one is genetic -- I've got great parents. They're still together, still love each other, enjoy life, and are fun to be around. What a treat. This move means I'll be able to bother them more often. The down side is missing my brothers in Chicagoland.

Planet PPG

Next was PlanetPPG Paul on Pine Island. I picked up and flew the Mac Para Pit Bull for a full review. Tim flew it also. A real treat was watching two of Paul's students take their first flights. They did an excellent job, landing on their feet nicely each time. No doubt helped by having flown a number of low tows. Another thing I liked was his instruction on the radio, "reduce power, turn right". If pilots could get into the habit of reducing power slightly before turning it would all but eliminate torque related crashes. Especially when combined with the admonition to "reduce power, reduce brake" if twisting starts.

Wings Over Winter

On Thursday evening we headed up for Winds over Winter. What a treat to catch up with a bunch of Florida pilots and a few from abroad. The Nirvana guys, Pavel and Peter were there. A more dedicated, fun-loving group won't be found in the sport.

I had some real excitement when trying out an Ozone Slalom 19. Conditions sucked. I couldn't even pass my own kiting test where I make sure it's easily kitable overhead. While I could keep it off the ground, it was all over the place. "Just a quickie" I thought. Haven't I written about this in the Incidents column? Damn. Follow your own advice.

I Took off and immediately regretted it. Thermals mixed with mechanical turbulence into a nasty stew of kick-butt. I came around right away, staying down low. Then, at about 20 feet while landing, an upward gust shot me skyward. I braced for a bruising and wasn't disappointed. The wing SHOT forward then, in spite of stabbing at the brakes, took a 30% collapse. That doesn't actually do much if you simply keep steering. I got lucky and I made an uneventful landing although with a fistful of power just before touchdown.

Just say no when the little voice speaks out. Had my motor not been right there, or the wing not been laid out, I wouldn't have gone. What a terrible reason to risk life and limb. Lets hope the lesson was learned. And just because the outcome was fine does NOT mean it was safe. It wasn't.

Tried out another wing, the Snake 16, and boy do I have a lot to say about that. Every now and then there is a sea change in the sport and this thing comes closer to anything I've seen since Reflex came out. It doesn't really break any new ground, it just moves the ground to a new set point. I did my full speed tests on it and it was remarkable--not just the fastest glider I've yet flown, but also decently efficient at its highest speed (full speedbar fast trim) .

Also got to fly the Scout again under a Hadron 20. It's a pushy motor with decent torque control as reviewed last year.

The weather was windy, windy on Friday and Saturday but each morning did open a window of flyable air if you didn't mind rocky road and little upwind penetration. As it happens many of us flew quite a bit each day but Sunday was the berries. Reasonably smooth all the way to 9am or so.

It was great meeting so many FL pilots. Can't wait to become their full time neighbor!

All in all it has been a great little trip. Back home to get Naperville ready to sell then I start work in FL on Dec 1. THAT will be cool!

The broken spark plug cap that ended one of my flights from Pine Island.

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