Josh showed up last night with just two flights remaining to complete all the requirements to earn his PPG2 rating. With no other students there for instruction that gave us way more time than needed. So, the obvious thing to do was make a cross country flight with the surplus time. That’s exactly what we did.
Brad and Ryan were already at the airport. Brad was working on a few repairs. Ryan and I rigged his new Ozone reserve to his paramotor. They decided to join Josh and I for the long flight.
Sean drove his Cobra up from Illinois to help coach that evening. He too joined in.
Chris was out early to do a hang check and check bolt torques, so he came along.
Kellen showed up as we were setting up for launch as well.
After getting everyone in the air I rigged up and joined them. The Seven of us headed off towards the sinking sun exploring the beautiful countryside. I rarely get to do that anymore. It seams I’m always teaching on the good flying days. I remember why I like it so much.
Other happenings at Madcity Paragliding this past couple weeks:
Neil’s 150cm Top80 Miniplane arrived and we assembled it. It’s broken in now and ready to fly if the weather ever cooperates.
Mitch began training. John stopped by for an orientation. Matt E picked up his new machine and wing. Josh P made kore flights and purchased Dave’s Moster 185 Parajet and Trikebuggy. Lots of flying and training happening. Really looking forward to the winds calming down so we can fly even more!
The spring winds have finally subsided giving us plenty of opportunity to fly. Adam, Josh Y, Caleb, Kyle and Jack all made their first flights this past week. Congratulations guys!
Andrea made her 25th and graduation flight. She has all her gear on order and as soon as it arrives she will be free to fly on her own.
Megan gets ever closer to making her first flight. Just a few more low tows to dial in her landing and she will be ready for the big day. Keep it up Megan!
Matt E stopped by and picked up his new rig. While he was there Kate tried on the Top80 Miniplane and took a swing in the simulator. I’m pretty sure she will be joining us soon.
Chris and Sean have been very helpful on the field as they are both working towards becoming instructors someday.
Michael’s custom Ozone Spyder arrived. I took it for a test flight to confirm everything was set up correctly. Then he took it out for nice long flight to enjoy the beautiful skies.
And so much more...
It’s the classic story of the right guy in the right place at the right time.
A bunch of us had gathered at Elver Park to play with the north wind on the sledding hill. Everyone was enjoying fun 10 to 20 second sled runs from top to bottom. I also had a couple students there training. As we played the winds would routinely change direction and speed, indicators of thermal activity. We could see the cumulus clouds grow in number and size. Not surprising as it was a sunny spring day after all.
Mariyan, our paragliding instructor, launched his “C” rated wing from the top of the sledding hill just as he has done hundreds of times before. Only difference is this time he bumped into the leading edge of a blossoming thermal about halfway down the hill. No stranger to thermic flight, he tugging a little brake and leaned into it trying to make the most of it. The thermal was a bit rowdy at first but took him about a hundred feet up rather quickly. He we wrestled with the air some more and worked his way even higher.
By now, everyone on the ground began to notice that this was already an epic flight. Even the disc golf players took interest. Mariyan did his best to prolong the flight. He worked his way back and forth and round and around to get the most from this gift. He was doing so well I actually entertained the idea that he might be able to continue all the way on up to cloud base at one point. Of course all good things come to an end and eventually gravity won. Mariyan glided back to land at the bottom of the hill as usual knowing this will most likely be the longest flight taken at the sledding hill for years to come. In the end he spent roughly 3 full minutes in the sky above the park. Congratulations Mariyan!!
In other news:
Curt, David, Adam and Dmitry all made long cross country PG flights last week from the tow road. Curt ended up traveling the farthest of the group at around 30 miles. The others weren’t far behind. Way to go guys! Keep pushing those flights!
Steph has gotten serious about training. I spent a day with her kiting at Elver. Best of luck Steph!
Mike B, Josh Y and Jack V all began class this past couple weeks. Welcome guys!
Rod drove over from Iowa with the nicest built Gravity Defiant I have ever seen. He has spent countless hours customizing his paramotor. Every detail is custom colored. This thing is an amazing show piece. He even fabricated a swinging hitch rack for his SUV. So impressive. Well done Rod!
As much as possible training an flying continue in every opportunity we are given in this windy spring.
Long days and warm weather are back! Now we can really get things done.
Four new students signed up this week. Caleb, Adam and the twins Tyler and Kyle all joined the Madcity Paragliding crew.
Andrea is up to 7 flights now with her goal of finishing by month’s end so she can fly in Baja after that.
Kory, Andy, Kellen, Steve and Mark stopped by Saturday evening to fly in the warm air at the airport. It was nice to see them all in the air.
More paramotors are being assembled. Andy, Matt E, Nick, Brad and Ryan were all turning wrenches on theirs this week. With all the Defiants in the hanger it’s getting challenging to determine who’s is who’s. The crew has started to get into custom colors to help that and express their style. Andy powder coated his red and black. Ryan and Brad did some of their components a cool gloss red. Nick has his anodized matte gold and grey. They all look amazing!
The wind has been somewhat bothersome lately but we’ve still found time to get airborne. I’ve even had opportunity for few flight myself. This never boring.
Andrea began her training last fall after watching her friend Andy go through the entire program. Seeing him succeed gave her enough confidence to sign up and give it a go herself. Her flexible work schedule really helped us deal with the challenging weather we had this past winter. She was always super excited during training and she did very well at kiting. Having already gone through some general aviation training, much of the physics and some of the law knowledge was easier for her to grasp. We had several towing sessions for her to get comfortable with wing control before we added the motor. When it came time to try and launch for her first time she did great! We had a mild breeze which always helps by lowering the take off speed and slowing everything down a bit. On her first attempt she easily made her way into the air with Andy and I watching attentively. Her launch was pretty much textbook, she did everything as rehearsed. After the planned laps around the airport she set it down safely. After landing she said “I don’t know what I was so afraid of, that was amazing!” Congratulations Andrea!!
Craig also made his first flight last week. He is another one of the local Kiteboarding crew that has now learned to fly PPG. Craig too has been out to the field often this past winter. His kite handling skills quickly transferred over to paraglider handling. His first day he was easily keeping the wing overhead while performing my requested commands. Adding the motor was a simple task after a couple hours in the simulator and a bunch of indoor ground schooling. On the big day of his first flight we laid the wing out pointing straight down the runway. With almost no wind helping him he relied on the thrust from the motor to help him run quick enough to launch. Once up to speed, a slight addition of brake pressure and he was off. A bit erratic at first but he soon settled in and tempered his control inputs to make for a smooth flight. After a few practice approaches he set it down safely. Way to go Craig!!
In other news;
Michael was back up from Indiana to assemble and fly his new Top80 Miniplane. That thing is so light and still plenty powerful. Definitely one of my favorites.
Rob was out for an orientation. We one working on getting him flying soon.
Kellen and Mark T were out to the hanger to get their electric starters hooked up on their new Defiants. That makes a world of difference in convenience.
Orhun was back in the sky after a long break. Just a few more flights for him and he will be all finished with training.
Chris was out to hook up his speed bar and hand me his reserve to get repacked. We took the opportunity to practice throwing the reserve. Standing in the grass just away from the hanger, he gave it a toss in the 15mph wind. Kellen and I were standing by to lend a hand if needed and good thing too because as soon as the reserve inflated it was dragging all three of us across the field. I grabbed the edge of the fabric and collapsed it before it got too crazy. Mariyan has repacked it already and Chris has it mounted on his paramotor once again. Hopefully he will never need to throw it on flight.
I dropped a small project off at Tom’s shop, our friendly welder, for repair. I found him at the shop knee deep in a Porsche.
I spent last Saturday morning towing some of the PG crew aloft in Sauk City. Nia, Jack, Adam and Mariyan were all there. It was great to be back at it now that the field has mostly dried.
Off to Aspen for a week of skiing with the family and I’ll be back at it hard. I love this job!!
The gear is arriving daily here at Madcity Paragliding. This past week paramotors have shown up for Jim, Mark T, Andy, Matt E, Kellen, Ryan, Nick, Brad, Michael and Michael G! New wings for Kellen, Dmitry and Andy have also ended up in the hanger. So much assembly and breaking in of new motors there is almost no time to fly, almost.
Collin and Henry finished up there last remaining flights to earn their PPG2 ratings Saturday morning.
Pat passed his PPG2 written test to earn his rating.
Jae, Matt S, Matt E, Ken and Kory were out flying around and enjoying the warmer weather.
Mariyan took Gary for a tandem flight on Friday. Gary is trying to see if he can fit PPG into his already busy parenting/Professor schedule. It’ll be worth it, trust me.
Tom and his son James were out for an orientation this past week as well. They had a great time and plan to take up lessons as soon as school is out for the summer. See you soon guys!
The training continues at Madcity Paragliding even in the dead of winter. Granted, we did take a short break and hid out indoors for the week it was constantly more than 20 degrees below freezing.
Some of the activities included Craig making several tow flights in preparation for his first motorized flight. We also completed his simulator time. Now we are waiting on the weather.
Megan and Andrea are a day away from their first flights. A few more tows then we will strap on the motors and give it a go.
Kellen has been out a few times to keep his skills sharp while we wait for his gear to arrive.
Matt S has been flying his rig as much as possible as well. He will be flying from his place as soon as the snow melts a bit and clears a runway for him at home. Until then our plowed runway works great.
Eric J completed the break in process of his new Gravity Defiant. He's hoping to fly from his lakefront place before the ice melts.
Jake P and Shari were both out to the hanger to go through an orientation and see if ppg was something the wish to take up. It is. Shari wants to fly wheel launch so we will be waiting a couple weeks for the runway to dry out. Now that the snow is melting, the runway is more liquid than solid. Jake has a new baby due soon so he will likely wait a bit before beginning but he too is all in.
Pat O’ was out yesterday to prepare for the PPG2 written test. Afterwards he took a short flight. A little underdressed he was back on the ground rather quickly with numb fingers.
The gear keeps rolling in. Andy’s new Spyder is here. A Moster 185 dual start arrived for Eric L. We will be putting that on his trike this weekend and getting his Parajet back into foot launch setting. Yep, one of each for him now, foot and wheel.
Dmitry’s new rocket ship arrived. He sold his Macpara Colorado to Matt E and we ordered him a smaller Macpara Samurai. I’m looking forward to giving it a test flight. Should be a blast!
And of course the Madcity Paragliding crew has been out enjoying winter kite skiing and ice climbing as well. Matt E, Adam and I spent a day at the Winona Ice Climbing Park. This place is amazing! Tons of man made ice draped over the bluffs of the Mississippi River valley walls.
Two more Defiants arrived this past week. Eric J and Matt S were the lucky two this time. Instead of the usual Gravity green color these are silver. With the matching white padded Apco harness the machines are quite striking. Eric has completed the assembly process but still needs to do the two hour motor break in. Matt was able to finish both the assembly and break in of his Defiant Monday. Matt returned Tuesday morning to take it on it’s initial flight. Everything worked flawlessly as expected.
Nick’s custom Spyder 3 arrived and he stopped by to pick it up and take his new smaller wing for it’s first flight. He really enjoyed the way the smaller wing handled, much more lively and sporty. With a good amount of experience in his logbook now the upgrade was appropriate.
Kellen and Matt S graduated this past week after successfully passing the PPG2 written test and completing the required flights and skills. Both are ready to fly on their own now. Congratulations guys!
Megan and Craig both made their first low tow flights down the runway. Their kiting skills had progressed enough to attach them to a tow line to get them off the ground for their first hops. The flights were only 20’-30’ high but that’s high enough to get a real feel for the brake controls and to practice the all important flare at landing. Those first flights can be overwhelming but both Megan and Craig did just fine. When the weather cooperates we will get them up there again for more practice.
Collin, Stuart and Henry are just a handful of flights away from graduation after last weekend’s training. They all did great on the written test and the other requirements. They too will be out on their own soon.
Mark J stopped by with his parents last week to show off his skills. They have seen Mark messing around with his four blade electric paramotor on the ground but have never seen him fly it. You could see the pride in their eyes when Mark took to the skies right in front of them. Well done Mark. Perhaps we can get your dad in a trike after all.
Admittedly the weather has been a bit challenging for paramotor training recently with the high wind and cold. Fortunately that gives us time to get out and play with some of our other gear. I’ve been out kite skiing with some of the crew the last few weeks. Kory, Karl and I spent time riding at Lacy Field. I met Curt and his son at Olin Park to ride with a dozen or so of the local kite crew last Sunday.
Adam and I were out ice climbing Friday along the Mississippi River. Adam got some new ice axes that are crazy cool. Super light and easy to swing.
I was also able to get out and do some winter camping with my son. We love sleeping in the tent during big snow storms.
With extremely cold temperatures forecast for this week I’m anticipating most of the training will be done indoors. It’s a great time to get those reserve chutes repacked. If you have not repacked yet this year it’s time. Get with Mariyan if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Stay warm.
Matt S and I have been waiting for a good weather opportunity for a few days to attempt his first flight. Fortunately being a self employed home inspector he can move his schedule around a bit to take advantage of the conditions. January 2nd that day presented itself and we embraced it. All is practice and training paid off with a great flight. He even went on to make a few more flights that day. He has been back several times these past few weeks and had already completed his required 25 flights, the last few were with his brand new wing! Just the PPG2 written test remains for him to graduate. Nice work Matt!
Collin signed up with his friend and Epic coworker Henry just a few weeks ago but the two have been progressing rapidly. While Collin went back to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with his family, Henry made his first flights. Upon his return Collin had some catching up to do. Deep snow and a cross wind kept Collin from flying until Saturday morning. The boys met me at the airport early that day. This time the runway was freshly plowed and the wind direction and speed were favorable. Henry went first and added a couple flight to his log book, now in the double digits. Then it was Collin’s turn. Nervous but willing would be an accurate assessment of his mental status. All geared up and hearing a “Full Throttle!” through his headset he squeezed the the lever, ran a half-dozen steps, tugged down on the brake toggles a little bit and was off! He then set off to complete the rehearsed flight plan with guidance from me in his ear. He did great! Flying is considerably easier the taking off or landing he soon discovered. Once airborne a paramotor practically flies itself. After a few laps around the field Collin set it down safely, overjoyed and relieved. Way to go Collin!!
Jae made his 25th flight and graduated Sunday. He will be renting gear from me for a bit until he’s ready to get his own setup.
Mark T completed his training this Tuesday. We celebrated with a nice long flight with Matt S. The three of us exploring the countryside by air. I love this job!
With the grey and sunless skies keeping thermals at bay we’ve been getting a lot of flying in the past couple weeks. Josh, Glenn, Stu, and Bill all were out to the airport and flying.
Kellen began training this week.
Andrea, Kellen and Matt L got airtime with some towing. Soon these guys will be taking to the skies on their own.
Ground school continues for Megan and Pat.
Thanks to Robert and Mariyan for helping out with training Saturday.
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.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict