Wednesday May 31, 2006
Michael tested the 550 PD chute he'd installed the day before, and I flew out to Meteor Crater. A reporter from the Winslow Mail came to the airport to interview Michael and myself, and after Id returned we then took off for a photo shoot over the Crater. Our poor radio communication caused a few problems, and we both need to improve the quality of our radio transmission.
The thermals developed quickly while we were over the crater, and landing back at Winslow was a challenge. I was within 3 feet of the runway when a blast yanked me up 100 feet and 100 feet to the side, in a slit second. I was looking straight up! (Michael was a thousand feet behind me and he thought I may have been caught by a dust devil that didn't have any dust.) I fire walled the throttle, knowing that Id be dropped at almost the same rate instantly. Sure enough, down I went. I kicked the right steering tube out hard, got back over the runway, flared as much as possible, and met mother Earth rather unceremoniously, the left rear wheel touching down a split second before the others. There was still quite a bit of sideways motion when contact was made, and again, the left rear wheel axle bent. Luckily I had two spares, and I replaced the axle later in the day.
At noon I spoke to the Winslow Rotary, and later in the afternoon I was interviewed by KINO, the local radio station, in their studio. Then I returned to the airport, installed the replacement axle, and a cooling fan on the oil cooler. That should solve the high oil temperature problem. All in all a busy and interesting day.
Listen to Baron's radio interview:
Click play above or download the MP3