View Full Version : More Sacramento Valley Flying
09-06-2004, 08:40 PM
Today (monday), my hanger mate, Tim (in his RAF-2000) and I in my Dominator went off to check out Colusa County Airport north of Sacramento, CA. Here's some pictures of the adventure.
09-06-2004, 08:42 PM
Up ahead of Tim, you can see the Colusa Trough which will be our road to Colusa County Airport. I've done this trip before and it is a hoot. There is a well maintained dirt road atop the levee and an access road across the feeder canal. Makes for great low level flying.
09-06-2004, 08:44 PM
It took right at an hour of leisurely flying to get to Colusa County Airport. It turned out to be depressingly unbusy - even with the typically beautiful day for flying. Runways are 13 - 31 and traffic is all to the east over the road away from the ag processing plant.
09-06-2004, 08:47 PM
Here is the Sutter Buttes just east of Colusa Co Airport. They are of volcanic origin and is described as the worlds smallest mountain range being just 75 square miles. They just pop out of nowhere in the middle of the Sacramento Valley from near sea level and rise up to around 2000 ft. The colors are amazing at various times of the day. There is a valley in the center but it is not accessable by air.
09-06-2004, 08:49 PM
At Colusa Co. Airport, I handed the camera over to Tims passenger and we got a couple of low level shots. Like I've previously said, the roads here are smooth and unoccupied. There are only a couple of powerlines that cross it for the 30 mile stretch from Woodland to Colusa. Every couple of miles along the Trough, there are dirt roads that head east to allow access into the rice fields. The area seems to have been made with low level flying in mind.
09-06-2004, 08:50 PM
More low level flying. Off behind me to the east are seemingly endless rice fields. We have basically had no rain from the end of March until now - usual for the Sacramento Valley. Yet rice is such a huge crop. Major irrigation happens here to allow farming. The valley has amazingly rich soil - it just needs water. That is the purpose of the Colusa Trough - to funnel water that comes from the Sacramento River - about 10 miles east of here.
09-06-2004, 10:53 PM
Hi John, nice pics, but I don't get the following: "There is a valley in the center but it is not accessable by air." Why not? I thought "by air" could get you into where other means couldn't.......or did you just mean there's no airfield there?
09-07-2004, 05:19 AM
Sorry about that Ken. There is no airstrip in the center of the Sutter Buttes and the vast majority of the "range" is privately owned. Evidently, the whole center is a private wilderness preserve.
09-07-2004, 09:29 AM
Wish there was another gyrohead around here. I'd sure like to get some air-to-air shots of mine. A friend has a Mooney and I don't know if he could go slow enough. There's a guy here with a Cub. maybe I'll see if he's interested in shooting and getting shot.
09-07-2004, 09:40 AM
With a Mooney, he'd have to be just about falling out of the sky and you'd have to be humpin' along. A cub is another matter though. It is good to have other rotorheads around here, though we don't hook up as often as I would like.
At some point in the near future, I'll be in San Diego for work. I'd like to stop in and see your mo-chine if I could.
09-07-2004, 12:02 PM
John, just send me a PM or e-mail when you're coming down this way.
09-07-2004, 12:22 PM
Okey dokey... will do. I hope I can schmooze a ride in your mo-chine...
09-07-2004, 12:35 PM
John I would like a better shot of you gyro, a close up. It looks like the Green one my friend Chuck Bevitt owned about a year ago.
09-07-2004, 12:42 PM
It is one and the same gyro - except rebuilt. I've got around 70 hours on it now. Still having a heck of a time working out the remaining stick shake.
09-07-2004, 01:19 PM
I thought chuck sold it to someone in The Northeast? Does it still have a ding in the tail and rearview mirrors? I don't know why someone would put rear view car mirrors on the pod of a gyro..... But Chuck liked them. Last time I flew that gyro it was rather smooth flying. Wonder why you have stick shake problems.
09-07-2004, 01:35 PM
Heh... yeah, the tail ding is still there. I try to think of it as lending "character". I got rid of the mirrors though. I could never see anything with them.
I was in Maryland when I got the gyro, but moved out here to the Sacramento Valley last march. It was so nice to leave the zone of idiocy known as the Washington ADIZ.
The stick shake is not problematic. The stick circles inside my forefinger and thumb, but I'd like it a smoother if possible. Around 70mph it gets pretty annoying.
09-07-2004, 02:01 PM
John I am still not a smooth blade expert, but have made alot of progress on the last few sets of dragon wings I have played with. One thing that is likely causing the problems is tracking. If you look out to the right side of the machine while flying can you tell if the blades look like they are flying in track or not? Have you tried Slinging the blades? Did you check to see if the blades are perfectly centered in the teeter towers?
On my machine, with Brand new Dragon wings I had a pretty sigificant stick shake. I Slung them and it helped a tad, then checked to make sure they were centered - they were - and then looked at the tracking. I could tell the blades were at least a little out of track but couldn't tell which one was flying high and which was low. So I made a few new shims like the one already under the teeterblock on the top of the hubbar. I loosened the teeterblock and inserted another shim on top of the one already there and put the blades back on and flew it and it made a difference. So I landed and took it all apart and added another and flew again, and again it was better. I ended up with 5 shims under the teeterblock and it is nearly glass smooth, and figure one more shim will do it, but wanted to talk to Ernie Boyette before adding more shims as I am not sure if I could over do it on the shims and cause a unsafe condition. Since my blades are really smooth now, I was going to wait to see Ernie at ROC to discuss it with him rather than bother him now over it.
I flew your gyro when Chuck first bought it. Back then it had a twist grip throttle and that was kinda scary, but that gyro seemed to have more power than any other 582 Dominator that I have flown to date. Chuck did a thrust test on it at Bensen Days the year before last and it only put out about 300 LBS where as my Red on and Tim Verroi's 582 machines put out right at 325 lbs. I also remember the gyro wanted to yaw one way or the other real hard if you took your feet off the pedals, and I figured the ding in the tail was what that problem was about. Over all it was a nice machine.
09-07-2004, 02:14 PM
I've tried slinging the blades and it just doesn't work for me. I prefer to string them. Centering though.... How do you check that? I'm sure one blade is probably a little bit out of track, but they are so close that I can't tell. Need to come up with a way to be able to tell. I used feeler gauge pieces for shims. They are accurate and pre-sized and cheap. I wound up with a .013 shim under one side and that was the best.
I've fixed the yaw by adjusting the spring on the rotor head. It will almost fly hands off at 50 mph - wants to wander to the left. Not bad though.
I'd be real interested in what you get from Ernie on the shims. I was wondering just the same thing about shimming too much.
The lower thrust on this one is likely from swinging a 58" prop. and having it pitched VERY agressively. The prop sits below center on the tail and there isn't room for a 60" prop to clear the keel. I'm changing out the engine with a new blue head in the near future and I'll be moving the engine up about 1 1/2" and putting a 60" prop on it.
09-07-2004, 02:29 PM
What do you do when you sling the blades? If you do it right I find it alway smoother slinging than stringing.
As for the shims, Ernie makes his out of old aluminum cans - Old Budweiser cans is what I heard he uses. I used a Dr Pepper can and made six or seven shims all the same as the one that was on the blades when I got them new. I just added one at a time till it got as good as it is now. One shim makes a big difference so if you play with adding or removing shims you will quickly find the best set up.
To center the blades, have them installed as you would to fly it, and use a dial caliper to measure from the inside wall of the teeter tower to the scribe mark on the teeter block. Then check the other side, it should be the same. If it isn't you should be able to adjust it side to side by using shims between the teeter bushings and the outside wall of the teeter towers. It is also possible that your teeter towers and or entire rotorhead is not perfectly centered. If I recall correctly - and I am really sure I remember this right - Your Dominator was plans built and the builder built nearly every part himself including the rotorhead. If you look carefully you will see your rotorhead is not like a standard RFD rotorhead at all. It is possible that the entire thing is machined a hair off from perfectly straight, and if that is the case it may never be smooth unless you replace the bad parts with good ones.
10-08-2004, 01:28 PM
Nice pictures John of the rice fields. I have my J4B Barnett gyro in Olivehurst and plan on flying around there in the spring. Have you ever flown in to Marysville to see Joe Souza and Jerrie Barnett?
10-08-2004, 01:46 PM
Hey... you are just down the road from me. I work at Beale - though I live in Woodland. Is your J4B flying now? I'd like to come and take a look. PRA-5 is having it's monthly meeting on saturday. You coming?
10-08-2004, 07:54 PM
Jerrie Barnett is flying it around. I am over here on the big island of Hawaii. I plan on taking some more training with vaneck up in Oregon in his two place sportscopter. Then, while I am still hot, I plan on going down and flying my own. The last time I was training with Jim he had the old engine on and it was marginal. The stick was pretty rough. When I got back to Hawaii and went up in a fixed wing it was like getting on pavement from a rough gravel road. Only thing is, when you get up in the air around here there isn't any place to go so we just fly for the fun of being up and a gyro should be great. I have the 0-200 and am glad of it. My Barnett only has 20 ft blades with a three ft hub, so look down between your legs and that is about where you will land. Rough lava or water :eek:
10-09-2004, 06:15 PM
Be sure to be in touch when you are back here on the mainland. We'd love to have you showing up at PRA-5 meetings. We're doing a fly-in lunch to Lodi, CA in 2-weeks. Gotta get that flying in now before the rainy season starts soon.
10-10-2004, 09:21 AM
You say Jerrie is flying it. Where is it based? I'd like to get by and take a look. I can never pass up an opportunity to go and take a gander at a flying mo-chine.
10-11-2004, 07:05 PM
Please do have a look. Jerrie is nice enough to keep it in his hanger at the Marysville airport. Give him a call and if he takes it out and or up please try and get a photo. Also a few close ups of your machine would be appreciated.
A short video of him flying my machine would be priceless!
I really really plan to be down there in February. :D
10-13-2004, 12:51 PM
Do you have contact info for Jerrie?
10-13-2004, 04:09 PM
He has a pretty neat web site at http://barnettrotorcraft.com/
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