Mar 30th

Death Valley takes my Wing

By Peter Owens

I'm in the need of a new wing for my Tanarg.

Left Oregon in my Toyhauler with my trike on a trip down to Death Valley last week for some nice warm flying as I done before in the spring. We camp at Stovepipe Wells .It has an airstrip next to it. It is always amazing to drive down the East side of the Cascades and Sierras through snow and ice all the way and to literally go from freezing to 80 degrees in the last hour of driving. This year it was hitting 90 when we got there.  I noticed a lot of Lennies in the sky so knew there were high winds aloft.

But the mornings were warm and calm and could fly around the valley in shorts and flipflops so all was great. The winds though would start to pick up from the south by 11. One morning my wife Theresa and I were flying to Furnace Creek to get some groceries but the wind was already starting to kick in from the south so we hightailed back to Stove Pipe and tied down the trike.

We drove to Furnace Creek and were having lunch at their golf course (It just seems wrong to have a golf course in Death Valley). But at least you can sit outside and eat. And the winds just kept picking up. It was starting to hit 30+ on the ground and I was just getting nervous about my Trike. Headed directly back to the airstrip and all was well. Still blowing like stink from the south, just tightened everything and headed back to camp. All good.

Back at Camp shortly thereafter the wind calms. First time in the afternoon it had done that. A friend stops by and we talk about taking him for a flight later.

We are sitting outside having a beer AND That is when the SCIROCCO hits!!!

A dust storm comes off the playa to the North and just rips through camp. Canopies are snapping off campers. Tents are blowing away. It’s now howling 40 FROM THE NORTH!!!. We race out to the airstrip (can’t even see the road for the dust storm) and get out there to see my trike flipped over. Ones wings webbing used for tying down was snapped. Yikes. One still intact. Stood out there for 1/2 hour caked in dust trying to keep it from scooting down the runway.

Soooo...  one Trike's wheel Pant broken, some fiberglass rash. But otherwise intact. (still have to go through it.) The wing though is toast. Keel broken. Sail shredded.

Lesson learned. When it the desert, whatever it takes, tie the tail down to something. I could have used a long tie to a parallel cable that was there for tie down.


So- now I'm in the market for a wing, new or used, for my Tanarg. Please contact me if you have something to sell.

Mar 30th


By Todd Halver

Check out my ad on Barnstormers:

Bionix 13  


Mar 29th

For sale Transmitter+intercom+headsets

By Jozinko Sajan

For sale:

- ICOM IC A5 (channel spacing 25kHz) with ICOM powered cable from board network what includes a voltage stabiliser and interference suppressor

- Intercom Pilot PA-200 with VOX, powered by 9V battery (without an interference from alternator) + velcro PTT

- 2pcs headset Pilot P51 with volume control, gel ear pads, microphones to a noisy background

All was flying on my trike.

Video link:

Why I cant give here photos? :) I will send you by email...


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.

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.

Mar 22nd

Joy and frustrations of a student pilot

By Bob Lemke


What I would like to solicit from this blog is other's learning experiences along with their mind set. As I type this I've received 9 hours of instruction, 7.5 of those hours in the last three days. The first 1.5 hours was at my CFI's airport, the rest at my hangar/home in my airpark. 


The joy comes from flying again after a 37 years absence. 40 years ago I soloed with 0 hours because back then nobody was doing tandem hang glider flights yet, let alone giving dual instruction. I bought a used Seagull III and three other beginners from work joined me in the quest to learn how to fly. We learned in the Sierra foothills just east of Sacramento, California and on our 2nd outing one of the beginners crashed, destroying the Seagull and placing him in the hospital for 3 weeks. I became a dealer for Seagull to receive better pricing and placed a order for 3 new gliders for us remaining students. When the 3 of us resumed training, instead of the 20 minute drive to that foothill site, we drove 3 hours to a coastal site named Dillon's Beach with a 100' tall sand dune hill. There was a lot of physical effort involved in climbing with our wing in the sand but the reward was launching into a constant sea breeze that elongated our flight time and more importantly the soft sand in the LZ for our beginner pilot landings. With that long drive it was a serious time commitment so we always camped and had two or three days of learning per trip. After many trips we felt we were ready to return to that foothill site and continued training there. Between the 100' sand dune and the 500' high foothill site, all flights were short compared to the time of hiking our gliders up those hills. The time had come for our 1st "altitude" flight at a place north of Clear Lake, California called Elk Mountain with the LZ in the dry creek beds next to the Middle Creek Campground. The launch was 3500' AGL above the LZ. This area is famous for thermals so as low time pilots the three of us launched early morning to insure a 10 minute sled ride to the LZ. That was at least 5 times the air time of the other two sites. All three of us wound up doing what the more experienced pilots predicted, and that was pulling the bar in a bit past minimum sink and flying with more speed, hence a shorter flight. But 10 minutes in the air did give valuable input as to where each of us had set up our hang point CG, and so we could make adjustments on future flights to insure our CG setting would provide minimum sink for hands off the control bar straight and level flight. Getting the right CG proved very important for our next altitude site which was Big Sur. This site was famous for giving that first altitude flight so I was looking forward to that trip already having some altitude flights at Clear Lake. The club I belonged to went to Big Sur every Thanksgiving due to the whales migrating south that time of year. Nothing curls your toes like flying over a pod of whales in a prone position and your wing acts as a sound amplifier when they surface and force air out of their blow hole. It is loud. The club owned a old hot rod 4X4 Ford truck with a 427 and manual transmission that pulled a custom trailer built to accommodate 24 gliders. i know a lot about that truck because when I didn't feel comfortable about conditions on the launch hill, I would drive the truck back down the hill with just my glider on board. This happened more times than I'm willing to admit but hell I was one of the lowest hour pilots in the club and had every intention of surviving my early learning phases to become a higher hour pilot. On one of these Big Sur trips I didn't exercise my previous good judgement and launched above the fog before it had burned off because there was a good size opening in that fog along my proposed flight path. Well I'm sure anyone reading this is going to think what happens after you launch and are flying that VFR path and it closes back in again? You would be correct and I shouldn't have launched because in the time it took me to reach that clearing in the fog, it had closed in. This was why I mentioned how important it was at the Elk Mountain site to properly dial in my CG attach point for hands off minimum sink. When your in a white out that is your only option, remove input to the control bar and experence that feeling of time stretching out, where every 10 seconds feel like a minute. I am however keeping track of the time waiting for a break in the fog because my due west flight path will take me over highway 1 and then the Pacific Ocean. I finally saw a break in the fog and turned towards the opening and once there was relieved to see Highway 1 just west of my position. Total relief but that was short lived because on further observation I had no idea where I was in respect to the LZ and didn't know if I should fly north or south over Highway I. I chose north and that was incorrect, wound up landing 4 miles north of the LZ at the gas station/greasy spoon. After folding my wings I had breakfast wondering how long it would be before the truck/trailer would find me and pick me up. During the course of eating, 3 other pilots landed there to prove I wasn't the only idiot to launch into a sucker hole in the fog and after breaking out of the fog heading the wrong direction.



I got off subject, damn I'm good at that. Well back on subject, these early days of flying lit a fire under my ass (or lit my ass on fire) and 3 years after learning to fly hang gliders I was at my local FBO taking lessons in their Cessna 150 trainer. This was a low budget flying club that even though they had the new 152s, I preferred the old 150 for two reasons, manual flaps vs the slow moving electric, and more important for the budget minded, the 150 only recorded tach time hours unlike the 152 Hobbs time. Lower RPM settings would net more log hours and less billing hours. On this note you are probably aware I'm a budget minded person and as such I'm having some diffculty with time to solo and instruction rates. If memory serves I think the 150 I rented from the club I belonged to and paid monthly dues went for $25 per hour wet and the instructor was an additional $15 per hour. Granted this was 37 years ago. I feel like I'm getting a good rate from my current CFI at $150 per hour in his trike at my hangar/home location. However, time to solo might be different. I don't want or expect to solo at 0 hours like I had no choice in my hang glider. I did solo GA aircraft at 10.8 hours and as a newly minted solo student pilot moved my touch and go's from my 2400' FBO field to a little airstrip my U/L friends were using at 1200' in length. I got to practice short field and spot landings all day at that little strip which was only 3 miles from my home strip. I got pretty good at this and when my club had its Fun Day with flour bomb drop, balloon burst, and spot landing competition I was eager to participate. Only problem was students weren't allowed, so I was bummed. I could understand a low hour student pilot could get into trouble attempting the balloon burst and even the simple flour bomb drop, but spot landings? This is what we practice all the time we are accumulating, not just hours flying straight on cross country flights. I spoke up, the powers to be contacted their insurance agent and the green light was given to allow the students to do spot landings. That was the very first 1st place flying trophy I ever received, still proud to this day.


So this gets me back to the first paragraph, I have 9 hours dual and have the impression from my CFI that my first solo is further away than the 10.8 hours I soloed the 150. I know we need to trust our instructor's judgement as to our flying abilities but input from others would be appreciated. What was your flying experience before trike instruction? How many hours before solo in the trike. How did you feel about your CFI? I really want the good, bad and ugly.


Here is my thoughts on flying. As a little boy I was a tree climber for the perspective of being above the ground and the solitude. As I grew older I would climb mountains for the same reason, to escape the 2D world and enjoy a 3D experience. I will never fly as a means of transportation and as such would never ever fly to a schedule. I'll leave that to the pros. Unlike my hang gliding days when so much time was committed to driving to the flying site and hence a bit of pressure to get some air time even if conditions were less than perfect, now doesn't exist due to my home/hangar fronting a taxiway and just 900' to the active runway. Yep, with no time commitment envolved in getting to the flying site, I have the luxury everyday I wake up to decide if conditions are benign enough to serve my level of experience. Life is good retired at a residental airpark.


Mar 11th

Importing trikes from the US to the UK

By Paul Hamilton

Hey trike pilots in the UK. If I want to import a new trike or a used N Numbered trike to the UK from the USA, does any one know how or if this has been done?

There are four possibilities:

Ultralight 103, new S-LSA ASTM complienent, used S-LSA and used E-LSA. Any ideas, suggestions or contacts are welcome and helpful.

Now that the UK has left the EU, is this helpful for importing US trikes to the UK?

Mar 6th

What is the correct tension on a batten clip

By Rizwan Bukhari


Hi all,


I have a question about batten clip tension. In the past the wing I owned had a bungee or string cords (tensioners).


But now I have clips. The wing I have is a Streak 3 wing from Airborne. I checked in the manual and it talks about detension or tensioning the clips to fix a minor turn in the wing.


But my quetion is when you are putting the wing together for the very first time then how do you know what is the correct tension?


Turning the batten clockwise detensions them and anti clockwise tensions them.


Are all the batten clips suppose to be equal distance out of the batten?


How hard should a batten clip be pushing against the pocket?


These might be very basic questions but I never had a wing with batten clips so any help would be grealy appreciated.





Mar 3rd

Stuffup, gale and fence and sheep.

By Bryan Tuffnell

Take three university students, one car, a bunch of toys, a bad idea, and what do you have? It could be the Cadbury Moro Lake Ohau Spectacular in 1987! One of those weird triathlon thingies that had been fermenting, possibly along with other substances, in the mind of some twisted individual with capitalistic intentions and a morbid sense of humour. Run up the Ohau Skifield, ski down to the carpark, fly (hang glide) to Lake Ohau, windsurf up the lake to the pub, scull a pint. For three engineering students it actually sounded like a good idea! Lets take a week - no, fortnight! - off studying, load up John's 53 Austin 8 with skis, climbing gear, flying gear, windsurfing gear, and beer, and chase those Ohau babes!! Yeah!! And I have this idea for a secret weapon for the race!! It so happens that Bruce Parlane, a skydiving mate of mine who makes parachutes for a living, has built something called a parapente or a paraglider or something.  It has fairly miserable performance apparently - goes down faster than Xaviera Hollander after twenty dollars - but for this race, by crikee, you want to fly something that sinks out of the sky like a polished brick. Besides, it'd be a great new toy to play with.

So John, Deano and I roll into Ohau, coughing and wheezing (John's car leaked black exhaust smoke into the cab) and laid siege on the local establishment. We set up camp on the Ohau airstrip - an imperial mile-long grass strip separated from the highway by a few grazing paddocks. With sheep in them. We cooked on an open fire. Climbed crags. Windsurfed on the bitter glacial waters of the lake. Skied. Flew down to the airstrip at the end of the day, and ran back up for the car. Spent time in the bar, worked on the car exhaust, played the guitar and drank ourselves to sleep late under a blanket of stars. Bars, cars, guitars and stars - I was a true ars man. By golly, life was good. We were unlovable boors, not so much irresponsible as young kiwi blokes with no responsibilities. And then the winds came.

And then the winds came.  It blew an alpine nor'west gale for a day, two days. We couldn't ski, fly, windsurf or climb. It blew a gale. It blew a riot. It blew a revolution. It blew from hell, and it blew the pale eggs of the beast.  etc. etc.

What could we do?  No sports, no girls to chase, beer isn't cheap, and I'm bored...

So here's our heroes, stuck in Ohau, camped out for days in the great nor'wester that blew storm force gales in the lead-up to the Great Cadbury Moro Ohau Spectacular. Frustration is brewing - we were renaissance men who liked our women hot, beer cold and steak rare - in our dreams, at least - and there was nothing to do.  Or was there?

Gottit you guys.  The paraglider... we could tether it to a tree or the back of the car or something... maybe tie it on with twelve feet or so of climbing rope... take turns at having a go in the harness, letting it fly kite-style... in this wind it should easily lift someone of the ground - waddya reckon?

Hey, good call... what can possibly go wrong? Hold my beer while I look for something to tie it to. How about that tree?

Nah, too many branches... the rope might snag... what about that corner fence post... that big one in the corner of the airstrip that keeps the sheep out?  Its pretty solid, and its braced by all that number 8 fencing wire running the length of the strip... should do the trick...

So, we tossed a coin. Deano won. He's a lucky tyke. Trust him to get first dibs.  So Deano gets into the paraglider harness, and John and I struggle to get the glider itself out of the bag and laid flat on the ground as the wind raged. No mean feat in that blast. The rope is connected between the corner fencepost and the paraglider harness, with Deano on board.

On the count of three, John and I fling the flapping canopy into the hurricane, the wind catches it and it snaps into life.  It rapidly plucks Deano off the ground, and flies overhead.  At this point several things occur to us: the wind is CONSIDERABLY more forceful than we had really imagined and was putting a huge strain on the glider, harness and rope; also that now that Deano was 3 metres up in the air we had not really considered how we might bring him down (30 square metres of sail in cyclone-force winds make quite a tow); it might not have been as good an idea as it seemed in the pub; and the whole ensemble, instead of flying "behind" the fencepost at an angle to the ground, is in fact nearly vertically over the fencepost... for a few seconds anyway... Then, the earth around us shuddered, a low moan joined the keening wind, 3 startled faces turned earthwards as, gently at first, but with increasing ease, like a Ducati pulling away from a green light, the fencepost pulls free.  Then Twang!Twang!Twang!Twang!Twang!  All the lighter fenceposts are uplifted by the viagra-like force of the gale, acting via the paraglider, a rapidly deteriorating harness and its now concerned human contents, the 11 mm climbing rope (Hey! Thats MY rope!!!) and a half-dozen strings of that famous number 8 fencing wire, until finally a mile of fence splits the Ohau skyline, anchored finally by the distant corner post at one end and a bright orange sail at the other, and OHNOWADDAWEGONNADONOW??????  Deano is hundreds of feet above the Earth, with a paraglider above him and a fence between his knees and the planet he loves. The paraglider harness is not coping with the strain; and if the final fencepost fails, he's going to be blown downwind over those wires with zillions of volts on them that run between them pylons there. Crap!

$#@$^%^&$$%in' GET ME DOWN!!!!!!  We can't hear the words, but the Deano's message is unmistakable. Oh good grief, Deano is trying to get out of the harness and climb down the fence before the harness rips - well, we can't help that but John, we gotta DO something!!!  We gotta tie that last fencepost to something, ‘cos if that goes Deano is dead meat!!!

So the rescue team swings into action, leaps into the car to try charging the low end of fence. The idea is that maybe we can drive 'up' the fence, pulling it down to the ground with the weight of the car.

Well, that startled the sheep in the paddock behind, and in fright they ran towards the low, tethered end of the fence. Sure enough, one of them (Britney Shears) is soon hopelessly tangled in fence wire. As is John's car.

So John and I are now out of ideas. There's still a gale blowing, a mile of fence in the air tied to a paraglider at one end, with a sheep and a car tangled in the other end, and an intrepid adventurer climbing down the fenceposts. Anyone with a trace of decency would have been deeply concerned about Dean and the sheep. Fortunately John and I didn't have any traces of decency so we watched.

Well, fortunately for us in general and Deano in particular, after a while the wind mercifully dropped and allows Deano, arms wrapped around a fencepost, to reach Mother Earth alive. However, Mother Earth organised it that the sheep, still stuck in the fence, got to experience flight in a couple of the more violent gusts, and apparently Britney didn't enjoy her little flights. She fell free from the fence just as Deano decided 'I can jump from here.'

Maybe it was seeing our mate survive, maybe it was the sheep's brief flight, maybe it was the fence still arcing into the sky beneath the paraglider, maybe it was Deano landing on the sheep. Maybe it was the whole situation, but John and I lose ourselves ingreat gales of hysterical laughter. The three of us were rolling around on the ground, holding our guts, tears streaming down our faces, out of control with laughing so hard. It took ages before we regained enough control to beat a retreat to the bar to drown a mighty thirst, swallow a little humble pie and generally hang one on. Boys, eh?

Post script:  On race day, the wind was so strong that only three of us got on the water to start the windsurfing section. Deano was rescued by boat an hour after starting that section, I went backwards so far that it became a major effort to get back to the car, and John managed to get to the bar by a combination of windsurfing and running.  

Deano bought the pattern for the paraglider from Bruce and founded Pacific Paragliders. John is recovering from a scuba diving accident. I grew up and am now a relaxed, responsible trike pilot. Mostly. So there.