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.

 

 

 

May 7th

How to find Trike Pilots and Instructors near you and/or finding a place to get trained, transitioned or updated.

By Paul Hamilton

 

This has been an incredible start to the flying season. I have never gotten so many calls asking “where can I find a trike instructor near me?”

 

Good news and bad news. The good news is that most of the qualified trike instructors and many pilots are listed at:

 

http://lsapilot.sportaviationcenter.com/sport-pilot-locator/

 

This is the most comprehensive, up to date site to find pilots and instructors. This is where I send everybody. Pilots and instructors, please look at this and let me know if it is up to date for your area. I personally maintain this and try to be as accurate and comprehensive as I can.

 

The bad news is that there may not be a qualified trike instructor close to you. Many times it is better to travel and concentrate on flying with a full time established school and get it done. Your program is listed at http://sportpilottraining.sportaviationcenter.com/sport-pilot-applicant/sport-pilot-applicant-start/ We have two and sometimes THREE FULL TIME trike instructors ready to train you. I can give you your checkride. One stop shop.

 

Other trike instructors please feel free to list your web site here and MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE TRIKE LOCATOR http://lsapilot.sportaviationcenter.com/sport-pilot-locator/

 

Best,

 

Paul Hamilton, CFI, DPE LSRM-trike

 

Apr 28th

Rotax 912 float warning. Check yours. It can happen to you. It has happened to me.

By Paul Hamilton

 

Recently, I have had numerous problems with the Rotax Carb Floats. Luckily I was able to avoid an engine failure, just loss of power but enough to land safely. This has been for new and old floats. They absorb fuel and can sink.

 

Some say that the newer floats are OK, Wrong. Some say that the older floats are OK, Wrong. I have seen sinking floats in all ages.

 

It is really simple, run the engine or the electric fuel pump and fill the carb bowls. Pull the bowls and see if the fuel level is equal below the top of the bowl. See if the floats all look like they are floating at the same level and lastly take the floats out, let them dry and weigh them. If a float is more than 3.1 grams it is no good. Rotax sez 7 grams for both, but in my opinion, this does not  leave much room for error.

 

This is a simple safety check for all 912 carb owners

 

Check your floats.

 

Apr 11th

Initial Flight Review Airborne new M3-Sport trike with XRS wing

By Paul Hamilton

 

Just had my first test flight on the new Airborne M3-Sport trike with XRS wing. It was everything I expected. Note this has just myself (140 pounds) and one flight so these are my first impressions.

 

Nice improvements. What stuck out most has how straight it tracked. We would expect this with the huge wheel stabilizer area plus the winglets providing significant vertical stabilizer/rudder. Because of this, there is very little adverse yaw in the turns. No uncomfortable/odd slipping hard/scary to get out of turns. This lack of adverse yaw appeared to slow down the turn response slightly but the turn pressure is similar to the other high performance Airborne wings and maybe better.

 

With the minimum twist wing design, it performs surprisingly well with the 80 HP 912. Quite the glide for landing round out.

 

Again with just me, I could push the bar all the way to the front strut and it would not stall. When I brought it up quickly into a mild whip stall, the whole wing broke lift and pitched down quickly. Yahoooooo. When it stalls it stalls. No roll to either side and a clean straight break. We would expect this for a low twist high performance wing.

 

The trim system is about as effective as the other Airborne wings. Not a huge speed difference but I did not crank it to tight until I review this system better. From the factory trim was full throttle 75 MPH and glide at 65 MPH. Slightly faster than I like but I need to fly double with extra weight before I move the trim position on the keel.

 

What I really liked and thought was a big improvement was the offset engine angles providing minimum torque AND P factor effect throughout the engine and speed ranges. That high speed/full throttle irritating right turn of the older models drove me crazy. The combination of the engine offset with the vertical stabilizer area solves this problem.

 

Overall I think it is a winner and a great improvement. Make no mistake, this XRS is a high performance wing. You can get a lower performance wing on the updated/upgraded M3-Sport undercarriage and these should be options also.

 

This is a great option for the top of the line mid range priced trikes.

 

I will have this here for a while for demos as I train Warren the owner. Call me 775:772-8232 or e mail paul@SportAviationCenter.com  if you want more details for pricing and availability. 

 

Apr 9th

Travis achieves his goal to change his career/life and become and work as a trike CFI.

By Paul Hamilton

 

The phone rings. Someone asks if I provide mountain flying for trikes. HMMMMMMM…. Yes I do come out and fly with me and I will teach you how to fly in the mountains. Travis lived in NJ and wanted to get his CFI and set up operations in South America Chile to run a flight operation just like many other dreamers wanting a new life. I said “yea come out and fly with me and let me know when you are coming”. He said OK I will let you know.

 

It should be noted I get all kinds of calls about people wanting to live their dream but most are just talk. They say they will get back to me and that is the last I hear from them. Well this is not the story here.

 

About a month later Travis calls me and said “I sold everything and headed out to you. Do you still have that S-LSA trike for sale I want it?”.

 

Well he showed up, bought the trike, got his sport pilot license last summer and flew every possible time to get his 150 hours in less than a year. He just passed his CFI checkride and we had our first fly together with customers today. YaHoooooo

 

Travis will be working with me this summer providing intro flights at Lake Tahoe and doing primary training for trike students.

 

Congratulations Travis for living your dream and welcome to serious triking.

 

Apr 8th

Engine Failure After Takeoff

By Paul Hamilton

Engine Failure After Takeoff
As discussed earlier in Chapter 7, Takeoff and Departure
Climbs, proper takeoff technique provides lower pitch
angles during the initial climb to provide the slowest possible
descent rate for an engine failure after takeoff. The pitch
angle and altitude available for engine failure at takeoff are
the controlling factors in the successful accomplishment of an
emergency landing. If an actual engine failure should occur
immediately after takeoff and before a safe maneuvering
altitude is attained, it is usually inadvisable to attempt to turn
back to the takeoff fi eld. Instead, it is safer to establish the
proper glide attitude immediately, and select a fi eld directly
ahead or slightly to either side of the takeoff path.

The decision to continue straight ahead is often diffi cult to
make unless the problems involved in attempting to turn back
are seriously considered. First, the takeoff was probably made
into the wind. To return to the takeoff fi eld, a downwind turn
must be made. This increases the groundspeed and rushes
the pilot even more in the performance of procedures and
in planning the landing approach. Second, the aircraft loses
considerable altitude during the turn and might still be in a
bank when the ground is contacted, resulting in cartwheeling
(a catastrophe for the occupants, as well as the aircraft). After
turning downwind, the apparent increase in groundspeed
could mislead the pilot into a premature attempt to slow
the aircraft to a stall. Finally, it is more than one 180° turn.
For example, it is fi rst a 225° turn in one direction, then
another 45° turn in the other direction, totaling 310° of turn.
[Figure 13-6]

On the other hand, continuing straight ahead or making a
slight turn allows the pilot more time to establish a safe
landing attitude. The landing can be made as slowly as
desired, but more importantly, the aircraft can be landed
while under control.


At airports where the runways are much longer than needed,
there is typically ample runway to make a straight ahead
landing. If a tight pattern is being used and the crosswind leg
is started at the end of the runway, turning back the additional
90° to the runway could be the best option, depending on the
suitability of landing areas straight ahead.

Depending on the specific design of the WSC aircraft
considering weight, wing, and carriage, this maneuver can

be performed with no reaction time and as low as 250 to
500 feet AGL. However, the pilot should determine the
minimum altitude that such a maneuver would require of a
particular aircraft. Experimentation at a much higher, safe
altitude, 700 feet AGL as an example, should give the pilot
an approximation of height lost in a descending 225° and
45° turn at idle power. Starting high above the ground at
low bank angles and monitoring the altitude loss while doing
the required turns to line back up on the runway provides a
good reference. Finding the best bank angle to perform the
required turns for this maneuver with minimum altitude loss
is key to optimizing this maneuver and developing a habit if
this maneuver is needed in a real emergency.

By adding a safety factor of about 30 percent to account for
reaction time and no thrust from the propeller, the pilot should
arrive at a practical decision height. The ability to make these
turns does not necessarily mean that the departure runway can
be reached in a power-off glide; this depends on the wind,
the distance traveled during the climb, the height reached,
and the glide distance of the aircraft without power.

This is a highly advanced maneuver with turns close to
the ground. This should be practiced well into the training
program with the instructor. For example, consider an aircraft
which has taken off and climbed to an altitude of 350 feet
AGL when the engine fails. After a typical 4-second reaction
time, the pilot pulls down the nose, maintains control of the
aircraft, and elects to turn back to the runway, losing 50 feet.
[Figure 13-6, A to B] The pilot performs the 225° turn and
loses 300 feet. [Figure 13-6, B to C] The pilot must glide back
to the runway, losing another 50 feet. [Figure 13-6, C to D]
The pilot must turn another 45° to head the aircraft toward
the runway, losing another 50 feet. [Figure 13-6, D to E] By
this time the total change in direction is 310°, the aircraft
will have descended 450 feet, placing it 100 feet below the
runway.

 

Mar 28th

Heated Clothing for trike pilots

By Paul Hamilton

Flying in ther winter can be warm and comfy. 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 all day. 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