Long days and warm weather are back! Now we can really get things done.
Four new students signed up this week. Caleb, Adam and the twins Tyler and Kyle all joined the Madcity Paragliding crew.
Andrea is up to 7 flights now with her goal of finishing by month’s end so she can fly in Baja after that.
Kory, Andy, Kellen, Steve and Mark stopped by Saturday evening to fly in the warm air at the airport. It was nice to see them all in the air.
More paramotors are being assembled. Andy, Matt E, Nick, Brad and Ryan were all turning wrenches on theirs this week. With all the Defiants in the hanger it’s getting challenging to determine who’s is who’s. The crew has started to get into custom colors to help that and express their style. Andy powder coated his red and black. Ryan and Brad did some of their components a cool gloss red. Nick has his anodized matte gold and grey. They all look amazing!
The wind has been somewhat bothersome lately but we’ve still found time to get airborne. I’ve even had opportunity for few flight myself. This never boring.
Andrea began her training last fall after watching her friend Andy go through the entire program. Seeing him succeed gave her enough confidence to sign up and give it a go herself. Her flexible work schedule really helped us deal with the challenging weather we had this past winter. She was always super excited during training and she did very well at kiting. Having already gone through some general aviation training, much of the physics and some of the law knowledge was easier for her to grasp. We had several towing sessions for her to get comfortable with wing control before we added the motor. When it came time to try and launch for her first time she did great! We had a mild breeze which always helps by lowering the take off speed and slowing everything down a bit. On her first attempt she easily made her way into the air with Andy and I watching attentively. Her launch was pretty much textbook, she did everything as rehearsed. After the planned laps around the airport she set it down safely. After landing she said “I don’t know what I was so afraid of, that was amazing!” Congratulations Andrea!!
Craig also made his first flight last week. He is another one of the local Kiteboarding crew that has now learned to fly PPG. Craig too has been out to the field often this past winter. His kite handling skills quickly transferred over to paraglider handling. His first day he was easily keeping the wing overhead while performing my requested commands. Adding the motor was a simple task after a couple hours in the simulator and a bunch of indoor ground schooling. On the big day of his first flight we laid the wing out pointing straight down the runway. With almost no wind helping him he relied on the thrust from the motor to help him run quick enough to launch. Once up to speed, a slight addition of brake pressure and he was off. A bit erratic at first but he soon settled in and tempered his control inputs to make for a smooth flight. After a few practice approaches he set it down safely. Way to go Craig!!
In other news;
Michael was back up from Indiana to assemble and fly his new Top80 Miniplane. That thing is so light and still plenty powerful. Definitely one of my favorites.
Rob was out for an orientation. We one working on getting him flying soon.
Kellen and Mark T were out to the hanger to get their electric starters hooked up on their new Defiants. That makes a world of difference in convenience.
Orhun was back in the sky after a long break. Just a few more flights for him and he will be all finished with training.
Chris was out to hook up his speed bar and hand me his reserve to get repacked. We took the opportunity to practice throwing the reserve. Standing in the grass just away from the hanger, he gave it a toss in the 15mph wind. Kellen and I were standing by to lend a hand if needed and good thing too because as soon as the reserve inflated it was dragging all three of us across the field. I grabbed the edge of the fabric and collapsed it before it got too crazy. Mariyan has repacked it already and Chris has it mounted on his paramotor once again. Hopefully he will never need to throw it on flight.
I dropped a small project off at Tom’s shop, our friendly welder, for repair. I found him at the shop knee deep in a Porsche.
I spent last Saturday morning towing some of the PG crew aloft in Sauk City. Nia, Jack, Adam and Mariyan were all there. It was great to be back at it now that the field has mostly dried.
Off to Aspen for a week of skiing with the family and I’ll be back at it hard. I love this job!!
The gear is arriving daily here at Madcity Paragliding. This past week paramotors have shown up for Jim, Mark T, Andy, Matt E, Kellen, Ryan, Nick, Brad, Michael and Michael G! New wings for Kellen, Dmitry and Andy have also ended up in the hanger. So much assembly and breaking in of new motors there is almost no time to fly, almost.
Collin and Henry finished up there last remaining flights to earn their PPG2 ratings Saturday morning.
Pat passed his PPG2 written test to earn his rating.
Jae, Matt S, Matt E, Ken and Kory were out flying around and enjoying the warmer weather.
Mariyan took Gary for a tandem flight on Friday. Gary is trying to see if he can fit PPG into his already busy parenting/Professor schedule. It’ll be worth it, trust me.
Tom and his son James were out for an orientation this past week as well. They had a great time and plan to take up lessons as soon as school is out for the summer. See you soon guys!
The training continues at Madcity Paragliding even in the dead of winter. Granted, we did take a short break and hid out indoors for the week it was constantly more than 20 degrees below freezing.
Some of the activities included Craig making several tow flights in preparation for his first motorized flight. We also completed his simulator time. Now we are waiting on the weather.
Megan and Andrea are a day away from their first flights. A few more tows then we will strap on the motors and give it a go.
Kellen has been out a few times to keep his skills sharp while we wait for his gear to arrive.
Matt S has been flying his rig as much as possible as well. He will be flying from his place as soon as the snow melts a bit and clears a runway for him at home. Until then our plowed runway works great.
Eric J completed the break in process of his new Gravity Defiant. He's hoping to fly from his lakefront place before the ice melts.
Jake P and Shari were both out to the hanger to go through an orientation and see if ppg was something the wish to take up. It is. Shari wants to fly wheel launch so we will be waiting a couple weeks for the runway to dry out. Now that the snow is melting, the runway is more liquid than solid. Jake has a new baby due soon so he will likely wait a bit before beginning but he too is all in.
Pat O’ was out yesterday to prepare for the PPG2 written test. Afterwards he took a short flight. A little underdressed he was back on the ground rather quickly with numb fingers.
The gear keeps rolling in. Andy’s new Spyder is here. A Moster 185 dual start arrived for Eric L. We will be putting that on his trike this weekend and getting his Parajet back into foot launch setting. Yep, one of each for him now, foot and wheel.
Dmitry’s new rocket ship arrived. He sold his Macpara Colorado to Matt E and we ordered him a smaller Macpara Samurai. I’m looking forward to giving it a test flight. Should be a blast!
And of course the Madcity Paragliding crew has been out enjoying winter kite skiing and ice climbing as well. Matt E, Adam and I spent a day at the Winona Ice Climbing Park. This place is amazing! Tons of man made ice draped over the bluffs of the Mississippi River valley walls.
Two more Defiants arrived this past week. Eric J and Matt S were the lucky two this time. Instead of the usual Gravity green color these are silver. With the matching white padded Apco harness the machines are quite striking. Eric has completed the assembly process but still needs to do the two hour motor break in. Matt was able to finish both the assembly and break in of his Defiant Monday. Matt returned Tuesday morning to take it on it’s initial flight. Everything worked flawlessly as expected.
Nick’s custom Spyder 3 arrived and he stopped by to pick it up and take his new smaller wing for it’s first flight. He really enjoyed the way the smaller wing handled, much more lively and sporty. With a good amount of experience in his logbook now the upgrade was appropriate.
Kellen and Matt S graduated this past week after successfully passing the PPG2 written test and completing the required flights and skills. Both are ready to fly on their own now. Congratulations guys!
Megan and Craig both made their first low tow flights down the runway. Their kiting skills had progressed enough to attach them to a tow line to get them off the ground for their first hops. The flights were only 20’-30’ high but that’s high enough to get a real feel for the brake controls and to practice the all important flare at landing. Those first flights can be overwhelming but both Megan and Craig did just fine. When the weather cooperates we will get them up there again for more practice.
Collin, Stuart and Henry are just a handful of flights away from graduation after last weekend’s training. They all did great on the written test and the other requirements. They too will be out on their own soon.
Mark J stopped by with his parents last week to show off his skills. They have seen Mark messing around with his four blade electric paramotor on the ground but have never seen him fly it. You could see the pride in their eyes when Mark took to the skies right in front of them. Well done Mark. Perhaps we can get your dad in a trike after all.
Admittedly the weather has been a bit challenging for paramotor training recently with the high wind and cold. Fortunately that gives us time to get out and play with some of our other gear. I’ve been out kite skiing with some of the crew the last few weeks. Kory, Karl and I spent time riding at Lacy Field. I met Curt and his son at Olin Park to ride with a dozen or so of the local kite crew last Sunday.
Adam and I were out ice climbing Friday along the Mississippi River. Adam got some new ice axes that are crazy cool. Super light and easy to swing.
I was also able to get out and do some winter camping with my son. We love sleeping in the tent during big snow storms.
With extremely cold temperatures forecast for this week I’m anticipating most of the training will be done indoors. It’s a great time to get those reserve chutes repacked. If you have not repacked yet this year it’s time. Get with Mariyan if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Stay warm.
Matt S and I have been waiting for a good weather opportunity for a few days to attempt his first flight. Fortunately being a self employed home inspector he can move his schedule around a bit to take advantage of the conditions. January 2nd that day presented itself and we embraced it. All is practice and training paid off with a great flight. He even went on to make a few more flights that day. He has been back several times these past few weeks and had already completed his required 25 flights, the last few were with his brand new wing! Just the PPG2 written test remains for him to graduate. Nice work Matt!
Collin signed up with his friend and Epic coworker Henry just a few weeks ago but the two have been progressing rapidly. While Collin went back to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with his family, Henry made his first flights. Upon his return Collin had some catching up to do. Deep snow and a cross wind kept Collin from flying until Saturday morning. The boys met me at the airport early that day. This time the runway was freshly plowed and the wind direction and speed were favorable. Henry went first and added a couple flight to his log book, now in the double digits. Then it was Collin’s turn. Nervous but willing would be an accurate assessment of his mental status. All geared up and hearing a “Full Throttle!” through his headset he squeezed the the lever, ran a half-dozen steps, tugged down on the brake toggles a little bit and was off! He then set off to complete the rehearsed flight plan with guidance from me in his ear. He did great! Flying is considerably easier the taking off or landing he soon discovered. Once airborne a paramotor practically flies itself. After a few laps around the field Collin set it down safely, overjoyed and relieved. Way to go Collin!!
Jae made his 25th flight and graduated Sunday. He will be renting gear from me for a bit until he’s ready to get his own setup.
Mark T completed his training this Tuesday. We celebrated with a nice long flight with Matt S. The three of us exploring the countryside by air. I love this job!
With the grey and sunless skies keeping thermals at bay we’ve been getting a lot of flying in the past couple weeks. Josh, Glenn, Stu, and Bill all were out to the airport and flying.
Kellen began training this week.
Andrea, Kellen and Matt L got airtime with some towing. Soon these guys will be taking to the skies on their own.
Ground school continues for Megan and Pat.
Thanks to Robert and Mariyan for helping out with training Saturday.
Henry started just a few weeks ago but he’s already made his first flight. In fact he made several flights. Stuck in Wisconsin over the holidays because of covid concerns at home back east, he had a bunch of spare time available. We made the most of it and finished up his ground school, simulator and even some towing to get him wing time before strapping on the motor.
He did great! We decided to use the Miniplane with the Top80 because he was of the appropriate weight. The 80cc paramotor weighs just 42 pounds compared to the bigger 185cc machines that are in the 55-60 pound range. Henry was calm and focused when he set up for his initial inflation. He brought the wing up nicely and added throttle as directed over the headset. A few running steps followed by a timely brake input and he was off! A few laps around the airfield as rehearsed including a couple practice approaches and we set up to bring him down. Moments later he was safely back on the runway. Congratulations Henry!
Andy and Pat O were back again to finish up the flight requirements for their PPG2 ratings. Both needed to do the mid-flight restarting drill which involves killing the engine and starting it back up with the pull starter. The task proved to be easier the either of them expected. Both started it again on their first pull. Nice work boys! Having done that Andy completed his training and officially earned his PPG2 rating. Pat just needs to pass the written test and he’s good to go too.
Jae and Orhun also added flights to their logbooks this past week. Both are nearly completed training. Glenn was out one morning as well.
Guy and Matt S were out to the airport for towing, one of the final steps before motorized flight. Both enjoyed the experience quite a bit. Guy strongly preferred towing to repeatedly hiking up the sledding hill. I certainly understand his reasoning.
Graduates Kory and Eric J were also out this week to fly.
What a fun way to spend the holidays!
Andrea, Megan, Pat L and Matt L all spent time this past week working on their kiting skills.
Monday Steve was out to the hanger to install a few new goodies on his Defiant. One of the upgrades was a new APCO SLT Harness. This will shave a bit over a pound over the base harness.
Tuesday morning I met Matt E and Mark T for some cold weather flights. Matt is a serious Mountain Snowmobiler and is well prepared for the snowy conditions. Looking a bit like Darth Vader in his helmet and face mask he found he was actually overdressed despite the temperature being in the low teens. He had no issues making back to back flights in the crisp air.
Mark R was out Tuesday afternoon to fly his new Moster 185 Miniplane. He was a little intimidated by the snow covered fields and the added challenge of running through the 4”-6” of accumulation. After a few pointers on how to compensate for these new problems he found it was actually much easier to launch than anticipated. The cold and very dense air helped him get into the sky quickly, limiting the number of steps he needed to make in the snow. His landings were soft, in part due to the thin layer of fluffy white. All in all a great experience. It opened his eyes to the joy of winter flying.
Wednesday morning Ryan, Brad, Kory and Willow were out to the airport early. Ryan had just a few flights and one challenge left to meet his requirements for PPG2. His last remaining task was to turn off the engine while in flight and start it back up again before touching down. We got him way up in the sky, high enough that he didn’t need to concern himself with the ground anytime soon. He grabbed the pull cord, gave it a practice pull then killed the motor. After confirming that the motor was off over the headset, he gave the handle a quick rip and she willingly fired back up. Well done Ryan. A couple more flights and he was done with the airborne portion of training. After that I released him to fly around the area with Kory and Brad while I worked with Matt S on his kiting.
Somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour later the boys were back on the ground trying to warm their hands. Electric gloves are on their Xmas wish lists if you are looking for gift ideas for them.
Mark T was back for more Thursday. Also intimidated by the snow, Mark soon discovered that it’s not that big of a deal and made a couple flights with ease. That is until he tripped over a snow pile left at the side of the runway by the plow on a launch attempt and did a face plant in the snow. No injuries, just a good face washing and some laughs.
We have been fortunate this year as the snow has held off for an unusually long time. We took full advantage of the last warm days of 2020 with more towing and paramotoring.
Mark T, Mark R, Orhun, Brad, Ryan and Andy all added flights to there log books this past week. John and Joe were back to try out the new Defiant, they both liked it quite a bit. The Marks were lucky enough to get the last warm weather flying. For everyone else this was there first time flying with snow on the ground. The snow adds a new aspect to the sport. It is a bit more challenging to run in the snow but the view from up above after a fresh snowfall is well worth the addition effort.
We were also out towing free flyers before the storm hit. Mariyan made a tandem flight with Jack as part of Jack’s P1 training. Steph, Pi and Nia were there. Matt E was on hand and took a flight. Mark T and Liz were checking out the towing operation. I took the Backbone Trike for a couple test flights before we start sending students up in it. Mariyan ran the winch while Matt helped me by controlling the trike on launch. Once the wing was overhead the trike is super easy. No running! Just sit there and roll into the sky. Mariyan also got to try out his new pod harness.
I think it’s safe to say that Winter is finally here. Now we just need the lakes to freeze over so we can play on them with or wings.
Bill has been watching paramotors fly over his farm since I began training at Syvrud airport years ago. His family’s farm boarders the airfield. After repeated conversations with him over the years I was finally able to get him training. Friday was the big day, all ground school completed and good weather set the stage for his first trip back into the sky nearly 20 years after his first paraglider flights in South America. I tailored his launch technique to take advantage of his past paragliding experience, adding throttle a bit later than others. It worked great. He easily brought the wing up, added gas as required and ran down the runway adding enough break at the right time to launch into the sky. Not accustomed to having throttle control while flying, he was a bit erratic with the power input at first but soon settled in to the role of pilot as well as throttle handle manipulation. A few laps around the airport and a couple practice approaches to get a feel for the machine and he was set up for final. He eased out of the seat and quieted the motor in preparation for touch down. He did great! Congratulations Bill!!
Josh began train in September of 2019. Yep, over a year ago. We’ve been battling the impact of the pandemic on his job and some gear issues. Working in the canned food industry his hours have been significantly increased because of the growing demand for home cooking. This left us with one day a week to train if his schedule and the weather allowed. Also, he purchased a Green Eagle paramotor and wing prior to training and we’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get him into the sky with this gear. We got so far as a full speed runs with wing overhead and only managed small front wheel hops.
Not to be deterred, we changed our plan of attack and decided to use my tandem setup in solo form. That proved to be the solution we were searching for because Sunday afternoon Josh made his first flight! The conditions were perfect and the gear was working wonderfully. I went up first to double check everything then turn the craft of to Josh.
The wing came up a little off center but he easily corrected it and was taxiing down the runway gaining speed as he went. As the front wheel began to lift he added additional break pressure and left the ground. Keeping the throttle pinned for the next minute or so, he was now sitting in the trike several hundred feet in the sky. A few passes over the runway and he set it down safely in the middle of the mowed grass. He went on to make a second a few minutes later. Congratulations Josh!
I spent some time with the free flying group towing. Mariyan had arranged a couple tandem flights for a brave couple and I pulled them up with the new winch.
Brad made his 25th flight. Ryan added to his logbook. Andrea and Guy were a at the sledding hill. Mark tried out the Moster 185 he bought from Greg. Lots of new gear arrived for the crew and so much more...
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict