Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kolb On Sunday

Sunday afternoon flying at Kolb was amazing.  Marcus Kolb had just brought some new horses in to the field so we were to remain clear.   I think we did for a few minutes, but the horses did fine and he didn't holler at us. :)  My fixed wing flying buddy Mark also came out today to watch us PPG fly.  He'll be starting lessons in a month or so and wanted to see us doin' our thing.  He brought along his camera and boy am I glad he did. I had no idea what a photographer he was becuase I've never heard him mention photography and we've probably got 50 or more hours in the plane together on various cross country flights.  Anyway, he sent me a bunch of the photos he took and they turned out great.  I especially liked the first photo (upper left) where he made the photo black and white and then restored the colors in the wing.  How cool. 

Loving the Pictures Taking Too.  I tried doing the same with another one of his pictures but as you'll see the workmanship isn't quite there yet on my part.  It's amazing what one can do with a bit of time and patience.  Hope you like them.  You can click on either one of them to enlarge the photos. 

Down at the bottom is my video of my Sunday flying. The wind was calm and the temps warm enough to allow 2000' foot flying and not freeze.  Thansk for stoppin' in.  Ya'll be particular.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morgantown's Muddy Mess

Boy was it a fun day in the air yesterday!  Conditions were a little mushy at Kolb so we all decided to meet at Morgantown. Sadly, Morgantown was 22 times muddier than Kolb was but with 45 minutes between the two - we were staying here. 
Two vehicles (all wheel drive) got stuck in the mud and we left them there until the end of flying time and then all got together and tug-a-war'd 'em out of the mud. Teamwork Rules!
As quickly as I got airborne, the wind picked back up and for the 3 or 4 of us in the air, it was a bit of a bumpy ride. Nothing crazy, but definitely not smooth. We all stayed airborne about 30 minutes before landing to wait it out.  About 20 minutes later it was smooth again and a couple of more folks got airborne again.  If you'd like to watch the video below, I do suggest you changing the resolution to 720p. You can do this on the lower right hand corner of the video box where it say 360.  You may have to open the video up in YouTube by clicking on it to do so.    Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hangin' Out Over Kolb Field

Surprisingly, there was a huge change in the winds aloft forecast between this morning around 9:00 am and this afternoon around 3:00 pm.  It has changed by 36 mph at 3000 feet. What that meant was it was time to pack up the gear and head to Kolb Field.  Four of us met around 3:30 for some afternoon PPG flying.  What a difference 2 weeks can make.  The snow was gone, the mud and slush was gone, and the flights were on! 

Next time I'll venture away from the field to capture some video out yonder way. 

Hope you enjoy the vid.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mud Bath + Turbulent Winds = No Flying

Fun Mud Bath, Yesterday Not So Fun Mud Bath.
Not My Photo.
I was all excited about flying today but at the last minute (and while I was on the way to Kolb) Kevin called and said the winds-aloft had gone from 13 to 33.  I was still willing to try though, since the winds-aloft forecast was just that, a forecast. Also, the closest station we could use that was aligned with the wind (headed our way) was way over yonder in Westminster Maryland.
When I arrived at the field, I parked over on the West end this time and noticed that Kevin was standing out in the middle of the field.  He looked a little shorter than normal and I thought he was getting shorter.  He sludged his way back over and looked like Willy Wonka after having played in the chocalate factory.  We both walked around the field for a while and found the least squishy of the all-squishy area and set up our wings for launch.  The wind sock was showing about 7 mph winds so it wasn't looking to bad. 
Kevin went out first.  He took off and I could see he immediately entered rough air. Instead of his normal graceful flight, the wing was surging up,down, left, and right.  He entered a right downwind to a lazy eight pattern and almost got down-drafted all the way to the ground on base leg. After landing, he said, "I'm done, have fun".  I knew that wasn't a for real have fun and I did an about face and started packing up all my gear.  Tomorrow (Friday) is now supposed to be windy, as is Saturday. Sunday "may" work and Monday it may rain.  I'm hoping something gives and I'm able to finally do some flying this weekend. I miss being airborne.  I may have to take the Viking Witch flying today. She's my Piper Cherokee who I haven't flown in over 4 weeks so I bet she's mad at me.  I'll let ya'll know.

Be Particular!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Focus on Kolb, Pictures from above

Here are a few photo’s of our newest flying location.  This is Kolb Field in Phoenixville, PA.  Not only can we fly our powered paragliders (PPG) here, I can also fly the Viking Witch into Kolb as it’s a private airport with a beautiful grass runway.
The area surrounding the airport is filled with many open fields bordered by thin tree lines
We are planning on flying Kolb several times this weekend beginning Wednesday and will have a new set of photo’s and video’s to share with you.  I’m hoping to test out my new kick-in strap, video mount, strobe light, and low fuel warning indicator light that I built  (see earlier blog note).  I ordered the correct sensor and now it’s ready to go.   We’ll see you soon and in the mean time, be particular!  :)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Temps Are Turnin'

Even my family and friends down south have experienced snow this year.  They say up here in this area that we've had more snow "events" this year than any other year in recorded history. Hmmmm. Global Warming? 

I remember growing up as a youngen down in Southeast Alabama that it snowed once and half them rednecks (I can call 'em that cuz I'm one too) thought that the world was ending.  Didn't know what all that stuff was; of course, none of it stuck at all, melting as quickly as it landed.  I was used to snow however, as I'd lived in Germnay for 3 years as a child and another 9 as an adult so I knew the world wasn't ending, it was just getting cold.

Thats about to change up here though.  Starting today the temps will begin to march upwards towards a peak of 62*F on Friday.  I can't wait. Don't get me wrong though, I love love love snow, but I want to get some more air trime in on Bertha, my powered paraglider and it's been hard finding a suitable launch site.  I'll be sending pictures and uploading video's over the next week of my airborne observations.  Thanks and ya'll be particular!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tiein' the Knot

Recently, I can across this eBook about knot tieing and I found it fascinating.  There are many times in life that it would be useful knowing how to properly tie a knot for a particular scenario, such as tieing the boy up to the lawn mower, tieing the fridge closed from the fat neighbor kid, and perhaps tieing the Viking Witch to the ground in preparation for a storm.

This eBook is completely free and redistributable as you see fit with only small restrictions placed at the beginning of this ebook.  Have a look and I think you'll find some pretty cool stuff in here.
The history of ropes and knots is so dim and ancient that really little is known of their origin. That earliest man used cordage of some kind and by his ingenuity succeeded in tying the material together, is indisputable, for the most ancient carvings and decorations of prehistoric man show knots in several forms. Doubtless the trailing vines and plants first suggested ropes to human beings; and it is quite probable that these same vines, in their various twistings and twinings, gave man his first idea of knots.   Click HERE to go to the eBook.  It's Free!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lookin' Down On The Neighborhood

On Sunday,  I went flying at Kolb Field, which is a grass field that has been arouind for bunches of years.  I didn't know about it, but am certainly tickled to know about it now.  I recorded some video from my weekends flying activity but somehow I managed to shrink down the vidoe to the size of a match-box so I wanted to redo it and submit back on the blog here for your viewing.

Hopefully you'll get a better view of the area and a look at Mother Nature's handy work. 

Please let me know if you like it and any suggestions you may have on improving the entire video.

Kolb Field

It's supposed to be nearly 50* this coming Sunday so as long as the wind cooperates, I'll be out there flying around as long as I can.  See you soon.   Be Particular!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Zactly Where Am I.....The GPS

Aircraft GPS Systems:
The aircraft knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't. By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is (whichever is the greater), it obtains a difference, or deviation.
The GPS uses deviations to generate error signal commands which instruct the aircraft to move from a position where it is to a position where it isn't, arriving at a position where it wasn't, or now is. Consequently, the position where it is, is now the position where it wasn't; thus, it follows logically that the position where it was is the position where it isn't.
In the event that the position where the aircraft now is, is not the position where it wasn't, the GPS has acquired a variation. Variations are caused by external factors, the discussions of which are beyond the scope of this report.
A variation is the difference between where the aircraft is and where the aircraft wasn't. If the variation is considered to be a factor of significant magnitude, a correction may be applied by the use of the autopilot system. However, use of this correction requires that the aircraft now knows where it was because the variation has modified some of the information which the aircraft has, so it is sure where it isn't.
Nevertheless, the aircraft is sure where it isn't (within reason) and it knows where it was. It now subtracts where it should be from where it isn't, where it ought to be from where it wasn't (or vice versa) and integrates the difference with the product of where it shouldn't be and where it was; thus obtaining the difference between its deviation and its variation, which is variable constant called "error".

This explanation of GPS appeared on the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association (MMOPA) List and clears up a number of misconceptions about how this all works. A fellow Pilot friend of mine posted this to a forum......

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kolb Field, PPG Flying right near home

Kolb Field is no stranger to aviation.  Aircraft have been flying in and out of Kolb for nearly 56 years - perhaps longer.  Homer Kolb is considered to be one of the original "Fathers of Ultralite Aviation" and in 1999 was inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame.  Around that same time, Homer sold his ultralite business to a group of investors who moved it's HQ down into Kentucky I believe, and renamed it "The New Kolb Aircraft" company.  

Starting about 3 months ago, I began looking for closer areas to fly my PPG. I still love to fly in Morgangtown PA and will continue to do so, but I also wanted to find somewhere closer to home so if I had an hour or so and wanted to get in a flight, I could run right up the road, fly around, and be home within minutes.  While looking around on Google Maps, I happened upon Kolb Field.  

I was so excited to find an airport in my own town!  I immediately began searching for contact information and that's when I learned about Kolb Ultralites. I had heard of them plenty before, but had no idea that "THIS" is where they were located.  After doing research on the field itself, I found contact information and started reaching out to get permission to fly from Kolb.   

..... No response

I did some more research and was saddened to read that Homer had passed away approximately 2 years earlier.  I did some searching on the city records and found that Homer's son and another partner now owned the field and sent an email to them asking about Kolb Field and flying PPG's.  I was excited when I got a reply back less than 20 minutes later.  The reply sounded very promising and a meeting was setup to discuss the whole thing.  We did just that and received their permission to fly out of Kolb so here we are.

This was my first flight at Kolb field.  I had tried flying from Kolb about 2 weeks ago but "Bertha" (my PPG) wouldn't crank so I went back home pouting.  Today she fired right up and besides having to walk/run in 8 inches of snow (which is difficult), I had a wonderful day. Oh, one more thing... I was using a new (to me) harness that I'd just purchased and I did have trouble getting fully seated in the chair after launching so I was held up in the air by two cargo straps wrapped around my "business".  I had three flights and all three were short due to my bits hollering "help me help me" and me landing and talking like Mickey Mouse for a few minutes.  I consolidated all three flights into this one video.  I wish that I would have captured video of Jeff flying too but I was too busy trying to keep my parts away from the hold points of the harness.  I'm making a kick-in strap this week!   

Here's the vidoe, hope you enjoy it.  Jeff, Kevin, and myself at Kolb Field.

I'll be back out there first chance. Hopefully this weekend! 

Ya'll be particular

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Uhm, Did You Say Minimum Fuel? Show me a sign.

A fellow PPG pilot designed a fuel low warning indicator and was kind enough to post the “how-to” instruction sheet out on the internet.  I’ve made the mistake of running out of fuel (while flying my PPG) before trying to get just one-more touch and go in before landing for the evening.  Unlike my plane, my PPG has no fuel status indicator so I had to rely on guestimating my quantity based on how hard I’d been running the motor.  Obviously, I’d not been correct in at least one calculation based on the fact that I had to walk back to the the launch area carrying 75 pounds of gear that I should have been able to fly over with.  That’s all going to change now cuz I’m going visual!

Those that know me also know that I can screw up the moving parts of a bowling ball when it comes to building, modifying, assembling, or fixing something; I’m real good at taking stuff apart however.  Anyway, with Tom’s “how-to” sheet in hand, I went online to order the parts and pieces that I’d need to build my very own low fuel indicator LED. Oh yeah, I was going up town with a blinking red LED.  I’m hoping that I don’t blow myself up the first time it activates after I install the sensor inside the fuel tank.  I assembled the entire unit and created the circuit using a butter knife, duct tape, a wire tie off of a bread bag, an elastic band from a burned out pair of boxer shorts, and a piece of Velcro that I found under the couch cushion.  Surprisingly, it worked!  As long as the sensor (tan-ish part in my right hand) is closed (laying flat) on the white tray, the red LED light blinks, but if the tan bit is “floating” in the fuel (meaning the volume of fuel is above the sensor causing the floatie bit to float), the red LED light will not come on.  I went to mount the sensor down low on the fuel tank only to discover that I’d ordered the wrong style of this sensor and will have to order the correct one.  In the mean time, I’ll work on my next little upgrade to “BERTHA”, my PPG.  Perhaps I’ll install add a camera mount or strobe light to her.  Gotta run but I’ll be back. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Aiming for this Sunday!

Even though the weather hasn't been great this winter with 11 or more snow events already, I'm hoping to get some flying time in this Sunday at Kolb Field, in Phoenixville.  Should make for a fun day.  I did some flying a couple of weeks ago from Morgantown and hope you enjoyed the video footage and am planning on capturing the flights again this Sunday using my Contour 1080 HD camera.  This is the Philly area forecast for the next couple of weeks and it ain't looking good.  More snow beginning Tuesday. 

Can't wait to have a look around from above and take lots of photos of the snow & ice covered countryside.   I'll post the vids and pics after landing.

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