Ryan was so determined to learn to fly paramotors that he actually changed careers to pursue this dream. After switching jobs and talking endlessly about PPG to his new coworkers Ryan signed up. He also convinced his friend and new coworker Brad to join in the adventure. Unfortunately, soon after training began he found himself in the Emergency Room requiring surgery to correct an issue with his guts. The surgery put his quest for flight on hold for a bit. While he healed his friend Brad continued training and has since made several flights.
Saturday Ryan was feeling strong enough to return to training. We hoisted him up with the simulator a few times to be sure flying wouldn’t bother his surgery site. Having no issues getting into and out of the harness we headed to the field to have him try kiting the wing again. That also went well. Both of us were confident that he was ready to give it a try. We reviewed his flight plan and rigged him up.
It didn’t take long for him to be successful. A couple practice runs to be sure all was good and then we fired up the motor. Moments later he was in the seat of the airborne paramotor flying around the airport just as he had dreamed of doing for a very long time. Congratulations Ryan!!
John made the trip down from Fond du Lac several times these past few months to get his training in. Saturday he made the final few flights required. We also prepared for the written test which will be his final task for earning his PPG2 rating. He did manage to get himself turtled after one of his landings. Most embarrassing.
Guy, Pat, Matt and Bill continued their training. Bill was making short flights down the hill at the end of the runway. Next up for these two is a trip to the sledding hill to get those magical first motorless flights in.
Steve was back to fly his new Gravity Defiant. He was all smiles. That thing is awesome!
Mark, Jae, Andy, Orhun and Pat all made more flights this week as well.
Mark has been working towards this day for a while and Thursday we finally had a break in the weather. We rigged up, quickly reviewed the flight plan and set up to launch into the moderate Southwest breeze. A couple of trial runs with all the gear on and then success! Getting into the seat a bit early is a common rookie move. Fortunately Mark pulled it off and just skimmed the field with the motor as he was being lifted. We got him fully in the seat then began the preplanned inflight maneuvers, mild turns, break control, climbing and descending. After a few laps around the airport he set it down safely. Congratulations Mark!!
Jim passed the PPG2 written test and made his last remaining flights to complete training. His gear is on the way. When it gets here he will be able to fly from his backyard. He has a north/south runway as well as an east/west, lucky!
Matt and his son Pat began training last weekend. Being a fairly windy day we were only able to get the small training wing out for a little bit. Just enough to give the guys a good taste of what’s to come. We also started ground school and worked with the motors a bit. Welcome Guys!
Bill also started training this week. He actually learned to paraglide in Chile back in the early 2000s. Though it was years ago and only for a couple weeks his body remembered how to control a wing. Admittedly his brain didn’t recall much from the training he received from his Spanish speaking instructor all those years ago. He used his 1999 Swing glider at first to warm up and dust the cobwebs off. Then I hooked him up to a wing that was made earlier this year and he was blown away by the difference. He said it was cheating. The new Macpara Charger kites so much easier, practically effortless by comparison. Bill was quickly bringing the wing up forward and reversed, changing directions from forward to backwards and back again with ease. Welcome back Bill!
Kory and I remedied his binding clutch. Unfortunately rust had taken hold of some of the internal parts while it sat dormant in the hanger for months before he acquired it and brought it back to life.
Two new Gravity Defiants arrived with much anticipation. These things are awesome! It’s a new frameless design which reduces cost by saving on materials and labor. The engineering that went into the machine is impressive. The first one will be a school machine that we will use for training. The second is for Steve. There are three more on order. Jim, Eric and Michael are all waiting anxiously for their machines to arrive.
Jae did it! The weather has been super windy lately but we were patient and rewarded with great conditions last week. A nice breeze was blowing down the runway and we got him rigged up. Jae did great! He pulled the wing up, ran a few steps and brought the throttle to full, a little tug on the brakes and he was off like a pro on his first attempt! After getting all the way into the seat he made several laps around the field and set it down softly on his feet. Way to go Jae!!
Rod made the trip over from Iowa early Saturday morning to make his first attempt at motorized flight. He was up the previous week and spent the day at the sledding hill working on his launch and landing skills in preparation for this day. Though he was admittedly "scared shitless" he was ready to give it a go. A couple practice launches without the motor running to get in the groove and he was ready. We went over a few last minute pointers, checked the radios and fired up the motor. As expected he too found himself in the sky in control of his own aircraft after squeezing the throttle and taking a few steps. He said really started to enjoy the flight after the first lap and his fear mellowed a bit. A couple laps later he set the machine down safely, grinning from ear to ear and shouting with joy! Congratulations Rod!!
Dave has been very busy working on restoring cars, his business, this summer and has limited chances to come up and train. Having his own gear allowed him to practice wing control after work regularly which meant our time together was spent adding new skills and not practicing. A trip to the sledding hill and a couple hours in the simulator the last couple weeks and he was ready. His wing is a bit small for him which means faster takeoffs and landings but he was used to it by now. We geared him up and pointed his rig into the wind. Bringing the wing up and running quickly while adding throttle aggressively he was soon up to takeoff speed. A gentle pull of the brake toggles to add lift and he was off. We rehearsed the first flight in the simulator the night before so the sensations he felt were not unfamiliar, other than the distance to the ground! As expected, he came in hot but still landed safely. Nice work Dave!!
Glen made the trip down from LaCrosse to make the last few flight he needed to earn his PPG2. Eric J and Kory also finished up their training by passing the written test and completing the airborne requirements. Congratulations guys, have fun and fly safe!
Orhun had the week off from Epic and took a "stay-cation". Our hope was fly a ton that week, unfortunately mother nature had other plans for us. It wasn't until Friday that winds settled enough to fly. Ugh, fall weather can be frustrating.
Mark J brought his 4 blade electric paramotor out for his first flight with it. You might think "electric? that must be quiet", far from it. Picture a huge drone screaming as it pushes a human being into the sky. Every bit as loud as a gas motor just a different higher pitched sound. When he backed off the throttle it did go completely silent, that was cool.
Mark T spent time in the simulator prepping for his first flight. Now we just need the weather to cooperate.
Greg, Curt and I took a trip to Lake Michigan to soar the East winds last Tuesday. We all rode the lift band for a couple hours before succumbing to the cold. Electric gloves are key!
Mark completed his training Tuesday morning and earned his PPG2 rating. Congratulations Mark!!
A couple hours later Mark visited Dennis to check out the electric paramotor he built a while back. Dennis purchased and assembled a four motor unit from OpenPPG. It’s like a big drone you wear on your back, pretty cool. While at MIT Mark head up a project that built and raced an electric motorcycle in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race. Electric motors a kind of his thing. This machine is a perfect fit for Mark and he ended up buying it from Dennis on the spot. He then called me to order a wing. It arrived Sunday. Now all we need is a break in this wild fall weather to fly it.
Soren stumbled across some Tucker Gott videos on YouTube and just had to give it a try. He drove over from Iowa and took sunset tandem flight with me Wednesday evening. I rarely get to take long flights anymore. What a great experience. Thanks Soren!
Stuart, Steve, Brad, Matt and Kory all added fights to their logbooks this week getting them all closer to independence. Keep it up guys!
Michelle along with her husband Gim drove up from Chicago for an introductory paragliding lesson. We spent nearly five hours working on wing control. She did great. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her soaring soon.
When the weather is uncooperative I’ve been staying busy fabricating paramotor cages for Ken and Eric’s Trikebuggies. The plan is to build something much stronger than a foot launch frame for a fraction of the cost. I’ve already built one for myself and it is very stout.
The fall weather has been challenging but the Madcity Paragliding crew is still getting a bunch of flying in. Admittedly much of that flying is taking place out of state.
Mariyan took a group of pilots to the accuracy landing contest in Idaho this past week. Looks like Adam, Nick and Mariyan are all bringing home some hardware hanging around their necks. Congratulations guys, way to represent!!
Jeff is guiding Curt and Greg on a two week tour of the flying sites of Utah. The photos they are send back are making us all very jealous.
Back at home in Wisconsin we are getting a lot done as well. Monday I drove down to visit with the guys at Midwest Parajet and pick up Brian’s new Moster 185 Maverick so he could have it in time for his move. The next morning Brian and I assembled it then spent 2 hours breaking in the motor. We then immediately disassembled it and put it back into it’s travel case so he could load it onto the already loaded moving truck he was driving to Austin Texas the next morning. Just it time. Safe travels Brian and Fair well.
Tuesday afternoon I met David M at the Big “M” by Platteville. When I pulled in I could see him several hundred feet above the mound casually working the ridge lift. After climbing the 265 steps to the top, I rigged up and joined him. I can’t believe I’ve never flown here before. It was so much fun.
Friday the weather allowed us to get a ton done. First thing in the morning Mark J and Steve we out to the airport trading time in the sky with each other. We worked on the final skills they need to graduate. Both have just a handful of flights left to graduate. Keep it up guys!
Then it was off to the sledding hill to coach Mark T, David and Matt S. We spent hours making short hops down the hill giving them all a taste of what is next.
Then it was back to the airport to meet up with Mark J again as well as John and Kory. We knocked out a bunch of in flight tasks and dramatically improved John and Kory landings. We flew until it was to dark to continue.
John and Kory were back the next morning just after sunrise. We immediately got back too it. It was a lot bumpier but the guys did great and it was obvious that their confidence was building dramatically with each flight.
Sunday morning Jae and I were back at the sledding hill working on his wing control skills.
Sunday afternoon Jim, Matt E and Pat were out to the airfield. It was borderline too windy at first so I went up to check the sky before sending a group of inexperienced pilots into the unknown. We decided to hold off a bit and take advantage of the stronger winds and kite for nearly an hour before I went back up again. They all took turns making short flights. I introduced several new skills. By sunset it had become absolutely still and they flew as long as we could legally with a strobe light flashing.
Busy as usual at Madcity Paragliding. Lots of first flights recently and other notable achievements.
Thursday morning just after sunrise I met Steve at what has become know as the glider park in Sauk City. In reality it’s the 3 acre field next to the tow road we planted grass on this spring. The “grass” (mostly weeds) was wet from dew so we laid the wing on the fringe of the field to help keep it dry and light so launch would be easier. After a quick review of the expected procedure we rigged him up and gave it a go. He did great and landed safely back on the runway as planned. Congratulations Steve! Taking full advantage of the conditions, Steve made a couple more flights that morning too. Skill and confidence growing with each go.
Brad rolled in a while later and made a couple flights as well.
Then it was off to the sledding hill to coach Mark and Tony. They are improving and should be flying someday soon.
Thursday evening it was off to Bigfoot airport by Lake Geneva to meet Glenn, Josh and Jim. Glenn and Jim made multiple flights refining the skills aloft. Josh unfortunately found out his machine doesn’t have enough power to get him off the ground with the size wing he has. He was rolling down the runway at full speed with the front wheels skipping along the field but just not enough lift to take flight. Time to find a bigger wing.
Midday Friday I hooked up the new winch to the Jeep with plans to meet Adam, David and Greg for some towing in Sauk City. No great expectations for the day, just some usual Friday shenanigans. Greg and Adam made a couple decent flights before David rolled in a bit later. By now the sky was filled with good size cumulus clouds that were sitting about 5000’ up showing great potential. David hooked up for his first tow and released a bit under 2000’. He searched for lift all the way back to launch with little success. Then I pulled Adam up to about the same height where he released right into a beautiful thermal that took him rapidly skyward. David was out of the seat with legs down preparing to land back at the launch field when he too hooked into some nice lift a little over 100’ off the deck. Sliding back into his harness to work the lift, it wasn’t long before he found himself alongside Adam at cloud base. Back on the ground, Greg and I could here the boys’ shouts of excitement even though they were about 5000’ above us now.
The lift was plentiful and relatively easy to find and hold onto. With some encouragement from me over the radio, Adam turned away from the launch site and started his way across the countryside. David soon followed him on what would turn out to be a new record for the Madcity Paragliding crew. Greg and I gave chase in the Jeep as the boys jumped from cloud to cloud moving ever westward over the beautiful hills and valleys of western Wisconsin’s driftless area. Roughly two hours later David was the first to land having made it about 15 miles from launch. Shortly after that Adam too succumbed to the fading lift and landed nearly 18 miles from the glider park. Congratulations guys! The bar has been set, bring on the challengers.
As soon as Greg and I returned to the glider park from picking up Adam and David it was time for me to change gears and become a PPG instructor again. Kory, John and Orhun showed up at Sauk City Friday evening with hopes of making their first motorized flights, all succeeded. Kory was the first to launch and did great. Next up was John, a bit deep on the brakes on launch but successful. Orhun was last for the evening. Admittedly nervous and anxious but determined. He too did great. All three went on to make their second flights that evening as well officially earning them their PPG1 ratings. Congratulations Kory, John and Orhun!
Early Tuesday morning I met Mark J at the airport. Mark has recently earned his doctorate from MIT and has a professor position waiting for him in New Zealand. Unfortunately for him the Kiwis are not permitting foreigners into the country at the moment leaving him stuck in the states working remotely. Fortunately for him that means lots of time to take PPG lessons ;-) With his accommodating schedule we have been able to get a lot done relatively quickly. That morning’s conditions were great and he successfully made his first flight. We’ve since made several flights. Way to go Mark!
Stuart has been training for quite sometime now. He started late last year. In fact, he learned to kite in the snow. Then COVID hit and his training took a long break. Picking up again not long ago he was a bit rusty but soon regained his wing control prowess. A couple trips to the sledding hill and Tuesday evening it was time to attempt his first real flight. Not surprisingly he did great. He looked comfortable in the sky and his smile was easily visible from the ground as he passed overhead. Stuart set the flying machine down nicely and was obviously overjoyed. Way to go Stu!!
Wednesday evening Brian and Andy were back at the airport. Andy made his second flight and Brian his made the final flights he needed to graduate. Just in time too because he is moving to Austin Texas in a few days. Congratulations Brian and fair well my friend!
All this and more took place as Greg, Jeff F and Curt travel around Utah exploring the numerous flying sites there and Mariyan launches from multiple sites in Bulgaria and next Greece. Travel safe crew!
Michael and I went on a tandem flight last week leaving him with just a sledding hill session to get him ready to fly. Sunday afternoon the winds were predicted to be favorable for the hill. So noon on Sunday, Michael along with Andy, Jae, Stuart and Tony met at Elver for some downhill runs. Chris was on hand to help out as well.
After a little kiting warm up at the base of the hill in the field we started working our way up the hill gradually. Everyone made a few runs down the hill from midway then we all moved to the top for some longer and higher flights. Tony definitely got the highest flight of the day. Probably just 50’ off the ground but high enough to give him a good dose of adrenaline. After a few hours of sled runs it was time for some of us to head to the airport where Andy and Michael would make their first motorized flights. Tony also stopped out to watch and learn.
I hopped up first to test the sky and give a short demonstration for the boys. Then it was Michael’s turn. He did great! Nailed his launch, looked confident in the sky and landed on his feet in the middle of the runway. Way to go Michael!!
Then it was Andy’s turn. As expected he too found himself in the air after a short run down the runway. Having spent a lot of time in other aircraft, he was calm and controlled while aloft. After a few laps around the airfield he too landed safely back on the runway. Congratulations Andy!
In other happenings this week at Madcity Paragliding the PG crew met up with the Chicago crew for a soaring session at Milwaukee’s Bender Park. Greg, Jeff F, Curt, David, Josh C, Jaro, Braveheart and myself all made the trip to the big lake to savor the rare East wind. There was always at least one paraglider in the air from 8 am until after 4. Conditions were stellar.
Jade and Eric were down from tomahawk to put there trikebuggies together Saturday evening. They are now fully equipped to fly anytime they want at home. They did however promise to be down to fly with us often.
Brian and Eric were out Monday evening and racked up four more flights each. Both are now just a day away from graduation.
Joe wanted to see what morning flying was like. Monday morning he got his wish. We met at the airport just after sunrise and enjoyed a nice long flight through the fog covered countryside.
Meanwhile, Mariyan is back home in Bulgaria flying constantly and making us all jealous by sharing photos and tales of his experiences. I’ve included a couple of his pictures so we can all live vicariously through him. Have fun Mariyan!
She did it, Jade completed her training! We met at the glider park in Sauk City a few hours before sundown. The sky was perfect and we got straight to work finishing up her last flights. Jade has gotten a good feel for her new rig, a Moster 185+ Parajet Maverick mounted to a Trikebuggy Bullet coupled with a Macpara Charger. Her launches and landings have become much more controlled and consistent.
Jade’s graduation flight was alongside her step-daughter Savanna and Husband Eric. He recently graduated himself and was flying his Parajet Maverick that he foot launched moments after Jade left the ground for her 25th flight. Savanna was on a tandem flight with Mariyan. The three family members spent over 20 minutes exploring the area around the Wisconsin River together by air before returning to the field. Big day for their family. Congratulations guys!!
There was a mini-fly-in that evening in sauk. Along with Jade, Eric, Savanna and Mariyan we had Ken, Joe, Kevin, Reon, Josh and myself all in the sky that evening. Dwight was visiting from the other side of the state as well but he didn’t bring his gear. There was also a hot air balloon flying over the river enjoying the beautiful sunset with us.
Saturday and Monday we were gifted with a nice north wind. As such, the sledding saw a good size group of pilots flying there. Saturday was Mark, Jae, John, Kori, Orhun, Mariyan and Rod. Labor Day saw visits from Dimitry, Curt, Greg, David, Josh, lil’ Josh, Alex as well as Orhun, Mark and Jae again. So much fun!!
Still super busy at Madcity Paragliding. Lots of milestones achieved the past few days.
Pat made his first solo flight last Sunday. He’s only available Sundays so it’s taking a large part of the summer to get him to this point. With all his ground school completed and a tandem flight under his belt he was ready. We met at the Bigfoot airport by Lake Geneva and the conditions were perfect. After Glenn made his second flight it was Pat’s turn. He did not disappoint. Pat launched cleanly, flew the pre rehearsed flight pattern and landed perfectly on his feet. Way to go Pat!
Michael made his first flight the following Sunday evening. Having started training with another instructor in Indiana a long while ago he was already a skilled wing handler when he arrived at Madcity Paragliding with his dad, Michael is just 17. He spent Saturday with me and another student getting him caught up on ground school as well as spending time in the simulator practicing for the big day. Sunday morning I felt was too gusty for a first time pilot so we postponed until that evening. The wind was perfect, about 6 mph straight up the runway. After donning the Top80 Miniplane he clipped into his 20m wing and was off successfully getting aloft on his first attempt. After smoothly executing three laps around the field he landed in the middle of the runway on his feet, impressive. Congratulations Michael!! Having traveled from three states away we took full advantage of the remaining day. He went on to make three more flights that evening before packing up and heading back to Indiana with his family.
Joe along with his wife Teressa were out Wednesday evening to make his 25th and final training flight. Happy graduation Joe!
Lots of new gear arrived this week. Among the shipments was Jade’s new Macpara Charger and her Dual start Parajet Maverick. We assembled and broke in the motor Friday then waited on the weather to test it. Sunday morning was great. After I took her rig up for a test flight I handed it over to her and she easily added three more flights to her logbook.
Alex’s Atom80 miniplane arrived too. We broke that in and he took that for a nice long solo flight.
Chris’ new Ozone Triax wing arrived via UPS as well. I again put on my test pilot helmet and took it for its first flight to ensure everything was good to go. After that Chris was kind enough to let me use the wing to take Michael from Milwaukee on a tandem flight. Thanks Chris!
It was Steph’s birthday Wednesday so I towed her and Mariyan up to a record 3500’ for a fun birthday flight. Happy birthday Steph!
The wind finally turned north for a few hours Monday. Many students have been waiting for a day at the sledding hill. Kory, John, Steve and Mark were all present and try their best to get into the air with mixed results.
The free flight crew has been busy as well traveling around the area and flying as much as possible.
So much more fun as well!
Wow! Three first flights in just two days.
Monday I met Brad and Ryan at the sledding hill with the plan of making sled runs in preparation for flying with motors the next day. They both did great and made several flights down the hill. Tuesday it was Jim’s turn on the hill. We also hoped to be adding a motor later that day for an evening flight. He too did well at the hill making many flights.
Tuesday evening it was time for motor flight for Jim and Brad, Ryan wasn’t feeling well and decided to sit it out and watch the others. As practiced earlier in the simulator and the sledding hill they took turns making their first flights while Ryan looked on jealously.
Brad was up first. He got into the seat a bit early on launch but other than that did great. He made the planned laps around the field and then set it down safely on the runway. Congratulations Brad!!
Next up was Jim. Learning from Brad’s flight he launched cleaning letting the machine lift him into the air. He too did great and landed safely on the runway. Way to go Jim!!
Wednesday morning I met Alex and Eric for some morning flying. The grass was a bit wet from the morning dew so we laid out the tarp to help keep the wings dry during launch. Alex disappeared for a couple hours immediately after launch and spent the morning exploring the countryside. Eric and I added to his skills with a mid-air engine restart and several accuracy landing challenges. Just the PPG2 test and a few more flight and Eric will graduate.
Doctor Mark stopped in for an orientation Wednesday morning after Eric left. He is doing research on crop heath with aerial photography and all his time spent in small planes has made him want to learn to fly himself. He signed up and we spent the next two days preparing him to solo a PPG. Mark’s next task is a trip to the sledding hill.
Wednesday evening Eric was back for more flights. Kevin from Florida was there too with hopes of making his first flight. I really enjoy Kevin’s colorful expressions, very different from your typical Wisconsin talk. After I gave the boys a short demonstration it was Eric’s turn to take to the sky again. He is becoming very comfortable up there.
After that it was time for Kevin to give it a go. As Eric and I did moments earlier, Kevin launched the wing cleanly and squeezed the throttle to full which pushed him quickly into the evening air. The smile on his face as he flew overhead was clearly visible from the ground. He told me after he landed that the flight was so much more fun than he ever expected. Nice work Kevin!! Many more fun flights to come.
Andy and Jae were back to training and spent all Saturday with me. We watched the scary movie, discussed FAR 103 and spent a few hours in the simulator. They too are ready for a trip to the sledding hill, then it’s time to solo!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict