Looking good for the weekend’s Sauk City Soar In! We may need to take a trip up to nearby Devils Lake to cool off or a dip in the Wisconsin river or better yet, climb to about 3,000’ AGL 😉
The training continues at Madcity Paragliding. Thursday Mike, Kevin, Josh and Robert all made flights. We flew as much as we could, even firing up the strobe lights at sunset to get the extra half hour they provide.
Friday morning I met Curt at the airport. He took the Blackhawk 125 up for a flight to see what that machine was like. We discussed the differences before his flight to prepare him. The Blackhawk proved to be much more challenging than he expected. Curt was glad he tried the Blackhawk because he now has a better appreciation of the Miniplane he has been using exclusively since the beginning. He stated that the Moster 185 Miniplane was superior to the Blackhawk in every way imaginable. I didn’t argue with him.
After that we discussed helmet and comm options and prepared for the PPG2 written test, which he later took and passed with ease. Nice work Curt!
Saturday it was off to Bender Park on Milwaukee’s south side for some Paragliding on the shores of Lake Michigan. Unfortunately the wind was more south than forecast and made soaring the ridge impossible. Even the current holder of the Wisconsin’s soaring distance record, Jaro, wasn’t able to stay aloft. Bummer.
Big milestone for Kevin Monday night, he made his first flight! We’ve been working up to this for quite some time. He began training last year as a foot launch student but we switched to wheels after a while to make things easier. The transition was simple for him. He quickly mastered wing handling from the trike, which is actually more challenging than foot launch.
The conditions were ideal about an hour before sunset, no wind to speak of and smooth skies. As soon as I gave him the go ahead he brought the wing up smoothly, taxied for a bit then squeezed the throttle and climbed into the warm sky. He made a few controlled laps around the field and set the trike down softly in the center of the runway. Way to go Kevin!!
Preston drove over from the Milwaukee area to join us for the fun. He made a couple flights as well. He made significant improvements in his landings that night. Nice work Preston!
Josh C stopped out and took the Top80 for a flight. Unfortunately the throttle cable busted about 10 minutes into his flight and he had to end it sooner than planned. No worries though, he easily brought it back to the runway and landed just the same as every other flight. He then grabbed the ATV to run the disabled paramotor back to the hanger for repair. He jumped on it and gave the throttle a hardy twist breaking the throttle cable on the ATV too! Yep, he busted two throttle cables in less than five minutes. Someone on Facebook accused him of having a “gorilla grip”. I chased replacement cables in the morning and soon had them both ready to battle again.
Reon was out to take up his new rig for the first time, a matte black Moster 185+ Miniplane and sweet new Macpara Charger. He let me have the honor of taking it for a test flight before he took it up for his initial flight. Oh, the hardships I suffer for my students ;) Thanks Reon!
Tuesday I met Mike at the field for more training. He is really improving and getting much more comfortable flying. Tonight was the bumpiest conditions he’s flown in so far but he handled it well. Nice job Mike!
Preston was back again for the second night in a row. He added four more flights to his log book and has mastered his landings, easily standing up every one right in the center of the field. Keep it up Preston!
Victor, Guillermo and Greg we’re back Tuesday after the rain for more training. The conditions were great for learning wing handling and the guys from Paraguay picked it up quickly. Sure they struggled a bit in the beginning but they were soon navigating the wings down the runway with good control. Great job guys!
After that Greg took 4 more flights and added several skills. He was flying hands free, adjusting the trimmers and even using the tip-steering toggles but most importantly he was nailing his landings! On his feet easily with just a few steps. Way to go Greg!
Madcity Paragliding graduate Josh K was at the airport too enjoying the post-storm calm. He made a couple of motor off landings from more than 1,500’ just for fun. Right on the runway both times! Welcome back Josh!
Friday Sean drove up from Illinois in his Cobra to work on finishing his PPG2 ground school tasks. Of course we had to take the Cobra out for a spin too, damn that thing is cool!
Then Andy and his brother Brad stopped by and made several flights. Lack of sunshine is what finally ended the day. Just 4 more flights remain for these two to earn their PPG2 rating. So close!
We had an excited visitor from the Middleton airport land his little yellow tail dragger on the runway while the brothers were training to check things out. Unfortunately his name escapes me at the moment. Anyway it was great meeting him and learning that he follows Madcity Paragliding’s activity on the blog.
The USPPA tandem administrator, Francesco, was also on site Friday evening. He and his wife Dawn were there to sign me off as a tandem instructor. I am now legally permitted to fly with a passenger on my paramotor trike!
Saturday Andriew returned to start training again. We had a few lessons last summer before life got in the way of his training. Welcome back Andriew!
Saturday night it was off to Sauk City to meet Arash and Hooman for tandem paramotor flights. Unfortunately it was too gusty to fly until just before sunset so we were only able to get Arash airborne that evening. He was super excited and thrilled when he landed.
Sunday morning was Hooman’s turn. Mariyan met the boys early in the morning. The weather was overcast but calm making for a nice smooth flight. Hooman even got to control the glider for a while. Again, another excellent time in the sky.
Sunday evening I met Greg st the airport. He brought along a couple of kiteboarding buddies to show them what PPG is all about. Victor and his brother Guillermo were pretty impressed with Greg’s newly acquired skills.
Back for the second day in a row, Mike added 4 flights to his log book Thursday evening. Every launch was textbook despite the no wind conditions. It was obvious that his comfort level was increasing with each flight. Next up is to start working on the list of in flight skills and perfecting his landings. Great job Mike!
Jake also stopped out to take advantage of the weather. He entertained us with some big wingovers and impressive low flying. It’s always great to see Graduates return to the field to play.
Mike, Arrow and her dad Robert were at the airfield Wednesday evening to do some flying. I jumped up first to check the conditions as per usual. Then it was Robert’s turn. He is looking more and more comfortable with every flight.
Then it was Mike’s turn. A few practice launches to get his confidence up then it was time to give it a serious try. He did great. The wing came up clean and he used an appropriate amount of throttle when needed. As soon as he committed to fully squeezing the gas he was airborne. This was shortly before sunset so the sky was calm and scenic. Since this was just his 2nd flight I let him explore the area a bit longer than usual to become more experienced with the controls. He did great and was super excited after landing. Way to go Mike!
Thursday morning my schedule was surprisingly empty for a change so I stent a text to my father, Bob, and invited him to come out and give it a go. He plans to wheel launch so we started with a little bit of wing handling then hooked him into the trike. The wind was less than ideal and we spent much of our time resetting the wing for whatever little breeze was blowing at the moment. Light and variable, that’s what it was. Never over 4 mph and constantly shifting directions. Learning to kite a wing can be frustrating at first. Couple that with variable winds and the frustration and be compounded. Considering the conditions he did just fine and will have it mastered soon I’m sure.
So much going on I don't know where to begin so I'll just rattle off some of the highlights.
Saturday Greg and Sean were out after the weather settled down and did a bunch of flights. Both are getting much better at their in flight skills and landings. We are still perfecting their take offs.
Sunday morning I met Mariyan at the Reedsburg Fly-In. The simulators were a big hit with the kids. There were lots of interested adults as well. Kevin was there too and he helped man the booth and answer questions to those interested in learning more about the sport.
After that it was off too Oconomowoc to meet up with Preston, Ken, Matt, Brent and Dane and hopefully do some flying. Upon arrival everything looked great. We kited a bit then I prepared to jump up and check the conditions before the rest of the crew took to the skies. In hindsight I should have payed more attention to the 180 degree wind shift and the dramatic drop in temperature as I was laying out my wing. Unfortunately, I didn't and took off into some wild winds which quickly turned into the wildest ride I've ever been on. Fortunately I was able to set it down safely just a few minutes later. Obviously no one else would be flying for a while so we kited for another hour. Once again, things felt good on the ground so I went back up to confirm. Conditions were only marginally better than before so we decided to call it a day.
Monday Mariyan and I decided to go to Rushford Minnesota to check out a potential PG sight. We found a YouTube video of a guy flying the bluff there and wanted see for ourselves. The ridge showed promise and it would probably soar fine with the right winds. However, what was not shown in the video we saw was the fact that the landing area was on the other side of bands of trees and houses on a field surrounded by wires. We were confident we could take off and soar but we were only about 30% sure we could make the LZ (landing zone). Besides that we would be forced to fly over a congested area which is illegal. Both Mariyan and I preach to our students about being legal and safe when flying and we decided we should lead by example and so we packed up and head home having driven 3 hours and not flown. The search continues for more free flying sights.
On the way back to Madison I met Kevin in Sauk City. There we practiced with the new trike setup getting ever closer to flight for Kevin. Mariyan and Nia were there too. Mariyan took Joe on a tandem paramotor flight around the beautiful drift-less hills and valleys. After that Dave and I went on a lovely sunset flight to the Wisconsin River and the surrounding hills.
The fun never stops at Madcity Paragliding!
Sean and I have been powering through the training. Today we finished up the PPG1 ground school training, prepared for and took the written test, spent 3 hours going up and down the sledding hill, spent another couple hours in the simulator and ended the day with his first two flights! Way to go Sean!!
Josh joined us at the sledding hill as did Adam and Mariyan. Adam is training to be a paraglider pilot as well as a paramotor pilot. That way he can fly all day!
Greg, Preston, Jake and Dave were all on hand at Syvrud airport to take advantage of the great weather. Lots of flights were made in the calm warm air.
Sean began his training yesterday with a bunch of wing handling. Shortly into the session he said that it was much more difficult than he expected. However, with my coaching and his persistence his skills grew rapidly. By the end of the day he confidently doing forward and reverse launches as well as keeping the wing overhead. He is now ready for a trip to the sledding hill. We also got through much of the ground school tasks including the scary movie and the initial motor training.
Josh stopped by late in the day for some airtime therapy. He took the Top80 and his wing for a half hour flight around the area. Josh is almost completely done training, he just need to take the PPG2 written test and he will be released to fly on his own.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict