Dec 1st

Why would you fly a lawn chair with a kite over your head? This is a question a get all the time and here is my answer.

By Paul Hamilton

 

Just yesterday I was in my hanger and the hanger next door had THE world famous P51 crew there to get this vintage P51 up and running. Their hanger door was locked and they were waiting to get in and they stuck their head into my hanger and popped the classic question: Why would you fly a lawn chair with a kite over your head? I have learned not to take offence to this but invite this as an opportunity.

 

I invited them into my heated hanger and started my routine (dog and pony show) with the following points:

 

1.      This is like a motorcycle that flies. It is NOT a real airplane and is not meant to be. I also am a CFI and DPE for airplanes and this is completely different. You are out in the open air like many vintage aircraft, such as many top pilots who learned to fly in an open cockpit.

 

2.      It is a completely different way of flying. You have the wing in your hand without any mechanical controls. It provides a direct connection to the wing. It simply is more fun than a typical airplane (For this audience I did add that since I have not yet flown in a P51 I suspect that would also be spectacular fun and maybe we could trade a ride).

 

3.      These are typically not used to go anywhere and or travel. However these have been flown around the world. Personally, I use a single engine airplane to fly to Southern California and if I want to go further I FLY IN JETS.

 

4.      Yes I know a flying wing is hard to understand. So far the industry has not been able to perfect the flying wing. Right now we have one of the top military stealth  B2 bomber and the trike/hang glider wing that are the current flying wings. I feel that in the future the flying wing will eventually become popular as a commercial aircraft but we shall see how long that takes.

 

5.      Back in the day when I was involved in Aeronautical Engineering as a consultant, I had an AH HA moment that changed my life. I was in a meeting on a project I was working on with Gordon Cooper, the famous astronaut. After this long stressful MEETING, Gordon was to take me out flying in a piper cub to convince me to join the project team. On our way out to the aircraft Gordon said “I am so glad to get out of that meeting and go flying”. I replied, “Gordon, you have flown the fastest, best, most complex aircraft in the world and a rocket into space, do you still enjoy flying a simple single engine airplane?” Gordon replied “This is what I love the most, flying for fun and enjoyment. The test flying and space flight is incredibly stressful work. I am honored to have had that opportunity.  However, I love to get back to my roots just flying for fun”. This moment changed my opinion about flying and moving up the chain to faster and more complex aircraft so I stayed with what I love. The twin engine is faster than the single engine. The jet is faster than the twin engine. The rocket is faster than the jet. There is always something  faster for almost every pilot.

 

6.      I was able to fly with General Nolan, the commander of Edwards Air Force Base in a trike with one of my projects flying at Edwards with the USAF Test Pilots school. It is known that General Nolan  has flown the greatest variety of ASAF aircraft testing in the world. He loved the trike and gave me the VIP tour of Edwards Air Force Base. I asked if we could land where the space shuttle landed and he got clearance to do so and we did. After that flight with the General “woody” Nolan, as he wanted me to call him, the ultralight as they wanted to call it, one of the sought after aircraft for the top USAF test pilots. Some came after to fly with me here in Tahoe for the fun of it.

 

 

 

The P51 group had wide eyes and silence as I paused and asked “Any questions?”

 

 

 

We went over some details on how the flying wing works and the rotax engine and there contact showed up to let them into the hanger. I said “Thanks for asking and looks like it is time for you to get to work”.

 

 

 

This is how I handle this question. Any other points of why fly a trike and thoughts about how to handle this question would be appreciated.

 

 

 

I would like to expend these points for the benefit of all…..

 

Dec 1st

Flying the Revo as a Professional Operation for the last 3 years

By Paul Hamilton

Time flies when you make your living flying trikes. I decided to structure my flight school business with the Evolution Revo and it has ended up being a great way to go. Why? First the Revo has been able to excel in professional trike flying for both intro flights www.HangGlidingTahoe.com and primary training www.SportAviationCenter.com
Besides being a top performer allowing me to extend flying to all day and amazing appearance, the service/support has been exceptional.
In these last 3 years Larry Mednick has developed the ultralight Rev and now the outback/backcountry Revolt. WOW, amazing Evolution.

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.

 

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

Aug 24th

Sport Pilot Checkride and Flight Review book updated to V4

By Paul Hamilton

 

http://www.trikepilot.com/members/profile/273/pictures/25864/2

I just updated my Checkride book and items 1, 2, and 3 might be of interest to trike pilots

The following items was updated from version 3:

 

1. For a Flight Review, a Proficiency Check now counts as a flight review per 61.56(d). Example: Private pilot airplane adds a WSC trike endorsement per 61.325 with a proficiency check. This now counts as a flight review.

 

2. WSC trike spiral recovery added to Emergency Procedures.

 

3. Flight Following communications examples now added to Airport Operations Radio Communications.

 

4. Updates of what to study and what not to study to for the Airplane Flying Handbook new version 8083-3B and Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge new version 8083-25B    

 

Aug 9th

Trike engine reliability. Are they all equal?

By Paul Hamilton

 

What is most interesting is how history repeats itself. A year or two ago I put out a video of flying over Los Angeles. There were critics who expressed their opinions condemning me for flying over a city where there was no suitable landing area with an engine out.

 


Then a very intelligent pilot with lots of aviation experience said something like “there are thousands of single engine airplanes flying over hundreds of cities EVERY DAY in a similar situation. Why is a trike different?”

Good question. Why is a single engine trike aircraft ideology different than all the airplane GA aircraft flying over big cities? Airplane pilots are not badmouthing each other as they fly around. Why are trike pilots different? What motivates trike pilots to have this fearful ideology of engine failure.

It is simple. Here is why. Trikes initially started out with lawn mower engines and progressed to the two stroke ROTAX engines. In the basic “Risk Analysis Matrix” There was a Probable or Occasional likelihood of engine failure simply from the fact of basic two stroke unreliability. Add to that modifications, primitive designs, bad maintenance, and bad operations. There were expectably plenty of engine failures. Now add the four stroke upgrade on experimental’s and things got remarkably better. Why do you think everyone wants a four stroke? THEY ARE SIMPLY MORE RELIABLE. Now add the factory built S-LSA designs with FAA certified mechanics. The S-LSA are simply at a new level of engine reliability if properly maintained. Now we are at the engine reliability level of the GA certificated aircraft. S-LSA have the reliability of all those thousands of single engine aircraft flying over hundreds of cities EVERY DAY.GA airplanes fly IFR into clouds, over mountains at night, and over the open water.

If we try to compare the two stroke and/or old design/badly maintained to a 912 factory design and maintained S-LSA, these are different animals. Not an intelligent comparison.

Modern S-LSA designs maintained by qualified FAA mechanics get to the risk assessment likelihood of remote or possibly improbable. Just like GA engines.

Today I did a flight review in an Ercoupe that was built in 1946. This just came out of annual and I saw it in the shop. It has old systems. However, I feel this is much more reliable than the early two strokes, but I do not think it is as reliable as my Rotax 912 S-LSA that I personally maintain as a FAA Light Sport Repairman Maintenance to S-LSA standards.

So in summary, trikes have come a long way in safety and reliability. So to classify all trikes in the same engine failure likelihood category does not make sense. This is pretty simple. There are many different levels of reliability.

 

 

 

Has who has had engine failures, what type of engine was it (two stroke/four stroke), and what type of a trike was it E-SLA or S-SLA. I would like to find out the statistics so we can get smarter with this.

 

Jul 27th

How to get all trike pilots trained with spiral recovery

By Paul Hamilton

 

Now that we know the new training/testing standards the question is how to successfully implement it? It is important for everyone to get the proper safety training.

 

There are some CFI, and/or DPE’s who teach and others that do not teach spiral recovery.

 

The DPE’s can teach the instructors and the CFI’s can teach all their pilot base with flight reviews. Pilots simply ask for it.

 

I will provide training (and other CFI’s can do the same) to any DPE if they do not teach it or want some brushup. It is really simple and easy and it can be properly done in less than an hour (unless you are prone to motion sickness)Anything to get this out to all CFI.

 

This will take a little while, 3 years maybe to teach CFI's and get all the trike pilot with their 24 month Flight review.

 

Please provide names so we have a reference.

 

So lets get a list of the CFI’s who teach it and the CFI’s who do not can get the proper training.

 

Please provide CFI and Contact names so we have a reference. This can be from students who received the training of CFI’s who already do it. Also noice to know pilots who are comfortable

 

 

 

Qualified CFI Spiral Training CFI’s

 

Paul Hamilton (CA and NV)

Larry Mednick (FL)

Abid (FL)

Henry Boger (So CA)

Henry Trike Life (So CA)

 

 

Pilots who comfortably do spirals

 

Jul 26th

What are your wind limitations. Where should they be for different levels of pilots?

By Paul Hamilton

Establishing appropiate wind limitations is an important aspect of ADM/risk analysis.

On the runway, at altitude, in mountains/canyons are the stuations.

 

Where do you draw the line?

These are the four BUMP LEVELS for which I make the GO/NO GO decision to fly:

Nice Air

Moderate bumps

Uncomfortable air

Dangerious

 

What are your bump levels on the runway, at altitude, in mountains/canyons.

 

 

 

 

Jul 26th

New Training and Checkride Spiral Dive Recovery Standards

By Paul Hamilton

Well we finally did it. A great step for triking safety in the future. Thanks to all the discussion and input from Trike Pilots on this important issue. Bacground see: http://www.trikepilot.com/forum/topic/1233

 

 

Just out from the FAA to Designated Pilot Examiners:

 

 

There has been an addition of RECOVERY FROM A SPIRAL DIVE as an Emergency Task in both the Sport Pilot and Private Pilot WSC Practical Test Standards as well as the Weight Shift Control Flying Handbook.  Effective immediately this task must be tested in all practical tests for WSC.

 

 

 

The changes have been made and are now posted on the 630 web page.

 

 

 

Link: http://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/test_standards/.  Look for the dates of July, 2017, for the PTS changes.

 

 

 

Link:  http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/.  Look for the change date of July, 2017.