Well if last Saturday was great, this past Saturday was greater! I returned to Lincoln airport and their powered parachute field hoping to fly my P3. It’s a long drive and I really didn’t want to drive all that way again but it was the only place in the Central Valley that wasn’t experiencing high winds. And really there is quite a community of powered parachute enthusiasts there so it’s a fun place to fly.
I showed up a couple of hours before sunset. There was one other person there waiting to fly as well. We chatted and talked about, surprise, flying. A married couple showed up, he flies a PPC, she flies a PPG. We all busied ourselves with getting our respective machines ready. Wings laid out. Last minute wind direction checks. I have to admit I was a little nervous as I prepared myself to fly the P3. It had been 3 months since I had flown as pilot and one week since I had flown a two seat PPC with Ken. I didn’t do very well flying his machine, or should I say landing it.
Finally I ran out of excuses not to fly so I climbed aboard my machine and gave it the gas. Now, on my PPC when accelerating you had to guide the canopy up, and steer both the canopy and the machine on the ground until you were flying. With the PPC the canopy came up and locked itself in overhead as if supported by poles. It was just rock solid. I went ahead and pushed the throttle all the way forward and gave my rudders a little kick and up it went.
Once up in the air it flew very much like my PPG did but felt more stable. Climb rate was slightly less and turns were not as fast when only using the rudder bars. I could increase the turn by grabbing the steering rope and pulling it in. I spent about 20 minutes just flying around and making approaches, coming in lower and lower before going around again. I just wanted to see how fast it reacted to the throttle. When landing many PPC pilots give a burst of throttle just prior to touchdown, once I was satisfied I knew how much throttle to apply I set up for my landing.
The landing was nothing to write home about. I was late on the throttle and bounced but it wasn’t bad. I killed the engine and rolled to a stop while kicking the rudder bars. Kicking the rudder bars causes the canopy to collapse behind the PPC. Much better than having it come down on top of you. All in all a successful flight and I look forward to many more.