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!

Aug 10th

hirth versus rotax

By monty stone

queen victoria was 'gone' so it had to be in the present century i convinced my wife we HAD to go to sun n fun florida, no mean jaunt from seattle, like driving from scotland to bumfuk, egypt. on a powered parachute stand they had 65 hp hirths for $3000. fuel injection, electric start, pru 1 yr warranty and 1000 hr tbo! thus began several years of misery, and 3 emergency landings. i performed the run-in EXACTLY per the mfrs instructions . the first problem was early on, the engine wouldn't rev past 3500. it was only after me sucking and blowing in the vent line on the f.i. control unit the rpms shot up to7000! the unit was programmed too rich. the first engine out was at about 12 hrs, inc 10 hrs ground run, as per the hirth instr. i was able to land out on camano island wa and tlr it home. the mag side inner main brg had locked. up due to the ball cage having been spot welded together, instead of a delrin cage. hirth īrefused any warranty help, and i was busy grabbing all the used parts i could  find, i would be needing them! i did ship my crank to germany for possible warranty re-consideration, they 'lost' it. my next engine out with this unit  was around 200hrs when the fan belt shredded, the cyl hd temps skyrocketted and while descending a spark plug, with its lead flew past my head, taking the puny 10 mm thread with it., i had to set it down in snake infested scrub land in az, and stumble through half mile to a road. the next, and last engine out was again the mag side inner brg ball cage having broken up, locking the crank.(different crank and case!) i published tthis misshap on ttps. to sum up, the 1000hr tbo is nothing but a sales dept lie. the design flaws are many and even though 'on paper' it looks lovely, my experience is not a 'lovely' one. the us importer, mat, did everything he could to help, tthough not free! but corporate hirth sucks! i may have skipped over other 'problems with this engine, but unless you enjoy a challenget, 'relax with rotax'.                              freazier ballszoff                                                                                                                                                          ps, having read larrys comment i remember now the crankcase was cast styrofoam, my pru bolts all stripped out, totally unpleasant.pps, is anyone out there still flying with this engine? hello , hello.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Aug 1st

'to thumb, or not to thumb, aye that's the rub'. (shakespeare)

By monty stone

who ever laid out the plans for us,( by our own admission the 'best design yet'), expressly made a definitive point to have our thumbs 'opposeable'. ( auto mechanics would also have opted for a third arm, growing out of the chest to enable dificult tasks to be simplified, but this was turned down in order to get them durned thumbs configured properly, opposing! ).  this  gadget's requirement was to be able to grasp round things like weapons (so we can kill each other) tools, so we can 'fix' stuff, as well as other 'grasping' tasks like dragging a 'suitable damsel' from your (soon to be )'in-laws' cave. for at least 1000 centuries this design has worked with no 'ammendments necessary'. until, (in geological terms, )the 'recent' introduction of ' weight-shift-aircraft-of-the-flex-wing-variety, known to us 'old school' as trikes. suddenly we 'opposers' are derided and made faces at , even called 'darwinian bottom feeders'  if we insist on wrapping our 'opposeable thumbs in a 'death grip' around the 'suggestion bar', instead of the trike 'gurus' hysterical  insistance 'thumb on top' position, ( or "off to bed with no supper")   . try using a hammer without wrapping your thumb  around the handle! you'll bend the nail, smite your fingers and the hammer will fly accross the room! try picking up little needles from the floor without using this gadget! if monkeys had opposable thumbs they could be taught to fly trikes ( with appropriate instruction and cute little helmets and goggles ), instead of embarassing zoo visitors with their 'simian' version of trying to emulate homonids missuse of our opposable thumb 'app'.)  my question to the 'trike gurus' (you know who you are!) is why i'm not supposed to use my 'death-grip' to 'hang on to this 'contraption' and should use the (to me) awkward thumb on top method. i've tried it and my thumb-muscles don't like it! i checked on 'thumb-tube' videos and 87.6% of pilots use your method, the other  51.4% me inc, insist on gripping that bar with the 'natural' thumb-wrap'. don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                freazier  nuttszoff

Jul 23rd

is it time?

By monty stone

is it time to banish complacency ? not in any way blaming this as a cause for rebs accident, a possibility only. in my own february 'incident' the big 'C' played a big part in my costly , and painfull rollover, i wasn't really concentrating on what was happening around me. after all, i was only repeating what, and where i had taken off umpteen times before! i was COMPLACENT. and paid the price! as in all of lifes 'negative' experiences it would be nice to delete and re-do the causes, as yet, we don't have that 'app'.  so, how and what can we do to continue and enhance our 'floppy wing flying things' addiction? over the years we've discussed 'safety', and for a while we tend to tighten up our act a bit, more thorough pre-flight, etc, etc. but i know in my own case i get a bit 'complacent' and don't pay as much attention to the 'details' as i should. when a tragedy like rebs accident happens it's a wake-up call for ALL of us. if it can happen to a pilot like reb, it can easily get us 'lesser' pilots. so what can WE do to enhance our being able to still be flying these 'contraptions' in our 90s, (not too far ahead for some of us!). so, as has many times before been suggested  don't fly where you can't land, if the big fan behind you quits! don't fly up the center of  box canyons, close to mountains or over water , deeper than a wading pool! or over a wild animal park at feeding time, or over hunters during 'opening day' (lest we are mistaken for geese!) . or over a jealous husbands house, (i'm not explaining that one!). don't rely on a puny 'lap belt', only,  shoulder belts do help!  i've missed many other obvious 'donts', no doubt you smarter homonids have  your own safety 'credos' ranging from your favourite prayer printed on a grain of rice, duct-taped to your visor , to the 'lucky' rabbits paw hung on your ignition key ring. (it wasn't too lucky for the rabbit, but maybe it'll work for you!) i would also like to see, somewhere a wing grading system/chart listing from one to ten a particular wings ease or difficulty of control and training requred to fly it with a degree of competency, this would be a fairly straightforward task for the gurus , they have the the experience of flying various different wings and us 'mere mortal' trike drivers could then become over-night wing eggspurts!   lastly, how do we, trikers stack up, accident wise, fatal and non with other non comercial 'air-beaters', general av, rotary wings, gliders, balloons etc?  are we in trouble?  if so, what can we do about it?                                                                                                                                                                                                                      frazier nutsoff

May 18th

senor 'buechoe' and the 'big tail lights'

By monty stone

i was 500 miles south of tijuana, riding my 500cc suzuki dirt bike, reconoitering for a planned ultralight trip down the baja peninsular, to be attempted in 1994. ( described in an earlier blog) i had just gassed up when 'bang', whiffle-whiffle, no compression! i got a tow , 20mls in a raging crosswind, on a very short rope, not a fun trip, into the next town, guerro negro, not a 'tourist destination'. at the motel i stripped the engine and found an exhaust valve had broken and punched a 1inch hole through the piston, in addition to much havoc to the head. i found a local weld shop and they welded the hole shut. surprisingly, few locals speak 'american' and i don't have much 'mexican', but with much sign language i learned that THE meccanico in town was senor 'bueckho' . he was just 'a leedle way that way'. 20 blocks later i trudged up to 'senor 'bhukos' shop, typically, no roof, piles of junk auto parts everywhere, but a BIG sign, proudly proclaiming 'mechanico'. the thing that made this one different was a really nice  black 1959 ford galaxy, the one with the REALLY big round tail lights was parked in the entrance and a couple was , well, coupling, on the trunk lid. the male, with his back to me had really grimy coveralls on, so i assumed he was 'senor bueckho', she had bare feet, tucked under his arm-pits. i asked 'senor bhuekhoe'? he answered, without missing a 'beat', 'si senor, una momento'. true to his word, a few 'momentos' later, he was examining my broken bits, while his 'significant other' dis-appeared into his  'office'. he found, among the junk a suitable old valve, cutting it down to fit, and soon i had a repaired head, and $20 later i was busy putting the engine back together at the motel. one piston ring was broken but having no alternative had to install the broken bits. it was hard to start, low compression, and would only run around 3000 rpm, but with billowing blue smoke and rattleing i made it back to the US. i still have that piston, somewhere with many other 'tortured' parts from my past but senor' buchoes' valve has long gone, but the memory of those 'beautiful' big tail lights lives on!                                                                                                                                                                                                                       freazier  nuttzsoff                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ps, to this day, i get all teary eyed when ever an auto with REALLY big round tail lights goes by!  pps, i just uploaded a pic of the piston and valve head on photos.

Apr 25th

AGAIN, ALMOST!

By monty stone

last friday was lovely, sunny, 50 deg, no wind. but saturday was different, with possible thunderstorms, etc. this happened  saturday.  i had spent the last coupla' weeks rebuilding 'phang', now known as 'feenix', my cosmos echo, and trailered him up to the airport. i assembled my old 1993 12m wing, it had been bagged for 5years while i flew my 14.7 northwing, which i destroyed in feb while trying to perfect a forward somersalt. surprisingly, despite the rest, the 12m still had that tired look of a 24year old 'molting' python, no apparent healing having taken place. i rolled the trike out to an open area far away from the hangers, and proceeded to pitch the new (to me) warpdrive prop. 1deg at a time. i had the front tire of the trike up against the rear wheel of my van. the wind was 10mph so was on the lee side. each adjustment entailed re-setting each blade, re-torquing 10bolts, sitting in the trike revving till max revs attained etc, re-setting everything again. this all occupied quite some time, but as i was getting down to the nitty gritty i  ignored the fact that the wing was beginning to move around, BIG MISTAKE! i was torquing the bolts when a gust hit, almost blowing the trike over. i was by now grimly pushing the trike up against the van as hard as my ancient bod could, thinking, it'll calm down. NOT SO! i managed to grab a bit of rope and got one side of the a-frame tied loosely to the landing gear, but had no chocks, and nothing else to shove under the tires but my sandelled foot, that wasn't working. the wing was flapping around trying to gouge the van, i grabbed a rear stay wire, i think thats when a nico made a hole in my arm, now blood was getting all over my nice yellow t-shirt. THEN the wind really blew, my bod' propped' (pun) up against the hub, with the 2 blades horizontal, if it blew over it might survive! this uneven struggle went on for another 20mins, i'm desperately trying to get the attention of the only guy i could see, the airport mower-guy, half mile away. i would wave, then he would wave back, he obviously thought i was being  'overly friendly' then, out of the 'blew' (pun) a guy in a blue van appeared at my elbow, uttering those magic words "do you need a hand"?.  i blurted out "yes i need a goddamned hand". he cell-phoned his budds who were cowering in their hanger, listening to the doors rattleing, and pitying any poor sumbitch caught out in this! soon i had 6 guys hanging on the trike and guiding it into the hanger. i was too beat to check for damage, and re-check the bolts, but maybe i SHOULD take up flower-arrainging, or golf, anything not relying on wind, or lack of!                             freazier nutszoff                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ps my saviour, ron, now my new bestfriend, was offered my first-born son ,(now 61 ) as reward, but he declined, he already had one of his own.

Mar 1st

PILOT T-ERROR

By monty stone

first i apologise to paul, he created a group discussion site for this type of FU but the comments kinda ran away on the video . this crash was entirely pilot error, 100%. preventable, and stupid! so, how can we benifit from the comments, all of which contain usefull suggestions. our being able to dissect the actual impact frame by frame provides educational info as to what actually happens, not relying on 'eye witness' accounts. i personally won't attempt flights from this particular 'curved runway' again, even though i've 'got away with it ' hundreds of times before! my 'skinny' tires/wheels will go back on, less drag = quicker take off, i had hoped that the phat tires would give me a chance of landing on a ploughed surface, which is almost 100% in this area of AZ, in the event of an engine out, but i don't think even a wide tire would prevent a 'roll-over, and haveing tried it, i don't wanna do it again. also, my lock-stops , a steering damper and cables didn't prevent the mayhem visible on my photos . why my feet weren't crushed i don't know! so i will install solid stops and restricted lock to prevent the forks twisting into 'foot crushing' mode. a gas vent with 'upside down' leak stop valve will be installed. that nifty control panel will be redesigned to NOT hurt my legs again! the master switch and kill switches will be more accessable, those few seconds smelling gas and being unable to release the seat belt and being kinda' upside down seemed a 'lot longer'. the control tube is gonna have an internal cable, the jagged ends of it coulda' stuck me! some stuff worked well! the shoulder straps i've always pleaded for worked! i repeat I'M A STUPID ARSEHOLE but you don't have to be! we all need to learn from each others mistakes. keep the rubber side down! , mostly!                                                                                                                                                                               freazier nutszoff

Feb 24th

SEE AND AVOID

By monty stone

as i drove my van along one of those very long and straight roads, the other day, in bright sunshine, here in phoenix, az, i realized the VERY bright red flashing light i had been seeing ahead was a tiny led on back of a bicycle, very visible for several 'furlongs'. it got me a'thinking, about the one common 'ailment' all pilots suffer from, 'in-flight-a-phobia', and, how to deal with it. i'm sure that anyone who has 'slipped the surly bonds' (copy) can relate his personal 'near miss', or more correctly 'near hits'. my own two recent ones, eliciting 'oh fu..k'!  involved a 'twin' passing under me at 2k here in the az desert, and a very distinctive low wing mono with struts above the wing, a la pawnee. he appeared from my left, same altitude i yanked the trike as hard right as i could and didn't see him again till he landed at ' our local airstrip'. i asked him had he seen me, he said he had not.  here in az i'm 5miles from a busy towered muni, my 'practice' area under a lot of it's aproach traffic mostly at 1-2k ft, but a lot of lower 'chopper' traffic, some of whom 'bounce' accross our rooftops. our trike 'contraptions' are very stealthy, hard to see, especially from the cockpit of a 200mph bonanza, while the pilot is fiddleing with his radio, which pilots of 'real' aircraft do a lot. how do you guys deal with this threat? my own 'limited' arsenal is mainly assuming HE doesn't see me, and keep this scrawny old neck swivelling around and trying NOT to focus on the horizon only, you'll miss the' hun in the sun' if you don't vary your focal point  , i give way to ALL traffic, from pidgeons to school buses, my strobes are on ALL the time, (i hope they are as visible as the bicycles were!), my  wing leading edges are black and yellow bands like a coral snake, though this won't help much from being rear-ended by that bonanza! , who thought i was a bug on his windshield. what's YOUR magic pill you take to ensure you aren't late for dinner! see and avoid is easy to say not always easy to do, most of the answers will be deemed 'common sense', but sometimes 'sense' ain't always 'common'.                                                                                                                                                                                                     freazier nutszoff

Feb 20th

be careful what you wish for!

By monty stone

in a recent blog i had the temerity to forecast that in the future all trikes, as well as all other aircraft will be hooked up to a huge 'hal' like mainframe computor based in an underground silo in bumfuk , egypt, and thus allowing all FAA and all other 'official' requirements to be automatically carried out from afar. if your bi-ennial is not current, your engine won't be allowed to start, etc. well, i recieved an e-mail from my local 'muni' that twelve cameras had been installed arround the airport in order ' day and night' to monitor all aircraft movements, in order, it says, to better serve all users. while i personally agree that all terrorists, and other wanna-be violent criminals should be strangled at birth, and 'inner cities' do need CCTV's on every street corner, in order to catch the bad guys, i don't wanna be a 'battery hen', or whatever they call domestic animals, locked in a cage , doomed only to poop and pay taxes. now i'm faced with the very real prospect of a take-off with my tire pressures below the FAA regulated PSI that it will be reported to the appropriate  authority, followed by the inevitable punitary action. this USA is one of the very few remaining 'bastions' of liberty left in this rapidly shrinking  'globalized' spinning rock we live on, and despised by many,( envy takes many forms,) and, with all it's many faults, our system WORKS!  one reason i emigrated to this USA in 1964 was it was becoming very obvious that in the UK pretty soon i would need a royal decree and pardon in order to fart. (the british royal court employed a 'royal farter' who's job it was to fart whenever the king felt the need, but didn't want to take the 'risk'.)   FTF ( freedom to fart) is a human 'right', and within obvious social 'mores' shouldn't be government regulated! now, where the hell was i? oh yeah, i don't think our local muni is unique with this 'red light tell-tale installation' but how far will it go? are our bedrooms soon to be installed with CCTV,s in order to forecast future population growth , like MEL GIBSON yelled while being eviscerated by the current king, FREEEEEEEEEDOM!                                                                                                                                                                                                               freezier nutszoff                                                                                                                                                                                   ps.                                                                                                                         dr  ben franklin , during his soujorn in england studied 'fartrillocwism', the ability to throw the  fart so as to blame another for this 'social indiscretion ', as detailed in his well known 'art of the fart', published circa 1781.

Jan 31st

....cont.... the sound of silence, second bit.....

By monty stone

back at the hanger the engine, a 377 rotax, sc, si, was disected, the engine, had been fitted with a 'rebuilt ' crank, but the main bearings had steel ball cages, instead of delrin, and one cage had broken up, and had locked up the crank. on reflection my choice of a field was obviously very wrong, i don't think i panic'd, but certainly 'target fixed' on that field. what has all this to do with trikes? well, the older ultralights and 'unsophistacated ' trikes' both feel similar when flying, you 'fly' the wing, how you 'get there' is a little different , but speeds, climb rate, landing speeds are similar, (naked, older trikes!). the main difference, apart from the 'obvious' reversal' is the rudder. the rudder  is VERY dominant in ul's, neglect it and you'll be slipping and sliding all over with adverse yaw that'll keep you awake at night! we trikers are SO spoilled, due to some 'fancy wing design features, that we ' wingliterates' have been eagerly absorbing of late,  we ALMOST don't have to ko-ordinate our turns! (i did say almost!). and 'we don't need no stinking rudder! but we do need to make better 'landing field choices.' in my 'defence' this was my first emergency landing, though not my last!                                                               no damage, scratches only so i'll pretend i planned it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ps, this plane had a second chance chute, but it never entered my head to use it, i still had control and a triangular field in view! plus the 'boss' woulda 'reamed me a new arsehole over the repack cost!                                                 pps, to newbies only, when that big fan stops during a glide at idle  you will pick up a bit of speed and distance  due to getting rid of that big 'disc umbrella'.                                                                                                             ppps. 'cross-control' to increase drag doesn't have much effect with a 3inch boom tube.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ..................freazier nutszoff