Sarah braved the cold and met me at the airfield this morning. The forecast was for light winds and more snow. The snowfall wasn't hard so visibility was fine. As is often the case, I made a short flight to check the conditions before giving the "go ahead" to Sarah. There were a few bumps but nothing dangerous so we got her rigged up and ready to fly.
Winds were light and directly across the runway so Sarah set up for a forward launch. She was a bit nervous about taking off across the runway instead of down it because that made the runway so short. However, once she gave it a shot she found herself airborne by the time she was about half way across the runway. Then it was a few laps around the field and back to the runway where she set it down safely.
Sarah went on to make five flights this morning and is now consistently landing on her feet. That brings her total flight count to eight, well on her way to earning her PPG2 rating. Way to go Sarah!
Monday and Tuesday Sarah, Ryan and Jeff all added flights to their logbooks. They are all gaining skill and confidence. Sarah has made three flights now and is noticeably more comfortable. Ryan has over 10 flights now! He rocked out six on Monday and even more on Tuesday.
Tuesday's weather was a bit of a challenge. With the first snowfall of the season leaving the runway covered in a wet white blanket we were forced to wait bit as the front worked its way out of the area and allowed the sky to mellow. Fortunately the gusts subdued enough to fly comfortably for the last couple hours of the day. Ryan logged another three flights and Sarah another two.
Wednesday Jeff stopped by my shop for some motor training. We tore into the Air Conception 130 to work on fine tuning the ignition timing after the rebuild. It's been said that every paramotor pilot will eventually become a mechanic.
Sarah, Jeff and Ryan’s First Flights! Nick’s 25th Flight! Welcome Matt! The Fall Fly-In! And so much more...
Wow, so much is happening at Madcity Paragliding I haven't been able to keep up!
Some of the highlights of the last week are:
Sarah, Jeff and Ryan all made their first paramotor flights this week. Congratulations pilots!
Nick completed his flying requirements and ground school this week. I just need to submit the paperwork to the USPPA to get him his PPG2 rating. Way to go Nick!
The Fall Fly-In saw lots of pilots take to the air to enjoy the fall sky, both Paramotor and Paragliding. Thank you to our hosts John and Joel! We love being able to fly from your beautiful airport.
Ken has started training to become a Winch Operator. This will be most helpful as Mariyan and I often find ourselves very busy teaching and could use a dedicated tow driver. Thanks so much Ken!
Mariyan had several tandem flights Sunday. Abby, Betsy and Betty were all paramotoring around the Wisconsin River Valley with him. I towed Stephan, Matt and Curt up on tandem paragliding flights with Mariyan too. For Matt and Curt the flights are a vital step to becoming solo paraglider pilots, both a PPG pilots now.
Matt has decided to give into the Dark Side and take up paramotoring. He is a paraglider pilot now but saw how much more opportunity to fly he would have by being trained in both motor and motorless flight. Welcome Matt!
That's just a few of this weeks highlights from Madcity Paragliding crew.
Neil went to work extra early today, 4:30am, so he could leave with enough time left in the day to attempt to make his first motorized paraglider flight. He showed up a bit after 2pm and we did a few trial runs with the motor on his back as the final step in training before his flight. After a few successful mock takeoffs we moved to the runway. I took the rig up first to check the air before sending a new pilot up. A little bumpy but not bad.
Then it was Neil’s turn. We reviewed all the steps and checked the radios. Then I gave him permission to give it a go. He did perfect! The wing came up nice, he added just enough throttle at the planned time and soon found himself running into the sky on his first flight. Though he was admittedly awkward with the throttle and the brakes at first he eventually settled in to it and made the three prearranged laps around the field gaining confidence along the way. When it was time to land he set the machine down safely in the middle of the runway. He did it! Neil flew! He went on to make two more flights today, each one more controlled than the last. Congratulations Neil!!
Before all that happened, Sarah, Ryan and Jeff were with me at the sledding hill making their first paraglider flights. They all did great and made several runs down the hill before calling it a day.
Mariyan was at Elver too with his student Brian. Brian is in our free-flying program working towards becoming a non-motorized Paraglider Pilot. He is doing great and really enjoyed flying his new Apco wing.
After the sledding hill it was off to the airport were Mariyan and I met Charles, another free flying student. The plan for Charles was to do some low level towing to get him ready for high tows. He did great! The last tow of the day we pulled him the entire length of the runway, 3,100’ of mowed grass. We got him pretty high and his flight was surprisingly long, long enough for me to wind the tow rope up and drive the ATV all the way to the other end of the runway before he landed. Nice work Charles! Time for the high tows!!
Robert, Nick and Josh #1 were out at the airport too taking advantage of the beautiful day.
With the limited good weather lately we make sure to take full advantage of every opportunity to train. Such was the case Monday. Six people were out at the airport to make the most of the nice day.
Sarah and Ryan were there in the morning. We prepared for the PPG1 written test while waiting for the dew to dry from the field, both aced it! Then we grabbed the wings and headed to the runway. Ryan even spent some time kiting with the training throttle in his hand. He struggled with it a bit at first but was soon launching the wing and squeezing the control with precision.
Next up was Jeff, he arrived with his wing in the early afternoon. Today was the day when things really started to click for Jeff. A couple hours into our session and he had kiting down pat. With the nice winds we had he was able to keep the wing overhead as long as he wanted to. Well done Jeff!
Sarah, Ryan and Jeff are all ready for a day at the sledding hill. Now if only the weather will cooperate.
Then it was flying time, TJ and Chris and Josh #2 were all there. Chris was trying out a new wing. Brent was selling his 30m Ozone Roadster 3 and Chris is in the weight range for it and in the market for a wing. The paraglider worked great and Chris really enjoyed how much more responsive it is than the wing he’s been training on. Looks like Chris found his wing, now it time to look for a paramotor.
TJ was next and we had him trying out a different motor today. Last time he was on the Moster 185 Miniplane but today we were using the Top80 miniplane, 11 pounds lighter but less thrust. The new machine worked great and TJ loves how much lighter it is. Cool thing is it’s also over $1000 less than the 185, nice!
Josh also grabbed a Top80 Miniplane and flew around for awhile. When there are so few nice days you just have to make the most of them.
Ryan stopped out to the airport Tuesday morning for an orientation to see if PPG was something he wanted to get into. Apparently the orientation went well because he decided to stay for the rest of the day and train. In fact he spent the next three days in training with Sarah and I.
The three of us were able to finish nearly all of the PPG1 ground school tasks and get a decent amount of wing handling in as well. We will be back at it Monday after the winds settle down. Welcome Ryan!
Josh #3 officially began training Wednesday evening. He brought his Green Eagle up from Illinois on a trailer. We unloaded it then discussed techniques for starting and operating it safely. Then we grabbed a couple helmets and took it to the airstrip to have some fun. We took turns running it up and down the runway to get a feel for the controls of this beast.
The Green Eagle is a big PPG quad. At about 250 pounds it is just under the legal maximum weight to still be considered an ultralight. A two cylinder four stroke Kohler motor turns the big three bladed prop. Sometime soon Josh will be flying this impressive machine. Welcome Josh!
TJ rolled into the airport about 3 o’clock Monday nervous and excited. We have been working towards this day for a while but today it was going to happen. This is the time we combine all the training and turn it into actual flight.
We started with some kiting with a trainer throttle, then kiting with the motor on his back to get warmed up. Then I jumped up into the sky to test the conditions for him. It was a bit bumpier than I like for a first flight so we decided to let Chris add another flight to his logbook.
Chris did great. He was a little rusty after taking several weeks off because of a business trip but like riding a bike it quickly came back to him. Nice work Chris!
Next it was TJ’s turn. The conditions had settled a bit and were now just right. We got him rigged up and pointed down the runway. After a quick review of the flight plan it was time to give it a go. He put his headphones down and took a moment to compose himself, we checked the radios and then I started the motor for him. Then he did exactly what we’ve been practicing. He brought the wing up cleanly, added some throttle, released the A’s, inspected the wing quickly, waited for my “FULL THROTTLE !!” command in his ear, slowly squeezed the throttle lever to full and ran. Moments later he was airborne for the first time on his own! He made a few laps around the field to gain confidence in the controls then set it down safely in the middle of the runway. Congratulations TJ!!
A little while later he made his second flight with more confidence to complete the requirements for his PPG1 rating.
Several others were at the field last night to fly around and witness this momentus occasion, three of them were named Josh. Robert and Dave were there too and made flights as well.
Earlier in the day, Sarah and I were dusting off her kiting skills. She hasn’t kited a paraglider in 15 years. It took a little while but she was keeping the wing overhead successfully before we stopped for lunch. Way to go Sarah!
Thursday TJ was out to the hanger to finish the PPG1 simulator drills as well as take the written test. He did great with both.
TJ and Neil met me at the Elver Park sledding hill Friday morning. TJ was there first and by the time Neil arrived about two hours later, TJ was comfortably making flights from the top of the hill all the way to the bottom. Weather permitting TJ will be flying with a motor Monday.
Neil hasn’t had as much practice with the wing so it took us a bit longer but by mid afternoon he too was flying from top to bottom. Weather permitting Neil should be flying with a motor at our next lesson on Friday.
Nick stopped out to the field Friday afternoon and added a couple flights to his logbook. The sky was bumpier than any of Nick’s previous flights but he dealt with the new experience well and will now be more comfortable with imperfect conditions.
Curt and Josh were also at the airport Friday evening savoring the rare weather.
Side note, unfortunately some of the Madcity Paragliding crew have been part of the Vittorazi exhaust pipe failure epidemic. Fortunately, Vitto has been great to deal with and we were able to get both Josh and Dave new pipes under warranty in just a few days. It’s nice to see real customer service in our small industry.
Karisa, Russell, Josh and Ken were all at the sledding hill honing their flying skills Saturday. Russell and Karisa made their first flights as a steppingstone to motorized flight they will both soon be experiencing. Josh and Ken were there just for fun as they both are already pilots. Who could blame them, flying down the hill is a blast!
Sarah stopped out to the airport Saturday morning to look into paramotor training. She has been fantasizing about paragliding for many years. In fact, she took lessons in college and twelve years ago she and her husband took a week long paragliding class in India. With encouragement from her husband, she has decided that now is the time to get serious. Welcome Sarah, you’re going to love it!
Kevin and Ken were out to the hanger Saturday morning to finish up assembly of Kevin’s new trike. We just needed to complete a few steps and check the hang points to make his machine ready to fly.
Friday Neil was working on flying drills in the simulator and watching the scary movie as well as prepping for and passing the PPG1 test.
We are getting a lot done despite the fowl weather week.
Russell is visiting us from Arizona this week for training. The weather has been a challenge but we have been getting a lot done and Russell is taking to it naturally. Weather permitting, , he will be making his first flight soon. Welcome Russell!
Nick was out at the airport tonight to enjoythe break in the winds. He made 4 flights and experimented with the trimmers, the top steering and practiced controlling roll oscillation.
Josh was also at the field practicing kiting.
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