I headed south towards the Endless Footdrag Tuesday with low expectations because of the horrible weather forecast. Strong winds and lots of rain were expected nearly every day. We did get plenty of wind and rain but surprisingly we also were able to fly every day!
I made lots of new friends and met up with many friends I haven’t seen in years. I helped Francesco teach a class of potential instructors at this years instructor clinic, the candidates included Sam from Wisconsin.
Lots of vendors were on hand to show off their products. There are so many cool machines on the market now.
Lots of PPG legends were there including Chris Santacroci from Superfly, Super Dell from Flat Top, many of the Paradigm acro crew and so many more. The sky was filled with some very impressive pilots pulling off some seriously wild maneuvers.
As a dealer, I was also invited to attended the Vittorazi maintenance class. They talked about some cool new products they will be introducing soon. The class also involved tearing a Moster 185+ completely apart. This motor was mounted on a Scout Paramotor that just completed a 6,000+ mile cross country journey. The motor was in great shape other than a considerable amount of deposits left from the poor Mexican fuel.
I attended a presentation by François about his 6000 mile adventure from San Diego to Key West, back to Texas and then in to Mexico. 40 days, 200+ hours in the sky with some days as long as 8 hours in his Paramotor. Crazy!
Everyone had a great time and I’m really looking forward to the 2020 Endless Footdrag!
He did it!! Greg made his first flight last night! The last few weeks of training have paid off. Winds were lighter than expected which added to the challenge but Greg did great! Moments after pinning the throttle he was airborne. A little erratic at first but he settled in quickly. A few laps around the field and then he set it down safely back on the ground. He made 2 more flights last night before calling it a day. Congratulations Greg!!
Curt was there too and he added 3 more flights to his log book.
Josh C and Jake met at the airport too and went on a nice cross country flight together to Oregon and back. It’s always great to see how much everyone progresses after training is completed.
The forecast was for a rainy and windy day. Curt and I were not convinced that meant the entire day would be garbage. We made plans to meet at 5, after the rain had past and give it a shot. I decided to invite Greg along too.
Our optimism was rewarded with favorable conditions. I jumped up first to confirm things were as nice aloft as they felt on the ground. They were and so we geared up Curt and set up the comms. Curt’s first attempt was good enough to get him into the sky. He made several laps around the field to get accustomed to the controls then he set it safely down on the field. Congratulations Curt!!
Greg was next but wasn’t as fortunate. Unfortunately one misstep put him on his butt and the frame fractured at an old repair weld ending our day. Fortunately this launch was recorded on video for analysis which meant lots was learned from that attempt. Both Greg and I are confident that he will be flying next time we meet.
The puffy clouds indicating rising air were forming nicely by noon. I fired up the winch and started pulling the guys into the aerial playground. Dimity was the first to strike gold, his initial flight lasted well over an hour and brought him to around 3,500’ AGL (above ground level). Matt got some good flying in as well. He managed to fly all the way to Sauk City and back on one of his flights.
Jeff and Mariyan were the big winners. They were able to work the lift all the way up to 5,570’ and they could see all of the Madison lakes from there. Mariyan said there was potential for even higher altitudes but he needed to come down to meet Denise for a tandem flight. So, Jeff and Mariyan started coming down with either deep spirals or Big Ears.
After the PG towing fun it was off to the airport for PPG fun. There I met Josh and Robert. Mariyan and Denise were there as well preparing to take a tandem flight. Past students Reon and Jake were there too.
It was a bit windy so we decided to have the more experienced pilot go first. Josh has just 6 flight left and the midair restart to finish the practical portion of his training, so he went first. He quickly completed all remaining tasks leaving the rest of the night for Robert.
Robert pulled off a couple great launches and nailed both landings. In flight skills are next him.
Denise and Mariyan had a great time exploring the sky around the airport. Denise took the brakes and controlled the glider for a bit before handing them back to Mariyan. With her permission he then put the wing through some pretty steep maneuvers. You could hear her excited yelling even from where we were on the ground!
He did it! Preston made his first flight last night and his 2nd and 3rd as well. Every flight was well executed, good launch, nice altitude control and turns, he even landed on his feet every time. Way to go Preston!!
Andy and his brother Brad were back in the sky after a 5 month break for cold weather. They were a little rusty at first but eventually everything came back to them with a few reminders. It was great seeing them fly again.
Josh was there too and made 3 more flights getting him ever closer to graduation.
Madcity Paragliding graduate Dave and long time PPG pilot David were also at Syvrud last night to take advantage of the great weather.
Before all this happened I was at the sledding hill with Greg and Jeff. Both made several flights down the hill.
I started off the day Monday with Robert at the airport. He brought along his better half to show her how awesome he is at flying.
Tuesday Greg finished up his PPG1 ground school including drills in the simulator in hopes of making his first paramotor Wednesday morning.
Super productive weekend!
Robert made his first flight by nailing his first take off attempt. He admitted that he was pretty spooked at first but soon settle down and began to really enjoy the experience. He made several laps around the field and then safely returned to the runway. Congratulations Robert!
Jeff drove up from Chicago Saturday morning and had an insanely productive day. He made 16 flights, finished all his in flight skills, assembled his new Atom80 Parajet Maverick, broke it in and actually flew it that evening. He was with me from just after sunrise until way after dark. Making his 25th and final training flight required a strobe light to remain legal. He demonstrated great skill and I’m sure will represent the sport well. Way to go Jeff!
Peter went through graduation ceremonies yesterday at the UW. Today he graduated from Madcity Paragliding. Tomorrow he moves to San Diego where he has a new job waiting for him. Congratulations on everything and best of luck with your new life!
Josh made a bunch of flights Friday getting ever closer to independence.
Dane dusted off his flying gear and prepared to begin training again now that the warmer weather is near.
Denise began training today. We spent about three hours working on wing handling. She did great and was soon keeping the wing successfully overhead. Welcome Denise!
Steve stopped by with his daughter to check out Paramotoring. He looks forward to beginning training later this spring.
Despite the weather we continue to be busy getting students ready to fly.
Peter prepared for and aced the PPG2 written test. All he has left is a few more flights and the midair restart then he will be completely finished with his paramotor training and ready to take to the skies on his own.
Curt finished up all of his PPG1 ground school tasks including time in the simulator. Next time we meet he will hopefully be making his first flight!
The welder made a simple repair to the silver Miniplane’s frame. It is now painted, reassembled and ready for action.
There is rumor of cross country paragliding conditions on Saturday. Time will tell.
Saturday afternoon in Oconomowoc was great! Preston, Brent and Mike met me at the field for more training. Brent was able to add a couple more flights to his logbook. Everyone increased their skill set.
Past students Josh and Allen were also on hand to take advantage of the conditions. If you look closely you can see them in the photo above. They both enjoy flying quite high.
Sunday I met Denise at the airport for an introduction. She was hooked immediately! Turns out she was following Reon and I around in her Jeep as he and I were flying around Brooklyn Friday.
Midday Monday Jeff’s new Parajet Maverick and his helmet arrived, thanks UPS guy! Saturday Jeff and I plan to assemble this bad boy and break it in properly before hopefully taking it skyward.
Monday evening Josh and Peter were at the airfield again adding to their skills. This is a really fun time during training. The students make many short flights working on one particular in-flight skill per flight in addition to perfecting their take offs and landings. Peter managed to complete all but one of the needed skills. The only task he had left is the “mid-air restart”. This is where we have the pilot turn off the motor mid flight and start it back up again. It can be somewhat challenging to master this but it is a great confidence builder knowing you can do it.
Spring weather is fickle but we are making the most of it!
Reon had just 4 flights left to complete his PPG training when he called me Friday afternoon to check on conditions. We agreed that things looked great so he headed to the airport to finish up. He wasted no time in getting three of the flights done. Each one was flawless. His final flight of the night and his graduation flight was a nice cross country with me around the nearby town of Brooklyn. He loved every minute of it as is evident by his massive smile. Congratulations Reon!
Friday morning Peter and I were able to add three more flights and a couple new in-flight skills to his training including time using the Tip-steering toggles. Nice work Peter!
Then it was off to the sledding hill to meet Preston, Greg and Curt. There we worked on wing handling. We started off in the field at the bottom of the hill and gradually moved up the hill launching from higher and higher until we all found ourselves at the top. By the time the wind quit on us, all three guys were making nice controlled flights down the hill. So much fun!
Then it was back to the hanger to watch the “scary movie” and prep for the PPG1 Test for Greg and Preston.
Alex was in town visiting with his parents and wanted to check out Paramotoring in person. He has been following our blog for quite a long time and finally had the chance to stop by in person. Welcome Alex and congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
Despite the cloudy weather Peter and I were able to get a few more flights in yesterday, his total is nearly double digit now. Peter is graduating from the UW soon and will be moving to San Diego in just over a week. We should be able to finish up before he departs for sunny skies and better weather.
Recent Madcity Paragliding graduate Josh stopped out to pick up his new reserve and fly with us Wednesday night too. We spent a few minutes after flying to pack his new reserve into its container preparing it to rig to his paramotor.
Thursday Joe from Deerfield dropped in to check out Paramotoring in person. We put a motor on his back and let him run around a bit as well as get lifter in the simulator. I look forward to seeing him in class soon!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict