After our early morning flight on Sunday, Andre and I had a break for lunch. John, Dan, Umang and Everett later turned up at the field. Dan, as usual brought an enormous amount of food and drink which was displayed proudly on his new foldaway table. Umang was accompanied by his parents; it is always difficult to perform under such circumstances. He had not flown this year and was eager to get back in the air. First art was Dan. He wanted to try a foot launch first, and later attempted trike launching. The wind was light, and perfect for a trike launch, but Dan really wanted to polish his technique after his paragliding trip to the Dominican Republic. He had learned a slight variation of the reverse the launch technique we teach, and this was causing a little confusion. Next up was Umang. He got strapped in, and set up ready for a launch. His first attempt was disappointing. He did not have the wing under control before applying throttle for takeoff. Consequently, he lifted off the ground and swung underneath the canopy. Had he maintained thrust with the throttle, he would have lifted off without incident. Instead, he came off the throttle and landed heavily.
|Subsequent launch attempts were better controlled as Umang attempted to gain control of the wing before applying throttle. He eventually made a very successful launch and flew around for some time before landing. The landing approach was perfect right until 10 feet from the end. Seeing the ground approaching, Umang applied more thrust and then released it. He landed heavily again and the machine span around. He was fine, and so was the machine, but it did not look pretty. These Walkerjets are sturdy units. After a fuel change the machines were no longer running well and Dan suspected there might be added to ethanol causing a problem. This is something he had experienced before in his ultralight flying days. It seems ethanol is cheaper than gasoline when prices are high, and often gets added to the mix to increase profits. John had been kiting his wing whilst the others flew. He was now ready to attempt a launch himself. The weight of the machine, seemed to affect his balance during reverse inflation and he was struggling to get airborne. After a few attempts we called it a day and got stuck in to Dan`s food which Natalie had prepared. Andre then produced a few beers.