Sam Truax's First PG Flight (Tandem with Dad)
4½ years old yesterday, 42 squared (inches and pounds)
from Bates, on Diablo's Firebird Flame
about a half hour airtime
Link to [Sam's Flight Index]
The stars aligned late Saturday afternoon. Caught Mom & Tess in the in the right mood. Sam was game, and Bates had perked up into the easy zone. We'd already done the garage adjustment thing in the simulator, so we knew what we were in for.
Sam was a bit concerned that he might be scared, but he believed us when both mom and I both told him it wasn't scary. He liked launch the best, and also the fore and aft surges along the ridge line brush. We got close a few of times, and dragged the harness seat once. He wants to go again. Mom seemed to be having fun also. She was trying to shoot some video, but with her daughter wiggling in one arm, it's probably not sharp and steady footage.
Diablo's old XL Flame was just the right size, but without shorter tandem risers you can just reach the break handles. The top of the risers are way out of reach, so there's no big ears or speed bar. Tony's Flame has some history. It held the US foot launch distance record for a season after his 139 mile flight from Pine to Trona. Takeoffs and landings with light kids are fun. They fly seated while I'm still firmly planted kiting the canopy. Our speed matched up pretty good with the other canopies on the ridge.
Sharon launched after us, and a couple other pilots followed. One of them on his first Bates flight ended up planted in the brush on the face of the cliff after attempting to make his turn back upwind toward the hill rather than away from it. Fortunately, his leading edge was open, so I was able to lend a hand kiting out of the brush and down to the parking lot. It was all caught on video by some guy who was politely claiming that we were all engaging in illegal activity, breaking the law by flying and landing at Bates. I told him I'd been flying there for 20 plus years and wasn't aware the our activity at Bates was illegal, but he subsequently indicated he thought I wasn't being honorable, that I knew it was illegal, and my illegal actions were premeditated. I acknowledged that he was entitled to his opinion.
Sam wanted to do more takeoffs and landings, but Mom and Tess had enough. We stuffed the canopy in our caravan and packed up in the front yard.
I think it was more fun for mom & dad. Sam had fun, but he wasn't wide eyed or bubbling with enthusiasm. He seemed pretty mellow. I've seen him more excited about other simple stuff, like running in circles around the back yard, playing some fantasy in his head. Once Sam realized he wasn't going again, his attention was off to other kid stuff. Just another late day activity in the life of his majesty.