Jade started the day by taking a tandem flight with Mariyan. During the flight he handed Jade the brake toggles so she could get a feel for the effort needed to steer a paramotor. She has been kiting for weeks already but her bum knee has been holding her back so it was decided we’d give the trike a shot. After her flight with Mariyan she climbed in the trike and buckled up while I hooked up the ATV to tow her. She quickly adapted to this new style of kiting and with just a few passes was doing well enough to move to the next step, adding the motor. Launching a wing with a trike is very different that foot launch. It requires less effort but a great deal of timing and throttle control. After several unsuccessful attempts she figured it out and was able to bring the wing up under control. Then it was time to give it a go. Moments after she got the wing to settle in place over her head I gave the “FULL THROTTLE” go ahead. She rolled ever faster down the runway and was soon airborne for the first time all by herself! She did great! Three laps around the field as practiced then set it down safely in the middle of the runway. As an insensitive, her husband Eric who has 21 flight completed, refused to cut his hair until Jade flew on her own. So, she waisted no time in taking him up on the challenge and grabbed her scissors a few minutes after landing. Congratulations Jade!!
TJ has been in training for months. Weather and Covid-19 have been messing with his schedule. However, all his tasks were completed by Monday and he just needed a few remaining flights to graduate. As with most paramotor pilots, he is constantly talking about the sport with his significant other. His fiancée Christy just had to find out what all the fuss was about for herself so we set her up with a tandem flight. She and Mariyan took to the skies to answer her questions. TJ joined them in the sky for one of his last required flights and they toured the area by paramotor together for quite a while. Upon landing she said with a big smile that she “could understand the appeal” of paramotoring. Perhaps we will see her piloting her own PPG sometime soon.
Pat also took a tandem flight in preparation for his first sometime soon.
We had the winch fired up and were towing Sunday with Steph at the wheel and Mariyan at the controls. Greg, Curt and David all caught mild thermals.
Matt D assembled, broke in and flew his new Atom80 Miniplane.
Eric J, Glen, Brian and Josh all continued training.
Travis stopped by for an orientation.
Mark and I finished putting his machine back together and checked his hang point.
So much more...
Ben contacted me after trying to self train for months without success. He had good kiting skills and was pretty comfortable with the motor he got from Blackhawk so the training process was somewhat accelerated but I still covered everything in the syllabus to be sure he didn’t miss anything. As they say “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
Before the trip to Colorado, Ben and I made the first attempt to get him flying his rig. His technique was great but when I told him to go to full throttle the machine just didn’t have the push needed. Despite being a three blade 210cc machine it just doesn’t push that hard. Before we parted for the day I had him try on my Parajet Maverick with the Moster 185+ on it. He was blown away by how light and powerful it was compared to his Blackhawk.
We got together the day I returned from the Colorado PG trip. Out of frustration he sold his Blackhawk while I was away. The plan for tonight was to use the Parajet. Even though is was a hot, humid, no wind day he pulled off a clean launch on his first attempt with the Maverick. With his family watching from the ground he made several laps around the airport and with my guidance landed in the middle of the runway on his feet. Congratulations Ben!!
Joe was also out to the airport that evening and made two perfectly executed flights.
Glenn continued his training with a refresher in the simulator and kiting with a practice throttle as well as time wing handling with his machine on his back. The additional weight of the paramotor and loss of agility proved to be challenging but he did great. I anticipate him flying next time we meet.
Joe has been “on call” for a few days. He’s completed everything needed to prepare him to make his first flight and now it’s up to the weather. We’ve been waiting for the perfect conditions and last night a window of opportunity presented itself. He rolled in as the gusts were settling and by the time we were all set up the sky had calmed. After a couple practice launches we got ready to give it a real shot. He did awesome! Pulled off a clean takeoff, managed the wing and throttle well while in flight and set the brand new Parajet Maverick down safely in the middle of the runway. Congratulations Joe!!
In other news:
Josh was back and training again after a several month break with his big Green Eagle. That thing is a beast! Pushing the limits of the ultralight weight requirements of 254 pounds with a two cylinder, four stroke, fuel injected Koehler engine. It towers above me, well over six feet high. This is going to be fun to fly!
Saturday was a towing day. It was pretty windy and nobody was rushing to be first to go up. So as is often the case I found myself in the familiar roll of Wind Dummy, hooking into the tow line to go aloft and check the sky for the others. It was admittedly bumpy down low but above a couple hundred feet it smoothed out considerably. Deb, Pie, his Uncle Ted, Brian and Nick a.k.a. “Tiger” all took tandem flights with Mariyan. Adam and David both caught nice thermals practicing for our upcoming paragliding trip. Ken and I stayed busy running the winch.
Matt E got a bunch of kiting in this week.
Pat also spent a couple hours kiting as well as some ground school lessons.
Ok, time to prep the RV for next week’s paragliding trip!
Matt D has been driving over from Iowa regularly the past couple weeks. Wednesday morning the winds were light but the perfect direction for the sledding hill. Matt managed to catch a few puffs and made a few short hops. I was pleased with his control and decided to give him a big shove on his next attempt. That was just what he needed. He left the ground near the top of the hill and stayed airborne all the way to the field at the bottom. There he executed a nice flare and landed softly. He was now ready for the real thing.
Then it was off to the hanger to go over a few things in the simulator. After that we set up on the runway for his first flight. A couple of trial runs then he was off! He did great and after a few laps, set it down safely in the soft field. Congratulations Matt!!
Some of the other milestones at Madcity Paragliding this last week include:
Anne and her sitting Suzy made tandem flights with Mariyan. Anne PG and Suzy PPG. Both loved it and had a great time.
Nick also made a tandem PF flight with Mariyan. I towed them up to nearly 2000’ before they released from the tow line and chased thermals all the way back to Joel’s runway.
Glen and Eric made more flights Thursday evening in Sauk City. The conditions were ideal, warm with a slight breed. They really enjoyed the calmer air. Their first flights were pretty bumpy by comparison.
Ben was over from Milwaukee to knock out the indoor portion of the training. He’s already had a great day gliding down the hill so next up for him is his first flight, Exciting!
Saturday’s north wind meant a big group at the sledding hill. Mariyan was there with Nick and Greg. I was there with Tony and Eric. Dave and Dennis were there too.
Eric got a new Parajet Maverick with the Moster 185 on it. The distributor drove it up to us the same day! He spent a couple hours breaking it in with the help of his wife Jade. The next evening he took it for its initial flight. Not sure if it was the new paramotor but he did awesome. Landing softly on his feet every time. Way to go Eric!
Eric and Jade from Tomahawk met me at the sledding hill Saturday morning for some downhill training. The wind was pretty cross but Eric still managed to get a few short flights in. Just the thing he needed before we hopefully make a motor flight later today. Jade and I worked on kiting in the field at the bottom of the hill too.
Next to arrive at the hill was Glen from LaCrosse. After a little warm up session it was his turn to catch the wind when it turned north. The breeze was still much less north than forecast but Glen was able to taste flight enough to prepare him for a motor flight.
Then came Ben from Milwaukee. By the time he got to the hill with his family in tow the wind was much more reliable. He managed to repeatedly get the best flights of the day. His oversized wing helped keep him aloft.
Conditions were pretty gusty all day but Glen, Eric and I hoped there would be a calming of the weather before sunset so we could get them airborne. While we were waiting for the bumps to calm, Glen, Jade and Eric all took a spin in the trike. With Jade’s bad knee this maybe her best option.
It did calm somewhat but it was still kind of rowdy when I made my test flight just 1/2 hour before sunset. Knowing the conditions would be safe, Eric and Glen decided who would make the first attempt. Eric was chosen and we prepared him for his first flight. He did great despite the less than ideal conditions. He did everything as rehearsed wonderfully with his wife, Jade, videoing the entire flight. Congratulations Eric!
Unfortunately Glen would have to wait until the next morning to make his attempt. So, shortly after the 5:22am sunrise we met with that plan. The grass was a bit wet from dew so we laid out the tarp to help keep the wing dry and light. Winds were light at the surface therefore he set up for a forward launch. On just his second attempt he successfully launched into the morning sky, made the preplanned laps around the field and set it down nicely on his feet. Way to go Glen!
The rest of the week was just as rewarding. Some of the highlights include-
Matt E, Matt D and Corey began training.
Pat stopped by for an orientation, he begins training soon.
Alex and I worked on a new controller for the winch. We tested it on Sunday and it worked great for a little while. We just need to beef it up a bit and then it will be ready for full time use, I hope.
Sunday afternoon was towing in Sauk City. Dimitry had the best flight of the day and found himself a nice thermal that took him to nearly 4000’.
Sunday evening it was off to Joel and Jon’s runway for some PPG action. Mariyan took Dave from Hawaii on a nice long tandem flight around the Wisconsin river valley. Dave’s friend Reon flew with them on his paramotor.
These long warm days are a gift. We are able to get so much done, it’s awesome!
The new winch arrived from Lithuania Monday and we wasted no time getting it going. First task was a day of testing. Before we start towing students and the rest of the crew we needed to get comfortable with the controls and setup of this very different winch. Mariyan and I took turns towing each other up, experimenting with the settings with each tow to find the right balance of tension and speed. We spent the entire morning in search of the ideal technique. This thing is awesome and a welcome addition to our arsenal of free flying gear.
Curt with a “C” joined us after lunch. He also made several flights from the new winch. Mid afternoon we took a break to try out Curt’s “winch”. He’s had it for a couple weeks now and during that time the tiny winch has earned the name “Barbie Winch” as in it’s so small that it probably shouldn’t be used for full size humans. The tiny winch would look right at home on the back of a kids electric Power Wheels Barbie Jeep.
We set up Curt’s toy winch on his vehicle then went over all foreseeable scenarios to ensure we were taking the necessary safety precautions before attempting to tow him with it. Confident that Curt would be safe we hooked him up and gave it a go. I was driving his Honda with him attached to the 500# test fishing line. I started to pull away with the drag set as desired. Curt brought the wing up and began running with the line assisting him. As predicted the winch self destructed just a few seconds into the tow. Curt never even left the ground.
The PG crew gathered at Bender park again this past week. Forecasts indicated that the lakeside ridge could be soared potentially. Jeff, Curt and I were the first on the scene and as such were rewarded with good soaring. Curt and I had nice long flights before the conditions died down and we could no longer stay aloft. Unfortunately that’s when everyone else showed up. David, Adam, Ken, Greg and Mariyan all missed the best part of the day. Most of them
spent the rest of the afternoon kiting and making short sled runs down the bluff to the lakeshore. Still fun but...
TJ and Dave made more flights at the airport. TJ has over 20 under his belt now and Dave isn’t that far behind. Soon these two will be out on there own.
Tony and Gareth continue there training. Both are ready for a day at the sledding hill. Just waiting on that north wind. Looks like it should be here the end of the week.
We had another impromptu fly-in Friday evening with the usual people and several pilots I’ve not seen yet this year. Chuck brought up his trike and showed everyone how a trike launch is supposed to be done. Kevin stopped by, even Ken made the trip over from Waukesha to play.
Deb witnessed a couple guys, my guess is Curt and Greg, flying around Verona the other day and just had to learn more. She stopped in to the hanger while Tony and I were working on some ground school tasks and got a quick introduction to the sport. She is also interested in checking out motorless flight to see which is more her thing.
Glen came down from LaCrosse to train with us for last few days. Thursday’s weather made it an indoor day. We polished off most of the PPG1 ground school and even got a few minutes in the simulator. Friday was beautiful and was forecast to have a nice breeze up the sledding hill so we met there to start training with the wing. As is the norm, he struggled at first but was keeping it overhead consistently after a couple hours of guidance. Unfortunately the wind never really turned from west to north as needed to soar it, so were limited flat land practice.
Several other paraglider pilots were at the hill Friday as well, all hoping the wind would change as predicted. Curt, Josh and David caught a few decent rides. Mariyan was there to with his new paragliding student Nick. They both had a productive day. It’s great to see out community of flyers growing.
Friday evening it was back to the airport to get a couple guys back it the sky. It’s been months since either TJ or Jeff F flew. Covid has really been effecting everyone’s schedules. After a quick review and some kiting to get everything fresh in their heads they took turns and made several flights that night. Much like riding a bike, their bodies remembered what to do and they both flew flawlessly. Welcome back guys!
Because the evening was so nice, many others stopped out to fly and practice as well. Tony and Glen were working on their wing control with the help of some of the more experienced guys. Nick was aiding Tony while Jeff F was guiding Glen. Though Jeff as still learning to PPG, paragliding is not new to him. He has over a thousand PG flights and as such is quite an accomplished pilot and good coach. Thanks for helping out guys!
Saturday the PG crew traveled to the shore of Lake Michigan with hopes that the ever elusive Bender Park paragliding site would be ripe for soaring as some of the forecasters predicted. The boys made a valiant effort but unfortunately were not able to stick and were only getting short sled runs. Still, a good time was had by all.
While the PG guys were on the East Coast, Glen and I were back in the hanger finishing up the simulator tasks. After that we prepared for and took the written test. Next up for Glen is a return to the sledding hill for a couple hours of bunny hill sled runs. After that it’s for his first flight!
With Sunday’s Bigfoot looking storm overhead it’s a much needed day for rest and the repair of gear.
The weather hasn’t been kind to Dave lately. Two times we’ve been set up in the field and ready to make his first flight but we’re forced to reschedule because of gusty conditions. Well, Tuesday’s weather made up for that. Conditions were great and Dave pulled off his first launch attempt cleanly. Just as we rehearsed in the simulator, he made three laps around the airport and set it down safely back in the middle of the runway. He did so well that I sent him right back up two more flights. Congratulations Dave!!
Because the weather was so nice, everyone wanted to fly. There were so many pilots and friends out Tuesday evening to enjoy the sky it felt like a fly-in. Robert, Arrow, Curt, Greg, Adam, Chris, Josh, Steph, Pie, Nick, Lindsay, Jeff, Alex, Dave, Randy and Myself were all out savoring the wonderfully calm evening. There was nothing formal planned, we were all just excited that the spring conditions finally let us out to play and we had to take advantage of it. I counted 10 pilots in the sky at one point!
Randy was with me all afternoon learning to control the wing. As is the norm, he struggled at first but a few hours later was consistently bringing the wing up under control and kiting it while running. Way to go Randy!
Friday morning Gareth began his training. It was too windy to get the wings out so we completed the motor section as well as the simulator and ground school requirements for PPG1. Monday’s wind was much more favorable for wing training so Gareth and I met again, this time at Elver Park. David dropped in to make several flight down the hill. He is working from home during the pandemic and needs a little outside flying therapy now and then.
Saturday morning Curt and Mariyan met me in Sauk City to finish up Curt’s P2 training. Curt had just a few more flights to complete and the P2 written test to earn his paragliding independence. He did great and has successfully passed, congratulations Curt! Towing during the outbreak calls for a lot more chemical cleaners than normal. No big deal if it lets us fly again.
During Sunday’s foul weather Randy began his training. Blowing and raining/snowing it was the perfect time to knock out some of the PPG1 ground school tasks. Welcome Randy. He will be back today to start working with the wing.
Shortly after sunrise Monday morning I met Dave S at the airport with the plan of making his first flight. Unfortunately the winds were considerably stronger than forecast the night before. Erring on the side of safety, we begrudgingly decided to hold off until Tuesday’s better forecast. We will try again tonight.
After time at the airport with Dave and the park with Gareth it was Joe’s turn. We met at Elver Park to give the sledding hill a shot. As a special treat, I unboxed a brand new Macpara Charger for him to use. His kiting skills have really progressed. Considering how challenging the wind direction was he did awesome. The hill needs the wind to be out of the north to work well. Monday afternoon’s wind was much more west than ideal. Still he managed several short hops down the hill and learned a lot. Next north wind day he will be back to have a real shot at longer flights. Well done Joe.
Thanks to the governor loosening the restrictions on outdoor recreation during the outbreak last week, Madcity Paragliding is in full swing again. We are of course practicing proper Covid procedures while instructing. As you can imagine, there is a bit of a backlog of people that were in training when the lockdown began as well as a sizable list of folks that signed up during the stay-at-home order. As a result we have been extremely busy lately.
Some of the highlights of our activity since the last post include -
A trip to the Lake Michigan shoreline to fly with members of the Chicago Paragliding group. Dimitry, Ken, Preston and I all made the pilgrimage to Bender Park to enjoy the rare opportunity the strong East winds provided.
Time at Elver Park kiting and making flights down the sledding hill with Jade, Eric, Tony, Greg, David M. and Mariyan. Jeff even stopped by for a bit.
A couple kiting practice sessions at the park in Oconomowoc with Ben, Ken, Matt, Eric and Dave S.
A new BGD Luna 2 wing for Alex, sweet!
Passing the PPG1 written test for Glenn, Jade, Eric and Dave S. Congrats guys!
Making our first tows off the new land in Sauk with Curt and Mariyan. This is going to perfect once the grass thickens up!
Too much happening to cover it all in our regular updates. It’s so nice to be back at it.
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict