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 24th

Flying in Turbulence and Thermal activity

By Rizwan Bukhari

Hi all,

I hope I am NOT the only one here who is not entirely comfortable flying in Turbulence and Thermal activity. (despite the fact that I have been flying for a little while now).

Few weeks ago, I was flying with an experienced (Trike pilot friend) and he noticed that flying through the Turbulence, I was pulling the bar in so he said to me, just let the wing fly where it wants to fly (trim speed) and just correct when the pitch and bank is significant. And so I did and realized that I have been doing this incorrectly for the most part. By pulling the bar in and holding it with a white knuckled grip, I maybe guilty of transferring a lot of bad energy through the Trike carriage.

I am not ashamed to admit that I may have developed some bad habits, so some advanced training is needed.

But I am curious to find out that how do you fly through Turbulence and Thermal activity. And how exactly have you improved your handling of Turbulence and Thermal activity. What is the best way to expand one's knowledge and getting comfortable flying in turbulent conditions? What are some of the techniques that you think are good for flying in rough conditions?

 

Thanks all,

 

Rizzy

 

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

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 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. 

 

 

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 23rd

Lazy Eight maneuver

By Doug Boyle

The Manufacturer's limitations on pitch and bank are +/- 30 degrees and +/- 60 degrees, respectively.  The FAR's also state that a parachute while be donned when exceeding the same limits.  Thus, this discussion will not delve into aerobatic flight which is prohibited by the manufactures of Trikes and further restrained through the FAR's.

With that being said, I'd like to entertain the notion of using the Lazy Eight maneuver in Advanced Trike training.  As a Commercial Pilot program training exercise used in General Aviation, this maneuver can aid the Master Trike pilot in "becoming one" with his/her aircraft.  Furthermore, it can encompass the "new" training requirement of Spiral Dive Recovery in the discussion of avoidance, entry, and exit.  Unusual Attitudes will glove into the discussion and demonstration, as well.

Lazy Eight maneuvers involve maximum pitch and bank attitudes, in intervals, as a 180 degree turn is completed in both directions.  When done correctly they provide the feeling of "dancing with the wind".  From level flight the turn is begun with a progressive bank that maximizes at the 90 degree point and minimizes at the 180 degree point.  Pitch is progressive,as well, and maximizes at the 45 degree point and becomes neutral at the 90 degree point.  At the 135 degeee point the pitch is at its lowest as you're reducing your bank.  At the 180 degree point all is back to normal and we roll and pitch into the opposite direction. 

Begun at cruising rpm and level flight the goal is to return to the original speed and altitude without varying your power.  You learn to trade your airspeed in pitch control while simultaneously banking/unbanking your wing.  During the training the pilot will be exposed to "unusual attitudes" and "uncoordinated flight", until the practice concludes with the knowledge and skillful application of "aviation artistry".

To keep the pilot from getting anxious, begin with normal pitch and banks in the execution/demonstration.  Work up to the limits based upon your student's reaction. If you choose to delve deeper into this precision flight regime, try it with power off (idle) and compare the altitude loss with the completion of each maneuver.  Have fun but ALWAYS afford yourself the proper airspace and altitude to stay safe.  Clearing turns are a MUST!  Let's go fly...."slipping the surly bonds of Earth".

Doug Boyle