May 13th

Protecting our sails from harmful UV sun rays.

By Paul Hamilton
With my trike out in the high altitude sun almost every day during the summer, I want to minimize the damaging sun rays on the sail. Typically I keep it in the hanger as much as possible, tie it down so the sun is at the greatest angle with the top of the sail. Am planning on coating it with some sort of UV protector. I have heard that NikWax has been recommended by a trike the manufacturer. Any one with experience for coatings for the top of the sail? Is NikWax the best option? There are many sprays but what is the best for sails? This might be something for all trike pilots to maintain the value of the trike/wing.
May 5th


By tom speirs
Seen a useful instrament while surfing the net on ebay and for sale at xc magazine in the uk(paragliding) TIGGY PARAMOTOR FUEL GAUGE  shows feul burn rate ,endurance ,etc cost about $150 next trike toy me thinks
Apr 29th

Digital Photography

By B Alvarius
Nothing is more fun than going for a flight and grabbing some photogaphs to document the experience and many use only small inexpensive digital cameras on flights because of safety and ease of use.  The popularity of the digital camera has fundamentally changed how people take pictures and cameras are now built into a variety of electronic devices from smart phones to tablets, my gps even has a camera.

I was recently asked to present a digital photography workshop demonstrating how I shoot images and what processing techniques I use on the resulting photographs.  The major take home lesson from the talk was that images are no longer made in the field but rather afterward, taking pictures in the field is now a matter of  data collection.  This approach is especially useful for photographs taken while flying where quick snapshots are the rule.  If you are not satisfied with your aerial photographs perhaps applying some of these techniques will help make your photographs jump off the screen.  While I do not claim to know what makes an interesting photograph these techniques have helped garer over 500,000 views on images I created and submitted to Google Earth.
I have uploaded a pdf of the workshop power point presentation which shows how to manipulate images and lists all the software resources (free).  The pdf may be found here (the file will not embed so you will have to click the link).

Below is a before and after of the same image  where the input levels were slightly decreased, contrast was slightly increased, and unsharp mask was applied. Note the apparent increase in resolution and increase in photographic depth.

Tanarg before.JPGTanarg after.JPG

Apr 24th

Ditching in Water vs. Trees

By Dave Schultz
 Ditching in Water vs. Trees
Featuring Wally Moran - view profile
Subscriber Question:
"I live on an island in NW Washington, as a result I obviously do a lot of flying over water. I have a Socata/Tobago TB 10 with fixed gear and gull wing doors. The question is - given a choice with an engine failure, would you recommend an emergency landing in shallow water near the shoreline or go for a tall stand of pine trees? There is no guidance in the POH." - Anonymous
"Of course our first answer to this question is neither one. I would work hard to keep myself from having to make this choice.
As a glider pilot, we have a rule that we do not fly over unlandable terrain unless we are high enough to glide to landable areas. I try to follow that same rule as much as possible when flying a power plane. But, that does not answer this question.
The first place to always go for questions like this is the pilots operating handbook, since you say there is no guidance there, I suggest you write the manufacturer to see if they have published any data on the subject. I did a quick review of the NTSB and AOPA accident data bases and found nothing related to Socata TB10 ditching.
History shows that landing a fixed gear aircraft on the water usually results in the airplane flipping over with some serious G forces in the stop. Now you are upside down, disorientated, perhaps injured and face a possible drowning. Not a pretty picture. I recently read of a Piper Warrior landing in a river and it turned over on the landing and two of the passengers drowned.
In my opinion, a tree landing is a better choice. While there are of course many hazards about a tree landing, pine trees are a soft wood that give way as they dissipate the energy which help in reducing the deceleration forces. Further if you or any of your passengers are injured, they can stay in the plane until rescued without fear of drowning. 
I sincerely hope neither you or I have to make this choice in our flying career."
Apr 10th

My Own BPS Experience *Caution-Some Barfing Involved*

By John Olson

Kathleen Pukes.jpg

I know, I know, it ain't a trike. But just so you's clowns don't think I am only a bad apple with an attitude about parachutes I'd like to show you photographic evidence that I may indeed be a bad apple with an attitude but when it comes to rockets-on-a-string I have some experience too. Of my own that is. I have owned a few. Exhibit A, for example, is this photo I myself am taking with my left hand, that clearly shows a BPS centered in the top of the shot, riding along on a downtube and attached to the carabiner D ring connection. See? This very system, by the way, was given to me personally by that parachute expert and old-hangie John Dunham himself, up at Slide Mountain, must have been around 1987 or so. It is a Second Chantz system. I hope you all don't have queasy stomachs.

Apr 7th

Flycom, Lynx or Comtronics?

By Rizwan Bukhari

I am trying to decide of what system to use for my new trike. In the past I have used Lynx system and loved it. But I want to know what do you prefer and why? I have the option of buying completely a new system. My trike comes with Comtronics helmets but it is not a complete system and I just wanted to find out if there is something better out there.


Apr 5th

Parachute attachment point. Thoughts for all trike pilots. I may change my recommendation about this important issue.

By Paul Hamilton

I had a very interesting conversation with John Dunham at lunch while we were discussing the installation of the BPS (Backup/Ballistic Parachute System) on one of my students trikes. I now have a policy that I will not provide training on a student’s trike unless there is a BPS. When I asked about the attachment point, John provided me information that has may change my viewpoint about the attachment point.


Previously, I was convinced to have the hang point through the top of the wing hangpoint (attached to the carriage) so when you “pop the chute”, you end up coming down level and landing on all three wheels. I have heard many stories in my research about coming down with the trike in many in many uncomfortable situations such as nose straight down hanging with the seat belt etc…..


John explained that if you pop the chute, and it is attached to the top of the wing, two things happen. Whatever speed you have, which is usually substantial, when you pop the chute and it inflates, it pulls the top of the wing back, forcing the control bar forward, and the trike jets up at an unusual attitude climbing, maybe almost looping as the chute pulls the top of the wing back creating an upward tract…… makes sense. Hopefully in this situation “at a high enough altitude” things will stabilize and you will come back hanging under the chute to level and hang to hit the ground with all 3 wheels. Again makes sense.


However, if you are low to the ground it may not be so good if you are attached to the top of the wing. You jet up and now you must stabilize to hang underneath. If you are low to the ground you may hit the ground before you stabilize.


If your chute is attached lower on the mast, above the CG, and you pop the chute, now you will not have both a yanking back on the top of the wing/forcing the control bar forward and such a large moment above the CG yanking your nose up. Yes you would come down nose first maybe 30 degrees and hit nose first.

Overall I see the advantages with the lower chute attachment point on the mast as being able to successfully deploy at lower altitudes and being less hassle for setup/takedown because there is no need to detach/reattach the chute bridle to the top of the wing. The disadvantages is that you would come down nose first and you would have more likelihood of the prop getting the bridle if the engine is not shut off or prop wind milling.

I would like any other opinions or experience on this important issue to understand the advantages/disadvantages of both options for parachute attachment points.

Apr 2nd

Nontowered airports are anything but “out of control.”

By Dave Schultz

Some people use the term “uncontrolled airport” to mean
the same thing as 
“nontowered airport,” but nontowered airports are anything but “out of control.” 

Nontowered airports—those not served by an operating air traffic control (ATC) tower—are much more common than towered fields. In fact, nearly 20,000 airports in the United States are nontowered, compared to approximately 500 that have towers.

Millions of safe operations in all types of aircraft are conducted at nontowered airports in a variety of weather conditions. The process works because pilots put safety first and use recommended procedures.

A word about procedure: There are several sources of information that explain official FAA-recommended procedures at nontowered airports. FAR 91.113 cites basic right-of-way rules, and FARs 91.126 and 91.127 establish traffic-flow rules at nontowered airports. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and FAA Advisory Circular 90-66A expand on the regulations. Together, these documents define procedures for nontowered flight operations.

Regulations and procedures can’t cover every conceivable situation, though, and the FAA has wisely avoided imposing rigid operating regulations at nontowered airports. What is appropriate at one airport may not work at the next. Some airports have special operating rules due to obstacles or hazards, while other rules may promote a smooth and efficient flow of traffic or keep aircraft from overflying unsympathetic airport neighbors

Mar 31st

Honda Viking 110 HP aircraft engine. To good to be true for LSA trikes?

By Paul Hamilton
I am training a new trike pilot who has a trike with a 582 and is also building an E-LSA airplane and researched/bought with a Honda Viking engine that was 110 HP, fuel injected, reliable Honda, weights a little more and is a lot less expensive than a Rotax 912S 100 hp. Is this to good to be true? Is this an option for a trike? At first glance it looks pretty attractive. If I was flying a E-LSA I would give it a try? see