Back In The Saddle

 

We finally got a break in the MUCH needed rain storms here in central California on Sunday.  So in the afternoon I hitched up my hangar on wheels and drove out to New Jerusalem Airport (1Q4).  The day was perfect for flying a powered parachute; no wind and a high overcast so no thermals either.  I pulled in and got set up.  Within about 15 minutes the engine was warmed up and the chute was laid out.  I was set up on the displaced threshold on runway 30 and noticed an aircraft on final.  I turned my strobe on to increase my visibility.  When he was on short final he went around and flew off with absolutely no radio calls.  Well, it is an uncontrolled airport.  Radio calls are not mandatory but definitely suggested.

I strapped in and with one last look around the areas called “clear prop” to no one as the airport was completely empty, and fired up the engine.  Feet on the rudder bars and gave the throttle a smooth jab forward.  The little P3 lurched forward, pausing only briefly as the chute popped up and due to the lack of wind locked in overhead immediately.  I looked up and everything looked good, no tangles or sticks in the lines so I applied full power.  The P3 lifted off smoothly and glided skyward.

One of my primary missions today was to keep an eye on my cylinder head temperature gauge.  Ambient air temperature was 58 degrees F and happily the CHT never went above 350 degrees.  Exhaust gas temperature stayed below 1050 degrees.  Seeing my temps were stable I relaxed and set about flying around the area.  I did some sight seeing over the farms and river areas and then noticed my CHT was at 200 degrees!  That was odd.  I turned back toward the airport when the CHT went to 150 degrees.  Okay, that had to be a loose connection or something similar.  I was starting to get cold anyway so I continued back to the airport.

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I was a little high upon turning final so I pulled power back and the P3 began dropping down nicely.  After I had cleared the fence I applied a bit more power but not enough, the P3 landed SOLIDLY.  Well, what do I expect after 3 months of not flying?  Even so it was a great flight.  It felt good to be in the sky again.

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