I got out for some flying a couple of days ago and although the wind was minimal at least it was from the right direction to hit slopes along the Lake Michigan shore. I made it to three, two I’ve flown before and one I hadn’t!
The only plane I took was my Ahi because I need a bit of practice to attempt making a video to enter in the dream-flight Ahi One Design Video Contest, not just for flying skills but also for filming ideas. As the contest description says, it isn’t just about the flying!
The first slope I went to was Big Bay Park where the wind was coming in at about 7mph. Big Bay has seen some growth in vegetation and even a few trees over the last few years and is one of the only slopes I was getting out to but the lift is still decent and it is close to home. The flight at Big Bay ended when I landed and bounced the Ahi off my shin and separated the wings a bit! I didn’t have a small screw driver for the wing joiner screws handy so I headed back home before continuing on to a couple of other slope sites further south. This was a good thing since going over the Ahi alerted me to the fact that the servo end clevises were not holding the carbon rod all that well allowing the rod to slide a bit and throw off the elevator trim, that explained why I had a crappy flight the other day with the Ahi ballooning all over the place before I added a bunch of down trim. I thought it was a bit odd but didn’t make the connection that the push rod could be slipping. I dropped a bit of CA in the clevis clamp for good measure.
Anyway, minor repairs and adjustments made, I continued down the road. I went to Sheridan Park where the wind was hovering about 5mph and coming straight in. Frankly, at this slope in these winds, I was just scraping by. I could fly level and maintain slope-edge altitude but gaining any height was painful. I landed a few times and gave the Ahi some solid launches so I was able to get a couple of maneuvers in before I had to land but there was just not quite enough lift for sustained aerobatic playing.
I was also able to mess around with my GoPro Session 4 mounted to a bike helmet and spent a bit of time adjusting it for proper framing. Actually seem like it will work fairly well as one of the cameras for proper slope flying video making. More on that to come.
Since the wind a Sheridan was barely a puff, and the spot where I normally flew in the past seems more turbulent due to the trees that have grown lower on the hill, I decided to walk farther north along the bike path and found a spot that seems better with, basically, nothing but Lake Michigan out front. I flew around there a bit but, again, not much wind so on the the next spot! Still, it seemed smoother than our old traditional LZ.
Finally, I was on my way down to Cliffside Park in Racine as I think it is currently the best slope we have in SE Wisconsin but I took a different route than I normally do on the way hugging the lake shoreline and discovered that there has been some pretty major renovations to the slope and adjacent lands just north of the marina at Bender Park. It is starting to really take shape and, with easy access, may replace the spot about 2 miles south that we’d previously had to hike a 1/4 mile or a 1/2 mile depending on where we went to get to the slope edge. At the new spot, you can park about 100 feet away! So my Cliffside Park trip was cut short to check out this new (to me anyway) slope!
The wind at Bender Park was still just 5 or 6mph but the bluff is over 100 feet high here and the direction was good so the lift when I tossed out the Ahi was a bit better and smooth. The bluff is not only higher but has a more vertical face. I flew the Ahi around for a bit and was able to get in some loops, rolls and inverted flight but there still wasn’t enough lift for proper shenanigans so I headed home.
The wind forecast for Thursday/Friday looks better. Here’s crossing my fingers!