Saturday morning we were gifted with great flying conditions as well as a few inches of snow. Jeff and Josh added several in flight skills to their done list, trimmer use, tip steering and canceling oscillations to name a few.
Justin stopped by to give a go at kiting the wing which we couldn’t do the previous day in the high winds.
Several of us gathered Saturday evening with hopes of flying, Matt, Ken, Allen and Jeff were all there. The snow had all melted but unfortunately a nearby a rain storm and it’s unexpectedly strong winds kept everybody on the ground except me. At least Preston was able to get a bunch of kiting in before we packed up to avoid the rain.
Monday was raining and wet almost all day. However it did clear up shortly before sunset allowing Peter and I time to make some flights. The wet grass did make it somewhat challenging but he did great. Nice work Peter!
Curt began his training Thursday. I met him at the hanger shortly before the rain storm began. We managed to get nearly an hour of kiting in before being forced to run for cover as the sky open up on us. He did surprisingly well, perhaps it was all his kiteboarding that helped him pick it up so quickly. We spent the rest of the afternoon working on the ground school tasks.
With the winds raging Friday Preston and I had no choice but to work on ground school as well. We finished most of the PPG1 indoor stuff including a couple hours in the simulator.
Grant and Justin also dropped in to the hanger to check things out. Both were curious to see what Paramotoring was all about. Unfortunately it was to windy to let them have a go at the wing.
Hopefully the winds will calm down sometime soon.
Peter made it look easy today. Took off easily on his first attempt and landed softly on his feet.
We met at my place early Thursday morning and drove to the airport together. He was super excited but also pretty nervous. The first solo is a big deal. Yes he was prepared but this would be the first time he was in command of his own aircraft, not counting the short and low flights he made down the sledding hill.
The grass was still wet from the morning dew so we laid the wing on the edge of the road to keep it dry and light. It worked. Peter made a slight tug on the A-lines and the wing came up nice and true. A couple steps later he added throttle and soon found himself in the sky. A few laps around the field to gain confidence and then back to earth smiling from ear to ear.
This was also his first time riding an ATV. He did fine on that too but it’s not anywhere near as exciting.
Josh met me at the airport with hopes of making his first flight. The forecast didn’t look promising, it was predicting 10mph wind at sunset with even stronger gusts up to 17mph! However, experience has taught me that it usually settles down a little before sunset. Our gamble paid off and the wind calmed as desired a half hour before the sun went down. I made a quick flight to confirm the sky was ready for a newbie pilot, it was. Josh strapped on the Top80 Miniplane and made one practice run. Things went great so we decided to go for it.
Josh nailed his take off on the first attempt! He then made 3 laps around the field before sticking his landing right in the middle of the runway! Great job Josh and congratulations!!
Before that I was with Greg working on kiting skills. The high winds coupled with learning a new skill was somewhat challenging but Greg was tenacious and didn’t give up. Nice work Greg, keep it up and you will be flying soon!
Prior to meeting Greg I was with Kevin in Sauk City. Kevin was ready to fly last fall but the winter hit hard and shut us down. Trike pilots need a smooth runway and winter can really mess with that. This was our first day back training in months. He did great and picked up right where we left off last fall. Next time we meet I’m confident he will be flying too.
He did it! Mike has been working towards this day for a while and today everything fell into place and he made his first solo paramotor flight. Way to go Mike!!
We staged everything on the runway and started with a little bit of kiting to get him warmed up as well as let the bumps settle down a bit. The night was great for flying. We weren’t the only ones out enjoying the warm air. A few of the other aircraft at the airport were out having fun too. After waiting for what seemed like forever the runway was finally ours (probably only 10 minutes but when you’re super excited to go it seems longer). Mike made a couple practice runs before deciding to commit and make a real attempt. He brought the wing up perfectly and as soon as he squeezed the throttle he was airborne. He slipped effortlessly into the seat and made several well controlled laps around the airfield before bringing his aircraft safely back to the runway. No, he didn’t stick the landing but few people do on the first attempt.
Friday evening was sled runs down the Elver Park sledding hill with Dennis and Josh C.
Saturday morning it was back to Elver for more training. This was by far the biggest gathering of paragliders at the sledding hill ever. I was there teaching Peter and Robert. In total there were 10 pilots were taking turns gliding down the hill including Ken, Dennis, Eric and Josh K. Mariyan was there as well working with Adam and Charles. Curt was there for a quick introduction as well. He begins training this week.
Saturday afternoon it was off to Sauk City for some paraglider towing. Dimitry, Kury and Merek aka “Braveheart” we’re already there waiting for me when I arrived. The wind was all over the place because of the midday thermal activity which meant we had to be patient at launch but once airborne the sky was filled with lift. Mariyan took Charles and Mike on tandem training flights so they could get a taste of what’s to come for them.
Then we drove a mile north to John and Joel’s airfield for more PPG. Brent and Dave joined us. There it was powered paragliding until sunset followed up with beers.
Sunday morning I met Ken and Dave for a cross country flight in Oconomowoc. The wind was pretty strong so we didn’t get very far from the park before turning around and rocketing back to the park. Upon landing I met Preston to begin his training. Things sure are busy at Madcity Paragliding!
Greg has officially started his training. A friend of Dimity and Matt E he tagged along with them to one of our towing sessions last summer. Last weekend he took a tandem flight to confirm PPG was for him. After landing from his flight with Mariyan he immediately decided to begin training.
As an experienced kitesurfer, I expect the wing handling to be relatively easy for him to figure out. Weather permitting it shouldn’t take long to get Greg flying. Welcome Greg!
Everyone please congratulate Madcity Paragliding's very own Mariyan Ivanov as he is currently ranked #2 in the US for paraglider accuracy landing by the FAI or FÉDÉRATION AÉRONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE a.k.a. WORLD AIR SPORTS FEDERATION
Way to go Mariyan!!!
Monday I picked up Peter from his place on campus and took him to the park next to the Madison Zoo. The plan for the day to to refresh his kiting skills after taking the winter off. After a few simple reminders he was right back in the groove perfectly executing forward and reverse launches.
After a while I hooked up the training throttle to his harness for a few launches and practice take off runs. After getting the hang of manipulating the throttle lever and kill switch while kiting it was time for the next step, kiting with the motor on his back. Being a rather light weight guy this was a rather formidable task. Even though the Top80 Miniplane is the lightest gas paramotor on the market it’s still about 1/3 Peter’s mass and therefore proportionately heavy for him.
Although it was pretty strenuous for Peter he was soon executing forward and reverse launches with precision. I assured him that when the motor is running it actually makes it much easier because it pushes you forward. The next step for him is his first PPG flight!
Tuesday afternoon I met Josh C and Robert at Elver Park for their first paraglider flights. After some flat ground kiting to warm up we started working our way up the hill in small stages. First just a few yards up the hill, then 1/4 of the way, then half, then 3/4 and finally all the way from the top of the hill. By the time we finished both were making nice low level flights down the hill practicing their steering and flares.
Weather permitting both of these guys will be making their first PPG flights soon!
Flying, bonfire, wheelies, zipline, hot dogs, beer, old friends and new friends. This is definitely the recipe for a good time.
Things started early for Mariyan and I. After unpacking I quickly bucked up a downed tree for firewood with the help of John. I figured this was a necessity with the cold that was forecast.
Ken and Kris were the next to arrive with their big rig. They also arrived early to help prep for the day. Thanks guys!
After that it was a constant stream of past and current students rolling in. Many there to fly, others simply to be apart of the event.
It was wonderful seeing everyone again as well as meeting the kids and significant others that came along to join in the fun. This sport attracts a really great group of people.
The day reminded me of my wedding, so many people I haven’t seen in a while and I would loved to have spent more time with every one of them but unfortunately there is only so much time in the day.
Kiting on the runway was the first activity for most, just to get a feel for the strong breeze. I was the first to leave the ground. The goal was to test the water before opening the pool for everyone else to jump in. It proved to be windier than most felt comfortable with, so we delayed a couple hours before the mass launch.
While waiting for the winds to settle a bit we headed over to the tow road to give a little high wind paraglider towing demonstration. With the strong headwinds Mariyan and Dimity were able to get pretty high before releasing from the tow line. With the lack of thermals, the flights were relatively short but the boys made the most of them by performing some steep maneuvers for the group of onlookers. With the strong winds their landings looked like they were on an invisible elevator, slowly descending straight down.
Then it was back to the airfield to fire up the paramotors. Once again I was the first to take off to ensure conditions were acceptable for the others. After an impromptu air show for the folks on the ground I coaxed the brave pilots into the sky. Scott and Keith were the first to join me. This happened to be Keith’s 1,000th flight!! Wow!
After Scott and Keith went up without incident the rest of the pilots took to the somewhat calmer sky. I’m afraid to try and name everyone that flew that evening for fear of forgetting someone. Let’s just say it was a lot. Mariyan even took up a couple potential new students on tandem flights. Greg and Josiah both took nice long flight with Mariyan and even controlled the wing for a bit. So cool!
Fun was definitely had by all, all that flew and all that didn’t.
We will most certainly be having many more events like this.
The next gathering will be sometime this summer when the air will hopefully be much warmer. We may even make it an overnight as John and Joel have graciously invited us to camp at the airfield.
Special thanks to Joel, John and their family for permitting us to play at their beautiful home. You guys are awesome!!
I hope to see you all at the next gathering!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict