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Tuesday July 18, 2006

Relaxing day. Did a few interviews and read a book. About 5:30 I decided to push on to Indianapolis. The flight was only 60 miles, and I had a 12 mph tailwind. Smooth flying the whole way, but quite hazy. Visibilty was limited to 15 miles. Was in the air by 6, touched down at Eagle Creek (EYE) at 7:30. Met the FBO line crew, put Voyager in a hangar and plugged the RV in as soon Rusty arrived. This is a very nice little airport.

I mentioned that Roy retrimmed Voyager's chute, and am receiving inquiries as to what was "wrong" with it. Nothing was wrong with it, other than I hadn't been able to get Voyager to fly perfectly straight when in "straight and level" flight. It always pulled either to the left or to the right, depending on how I'd adjusted it. I couldn't find that "sweet spot" where it travelled straight. It took a few tries, but Roy found the combination of adjustments that corrected it. Not only is long distance flying easier, so it landing. The only "downside" to having the chute flying straight is that my flying speed decreased from 34 mph to 30 mph. But that's a small price to pay for the added ease and control.

I'm using a Performance Designs 550. I used a PD 500 when I lifted off the USS Midway, but for the high altitude (and high density altitude) flying in the Rockies, I wanted additional lift, and PD came through with the 550. Many people have faulted me for not using an elliptical for this flight, citing the added speed and lift that an elliptical could have provided. The speed factor was irrelevant, as this trip isn't a race. The added lift would have been nice, but at what price? The stability of the PD 500 and 550 are unsurpassed. The odds of an aborted lift-off with an elliptical are much higher than with a rectangular. Yes, yes, I've heard the "that's not true if you practice a lot" chorus, but that's not the point. I'm in the public spotlight, and have to avoid take-off mishaps, especially in front of the press, at all costs. Although I'm sure it will happen eventually, I've never, to this point, ever had to abort a take-off due to a chute not inflating correctly. And that, to quote the commercial, "is priceless."

Yes, they're a sponsor, but anyone who knows me will tell you that isn't why I'm a die-hard PD user. I've replaced sponsors equipment on this trip if it wasn't working to my satisfaction, and I'd have done it with the chute as well if I felt the need. But I can say, without reservation, that I've put my life, literally, on the line with the PD chutes, and they've not disappointed me. They're dependable, kite so easily you have to try to screw them up, are responsive, have excellent lift, and are extraordinarily stable. What else could a PPC pilot desire?

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