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

Aug 17th

Paraglider dashboard, must have FREE Android cell phone app

By jeff trike

I downloaded this app and took it out for a test flight this morning.  It is fantastic.  It was developed by a paraglider pilot, but works great on my trike.  It has all the usual features, like altitude, ground speed, moving map display.  I already had this capability, but the paraglider dashboard does something I have not found in any other apps.  It estimates the wind vector in real time while you are flying from the gps groundspeed measurements alone.

Years ago I had done something simliar for a work application, so I have a guess at how it works.   When you fly in circle with you drift downwind. And if you plot your velocity east, vs velocity north, you get a circle with the radius of the circle equal to your airspeed, and the center of the circle offset from zero  by the east and north component of the wind.  You don't need a full circle, a 90 degree arc has enough data to estimate the wind. And paraglider dashboard does this continually, plotting your recent east and north components in one of its displays. When a decent arc or circle is displayed, you get good wind estimates. New data is plotted with big dots, old data with smaller dots.  If you fly straight for a long time, the estimates degrade, but as long as you have a decent arc or circle in the display, you get a good wind estimate.

It displays the data in metric or english units.   It has a nice variometer display.  It logs your tracks and has a good moving map display.  You could use this as your primary gps navigation device.  It is really well done. 

The unique feature is the wind estimator.  

And the app is FREE with no advertisments.








Aug 12th

Defensive Flying

By jeff trike

We have all heard of defensive driving, do small things all the time to reduce risk while driving.   This is a stream of conciousness blog of defensive flying techniques I do to minimize risk while flying my trike.   Please add to the list, 

  1. Engine warm up.   It is good for the engine, and if your engine is having problems, them happen now, while you are on the ground instead of the air.  I do something that is frowned on by some, but I not without some thought.  Before flight, I push my trike to the edge of the ramp, where no casual observer should be able to get to the prop.  Turn on the strobes and start the engine sitting outside my trike.  Then I back away and let it run.  I have a clear view of the engine to check for any problems in the carbs, coolant leak, etc.  I in front of the nose on my trike and put on my flight suit so I can keep an eye on things.  Then I do one last check for any engine leaks.
  2. Run through a short checklist one last time before taxing out.  Visor down?  Helmet strap?  Seatbelt.  I still manage to somehow takeoff with my helmet strap or seatbelt unbuckkled about once a year.   Don't be in a rush.
  3. Always do a touch and go before leaving the pattern.  A large fraction of problems happen in the first 5 - 10 minutes.  If they are gonna happen, let them happen in the pattern.
  4. Slowly accelerate on takeoff.   Don't blast off.  If something is going to shake off, let it happen while your wheels are on the ground.
  5. If something is wrong, land and fix it.  Radio adjustments, camera batteries, etc, etc, etc.  Don't screw around with it while flying if landing is an easy option.
  6. Always do a radio check before takeoff.   Usually someone is in the pattern and will gladly oblige, and you give them a radio check too. 
  7. In nice conditions, all your landings should be power off.  The only time I use gas for a stabilized approach is if it is really gusty or cross wind and I want to be able to work the whole length of runway to land.
  8. Aim for the touchdown spot instead of the numbers.  That way you can land short and you'll realize it.   If you always go for the numbers, you will cheat and use gas to hit them, and you will never realize how bad you are as setting up your final glide.  
  9. Don't assume you have radio contact in the pattern.  Fly predictably in case your push-to-talk is broken, the radio 1/2 switch is set on the wrong radio, your antenna cable is loose or one of the dozen ways your radio will fail.  My radio has a red LED that comes on when it transmits.  Seeing that is a good sign.  If the other pilot in the pattern does not respond, chances are your radio is off, but it could be his too.  Fly predictably, always entered on the downwind leg, use the preferred runway if winds allow, no mid-field takeoffs, announce your position and altitude in the pattern.
  10. Flying low is fun and potentially.  If you are down to 100 ft or less, be wary of powerlines.  Almost all dirt or paved roads have powerlines along side them.  
  11. Always top off your gas tank before leaving the hangar.  It will save you time the next time you fly, and you will always have gas.
  12. Rig up a sight gauge for the gas tank on your trike.  You want to be able to trust it with your life.
  13. Have multiple ways to estimate remaining fuel.  I have four:  1) sight gauge, 2) fuel float sensor, 3) fuel flow accumulator, 4) my watch.  
  14. Fly with a friend.  If something goes wrong, he can call for help quickly and save your life.  Your survival odds just increased by a factor of 10000.
  15. Get a SPOT or Delorme Inreach or something like it.  Your family will be able to see if your spot is moving which means you haven't crashed.
  16. Do push your envelope.  Don't always fly in the first hour of daylight.  Someday you find yourself in less than ideal condtions and you want this to be a minor irritaion, not a life or death beyond you capabilities situation.
  17. Install carb heat on your engine.  I have always on carb heat that uses heater blocks after the venturi on the carburators.
  18. Get a radio that can scan, load up all the CTAF frequencies, and let it scan while you fly.   You will pick up other traffic and stay clear.
  19. Get a transponder.  The best safety equipment you can get for your trike.  I think far better than a BRS.  I had 3 sort of scary potential mid-airs at low altitude before I got a transpoder.  None since in the past 10 years.  

  That's all I have for now, Please add your defensive flying techniques to the list




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 9th

Another Trike Crash with two fatalities

By Rizwan Bukhari





As reported


JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) - Sheriff's officials say two people have died in the crash of an ultralight plane into a river in southern Wisconsin.

Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath said in a statement Wednesday the pilot, 51-year-old David Plambeck of Edgerton and his passenger 16-year-old Max Burlingame of Fort Atkinson died when the aircraft went down in the Rock River near Jefferson Tuesday night.

The ultralight had taken off from Fort Atkinson Airport just before it crashed about 8 p.m. The sheriff says the plane was nearly submerged when first responders arrived. Recreational boaters on the river helped emergency responders pull the two from the plane. They were pronounced dead by the Jefferson County medical examiner.

Federal aviation officials will investigate





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.


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 ), (and a LOT of bananas!) 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 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



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:



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:  Look for the dates of July, 2017, for the PTS changes.




Link:  Look for the change date of July, 2017.