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These breaks between flights are getting frustrating! 17 days since my last flight..

Went to a mates field in Tamworth last night. Forecast was gusty until between 7&8pm. Did. Bit a of ground handling whilst waiting for the air to settle. 

Was hoping for a reverse but overall it was too calm so did forward launch. 

I’d just done a good end rebuild/ 100hr service on my engine as I was having fuel consumption issues and cutting out last time I used it. I’ve rebuilt carb and found needle valve sticking and pop off pressure was about 8psi. Reset to 15-16psi. Changed piston bearing and rings, decided and repaired broken baffles in exhaust. Also wasn’t getting proper full throttle so adjusted cable too. 

Engine proved a little hard to start so tuning needed but was ok. 

After take off I could see rain over the m42 further north. We headed west and after about 10 mins felt some rain. Paul went a bit south then continued west around tamworth but I turned around and flew local to the field to avoid rain. Otherwise it was fairly smooth and a little chilly. 

After an hour at 8.40pm we decided it was time to land. I was up at 1300ft so I put engine on tickover and turned to lose height heading back to field. At 700ft my engine stopped so that tuning is needed now!! I couldn’t get it to restart in flight so pulled my trimmers in and released my seat board ready to land. 

Plenty of options if I couldn’t make the field but I got downwind if the field ok at about 300ft and turned into wind. With engine off you notice everything and I was very aware I slowed and stopped descending as fast once into wind. Nice and relaxed, I glided over the field and landed perfectly on my feet 😁

I’m not one to panic but I was pleased with my handling of the landing and my assessment of ability to get back to the field. I did get close to running out of field but judged it ok, landing near the car and about 40-50ft from the next field with 5ft corn crops in. 

All good, flight 22 done and another foot landing. 

tonight I’m off to Clive’s probably to do my 2000ft engine off assessment so this was good practice🙂

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Got two more on tonight. 

Straight up to 2200 for my engine off test. How lovely it is to glide without the engine noise. I didn’t want to come down! Also got up with a reverse launch for the first time. No reason except there hasn’t been enough wind on any occasion I’ve flown. 

Anyway came down ok and landed in the designated area, unfortunately on my knees not my feet.

Second flight was forward launch as the wind had dropped right down. Lovely smooth flight into and beyond sunset. Landed fast in zero wind and got a couple of steps then fell forward. Really need to sort out my landings. 

Thats 24 flights now 🙂

ever get one of those flight where for some reason you’re just not that comfortable? My second flight tonight was like it, just couldn’t really settle and relax. The flight was fine but I just felt a bit nervous like I did in my first few flight but not as bad. I guess it happens sometimes. 

Anyhow all good and having a ball 😁😁

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  • 2 weeks later...

I seem to be having a couple of weeks between flights as life gets in the way but got flight 25 in last night. 

I’d been at a festival in the peak district all weekend and kept seeing pg and ppg going over. So, when I was home mid pm on Monday I thought I’m tired but I’m going! Off to Clive’s field in market harborough, took my time setting up. You know how you get that little bit of nerves when it’s been a while. 

Set up for reverse and up it went nice and easy. That’s my second ever reverse launch. 

So warm and so smooth! First long flight in my tee shirt. Went off towards the M1 to find Stanford hall, circled around and flew over the hall and back downwind to the field, then turned towards foxton locks to find Clive and a couple of other pilots. Saw some others too so there were six of us all there. 

Came back and flared too early to land on my arse. No surprise there the 😂

That’s 25 flights

19.5 hours flying

23 forward and 2 reverse

5 foot landings, 3 or4 knee landings and the rest on my arse. 

5 failed launches. 

Pretty happy so far. Landings are my bugbear but I’ll get it 😁

stanford hall pic. 

877337AC-FE44-434D-B6B9-5C677FBFF431.jpeg

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'A couple of weeks between flights' is all too common, I'm retired but sometimes the weather just doesn't play ball.

It's great to read of your continuing evolution into an experienced pilot, I can choose to fly anytime but don't always fly when the conditions are good as other things are happening. Getting a balance is great and I would rather be extending my flying till I'm no longer capable than getting every last flight in the log.

Enjoy!

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2 hours ago, alan_k said:

'A couple of weeks between flights' is all too common, I'm retired but sometimes the weather just doesn't play ball.

It's great to read of your continuing evolution into an experienced pilot, I can choose to fly anytime but don't always fly when the conditions are good as other things are happening. Getting a balance is great and I would rather be extending my flying till I'm no longer capable than getting every last flight in the log.

Enjoy!

It is common and I have too many hobbies and other things in my life to get all the flights I’d like. Probably because it’s new and I’ve waited so long to be able to do it I want to fly all the time. It’s just not practical. 

I’m enjoying documenting flights on here for people learning and anyone else who’s interested really. 

 

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11 hours ago, AndyB said:

I didn't fly between 3 Aug and 25 Aug because the weather up North was just too windy. You are doing well at a couple of weeks!

Well it’s hit and miss but we’ve had a fair bit of good flying weather lately but I couldn’t make it often. Also, Clives field is over an hour so after work becomes a very long day too. Hoping to find a field close to home As I’ve just about finished my training now. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Flights 26 & 27. Broken Prop and bumpy ride!

What a day yesterday!! 
The plan was to fly with Paul and Richard from Tamworth to Barton Marina at Burton-under-Needwood, land and have breakfast then fly back and possibly get a couple more flights in later on.
Arriving at the field about 8.15 to long and very wet grass, we started setup. Wind was negligible, possibly 1-2mph and changing direction. 

We drove up & down the field to flatten the grass and all set up leaving the wings until last second to keep them dry. Paul and I had set up one way but Richard went a different direction for shorter grass - as I said wind was almost none. Anyhow the wind changed direction and was across our landing. As Paul went up it took his wing a little but he easily got control and powered up no problem. Mine wasn't so easy and the wing came across and down. Mistake no.1 - into wind even if it's almost nothing!.  Although it was almost nil wind it did make a difference to me, so I hiked the 150 miles across the field with motor and wing and 12 litres of fuel. 

Richard got up no problem. I set up in the same spot and got ready. I was hot, knackered and sweaty after the hike but I soldiered on. Mistake no.2  too tired.

Anyhow I went for forward launch and the wing came up ok, I powered up a little late but that was not an issue, then crack - my prop broke. I didn't know what had happened and was imagining the worst, expecting line damage. Turns out the wing was fine, the cage on my Maverick had flexed and taken a few inched of each end of the prop, and a hole in the net. 

Now this is mistake no3 - last two flights I had flown with one of the pin clips in the cage broken. It held the top spar but was OK with the netting tight until I got a replacement. On this occasion perhaps I didn't have the net quite as tight or something, but when I checked the top spar could rise, which flexed the outside of the cage in towards the prop. With the pin in place it would never have risen enough to make a difference regardless of how tight the net is. Expensive mistake, lesson learned.

Paul had a spare prop but I was so pissed off I wouldn't have been ready to fly, and I didn't want to risk another prop anyway. Called Clive who had one in stock, so I went and picked it up, along with a couple of clips, and met him at Marston field.

Replaced clip, new prop, test run, no issues :)
I stayed in the field chatting thinking it was too bumpy to fly, but at 2.30 I decided I was going to give it a go. I went up and one of Clive's new students followed me for his second flight. Bumpiest flight I’ve had so far, it was like paramotor Tourette’s. I think I prefer smooth flights😑
We went around & over Foxton Locks, round the prison and towards Bruntingthorpe airstrip before heading back. My radio had cut out half way through the flight so I couldn't speak to Clive or Pete, and when I got back to Marston Pete was nowhere to be seen. I had lost Clive's student! I went back a few miles to check but couldn't see him anywhere so I had to land. When I told Clive he said 'he's up there' .. he had come back at about 2500ft and I lost sight😂
The flight was about an hour and aside from being thrown about it was lovely.
Oh... landed on my arse 🤪

At about 4.45 I went up again. Had a bimble out towards Foxton again, avoiding Bruntingthorpe after 4pm (Notam in place), but for the first time ever I felt uncomfortable, like I shoudn't be up there. It was a bit bumpy, not much, and I was enjoying the flight but didn't feel at home so I went back and cut it to a half hour flight. I think it was just an odd day for me after the two failed launched and prop break in the morning.
Oh... landed on my feet 😁😁
When I was coming in I made sure I didn't flare until my feet were less than a metre from the ground, leaned right forward and looked ahead instead of down. It works you know!

I had a great day at the field but it was an expensive day, but I got another foot landing 

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24 minutes ago, richjones said:

Paul had a spare prop but I was so pissed off

Haha!
That's how I remember my prop smashes feeling... if I smash a prop, stay 100 yards clear until I have had my third smoke.

 

28 minutes ago, richjones said:

it was like paramotor Tourette’s

It helps when I tell the lumps to "F" off... its a kind of magic :) 

 

30 minutes ago, richjones said:

 I think I prefer smooth flights

A jam buttie in one hand and a pop in the other... that's proper flying... but this is the uk, its either freezing cold or rough :) 

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Can’t fly this weekend but got flight 28 in last night at Clive’s. Sooo smooth, I got the trimmers straight out and hardly touched the brakes at all. 

Had an hour around Bruntingthorpe airport and headed back just land after sunset. There’s a gliding airfield nearby and I found myself worrying about the pilots seeing me as it was a busy evening. It’s weird seeing another aircraft at your altitude and feeling very close. It was probably a mile or so but I’d rather keep well away. . 

Rubbish landing, wind was across the field so very short and I overshot to land in the stubble where the crops have been harvested. Tripped and had a lie down🙄

Very relaxing flight though, wonderful way to relieve the stresses of the working week

 

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Flight 28 last night from a field in Tamworth I've never flown from before. 

It's right behind some houses alongside the A5 so we took off and moved away straight away for as little nuisance as possible. Flying north of the A5, over the M42 and around the north of Tamworth. Forward launch, no problems. It wasn't too windy on the ground but I was moving forward at 8mph at around 1500ft so quite windy up there. I was trying to get some aerial shots of Paul & Richard but I've not got used to keeping the camera focussed yet and the wing was trying to throw me out every time I tried :|

Had an our flight and it was dusk so headed back. 45mph downwind so got back in about 5 minutes! The approach was a little different for me... a couple of hundred feet above the A5 to enable me to land downwind. I knew there were phone wires at the approaching edge of the field so went in high, landed 2/3 of the way down the field safely and ON MY FEET :) :) :D 

Had a quick pint whilst packing away. Nice finish to the weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got flights 29 & 30 tonight. 

From the same field as last time, should have been windy enough for a reverse but I just couldn’t get the wing over my head. So I went forward launch no problem. More ground handling I think. With motor on my back. 

Had a lovely 1:21 flight. Went high and low, flew around the tv mast at Tamworth and over Twycross zoo. I was a bit low which was accidental, I didn’t know it was the zoo until I was over it else I’d have gone higher. Still plenty high really about 600ft but I would have gone higher or avoided the zoo if I’d realised quick enough  

Although forecast was a bit gusty it was lovely and smooth with just the odd bump here and there. 

Came in to land ok but still landed on my arse. Paul reckons I flared too early but it didn’t feel like it. I did feel like my leg straps were too tight to lean out of seat enough. 

Flight 30 was a quick spur of the moment thing. We’d all landed with a bit of light left so went straight back up, almost no wind, forward launch, quick dash to the m42 and back. 7 min flight. Fluffed the landing by not getting out of harness enough and almost got it but went on my knees. 

Felt really hyper after the flights. I was buzzing more than normal. I could stay up there for hours, I just love being in the air 😁

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Yesterday was a great day and not so great day. 

Got to Clive’s field at about 9ish. Chatting and setting up , was nice to see a few people turning up. 

Flight 32. 10:45am  It was some wind and a bit gusty but I went forward launch. Didn’t feel like a reverse was easily doable. I don’t really have much issue with my launches now but this time the wing came up to the right, then left, then right. I was all over the place fighting the dreaded Marston winds. After a few seconds of Benny Hill I cut the engine and stopped running, and the bloody wing sat there over my head laughing at me🙄

I think that’s only my sixth or seventh failed launch ever which is nice. anyhow, reset and a nice easy forward followed.  I wasn’t making much progress into the wind at about 2000ft so I headed for some clouds to get a bit of video. I was near sibbertoft glider school when my engine misfired then started spluttering midrange.  It would tick over ok and full revs ok but midrange was uneven and needed more throttle than it should. Weird. I climbed to 2500 to keep clear of the gliders in the even of engine failure and headed back to the field. Uneventful then until I came in to land. Engine was still running. 

The gusty approach was horrible, blowing me all over the place. The field is narrow at the moment as the crop area at the side has been ploughed and the wind was diagonal across the field. No way I could control that across wind so I went round. Coming in better into wind still very gusty at low level I almost did it, having to clear a wing laid out on the runway but ran out of room. Round again, horrible air and swinging about all over I came in third time lucky. On my arse.  Everyone had issues landing yesterday just the changeable gusts at Marston giving us hassle, but it was by far the worst approach to landing I’ve had. 

Sad event of the day is one of our pilots came in fast and too far down the field. He was heading towards a van so he stalled it and came down hard, bouncing and rolling over a couple of times. Ambulance to the hospital and we found later he’s snapped his Achilles, broken his tailbone and one vertebrae. How easy it happens. He was in good spirits and hopefully will soon be up and about. 

Later on three of us decided to go for the clouds as they looked low. 

Took off at 2:20 and went for it. Up at 3000ft we started to clear some clouds and around 3500 John was taking photos. I then climbed to 4800. Highest I’ve ever been. I was going for the mile but the higher cloud was complete cover and I was going into the grey stuff so I bottled it.  Not even that cold really considering it’s october. My engine was a bit better, I’d richened the mixture a bit to try it. I’ll be checking it over before flying again. 

Fantastic flight and came down to that bloody gusty field to land across again on a short runway. But I nailed it 😁. Came in low over the ploughed soil just touching the throttle enough to keep my height, cut the engine as I approached the grass, lifted my feet over a parked wing and landed on my feet😁😁

Always learning and new experiences all the time 🙂

Photo is me at about 3500ft. 

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Oh something else I discovered yesterday. I’d had my harness on the frame wrong since I fitted my bigger Maverick tank. Beginners mistake and I’d even took photos. Although it didn’t seem to affect the last half dozen or so flights it’s possible it didn’t help me getting out of the seat to land as the motor position was very different. 

Double check everything, it could have been very different!

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  • 4 weeks later...

26 days since my last flight and finally managed to get up albeit briefly

I went to collect my reserve from somewhere over East Midlands so took my kit and went to Clive’s field at Marston. I’d been watching and had a day off work in case I could fly. 

when I got to the field it was a bit ok maybe an 8-9mph wind with some gusts. Did a little bit of kiting and got my new homemade strobe all set up, preflight done and engine warmed up. Seemed to take ages to set up, must be out of practice!

now Marston is a dodgy place at the best of times, with the changing wind direction and rotor off the trees. Today was no different, windsock moving around 90 degrees every few seconds. 
anyhow the wind wasn’t consistent for a nice reverse so I just went for a forward and nicely up. Took a couple of minutes to settle as always after a break. 
considering the gusty forecast it wasn’t too bad and once trimmed out was quite nice but windy. 
At 300 ft it was quite strong and gusts blew me a bit so I trimmed out whilst climbing. 
at 800 ft I was pretty much stationary. I’d taken ten minutes to go maybe 1/8mile. Turned downwind and did double that in about 30 seconds. It wasn’t particularly cold either but I called it as the wind was too much to make progress anywhere. 
as I came down across the field the gusts were blowing me a bit and in my usual style I landed on my arse. 
 

still, I got a quick flight. Puts the smile back on my face for a bit 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well it’s been a while!! The last flight was the only 20 mins in 6 weeks. Almost forgot what it feels like to fly. 
Met up with Richard Leishman today at Tamworth. We were going to fly near Henley in Arden but the field was too wet. Look forward to that another day. 

 Loads of floods in Tamworth but the field is nice, just wet grass. 
Got two flights in today, first one was about 49 mins up the m42 towards Ashby but the clouds were too low up there. Easy take off, forwards no issues.  At 1000ft I was into cloud. Little fly around settling myself into it again and kept around 7-800ft which for me is pretty low. I’m usually up above 1500. 
cold fingers but otherwise not too bad for November. Came in over the A5 to land. It was ok but didn’t get forward enough I think, slippery grass too. On my arse🙄

 

 second flight was another forward, nice and easy. Wish I could say the same about my landings! 
We headed east along A5, I just flew about looking at stuff I hadn’t seen before. Out Hinckley was I spotted sunshine so headed straight for that. It was nice for the couple of minutes I circled in it, considering today has been very grey. 
Anyhow that’s about 30 mins in and was a bit downwind so we headed back to find the cloud has dropped considerably. At 500ft I was alongside clouds and ended up flying between 300 & 600 ft all the way back keeping up wherever I could. At one point it was raining a little and with that and the grim grey clouds we did wonder if we may have to land out. It wasn’t terrible but glad it didn’t get any worse. 
Made it back, getting to cold by this point. Came in to the field right behind Richard which is a first for me to land same time as someone else,  had to lift feet a bit where the ground drops then promptly landed on my arse. 🤦🏻‍♂️
I had forgot to kill my engine until just as I flared so my concentration was off a bit. But I don’t need to make excuses for arse landings, I’m an expert😂

I’ve been told to say Richards landings were textbook perfect, a little wing over, a back flip and perfect landing on his feet. 😄

 nice to be back up anyhow, might need heated gloves or something. I think I need a GoPro too, I’m hopeless at taking photos while flying but would like to capture some stuff. 
i now have a reserve too. Not that it would have been much use today!

 Also first flight with speed bar fitted. Bloody faff. Couldn’t get my hands down to release it so I’ll leave that off until another time. Just thought I’d see if I could. 

My wing is now all over the living room to dry off, and I’m off out for food and beer 😁
 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Christmas Day flying 😁😁🎅🏻
 

 I don’t like this winter waiting. But Christmas week has turned out ok!

 Christmas Day got two early flights in. I was at the field at 7.45 and me & Paul got the Santa suits on for a fly😁

 it was freezing cold so only a short flight about 22 mins. The wind forecast was 6 gusting 17 so we were wary anyhow but it was dead calm at the field with hardly any windsock movement. So we went for it with forward launch, a couple of little bumps but really smooth. Trouble was at over about 800ft it was too windy to make any progress, my Max was 1200 and I was just sitting there not moving really. 
my hands were freezing so I came down for a warm. The grass was dead slippy not that that’s any excuse to land on my arse🙄
 

second flight was 18 mins. Just got up and  had a bimble about, same wind if not stronger and a little bumpier. Landed at 9.45.  On my arse again! Paul and Richard said I didn’t seem to be leaning forward enough so something to look at. 
 

the suits were awful, to be expected for £7 each lol. But it was a bit of fun and I’ve done a Christmas Day flight😁

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Then today 27 Dec got two more flights in and more learning. 
good wind forecast but low clouds, as I drove into tamworth I could see the clouds were low. Met Paul Richard and John there. 

 Got in the air around 1pm, forward launch not too cold today. However the cloud base was around 300ft. Now I haven’t been a fan of low flying, I like to be high and safe, but there wasn’t a choice. At 400ft there was almost no visibility so went over the a5 to the fields and kept away from houses etc. I’d been a bit late arriving so the others had gone ahead and we got separated so when I went over the field and saw one had landed I went back. Came in over the a5 around 200ft which is scary enough but the field is right at the side of the road, with wind direction different to normal had to come in over trees. 
now after yesterday’s talk about my landings I’d decided to unhook my flight deck from my chest strap and loosen the strap as I could lean forward enough. I don’t know if that helped but I came in beautifully on my feet. ON MY FEET!!!!

 Richard went back up and I had a drink and got ready again. Up I went with no idea where they’d gone so I went up alongside the m42 to some big fields. Max 500 ft with zero visibility, I decided to try and get used to a bit of low flying. Never done it before and it bothers me that there’s no escape but gently as I could I practiced low turns and judging my distance from the ground. At one point my altimeter said about -40ft due to terrain so I hadn’t really any idea except I was about two tree heights😂

 knowing I was really low I kept away when I saw walkers etc but I had a go at flying along a path and flew down at 50ft or so between two trees. Not close together, loads of space. Only a 27 min flight but I had a bit of fun. If the clouds hadn’tn so low I would never have done it but I’m glad I did. I can see the attraction of low flying and I’ll practice it again but I’m happier safe and high. 

anyhow I headed back at around 250ft which is hard work being conscious of farm houses, keeping far away as I could. Last thing I want is to risk someone else’s flying field. 
came in sane as earlier, nice approach over the a5 and the trees nice and controlled only to land on my bloody feet again😁😁

 I’m hoping I can keep up the foot landings but we’ll see. 
 

that’s now 40 flights and around 30 hours air time. I’m really happy with how it’s going and love learning new things and new experiences on almost every flight. Just can’t get enough flights in with the rest off my life!

 Today’s flying friends and a video of my last landing

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  • 2 weeks later...

Skived off work this afternoon to fly from tamworth. Richard and Paul who I normally fly with here couldn’t make it so just me. 
forgot my windsock so take off was by the grass in the wind method. 
got an easy forward launch in a slightly gusty field. My shortest run ever, about 5 or 6 steps and I was up. Must have just timed it on a gust🙂

had a fly up north of tamworth over where Paul works just to rub it in 😁 he came out and took a photo. Considering I’ve never liked low flying I didn’t go above 1100ft and was 550 over Paul’s school then 150 around some fields. I must be getting used to it as it used to scare me! Just testing myself and expanding my experience. 

i came back over the m42 which had a rolling road block. Seen a couple of these now and find it quite funny that I’m overtaking them. As I went across and came down over the fields I was spotted by Brad Quinn who sent Richard a video. He was in the traffic jam 😂

went back to end a 47 min flight nicely ON MY FEET !!  Again!! 😂😂😂

warmed my fingers up and Richard turned up to say hello then I went up again, longer forward launch and wondering if it was going to climb over the trees at the end of the field. Funny how two launches can be so different. 
I flew over outskirts of tamworth and directly over Richards house just rubbing it in some more 😂

came back and had a weird approach, the glider didn’t want to come down. I came in far too high and went back up and around only to do the same thing again. I’ve never had a problem on approach to this field, perhaps there was some warm air or something?!? 
Third approach was ok but I still ended up landing at the far end of the field. Got my feet down ok but it was fast and I couldn’t keep up and went onto my knees. 
May least it wasn’t my arse 😂

an afternoon off with a couple of flights puts a smile all the way across my face 😁

 

my second launch and brads video from the m42 

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