Aeronautical Contact

It’s been somewhat breezy in California’s vast Central Valley this past week but the winds died down this past Sunday evening and I took advantage.  I loaded up my powered parachute and high-tailed it out to New Jerusalem Airport.  I got off the ground at about 6pm.  The winds near the ground were mildly rowdy, and I mean mildly.  As I climbed up through 300 feet MSL ( above mean sea level), the air became silky and warm.

I brought along my Icom VX-6R Ham radio HT (handi-talkie) to try to make an aeronautical contact.  I was circling the field and called out on the SARA repeater frequency.  I got an immediate call back from KM6MHT.  A gentleman by the name of Mike whom I talk to on the radio every now and again on my commute home.  He said I was pretty scratchy but readable but since we both heard each other we can log it.  Since the radio was so heard to hear I decided to just put it away and enjoy the evening flight.

I flew around the New Jerusalem area (just southeast of Tracy, California) and enjoyed the sunset.  The air was perfect, there was no traffic, it was so peaceful.  I shot three landings for practice and then decided to put my PPC away before it got dark.  It was then that I found the only flaw in my day… the mosquitoes!  I put my PPC away in record time and jumped into my pickup truck to escape the onslaught.  It was a perfect end to the weekend.img_20190331_185446

Aeronautical Contact

Image result for yaesu vx-6rFor quite some time I’ve been trying to join up my hobbies of aviation and Ham radio.  Every time I tried to call someone they either didn’t respond or if they did they said I was unreadable.  Well, today I figured out there was a 9 volt battery in my headset that has been there probably since the thing was made.  I changed out the battery yesterday and tried it with my Yaesu VX-6 today.  I unloaded my powered parachute and warmed up the engine.  While it was warming up I tried to make contact with any station from the ground using my headset.  I stood at a good distance from the running powered parachute to minimize both ambient and electrical noise.  I got a call back saying that I was loud and clear!  So my next step was to sit in the seat with the engine running and make another call.  I shut my engine off and rolled the craft onto the runway and got it all set up.  I sat down, strapped in, fired up the engine and made another call as N6SVA-AERONAUTICAL.  The local hams knew what was up by now so I got a couple of call backs all of which said I was perfectly readable even with my engine running.  Next step, pour the coals to my powered parachute and get it up in the air!

I climbed up to only about 100 feet or so and made another call.  This time appending AERONAUTICAL to my callsign. The first ham operator to respond was Gary from Manteca, WA6UXA.  He said he could definitely hear my engine but I was completely understandable.  Success!  I thanked him for the reply and then got my second aeronautical contact from Roy, KK6OQP.  It was actually quite thermally so I went ahead and landed counting my morning as completely successful.  Then I got another call from a gentleman in Sacramento trying to make an aeronautical contact.  He was a little crestfallen when he found out I was back on the ground already.  Well, this was just a test after all.

My next goal is to try to be airborne for the next Parachute Mobile event.  I’ll be calling a ham operator who has jumped out of a plane and is descending in a parachute while I’m ASCENDING in a powered parachute!  Nerdy aviation, I love it!

Saturday Flying

My good weather flying streak has moved into it’s second day.  I got up early this morning and drove out to New Jerusalem for another morning of flying.  I got out to New J around 7am and was off the ground by 7:30am.  I flew south along the San Joaquin river initially.  I was noting how high it’s running and looking at the fog that had formed over it.  It was quite beautiful in the early morning hours.

Then I flew west along Highway 132, my old commute to work.  Then I turned northward and flew up Highway 33 towards Tracy.  As I came upon Kasson road I turned back east and flew around the airport for a while.  I only spent about an hour in the air but it was very enjoyable.

 

 

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Don’t tell the cops I ran a red light!

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Different almond varieties all planted in neat rows.  Note how some are flowering and others are in various stages of budding.  This farmer must harvest all year long!

I had an adventure on the way home and didn’t even know.  As I pulled up in front of my house I noticed that the battery that run’s my utility trailer’s winch was dragging along the ground.  It was attached to the trailer only by the two battery cables!  Both sides of the batter were scuffed up pretty badly and the top casing of the battery was chipped, however, the battery still worked!  I’ll be replacing the battery but it’s amazing how tough this little battery is!  FYI it’s a ExpertPower 12 Volt 18 Ah Rechargeable Battery (EXP12180).

 

I’ve secured the battery a little better so I’m ready to head out again!  More pictures from the next flight.

EDIT:  Forgot to add video from today’s flight.

Parachute Mobile Mission MISSED!

I drove out to New Jerusalem this morning on a mission to attempt to make contact on my ham radio with another ham.  He was to be coming down in his parachute while I was going up in mine.  Sadly it didn’t work out that way.  My radio was unreadable… AGAIN.  So I contented myself with merely enjoying the beautiful scenery.

After all the storms today was just stunning.  It was a perfect Spring day.  I could smell the almond blossoms and alfalfa from 400 feet up.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to do this all over again tomorrow.

Enjoy a little raw video footage:

 

Parachute Mobile Mission 34: March 16, 2019

Going to try to participate in Parachute Mobile tomorrow morning but I’m going to try to take it one step father. I’m going to try to contact a parachute from a parachute, a powered parachute that is.

More info about parachute mobile is available on their website:

https://wp.me/p1po2b-tD

Finally Back At New Jerusalem

Had a fantastic afternoon today.  The winds were calm and there was a high overcast layer meaning there would be no thermal activity today.  Temperature was about 60 degrees.  It was perfect flying weather.IMG_20190126_153750

My wife wanted to get out of the house so she tagged along.  She packed some water and some snacks and her book and she just chilled in the truck while I flew around.  At one point she came out and took some pictures of me while I was flying around.  I flew in circles around her a few times and then flew out to look for coyotes and jackrabbits.

 

“Cristy, you look like an ant from up here!”

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Finally here is some video I shot during the flight.  Enjoy!

 

Flying At Oakdale Again

This past Saturday I towed my powered parachute out to Oakdale Municipal Airport for our EAA Chapter 90 meeting.  The plan was merely to give the trailer an extensive road test.  However, once I arrived at Oakdale the conditions were perfect for a PPC flight.  As I had not flown for over 3 months I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

After warming up I taxied down to the blastway on the runway 10 end of the field.  This would be the extreme west end.  I laid out my chute and strapped in.  Moments later as I advanced the throttle and lurched forward I noticed that a small crowd had gathered to watch me fly.   I’ve flown out of that field probably more times in 26 years than most of the other club members.  Now that I fly out of New Jerusalem so much it’s kind of a rare event to see me flying there.  There were plenty of cameras to gather documentary evidence.  My friend Les Homan was kind enough to supply the following pictures and video.

 

First the takeoff…

 

And the landing…

 

It felt very good to fly the pattern at Oakdale again.  As well as catch up with old friends.