Andy, Jim, Jae, Brad and Ryan all began training this week. Welcome everyone!!
It’s a bit overwhelming adding this many students to the roster but super exciting! Fortunately there are also plenty of pilots ready to graduate. Ben completed all his flying requirements and ground school this week. He just needs to take the written test to be done. His new Parajet Maverick arrived early this week so he now has everything he needs to fly on his own.
Joe nearly finished everything this week. He has just one flight left to get the USPPA required 25 and complete training.
Tony was back at the sledding hill Saturday but the winds didn’t cooperate as forecast. Instead of flying down the hill in an expected north wind, we spent our time kiting in the field in a nice but very west wind. It’s to be expected with a weather dependent sport like ours.
TJ’s new Canadian made Moster 185+ Kangook arrived. He and I spent Tuesday morning assembling it with some help from Michael. Then, while Michael and I worked on kiting in the runway, TJ spent a couple hours hanging in his new machine from the simulator breaking in the engine. We are expecting to receive his wing from Ozone sometime soon, then he will be able to fly whenever he wants.
So much fun!
Super productive week at Madcity Paragliding. Most days we were training and flying from sunrise to sunset. (Yes, I’m a little tired but stoked)
Monday morning Rod drove up from Iowa for an orientation. He ended up staying the whole day and knocked out his first day of training. Welcome Rod!
Dustin was out to the hanger Monday afternoon for an orientation as well.
Stuart spent Monday evening preparing to fly on his own with a few hours at the airport.
Tuesday Michael was over from Milwaukee for day one of his training. We spent all morning kiting, he did great. The afternoon was all about ground school. Day one in the books.
Wednesday began just after sunrise with Eric J and Brian. The forecast looked good for flying but as we were rigging up the conditions seemed stronger than predicted. As a precaution, I took to the sky first to “test the water”. While I enjoyed the challenge of the moderately bumpy air, these are not the conditions I’d be comfortable sending newer pilots aloft in. So we decided to postpone flying for the day and instead Brian and I prepped for the PPG2 written test.
Then it was off to Sauk City to tow paraglider pilots with the Jeep. It was like Xmas in July as Mariyan received a shipment of new free flying wings. Greg, David and even Mariyan himself all got new rides. After kiting them for a few minutes I began to launch the into the sky for their first test flights. Everyone was extremely exited. The performance improvement was immediately apparent as the boys weren’t coming down as usual but instead were climbing after release. Mariyan was at cloud base by the time I got the others aloft. David, Greg, Curt and Mariyan all had recorded long flights. Way to go guys!
Then it was off to Bigfoot airfield to meet Joe and Ben. There we worked on landing accuracy. The goal was to make them more confident and competent landing in smaller and smaller areas, thus increasing their flying location options. They both did great and enjoyed the challenge.
Thursday much of the crew went to Milwaukee’s south side to play with the ridge lift at Bender Park. One of the boys from Chicago actually spent six and a half hours soaring without a break!
I met Glen and Mark that evening at our private strip outside of Sauk. Mark hasn’t flown in a couple years and was lacking confidence. After our training session last week he was eager to give it a shot. Both he and Glen did just fine.
Friday was another sunrise to sunset day beginning with Eric and Brian making flights at the airport.
Brad and his friend Ryan were next up with an orientation. They both signed up that day.
Tony was next and we prepped for and aced the PPG1 test.
Then it was off to Bigfoot airport to meet Joe and Ben again. Both of them are now just a few flights away from graduating. Keep it up guys!
Saturday morning I met Matt and Eric L in sauk at our field. Eric was working on adding wheel launch to his skill set. He loved it! He now has his PPG2 Wheel launch rating in addition to his foot launch rating. Congratulations Eric!! Wheels require excellent wing control but really no physical effort to fly. A great choice on a no wind day like Saturday, it eliminates the need for running.
Saturday was spent with Andy at Elver park working on kiting and making a couple hops down the hill.
Saturday evening we had a small gathering of pilots at a farm in Lodi. Ken, Nick, Matt, Ben and myself all flew around the lovely valley until sunset. So much fun!
Sunday morning I was back at the sledding hill with Stuart and tony. Unfortunately the wind never turned north as promised so we spent our time kiting in the field at the bottom of the hill. We will get you guys a better day on the hill before we fly.
Not enough time in the day, so much fun to be had.
Glenn began his training right before the Covid pandemic started. We completed ground school, wing control and even made a couple trips to the sledding hill all within a week or so. He commented on how quickly training was progressing. With everything in place we just needed the right weather conditions to get him flying. That’s when the country shut down to “flatten the curve”.
Months passed before we were able to meet again. Glenn’s skills had admittedly gotten a little rusty during the long break. We spent a few sessions getting him back up to speed with wing handling and a refresher in the simulator. Then it was waiting on the weather again, like we were months ago. We didn’t have to wait anywhere near as long this time fortunately. Thursday evening proved to be perfect. We met at Bigfoot airfield by Lake Geneva because the winds were forecast to be favorable there.
We set up for a reverse launch in the steady breeze. Glenn did great! With his girlfriend Shell watching from the side of the field, he brought the wing up perfectly, turned, added throttle and in just a few steps, found himself in the sky on his own for the first time. After about 10 minutes in the sky performing the skills we rehearsed in the simulator earlier he set it down safely in the middle of the field. Congratulations Glenn!!
The next morning was Brian’s turn. Gifted with a flexible work schedule he was able to take the morning off and meet at the airport. The grass was pretty wet from dew so we were in no hurry to give it a go. After the grass dried a bit we rigged him up and went for it. He was a natural. His launch was textbook, his flying was well controlled and his landing was midfield and safe. More than anyone could hope to do on their first flight. Way to go Brian!
Other happenings this week at Madcity Paragliding include:
There were a couple of impromptu gathering of pilots this week. First was at Syvrud airport with Sean coming up from Illinois, as well as Jeff, Alex and Greg.
Friday evening a good size group flew from Sauk. Cody, Dave, Jade, Eric, Matt, Jeff, David and myself all were airborne. Mariyan took a lucky young lady on a tandem flight with Cody tagging along by his side.
Jade was back and made several flights with the trike. She has sorted out her landings now and is setting the machine down softly after each flight.
Jade’s husband Eric, has decided to add wheel launch to his skill set so we began training him for that.
Eric J “saw the picture” or experienced a well timed flare and is now working on making that routine.
Keith wore out his Top80 with over 500 flights. Rather that continuing to maintain it decided to swap motors to an Atom80.
Curt stopped by for some help tuning his Moster 185+. A carb rebuild and adjustments to the low jet got it purring again.
Jae and Andy were out to the hanger for an orientation. Sounds like they are both in. Who can blame them?
Wednesday’s forecast was for fog in the morning and then rain all day so Eric and I planned to polish off his ground school tasks in the hanger in preparation for better weather. Surprisingly the weather was actually not bad. We completed all the indoor tasks then checked the wind and weather predictions to see when we might be able to go to the sledding hill and get his first flights in. We were both stunned and pleased to see that if the rain continued to hold off for a few more hours we could get it done immediately! So we raced over the Elver park and did just that. Eric really enjoyed his short flights down the hill. He was a little erratic initially but soon found his groove. After a couple hours Eric was ready for the next step, motorized flight. We packed up and planned to reconnect at the hanger in a hour or so and give it a go. Unfortunately the storm had caught up with us before we could make that happen and it ended the day.
Thursday Matt met me at the hanger about noon to finish up his PPG1 ground schooling. The weather looked great for the evening so our plan was have him ready to fly that evening. We watched the scary movie, talked flying and motor safety and ran drills in the simulator. By 5 he was ready.
Eric and Chris joined us that evening. Chris had just two flights remaining to earn his PPG2 rating so he was up first. He showed the new guys how it was done by perfectly executing a couple quick flights. Way to go Chris! Congratulations!!
Then it was Eric’s turn to fly. This would be his first attempt to fly a paramotor. He was excited and confident though a bit nervous. Eric is a former F16 pilot and current 737 pilot so flight is not new to him but paramotoring most definitely is. Winds were light and across the runway but he still pulled off a great flight despite the added challenges. He was definitely stoked after that flight. Nice work Eric!
Then it was Matt’s turn. Having run practice flights in the simulator just hours earlier, he was ready to go with everything fresh in his mind. He too did great and pulled off a nicely controlled flight landing in the middle of the runway. You’re the man Matt!
Josh was up Thursday evening to prep his quad for the next wheel launch friendly day. (Hopefully Monday)
Kevin began his training Friday. We got a ton done both indoor and outdoor. He was back again Saturday morning and we completed nearly every PPG1 preparation task. Next up is a trip to the sledding hill for him Monday morning and then it’s flying time!
Stuart was back for the first time since Covid shut us down. Even after taking several months off of training his kiting skills were still there. We had to refresh a few techniques but he did really well considering the long break.
Sunday Ken was out for an orientation.
Brian watched the USPPA dvd with me and completed the simulator tasks as well as the PPG1 written test.
Pat also passed the test and knocked out the simulator requirements Sunday.
Next up for Pat and Brian will be their first flights! Good luck guys!!
Super productive weekend!
Sunrise Saturday I was with Jade and Eric. Eric’s new wing had arrived and he had just 4 flights left to complete his training. So, we laid out the tarps to help prevent his new Macpara Charger from soaking up the morning dew and got to work. He did awesome as expected and waisted no time getting three of them done. Then it was Jade’s turn. Having made her first flight last weekend she was still quite nervous. She also was impressive and pulled off several flights that morning. A storm was on the horizon when we started and was closing in on us. When we started to hear thunder in the far distance we decided to send Eric up one last time to complete his flights, with plans to resume training in the evening. He made a nice take off, one short lap and set it down like the pro he has become. Congratulations on earning your PPG2 rating Eric!
As the Storm rolled through Mariyan and Brian were in the classroom working on Brian’s PG2 ground school. Fortunately the sky cleared a couple hours later and allowed us to start with Brian’s first tows. Though he struggled a bit at first we eventually got him airborne. He made a tandem flight last week with Mariyan so the sensation wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He did just fine in flight and managed a nice mid-runway landing as well. Upon landing he declared “that was 1000% of my capabilities”. After his adrenaline subsided somewhat he was ready to give it another go. The next flight he found much easier and more fun. He couldn’t wait for the third. He’s hooked. Next for Brian is a trip to sauk for the high tows.
Greg and Dimitry got in on the towing action too. Both were able to catch lift and climb above tow, a first for a low airport tow.
Jade was back for more in the evening. She added several more flights to her log book and a few new skills. She’s definitely starting to get the hang of this. Way to go Jade!
Sunday morning I met Matt and his son Collin at the sledding hill. Collin loved trying out my little wing, it’s a BGD Seed. At 14 meters it’s half the size of the wing his dad was training with. By noon Matt was making short flights down the length of the hill. After some time in the simulator Matt will be ready to fly his new Paramotor.
Mariyan was at Elver too with Nick, Brian and Andrew. They were also taking advantage of the north wind and working on PG training.
After lunch it was time for me to teach Pat and the other Brian how to fly down the hill. They both did great and with a little push from me found themselves repeatedly flying down the hill. They too are getting closer to the big day.
Tuesday Kevin was out to the hanger for an orientation. He’s stoked and begins later this week.
Keith pulled in as Kevin and I were finishing up. Keith has been struggling with a mechanical issue on his top80 Miniplane for a while and stopped by for some assistance.
I wish the days were longer, so much fun to be had!
Jade started the day by taking a tandem flight with Mariyan. During the flight he handed Jade the brake toggles so she could get a feel for the effort needed to steer a paramotor. She has been kiting for weeks already but her bum knee has been holding her back so it was decided we’d give the trike a shot. After her flight with Mariyan she climbed in the trike and buckled up while I hooked up the ATV to tow her. She quickly adapted to this new style of kiting and with just a few passes was doing well enough to move to the next step, adding the motor. Launching a wing with a trike is very different that foot launch. It requires less effort but a great deal of timing and throttle control. After several unsuccessful attempts she figured it out and was able to bring the wing up under control. Then it was time to give it a go. Moments after she got the wing to settle in place over her head I gave the “FULL THROTTLE” go ahead. She rolled ever faster down the runway and was soon airborne for the first time all by herself! She did great! Three laps around the field as practiced then set it down safely in the middle of the runway. As an insensitive, her husband Eric who has 21 flight completed, refused to cut his hair until Jade flew on her own. So, she waisted no time in taking him up on the challenge and grabbed her scissors a few minutes after landing. Congratulations Jade!!
TJ has been in training for months. Weather and Covid-19 have been messing with his schedule. However, all his tasks were completed by Monday and he just needed a few remaining flights to graduate. As with most paramotor pilots, he is constantly talking about the sport with his significant other. His fiancée Christy just had to find out what all the fuss was about for herself so we set her up with a tandem flight. She and Mariyan took to the skies to answer her questions. TJ joined them in the sky for one of his last required flights and they toured the area by paramotor together for quite a while. Upon landing she said with a big smile that she “could understand the appeal” of paramotoring. Perhaps we will see her piloting her own PPG sometime soon.
Pat also took a tandem flight in preparation for his first sometime soon.
We had the winch fired up and were towing Sunday with Steph at the wheel and Mariyan at the controls. Greg, Curt and David all caught mild thermals.
Matt D assembled, broke in and flew his new Atom80 Miniplane.
Eric J, Glen, Brian and Josh all continued training.
Travis stopped by for an orientation.
Mark and I finished putting his machine back together and checked his hang point.
So much more...
Ben contacted me after trying to self train for months without success. He had good kiting skills and was pretty comfortable with the motor he got from Blackhawk so the training process was somewhat accelerated but I still covered everything in the syllabus to be sure he didn’t miss anything. As they say “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
Before the trip to Colorado, Ben and I made the first attempt to get him flying his rig. His technique was great but when I told him to go to full throttle the machine just didn’t have the push needed. Despite being a three blade 210cc machine it just doesn’t push that hard. Before we parted for the day I had him try on my Parajet Maverick with the Moster 185+ on it. He was blown away by how light and powerful it was compared to his Blackhawk.
We got together the day I returned from the Colorado PG trip. Out of frustration he sold his Blackhawk while I was away. The plan for tonight was to use the Parajet. Even though is was a hot, humid, no wind day he pulled off a clean launch on his first attempt with the Maverick. With his family watching from the ground he made several laps around the airport and with my guidance landed in the middle of the runway on his feet. Congratulations Ben!!
Joe was also out to the airport that evening and made two perfectly executed flights.
Glenn continued his training with a refresher in the simulator and kiting with a practice throttle as well as time wing handling with his machine on his back. The additional weight of the paramotor and loss of agility proved to be challenging but he did great. I anticipate him flying next time we meet.
Joe has been “on call” for a few days. He’s completed everything needed to prepare him to make his first flight and now it’s up to the weather. We’ve been waiting for the perfect conditions and last night a window of opportunity presented itself. He rolled in as the gusts were settling and by the time we were all set up the sky had calmed. After a couple practice launches we got ready to give it a real shot. He did awesome! Pulled off a clean takeoff, managed the wing and throttle well while in flight and set the brand new Parajet Maverick down safely in the middle of the runway. Congratulations Joe!!
In other news:
Josh was back and training again after a several month break with his big Green Eagle. That thing is a beast! Pushing the limits of the ultralight weight requirements of 254 pounds with a two cylinder, four stroke, fuel injected Koehler engine. It towers above me, well over six feet high. This is going to be fun to fly!
Saturday was a towing day. It was pretty windy and nobody was rushing to be first to go up. So as is often the case I found myself in the familiar roll of Wind Dummy, hooking into the tow line to go aloft and check the sky for the others. It was admittedly bumpy down low but above a couple hundred feet it smoothed out considerably. Deb, Pie, his Uncle Ted, Brian and Nick a.k.a. “Tiger” all took tandem flights with Mariyan. Adam and David both caught nice thermals practicing for our upcoming paragliding trip. Ken and I stayed busy running the winch.
Matt E got a bunch of kiting in this week.
Pat also spent a couple hours kiting as well as some ground school lessons.
Ok, time to prep the RV for next week’s paragliding trip!
Matt D has been driving over from Iowa regularly the past couple weeks. Wednesday morning the winds were light but the perfect direction for the sledding hill. Matt managed to catch a few puffs and made a few short hops. I was pleased with his control and decided to give him a big shove on his next attempt. That was just what he needed. He left the ground near the top of the hill and stayed airborne all the way to the field at the bottom. There he executed a nice flare and landed softly. He was now ready for the real thing.
Then it was off to the hanger to go over a few things in the simulator. After that we set up on the runway for his first flight. A couple of trial runs then he was off! He did great and after a few laps, set it down safely in the soft field. Congratulations Matt!!
Some of the other milestones at Madcity Paragliding this last week include:
Anne and her sitting Suzy made tandem flights with Mariyan. Anne PG and Suzy PPG. Both loved it and had a great time.
Nick also made a tandem PF flight with Mariyan. I towed them up to nearly 2000’ before they released from the tow line and chased thermals all the way back to Joel’s runway.
Glen and Eric made more flights Thursday evening in Sauk City. The conditions were ideal, warm with a slight breed. They really enjoyed the calmer air. Their first flights were pretty bumpy by comparison.
Ben was over from Milwaukee to knock out the indoor portion of the training. He’s already had a great day gliding down the hill so next up for him is his first flight, Exciting!
Saturday’s north wind meant a big group at the sledding hill. Mariyan was there with Nick and Greg. I was there with Tony and Eric. Dave and Dennis were there too.
Eric got a new Parajet Maverick with the Moster 185 on it. The distributor drove it up to us the same day! He spent a couple hours breaking it in with the help of his wife Jade. The next evening he took it for its initial flight. Not sure if it was the new paramotor but he did awesome. Landing softly on his feet every time. Way to go Eric!
Eric and Jade from Tomahawk met me at the sledding hill Saturday morning for some downhill training. The wind was pretty cross but Eric still managed to get a few short flights in. Just the thing he needed before we hopefully make a motor flight later today. Jade and I worked on kiting in the field at the bottom of the hill too.
Next to arrive at the hill was Glen from LaCrosse. After a little warm up session it was his turn to catch the wind when it turned north. The breeze was still much less north than forecast but Glen was able to taste flight enough to prepare him for a motor flight.
Then came Ben from Milwaukee. By the time he got to the hill with his family in tow the wind was much more reliable. He managed to repeatedly get the best flights of the day. His oversized wing helped keep him aloft.
Conditions were pretty gusty all day but Glen, Eric and I hoped there would be a calming of the weather before sunset so we could get them airborne. While we were waiting for the bumps to calm, Glen, Jade and Eric all took a spin in the trike. With Jade’s bad knee this maybe her best option.
It did calm somewhat but it was still kind of rowdy when I made my test flight just 1/2 hour before sunset. Knowing the conditions would be safe, Eric and Glen decided who would make the first attempt. Eric was chosen and we prepared him for his first flight. He did great despite the less than ideal conditions. He did everything as rehearsed wonderfully with his wife, Jade, videoing the entire flight. Congratulations Eric!
Unfortunately Glen would have to wait until the next morning to make his attempt. So, shortly after the 5:22am sunrise we met with that plan. The grass was a bit wet from dew so we laid out the tarp to help keep the wing dry and light. Winds were light at the surface therefore he set up for a forward launch. On just his second attempt he successfully launched into the morning sky, made the preplanned laps around the field and set it down nicely on his feet. Way to go Glen!
The rest of the week was just as rewarding. Some of the highlights include-
Matt E, Matt D and Corey began training.
Pat stopped by for an orientation, he begins training soon.
Alex and I worked on a new controller for the winch. We tested it on Sunday and it worked great for a little while. We just need to beef it up a bit and then it will be ready for full time use, I hope.
Sunday afternoon was towing in Sauk City. Dimitry had the best flight of the day and found himself a nice thermal that took him to nearly 4000’.
Sunday evening it was off to Joel and Jon’s runway for some PPG action. Mariyan took Dave from Hawaii on a nice long tandem flight around the Wisconsin river valley. Dave’s friend Reon flew with them on his paramotor.
These long warm days are a gift. We are able to get so much done, it’s awesome!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict