So much is happening at Madcity Paragliding it’s hard to keep track.
Curt made a few touch and go flights Monday evening to bring his count up to 24. We then took an hour long cross country flight together to celebrate the completion of his training. Graduation day is one of my favorites. To see all the progression from first flight on is so rewarding. Congratulations Curt!!
Karisa visited the airport Monday morning to finalize her research into becoming a paramotoring pilot. She tried on the Top80 miniplane, took a go at the simulator and took a go at wing handling. Though somewhat frustrating at first, she was soon able to get the wing overhead and pointed into the breeze. When she couldn’t run any faster I gave her a push and let her feel the lift of the wing as she was plucked from the ground for a few moments. She officially begins training to be a pilot Friday. Welcome Karisa!
Andriew tried out the Blackhawk Sunday morning and made a few flight with a couple different wings. He’s searching for his first Paramotoring setup.
Jason and Brad were out to Syvrud Airport Tuesday evening to make some flights. Jason made two with the Blackhawk and two with the Moster 185+ Miniplane. We added a few new skills for him including hands off flying, a big step towards truly trusting your gear. Nice work Jason!
I was at the Corn Alps, a free flying competition in central Illinois, Thursday through Saturday helping out wherever I could. First as a winch operator pulling competitors into the sky, then assisting pilots launch in the strong winds and finally driving around the countryside picking up the participants when the finally dropped from sky as the lift they were searching for died out. I learned a lot from the amazing pilots and had a ton of fun! Next year’s Corn Alps will be in Minnesota, can’t wait!
Angelo made his first flight this week. He nailed his first attempt! Brought the wing up nicely, added gas and ran into the sky. Just as he’d been dreaming of doing for years. A little erratic at first but quickly he learned to control the throttle and brakes. Congratulations Angelo!
Jason also made his first flight this week. After taking the winter off we spent a couple days refreshing his skills in preparation for his first flight. He also nailed his first attempt at take off. After 3 laps around the airport he set it down on his feet in the middle of the runway like a pro. Way to go Jason!
Mike had just one flight remaining to complete his training and earn his PPG2 rating when he showed up. His form is textbook and so he had no issues completing the task. Nice work Mike!!
More highlights of the last few days include:
Todd brought his friend Randy by to introduce him to Paramotoring.
Ken got a new trike.
Sean’s new wing and motor arrived and we set it up and broke it in.
Andy’s Moster 185+ Miniplane arrived a day later do we put that together too.
Tim made a tandem flight with Mariyan while the wedding party watched.
Brad and Andriew also added flights to their log books.
And so much more!
Tuesday morning Neil was dropped off at the hanger for an orientation session. We spent a couple hours going over the training program, trying his hand at wing handling, feeling the liftoff in the simulator and having the motor push him around the field. He loved it and he plans to begin training very soon.
Tuesday evening Andriew, Del and Mark met me at Bigfoot airport near Lake Geneva. This was my first time visiting this airfield and I loved it! Wide open and a well manicured lawn, what more could a paramotor pilot wish for.
Andriew was a machine, he cranked out 13 flights that night and polished off all his in flight skills! Just 5 flights remaining for him to earn his PPG2 rating. Way to go Andriew!!
Wednesday morning it was off to Sauk City with the winch to meet Adam and Mariyan. The plan was to get Adam his first tow behind the Jeep. He is already a PPG pilot and we are in the process of making him a PG (no motor) pilot as well. We did some short pay-in tows at the airport previously but this would be his first time at altitude without a motor. Despite the extreme heat and lack of breeze he did great.
The winch trailer, on the other hand, did not do as well as Adam. When the wind changed direction from east to south midday we changed roads to match the new heading. We were just given permission to use a private farm road nearby and today seemed like a good day to give it a test run. Unfortunately this road isn’t quite as smooth as the others we’ve been using. The bumps proved to be too much for the aluminum trailer and the tongue ended up cracking in half. Fortunately this was at after we decided to call it quits for the day and so it was only a minor inconvenience. I’ll have back together this morning I’m sure.
Then it was off to Syvrud Airport to meet Brad. Jason even showed up to see his buddy fly. Brad had just a few flights left to meet the requirements for PPG2. After that, he and I took a nice long flight together around the nearby town of Brooklyn returning right as the sun set. So beautiful!
Super productive last few days. The weather has been cooperative allowing for lots of flying and training.
Thursday Robert and Preston made a bunch of flights at Syvrud field. We worked on several skills and landing accuracy. The boys did great!
Friday morning my son Kaden and I spent some time playing with the wings at the Elver Park sledding hill.
Friday afternoon Angelo and Chris met me at the hanger. We watched the scary movie and did a lot of wing handling drills. We only stopped because it was getting dark. Both got quite the workout.
Saturday morning Chris and Angelo we’re back for more. A little sore from the previous days activities we kited for just an hour before stopping to prepare for and take the PPG1 test. They both aced it, well done guys!
Then it was off to the sledding hill with Angelo. We were able to get several short flights in before the wind changed direction making it impossible to get airborne and ending his day.
Saturday evening a relatively large crowd gathered at the airport for fun and training. Madcity Paragliding graduate, Dave brought along several family members to give a demonstration to. They all enjoyed the show. In fact, Dave’s uncle will be starting training with my good friend Dan at Colorado Powered Paragliding when he returns to Colorado later this month.
Josh was there too flying the Top80 miniplane while I was with Kevin and Mike. The sky was abuzz with paramotoring pilots. Kevin made several well controlled flights in the trike and Mike did the same in his Moster 185 Miniplane. They both made it look really easy. Textbook launches and landings from both of them. Great job guys!
Oh, and I got to fly in Bob’s Navy Stearman biplane. Flying with a control stick is so much fun!!
Please welcome Madcity Paragliding’s newest students, Angelo and Chris.
Angelo actually attended an orientation last summer but with his first baby on the way at the time he decided to hold off for a bit. He has been wanting to power paraglide for years and the stars have finally aligned for him. This is the summer he learns to fly! Welcome Angelo.
Chris is also an aviation enthusiast, hailing from Oshkosh it’s only natural. He actually designs airport lighting for a living! He has flown airplanes and has been skydiving so this should be a simple transition for him. Welcome Chris.
So much happening at Madcity Paragliding it’s hard to keep up!
Sunday morning I met Andriew at the sledding hill to get his his first taste of flying a paraglider. We started with some kiting at the bottom of the hill to get warmed up. Then we gradually started working our way up the hill, launching from higher and higher. It wasn’t long before Andriew was making nice flights from top to bottom. Dennis and Chris joined us there for some fun too.
Then Andriew and I went to the hanger to finish up his PPG1 ground school training including the scary movie and running drills in the simulator. If he had time I’m sure he would have made his first powered flight that day. Unfortunately that would have to wait until Monday evening.
Nick got us invited to fly at a sod farm near the Dells Sunday evening, what a great place! The owner, Mike, is awesome and super excited to see us fly there. I’m pretty sure he will be joining us in the sky in the not too distant future.
Since Dane was staying in the dells for vacation it was an easy drive for him. He had just a few flights left of the 25 USPPA required to earn his PPG2 rating. He easily completed the remaining flights with time to spare. So, Dane, Nick and I made a short cross country trip to explore the new area. Congratulations Dane!
Mike also made the trip to the sod farm to take advantage of the huge mowed grass area. His form is really getting good. Nice work Mike!
Monday morning I met Curt and Greg at the airport. There we worked on their in flight skills as well as take offs and landings. We quit when the thermals told us to with plans to resume training after the thermals mellowed. Greg and Curt returned about 5:30 and we picked up right where we left off in the morning.
Andriew drove over from Lake Geneva with his better half, Corinne, with hopes of making his first flight. Nervous, a little scared but ready is how he described his mood. He watched Curt make one flight and then he was ready to take his shot.
Andriew did amazingly well! He nailed his take off, maneuvered around the sky with surprising control and landed on his feet on the first try! Well done Andriew!!
Tuesday morning I met Curt again. We added a couple new in flight skills to his training which he enjoyed, the mid-air restart and a few tasks to improve his landing accuracy. Curt is getting pretty comfortable up there. It’s nice to see him doing so well.
Towing Paraglider students was the task of the day. The wind was forecast to be right down the runway so Adam and Mariyan met me at the hanger with their free flying rigs about 11am. Paraglider pilots have a different mindset than paramotoring pilots. Midday thermal activity isn’t something to be avoided, it’s to be embraced.
After some time in the simulator practicing the tow line release we moved the operation to the field. I set up the winch midway down the runway to use it as a pay-in winch and pull the guys towards the Jeep. Mariyan went first to show Adam what exactly to expect. Adam’s paramotoring experience made the wing handling part of the launch easy. The wind was strong enough for a reverse launch so once he had the wing cleanly over his head he turned around to face the wind. Then I gradually added tension to the winch helping him run faster and eventually leave the ground. His first flight was admittedly sloppy but he learned a great deal. With each subsequent tow he got better and better at controlling the wing while being pulled. This meant I could get him higher each time. He made about a dozen flights and his confidence and skill grew with each one. Now he is ready to try his hand at soaring some of the bigger hills. Next up for Adam is a trip to the bluffs around Lake City. Well done Adam!
Charles made the trip to the airport to work on kiting. He spent several hours refining his skills. Keep it up Charles!
Brad’s new Adventure Pluma paramotor arrived Monday. This machine is a piece of art! All carbon fiber frame and spars, aluminum outer hoop, comfort harness and Moster 185 dual start motor to push it into the sky. Wow! Assembly was pretty simple and didn’t take that long. So, after a quick hang test we started the 2 hour break in process. We hoped to be flying this gorgeous craft before the day was done but mother natural had other plans. A nasty storm rolled in just as Brad completed the ground portion of the break in. Bummer. Hopefully we will get it flying Friday when Brad is available next.
Monday afternoon I met Greg at the hanger to help him prepare for the PPG2 test. Since he is just about finished training, we also spent a bunch of time discussing gear options. There are a lot of really nice wing and paramotor choices right now and it can be overwhelming. We discussed his preferences and narrowed down the list together.
Sean rolled up on his Harley about 6 o’clock with just a few flights left to complete his training. The USPPA requires a minimum of 25 flights over a minimum of 5 days. This ensures that the pilot has experience flying in a variety of conditions and not just the perfect day.
Sean and Greg took turns flying the Air Conception since the Moster 185 Miniplane was down for repairs. They both agreed that the Miniplane was much more to there liking. The additional power was the main reason but also comfort of the harness and ease of getting into the seat once airborne. It’s nice to have a variety of paramotors in the hanger for students to try as opposed to just one brand. That way, when it comes time to pick your own gear you can make an informed decision because you have had the opportunity to personally try different machines in flight.
Sean began his 25th and final training flight about 20 minutes before sunset. Having completed all his required in flight skills, I turned him loose to have fun and explore the area on his own for awhile before landing. He has gotten very comfortable and confident in his flying and so had no issues making a short cross country to the nearby town of Brooklyn. Upon his return he made several well controlled low passes over the runway before settling back down to earth just before sunset. Congratulations Sean!!
Speaking of gear decisions, Brad considered many options before deciding on the Adventure Pluma with the Moster 185. We ordered it last week and the DHL driver dropped it off yesterday! So excited to put this beautiful flying machine together tonight with Brad. It’s a solid carbon fiber masterpiece!
Wow, so much fun!! Thank you everyone that participated! Especially Joel and John and their family for letting a bunch of crazy paraglider pilots camp and play at their beautiful airfield for the weekend!
Joel and John did join in the fun of course. John went on his first paramotor flight. He and Mariyan went on a nice long tandem flight around the area. As you can see in the first photo, he loved it. When they landed John said he now understands why we do it and that he wanted to learn to fly himself. He’s hooked.
Meanwhile, his brother Joel was entertaining us with his impressive piloting skills in his ultralight making several low passes and giving rides to a few lucky passengers. Thanks Joel!
The conditions were great for Paramotoring hot and sunny everyday. We flew every evening and every morning. It was sometimes challenging to get off the ground with the super humid and hot air providing very little lift. It made for extra long runs on take off but everyone eventually made it aloft to enjoy a break from the heat.
Midday Saturday we fired up the winch and towed the free flyers up into to the sky. Unfortunately, with the air being so wet and hot it didn’t give us much resistance and so the tows were not as lofty as usual. The thermals were also pretty benign and therefore the flights were short compared to past days. Still, everyone had a great time. Greg and Orlando went on a tandem flight, as did Andriew and Mariyan.
Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed flying around the Wisconsin river and valleys. Many friendships were made and strengthened that weekend. Lots of experiences and knowledge were exchanged. A great deal of water was drunk and a few beers were consumed. All in all a great weekend with great people. Thanks again to all involved and we will definitely be doing this again soon.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict