I love the change of seasons. The leaves turn, snow blankets the mountains. It gets cold. There is only one thing I like to do more than skiing in the winter, flying. Do not give up flying because it gets cold. We have put a man on the moon, we have the technology to deal with the cold.
Always consider what you might have to do to get more airtime per flight and being prepared to fly in the cold will help this. Many times some of the most beautiful flying will be when it is cold.
The concept of just dressing warm to fly in an open cockpit aircraft when it is cold works OK. However, many people believe just dressing warm will work if it gets REALLY cold. You need some sort of auxiliary heat to fly for more than a half hour.
What is COLD? Cold is a relative term. We will define cold here as any temperature down to freezing, 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C. We will define “real or REALLY cold” as any air temperature BELOW freezing.
With the wind chill factor if your hands are out in the wind whey will not last. The national weather service has redefined the wind chill with details at the web site:
Everyone I have seen dressing good with warm looking bar mitts and/or good gloves, can last maybe half an hour if it is below freezing, than come back in agony with frozen hands.
The one time I remember best was when I thought I could do it. The day started in Truckee California, sometimes the coldest place in the US. It was calm and nice, about 25 degrees F. It was a 30 minute flight to get back to my base airport but had to climb to 10,000 to get over a ridge and back to Carson City Nevada. I knew it would be cold but I did not expect what happened. While flying back 15 minutes into the flight, my hands got so cold I could not grab onto the bar and normally fly the trike.. Flying it with the bar under my elbows seemed to work best and also squeezing the bar between my forearms provided enough control to make it to the airport and safely land.
What a lesson to learn. Something had to be done to fly when it was really cold. I had no intention of giving up flying during the winter.
The heat pads used by hunters to put in their gloves and boots are a great start. They are generally inexpensive and can be carried and used as required if you generally do not plan to consistently fly in the cold and really cold but could be used if you need them. But they simply do not have the heat output to do the job and can not get the heat to your fingers where it is needed the most.
I soon discovered that the motorcycle shop had 12 volt electric gloves, sox, pants and jackets. The problem is solved. Hook this to your battery and you have a very efficient heating system for any 12 volt aircraft system. Think of the extra comfort and enjoyable time you can spend in the air. Great technology we can use from our motorcycle cousins. This will apply to all 12 volt aircraft systems, including enclosed aircraft with marginal heating systems.
You can easily run two pairs of gloves and one pair of sox off a common Rotax 2 stroke engine with a battery. If you put some of those “hunter heat packs” stuck to the top and bottom of the passenger toes, plus get down booties for the passenger, and you can easily fly around for 2 hours in comfort. Of course you must have three layers of pants, long underware, pants, and snow pants. For the upper body, warm undershirt, turtleneck, sweater/fleece, and a wind proof coat. A balaclava and a face shield so there is no wind in your face is also required. Dressing warm combined with heated gloves/sox running full blast provide plenty of heat where you need it. I added a simple voltage meter to the aircraft battery to help figure out if the system was charging or draining.
Each pair of gloves and sox are 22 watts each totaling 66 watts for 3 sets.
This is quite a bit of juice. A hand held radio is only 5 watts output. Producing heat takes a lot of electricity. My simple ROTAX 503 putts out about 175 watts at full power and significantly less at idle. Adding a jacket at 77 watts in addition overloads the electrical system and drains your battery at idle but will can produce enough electricity at 5500 RPM cruise. Perhaps a vest at 44 watts will squeak by better if you want that extra heat.
Also note that if you bring something along to push the radio buttons since this is near impossible with big gloves, you do not have to take off your gloves to change frequencies. A pencil eraser works great for this.
The biggest problem when it gets really cold is your breath fogging up the face shield. You must concentrate and exhale down out and not on the face shield.
Now I fly all winter and am constantly getting questioned when I am flying and broadcasting to unicoms and control towers about how cold it is. One time while flying over Reno Class C airspace at 9,000 feet the tower wanted to know how this could be done since they estimated the temperature to be 10 degrees F at my altitude. My reply, “no exposed shin, and 12 volt motorcycle gloves and sox makes flying warm and comfortable.”
When it gets cold, go flying and turn your half hour suffering flights into 2 hour flights were you are warm and cozy.
This is my dilemma, I really like Gibbo wings, in pictures they look like they are built like a tank. But every time I muster the courage up to think about buying one (even though Gibbo has a great loyal following), I get a lot of opinions from the people that swear by Northwing (but everyone is entitled to their opinions). I am hoping to make a rational decision here not based on just the opinions. I think Gibbo wings are priced very fairly too (almost 3k less than a Northwing).
So I have two questions for Gibbo wing flyers. I have an HKS 700e motor with a 19 meter strutted Northwing. The other day I was flying near Payette, Idaho and the air was very turbulent so it required some effort on my part to fly.
My question is this what Gibbo wing is best matched to a HKS 700e motor which many say is a little bit stronger than a 503. For the most part I fly by myself, but my dad is moving to Idaho next year and I will be flying him quite frequently and wanted a Wing that can accommodate two 200 pound people. I think my trike (Northwing Navajo) empty weight with the HKS motor is about 540 pounds. Put two 200 pound passengers and now we are looking at 940 pounds. With all that weight and an HKS motor. What Gibbo wing is the best match?
I am not a cross country pilot, I am a patch flyer. But I am looking for a wing that I can fly by myself in strong turbulence (and it doesn't require as much effort as a 19 meter wing) in turbulent air or thermals but which also has the ability of hauling two passengers occasionally with an HKS 700e motor and not overwork the engine (with one or two passengers).
I still love my 19 meter Northwing, it also is a blast to fly in calm conditions. At one time I thought of getting a Gibbo 17 meter RST wing (instead of the more popular 15 meter RST) to give me better ability of hauling two people (a pilot and a passenger). But then I thought, what if the difference is not significant between a 17 meter Gibbo and a 19 meter Northwing? One of my all time favorite wings was an Aeros Stranger (maybe a Stream) (I believe it is 16 meter double surface) I loved the way it handled.
What are you suggestions? Is there anyone by Boise, Idaho or nearby areas that flies Gibbo wings, I sure would like to test fly the wing to get a better feel for it. Please help me out make a good decision here.
Gibbo Gear is coming out with a new wing, a 15 meter double surface, check out their website http://www.gibbogear.com/
In the desciption it says "100% double surface increases top end speed and lowers the stall speed....Not sewing the under surface to the top surface allows the two surfaces to shift independently of each other during flight improving handling. Another cool feature of the detached under surface is you can pre-flight your entire airframe!"
What is difference between a regular double surface wing (which as I understand typically are 80 percent double surface) vs this wing, which is 100 percent double surface.
The other question is a 100 percent double surface wing would be much more cleaner and faster than a 80% double surface wing, how does that help lower the stall speed? If anything I would think that it would increase Stall speed.
Am I right in my thinking?
Some seem to think that there are no suitable 4-strokes for UL (part 103) trikes. Well I'd like to try to help dispel that myth. Some say "too heavy", "can't deliver enough thrust", "too complicated", "too expensive", etc, etc. Well let me give you the low down on my experience with my Verner JCV-360 on my North Wing Maverick II Legend with 13M Pacer wing.
Since it was a beautiful day I went flying this afternoon until dusk. Yes, the winds were a bit stiff (any where from 12 to 20mph on the ground) but it was mostly directly down the runway so I decided to give it a go. With virtually no traffic at the airport I had the place to my self. I took multiple flights. My vario registered climb rates from 770 to 830fpm with an average of 800fpm. Not too shabby for a 4-stroke, Hah?
So let me try to put that in perspective based on my flying experiences in light trikes. I have heard it said that the JCV-360 (rated at 35hp) puts out about 26hp. What a bunch of bunk! Mine certainly is doing better than that. My previous trike was the NW ATF with the Simonini Mini 2 plus single cylinder 2-stroke (rated at 26hp) and 17M Stratus wing. I flew it for years and I don't believe I ever experienced climb rates as good as I did today. Your thinking "big deal" right. Well, the Stratus is a large slow high lift wing but the Pacer is a fast double surface blade style wing and I would not consider it a high lift wing. Climb out from 45 to 50 or maybe a bit higher for the Pacer vs around 26-30 for the Stratus. My Maverick trike is likely close to 45-50 lbs heavier than ATF too. Yet today my JCV-360 snatched my butt and threw it towards the heavens at 800fpm. Yes, it is delivering a heck of a lot more than 26hp! I don't yet have a good setup for measuring thrust so I can not give you that info right now but maybe I'll have some data later.
So no I did not break the 1000fpm barrier but then again this is not a Kaw 440, or 447 or 503. All I have is a little 360cc 4-stroke so not fair to compare it to a 440cc++ 2-stroke on a power or thrust basis.
OK so in the interest of full disclosure today's climb rates were on the higher end of the range. Air was cool (50-52F on the ground and 45F at 2000AGL) and dense (barometric pressure ~30.2" Hg) so lift was good and my 360 was breathing and humming nicely probably delivering a tad more hp. Also, I have been tinkering and slowly optimizing my setup. I have been playing with a couple different props and I have made some modifications to my Walbro carbs that seem to be working nicely. I am also feeding her high octane race gas which may be delivering a bit more power.
Would I recommend my trike setup to other part 103 trike pilots? Absolutely! However, I must qualify that. Over a year ago before I had any experience with this engine, I predicted that it would work great for the lighter pilot I believe that more than ever today. I am only 160 lbs and the 360 can handle my setup and wing loading just fine. However, I would start to have some reservations about recommending it for heavy trikes or for heavier pilots. Pilots in the 230-240 lb range are in a grey area, and I don't think that pilots of 250+lbs would be happy with the climb rates from the JCV-360 but there are many variables so a slow large high lift wing might work OK.
There are a number of advantages to 4-strokes over 2-strokes which I may cover in some future posts. As I see it right now the primary disadvantage of the JCV-360 is it is a bit pricey. Also, apparently we do not have enough in use in US yet to apparently entice a importer/representative to stock parts, etc so one might have to deal directly with Verner motor for some parts which I had to do recently. I am learning more about this engine every day thanks in no small part to the most knowledgeable Arthur Thompson who first imported this engine for a few years before closing down his business. I am indebted to Art for his help/assistance. Thanks Art!
So to wrap up this long post, for years I was skeptical that there were any suitable 4-strokes for the part 103 trike world. Well the JCV-360 has changed my perspective. If you have an interest in flying a UL trike with a 4-stroke then the JCV-360 is worth checking out! Its performance is nothing to sneeze at! Blue skies ....Joe
I would like to know how hard is the FAA written sport
pilot exam? I am using the TestPrep book and Prepware software
and in addition I am also using Prepare to test online bank of
The questions on Prepware and Prepare to test are almost identical so I am thinking that both of them probably use the same FAA question pool.
How was your written FAA test and if you can give me tips for success, I would really appreciate that.
Listed here are my reasons for purchasing a new trike and why I decided on a Revo.
Background. I fly almost every day now professionally doing inrto flights and primary training. Awesome job loving it. Right now I am flying a stiff 14.5 square meter wing (very nice overall) with a 582 at density altitudes 5000 to 12,000 feet. Doing the math, the Rotax 65 HP goes to about 52 HP at 7000 foot density altitude and about 42 HP at 12,000. Barely enough to handle the 14.5 meter wing.
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 and go to a 912S so I can get a smaller wing.
OK which trike? Here are the reasons why I choose a Revo, generally in the order of importance which helped my decision:
Almost everyone who calls and asks about buying a trike wants a Revo.
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
Super sexy looking.
Made in the USA with easy parts/great service.
There you have it.
Calm wind - stall at touchdown.
Turbulent/bumpy conditions - fly it onto the ground well above stall speed and pin it. The more gusty/bumpy the conditions, the faster above stall speed you pin it on the ground.
Can anyone tell me of any online resources for Sport Pilot exam. I use to have a test prep cd but now I don't have it and also I don't have a computer with a CD, it is just a netbook with no CD-ROM.
I don't mind paying for the downloadable questions that don't require a cd.