Newbies, tandems and towing...
We had a couple potential pilots stop in to check things out in person this weekend. Paul from Cross Plains WI and Chuck from Luck WI both made the voyage here to our training facilities. After their visits it was obvious that they will both be learning to fly sometime very soon.
Lenin, Mariyan and Chuck met me for some towing fun in Sauk City Saturday afternoon. The wind was dead calm when I arrived which meant Lenin could perfect his forward launching skills. Lenin will be returning to Ecuador in a couple weeks with a new skill he picked up while in the states, paragliding. Mariyan and I hope to visit with him there soon and do some flying around the mountains of Equador where it’s warm.
The tandem trike is getting closer to flying. Just waiting on a couple parts to arrive. This is a collaborative project with Chad Bastian at Trikebuggy. Chad is also working on developing his tandem trike. Turns out he is using the same motor on his machine, a red Fresh Breeze. What are the odds?
Training, Upgrades and Maintenance...
Kevin spent a couple sessions working on launching the wing with the trike. A rather challenging task to master but Kevin is doing great. All we need is the weather to cooperate and he will be flying.
Andy and his brother Brad were out Christmas Eve and completed several in flight skills including the daunting midair restart. Besides the PPG2 written test, all that is left for these two is working on their landing accuracy so they can land exactly where they want. Ideally we want them consistently landing on their feet within 15’ of a target. No small challenge when dealing with a fluid environment like the sky.
Thanks to my Dad, they classroom now has its own Hot Dawg furnace. That will certainly increase the comfort level. My father actually designed the Hot Dawg heater before he retired from Modine in Racine.
With help from Chad Bastian at Trikebuggy I’m developing and assembling a tandem trike. Just recently wheel launch tandem became legal in the US and as such there aren’t a lot of options for these crafts available yet. These machines will be a great way for potential pilots to get a real taste of paramotor flight.
The winch started making an awful sound last towing session. One of the pulleys was rubbing on it’s housing. Turns out the pressed in bearing had shifted just enough to cause the drag. I pressed it back into position and gave it a good lube too. It’s ready to go again!
I also rebuilt the carb on the trike motor. There was a bit of very fine sand accumulated in the intake screen. That can’t be helpful.
Mike’s New Machine!
Mike’s new Moster 185+ powered Miniplane arrived yesterday and we wasted no time getting it put together. Initial assembly for one of these is a bit more than an hour. After it’s built the motor needs a thorough break in to ensure its maximum performance. So with the help of his pickup truck, Mike spent nearly two hours running the motor at various RPMs along with the recommended cool down periods. Now we just some favorable weather and he can be flying his own personal aircraft!
Paul Graduates, tandems, towing...
Another very busy weekend at Madcity Paragliding. The highlights include:
Paul graduated in an unusual way. The 25th flight is a big milestone for most PPG pilots. This is the number of flights required by the USPPA to earn your PPG2 rating. Paul’s 25th and graduation flight included a motor-out emergency landing in a neighboring farm field. Both Paul and I noticed the low fuel level before beginning training for the afternoon. We even brought the fuel can out to the runway to fuel up after a couple flights. However, in all the excitement we both forgot to add fuel. No big deal. He handled it perfectly. This Reminds us why we have a place to land within easy glide at all times. You never know when the motor will stop running.
Mike S continues his training with a trip to Oregon’s tiny sledding hill. I set a new city record by breaking the 5 second flight barrier from the top of this monster. Sweet!
Kevin perfected his trike kiting skills. We busted out the tandem wing for him to train with. This thing is big and super stable. He will be flying next time I’m sure.
Del and Adam stopped by to visit and fly together Saturday afternoon. Welcome back guys!
Samantha, Lenin’s better half, took a tandem paramotor flight with Mariyan. (Great Xmas gift by the way!) Now she knows how much fun her man is having when he comes to play with us.
Towing was great Sunday. The winds aloft we really moving. I actually parked the Jeep a couple times while still paying out line after getting the guys up into the strong breeze. Lenin added flights and skills to his paraglider training. He even made his first cross country flight. Matt also made several flights before he had to go to celebrate his wife’s birthday.
So much fun!!!
Friday started early, Mike was at the airport by 7 am, unfortunately the fog was relentless. Ben, Paul, Mike S, Andy and I all waiting until nearly noon before it cleared enough to fly. Fortunately our patients was rewarded with great flying conditions.
Ben wanted to finish training today which meant 10 flights to get done, everything else was completed earlier this fall. With the great flying conditions and his newly acquired skills he was able to achieve his goal. He nailed every take off and landing. Congratulations Ben!
Andy R has been dreaming of this day for a very long time. Today he made his first flight (and his second too). He looked like a natural, easily launching the wing overhead and running into the sky. None of the typical newbie mistakes. Just plan old smooth flying. Both landings were on target and on his feet, a rarity for a first timer. Way to go Andy! The fun is just beginning.
Paul also added flights to his log book today. He is now just 5 flights and a few skills away from graduation. Keep up the good work Paul!
Mike S unboxed his new Ozone Roadster 3! This is a nice update for the popular Roadster wing. Some really neat new features on this beautiful wing. We all enjoyed kiting it and I enjoyed flying it. Very stable in the sky but not boring. Thanks for sharing Mike!
Peter was also there working on his kiting skills before returning to Taiwan for winter break. He will probably be flying next time we meet. Woohoo!
When he arrived at the hanger Friday afternoon Mike L had just 7 flights to make and a few skills to complete in order to finish his training. The weather was great, a nice light breeze blowing inline with the runway and above freezing temperatures for a change. Mike easily tackled his tasks and was done quickly leaving almost an hour of flying time left in the day. So, I geared up and we made a nice sunset flight around the tiny town of Brooklyn together. The air was smooth but brisk. Mike and I both enjoyed the time in the sky. Mike landed first and then it was my turn. Mike’s smile was so big it was easy to see as I was approaching the field. I could tell he had a blast before I even set down.
Mike’s new machine...
Sunday Mike S and I met at the airfield. We were hoping for north winds so we could play at the sledding hill but the wind forecast changed to west. After kiting and a bit of towing to get him a tiny taste of flying we returned to the hanger. There we set the hang point of his new Moster 185+ powered Miniplane and fired it up just for fun. Mike approved.
Side note: the MG is up and running. In fact I drove it home Sunday afternoon with the top down. Sure it was only 22 degrees but it a blast to drive!
Super productive last few day thanks to the mellow conditions we had.
With the winch fixed Lenin, Mariyan and I spent Friday morning towing. Lenin was taught Big Ears and the B-line stall. Both are ways of descending faster. More tools for his paragliding tool box.
Then it was back to the airport to fly with Paul for the afternoon. He added several more flights to his count bringing him up to 17! Just 8 more and he will be set free to fly on his own.
Saturday Ken, Mike and I met at the hanger before sunrise. Ken had to complete just 5 flights to satisfy the USPPA requirements, all his other training had been finished earlier. Mike unboxed his new wing, a beautiful Ozone Spyder! Mike and Ken took turns flying, one would set up while the other flew. This worked great as it gave both guys a chance to warm up (or cool down believe it or not) between flights. Ken did great and showed he has gained a lot of skill during training. Congratulations Ken! Be safe and have fun!!
Saturday afternoon was spent with Mike S, Jason, Brad and his brother Andy. Mike and Jason honed their kiting skills. Andy and Brad made their first flights last time we met. Both made several flights Saturday gaining confidence and control with each one. Way to go guys!
Towing fun in Sauk City!
Tuesday morning I met Lenin and Mariyan in Sauk City. The conditions were perfect for a day full of flying, a nice light breeze was flowing right down the road. First up was Lenin with a warm up flight before we start throwing skills at him. Then I actually got a turn! This was my first time towing behind my own rig. Everyone was telling me how nice the view was but it was even more beautiful than I expected. The bluff, river, ponds and islands were impressive. You can even see Devil's Head Ski Area from there, so cool!
Unfortunately, Mariyan had a minor mishap while reeling in the line. The line slammed into the winch a bit too hard and busted the belt and tow line. Apparently this is only the second time a belt has ever busted on one of these winches. As you can imagine this is not a part you can pick up off the shelf at Ace Hardware. So, our day of flying turned into two flights and a morning of searching for and ordering a belt. No big deal, Steve at SDI Sky Solutions found a machine parts store in Madison that would be able to get me the needed belt by 7:30 am the next day.
An hour after picking up the belt the winch was put back together and ready to go for Friday's day of towing. Come join us if you're interested!
The fun continues...
Kevin decided that he wanted to try his hand at wheel launch instead foot launch. So with the calm conditions forecast for Friday afternoon we met at the airfield to give it a go. This proved to be a great idea because he almost instantly had it figured out. All his prior wing handling practice made the transition easy. With a few small adjustments to his technique he was soon keeping the wing overhead for the entire length of the runway while being towed by the ATV. Unfortunately because the days are so short now we ran out of time before having a chance to start the motor. Next time!
Saturday’s weather was miserable but we still made it productive. Mike stopped by to pick up his new Ozone Spyder with plans to get it out kiting this week. Del and I spent the morning assembling and breaking in his new Moster 185 powered Miniplane. The Vitorazzi has a rather involved two hour break in procedure but it ensures the best performance of this awesome machine.
During this break in procedure, Glen and his wife Kim visited with us to learn more about paramotoring first hand. They were troopers and graciously delt with the cold and the noise from Del’s engine while I explained the teaching process, discussed the gear and addressed all their questions. Glen plans to return in spring and start with a tandem flight.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict