I was heading out west for a Solar Eclipse trip towards Wyoming the next day and, as luck would have it, the weather in Milwaukee looked decent for test flights of both my dream-flight Weasel-Trek and the all-new Ahi Freestyle Sloper. I’d planned to take these planes on the trip anyway but it was nice to get a chance to fly before I was on the road.
I started at the Sheridan Park slope in Cudahy that has always been a go to spot for test flights because the land out spot in front is pretty good if things aren’t grooving and it works better than most in a northeast wind. The wind was somewhat more north than ideal but seemed coming in enough to toss out the Ahi, so I did. Pretty right on with just a couple of trim clicks. The wind was really too far north and, since the heyday at this hill several years back, there are some larger trees out in front that were making the lift bumpy but the Ahi flew very well and I had enough height after a few minutes to try some loops and rolls. Very nice, then I switched to high rates and learned that the Ahi can really maneuver! Rolls can be really fast and loops tight and round.
A dude, pilot from the looks of his LearJet (or similar) logo on his shirt, stopped and chatted a bit. He and his wife are summering just up the street and he has a couple of gliders and electrics and said he’d always wondered about this particular slope! The flying Ahi proved the point so maybe we will see him there sometime.
Since the wind we kind of north at Sheridan and I was chomping at the bit to get some proper lift to work out the Ahi more I took a look at the Wunderground.com app for what the wind conditions north and south of Milwaukee. It looked decent in Racine at Cliffside Park so I made my way down there expecting decent conditions and, before I even parked, my expectations were rewarded as I saw a lone plane in the sky. I could tell it was a DLG-style plane but wasn’t sure what it was until I approached Ken slopeside and he told me it was a dream-flight Libelle! Interesting since I had all 3 of the other dream-flight planes in my van; the Weasel-Trek, The Ahi and an Alula-Trek.
The wind at Cliffside was about 12+mph so I flew the Ahi first; anxious to get more stick time and see what it can do. I wasn’t disappointed! The lift was really good and gaining height and/or speed was no problem. I kept the Ahi out front more than I plan to on future flights to make sure I could get a feel for it. Mostly basic maneuvers but all I did including inside and outside loops, rolls either way, a few 4 point rolls were all very easy even if the pilot was a little rusty on the sticks. CG seemed pretty spot on with inverted flight needing just a breath of down stick at times to maintain level, inverted flight. I will move the CG back a bit as I get more familiar with the Ahi but my 15-20 minute flight made me realize why I love sloping so much!
After some fun with the Ahi I went for the Weasel -Trek and it’s first proper flight having only tossed it around a few times without decent lift. Right out of my hand it was flying nearly perfect. I’ve got 4 other Weasels so I am very familiar with how they fly but this one was even more so a Weasel than the others. They’ve always felt like bigger planes and they just GROOVE. I am stoked to have the latest version in my quiver and the fact that I can put it back in the original box easily for transport is even better. I think I’ll be making a Weasel bag that I can attach to my backpack so transporting it on my bike will be a breeze.
Ken flew his Libelle again and from the looks of it it is a very nice flying plane that moved well in the 12-15mph wind and I expect it can work great in really light lift as well. I may have to complete the dream-flight hangar with one at some point. Ken, for his part, seems destine to pony up for an Ahi and, possibly a Weasel someday (he already has an Alula at home!). Keep ‘em coming Michael, we love them here in Wisconsin!
All in all, this was the best day sloping in a long time for me. I think I have the bug again, Watch out!