Reports

In Part I, the following reports are collected from trike owners and are listed alphabetically by manufacturer. If you want to contribute your impressions of your trike, please contact Chuck. In Part II, intitled "Features" particular or unique aspects of trikes are described. In Part III, a link to trike accident reports is provided as well as personal reports.


PART I - Preferences:

Aerotrike

Owner - Curt, Safari
(Year 2005) - I had a Aerotrike Saferi with SS wizard wing. I sold it to my Son and purchased a 2nd Aerotrike Saferi with a Spirit DS wing. Both were 503s with Warp drive props pitched for 6400 rpms max. The spirit would fly 5 mph faster and required about 200 more rpms to maintain altitude. The strange thing about it is the fuel burn per hour was almost exactly the same (3gph). The difference being I was going 5 more miles in every hour. So I got better fuel economy. I also weigh 25 lbs more than my son. Comparing the Spirit DD with the Profi DD, the Spirit on my 582 Airbore burned just under 3 gpy at an air speed of 53 mph. The Profi on the same 582 Airborne burns 4 gph with an air speed of 57 mph. With the Spirit rpms were 4400 and the Profi 5100. All of this is one up. I only have experience with the one SS Wizard wing. Perhaps other SS wings have less drag.

Owner - Guy Stayner, Safari, 815-234-4016
(Year 2002) - I have had my Aerotrike about 7 years now and have found support has been very good. Although I haven't need many parts, they have all arrived in under two weeks. Thanks to Rob and Matt. The Aerotrike handles very rough fields and has survived my two week South Dakota trip this summer. If you would like to see my trike you are welcome to visit any time. I keep it at Cottonwood Airport Rockford, IL. I have mine set up with 503dc,C-gearbox,Clutch, Warp prop, HAC, Stranger 14 wing.

David Schach
(year 2002) I ended up buying an Aerotrike Safari. ... which is a little more ruggedly built. I liked the seat comfort in the Aerotrike more.

Doug Donaldson
(year 2004) - Proffi wing - "I had a Profi for a year and loved it. Great speed range - solid and stable but easy to roll - my favorite wing so far! Search the archives for Dick Phelps story of steering his Profi hands off by putting his arms out. I suggest you use an ASI while you are getting familiar with the wing. I flew about 55 on final which was about 15 mph slower than trim. This is one wing you won't want to pull in for landing! I didn't use it for training because I didn't have training bars for it and because my Still-17 is better for training anyway. I kept it set up in my hangar. Setup takes some time. Get some extra batton ends because you may break a few.

Air Creation

Owner - Paul Huber, Lexington KY
(Year 2002) - I do like the rear struts and ground clearance that AC has as well as the trailing link front suspension for off field landings. I added the Clipper pod three years ago and if I had to do it over I don't know if I would do it again, it's a bitch moving it around in the hanger but in the air it's great. I have a LaMouette Ghost 14 wing mounted on it and it makes a great match. If I had to buy a new trike today I would buy another Air Creation and never think about it twice. No one can say anything bad about John Kemmeries and the support that they give.

Tester - Andrew Slack
(Year 2003) - Flew the new IXess Air Creation Wing on Saturday at Kemmeries and was quite impressed. The conditions were fair, with 10+mph winds on the ground and at least 25 mph at 500 feet agl. John gave me a brand new wing (so it was very, very tight) to try on a new 582 GTE. I took a 200 lb student with me and a full load of gas, so the flight was pretty real world as far as conditions and weight. The wing flew very, very well through the rolling turbulence. I immediately noticed that it track straight and true despite getting tossed around some. Morning thermals were just starting to form and although they were not structured they added to the stirred up air we were flying in. It was hard to gauge true speed as I did not have my GPS, but airspeed indicated just under 65 mph. I can tell you that John was giving instruction in another trike and when we flew the pattern with them the IXess blew the single surface wing they were flying away. Pitch control was easy as most wings are, and roll was about as stiff as most double surfaced wings. Two unique characteristics I could feel, at very low speeds the wing kept flying and would get mushy but not uncontrollable and at cruise speed is was very, very easy to pull the bar in and speed up considerably. There was very light pressure required to hold the bar in and increase your speed. It also was very easy to hold the bar in and see your indicated airspeed approach 80 mph in a shallow dive or power on descent. Overall, we had a ball flying around in the changing weather. Several big weather systems were moving in AZ on Friday and Saturday and really stirred the air up. It was nice to fly around with a very, very stable wing maintaining just a light grip on the bar. My only regret was that I did not get a chance to fly it in calm weather or with a GPS to get a true idea on ground speed. The IXess Wing had all the usual refinements that Air Creation always has on their products, with the fit and finish being second to none. This was the first time I had flown in a GTE and I found the pedals a little to close for comfort (front seat PIC) and that maybe a result of being use to the spacious Pegasus Q912. All the new trikes in Johns hangar had Grey 4 bladed props on them with 4-1 C Boxes. He said the factory had gone to that format as they were quieter than the normal 3 blade red props that you are used to seeing on Air Creation Trikes. My trike had the ability to over rev in a power on descent with the bar pulled in and probably could have had a used a little adjustment. Overall though the trike base was very nice. Coming from owning a Streak and a Q2, I put the IXess right up there if not slightly ahead in flying characteristics. Quick, very stable with good slow flight control I'd say if your in the market for a new XC capable wing you need to try one. I would purchase one without hesitation and not think twice about flying in rough weather with it, it's that stable. As for John and his crew, they were as always extremely accommodating, professional, and just plain fun to be around. If your headed to AZ for any reason just bring your log books, paperwork, and get ready for a really nice flying experience.

Apache

Owner - Ted Bailey, Apache ST, Contour
(Year 2004) - Finally nice weather has come to Idaho, 70's and light winds. Sunday was my day to fly, my first flight of the year, and first on the Contour. My trike is the Apache ST (stick trike)503E, and slightly under propped for the gear ratio. I have a new prop but wanted to test fly the old one for a reference base, next flight will try the new prop. I flew solo at 250 lbs and had similar climb to the Mustang II 15. Pitch pressure was much less (very light)and roll was about the same, if you pushed out from the 55 mph trim it rolled faster than the 15 Mustang. It was very easy to fly up to 75-77mph and would maintain level flight at 6000rpm and 65mph. What I liked best was the way it retained energy, with the cruise throttle set for level flight at the 55mph trim I could stuff the bar and do 75+ losing a couple hundred feet in a quarter to half mile run and when I slowed it back down all my altitude lost came back. This made me take it to the next step to see what kind of stick thermals I could produce. Never changing the power settings, I went from 75mph to 32mph in rapid but smooth transitions and got climb rates exceeding 1800' a minute. I could not get a stall break under power, and the bar went from my chest to the front strut! It performed 100 degree Wangs like one of my old Hang gliders. Yahoo! A very nice cruiser and wanger really looking forward to some big air, Handles better than anything I have flown in double surface trike wings. Just flyin' for fun.

Apex

Owner - Jim Waters, Apex Cross-5, MZ202, Kiss-450, PowerFin 4-blade 72" San Rafael, CA.
(Year 2005) - I own a Cross-5 and just spent two days in Casa Grande flying with Dick Phelps in his Cross-5. Some time in the back seat and some time in the front seat and one glorious early morning flight all by my self. The point is; front , back or solo you are not aware of another person in the trike as you supported by the seat and don't have to have crotch or legs in intimate contact with anyone else. I'm 6' 190 lbs and the critical issue is my size 15 shoes which are a problem in the AC clipper and Buggy trikes as my toes rub against the fairing when manuevering on the ground and I feel like I'm losing control of the brakes and/or gas when making tight turns. I bought a special set of shoes for training in the AC trikes for that reason, I couldn't walk very far in them but they were flyable. It is the main reason I bought an Apex, Well-- plus the $10,000 other reasons. The new Apex Sky-Glider has rear wheel drum brakes, standard, along with the twin mast set-up for head clearance and with the Verner 4-cycle - 80 hp engine goes for under $30,000. I wish Dick and Norm were more aggressive in their marketing because I think these machines give great bang for the bucks and are one of the strongest trikes out there. They do survive my low time ugly landings!

Cosmos

Owner - Rich, Cosmos 503 Bison, Northwest, USA
(Year 2003) - The one single thing ... is the quality of the trike and wing. I have seen many other trikes to date, -and there are some really nice ones that I would not hesitate to purchase if I had the money and the need, -but the bottom line is that I have never been disappointed with my purchase simply because this thing is built so well. The attention to detail is second to none, and there is very little to improve upon as far as the package is concerned. Everything works just as it should, and absolutely nothing has worn, broken, oxidized, etc. -even after 200 hours of "newbie" flying here in the rather "damp" Northwest. The Cosmos trike is hell bent for stout (ask me how I know!), -and the 19 wing is extremely responsive for a wing with that much surface area.

DTA

Pilot - Talbert Newhart
(year 2004) ... I'm glad the DTA is now available in this country. It won't appeal to many, but for those that want a true long-distance, last forever, bush-style trike, it's a fine choice."
Go to this link to here more about the trike.

Pilot - Olivier Aubert
(year 2004) -" I just have had 2000 hours on a DTA since I bought it new, I managed not to have a crash during the 9 years of these hours, but I had plenty hard-like-hell landings, I taxied that thing with or without the wing on rough terrains and roads for more than probably a thousand km, I transposrted it on a trailer in the worst African 4X4 tracks and bounced it all over, for perhaps 5'000 km gave it real rough time. That is my personal experience with a DTA trike. And for me it is one of the best trike to do what I have done, and to travel far. That thing like any other thing is not perfect because perfection doesn't exist, especially in aviation. We all know that. I could have flown one of Mike trikes (There was 3 Aerotrikes at departure in 95, only one is still flying sometimes) also but I luckily chose this one. As a non-engineer, I cannot afford fiddling with things ... I need a simple "tool" with minimum assles, something rugged with no plastic around and nothing that can break easly, something with the most simple electric system, something I can fix easly myself in the middle of remote Ethiopia ... That's all.. As I said, I am not working for DTA and I am not trying to persuade anybody that this is better than that."

Klass
Owner - David Capaldi, Cruise/GEO
(Year 2005) - My new Klass Cruise / Geo 1.0 trike now has about 15 hours on it and I thought I'd share some information about it to those who are unfamiliar with the brand, as there are very few of these machines flying in the US. The trike itself is robust and feels extremely secure. The pod is very strong and can easily hold a 200lb person standing in it while getting into and out of the seats. It feels like it's built like a tank, making it a little heavier than many other trikes on the market, but also much stronger. The seats are very comfortable. The rear seat is styled around a 'bucket' type seat and has a lot of space (both in width and legroom). Both seats have a 4 point seatbelt, although neither are recoil which is probably my only complaint about the whole trike. The performance of the trike is great and I am extremely happy with this aspect. The engine is a Suzuki Geo 1.0L, with 3 cylinders. It's fuel injected so there are no concerns about carb icing, mixture control, carburettor adjusting, etc. It runs very smooth and can idle at as low as 600RPM with little or no vibration at all. It is smooth running during power applications and maxes out at 5700RPM on my trike. One great advantage of this engine is that spare parts can be bought at any automotive supplier very cheaply, without having to order parts through other engine manufacturers such as Rotax. Take off roll is very short and with one person flying on a cool (for Florida) morning at around 50 degrees F, I can easily achieve a 1100fpm rate of climb at max power, although I usually climb out at around 5400RPM and 800fpm. With 2 people on board, 700+fpm is attainable at max power. Cruise speed of 55mph happens with 4300RPM and again the engine is very smooth and quiet at this setting. The wing I have is the X-14. It's balanced very nicely and is light in roll, progressively getting heavier as roll input increases, which I like. Medium and steep banked turns are effortless and the wing displays great stability and is very predictable and forgiving. Stalls are mild and occur at around 34mph. As soon as power is applied or the nose is lowered the wing comes out of the stall and is flying again immediately with little pilot input. Max speed is claimed at around 85mph, however I've only taken it up to 75 or so. All in all, it's a great machine. Abid and Rob at Tampa Bay Aerosport provide great customer service and are very proud of their product. I'm not affiliated with the company in any way, I'm just a very satisfied customer. I highly recommend the Klass Cruise to anybody looking for a great performing, solid trike.

Sabre

Owner - Dennis McLain
"I have the 202 on my new Sabre Wildcat. Great engine. Comes with electric start and clutch. Price is about that of the 503 (had that on my last trike) and power of the 582. I don't have much time on it but Sabre has a couple of trikes with upwards of 300 hours with no problems. - Dennis. Note: From: Mark Kamerer at m.kamerer@verizon.net . The MZ 201 is $1000.00 more than the Rotax 503. But it has a clutch and electric starter."

Continental Trike and Profi Wing

Owner - Wayne Zuccarello
Well, I got to test my new Profi with the replaced tube, on my new scratch built trike today. No suprises,no PIO, flies straight as an arrow. Only slight heading change upon rotation at full power, which I attribute to gyroscopic precession. It's like about a 10 deg heading change at the moment the wheels leave thw ground, no bank or continued turn after heading change. Just takes a slight bump of input to re-gain original heading. After 3 take-offs I hardly noticed it anymore. Hands off cruise in the slo hole shows 50 mph and 9 or 10 inches space from control bar to my chest. So, looks like I'll have no issues with having to change wires to move control bar position if I want the fast hole.Pull bar back 3 inches = 60 mph and hardly any bar pressure. Put it close to my chest and saw 70 mph with light to medium bar pressure. Roll control is lighter than my 16M Polaris and much lighter in pitch. The Polaris had about the same bar pressures and speeds as a 16M Cosmos. There was only thing that I saw that looked somewhat strange compared to my other wings. In level cruise, I noticed that both wingtips seemed to have about 25 or 30 deg down pitch. It flies great and I am very pleased with it.


PART II - Features:

Towing Hang Gliders - by "Gatorbare38" - (2006) - If you can keep it at 30 knots or less you won't have any problem towing any hang glider. We tow every Saturday here in central NC with my Airborne, Wizard III, 582. Johnny {does the same} at Kitty Hawk with the same {wing but with a} 912.

Skydiving from a Trike - by "Gatorbare38" - (2006) - I have 412 skydives and about 45 or so are from trikes. There isn't any reason to shut down the engine and you can sit in the seat until you reach altitude, step out and 3 2 1 your out! I'm getting ready to jump into my backyard today as soon as my buddy gets here and takes me up in my Airborne. Lots of great video also...

Density Altitude - by Frank Dempsey - (2005) - It's amazing to hear folks say they had to go up to high flight level of 5000 MSL. It's all relative, I guess. Our takeoff in Albuquerque is 5830 MSL. By 9 AM, the density altitude is around 8000 msl and we haven't even left the ground yet. A typical high flight here would be a simple crank up of 5000 agl which puts us at 10000 msl. Add the density altitude and it's an easy 12000 msl. It really cracks me up to hear the sea level guys say they won't fly because the density altitude is 2000 feet. New Mexico is one of the most scenic places in the country to fly but the engine performance really sucks. If you can fly here, you can fly anywhere.

Speedbar

by Jerry Pridemore - (2005) It is a replacement/aftermarket control bar that has a bend in it that allows you to pull the control bar in further for more speed. Opinions vary on the advisibility, and safety of such modifications. My thought, a faster wing would be more appropriate than pushing the wing towards VNE consistently.
by Gary - (2005) - A "speedbar" is a horizontal control bar (the bottom of the "T") that is bent forward in a curve so that the pilot can pull the bar back further without his/her body blocking the bar pull-in. Eventually, the bar will touch the body but it allows for another 6 inches (approximately) of pull before it stops. This allows a more negative (or actually, less positive) pitch on the wing thereby enabling a higher top-end speed or more rapid decent.

by Gordon L. Slivinski - (2005) - The other name for Speed Bar is Comfort Bar. By using the bend in the bar for your hand grip it puts less strain on the wrists. When Speed Bars first came out in Hang Gliding everyone was changing over for the ease it gave in controling your glider. The lateral pessure was less because you could push with your palms and not as much with your wrists. When flying in turbs will really enjoy a comfort bar over a staight bar every time. I am sure they will help with Carple Tunnel(sp ?) and extend ones flying time and from exhaustion due to tired and sore arms and wrists.

Auxillary Fuel

by Gary - (2005) I have been flying for a couple of years now and I have recently installed a extra back seat fuel tank which works very well. The tank is plastic and so is the main tank. The fuel just feeds into the main tank through gravity feed. After flying for about 1 1/2 hours I open a valve I installed with a rubber grommet and the fuel feeds into to main tank extending my flying time for about another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I don't know for sure about the need to ground the tank, but both tanks are plastic and are connected with a plastic fuel line. My instructor, who is a very sharp guy does the same type of setup with his small lightweight trike.

by Stuart Parker - (2005) I frequently fly with an extra 20l plastic tank either on the rear seat or in saddle bags, plumbed into my Edge metal tank. Rather than a pure siphon, I run a pickup tube from the main tank vent down into the bottom of the plastic tank, and let the sealed main tank draw the fuel from the extra tank to replenish the main. The main tank is effectively sealed, and the plasitc tank vented. It adds a very small head to the fuel pump, but no problems with feed or flows. Re static electricity - we have a fairly humid environment here, so static buildup is generally low. I always ensure that the plastic tank is at the same potential as the main metal tank by using hand-to-hand contact between them before pouring (same as when filling the main from a plastic container). Once connected by the pick-up tube, there is enough of a discharge path to prevent static buildup during flight. BUT, ... in a much drier environment, ... better to be more cautious. If you have any mates in the electronics industry, see if you can get some static discharge stretch strapping (woven with carbon fibre) and make up a band you can wrap around the neck or handle of your plastic tank and clip to an earth point on your trike frame.

Fuel Flow

by Scott - (2005) I'm burning almost 3 gal per hour with my Northwing Maverick. This is a single surface, slow wing with a 447. Is this in the ballpark with others? It seems a little inefficient to me. Plus with only a 5 gal tank, it keeps me pretty close to home.

by Mike Hursh - (2005) By far the best instrument on my panel is my fuel flow meter from Smart Singles. I can tell remaining fuel, distance and time I can fly at current fuel burn, and for me most important my actual fuel burn. I fly a Airborne Classic 582 with streak II wing. One up, most days, I can hold altitude at 5200rpm and my fuel burn is 2.9gph. (cold with high density altitude and I can get to 2.6gph) If I fly 2 up and have to run at 56-5700 I burn 5+ gph. If I'm trying to get home before dark and runing flat out at 6200rpm I am in the neighborhood of 6.5gph. Make sure your jetting is right for the altitude/temps and your are lean or it doesn't matter what you do...you'll go through lots of fuel. I like to do cross countries and part of the fun for me is engine/fuel management.

by Paul Morton - (2005) [I fly a Sabre 447 stick trike w/windshield, with a Maverick 14.9 strutted wing.] I just got back from a 3 hour 15 min flight nonstop (my longest one to date). My airport altitude is 2646 ft. I flew about 2/3's of the flight at 5500-6000 ft msl. The last 3rd I was on the deck at about 3000ft msl. My RPMs for level flight are 4600 and my main jet is a 155 w/single bing carburator. I have a 10 gal tank which I topped off before leaving. When I put her back in the hanger I topped off the tank again and she took slightly over 6 gallon. So I figured I had burned 2 gallons per hour or ever so slightly less. I have always figured I could fly for 4 hours non-stop before getting serious about landing for a fill up, assuming my bladder was good and empty before leaving! And of course, the flight was beautiful as usual, with the fresh snow on the Mtns and the greening up valleys below.

by Dan Cooper - (2005) I made this table from manufacturer data sheets. The figures are for maximum power, or maximum continuous power if specified. For each engine, the specific fuel consumption (gal/hr/hp) is more or less constant as RPM and power decrease. The outlier is Simonini. It is a 2-stroke that claims lower specific fuel consumption than 4-strokes. What I have been heard from people flying them tends to support the manufacturer's claims. The technology used is nikasil cylinder, reed valve, and a highly tuned exhaust. The exhaust may be able to take the mixture that crosses from the intake port to the exhaust port, and stuff it back in before the exhaust port closes. The data shows the performance holding up at lower RPMs as well. Very interesting if true. Unfortunately Hirth does not publish fuel consumption figures.

 

RPM Hp gal/hr gal/hr/hp
Rotax 447 6800 40,0 5,52 0,138
Rotax 503 DCDI 6500 49,6 6,08 0,122
Rotax 582 6800 65,0 7,21 0,111
Rotax 912 5800 81,0 6,29 0,078
HKS 700E 5800 56,0 4,23 0,075
Simonini Mini 2+ 7200 24,5 1,53 0,063
Simonini Victor 1 6500 43,5 2,51 0,058

Salt Water

by Kerry - (2004) Just rinse off in fresh water after its all over. If you live or fly near salt water your always going to get salt laden air land on everything including your flying machine. In this case you should always regularly check for corrosion and give it a good rinse off and use anti corrosion measures as part of your regular maintenance program. Especially electrical connections. Salt is actually a preservative for fabrics - inhibits molds and bacteria which break down fabrics. Its the UV that does all the damage. With alloys once it oxidises it actually has a protective coating. With other metals like steel corrosion will continue. For parts susceptible to corrosion (and you live near salt water) go for the marine grade CRC type spray on protectors as opposed to the regular grades. If your machine gets a good dose of salty water give it a thorough clean and use a corrosion neutraliser to counteract any residue left after the wash. Keep an eye on it for a week or 2 and take appropriate action to rectify if some corrosion does occur. "

by William Olive aka "Billo" - (2004) ... 6061 doesn't fare well in salt conditions and 7075, with a high Zn content fares much worse. Many modern wings make a lot of use of 70 series. Living and flying on the coast as I do I see a lot of the type of corrosion you are talking about. AN bolts corrode quickly in salt condition, as do swages and coated SS wire. I use WD40 liberally, and it seems to help keep the corrosion at bay. I haven't ever put one in the drink though. Three of my gliders are 20 years old and still airworthy, so maintenance does keep them OK. Salt water doesn't worry the Dacron sails, stands to reason, they use it for boat sails. We just wash ours every now and then with a fresh water hose. Bird poo seems to be the worst, stains and won't come out. Don't wash your sail with any strongly alkaline detergent, mild soap only.

By Art Thompson - "WD40 is good stuff. It is supposed to displace water on metal surfaces. The only problem I have noted is that it tends to evaporate rather quickly and can collect dirt and stain. Silicon spray works well, does not attract dirt and stain as much as WD40 but evaporates even more quickly and can be washed off fairly easily. On our sail boat we found that silicon was best for plastic, vinyl and rubber but WD40 best for metal."

by Charlie Porter - Another good product to use to treat your airframe is Corrosion-X. Find it at http://www.corrosionx.com/tech.html

Pegasus Quantum 912 vs Mainair Blade 912 - by BFI Mike Marron, Tampa, FL
(Year 2002) - Having flown the Q912's closest competitor the Blade912 and experienced firsthand the torque problems that the Blade suffers, ... I'm convinced the Q912 is the best engineered and sexiest looking super trike currently in existence. Feel free to call me an opinionated bastard (grin), but the ... The Blade912 is OK, but like I said (and wrote about in UltraFlight mag several years ago) the Blade912 (and the Blade582 with 3.47:1 gearbox) suffer from serious faults such as this rolling moment about the longitudinal axis due to torque and P-factor. You can easily see the differences between the Q912 and Blade912 by suddenly coming back on the throttle during climb out. The Q912 trike unit/wing remains exactly the same, while the Blade912 trike unit will suddenly swing back under the wing. The Q912 does not suffer from severe torque problems whatsoever. Blade912 pilots whom have converted to Q912's are amazed how they have absolutely nothing to do in their Q912's, even at high power settings during climb out. Further, due to their design, the Blade912 requires a smaller-diameter prop than what is used with the Q912, and because of this the Blade912 does not have as much thrust and as good as performance/efficiency as the Q912. The Pegasus Q2 wing is also much lighter in pitch and roll, has a wider speed range, and is easier to recover in bad turbulence. Full-power, max sustained rate of climb 1-up in my Q912, the pitch attitude doesn't exceed 45-deg's anyway. ...[Concerning] my comparisons between the 80hp Blade912 (and 65hp Blade582) vs the 80hp Q912, the Pegasus simply has no severe torque problems. Somehow the folks at Pegasus managed to solve the torque issue, but keep in mind the Blade is an 80's design while the Quantum is a 90's design.

One-seat vs Two-seats by Rob Bonnell
I have both a lightweight solo trike and a 2 place Northwing Apache HKS. When I get to fly alone it is WAY more fun to fly the 15 Hp solo trike than the 2 place 50 Hp Apache Mustang 17.5 trike. The solo trike is slower and faster than the 2 place. I must admit that starting the HKS is more like starting my car than the JPX 320 (on the solo) which is more like starting my weedeater. The solo trike adventure begins with that curiosity before hitting the start button of wondering if I will get to fly now that I've assembled the wing and all. THe first wing on the solo trike was a Falcon 195. (stock single surface hang glider). It was a fine starter wing but had a limited speed range especially in the upper end. Switching over to a Fusion 150 (stock high performance topless hang glider) allowed a speed range of 24 to 60 mph compared to the 2 place's Mustang 17.5 that had a 30 to 55 mph range. They both cruised best around 40 mph. There is a huge difference in fuel mileage between the solo and 2-place. Even with the 2-place using a 4 stroke HKS engine. Most 2 place trikes get about 10 to 15 mpg at best. The solo trike with the high performance wing gets easily twice the fuel mpg. And I feel way safer on something that can get almost 10:1 glide when the engine quits and still be able to slow to 24 mph at landing. I've been in 2-place trikes that cruise at 70 mph and the thought of an engine out getting barely over 5:1 glide and only slowing to 38-40 mph at slowest takes a lot of my fun away. My hang gliding background has me desiring to not fear an engine-out but absolutely be aware of it, and ready for it at all times. To not think of engine outs or use it as a disciplined part of the exercise of flying is to be an Ostrich with head buried in the sand. A big difference between the light trike and the 2-up is the transportation. Solo trike fits inside the rear of my suburban. But the 2 place Apache needs a full trailer. Lifting that heavy Mustang wing onto my truck rack is a killer. But the option for the lightweight trike on a stock high performance hang glider is limited to light pilots for the most part. Those weighing in with body weights over 200 lbs would be overloading the typical stock hang glider a great deal. Each to his own choice in flying desires. Like the old saying.... so many different ways to fly and so little time to get it all done.

The Folding Mast by AFI Rob Rollison, Bloomfield, Indiana
I believe "whole mast folding" style of trike is typified by the Airborne, Cosmos, and some other trikes. With this design, the engine (and sometimes the fuel tank) is attached to the mast and when the mast is lowered these components usually go along for the ride (ie, they get tilted forward/down when the mast/pylon is lowered). The "mast folds above seat frame" design, which is on the Raptor, Air Creation, Aerotrikes, Aquilla, and others is fine and has some advantages over the "whole mast folding" design. The Cosmos and Airborne trikes are generally considered to be real good trikes and somehow their owners manage to raise and lower their wings successfully. The design has the mast pivoting from a point in front of the engine or behind the back of the rear seat occupant. This works pretty good and has some advantages over the "whole mast folding" designs. A variation on the fully folding mast is found on the Pegasus trike where the mast/pylon is not attached to the engine or to the engine mount. The seat frame is solid and does not fold. It's a good compromise. This allows the mast/pylon to pivot from a point immediately above the trike keel tube. The motor and gas tank does not accompany the mast/pylon when folded. This design is enhanced by the incorporation of a "gas-lift strut" that virtually raises (or lowers) the mast, thereby carrying almost all of the weight of the mast and wing. [editor - The Aerotrike Cobra also has the folding mast below the engine, but does not have the gas lift-strut to facilitate folding. However, it has a spring-loaded clip to assist.}

Lifting the Mast and Wing by Your Self

by Gordon L. Slivinski - I put 2 gas shocks on my mast is such a way as to help push up and asist with the lifting. When mounting the wing I have to hold the mast down with a webbing belt strap ,and release when I have the heart bolt in place. Once the mast is up it helps hold it steady to make placing the mast pin in alot easier. This can be made to be removable or peminatley installed if you want .The gas shocks are just the automotive type used on lifting rear hatches ,hoods, or any other gate on a truck or SUV. The bigger the better.

by Lucien Stavenhagen - Get a piece of rope or cable long enough that, when looped through the front wheel and around the keel, can be stood on facing the front of the trike. Then, while standing on the piece of rope, lift the wing up by the control bar in the usual way, holding the front wheel down with your foot on the rope. I've been rigging my fun racer like this for years now and it works great.

Preflighting the nose cone and clearing wing of moisture by AFI Mike Jacober (deceased, pioneer and innovator)
"We at Aeros would like to draw all pilots' attention to the necessity to observe all paragraphs of the pre-flight inspection of the trike wings in order to ensure higher safety of flights. One of the lines of the mandatory control is the availability and correct placement of the nose cone on the wing. Flying without the nose cone can lead to a tragedy, as air flow getting inside the wing changes characteristics of aerodynamic profile, which results in changing the wing's flight performance as a whole, namely:
Trim speed of the wing increases significantly.
Stall speed is increased respectively.
Pitch and roll response of the wing and stability in spiral become worse. All these changes in the wing's behavior can be dangerous for pilots with any level of expertise, especially in the conditions of the limited takeoff area, when there is no possibility of immediate landing. We'd also like to remind to pilots possessing wings with the leading edge made of the film-coated material (e.g. trilam, matrix) that flying the wing with moisture on the leading edge (in rain, fog, etc.) or with crystals of snow or ice (this concerns the wings with dacron leading edge as well) can be dangerous for their life. The wing's performance changes are similar to those described above (When the nose cone is missing), but the significant decrease of the wing bearing capacity is additionally observed. If, [when] getting ready for a flight, you discover that the leading edge of your wing is covered with water drops or ice crystals, do not fly until you wipe the leading edge dry. If you have been caught by rain or snow while flying, get yourself ready to the change in the wing's performance, try to leave the raining or snowing area by the shortest possible way, and (if the change of the wing's performance does not allow further flying), try to find a suitable place for the safe landing. These cautions are common for trike wings of all types. Be careful while getting ready for the flight."

Life of a Wing By Soup
A wing in it's entirety should be retired at 2000 hours. I'm not talking about redoing the fabric either. I'm talking about totally retiring the wing. I researched this question a couple years ago and spoke with all the veterens including the wing manufacturers at Air Creation, Mainair, and Airborne. They were unanimous in saying that a wing at 2000 has experienced stresses and exposure just from normal flying that have, to some degree, compromised the integrity of the wing. In other words, the 2000 hr wing would not perform the same as a new wing when exposed to the static and dynamic testing done with a new wing during certification. ...

Seat Belts in Water trikes By AFI Doi Malingri
FIB is furnished with seat belts for pilot and passenger. But they can be very dangerous during taxi, take-off, and landing with the seat belts fastened because if the the craft capsizes, releasing oneself from the belts will be very difficult if not impossible underwater! For this reason Polaris strongly suggest not flying in turbulent conditions (thermal activity, downwind to mountains, hills, high buildings, etc) that require fastened seat belts and to be sure to unhook them when taxiing, taking off, and landing. As important, always fly with helmet and floating jacket.

Getting the Glider Trike endorsement by AFI/CFI/ATP Jon Thornburgh
Read about Matt Liknaitzky's training at this site

Certificating the certificated non-USA trike as a gider trike by John Cotter
How are 3-axis gliders, manufacturered in other countries (Germany for example), certificated in the U.S. (what category)? Experimental what? The glider trike program focus is on trikes that are "amatuer built". What about trikes that are not 51% amature built, such as those manufacturered by Air Creation, Airborne, Cosmos, Northwing, Pegasus, etc.etc....,

Landing by BFI Lanny Porter
(2002) - Lanny offered this humorous solution to a new triker learning to land. "The Wizard 3 comes in two models. The one which you have or the more expensive one has an automatic runway line-up synchronizer, gyro-enhanced self-leveling device. I can add this modification for about $1300.00. It works great, TRUST ME. Also, I have a new option that has just come out. It is a velcro mount prickly bar cover with small stainless steel pins, inset in high quality composite material and is guaranteed for the life of the cover. It automatically eliminates any death grip on the bar. It is only $14.95.

Getting the Turn Out of a Wing by Rob McKenzie
Roll trim and the ways we have taken out a roll bias has evolved over the years. It used to be that we would shim (tighten spanwise) the sail down the leading edge. This method went away in the mid 80's for the most part. Then some manufacturers would suggest to assymetrically camber the ribs with more camber on the side the wing has been turning to. Some mfg's still suggest it this way. A disadvantage with this method is that when you disassemble the wing you best remember which side is which or you risk a much worse turn. The most common way to adjust for turns these days is to twist the sail mounting at the tip keeping the ribs symmetric left to right. ............. Usually the sail is mounted in a fixed position at the wingtip and the angle of attack of the sail at the tip can be changed very slightly by rotating the end cap. However a typical limit of cap rotation is something like 25 degrees up or down from a zero (neutral or balanced) point. To take out a right turn one would turn the right wing for more angle of attack and/or the left wing for a lower angle of attack. There is a limit of effect as to go too far in twisting the sail will not increase the effect and will just cause the upper or lower (depending on direction of twist) sail surface at the tip to become loose and baggy. Remember that the inflight position of the sail is changed much less than the rotation of the end cap. If you twist the cap 15 degrees, you might have an inflight change of the angle of attack of the outer couple of feet of sail of maybe 1 degree. But this is usually enough to affect a very noticeable change in the roll trim of the wing. ......... What to do? First check with what the manufacturer says about tuning their wings to take out turns. Barring something obvious, assume that they have tried several ways and came up with what works on their wings. Their method can be anything from very helpful to humorous. If they don't have input or if they don't supply rib charts then I suggest to make it the last time to buy from this manufacturer. Not supplying batten charts and tuning instructions is unprofessional at best. ............ Start with a symmetric airframe and ribs. If input from the mfg is unavailable or suspected bullshit, make sure the frame and ribs are symmetric. I suggest to start by checking that the ribs are identical left to right. This is possible even without a batten chart. Simply lay the left/right mates on top of one another and tune over the bended knee. And while you're at it, check that a leading edge is not bent too! You can either completely remove the leading edge tube for the best check or simpler and lesser in effect is to detach the sail at the tip and slide the sail up exposing the leading edge tube from Xbar jct to tip. More often than not, if a leading edge is bent it's the out section of leading edge rather than the inboard section. No tuning of leading edge is recommended. If you see a slight bend (even 1/8") then best to replace the leading edge. Costly but there's more than just a turn trim that's the issue here. A yielded tube can lead to ultimate failure of the tubing wall. Back to the ribs... Unless the front rib ends are slanted to be on a specific side, there should be NO affect in having the ribs on any specific side. They should be cambered identically. Heck, you should even be able to alternate colors. .......... With a symmetric frame and ribs then test fly and tune from there following either the mfg advice or tip twisting.

Filtering Electronics Noise by Rick
I decided to put the noise filter between the voltage regulator and the cigarette lighter socket, since I run everything off of there anyway. It was a complete success! It's just as quiet now as it was when I was running everything off of batteries. I can now listen to my MP3 player through my headsets as I'm cruising along, and when someone breaks in on the radio it cuts the MP3 signal off. Works really well, and noise free. And no batteries to worry about!!

Propellor Compatibility by Dan Grunloh
...the prop has a greater effect on mixture than the jets and needles...first get the prop right, and then adjust the carb. Just because it turns the correct RPM at full throttle, doesn't mean the prop is right. A friend with a 447 and a 3-blade prop struggled with high EGT's and engine seizures for months. It was perfect at full throttle but when he backed off to cruise the EGT's went out the roof. He tried every combination of jets and needles to no avail. Finally, a change of the prop from a 3-blade to a 2-blade turning the same max rpm) cured the problem. The engine runs fine now with the standard jets. The 3-blade prop was unloading too much at cruise.


PART III - Motors:

MZ202

by Jim G - (2005) - So far (knock on wood) she is a great engine. I had to play with the mid range jets to get totally dialed in but it ran like a house on fire out of the box (compared to the Kaw. 440A). With only 20 hours on it I'm pleased. Now if we make it to say 500 hrs. then I'd say it was a good buy. I have been happy with Leon at Compact Radial for his support. My only complaint was the jetting was way off when I bought it. But,it was used so I don't know what was done to it previously. Supposedly, it didn't have any time on it but was mounted. Looked new.

by Dennis McLain - (2005) - As you know, I have worked with Sabre for several years and was there when the decision to go to the MZ202 was made. So far it has proven to be just about bullet proof if you do the maintenance and service when called for. You need to do the periodic torquing. I put about 100 hours on mine prior to selling it. We have guys with trikes in the hundreds of hours category. We did have a factory snafu on some needle jets that came in wrong that caused some problems. Leon Massa with Compact Radial who builds the MZ202 was absolutely stellar. You could not ask for a better manufacturer. The MZ202 is a wonderful engine and for the price of a 503 and the power of the 582 it is a no brainer. The only down side of the MZ202 is you need to run synthetic oil in the mixture so this adds a little to the cost.


PART IV - Mishaps:

Sometimes pilots bend their trikes. Lessons can be learned from such occurences. Read about some of them at trike accident reports and NTSB

Videos - Trike looping into tumble       Trike parachute misfire       Motor failure and tree landing       Water strike

Newspaper Report - Ground Strike and Death - A man died when his small plane crashed in a wooded area early Saturday morning shortly after 6 am. The pilot was making a low approach to a grass runway when the wing hit the ground and flipped the plane over. The pilot suffered injuries to his pelvis and leg and was taken by ground to the hospital. Investigators said rescue workers stabilized the pilot at the scene, but he later died at the hospital from crash-related injuries. Friends said he was piloting a trike, a type of small aircraft that is like a powered hang glider. It can attain speeds of 70 mph. He was practicing to earn certification to fly solo in the trike. His flight instructor was at the airstrip when he crashed. - North Carolina - June 2008

NTSB Report - NTSB ID: MIA08CA049 - Refusual to follow instructions - Two different CFIs refused to clear him for solo flight in single and dual seat. He attempted anyway. The NTSB report: The pilot reported to NTSB there was no intention for flight, he was taxiing and practicing radio communication procedures. The pilot reported to the airport manager immediately after the accident that the accident flight was his first solo flight. While taxiing on runway 34 with partial power applied, a strong gust of wind occurred and the aircraft became airborne inadvertently, and climbed to approximately 50 feet. He did not apply power and the aircraft drifted to the side of the runway then impacted the ground. The engine remained running postaccident and he had to secure it before being rescued. He further reported there was no preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction with the aircraft. He did state that the AWOS indicated the wind was from 5 mph, gusting to 10 mph, and the AWOS was wrong. The airport manager reported that at the time of the accident, the wind was from the west and north with gusts to 20 plus mph. The installed AWOS was certificated approximately 1 year and 3 months before the accident, but the wind information has been deemed unreliable since certification due to the location of trees within a 500 foot radius of the wind sensor. There was no NOTAM and no information was published in the FAA Airport/Facility Directory pertaining to the unreliable wind information. At the time of the accident, the AWOS on the airport recorded the wind was from 310 degrees at 5 knots; no gusts were reported. The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The failure of the pilot-in-command to maintain control of the airplane and his poor weather evaluation before attempting to taxi the airplane. A factor in the accident was the failure of airport personnel to correct the inaccurate wind information reported by the AWOS. - Wednesday, January 30, 2008 in Jefferson, GA; Airborne Redback ELSA N1847; Pilot hospitalized, serious injuries.

Personal Report - Fuel Starvation - Today, I flew my friend's wife in my Peg and Buzz flew his fixed wing Buccaneer amfib over to Dave and Roxi's place for coffee and danish. It's about 35 miles one way, a nice relaxing flight. On the way back Buzz had a powerout. Safely landed in one of the many cow pastures in the area we fly. Anyway, the engine was starving for fuel. Electric fuel pump was working. We found one line that started showing some cracking. So his wife and I left to the airport. Got some more tools and fuel line and drove back since it was close to a road. Fixed the line and still nothing. Then we blew down the hose in the tank, no bubble sounds. The fuel pickup had decomposed and broke at the top fitting. So we put a socket on the new line and dropped it in the tank. Everything happy now with fuel back in the filters, Buzz fired it up and flew away. Who would ever check this item on their plane? That's a new one on me that isn't in my preflight list. Fly safe and fly alot. - Phil Pike - 2007.

Personal Report - Take Off - I went out this morning and took off and I was drifting to the left. I tried to correct it and let up on the throttle, figuring it was tonguing too much. I was losing altitude, so I throttled up again, It started to turn left and I backed off, descending more. Each time I would lose altitude, Finally, I didn't have time to recover and pancaked it hard. It's totaled, no more flying for a while. EV - 2006

Personal Report - Gear Down - "INSTRUCTOR ERROR" - Dear friends, ... You may recall that my very first lesson with Bob resulted in a "landing upset" as we splashed Bob's brand new Sea Wing into Puget Sounds' saltwater on it's maiden voyage. Long story short; t'was my fault. I was the BFI. Failed to check the gear UP after a firm first landing. Gear dropped down during the bounce 'n go. Been there, done that, - will work on never repeating that. It was so unnecessary. ... Watching one's brand new trike floating inverted in the water is simply crushing. But it's fate didn't discourage Bob. Over the winter, "the Phoenix rose from the ashes". New engine, EIS, throttle cables, strobe... (you name it, the list is long) were all replaced. ... The incident gave us a fresh perspective for how quickly things can get balled up. We've learned a great deal in the process. We thank everyone (whose talent and expertise we reached out to) for their time, patience and understanding. ..." ..... Dave Sharafinski 2004

Personal Report - Wire Strike - "TOTAL PILOT ERROR - Weather was Okay. Trike was running great. Yes it was a STUPID Crash. Here's what happened: On December 23 I was out flying, The air above 400' AGL was really bumpy. I didn't see it as a problem because I would just fly low in the fields, round the trees and up over the telephone poles like I had done many times before. After doing this for about an hour, I decided it was time to head back to the hanger. Between Perris and my hanger in Hemet there is a grassed spillway that runs almost right to the pattern. As I got closer to the airport I started to clime higher to the UL pattern altitude of 750' AGL. At the same time I debated about going on through to the back side of the near by Diamond reservoir to fly for a extra 30 min. I decided to have some more fun. At that point I must have let off on the gas a little, and for some reason I did even think about looking for poles. I looked down at a street below me and on the other side must have been the power lines. Now they weren't the big tall ones, but they were the ones that that are alone without telephone wires. Either hitting the wires or just before I hit them, I looked a head and saw the wires at eye level. As I hit the wires the wings sparked an the trike turned to the right. I closed my eyes and then hit the ground. Based on the broken body parts I must have hit nose down. I was laying on my back and I hurt. Some people had seen me crash and came running. They called the Fire Department and we waited. While we waited I asked if anybody had a camera as I would have liked to have a picture of what was left of me and my trike. My rescuers thought I was a little strange. Their worried about weather I'm going to live and I'm wanting snap shots. Anyway they flew me to a hospital and I lived, no pictures, but alive. Damage: Two broken femurs, Two broken knees, two broken ankles, one broken foot, broken left hand, and I think I broke my cell phone. Future: It will be three months before they let me put any weight on my legs. I will loose parts of my foot I will be in rest home for the next month or two. Six months from now I should be up and around. Trike Flying: I might want to fly again, but I love my Wife and will not worry her again. I'm Done." ......... Ed Dart" 2003

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