- Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:25 am
It's been over 6 months since I first tried to fly the F225, with that first really failed attempt at Funston. As I reported in my first post, I quickly realized that there was a whole bunch of flexwing skills I had forgotten in my many years of flying rigids. That first flight at Funston ended on the beach after a short, PIO-packed flight from launch.
Since then, I've slowly been taking occasional flights at Ed Levin, figuring out how to gain control of this beast - heh, heh. More recently, I've tried to fly Funston on two separate occasions with the F225, but a quickly falling cloud deck thwarted me both times. Dang.
Today, was finally the day, but the afternoon started out too windy for me on this wing. I thought about setting up my ATOS VR (I brought it, too), but I really had my heart set on getting the F225 flight I've been wanting. Others were getting into the air, but I didn't feel comfortable, struggling with this circus tent out to the cliff. I tried earlier, but only got a third of the way from the setup area before carrying back. I waited.
About an hour later, the wind backed off just enough to make me less uneasy. With a two-man wire crew, I pushed my way to the cliff, and elevatored off. My plan was to wait for a few seconds before giving the right-turn input, and it worked out great. I was able to give it a couple of bumps, without initiating PIO and I was in business. I slowly inched my way closer to the cliff as I headed north. There weren't many others in the air, but anytime I was near someone, I would end up with mild PIO-type yawing, but nothing too bad. Proximity nervousness, I guess. When I was flying apart from others, I could keep it flying straight and smooth.
I felt pretty good about my turns - they were feeling fine. I worked on eliminating the minor PIO I was doing around others, and got better without eliminating it entirely. More practice... I also realized that flexwings take constant attention and control inputs - even if just tiny ones. I'm sure it's not noticeable by regular flex pilots, but I could tell. Absolutely not needed with rigids, but I'm getting my flex skills back.
After flying for and hour, I noticed that the wind had picked up again and gone a little southy. flying south along the cliff was getting slow, and I knew it was time to go land. I set up an approach over the bushes and parking lot, them drifted way back in the field. I could feel the turbulence rolling across the field, but it was OK. A bit of activity spoiled what I thought would be a very smooth landing, and I ended up on my knees - ungraceful, but not too bad. I pushed through the turbulence as I carried over to the breakdown area.
Overall I feel pretty good about the flight. I've gotten smooth enough to handle more conditions, and I will bring the F225 back (hopefully) pretty soon for more educational airtime.