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!
Michael and I went on a tandem flight last week leaving him with just a sledding hill session to get him ready to fly. Sunday afternoon the winds were predicted to be favorable for the hill. So noon on Sunday, Michael along with Andy, Jae, Stuart and Tony met at Elver for some downhill runs. Chris was on hand to help out as well.
After a little kiting warm up at the base of the hill in the field we started working our way up the hill gradually. Everyone made a few runs down the hill from midway then we all moved to the top for some longer and higher flights. Tony definitely got the highest flight of the day. Probably just 50’ off the ground but high enough to give him a good dose of adrenaline. After a few hours of sled runs it was time for some of us to head to the airport where Andy and Michael would make their first motorized flights. Tony also stopped out to watch and learn.
I hopped up first to test the sky and give a short demonstration for the boys. Then it was Michael’s turn. He did great! Nailed his launch, looked confident in the sky and landed on his feet in the middle of the runway. Way to go Michael!!
Then it was Andy’s turn. As expected he too found himself in the air after a short run down the runway. Having spent a lot of time in other aircraft, he was calm and controlled while aloft. After a few laps around the airfield he too landed safely back on the runway. Congratulations Andy!
In other happenings this week at Madcity Paragliding the PG crew met up with the Chicago crew for a soaring session at Milwaukee’s Bender Park. Greg, Jeff F, Curt, David, Josh C, Jaro, Braveheart and myself all made the trip to the big lake to savor the rare East wind. There was always at least one paraglider in the air from 8 am until after 4. Conditions were stellar.
Jade and Eric were down from tomahawk to put there trikebuggies together Saturday evening. They are now fully equipped to fly anytime they want at home. They did however promise to be down to fly with us often.
Brian and Eric were out Monday evening and racked up four more flights each. Both are now just a day away from graduation.
Joe wanted to see what morning flying was like. Monday morning he got his wish. We met at the airport just after sunrise and enjoyed a nice long flight through the fog covered countryside.
Meanwhile, Mariyan is back home in Bulgaria flying constantly and making us all jealous by sharing photos and tales of his experiences. I’ve included a couple of his pictures so we can all live vicariously through him. Have fun Mariyan!
She did it, Jade completed her training! We met at the glider park in Sauk City a few hours before sundown. The sky was perfect and we got straight to work finishing up her last flights. Jade has gotten a good feel for her new rig, a Moster 185+ Parajet Maverick mounted to a Trikebuggy Bullet coupled with a Macpara Charger. Her launches and landings have become much more controlled and consistent.
Jade’s graduation flight was alongside her step-daughter Savanna and Husband Eric. He recently graduated himself and was flying his Parajet Maverick that he foot launched moments after Jade left the ground for her 25th flight. Savanna was on a tandem flight with Mariyan. The three family members spent over 20 minutes exploring the area around the Wisconsin River together by air before returning to the field. Big day for their family. Congratulations guys!!
There was a mini-fly-in that evening in sauk. Along with Jade, Eric, Savanna and Mariyan we had Ken, Joe, Kevin, Reon, Josh and myself all in the sky that evening. Dwight was visiting from the other side of the state as well but he didn’t bring his gear. There was also a hot air balloon flying over the river enjoying the beautiful sunset with us.
Saturday and Monday we were gifted with a nice north wind. As such, the sledding saw a good size group of pilots flying there. Saturday was Mark, Jae, John, Kori, Orhun, Mariyan and Rod. Labor Day saw visits from Dimitry, Curt, Greg, David, Josh, lil’ Josh, Alex as well as Orhun, Mark and Jae again. So much fun!!
Still super busy at Madcity Paragliding. Lots of milestones achieved the past few days.
Pat made his first solo flight last Sunday. He’s only available Sundays so it’s taking a large part of the summer to get him to this point. With all his ground school completed and a tandem flight under his belt he was ready. We met at the Bigfoot airport by Lake Geneva and the conditions were perfect. After Glenn made his second flight it was Pat’s turn. He did not disappoint. Pat launched cleanly, flew the pre rehearsed flight pattern and landed perfectly on his feet. Way to go Pat!
Michael made his first flight the following Sunday evening. Having started training with another instructor in Indiana a long while ago he was already a skilled wing handler when he arrived at Madcity Paragliding with his dad, Michael is just 17. He spent Saturday with me and another student getting him caught up on ground school as well as spending time in the simulator practicing for the big day. Sunday morning I felt was too gusty for a first time pilot so we postponed until that evening. The wind was perfect, about 6 mph straight up the runway. After donning the Top80 Miniplane he clipped into his 20m wing and was off successfully getting aloft on his first attempt. After smoothly executing three laps around the field he landed in the middle of the runway on his feet, impressive. Congratulations Michael!! Having traveled from three states away we took full advantage of the remaining day. He went on to make three more flights that evening before packing up and heading back to Indiana with his family.
Joe along with his wife Teressa were out Wednesday evening to make his 25th and final training flight. Happy graduation Joe!
Lots of new gear arrived this week. Among the shipments was Jade’s new Macpara Charger and her Dual start Parajet Maverick. We assembled and broke in the motor Friday then waited on the weather to test it. Sunday morning was great. After I took her rig up for a test flight I handed it over to her and she easily added three more flights to her logbook.
Alex’s Atom80 miniplane arrived too. We broke that in and he took that for a nice long solo flight.
Chris’ new Ozone Triax wing arrived via UPS as well. I again put on my test pilot helmet and took it for its first flight to ensure everything was good to go. After that Chris was kind enough to let me use the wing to take Michael from Milwaukee on a tandem flight. Thanks Chris!
It was Steph’s birthday Wednesday so I towed her and Mariyan up to a record 3500’ for a fun birthday flight. Happy birthday Steph!
The wind finally turned north for a few hours Monday. Many students have been waiting for a day at the sledding hill. Kory, John, Steve and Mark were all present and try their best to get into the air with mixed results.
The free flight crew has been busy as well traveling around the area and flying as much as possible.
So much more fun as well!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict