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...
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict