Another very busy weekend at Madcity Paragliding. The highlights include:
Paul graduated in an unusual way. The 25th flight is a big milestone for most PPG pilots. This is the number of flights required by the USPPA to earn your PPG2 rating. Paul’s 25th and graduation flight included a motor-out emergency landing in a neighboring farm field. Both Paul and I noticed the low fuel level before beginning training for the afternoon. We even brought the fuel can out to the runway to fuel up after a couple flights. However, in all the excitement we both forgot to add fuel. No big deal. He handled it perfectly. This Reminds us why we have a place to land within easy glide at all times. You never know when the motor will stop running.
Mike S continues his training with a trip to Oregon’s tiny sledding hill. I set a new city record by breaking the 5 second flight barrier from the top of this monster. Sweet!
Kevin perfected his trike kiting skills. We busted out the tandem wing for him to train with. This thing is big and super stable. He will be flying next time I’m sure.
Del and Adam stopped by to visit and fly together Saturday afternoon. Welcome back guys!
Samantha, Lenin’s better half, took a tandem paramotor flight with Mariyan. (Great Xmas gift by the way!) Now she knows how much fun her man is having when he comes to play with us.
Towing was great Sunday. The winds aloft we really moving. I actually parked the Jeep a couple times while still paying out line after getting the guys up into the strong breeze. Lenin added flights and skills to his paraglider training. He even made his first cross country flight. Matt also made several flights before he had to go to celebrate his wife’s birthday.
So much fun!!!
Friday started early, Mike was at the airport by 7 am, unfortunately the fog was relentless. Ben, Paul, Mike S, Andy and I all waiting until nearly noon before it cleared enough to fly. Fortunately our patients was rewarded with great flying conditions.
Ben wanted to finish training today which meant 10 flights to get done, everything else was completed earlier this fall. With the great flying conditions and his newly acquired skills he was able to achieve his goal. He nailed every take off and landing. Congratulations Ben!
Andy R has been dreaming of this day for a very long time. Today he made his first flight (and his second too). He looked like a natural, easily launching the wing overhead and running into the sky. None of the typical newbie mistakes. Just plan old smooth flying. Both landings were on target and on his feet, a rarity for a first timer. Way to go Andy! The fun is just beginning.
Paul also added flights to his log book today. He is now just 5 flights and a few skills away from graduation. Keep up the good work Paul!
Mike S unboxed his new Ozone Roadster 3! This is a nice update for the popular Roadster wing. Some really neat new features on this beautiful wing. We all enjoyed kiting it and I enjoyed flying it. Very stable in the sky but not boring. Thanks for sharing Mike!
Peter was also there working on his kiting skills before returning to Taiwan for winter break. He will probably be flying next time we meet. Woohoo!
When he arrived at the hanger Friday afternoon Mike L had just 7 flights to make and a few skills to complete in order to finish his training. The weather was great, a nice light breeze blowing inline with the runway and above freezing temperatures for a change. Mike easily tackled his tasks and was done quickly leaving almost an hour of flying time left in the day. So, I geared up and we made a nice sunset flight around the tiny town of Brooklyn together. The air was smooth but brisk. Mike and I both enjoyed the time in the sky. Mike landed first and then it was my turn. Mike’s smile was so big it was easy to see as I was approaching the field. I could tell he had a blast before I even set down.
Sunday Mike S and I met at the airfield. We were hoping for north winds so we could play at the sledding hill but the wind forecast changed to west. After kiting and a bit of towing to get him a tiny taste of flying we returned to the hanger. There we set the hang point of his new Moster 185+ powered Miniplane and fired it up just for fun. Mike approved.
Side note: the MG is up and running. In fact I drove it home Sunday afternoon with the top down. Sure it was only 22 degrees but it a blast to drive!
Super productive last few day thanks to the mellow conditions we had.
With the winch fixed Lenin, Mariyan and I spent Friday morning towing. Lenin was taught Big Ears and the B-line stall. Both are ways of descending faster. More tools for his paragliding tool box.
Then it was back to the airport to fly with Paul for the afternoon. He added several more flights to his count bringing him up to 17! Just 8 more and he will be set free to fly on his own.
Saturday Ken, Mike and I met at the hanger before sunrise. Ken had to complete just 5 flights to satisfy the USPPA requirements, all his other training had been finished earlier. Mike unboxed his new wing, a beautiful Ozone Spyder! Mike and Ken took turns flying, one would set up while the other flew. This worked great as it gave both guys a chance to warm up (or cool down believe it or not) between flights. Ken did great and showed he has gained a lot of skill during training. Congratulations Ken! Be safe and have fun!!
Saturday afternoon was spent with Mike S, Jason, Brad and his brother Andy. Mike and Jason honed their kiting skills. Andy and Brad made their first flights last time we met. Both made several flights Saturday gaining confidence and control with each one. Way to go guys!
Tuesday morning I met Lenin and Mariyan in Sauk City. The conditions were perfect for a day full of flying, a nice light breeze was flowing right down the road. First up was Lenin with a warm up flight before we start throwing skills at him. Then I actually got a turn! This was my first time towing behind my own rig. Everyone was telling me how nice the view was but it was even more beautiful than I expected. The bluff, river, ponds and islands were impressive. You can even see Devil's Head Ski Area from there, so cool!
Unfortunately, Mariyan had a minor mishap while reeling in the line. The line slammed into the winch a bit too hard and busted the belt and tow line. Apparently this is only the second time a belt has ever busted on one of these winches. As you can imagine this is not a part you can pick up off the shelf at Ace Hardware. So, our day of flying turned into two flights and a morning of searching for and ordering a belt. No big deal, Steve at SDI Sky Solutions found a machine parts store in Madison that would be able to get me the needed belt by 7:30 am the next day.
An hour after picking up the belt the winch was put back together and ready to go for Friday's day of towing. Come join us if you're interested!
Kevin decided that he wanted to try his hand at wheel launch instead foot launch. So with the calm conditions forecast for Friday afternoon we met at the airfield to give it a go. This proved to be a great idea because he almost instantly had it figured out. All his prior wing handling practice made the transition easy. With a few small adjustments to his technique he was soon keeping the wing overhead for the entire length of the runway while being towed by the ATV. Unfortunately because the days are so short now we ran out of time before having a chance to start the motor. Next time!
Saturday’s weather was miserable but we still made it productive. Mike stopped by to pick up his new Ozone Spyder with plans to get it out kiting this week. Del and I spent the morning assembling and breaking in his new Moster 185 powered Miniplane. The Vitorazzi has a rather involved two hour break in procedure but it ensures the best performance of this awesome machine.
During this break in procedure, Glen and his wife Kim visited with us to learn more about paramotoring first hand. They were troopers and graciously delt with the cold and the noise from Del’s engine while I explained the teaching process, discussed the gear and addressed all their questions. Glen plans to return in spring and start with a tandem flight.
Wow! So much fun!!
If only the launch site were closer. Lenin, Mariyan and I drove to Hager City Wisconsin Thursday which is just across the Mississippi River from Redwing Minnesota in search of some soaring. This bluff faces south overlooking the Mississippi River valley which means nice smooth air flowing pretty consistently up it’s face.
Upon arrival we met three local pilots also there with a fledgling flyer. After getting a quick introduction to the flying site by our new friends we all took to the skies. This is considered a cliff launch and requires some serious commitment because you bring the wing up and run straight for the drop off! It’s a nice adrenaline rush as the ground rapidly disappears under your feet and is replaced with trees far below. Once aloft the feeling turns into a mixture of freedom and challenge. Floating in the sky with a pair of Bald Eagles circling with you is amazing! The challenge is to make this last as long as possible. Without the motor that I have become accustomed to keeping me off the ground, we are instead actively searching for rising air. Everyone enjoyed the conditions and made nice long flights in the cool winter air.
The guys from Minnesota shared the location of a promising launch site that is an hour closer to us, just past LaCrosse. Looks like we will be headed there soon. Let me know if you want to come along!
Sitting in the car with Lenin and Mariyan on the way to soar at Hagar City I’m given a few minutes to reflect on this weeks activity.
Peter completed his PPG1 ground school training including a couple hours in the simulator running flying drills. Next up for him is some kiting with the motor on his back so he can experience wing handling with the additional bulk and mass. Then it’s flying time!
Del’s new Moster 185+ Miniplane arrived. Both he and I are excited to put it together and get it ready for flying!
Paul met me in Oconomowc Wednesday. He added 6 flights to his count and continues to gain confidence and control. Nice work Paul!
Today started with Peter kiting the red Paracruiser wing in the field at Elver Park. Then as his skills and confidence grew we started moving up the hill bit by bit. At first his flights were very short and kind of awkward. However, by the time we quit for the day Peter was skillfully gliding from the top all the way to the bottom and landing in the field in which he began the day. So much fun!
In other exiting news, Mike’s new Ozone Sypder arrived. Can’t wait to see him flying it!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict