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!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict