Busy as usual at Madcity Paragliding. Lots of first flights recently and other notable achievements.
Thursday morning just after sunrise I met Steve at what has become know as the glider park in Sauk City. In reality it’s the 3 acre field next to the tow road we planted grass on this spring. The “grass” (mostly weeds) was wet from dew so we laid the wing on the fringe of the field to help keep it dry and light so launch would be easier. After a quick review of the expected procedure we rigged him up and gave it a go. He did great and landed safely back on the runway as planned. Congratulations Steve! Taking full advantage of the conditions, Steve made a couple more flights that morning too. Skill and confidence growing with each go.
Brad rolled in a while later and made a couple flights as well.
Then it was off to the sledding hill to coach Mark and Tony. They are improving and should be flying someday soon.
Thursday evening it was off to Bigfoot airport by Lake Geneva to meet Glenn, Josh and Jim. Glenn and Jim made multiple flights refining the skills aloft. Josh unfortunately found out his machine doesn’t have enough power to get him off the ground with the size wing he has. He was rolling down the runway at full speed with the front wheels skipping along the field but just not enough lift to take flight. Time to find a bigger wing.
Midday Friday I hooked up the new winch to the Jeep with plans to meet Adam, David and Greg for some towing in Sauk City. No great expectations for the day, just some usual Friday shenanigans. Greg and Adam made a couple decent flights before David rolled in a bit later. By now the sky was filled with good size cumulus clouds that were sitting about 5000’ up showing great potential. David hooked up for his first tow and released a bit under 2000’. He searched for lift all the way back to launch with little success. Then I pulled Adam up to about the same height where he released right into a beautiful thermal that took him rapidly skyward. David was out of the seat with legs down preparing to land back at the launch field when he too hooked into some nice lift a little over 100’ off the deck. Sliding back into his harness to work the lift, it wasn’t long before he found himself alongside Adam at cloud base. Back on the ground, Greg and I could here the boys’ shouts of excitement even though they were about 5000’ above us now.
The lift was plentiful and relatively easy to find and hold onto. With some encouragement from me over the radio, Adam turned away from the launch site and started his way across the countryside. David soon followed him on what would turn out to be a new record for the Madcity Paragliding crew. Greg and I gave chase in the Jeep as the boys jumped from cloud to cloud moving ever westward over the beautiful hills and valleys of western Wisconsin’s driftless area. Roughly two hours later David was the first to land having made it about 15 miles from launch. Shortly after that Adam too succumbed to the fading lift and landed nearly 18 miles from the glider park. Congratulations guys! The bar has been set, bring on the challengers.
As soon as Greg and I returned to the glider park from picking up Adam and David it was time for me to change gears and become a PPG instructor again. Kory, John and Orhun showed up at Sauk City Friday evening with hopes of making their first motorized flights, all succeeded. Kory was the first to launch and did great. Next up was John, a bit deep on the brakes on launch but successful. Orhun was last for the evening. Admittedly nervous and anxious but determined. He too did great. All three went on to make their second flights that evening as well officially earning them their PPG1 ratings. Congratulations Kory, John and Orhun!
Early Tuesday morning I met Mark J at the airport. Mark has recently earned his doctorate from MIT and has a professor position waiting for him in New Zealand. Unfortunately for him the Kiwis are not permitting foreigners into the country at the moment leaving him stuck in the states working remotely. Fortunately for him that means lots of time to take PPG lessons ;-) With his accommodating schedule we have been able to get a lot done relatively quickly. That morning’s conditions were great and he successfully made his first flight. We’ve since made several flights. Way to go Mark!
Stuart has been training for quite sometime now. He started late last year. In fact, he learned to kite in the snow. Then COVID hit and his training took a long break. Picking up again not long ago he was a bit rusty but soon regained his wing control prowess. A couple trips to the sledding hill and Tuesday evening it was time to attempt his first real flight. Not surprisingly he did great. He looked comfortable in the sky and his smile was easily visible from the ground as he passed overhead. Stuart set the flying machine down nicely and was obviously overjoyed. Way to go Stu!!
Wednesday evening Brian and Andy were back at the airport. Andy made his second flight and Brian his made the final flights he needed to graduate. Just in time too because he is moving to Austin Texas in a few days. Congratulations Brian and fair well my friend!
All this and more took place as Greg, Jeff F and Curt travel around Utah exploring the numerous flying sites there and Mariyan launches from multiple sites in Bulgaria and next Greece. Travel safe crew!
Michael and I went on a tandem flight last week leaving him with just a sledding hill session to get him ready to fly. Sunday afternoon the winds were predicted to be favorable for the hill. So noon on Sunday, Michael along with Andy, Jae, Stuart and Tony met at Elver for some downhill runs. Chris was on hand to help out as well.
After a little kiting warm up at the base of the hill in the field we started working our way up the hill gradually. Everyone made a few runs down the hill from midway then we all moved to the top for some longer and higher flights. Tony definitely got the highest flight of the day. Probably just 50’ off the ground but high enough to give him a good dose of adrenaline. After a few hours of sled runs it was time for some of us to head to the airport where Andy and Michael would make their first motorized flights. Tony also stopped out to watch and learn.
I hopped up first to test the sky and give a short demonstration for the boys. Then it was Michael’s turn. He did great! Nailed his launch, looked confident in the sky and landed on his feet in the middle of the runway. Way to go Michael!!
Then it was Andy’s turn. As expected he too found himself in the air after a short run down the runway. Having spent a lot of time in other aircraft, he was calm and controlled while aloft. After a few laps around the airfield he too landed safely back on the runway. Congratulations Andy!
In other happenings this week at Madcity Paragliding the PG crew met up with the Chicago crew for a soaring session at Milwaukee’s Bender Park. Greg, Jeff F, Curt, David, Josh C, Jaro, Braveheart and myself all made the trip to the big lake to savor the rare East wind. There was always at least one paraglider in the air from 8 am until after 4. Conditions were stellar.
Jade and Eric were down from tomahawk to put there trikebuggies together Saturday evening. They are now fully equipped to fly anytime they want at home. They did however promise to be down to fly with us often.
Brian and Eric were out Monday evening and racked up four more flights each. Both are now just a day away from graduation.
Joe wanted to see what morning flying was like. Monday morning he got his wish. We met at the airport just after sunrise and enjoyed a nice long flight through the fog covered countryside.
Meanwhile, Mariyan is back home in Bulgaria flying constantly and making us all jealous by sharing photos and tales of his experiences. I’ve included a couple of his pictures so we can all live vicariously through him. Have fun Mariyan!
She did it, Jade completed her training! We met at the glider park in Sauk City a few hours before sundown. The sky was perfect and we got straight to work finishing up her last flights. Jade has gotten a good feel for her new rig, a Moster 185+ Parajet Maverick mounted to a Trikebuggy Bullet coupled with a Macpara Charger. Her launches and landings have become much more controlled and consistent.
Jade’s graduation flight was alongside her step-daughter Savanna and Husband Eric. He recently graduated himself and was flying his Parajet Maverick that he foot launched moments after Jade left the ground for her 25th flight. Savanna was on a tandem flight with Mariyan. The three family members spent over 20 minutes exploring the area around the Wisconsin River together by air before returning to the field. Big day for their family. Congratulations guys!!
There was a mini-fly-in that evening in sauk. Along with Jade, Eric, Savanna and Mariyan we had Ken, Joe, Kevin, Reon, Josh and myself all in the sky that evening. Dwight was visiting from the other side of the state as well but he didn’t bring his gear. There was also a hot air balloon flying over the river enjoying the beautiful sunset with us.
Saturday and Monday we were gifted with a nice north wind. As such, the sledding saw a good size group of pilots flying there. Saturday was Mark, Jae, John, Kori, Orhun, Mariyan and Rod. Labor Day saw visits from Dimitry, Curt, Greg, David, Josh, lil’ Josh, Alex as well as Orhun, Mark and Jae again. So much fun!!
Still super busy at Madcity Paragliding. Lots of milestones achieved the past few days.
Pat made his first solo flight last Sunday. He’s only available Sundays so it’s taking a large part of the summer to get him to this point. With all his ground school completed and a tandem flight under his belt he was ready. We met at the Bigfoot airport by Lake Geneva and the conditions were perfect. After Glenn made his second flight it was Pat’s turn. He did not disappoint. Pat launched cleanly, flew the pre rehearsed flight pattern and landed perfectly on his feet. Way to go Pat!
Michael made his first flight the following Sunday evening. Having started training with another instructor in Indiana a long while ago he was already a skilled wing handler when he arrived at Madcity Paragliding with his dad, Michael is just 17. He spent Saturday with me and another student getting him caught up on ground school as well as spending time in the simulator practicing for the big day. Sunday morning I felt was too gusty for a first time pilot so we postponed until that evening. The wind was perfect, about 6 mph straight up the runway. After donning the Top80 Miniplane he clipped into his 20m wing and was off successfully getting aloft on his first attempt. After smoothly executing three laps around the field he landed in the middle of the runway on his feet, impressive. Congratulations Michael!! Having traveled from three states away we took full advantage of the remaining day. He went on to make three more flights that evening before packing up and heading back to Indiana with his family.
Joe along with his wife Teressa were out Wednesday evening to make his 25th and final training flight. Happy graduation Joe!
Lots of new gear arrived this week. Among the shipments was Jade’s new Macpara Charger and her Dual start Parajet Maverick. We assembled and broke in the motor Friday then waited on the weather to test it. Sunday morning was great. After I took her rig up for a test flight I handed it over to her and she easily added three more flights to her logbook.
Alex’s Atom80 miniplane arrived too. We broke that in and he took that for a nice long solo flight.
Chris’ new Ozone Triax wing arrived via UPS as well. I again put on my test pilot helmet and took it for its first flight to ensure everything was good to go. After that Chris was kind enough to let me use the wing to take Michael from Milwaukee on a tandem flight. Thanks Chris!
It was Steph’s birthday Wednesday so I towed her and Mariyan up to a record 3500’ for a fun birthday flight. Happy birthday Steph!
The wind finally turned north for a few hours Monday. Many students have been waiting for a day at the sledding hill. Kory, John, Steve and Mark were all present and try their best to get into the air with mixed results.
The free flight crew has been busy as well traveling around the area and flying as much as possible.
So much more fun as well!
Wow! Three first flights in just two days.
Monday I met Brad and Ryan at the sledding hill with the plan of making sled runs in preparation for flying with motors the next day. They both did great and made several flights down the hill. Tuesday it was Jim’s turn on the hill. We also hoped to be adding a motor later that day for an evening flight. He too did well at the hill making many flights.
Tuesday evening it was time for motor flight for Jim and Brad, Ryan wasn’t feeling well and decided to sit it out and watch the others. As practiced earlier in the simulator and the sledding hill they took turns making their first flights while Ryan looked on jealously.
Brad was up first. He got into the seat a bit early on launch but other than that did great. He made the planned laps around the field and then set it down safely on the runway. Congratulations Brad!!
Next up was Jim. Learning from Brad’s flight he launched cleaning letting the machine lift him into the air. He too did great and landed safely on the runway. Way to go Jim!!
Wednesday morning I met Alex and Eric for some morning flying. The grass was a bit wet from the morning dew so we laid out the tarp to help keep the wings dry during launch. Alex disappeared for a couple hours immediately after launch and spent the morning exploring the countryside. Eric and I added to his skills with a mid-air engine restart and several accuracy landing challenges. Just the PPG2 test and a few more flight and Eric will graduate.
Doctor Mark stopped in for an orientation Wednesday morning after Eric left. He is doing research on crop heath with aerial photography and all his time spent in small planes has made him want to learn to fly himself. He signed up and we spent the next two days preparing him to solo a PPG. Mark’s next task is a trip to the sledding hill.
Wednesday evening Eric was back for more flights. Kevin from Florida was there too with hopes of making his first flight. I really enjoy Kevin’s colorful expressions, very different from your typical Wisconsin talk. After I gave the boys a short demonstration it was Eric’s turn to take to the sky again. He is becoming very comfortable up there.
After that it was time for Kevin to give it a go. As Eric and I did moments earlier, Kevin launched the wing cleanly and squeezed the throttle to full which pushed him quickly into the evening air. The smile on his face as he flew overhead was clearly visible from the ground. He told me after he landed that the flight was so much more fun than he ever expected. Nice work Kevin!! Many more fun flights to come.
Andy and Jae were back to training and spent all Saturday with me. We watched the scary movie, discussed FAR 103 and spent a few hours in the simulator. They too are ready for a trip to the sledding hill, then it’s time to solo!
Andy, Jim, Jae, Brad and Ryan all began training this week. Welcome everyone!!
It’s a bit overwhelming adding this many students to the roster but super exciting! Fortunately there are also plenty of pilots ready to graduate. Ben completed all his flying requirements and ground school this week. He just needs to take the written test to be done. His new Parajet Maverick arrived early this week so he now has everything he needs to fly on his own.
Joe nearly finished everything this week. He has just one flight left to get the USPPA required 25 and complete training.
Tony was back at the sledding hill Saturday but the winds didn’t cooperate as forecast. Instead of flying down the hill in an expected north wind, we spent our time kiting in the field in a nice but very west wind. It’s to be expected with a weather dependent sport like ours.
TJ’s new Canadian made Moster 185+ Kangook arrived. He and I spent Tuesday morning assembling it with some help from Michael. Then, while Michael and I worked on kiting in the runway, TJ spent a couple hours hanging in his new machine from the simulator breaking in the engine. We are expecting to receive his wing from Ozone sometime soon, then he will be able to fly whenever he wants.
So much fun!
Super productive week at Madcity Paragliding. Most days we were training and flying from sunrise to sunset. (Yes, I’m a little tired but stoked)
Monday morning Rod drove up from Iowa for an orientation. He ended up staying the whole day and knocked out his first day of training. Welcome Rod!
Dustin was out to the hanger Monday afternoon for an orientation as well.
Stuart spent Monday evening preparing to fly on his own with a few hours at the airport.
Tuesday Michael was over from Milwaukee for day one of his training. We spent all morning kiting, he did great. The afternoon was all about ground school. Day one in the books.
Wednesday began just after sunrise with Eric J and Brian. The forecast looked good for flying but as we were rigging up the conditions seemed stronger than predicted. As a precaution, I took to the sky first to “test the water”. While I enjoyed the challenge of the moderately bumpy air, these are not the conditions I’d be comfortable sending newer pilots aloft in. So we decided to postpone flying for the day and instead Brian and I prepped for the PPG2 written test.
Then it was off to Sauk City to tow paraglider pilots with the Jeep. It was like Xmas in July as Mariyan received a shipment of new free flying wings. Greg, David and even Mariyan himself all got new rides. After kiting them for a few minutes I began to launch the into the sky for their first test flights. Everyone was extremely exited. The performance improvement was immediately apparent as the boys weren’t coming down as usual but instead were climbing after release. Mariyan was at cloud base by the time I got the others aloft. David, Greg, Curt and Mariyan all had recorded long flights. Way to go guys!
Then it was off to Bigfoot airfield to meet Joe and Ben. There we worked on landing accuracy. The goal was to make them more confident and competent landing in smaller and smaller areas, thus increasing their flying location options. They both did great and enjoyed the challenge.
Thursday much of the crew went to Milwaukee’s south side to play with the ridge lift at Bender Park. One of the boys from Chicago actually spent six and a half hours soaring without a break!
I met Glen and Mark that evening at our private strip outside of Sauk. Mark hasn’t flown in a couple years and was lacking confidence. After our training session last week he was eager to give it a shot. Both he and Glen did just fine.
Friday was another sunrise to sunset day beginning with Eric and Brian making flights at the airport.
Brad and his friend Ryan were next up with an orientation. They both signed up that day.
Tony was next and we prepped for and aced the PPG1 test.
Then it was off to Bigfoot airport to meet Joe and Ben again. Both of them are now just a few flights away from graduating. Keep it up guys!
Saturday morning I met Matt and Eric L in sauk at our field. Eric was working on adding wheel launch to his skill set. He loved it! He now has his PPG2 Wheel launch rating in addition to his foot launch rating. Congratulations Eric!! Wheels require excellent wing control but really no physical effort to fly. A great choice on a no wind day like Saturday, it eliminates the need for running.
Saturday was spent with Andy at Elver park working on kiting and making a couple hops down the hill.
Saturday evening we had a small gathering of pilots at a farm in Lodi. Ken, Nick, Matt, Ben and myself all flew around the lovely valley until sunset. So much fun!
Sunday morning I was back at the sledding hill with Stuart and tony. Unfortunately the wind never turned north as promised so we spent our time kiting in the field at the bottom of the hill. We will get you guys a better day on the hill before we fly.
Not enough time in the day, so much fun to be had.
Glenn began his training right before the Covid pandemic started. We completed ground school, wing control and even made a couple trips to the sledding hill all within a week or so. He commented on how quickly training was progressing. With everything in place we just needed the right weather conditions to get him flying. That’s when the country shut down to “flatten the curve”.
Months passed before we were able to meet again. Glenn’s skills had admittedly gotten a little rusty during the long break. We spent a few sessions getting him back up to speed with wing handling and a refresher in the simulator. Then it was waiting on the weather again, like we were months ago. We didn’t have to wait anywhere near as long this time fortunately. Thursday evening proved to be perfect. We met at Bigfoot airfield by Lake Geneva because the winds were forecast to be favorable there.
We set up for a reverse launch in the steady breeze. Glenn did great! With his girlfriend Shell watching from the side of the field, he brought the wing up perfectly, turned, added throttle and in just a few steps, found himself in the sky on his own for the first time. After about 10 minutes in the sky performing the skills we rehearsed in the simulator earlier he set it down safely in the middle of the field. Congratulations Glenn!!
The next morning was Brian’s turn. Gifted with a flexible work schedule he was able to take the morning off and meet at the airport. The grass was pretty wet from dew so we were in no hurry to give it a go. After the grass dried a bit we rigged him up and went for it. He was a natural. His launch was textbook, his flying was well controlled and his landing was midfield and safe. More than anyone could hope to do on their first flight. Way to go Brian!
Other happenings this week at Madcity Paragliding include:
There were a couple of impromptu gathering of pilots this week. First was at Syvrud airport with Sean coming up from Illinois, as well as Jeff, Alex and Greg.
Friday evening a good size group flew from Sauk. Cody, Dave, Jade, Eric, Matt, Jeff, David and myself all were airborne. Mariyan took a lucky young lady on a tandem flight with Cody tagging along by his side.
Jade was back and made several flights with the trike. She has sorted out her landings now and is setting the machine down softly after each flight.
Jade’s husband Eric, has decided to add wheel launch to his skill set so we began training him for that.
Eric J “saw the picture” or experienced a well timed flare and is now working on making that routine.
Keith wore out his Top80 with over 500 flights. Rather that continuing to maintain it decided to swap motors to an Atom80.
Curt stopped by for some help tuning his Moster 185+. A carb rebuild and adjustments to the low jet got it purring again.
Jae and Andy were out to the hanger for an orientation. Sounds like they are both in. Who can blame them?
Wednesday’s forecast was for fog in the morning and then rain all day so Eric and I planned to polish off his ground school tasks in the hanger in preparation for better weather. Surprisingly the weather was actually not bad. We completed all the indoor tasks then checked the wind and weather predictions to see when we might be able to go to the sledding hill and get his first flights in. We were both stunned and pleased to see that if the rain continued to hold off for a few more hours we could get it done immediately! So we raced over the Elver park and did just that. Eric really enjoyed his short flights down the hill. He was a little erratic initially but soon found his groove. After a couple hours Eric was ready for the next step, motorized flight. We packed up and planned to reconnect at the hanger in a hour or so and give it a go. Unfortunately the storm had caught up with us before we could make that happen and it ended the day.
Thursday Matt met me at the hanger about noon to finish up his PPG1 ground schooling. The weather looked great for the evening so our plan was have him ready to fly that evening. We watched the scary movie, talked flying and motor safety and ran drills in the simulator. By 5 he was ready.
Eric and Chris joined us that evening. Chris had just two flights remaining to earn his PPG2 rating so he was up first. He showed the new guys how it was done by perfectly executing a couple quick flights. Way to go Chris! Congratulations!!
Then it was Eric’s turn to fly. This would be his first attempt to fly a paramotor. He was excited and confident though a bit nervous. Eric is a former F16 pilot and current 737 pilot so flight is not new to him but paramotoring most definitely is. Winds were light and across the runway but he still pulled off a great flight despite the added challenges. He was definitely stoked after that flight. Nice work Eric!
Then it was Matt’s turn. Having run practice flights in the simulator just hours earlier, he was ready to go with everything fresh in his mind. He too did great and pulled off a nicely controlled flight landing in the middle of the runway. You’re the man Matt!
Josh was up Thursday evening to prep his quad for the next wheel launch friendly day. (Hopefully Monday)
Kevin began his training Friday. We got a ton done both indoor and outdoor. He was back again Saturday morning and we completed nearly every PPG1 preparation task. Next up is a trip to the sledding hill for him Monday morning and then it’s flying time!
Stuart was back for the first time since Covid shut us down. Even after taking several months off of training his kiting skills were still there. We had to refresh a few techniques but he did really well considering the long break.
Sunday Ken was out for an orientation.
Brian watched the USPPA dvd with me and completed the simulator tasks as well as the PPG1 written test.
Pat also passed the test and knocked out the simulator requirements Sunday.
Next up for Pat and Brian will be their first flights! Good luck guys!!
Super productive weekend!
Sunrise Saturday I was with Jade and Eric. Eric’s new wing had arrived and he had just 4 flights left to complete his training. So, we laid out the tarps to help prevent his new Macpara Charger from soaking up the morning dew and got to work. He did awesome as expected and waisted no time getting three of them done. Then it was Jade’s turn. Having made her first flight last weekend she was still quite nervous. She also was impressive and pulled off several flights that morning. A storm was on the horizon when we started and was closing in on us. When we started to hear thunder in the far distance we decided to send Eric up one last time to complete his flights, with plans to resume training in the evening. He made a nice take off, one short lap and set it down like the pro he has become. Congratulations on earning your PPG2 rating Eric!
As the Storm rolled through Mariyan and Brian were in the classroom working on Brian’s PG2 ground school. Fortunately the sky cleared a couple hours later and allowed us to start with Brian’s first tows. Though he struggled a bit at first we eventually got him airborne. He made a tandem flight last week with Mariyan so the sensation wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He did just fine in flight and managed a nice mid-runway landing as well. Upon landing he declared “that was 1000% of my capabilities”. After his adrenaline subsided somewhat he was ready to give it another go. The next flight he found much easier and more fun. He couldn’t wait for the third. He’s hooked. Next for Brian is a trip to sauk for the high tows.
Greg and Dimitry got in on the towing action too. Both were able to catch lift and climb above tow, a first for a low airport tow.
Jade was back for more in the evening. She added several more flights to her log book and a few new skills. She’s definitely starting to get the hang of this. Way to go Jade!
Sunday morning I met Matt and his son Collin at the sledding hill. Collin loved trying out my little wing, it’s a BGD Seed. At 14 meters it’s half the size of the wing his dad was training with. By noon Matt was making short flights down the length of the hill. After some time in the simulator Matt will be ready to fly his new Paramotor.
Mariyan was at Elver too with Nick, Brian and Andrew. They were also taking advantage of the north wind and working on PG training.
After lunch it was time for me to teach Pat and the other Brian how to fly down the hill. They both did great and with a little push from me found themselves repeatedly flying down the hill. They too are getting closer to the big day.
Tuesday Kevin was out to the hanger for an orientation. He’s stoked and begins later this week.
Keith pulled in as Kevin and I were finishing up. Keith has been struggling with a mechanical issue on his top80 Miniplane for a while and stopped by for some assistance.
I wish the days were longer, so much fun to be had!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict