I finally got to try out a new LZ recently. New Jerusalem is a small strip in the middle of farmland. There are no services there, no buildings, no tie downs, just a runway in the middle of farmland. The City of Tracy owns and operates this airport and recently built a fence around it. I emailed their airport manager and she happily provided me with the code to the lock to get in. Access to the gate is via a rural dirt road that is unmarked and unnamed. Google Maps was able to help me find the road.
When I got the the wind was blowing at about 5 MPH almost straight down the runway. There was a large paved area between the taxi way and the runway that proved to be a perfect place to set up and launch from. It also allows you to meander onto the runway should you need to. I pulled in and set up my windsock to start watching the wind. I used the wind to “build a wall” with my glider and this also showed me how I should orient the glider into the wind. Once that was set up and rolled my trike up and hooked up. The wind caught my wing a couple of times but I was able to set it back up quickly.
I waited for a student to stop doing touch and goes before launching. I almost blew the launch because my wing started oscillating from one side to the other. I was able to dampen them fairly quickly by steering the trike under the wing and applying a little brake pressure. Once the wing was stable I went full throttle and was climbing out.
I don’t know how much break in time these engines need so I stayed pretty close to the airport. The highlight of the flight for me was flying over a house where a small girl saw me and started jumping up and down and waving madly. I started kicking my legs and waving madly back! This got mom’s attention who also started waving. Nice! I never would have seen that if I had been flying my airplane.
I was short on time and the sun was going down anyway so I turned back toward the runway and made an approach to the same spot I had taken off from. As I cleared the fence I cut my power and just let it glide in. I have to admit that’s my favorite part; that quiet glide. I did, in fact roll to a stop almost precisely where I started from. With brakes full down I had only to take a couple of steps to roll my trike forward and have the wing come down behind me. Most of the lines were in the line guides too! I could have almost just fired the engine back up again. The wind had completely stopped by now and just like I used to do in my fixed wing, I just sat and listened to the ambient noise for a few moments before unbuckling and packing up.
Yeah, I think I’ll be back.