Henry started just a few weeks ago but he’s already made his first flight. In fact he made several flights. Stuck in Wisconsin over the holidays because of covid concerns at home back east, he had a bunch of spare time available. We made the most of it and finished up his ground school, simulator and even some towing to get him wing time before strapping on the motor.
He did great! We decided to use the Miniplane with the Top80 because he was of the appropriate weight. The 80cc paramotor weighs just 42 pounds compared to the bigger 185cc machines that are in the 55-60 pound range. Henry was calm and focused when he set up for his initial inflation. He brought the wing up nicely and added throttle as directed over the headset. A few running steps followed by a timely brake input and he was off! A few laps around the airfield as rehearsed including a couple practice approaches and we set up to bring him down. Moments later he was safely back on the runway. Congratulations Henry!
Andy and Pat O were back again to finish up the flight requirements for their PPG2 ratings. Both needed to do the mid-flight restarting drill which involves killing the engine and starting it back up with the pull starter. The task proved to be easier the either of them expected. Both started it again on their first pull. Nice work boys! Having done that Andy completed his training and officially earned his PPG2 rating. Pat just needs to pass the written test and he’s good to go too.
Jae and Orhun also added flights to their logbooks this past week. Both are nearly completed training. Glenn was out one morning as well.
Guy and Matt S were out to the airport for towing, one of the final steps before motorized flight. Both enjoyed the experience quite a bit. Guy strongly preferred towing to repeatedly hiking up the sledding hill. I certainly understand his reasoning.
Graduates Kory and Eric J were also out this week to fly.
What a fun way to spend the holidays!
Andrea, Megan, Pat L and Matt L all spent time this past week working on their kiting skills.
Monday Steve was out to the hanger to install a few new goodies on his Defiant. One of the upgrades was a new APCO SLT Harness. This will shave a bit over a pound over the base harness.
Tuesday morning I met Matt E and Mark T for some cold weather flights. Matt is a serious Mountain Snowmobiler and is well prepared for the snowy conditions. Looking a bit like Darth Vader in his helmet and face mask he found he was actually overdressed despite the temperature being in the low teens. He had no issues making back to back flights in the crisp air.
Mark R was out Tuesday afternoon to fly his new Moster 185 Miniplane. He was a little intimidated by the snow covered fields and the added challenge of running through the 4”-6” of accumulation. After a few pointers on how to compensate for these new problems he found it was actually much easier to launch than anticipated. The cold and very dense air helped him get into the sky quickly, limiting the number of steps he needed to make in the snow. His landings were soft, in part due to the thin layer of fluffy white. All in all a great experience. It opened his eyes to the joy of winter flying.
Wednesday morning Ryan, Brad, Kory and Willow were out to the airport early. Ryan had just a few flights and one challenge left to meet his requirements for PPG2. His last remaining task was to turn off the engine while in flight and start it back up again before touching down. We got him way up in the sky, high enough that he didn’t need to concern himself with the ground anytime soon. He grabbed the pull cord, gave it a practice pull then killed the motor. After confirming that the motor was off over the headset, he gave the handle a quick rip and she willingly fired back up. Well done Ryan. A couple more flights and he was done with the airborne portion of training. After that I released him to fly around the area with Kory and Brad while I worked with Matt S on his kiting.
Somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour later the boys were back on the ground trying to warm their hands. Electric gloves are on their Xmas wish lists if you are looking for gift ideas for them.
Mark T was back for more Thursday. Also intimidated by the snow, Mark soon discovered that it’s not that big of a deal and made a couple flights with ease. That is until he tripped over a snow pile left at the side of the runway by the plow on a launch attempt and did a face plant in the snow. No injuries, just a good face washing and some laughs.
We have been fortunate this year as the snow has held off for an unusually long time. We took full advantage of the last warm days of 2020 with more towing and paramotoring.
Mark T, Mark R, Orhun, Brad, Ryan and Andy all added flights to there log books this past week. John and Joe were back to try out the new Defiant, they both liked it quite a bit. The Marks were lucky enough to get the last warm weather flying. For everyone else this was there first time flying with snow on the ground. The snow adds a new aspect to the sport. It is a bit more challenging to run in the snow but the view from up above after a fresh snowfall is well worth the addition effort.
We were also out towing free flyers before the storm hit. Mariyan made a tandem flight with Jack as part of Jack’s P1 training. Steph, Pi and Nia were there. Matt E was on hand and took a flight. Mark T and Liz were checking out the towing operation. I took the Backbone Trike for a couple test flights before we start sending students up in it. Mariyan ran the winch while Matt helped me by controlling the trike on launch. Once the wing was overhead the trike is super easy. No running! Just sit there and roll into the sky. Mariyan also got to try out his new pod harness.
I think it’s safe to say that Winter is finally here. Now we just need the lakes to freeze over so we can play on them with or wings.
Bill has been watching paramotors fly over his farm since I began training at Syvrud airport years ago. His family’s farm boarders the airfield. After repeated conversations with him over the years I was finally able to get him training. Friday was the big day, all ground school completed and good weather set the stage for his first trip back into the sky nearly 20 years after his first paraglider flights in South America. I tailored his launch technique to take advantage of his past paragliding experience, adding throttle a bit later than others. It worked great. He easily brought the wing up, added gas as required and ran down the runway adding enough break at the right time to launch into the sky. Not accustomed to having throttle control while flying, he was a bit erratic with the power input at first but soon settled in to the role of pilot as well as throttle handle manipulation. A few laps around the airport and a couple practice approaches to get a feel for the machine and he was set up for final. He eased out of the seat and quieted the motor in preparation for touch down. He did great! Congratulations Bill!!
Josh began train in September of 2019. Yep, over a year ago. We’ve been battling the impact of the pandemic on his job and some gear issues. Working in the canned food industry his hours have been significantly increased because of the growing demand for home cooking. This left us with one day a week to train if his schedule and the weather allowed. Also, he purchased a Green Eagle paramotor and wing prior to training and we’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get him into the sky with this gear. We got so far as a full speed runs with wing overhead and only managed small front wheel hops.
Not to be deterred, we changed our plan of attack and decided to use my tandem setup in solo form. That proved to be the solution we were searching for because Sunday afternoon Josh made his first flight! The conditions were perfect and the gear was working wonderfully. I went up first to double check everything then turn the craft of to Josh.
The wing came up a little off center but he easily corrected it and was taxiing down the runway gaining speed as he went. As the front wheel began to lift he added additional break pressure and left the ground. Keeping the throttle pinned for the next minute or so, he was now sitting in the trike several hundred feet in the sky. A few passes over the runway and he set it down safely in the middle of the mowed grass. He went on to make a second a few minutes later. Congratulations Josh!
I spent some time with the free flying group towing. Mariyan had arranged a couple tandem flights for a brave couple and I pulled them up with the new winch.
Brad made his 25th flight. Ryan added to his logbook. Andrea and Guy were a at the sledding hill. Mark tried out the Moster 185 he bought from Greg. Lots of new gear arrived for the crew and so much more...
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict