Feb 29th


By monty stone

another pet peeve of mine is 'instruction' manuals. my 1961 suzuki came with a booklet 'hints and tips of how to ride the motorcycle', it contained such usefull info as 'beware of the mud-puddle for  there-in lurks the 'skid demon'. and 'if a horseman hoves  into view, toot melodiously upon the horn'. if he does not heed, shout 'hi' with loud voice. if he still does not heed, dismount and smoke a cigaret, until he passes.   my hirth engine manual reccomended considering running the engine for the first ten hours on the ground, also at a major service change the crankshaft and 'all other components', sound advice. my cosmos  wing manuals have all stressed the importance of securing the 'farks and schnackles', properly. and that 'no more than 8mins are required to assemble the wing. (it takes me that long to decide which bag zipper to pull on). are french mins like dog years, 7 to 1?    my northwing wing manual ignores how to fold the wing for transport and storage, though it did have nice glossy color pictures of kamron doing stuff in seconds that takes me most of the morning!   my $7 alarm clock came with a comprehensive manual, in 7 different languages,(including swahili, why would a swahilian wanna get up early?)with the first 9 pages warning of the legal and hazardous  consequences of licking the electrical components while plugged in, or during an electrical storm. i thought every one knew not to lick ANYTHING during an electrical storm!. well, almost anything!. my multi-$ new refrigerators manual   assures me that the light WILL turn off with the door closed!  how can i be sure! dammit, why,why, can't 'they' get it right!.... Freazier Ballsoff. (my new pseudonim)..................ps i can't die yet, theres still a few  people i haven't pissed off !

Feb 28th

Delta Jet II, review

By Rebekah S

Our recently purchased Delta Jet II exceeds expectations in every way.  Abid was very helpful during our purchasing process while we decided which trike would best meet our needs.  We purchased from Todd Halver (Papa Tango Aviation) and would do business with him again.  We appreciate doing business with people that demonstrate such trustworthiness.


The trike arrived in the Pacific Northwest packed with care.  Setup was easy and intuitive.  This is our third trike.  We are impressed with the fit, finish and quality.  The Deta jet II is a well thought out aircraft.  It flies beautifully.  The suspension worked great on the two rough fields that we used yesterday.  One grass strip was recently mowed.  We were very thankful that the air scoops are on the sides NOT the bottom. The bottom of the trike was covered in wet grass last night.  The three disc brakes were appreciated on the short wet grass strip.  The back seat is strikingly more comfortable than our last trike.  Not only was nothing pushing on the back of my head, I could lean back!  My legs were much more comfortable in the back seat too.  There are a few different places to rest your feet.  In our previous trike, my legs couldn’t reach the instructor pedals and were left in a strange position that became uncomfortable after about 45 minutes and when I would move my leg in the back seat, I would hit the hand throttle.  This is not possible in the Delta Jet II.


Abid and Kameron built a wonderful aircraft:


Ground clearance is great

Suspension performs better than gas struts

Side air intake stays clear of debris

It is beautiful

It is very comfortable

Well mannered and easy to fly with a familiar feel

Superior performance

Adjustable trim = less fatigue (and it’s fun!)

Getting in and out is easy

Tripled our range

Better cargo storage

Easy fit into the low hangar door

Back seat visibility is great

Can’t wait to try the heated gear

Sexy machine

Affordable price

Feb 24th

Emergency Parachutes

By Josh Jones

I have a Second Chantz compressed air parachute that I intended to put on a new Ace Easy Riser. The parachute needs some repairs done to the internal fittings and a repack, but we have had a really hard time getting ahold of anyone at Second Chantz.

After I did some googling, I found this...


It seems I won't be able to get my parachute operational unless someone knows of place willing to work on an emergancy parachute like this.

So now I'm faced with a decision. Do I just go ahead and fly the trike without a parachute? I live in an area with a lot of flat ground, scattered woods, and fields of corn, soybeans, and wheat. If the wing is capable of flying, I should usually have a decent spot to set the aircraft down. I don't plan to ever fly in adverse weather conditions or outside the limitations of the aircraft. So, do I even need a parachute?

The main reason I would want one is that I'll be flying a new aircraft. Do I trust my ability to put it together properly? Do I trust my life to those untested components? I would feel safer with a parachute for backup.

I don't know much at all about the options that are available. What do you all use? What type or brand would you recommend for a Part 103 trike? Cost, maintenance, and ease of installation are all factors.


Feb 19th


By monty stone

Many tools don't come with instructions, this may help.                                  Phillips screwdrivers. they come in several forms, (like cheese) sharp, medium and blunt  They are designed to tear out the top of any screw head ,  also, they can be used to open a brake fluid container, use the sharp one, the blunt one's cause squirted fluid to land  onto the closest painted surface. Electric drills are  used to see how fast a pop-rivet can be spun before the hole will need the next size rivet , also can be used to turn chinese drill bits a really pretty blue. Vice -grips can be used to change round tubing into flat strip removing that empty space in the middle ,also to clamp stuff to other stuff in order to drill the wrong size holes in the wrong place, again. Portable grinders are excellent 'eye-ball' finders, also ear-hair and grease-soaked rags can easily be reached by the pretty sparks, .Guards usually get in the way so are removed before use, then are lost. Chisels are configured  to guide the first few hammer blows to get your fingers. A drill- press. should be powerfull enough to jam a drill bit into something you are holding  by  your (soon to be a bloody stump), hand, begin a fast spin, near your belly, family jewels or chin, (depending on your height), finally that something flyes off across the shop seeking the most expensive stuff to hit, failing that,   goes instead  through the window into your neighbors driveway  (the one you don't like) hits his classic  Jugo, causing $30 in damage, almost totalling it . Air wrenches are used   to break bolts,  and making really cool sounds,(like a tire store) Wheeee...Wheeee!. A tool box, is a place of mystery where the tool you searched for yesterday, and couldnt find, appears today, right on top.  also, any adhesives in your toolbox, burst open and spread all over, and cure, glueing all your favorite tools together in one big lump. ( ask me how i know). any tool put in a drawer will swell, that's why the drawer wont open again, till the swelling goes down.  Box cutters are designed to cut really deeply into  whatever it was that came in a protective cardboard box. Wire strippers will cut BOTH wire and plastic till the wire is now too short.  Hose cutters can be relied on to cut hoses a little bit shorter than you wanted. Hammers,  handy gadgets for bending nails, and putting dents in stuff. Twelve-point sockets can be made out of worn- out six point sockets, then re-badged as 'Whitworth Barn find Sockets'. Rotating wire wheels are used to remove finger-prints( from fingers) and to fling little bits of wire into eyeballs. Magnets are handy to remove little bits of wire from eyeballs, and to have fun with grandma's pacemaker. Hacksaws can be relied on to cut anything,  but not straight. Electrical testers are used to 'let the smoke out' of any device that it's hooked to. can also be used to start a fire, without matches. Funnels, little end down, usually. i hope this helps to enhance our 'tooling around'. monty ps, if the handle of your soldering iron gets hot, hold the other end, instead. ( tuss....... )

Feb 18th

Airplane pilot transitioning to trike - lessons learned

By Paul Hamilton

This is a complete excert from web site http://sportpilottraining.sportaviationcenter.com/pilot-training-cost/transition-trike/

that might help everyone understand about transitioning from airplane to trike........



There are two ways to transition to weight-shift control (WSC) LSA (light-sport aircraft) trike.

You can go for the “adding a category” at the sport pilot level which is being trained by one CFI and than taking a proficiency check with another CFI per 61.321. Here there are no minimum hours required, no knowledge test, no solo and it is a logbook endorsement for an additional category. An FAA 8710-11 form is sent into the FAA to add this to your current pilot certificate. Even if you are a private pilot or ATP airplane, you must fly with the sport pilot limitations of 61.315 except you do not need any of the airspeed or airspace endorsements as specified in 61.303.

It must be noted that if you add a category per 61.321, this does not count as a flight review because it is NOT adding an additional rating, it is adding a log book endorsement same as adding a tail wheel endorsement. So as ridiculous as it might seem,  if you are not current as a pilot and you do a proficiency check to add the WSC trike to your airplane private pilot certificate, you need to do a flight review in the trike (or airplane) to be current as a pilot.

Also note you do not have to solo to add a category per 61.321.

You can also go for the Private Pilot WSC Trike. This is almost like starting from scratch. It is like adding a new private pilot category such as helicopter. You need all the 20 hours dual training in WSC plus 10 hours of solo plus all of the cross country requirements per 61.109 (j). You get a break with no knowledge test required. This gives you the privileges of a private pilot for the trike without the limitations of the sport pilot.

We have the capability to do either here at Sport Aviation Center. We have two trike CFI’s for the sport pilot proficiency check option, and two private pilot CFI’s and a private pilot examiner (Paul Hamilton).

How long does it take for an airplane pilot to transition to a WSC trike?

Trike controls are different than the three axis airplane. New skills/habits must be learned by the airplane pilot. It is very different at first for an airplane pilot because you take away the thin walls that provide a false sense of security of being inside something, you take away the horizon reference the pilot usually uses to control the aircraft, than you reverse all the controls so nothing is familiar. It is like learning to ride a motorcycle after just driving a car. We can all do it it is simply different.

Typically, airplane pilots feel disoriented for the first 20 minutes, and must “think” about the movements for the first hours of flight. But it is very interesting how some pilots pick it up really quick and others it takes a while. This large variance in how quick an airplane pilot feels comfortable flying a trike is not easily explained. The “danger zone” for an airplane pilot is the time between when they feel comfortable flying the trike and when the correct body motion habits are developed for flying in bumps. Some pilots can feel comfortable flying a trike in as little at 5 hours in calm air, but it typically takes at least 20 to 50 hours for the proper habits to be developed to instinctively do the right pitch and roll movements in bumpy air when things get challemging.

The dreaded “control reversal” unfortunately is common for airplane pilots transitioning to trikes.

The main danger is flying close to the ground in bumps where pushing out to slow up and increase pitch angle and pulling in to speed up to reduce pitch is critical. Some pilots pick it up quickly, others take longer. It is a matter of learning to “fly the wing” rather than move and coordinate the controls. It is in those “moments of truth” when airplane pilots get pitched up or down when the old airplane control habits may come out and cause a problem.  The shortest flight hours for a pilot to transition from airplane to trike has been 8 hours and the longest has been 25 hours. Even as it may appear the airplane pilot is doing great in the trike, we always make sure to fly in bumps to assure the transitioning pilot does not still have this “control reversal” deep in his/her brain.

We highly recommend any transitioning airplane pilot fly at least 30 hours in calm air before flying in the bumps.

I have found that 150 to 500 hour airplane pilots take the longest to learn. ATP, helicopter and jet pilots appear to pick it up quicker. Perhaps the low to medium time airplane pilots are still trying to think about the movements and the body language habits are highly ingrained. The high time pilots fly more by feel of the aircraft.

A number of analogies used that work on most airplane pilots are:

  • It is like the stick is on the top of the wing and you are controlling it from the bottom
  • it is like driving the car with your hands on the bottom of the wheel rather than the top.
  • It is like a motorcycle, pull in/lower your self to resist drag and speed up, push out to go slow, sit up and cruise
  • Move/pull your self in the direction you want to go
  • The wing is in your hand, there are no controls

Usually one of the above assists in airplane pilots transitioning to trikes.

Overall, the best way to transition is to get the DVD’s and watch them and start to visualize that to do before you start doing it. This visualization usually is a big help in reducing the time it takes to transition.

Training materials for a transition trike pilot are:

  • Training Syllabus and Workbook Weight Shift Control Trike
  • FAA Weight Shift Control aircraft Flying Handbook
  • Weight-Shift Control Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  • Learn to fly a trike DVD
  • Sport Pilot Checkride book

All these can be found at www.pilot-stores.com

How do we go through the training process?

Typically, we follow the training syllabus of a new pilot learning to fly. This provides the most efficient procedure for transition pilots.

What do you get when you complete a proficiency check to add a trike to your private/commercial/ATP pilot certificate?

After you complete your proficiency check, 8710-11 paperwork is sent into the FAA and they send you a new pilot certificate with the added category and you get a log book endorsement for the added category/class by the instructor who performed the proficiency check.

Feb 8th

Part 103 Anti-Collision Lights

By Josh Jones

I fly a Part 103 trike (Ace Easy Riser) that does not have any lights installed. As you are probably aware, FAR Part 103 specifies that no aircraft in that category can operate in the half hour before sunrise or after sunset unless it is equipped with an anti-collision light visible for at least three miles. Given that those hours provide some of the best conditions for flying, I have concluded that it would be well worth my time, effort, and expense to install a qualifying light on the trike.

I am quite new to triking (last fall I logged 5.6 hours dual instruction and about 1.5 solo in my trike). So I am somewhat unsure about what type of light, how many lights, and where and how to install them. I am curious about how others have set up their trikes for dawn and dusk flying.

My current plan is to simply buy a strobe light like this one.


I'm thinking a good place to install it would be at the top of the king post, taking care not to interfere with any of the cables or connections. I'd then put a quick-connector in the line at the hang point in case I want to remove the wing. Then I'd run the line to a switch beside the seat, and then the line would go from there to the battery through a fuse. Fairly simple.

But there are probably better solutions. One problem I am considering with my plan is that my strobe light would not be visible from below because of its position above the wing. If you have any input you'd like to share on this topic or would like to describe your setup, please share.


Feb 4th

An Epic day part 2. Heather shows up to get her hours for private pilot .

By Paul Hamilton

Some background. Heather Davis from Petaluma CA is an incredibly talented pilot. She started out hang gliding and has evolved to triking. Besides flying in the USA, she has flown trikes in Europe.  Starting out with a hang glider pilot background, I feel, is better than starting out with a GA airplane background for transitioning to trikes.  


Heather contacted me and wants to get her private pilot trike. Her first training session we went onto Reno Class C airspace for the airspace endorsement, did the spiral recovery, full power stalls, nasty air  cross wind landings (not by choice).  I may as well go to sleep in the back. Heather had this all figured out. We burned off some productive hours and our first flight she got her Towered Airspace endorsement. Bad weather for a month or so.


She calls back and wants to "get more hours" for the private. My confidence as a CFI is incredibly high with Heather so how do I challenge her to  make this "get more hours"  productive?


The first DAY she came was epic for this. CLOUDS. Perfect for flying in the high Sierra's with decisions on how to fly in the mountains and deal with clouds.  



Story will be in the pictures. Enjoy

Jan 30th

An Epic Day Flying Trikes Part 1 First Flight

By Paul Hamilton

The story starts at the Reno Air Races September 2015. Two beautiful woman approach the booth and ask about this Revo trike and become very enthusiastic about flying. Visiting nurses. No solid reservations. They will call. Yea. 


Surprisingly I get a call about the visiting nurses who want to go up. We book. First attempt we schedule, and it looks good but when they show up it is cranking out of the south not predicted. I have to send them home. Disappointment for all.


The second attempt I was able to predict to call it off the night before and nobody drive down because  a strong storm was coming through. Even then it was canceled they were unhappy since it was there on day off together and they had to scrap it.


Third attempt. Everything looked OK, winds 20 to 26 at 9000 so it is flyable. Nice inversion below 7000. We get there and it is completely calm at the airport  and the mountain top measured winds at 10,000 MSL were 30 gusting to 45. Typically I call it off at 30 to 35 knots at 10,000 measured. I had to call it off when it was calm on the ground. Hard to do. They were almost insistent on going up and a agreed but said it would be nasty. Disappointment for the third time. First time I have ever had to cancel someone three times.


They decided to book separately now since their schedules were hard to coordinate.  Well finally, the winds looked calm but there was fog and low lying clouds. We took off not knowing whether we could even make it to Tahoe. Looked like a nice passage under the clouds but anything could change.


Got through and climbed up and got above the clouds.


Yea. Sunshine. Clouds and mission 1 accomplished by getting to Tahoe.


Now to get down through the higher layer and the lower layer.


Looks good.


We descended on down and was able to scoot under the lower layer and skin the dry lake bed.


Her comments I will remember "this is like being in Heaven" and "Now I know why you do this. The best thing I have ever done"



We finished at 9:30 and I have the lovely and talented Heather Davis from Petaluma scheduled to fly the rest of the day.

Jan 27th

the life of thread ? (not brian!)

By monty stone

i have two wings, the original 12m chronos , 1993, and a 15m northwing maverik, appx 200hrs. i,m flying the maverik on my cosmos echo  here in arizona, where i winter ( ain,t i a lucky bastard!). i have to tie it down here in the desert , my home-made wing covers (made from some $1 per yard cotten, ) over the wings. i hang empty plastic milk jugs all arround the edges to keep the covers on. i used to put water in 'em but with the covers frequently wet with dew the extra weight wasn't needed. (till the wind blows!). even though the material is soft it still seems to abrade the stitches (aided by the dust). some of which show fraying. i paint the leading edges of both wings black and yellow, plus the two outer wing panels, partly for visability, partly 'cos yellow is the fastest color! the paint stiffens the maverik leading edge panel and it SEEMS to climb better, that could be the yellow too! i use water based latex which dries very quickly, covers well ,sticks like shit to a blanket, and adds very little weight, 1 pint only. sometime ago i built a 'bettsywhanger wing rippa' (i posted pics here), and tested my 'test panels' stitched to the rear of the wing. couldn't rip it, but i lack the 'gonadia' to try it on my stitches! (especially the 'wounded' ones). i don't have any parameters to  compare it to. i'm sure the 'purists' out there will castigate any moron that would fly with 'frayed' anything, and maybe i'm overplaying the 'wear and tear' on the stitches. i do look at the 'worn ones', as well as 'kicking the tires before 'most' attempts to aviate, and not much change is apparent to the fraying. i'll stick my scrawney neck out and ask " why not paint the UV damage - prone top surface when new with some kind of protective 'paint' that would delay the UV onslaught? the weight would be significant, but on a 100# wing wouldn't be a dealbreaker, though the passenger seat warmer might have to go! i'm thinking more of single surface 'dacron' not the 'high budget' fast wings out there, obviously they 'ain't covered with 'bed-sheet' cloth! my 12m chronos, although celibrating its 23rd birthday is still 'stiffer than a wedding dick', and when i tried my 'wing-rippa on it all that happened was the needle hole stretched a bit, no ripping. i believe it is 'trilem' or something like that, i think it's used to make french chastity belts .i haven't, (and won't ) tried to rip the stitching after all what would i achieve with out 'factory' figures to compare to. i have no idea what wing stitch material is, it well could be cat-gut for all i know! if any one out there in trike-land, oops! flex-wing-dom, has tried painting his wing, results? replacement ain't gonna happen, i'll run what i brung, (unless theres an abandoned revo, (low hours) out there somewhere! (preferably yellow). hugs and farts, monty (not python!)































Jan 21st

My first engine out

By Maarten Lobker

My first flight of 2016 turned out to be much like the stock market - going down quickly for no apparent reason.

I am flying a 2006 Northwing Apache ST (currently branded as a NW Navajo) with a Rotax 582. Only 231 hours total time, well cared for. However, as eluted in the title, I had my first engine out a few weeks ago.  I'm sharing this story because I learned a lot in the process and it reminded me that even the most trusted engines can fail.

It started with a non-eventful 20 minutes flight from a drylake to KBVU. After a short pause at the FBO, I restarted and took off again. At 200' above midfield my engine seized without warning. I had enough runway to put it down safely (thanks Leo Fitzgerald for training me well). Once on the ground I was able to restart and put it on a quiet taxiway to do some tests. Fuel, mags, temperatures, high RPM, etc... all looked good. So I gave it another try. Unfurtunately, just over 200' it seized again. This time I was prepared. Once on the ground it would not restart.

Back in the garage I took the entire fuel supply apart and checked & cleaned the usual suspects. Fuel pump, filters, carburators, spark plugs, etc... all good. I replaced the fuel pump anyway. After all that, the engine ran again, so I decided to give it another try. This time I had help (thanks Lauren Attaway) and we opted to test on the dry lake. Unfortunately, same story all over. I felt like an early aviation pioneer, barely reaching 50'. The engine was completely locked up this time.

Time for an overhaul.
A quick visual inspection showed scratches on the rotary valve, so we sent it to a repair shop (Thanks Glen for transport help). Once in the hands of a  licensed Rotax mechanic, I got the call that this was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. Failed crankshaft bearing, damaged piston, damaged engine casing, and metal shavings that went through the rotary valve.

While the cause of all this remains unclear, there are a few things that may have contributed:

1.  I bought this trike used with only 145 hours, but it had been stored for more than 2 years without use. I learned that low hours on an older trike does not mean everything is ok. Sitting still for too long is bad. 

2. I pre-mix my fuel with high-grade Amsoil. However, the oil pump was still installed on the engine, basically running without functioning.

3. I used the same fuel after my trike sat for 4 months this summer. I know, that's a no no. Won't do it again.

Lessons to be learned. I'm sharing all this, hoping it will help others. If someone has another idea of what might have caused it, feel free to contribute.

I'm happy to report that I got myself a brand new engine yesterday (thanks Steve Beatty). Leo F. helped me install and test it. Runs like new :-)