Neil went to work extra early today, 4:30am, so he could leave with enough time left in the day to attempt to make his first motorized paraglider flight. He showed up a bit after 2pm and we did a few trial runs with the motor on his back as the final step in training before his flight. After a few successful mock takeoffs we moved to the runway. I took the rig up first to check the air before sending a new pilot up. A little bumpy but not bad.
Then it was Neil’s turn. We reviewed all the steps and checked the radios. Then I gave him permission to give it a go. He did perfect! The wing came up nice, he added just enough throttle at the planned time and soon found himself running into the sky on his first flight. Though he was admittedly awkward with the throttle and the brakes at first he eventually settled in to it and made the three prearranged laps around the field gaining confidence along the way. When it was time to land he set the machine down safely in the middle of the runway. He did it! Neil flew! He went on to make two more flights today, each one more controlled than the last. Congratulations Neil!!
Before all that happened, Sarah, Ryan and Jeff were with me at the sledding hill making their first paraglider flights. They all did great and made several runs down the hill before calling it a day.
Mariyan was at Elver too with his student Brian. Brian is in our free-flying program working towards becoming a non-motorized Paraglider Pilot. He is doing great and really enjoyed flying his new Apco wing.
After the sledding hill it was off to the airport were Mariyan and I met Charles, another free flying student. The plan for Charles was to do some low level towing to get him ready for high tows. He did great! The last tow of the day we pulled him the entire length of the runway, 3,100’ of mowed grass. We got him pretty high and his flight was surprisingly long, long enough for me to wind the tow rope up and drive the ATV all the way to the other end of the runway before he landed. Nice work Charles! Time for the high tows!!
Robert, Nick and Josh #1 were out at the airport too taking advantage of the beautiful day.
With the limited good weather lately we make sure to take full advantage of every opportunity to train. Such was the case Monday. Six people were out at the airport to make the most of the nice day.
Sarah and Ryan were there in the morning. We prepared for the PPG1 written test while waiting for the dew to dry from the field, both aced it! Then we grabbed the wings and headed to the runway. Ryan even spent some time kiting with the training throttle in his hand. He struggled with it a bit at first but was soon launching the wing and squeezing the control with precision.
Next up was Jeff, he arrived with his wing in the early afternoon. Today was the day when things really started to click for Jeff. A couple hours into our session and he had kiting down pat. With the nice winds we had he was able to keep the wing overhead as long as he wanted to. Well done Jeff!
Sarah, Ryan and Jeff are all ready for a day at the sledding hill. Now if only the weather will cooperate.
Then it was flying time, TJ and Chris and Josh #2 were all there. Chris was trying out a new wing. Brent was selling his 30m Ozone Roadster 3 and Chris is in the weight range for it and in the market for a wing. The paraglider worked great and Chris really enjoyed how much more responsive it is than the wing he’s been training on. Looks like Chris found his wing, now it time to look for a paramotor.
TJ was next and we had him trying out a different motor today. Last time he was on the Moster 185 Miniplane but today we were using the Top80 miniplane, 11 pounds lighter but less thrust. The new machine worked great and TJ loves how much lighter it is. Cool thing is it’s also over $1000 less than the 185, nice!
Josh also grabbed a Top80 Miniplane and flew around for awhile. When there are so few nice days you just have to make the most of them.
Ryan stopped out to the airport Tuesday morning for an orientation to see if PPG was something he wanted to get into. Apparently the orientation went well because he decided to stay for the rest of the day and train. In fact he spent the next three days in training with Sarah and I.
The three of us were able to finish nearly all of the PPG1 ground school tasks and get a decent amount of wing handling in as well. We will be back at it Monday after the winds settle down. Welcome Ryan!
Josh #3 officially began training Wednesday evening. He brought his Green Eagle up from Illinois on a trailer. We unloaded it then discussed techniques for starting and operating it safely. Then we grabbed a couple helmets and took it to the airstrip to have some fun. We took turns running it up and down the runway to get a feel for the controls of this beast.
The Green Eagle is a big PPG quad. At about 250 pounds it is just under the legal maximum weight to still be considered an ultralight. A two cylinder four stroke Kohler motor turns the big three bladed prop. Sometime soon Josh will be flying this impressive machine. Welcome Josh!
TJ rolled into the airport about 3 o’clock Monday nervous and excited. We have been working towards this day for a while but today it was going to happen. This is the time we combine all the training and turn it into actual flight.
We started with some kiting with a trainer throttle, then kiting with the motor on his back to get warmed up. Then I jumped up into the sky to test the conditions for him. It was a bit bumpier than I like for a first flight so we decided to let Chris add another flight to his logbook.
Chris did great. He was a little rusty after taking several weeks off because of a business trip but like riding a bike it quickly came back to him. Nice work Chris!
Next it was TJ’s turn. The conditions had settled a bit and were now just right. We got him rigged up and pointed down the runway. After a quick review of the flight plan it was time to give it a go. He put his headphones down and took a moment to compose himself, we checked the radios and then I started the motor for him. Then he did exactly what we’ve been practicing. He brought the wing up cleanly, added some throttle, released the A’s, inspected the wing quickly, waited for my “FULL THROTTLE !!” command in his ear, slowly squeezed the throttle lever to full and ran. Moments later he was airborne for the first time on his own! He made a few laps around the field to gain confidence in the controls then set it down safely in the middle of the runway. Congratulations TJ!!
A little while later he made his second flight with more confidence to complete the requirements for his PPG1 rating.
Several others were at the field last night to fly around and witness this momentus occasion, three of them were named Josh. Robert and Dave were there too and made flights as well.
Earlier in the day, Sarah and I were dusting off her kiting skills. She hasn’t kited a paraglider in 15 years. It took a little while but she was keeping the wing overhead successfully before we stopped for lunch. Way to go Sarah!
Thursday TJ was out to the hanger to finish the PPG1 simulator drills as well as take the written test. He did great with both.
TJ and Neil met me at the Elver Park sledding hill Friday morning. TJ was there first and by the time Neil arrived about two hours later, TJ was comfortably making flights from the top of the hill all the way to the bottom. Weather permitting TJ will be flying with a motor Monday.
Neil hasn’t had as much practice with the wing so it took us a bit longer but by mid afternoon he too was flying from top to bottom. Weather permitting Neil should be flying with a motor at our next lesson on Friday.
Nick stopped out to the field Friday afternoon and added a couple flights to his logbook. The sky was bumpier than any of Nick’s previous flights but he dealt with the new experience well and will now be more comfortable with imperfect conditions.
Curt and Josh were also at the airport Friday evening savoring the rare weather.
Side note, unfortunately some of the Madcity Paragliding crew have been part of the Vittorazi exhaust pipe failure epidemic. Fortunately, Vitto has been great to deal with and we were able to get both Josh and Dave new pipes under warranty in just a few days. It’s nice to see real customer service in our small industry.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict