Nov 23rd

What is the best trike for you? Ultra/nanolight or heavy high powered small wing. Here is a start and a comparison.

By Paul Hamilton

 

Cheap ultralight with no training needed or fast, powerful/expensive with comprehensive training? Which is right for you?

 

Typically when someone comes in the door of my FBO as sez they want to fly ultralights and/or light sport aircraft for a cheap hobby, my reply is: “if you want a cheap hoby, stay away from aviation and take up hiking or basket weaving. ANY form of safe aviation is RELATIVLY expensive with the equipment, training and currency for pilots.

 

Recently, there have been a number of comments that EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into expensive, high power, fast trikes. I would like to set the record straight as to my feeling about this.

 

Here is “my story” about my decisions to buy the trikes I bought.

 

I first put a trike undercarriage on my modified hang glider in 1981. A Fugi Robins  engine. About 30 HP. Not much. It would barely get off the ground at 5000 foot density altitude but it was awesome to get flying in a trike. After 1000 hours as a Master rated hang glider pilot I tought myself how to fly it because there were no instructors.  I had a great time with this. Fast forward to 2001.

 

I decided to buy a two place trike since my beautiful wife/girlfriend wanted to go up and move on from tandem Hang Gliding. It was allot of money so I economized bought a Cosmos 503 (verses a 582) because it was light weight, less expensive, and I liked the wing. Soon after I got it I flew this slow Rotax 503 on a cross country from Carson, down the Sierras, up to Mount Whitney 14,000 and the “Ultralight Trike Odyssey” was filmed.

 

See www.youtube.com/watch?v=glVFOSgNBXE

 

I flew this slow, “underpowered” trike to 17,000 feet, flew 250 pound students to 10,000 MSL regularly,  trained many pilots. Did I need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO.

 

I went to Hawaii and flew 5 months, 400 hours and 24,000 miles in a 912 Airborne and Air Creation. This changed my life. I decided to go into triking full time.

 

Than in 2010, the FAA cracked down and my experimental was no longer allowed to be used for flight training. I waited for the LODA. Nothing. So I decided to buy a trike. By this time everyone was flying the 80 HP Rotax 912 and EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into these more expensive, high power, fast trikes. I simply could not afford a 912 so I bought an Apollo Monsoon 582 S-LSA when I decided to go into trike flying full time.

 

Again, I would fly it to 10,000 feet with 250 pound students, etc…. I was making a living at flight instruction in a Rotax 582. It worked. Did I need a need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. However, it is a 14.5 meter ProfiTL super stiff wing and had wind turbulence limitations. I had to shut down training earlier in the day than I wanted.

 

After 3 years with this Apollo/ProfiTL and my third Rotax 582 engine (at 300 hours each) which operated great all the time, I wanted a smaller wing that I could blast through the bumps with an easy handling wing I could increase my flight hours since I had to turn many flights down when the wind came up and it got bumpy during the day.

 

If I had a smaller wing, I could fly more hours and everyone would be happier. Bottom line, a smaller wing needs more horsepower . So after 3 years of flying full time I decided to sell my great Apollo Monsoon 582 65 HP 14.5 meter and go to a 912S 100 HP so I can get a smaller wing.

 

OK which trike? I had a choice of all the manufacturers. They all wanted me in their trike. Here are the reasons why I choose a Revo, generally in the order of importance which helped my decision:

 

Topless small wings.

 

Easy to get in and out of loading and unloading people (similar to my Apollo Monsoon)

 

Easy handling/response for ease of flying and safety/recovery in the bumps

 

Almost everyone who calls and asks about buying a trike wants a Revo.

 

Super sexy looking.

 

Made in the USA with easy parts/great service.

 

Did I have to have an expensive Revo? No but it allows me to fly comfortably in more bumpy and windy conditions. This has allowed me to fly more for sure. This is how I justified it to the budget master/wife.

 

In fact we have a number of 503, 582, and 912 80 HP trikes at the airport here and the pilots are very happy with them.

 

Again. Do they need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. Not if you can live with the limitations.  No leisurely breakfasts as the bumps grow.

 

Some say that a slow trike is safer because it is slower. This is simply one point of view and it is  NOT TRUE.  Perhaps because they do not have the experience in the faster trikes. Some try to blame the trikes. Another misinformed ideology. Proper transition training easily solves the problem of faster trikes. The slower trikes are more susceptible to winds and gusts and are thrown around more creating greater chances for bad landings and tucks/tumbles while flying. They are much more limited to weather. The faster higher wing loading trikes handle surprise winds better and are much safer in these conditions. Speed is your friend.

 

If you believe in the cheap single seater that is fine also if that is all you can spend but you will be limited to wind conditions. At our airport the slower low wing load trikes stop flying early and the high wing loading trikes fly all day.

 

So a cheap slow trike is fine is that is what you can afford OR willing to pay. However, if you can afford a trike and you want to climb faster, get there quicker, fly in stronger conditions and be more comfortable overall, spend as much as you can and get the trike you want. You basically get what you pay for.

 

Nov 12th

Winterizing the Four Stroke 912

By Rizwan Bukhari

 

Hi all,

 

I bought my Four Stroke 912 trike about a year ago and now that the winter is approaching. I was wondering how do you Winterize your Rotax 912 engines?

 

In the past winters, I have had a habit of starting my trike once every two to three weeks during the winter time.

 

But if I don't plan on starting it for a few months, what precautions and Winterization process should I adopt.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Rizzy

Nov 10th

Introduction to Trike Flying

By Rizwan Bukhari

I found this vintage video about introduction to Trike Flying. Thought you might enjoy it :)

 

Oct 21st

Speed range in Strut wings vs Cable braced wing

By Rizwan Bukhari

 

Hi all,

 

Most strut wing manufacturers always highlight the wide speed range in their wing advertising.

 

I am trying to figure out that what makes a Strut wing have a wide speed range. Would a strut wings offer a wider speed range than a similar sized and shaped cable braced wing?

 

And if that is the case then what makes a Strut wing have the wider speed range.

 

Any help in understanding this concept would be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Rizzy

Oct 18th

Adding a sea - water rating to land pilot and CFI

By Paul Hamilton

 

One of my students just bought a Cygnet so I went to Hanging’ Over Havasu with Joe Lorenzen who trained me on water. Here are some of my perspectives on this experience. Adding water trike to land trike.

 

It is all about the water. You search around until you find the best water and land right into the wind. Looking seeing evaluating the water and wind ON THE WATER is a key factor.

 

Similar to land trikes, it is best to keep the bar out to take the load off the floats for takeoff and landing.

 

The waves were harder than I thought they would be. I thought they would be softer.

 

Taxing and getting into specific locations was much easier than I thought it would be. With the Cygnet, as you taxi, it does not turn very quick. When you put the wheels down it slows it right down and now you have an extra front steering rudder that makes taxing much more responsive.

 

Getting the wheels up and down takes quite allot of strength.

 

It is easy to forget wheels up or down so this checklist for landing is very important.

 

I was told that landing in the water with wheels down will flip the trike over but landing with the wheels up on land is less eventful, in fact just scraping up the bottom.

 

It is really fun learning a new skill and Joe Lorenzen did a great job.

 

Additionally, Leo Fitzgerald did both of my proficiency checks for pilot and CFI. We got to do spiral recovery in the Cygnet for both pilot and CFI.

 

 Thanks again Joe and Leo. Really proud of both of you who I did checkrides over 10 years ago. Keep up the great work.

 

 Any additional comments from experienced Sea trikers is helpful.

 

Oct 17th

Stay warm in the winter flying with heated clothing

By Paul Hamilton

I always get plenty of querstions when the weather turns cold. Get prepared and get your heated clothing going and fly in comfort all winter.

Everyone has their own ideas about this. I have tried to simply bundle up and use those heated pads. This helps but does not cut it for a professional trike operation in the winter. I need to stay warm all day and keep my customers warm for long cold flights. The only solution I have found the only thing that works for me is heated clothing. Simple.

Here is an excert that I have on my web site for winter flying:

It may seem that it is cold flying in an open cockpit when it is freezing out there. It may appear that winter is not the time to go triking, microlighting, ultralighting powered hang gliding. Let me dispel these misconceptions.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Yes it is cold out there but you can use a modern state of the art heating system used my the military. It is simply heated clothing. I now use heated gloves, boots and vests. Gloves are 22 watts. Boots are 22 watts. Vests are 44 watts. HeatedInsoles That totals 88 watts of heating right near your skin to keep you warm and toasty. heatedVest Imagine trying to hold an 88 watt light bulb, it would burn your hands. This 88 watts is efficiently put where you need it to stay warm.

HeatingCoils We have the technology and can use it. Have looked and tried other systems and chose the Gerbing heated clothing mainly because of the technology plus it is available at the local motorcycle shop so it is easy to get, add or replace as necessary. Other brands probably do a good job also.  Gerbings developed Microwire™ in response to a Department of Defense contract for heated clothing for Special Ops Forces. You will use this to stay warm while you fly. Enough said. Here we show you how we suit up with all the heating clothing to keep you warm.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6swkBt4zOl4

Check out what you see while flying in the winter. Snow, cold/crisp air - warm and tosty. 

 
For those do it your selfers how to design your own system.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAsWjOmsb6g

Sep 25th

BAR-ROOM!

By monty stone

i wasn't sure whether to blog this or not, but apart from me  showing my pathetic ignorance about such things (as well as many others!) here goes. hoping that others out there in 'flex-wing flying-thingy' land might learn from any advice from the 'dear abby' of trikers, you know who i mean!  i recently bought a 2002 aircreation fun 14 / 447 trike. it, has a bar position problem, at trim , hands off level altitude the bar is WAY forward, so far in fact my arms are locked, making turns 'difficult'.  the  'suggestion bar' is only six inches from the 'down-thingamy ' tube. i've looked at videos on line with pilots flying identical trikes, relaxed, arms bent, smoking cigars, or eating peanut butter sammiches, with the bar halfway in the available space. i've stuffed a big cushion behind me which helps a bit, but i don't know of any trike that comes with a big cushion, so that ain't the answer! it had a '  brs' mounted behind the mast, under the engine which i took off, i weighed the front wheel weight on ground, with and without chute, me not in it and the needle barely moved, and some of those intrepid pilots i viewed had chutes, some didn't, so i don't believe thats the answer. the wing is mounted as far back as it can go, (fast position?), i tried it in the middle of the three holes, if any thing a bit worse! everything seems to be assembled correctly. no parts left over!  unless i have the wing on backwards! (how do you do a weight and balance on a trike?) none of the trikes i've flown have trimmed so far forward , so i've never had to fight this problem before. it flys straight, no signs of damage. it has 83hrs on it . i ain't no ' test-pilut', so i don't really know what to try next! hugs n farts, ............freazier nutszoff                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ps, don't anyone out there call me 'tyrannosaurus arms' my buds here in 'rain country' are already using that one!

Sep 12th

Active Hang Block

By Rizwan Bukhari

Hi all,

 

I have a question. On the Northwing website, they sell active Hang Blocks (pictured below). I don't know anything about them, other than that the A frame attaches directly to the Hang Block.

 

According to Northwing,

"The new Active Hang Block provides even more positive stability in rough air, requiring less control-input from the pilot, and also gives lighter handling pressures while initiating turns".

Does it really make a lot of difference. If anyone is using them then I would like to hear your comments and views about it.

 

Regards,

 

Rizzy

 

North Wing - Active Hang Block improves handling even more!

Sep 12th

Your favorite Compass?

By roger larson

Looking for thoughts on compasses used on trikes.  Seems like i have seen a lot of marine type compasses used?

So what is your favorite type of compass?  

Your favorite Brand?  Model?  Where do i get it.

How do you attach it?

 

Thanks  in advance for anyone that will give me input. 

 

 

Sep 5th

I am Yuri

By Bryan Tuffnell

I’d tried this game before, sneaking out while most people were snoozing to try a flight above cloud in the blackness of a moonless, mostly overcast night. I’d rolled onto Rangiora’s 25 near midnight, and sat there for a number of minutes before bottling out. Too much unknown, too many risks I couldn’t quantify.

The idea wouldn’t go away, and whenever I got the chance on land, I’d get above cloud on a pitch-black night to check how identifiable the horizon was. Eventually it seemed doable, but it was nearly a full year later before the combination of nearly complete low overcast and no moon presented itself.

Take Two. We rolled well after the witching hour, but with a decent bite of the night to savour before dawn. A few specks of starlight fell through an inky overcast - not much, but just enough to give us a horizon and something to aim for - so we bored up through a tiny break in the murk and broke into outer space above. Nothing below, just blackness. Only stars above. And it was wild.

Starlight spanned the night between the horizons, and any trace of the planet beneath was obliterated by the cloud beneath. We went inland, climbed up and up until I got the jitters, three miles into the night sky, feeling like the only living thing in the universe. It was a night from a Kubrick movie, a scene in a diminished key, a bizarre inversion of normality, somber, wonderful, a little spooky, surreal. This wasn’t flying a trike, it was riding a spaceship in orbit; the absence of stars providing the only refence for the horizon. For an hour I was Yuri Gagarin, alone in space, and I loved it, but oh the stress, the concentration…

The first blush of morning took away that uncomfortable and somewhat nerve-wracking edge and provided its own otherworldliness by illuminating the cloud from underneath but leaving me and Penrod in a battleship grey world. We found another hole in the Stygian gloom and descended through vaporous severed goats' heads and damp Mount Rushmores and into brightness and warmth. The low angle of the sunlight caught strange fibrous filaments and delicate cobwebs falling from the base of the clouds and lit them with oranges and reds. We did a little aerial boogey between them, I dragged my fingers through them. A few Zen cartwheels later we set down on my favourite beach. A siren song of surf was playing. I looked at Penrod's empty back seat which just looked wrong somehow - something was missing, so I put my clothes there and went for a bitterly cold swim. Home at 0900.

 

Not a recommended way of flying a trike, a bit of a stretch of safety… but sometimes you’ve just got to dance.