Saturday, June 19, 2010


RISER BAG: This small zipper-sided bag made of scrap cordura really helps to keep tangles out of the lines. Simply clipping the risers to the side of the wing bag, always seemed to result in tangles, and there was always a few minutes time wasted sorting out lines before flying or kiting practice. This hasn't been a problem since I started bagging the risers.

A while ago I read a tip on Biglist a tip to pull a handful of wing material trough the middle of the coil of lines you made as you put the lines into the rosette bag. This is a good way of ensuring the coil comes out as neat as when you put it into the bag, and without twists.

GAS CAN CARRIER: To keep the gas smell out of my car when I’m driving, I keep one-gallon gas cans in a Coleman cooler. The cans are available through Walmart Canada, with both US and Imperial gallon markings, and which I also marked for my own purposes at the 4-litre level. The Cooler is a Coleman Poly lite 24" x 18 x 18 inches.

BATTERY SCREWDRIVER: This lightweight, rechargable, lithium-battery screwdriver is frequently on sale for half price at Canadian Tire. A hex speed change bit to fit the hex bolts on my prop bolts, only cost a couple of bucks. I keep a 5 mm bit for the Simo, and an 8mm for the Black Devil. It makes putting on and taking off the prop the work of seconds instead of minutes. That’s an extra couple of minutes to fly, and a couple of minutes shaved off the breakdown before going home.

Anytime I'm traveling, or when I’m flying somewhere whether alone or not, I carry a small luggage tag with my medical/contact info in the event of a worst case scenario, including my blood type, medical allergies, health insurance info, and emergency contacts.

A print shop, or Staples Business Depot, will laminate a homemade, business card-sized tag for you for a little over a dollar.

LIGHTMAN STROBE: I bought my Lightman strobe from Bruce Brown at
It's a small, but powerful unit, at under 30 bucks. Its 1.5 Km range, means it's shy of the 3Km necessary for FAA compliancy as an aviation strobe, but I like flying with it when I'm at unmonitored airports with small planes buzzing around every once in a while.

I feel better knowing that I'm a little more noticeable.

I don't fly with the strobe, all the time, but when I don't, the 14/20 tripod screw on the "belt-mount" does double duty as a base for my wind speed indicator, till I'm ready to go up.

PROP BOLTS:  Speaking of prop bolts, (I'm sure somebody, somewhere, was speaking of prop bolts), I keep a couple of spares handy, in case I ever drop one in the tall grass when I'm getting ready to fly. Buy extra bolts BEFORE you need them.

ON KEEPING WARM: Gloves: One tip for keeping your hands warm is keeping your core warmer. An extra layer on your chest will cause your body to release more heat to your extremities.

Wearing a helmet-liner on really cold days will reduce heat loss from your head as well.

Tape chemical handwarmers to the inside of your wrist, not the back of the hand. This is where the veins are closest to the skin's surface, and where the blood is travelling into the hand. The back of the wrist is where the blood exits. "Most glove/handwarmer pouch (manufacturers) got it backwards.”
Hat tip to Jim Doyle, PPGBiglist.

PROPELLER BAG: Hard sided, polyester rifle cases are inexpensive ways to protect your props while traveling.

Below is a picture of a ski bag that I cut down and use to carry a prop and a spare. I cut the ends off, and excised about a foot of material off of each end, and re-sewed the ends back on.

I sewed some stretchy nylon onto some lengths of foam to keep the props centered, and protected from dings.

I like to keep an extra prop on hand, because, as someone said, “One sure way to ensure that you’ll never break a prop is to buy a spare before you need it."

SAFETY KNEE PADS:  Knees can take a beating on both launching and landing. The multiple deep grooves and scratches on this pair would otherwise have been grooved into my legs. I really recommend knee pads.

I’ve tried a few different brands, RollerBlade, Aerosport, to name a few, and like these made by Bauer for both comfort and stability. A lot of other pads slip, and slide down the leg. For some reason, these don't so much, and I pretty much forget about them once I put them on.


Morning flights in summer time offer safe, calm, non-thermally air, peace and quiet, and the beauty of the sunrise. But summer morning also means dew on the ground, and fresh dew can make for slippery take offs, and dangerous, slidey landings. These Yaktraks are designed for walking on icy surfaces but are also great, light-weight, traction-aids on wet grass. (The case is just an old, soft-sided CD carrying case with the inserts torn out.  The inserts are usually a mess by the time I take them off, and the case, keeps the mess contained till I can hose them off.)

Many ice-traction options are available, and you might check out ebay for some comparison shopping, but out of all the ones I've looked at, these Yak Traks, are a best-buy.
Robust, yet light. Secure, but easy to take on, take off, and clean.

STUFF I CARRY IN THE CARGO POCKETS OF MY MOTOR: First Aid Pocket - A tiny bottle of DEET bug juice. A tiny bottle of sun screen. A tiny ziplock bag with alcohol wipes and a couple of boo-boo bandages for little cuts, and Nitrile gloves, a 4x4 gauze pad, and a small 25 Gram packet of Quick Clot for, (let's hope not) really big ones.

First Aid for the motor - A few zip ties. Some gaffer (photographer's) tape. It's like duct tape, but leaves no residue. A mini multi tool. A spare hex-wrench for the prop.
I don't fly with it, but I also have a Altoids tin with a spare line, and some wing patch material close at hand.  Elizabeth at Paratour, can set you up with a nice mini-repair kit including line and tape, even a pair of scissors, for $25.00.

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