Jeff is already an experienced paraglider pilot with over 500 flights. He spends a great deal of time soaring the mountains of Utah every year. Monday was his first paramotoring flight.
Jeff arrived at the airport Monday about 2 and we started with some kiting practice. We begin training months ago but hadn’t met in quite a while so we need to dust off his skills. Wing control with a 50 pound pack on your back is a little bit more difficult than kiting with a lightweight paragliding harness on. Your balance is off and your mobility is somewhat hindered. We tweaked his technique a little to adjust for the differences between free flying and motor flying. Paragliding pilots are taught to lean forward when they run to keep their feet under them. Paramotoring pilots stay upright while running and lean back against the thrust of the motor which can be difficult to get comfortable with.
Jeff quickly gained confidence in the motor and his new kiting style. Then it was back to the simulator to go over the take off procedure several times to make that more automatic for him. Landing would be exactly the same as he’s done hundreds of times since PPG pilots usually land with the motor off anyway. After several simulated flights it was time to give it a go for real.
We moved all the gear to the field and set up. Jeff botched the first couple attempts as he is still struggling to overcome a few of the habits he picked up during years of PG launches. Things came together on his third attempt and he successfully made it into the sky. Wing control is almost second nature for him now so the only new thing is throttle control. He was a bit erratic initially but about 20 seconds into the flight he seamed to embrace this new addition to paragliding and climbed smoothly to a comfortable altitude.
He made three laps around the field as directed by me then prepared for the landing. As soon as we got him over the landing area and killed the motor he was back in familiar territory. Trusting his skills, I stopped giving instructions and let him land on his own as he’s done hundreds of times before. He easily set it down softly in the middle of the field. Congratulations Jeff! Welcome to the incredible world of powered paragliding.
Greg, Robert, Alex and Dave were also out Monday evening and got to watch Jeff make his first flight. Then they all took off and explored the area by paramotor for a while. Upon everyone’s return we went back to the hanger to celebrate. We drank Corona and other beers while observing Corona virus protocol.
At this point Madcity Paragliding is officially suspending training until the governor lifts the “stay at home” rules.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict