The new winch arrived from Lithuania Monday and we wasted no time getting it going. First task was a day of testing. Before we start towing students and the rest of the crew we needed to get comfortable with the controls and setup of this very different winch. Mariyan and I took turns towing each other up, experimenting with the settings with each tow to find the right balance of tension and speed. We spent the entire morning in search of the ideal technique. This thing is awesome and a welcome addition to our arsenal of free flying gear.
Curt with a “C” joined us after lunch. He also made several flights from the new winch. Mid afternoon we took a break to try out Curt’s “winch”. He’s had it for a couple weeks now and during that time the tiny winch has earned the name “Barbie Winch” as in it’s so small that it probably shouldn’t be used for full size humans. The tiny winch would look right at home on the back of a kids electric Power Wheels Barbie Jeep.
We set up Curt’s toy winch on his vehicle then went over all foreseeable scenarios to ensure we were taking the necessary safety precautions before attempting to tow him with it. Confident that Curt would be safe we hooked him up and gave it a go. I was driving his Honda with him attached to the 500# test fishing line. I started to pull away with the drag set as desired. Curt brought the wing up and began running with the line assisting him. As predicted the winch self destructed just a few seconds into the tow. Curt never even left the ground.
The PG crew gathered at Bender park again this past week. Forecasts indicated that the lakeside ridge could be soared potentially. Jeff, Curt and I were the first on the scene and as such were rewarded with good soaring. Curt and I had nice long flights before the conditions died down and we could no longer stay aloft. Unfortunately that’s when everyone else showed up. David, Adam, Ken, Greg and Mariyan all missed the best part of the day. Most of them
spent the rest of the afternoon kiting and making short sled runs down the bluff to the lakeshore. Still fun but...
TJ and Dave made more flights at the airport. TJ has over 20 under his belt now and Dave isn’t that far behind. Soon these two will be out on there own.
Tony and Gareth continue there training. Both are ready for a day at the sledding hill. Just waiting on that north wind. Looks like it should be here the end of the week.
We had another impromptu fly-in Friday evening with the usual people and several pilots I’ve not seen yet this year. Chuck brought up his trike and showed everyone how a trike launch is supposed to be done. Kevin stopped by, even Ken made the trip over from Waukesha to play.
Deb witnessed a couple guys, my guess is Curt and Greg, flying around Verona the other day and just had to learn more. She stopped in to the hanger while Tony and I were working on some ground school tasks and got a quick introduction to the sport. She is also interested in checking out motorless flight to see which is more her thing.
Glen came down from LaCrosse to train with us for last few days. Thursday’s weather made it an indoor day. We polished off most of the PPG1 ground school and even got a few minutes in the simulator. Friday was beautiful and was forecast to have a nice breeze up the sledding hill so we met there to start training with the wing. As is the norm, he struggled at first but was keeping it overhead consistently after a couple hours of guidance. Unfortunately the wind never really turned from west to north as needed to soar it, so were limited flat land practice.
Several other paraglider pilots were at the hill Friday as well, all hoping the wind would change as predicted. Curt, Josh and David caught a few decent rides. Mariyan was there to with his new paragliding student Nick. They both had a productive day. It’s great to see out community of flyers growing.
Friday evening it was back to the airport to get a couple guys back it the sky. It’s been months since either TJ or Jeff F flew. Covid has really been effecting everyone’s schedules. After a quick review and some kiting to get everything fresh in their heads they took turns and made several flights that night. Much like riding a bike, their bodies remembered what to do and they both flew flawlessly. Welcome back guys!
Because the evening was so nice, many others stopped out to fly and practice as well. Tony and Glen were working on their wing control with the help of some of the more experienced guys. Nick was aiding Tony while Jeff F was guiding Glen. Though Jeff as still learning to PPG, paragliding is not new to him. He has over a thousand PG flights and as such is quite an accomplished pilot and good coach. Thanks for helping out guys!
Saturday the PG crew traveled to the shore of Lake Michigan with hopes that the ever elusive Bender Park paragliding site would be ripe for soaring as some of the forecasters predicted. The boys made a valiant effort but unfortunately were not able to stick and were only getting short sled runs. Still, a good time was had by all.
While the PG guys were on the East Coast, Glen and I were back in the hanger finishing up the simulator tasks. After that we prepared for and took the written test. Next up for Glen is a return to the sledding hill for a couple hours of bunny hill sled runs. After that it’s for his first flight!
With Sunday’s Bigfoot looking storm overhead it’s a much needed day for rest and the repair of gear.
The weather hasn’t been kind to Dave lately. Two times we’ve been set up in the field and ready to make his first flight but we’re forced to reschedule because of gusty conditions. Well, Tuesday’s weather made up for that. Conditions were great and Dave pulled off his first launch attempt cleanly. Just as we rehearsed in the simulator, he made three laps around the airport and set it down safely back in the middle of the runway. He did so well that I sent him right back up two more flights. Congratulations Dave!!
Because the weather was so nice, everyone wanted to fly. There were so many pilots and friends out Tuesday evening to enjoy the sky it felt like a fly-in. Robert, Arrow, Curt, Greg, Adam, Chris, Josh, Steph, Pie, Nick, Lindsay, Jeff, Alex, Dave, Randy and Myself were all out savoring the wonderfully calm evening. There was nothing formal planned, we were all just excited that the spring conditions finally let us out to play and we had to take advantage of it. I counted 10 pilots in the sky at one point!
Randy was with me all afternoon learning to control the wing. As is the norm, he struggled at first but a few hours later was consistently bringing the wing up under control and kiting it while running. Way to go Randy!
Friday morning Gareth began his training. It was too windy to get the wings out so we completed the motor section as well as the simulator and ground school requirements for PPG1. Monday’s wind was much more favorable for wing training so Gareth and I met again, this time at Elver Park. David dropped in to make several flight down the hill. He is working from home during the pandemic and needs a little outside flying therapy now and then.
Saturday morning Curt and Mariyan met me in Sauk City to finish up Curt’s P2 training. Curt had just a few more flights to complete and the P2 written test to earn his paragliding independence. He did great and has successfully passed, congratulations Curt! Towing during the outbreak calls for a lot more chemical cleaners than normal. No big deal if it lets us fly again.
During Sunday’s foul weather Randy began his training. Blowing and raining/snowing it was the perfect time to knock out some of the PPG1 ground school tasks. Welcome Randy. He will be back today to start working with the wing.
Shortly after sunrise Monday morning I met Dave S at the airport with the plan of making his first flight. Unfortunately the winds were considerably stronger than forecast the night before. Erring on the side of safety, we begrudgingly decided to hold off until Tuesday’s better forecast. We will try again tonight.
After time at the airport with Dave and the park with Gareth it was Joe’s turn. We met at Elver Park to give the sledding hill a shot. As a special treat, I unboxed a brand new Macpara Charger for him to use. His kiting skills have really progressed. Considering how challenging the wind direction was he did awesome. The hill needs the wind to be out of the north to work well. Monday afternoon’s wind was much more west than ideal. Still he managed several short hops down the hill and learned a lot. Next north wind day he will be back to have a real shot at longer flights. Well done Joe.
Thanks to the governor loosening the restrictions on outdoor recreation during the outbreak last week, Madcity Paragliding is in full swing again. We are of course practicing proper Covid procedures while instructing. As you can imagine, there is a bit of a backlog of people that were in training when the lockdown began as well as a sizable list of folks that signed up during the stay-at-home order. As a result we have been extremely busy lately.
Some of the highlights of our activity since the last post include -
A trip to the Lake Michigan shoreline to fly with members of the Chicago Paragliding group. Dimitry, Ken, Preston and I all made the pilgrimage to Bender Park to enjoy the rare opportunity the strong East winds provided.
Time at Elver Park kiting and making flights down the sledding hill with Jade, Eric, Tony, Greg, David M. and Mariyan. Jeff even stopped by for a bit.
A couple kiting practice sessions at the park in Oconomowoc with Ben, Ken, Matt, Eric and Dave S.
A new BGD Luna 2 wing for Alex, sweet!
Passing the PPG1 written test for Glenn, Jade, Eric and Dave S. Congrats guys!
Making our first tows off the new land in Sauk with Curt and Mariyan. This is going to perfect once the grass thickens up!
Too much happening to cover it all in our regular updates. It’s so nice to be back at it.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict