I was a Live Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Dulles Annex, Udvar-Hazy Center,
March 25, 2006

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mounting the Helmet Camera

Three weeks ago Sparky asked to see how I mount the helmet camera. Here are photos to show the set up.
The camera is an Oregon Scientific Action Camera, model ATC-2000. It comes with a quick-clip mount, and several different straps, Velcro (tm) and rubber. I put the Velcro patch (which comes with it) on the back of the clip mount.
A Velcro glider tie strap is around the helmet, secured at the back with duct tape (not quite visible in the photos) to keep it from sliding around or off. The glider strap is Velcro loop-side out, and the patch on the bottom of the mount is hook-side Velcro. This Velcro-connection for the mount helps me align the camera at angles other than along the long direction of the glider strap. That was essential with the earlier model ATC-1000. Not as essential with the 2000, because the mounting base on the camera can rotate and lock. However, it does keep it all in place better.
The trick in setting up the camera is pointing it along my actual line of sight. When prone flying the glider, I end to look more up, relative to the helmet face, than when just standing on the ground.
The same technique works for mounting the camera on the glider base tube and keel. For those positions, the long Velcro strap that comes with the camera works fine.
These photos show the assembly.

(Dry grass courtesy of Blue Sky Flight Park, Manquin, Virginia, and one darn dry, warm autumn.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Truck Towing, Saturday, October 6

Saturday morning Kay headed off to the Renaissance Faire, leaving me to my own devices. First activity for me was a bit of target practice at the range. After making about 150 little holes in the paper, I called Steve Wendt to check on conditions at Blue Sky. He reported solid overcast at 11:30, and light east winds. No indication of a soarable day, and the cross winds on the N-S tow road meant no expectation of high tows from the truck. Even so, flying felt like a good idea, so I headed south from Fairfax.

By the time I got to Bowling Green, there was plenty of blue mixed with the clouds. That was encouraging. As I was pulling in to Blue Sky Steve pointed up over the golf course, and showed me that Craig had found something and was about 2500' up. Four or so other pilots were waiting their turn on the truck.

I set up my Pulse and hopped into line. I was not so fortunate as Craig, and succeeded in logging three flights, with pin off heights of 750', 680, and 625 agl, successively. I was able to find a small area of zero sink on that first one, to stretch it into 7 1/2 minutes instead of the 5 of the remaining flights. Fun flights, just not long ones.

Randy W. was getting plenty of landing practice with his U2. John and one other pilot were rotating with us on the truck. Meanwhile, Craig claimed FotD with an hour and 2700' max. He declared that one flight plenty.

At one point as Randy was waiting to launch, we watched beautiful bald eagle circle down and land in the bean field. We could not see that the held any prey, but he stayed there for several minutes. Pretty cool. And gorgeous as he flew up, slowly circling up above the tree line.

Just 'cause I can, I built about 90 seconds of video to show you the view as I fly off the truck. Enjoy!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two Highland Flights on 9/30

Sunday, September 30, the easterly winds looked to favor flying at Ridgely. I made good time across the bay and arrived shortly after 11:00. A few gliders were already set up, and more pilots streamed in over the next three hours.
My UltraSport is in the shop for some new parts, so I brought the Pulse out for the day. I remembered that it has a lot more bar pressure on tow than the US, but had forgotten just how much. First tow, just before 2:00, I got high on the tug, and was having trouble getting back down to it. Finally, at about 1350' I pinned off, not wanting to fight it any more and not wanting to put JR in the tug into an unhappy attitude. I sledded back down for a clean landing, and hurried back over in line.
My next tow was still rowdy, but I hung on for a full tow. didn't find the big lift a few other pilots reported, but worked small bubbles around 2K and then at 700; for an extendo.
Lots of flying, two tugs working solid, but I did not hear that anyone went XC. Even Christian only flew local. John M, Carlos W, Hugh McE, Viktor, and a number of others.
The Highland Canine Contingent is doing quite well. Old Jack, smartest dog on the flightline, made it a point to follow the shade of my wing as I moved up the line to launch. Spry young Nelly had more energy than she could stand, romping behind the tandem glider before each flight, then chasing the glider down the runway until airborne. Hogan the Mobile showed his stuff by competing in a 3-way drag race, with Bruce S in one golf cart, Hogan's owner in the second, and Hogan wheeling down the taxiway between them at fill speed.
My little camera continues o provide added entertainment. Here is about three minutes snipped from the first flight, helmet cam view. By popular request, this one has full commercial sound track added. Enjoy.