Saturday morning Ken and Kevin met me at the park by Oconomowoc, both are ready to make their first flights. We decided that Ken would go first. Frost was still covering the field making it somewhat slippery adding to the challenge of a first flight. Ken quickly overcame these obstacles and soon found himself in the air. He made a few controlled laps around the park before returning safely to the ground. Way to go Ken!!
Conditions were bumpier than we were hoping for so we decided that one flight was enough for that day.
Del and I spent the rest of the day at the park working on getting him prepared for the day he makes his first flight.
Sunday Mike from Kenosha met me at the hanger to do some fine tuning to his take off and landing technique in the simulator. A few minor adjustments to the harness and his methods made things much easier. Weather permitting, we will try the new skills out sometime this week.
Del and Mike kited for the rest of the morning taking full advantage of the great breeze.
Sunday afternoon Mike L, Ken and Kevin returned to the park in Oconomowoc. Mike and Ken brought their better halves along too. While there, Mike and Ken took turns making flight after flight until they each had had enough. Mike added two more to his flight log and Ken racked up another four! Significant improvements were made with each successive flight. Great job guys!
Matt W was also there to lend a hand during the training. Thanks Matt!
Too windy for flying today so I spent the day clearing a field at the airport. With Keith’s permission and his articulated wheel loader I started clearing an area just past the hangers. The goal is to of have more options for take off spots when the wind doesn’t line up with the runway.
He did it! After preparing to fly all day Thursday, Friday Mike made his first flight!! We met at the hanger shortly after the rain stopped. We took our time getting things ready, wanting to give the runway as much time as we could to dry. When ready he made a practice run, then he executed a nice reverse launch and took to the skies. He made a few laps around the airport then brought the machine safely back to the ground. Congratulations Mike, you are now officially a pilot!!
Friday evening Mark stopped in and made several nice flights bringing his total to 21. His launches and landings improved with every flight. Great job Mark!
Saturday I met Jason, Andy and his brother Brad for a formal introduction to paramotoring. All three showed great excitement as well as a natural aptitude to the sport. I know they will all do well.
After that, Mark was back for more. Conditions were not that great but I managed to get a couple of bumpy flights in and Mark refereed to his flight as “festive”. We both were tossed around a bit more than we were hoping for. Just 3 more Mark!
Thursday Mike and I spent checking off the last few items on the PPG1 syllabus to get him ready to fly. First we prepared him for the written test, then he took the test (100% correct by the way), then we watched the required “Risk and Reward” DVD, then a few more drills in the simulator and finally we ended the day with a bit of wing handling. Now all we need is the proper weather conditions and he will be flying!
Wednesday was too windy for flying so I rode my motorcycle around the area to check out a few potential paragliding hills. I found a couple spots with potential. Next step is to give them a try when the winds are lined up.
Ben gambled on the afternoon weather. He drove 2 hours from northern Chicago with the hope that things would dry enough for flying. The runway felt like a sponge and made a squishing sound with every step but the grass had dried sufficiently by the time he got to the airport to lay out the wing without it sticking to the grass. Ben was rewarded with several great flights. This was his first time using the Moster 185 powered Miniplane and he loved it! He was impressed with the power of the motor and the comfort of the harness. I have to agree, it’s my favorite paramotor too.
Thursday Mike (the 3rd) spent the evening avoiding the foul weather by training with me in the hanger. Motor work and some simulator drills were the plan.
Friday Mark stopped out with the hopes of getting some flying in after the gusts calmed down. Unfortunately, one of the powerful gusts pulled the wing he was kiting into a runway light causing a small tear and ending any hope of flying that night. No big deal, I’ll simply fold it up nice and ship it off to my favorite repair shop in Arizona to get it repaired.
Saturday we spent at the park in Oconomowoc. First up was Mikey, he made 5 flights that morning before calling it a day. His take offs improved dramatically with every flight! Then it was kiting practice for Ken and Kevin. The winds were very light so there was lots of running involved. Dane rolled in about 3 and started prepping to make some flights. He unboxed his new wing and was generous enough to let me be the first to fly it. I love this job! Dane’s skills and confidence are increasing rapidly.
Sunday started with Ken hanging in the simulator running drills. Then we went to the sledding hill to meet Kevin and Mike for a very wet day of first flights. All three got a small taste of what is to come as the took short hops down the hill. Mariyan was there too along with Lenin and Charles. The wings gradually got heavier and heavier as the held onto more and more water. Eventually we all had enough and called it quits.
Then it was back to the hanger for me to lay the soaking wet wings out to dry.
Wednesday morning I met Mariyan, Nia, Lenin and Samantha in Sauk City with the goal of towing Lenin and Mariyan. The winds took longer to build then forecast so we ended up “Para-waiting” for nearly an hour before pulling them into the crisp morning air. It was worth the wait, we managed to get them a bit over 2,000’ AGL before they released and soared the sky. Lenin remarked on the beautiful view comparing it to his homeland of Ecuador.
The evening was spent at the airport with Mark and Ben adding to their flying time. Mark unboxed his new Macpara Charger and made three successful flights. The last was after sunset with the strobe light on.
Brad and Jason dropped in to check things out too. Apparently they’ve been watching hours of YouTube Paramotoring videos and wants to see it in person to decide if it was something they really wanted to do. When I heard them cheer as Ben stuck his landing, I knew they were hooked!
Lots has happened since the last post...
Thursday, Kevin, Nick, Nick’s friend Justin and I visited the EAA museum to hear a presentation by Jeff Goin, the president of the USPPA and author of The PPG Bible. Turns out Jeff is a pretty good speaker, most entertaining. Then the museum opened a couple display aircraft cockpits for us to climb into, SO COOL!
Friday was crazy windy so no training. I did however finally get the Jeep back with its new clutch, yay! Then spent the rest of the day working on the machines and submiting paperwork.
Saturday was super busy. Started at sunrise with a nice cross country flight with Jake. Then switched to kiting with Ken and Kevin. Mike was there too refining his wing handling skills in preparation for flying later in the day. Michael number 3 dropped in to check things out before committing to training. (He committed and we started Monday after work) As soon as the thermals settled, Mike was in the air adding to his flight time. Todd rolled in late in the day and helped me lay out Mike’s wing before launches. I ended the day with a great sunset flight with Todd.
Ken and Kevin returned Sunday morning to continue their training. Del stopped in to see what Madcity Paragliding was all about before he begins lessons on Wednesday. Chuck and I were going to go flying Sunday evening but after checking the forecast at the field one last time we decided to postpone because of some strong gusts that were expected. Turns out the gusts were very mild and we ended up missing what would have been a great flight.
Monday evening I met Mike the 3rd and we dove head first into his quest for flight. Although he was a bit overwhelmed at first, he picked up the major points rather quickly and by the end of the session it was obvious that things were starting to click. Nice work Mike!
Great news guys, the weightshift Miniplane with the Moster 185+ is here! I put it together this morning and am headed to the hanger to break it in today! SO EXCITED!!
Monday afternoon Andy returned to the airfield to get serious about pursuing his dream of paramotoring. He took to this new task naturally and was soon executing reverse launches consistently. Way to go Andy!
Cole arrived early to practice kiting before his scheduled graduation flight. The wind settled to almost nothing before we took to the skies for a sunset cruise around the area. Jake dropped in to join us on the flight. Conditions were perfect, 80 degrees and silky smooth. Technically this was Jake’s graduation flight too as the weather forced us to cancel his scheduled cross country flight earlier this spring. Congratulations guys!! Have fun and be safe!
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