Please welcome Madcity Paragliding’s newest students, Angelo and Chris.
Angelo actually attended an orientation last summer but with his first baby on the way at the time he decided to hold off for a bit. He has been wanting to power paraglide for years and the stars have finally aligned for him. This is the summer he learns to fly! Welcome Angelo.
Chris is also an aviation enthusiast, hailing from Oshkosh it’s only natural. He actually designs airport lighting for a living! He has flown airplanes and has been skydiving so this should be a simple transition for him. Welcome Chris.
So much happening at Madcity Paragliding it’s hard to keep up!
Sunday morning I met Andriew at the sledding hill to get his his first taste of flying a paraglider. We started with some kiting at the bottom of the hill to get warmed up. Then we gradually started working our way up the hill, launching from higher and higher. It wasn’t long before Andriew was making nice flights from top to bottom. Dennis and Chris joined us there for some fun too.
Then Andriew and I went to the hanger to finish up his PPG1 ground school training including the scary movie and running drills in the simulator. If he had time I’m sure he would have made his first powered flight that day. Unfortunately that would have to wait until Monday evening.
Nick got us invited to fly at a sod farm near the Dells Sunday evening, what a great place! The owner, Mike, is awesome and super excited to see us fly there. I’m pretty sure he will be joining us in the sky in the not too distant future.
Since Dane was staying in the dells for vacation it was an easy drive for him. He had just a few flights left of the 25 USPPA required to earn his PPG2 rating. He easily completed the remaining flights with time to spare. So, Dane, Nick and I made a short cross country trip to explore the new area. Congratulations Dane!
Mike also made the trip to the sod farm to take advantage of the huge mowed grass area. His form is really getting good. Nice work Mike!
Monday morning I met Curt and Greg at the airport. There we worked on their in flight skills as well as take offs and landings. We quit when the thermals told us to with plans to resume training after the thermals mellowed. Greg and Curt returned about 5:30 and we picked up right where we left off in the morning.
Andriew drove over from Lake Geneva with his better half, Corinne, with hopes of making his first flight. Nervous, a little scared but ready is how he described his mood. He watched Curt make one flight and then he was ready to take his shot.
Andriew did amazingly well! He nailed his take off, maneuvered around the sky with surprising control and landed on his feet on the first try! Well done Andriew!!
Tuesday morning I met Curt again. We added a couple new in flight skills to his training which he enjoyed, the mid-air restart and a few tasks to improve his landing accuracy. Curt is getting pretty comfortable up there. It’s nice to see him doing so well.
Towing Paraglider students was the task of the day. The wind was forecast to be right down the runway so Adam and Mariyan met me at the hanger with their free flying rigs about 11am. Paraglider pilots have a different mindset than paramotoring pilots. Midday thermal activity isn’t something to be avoided, it’s to be embraced.
After some time in the simulator practicing the tow line release we moved the operation to the field. I set up the winch midway down the runway to use it as a pay-in winch and pull the guys towards the Jeep. Mariyan went first to show Adam what exactly to expect. Adam’s paramotoring experience made the wing handling part of the launch easy. The wind was strong enough for a reverse launch so once he had the wing cleanly over his head he turned around to face the wind. Then I gradually added tension to the winch helping him run faster and eventually leave the ground. His first flight was admittedly sloppy but he learned a great deal. With each subsequent tow he got better and better at controlling the wing while being pulled. This meant I could get him higher each time. He made about a dozen flights and his confidence and skill grew with each one. Now he is ready to try his hand at soaring some of the bigger hills. Next up for Adam is a trip to the bluffs around Lake City. Well done Adam!
Charles made the trip to the airport to work on kiting. He spent several hours refining his skills. Keep it up Charles!
Brad’s new Adventure Pluma paramotor arrived Monday. This machine is a piece of art! All carbon fiber frame and spars, aluminum outer hoop, comfort harness and Moster 185 dual start motor to push it into the sky. Wow! Assembly was pretty simple and didn’t take that long. So, after a quick hang test we started the 2 hour break in process. We hoped to be flying this gorgeous craft before the day was done but mother natural had other plans. A nasty storm rolled in just as Brad completed the ground portion of the break in. Bummer. Hopefully we will get it flying Friday when Brad is available next.
Monday afternoon I met Greg at the hanger to help him prepare for the PPG2 test. Since he is just about finished training, we also spent a bunch of time discussing gear options. There are a lot of really nice wing and paramotor choices right now and it can be overwhelming. We discussed his preferences and narrowed down the list together.
Sean rolled up on his Harley about 6 o’clock with just a few flights left to complete his training. The USPPA requires a minimum of 25 flights over a minimum of 5 days. This ensures that the pilot has experience flying in a variety of conditions and not just the perfect day.
Sean and Greg took turns flying the Air Conception since the Moster 185 Miniplane was down for repairs. They both agreed that the Miniplane was much more to there liking. The additional power was the main reason but also comfort of the harness and ease of getting into the seat once airborne. It’s nice to have a variety of paramotors in the hanger for students to try as opposed to just one brand. That way, when it comes time to pick your own gear you can make an informed decision because you have had the opportunity to personally try different machines in flight.
Sean began his 25th and final training flight about 20 minutes before sunset. Having completed all his required in flight skills, I turned him loose to have fun and explore the area on his own for awhile before landing. He has gotten very comfortable and confident in his flying and so had no issues making a short cross country to the nearby town of Brooklyn. Upon his return he made several well controlled low passes over the runway before settling back down to earth just before sunset. Congratulations Sean!!
Speaking of gear decisions, Brad considered many options before deciding on the Adventure Pluma with the Moster 185. We ordered it last week and the DHL driver dropped it off yesterday! So excited to put this beautiful flying machine together tonight with Brad. It’s a solid carbon fiber masterpiece!
Wow, so much fun!! Thank you everyone that participated! Especially Joel and John and their family for letting a bunch of crazy paraglider pilots camp and play at their beautiful airfield for the weekend!
Joel and John did join in the fun of course. John went on his first paramotor flight. He and Mariyan went on a nice long tandem flight around the area. As you can see in the first photo, he loved it. When they landed John said he now understands why we do it and that he wanted to learn to fly himself. He’s hooked.
Meanwhile, his brother Joel was entertaining us with his impressive piloting skills in his ultralight making several low passes and giving rides to a few lucky passengers. Thanks Joel!
The conditions were great for Paramotoring hot and sunny everyday. We flew every evening and every morning. It was sometimes challenging to get off the ground with the super humid and hot air providing very little lift. It made for extra long runs on take off but everyone eventually made it aloft to enjoy a break from the heat.
Midday Saturday we fired up the winch and towed the free flyers up into to the sky. Unfortunately, with the air being so wet and hot it didn’t give us much resistance and so the tows were not as lofty as usual. The thermals were also pretty benign and therefore the flights were short compared to past days. Still, everyone had a great time. Greg and Orlando went on a tandem flight, as did Andriew and Mariyan.
Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed flying around the Wisconsin river and valleys. Many friendships were made and strengthened that weekend. Lots of experiences and knowledge were exchanged. A great deal of water was drunk and a few beers were consumed. All in all a great weekend with great people. Thanks again to all involved and we will definitely be doing this again soon.
Wednesday was great for flying. First up was Curt and Sean shortly after the sun came up. Both made a bunch of flight and improved noticeably. We only stopped because of the building thermals.
After lunch I met Nick and we assembled his new Top80 Miniplane. Sweet new machine!
Josh dropped in a little later to work on my Top80 Miniplane. Just a couple of routine maintenance things that needed to be done and thought it would be a great learning opportunity.
Next to roll in was Mike followed by Preston and Jake. All were there to take advantage of the great flying conditions we had. Preston and Mike made a several flights that evening. At one point there were five paramotor pilots in the sky at the same time. So cool!
lots of people ordered their wings and motors this week including Andy, Preston and Sean. Brad ordered his last week and that should be showing up any day now.
i’m really looking forward to this weekend’s fly-in in Sauk City. The weather is looking really good. Can’t wait to get in the sky with all the other pilots!.
Looking good for the weekend’s Sauk City Soar In! We may need to take a trip up to nearby Devils Lake to cool off or a dip in the Wisconsin river or better yet, climb to about 3,000’ AGL 😉
The training continues at Madcity Paragliding. Thursday Mike, Kevin, Josh and Robert all made flights. We flew as much as we could, even firing up the strobe lights at sunset to get the extra half hour they provide.
Friday morning I met Curt at the airport. He took the Blackhawk 125 up for a flight to see what that machine was like. We discussed the differences before his flight to prepare him. The Blackhawk proved to be much more challenging than he expected. Curt was glad he tried the Blackhawk because he now has a better appreciation of the Miniplane he has been using exclusively since the beginning. He stated that the Moster 185 Miniplane was superior to the Blackhawk in every way imaginable. I didn’t argue with him.
After that we discussed helmet and comm options and prepared for the PPG2 written test, which he later took and passed with ease. Nice work Curt!
Saturday it was off to Bender Park on Milwaukee’s south side for some Paragliding on the shores of Lake Michigan. Unfortunately the wind was more south than forecast and made soaring the ridge impossible. Even the current holder of the Wisconsin’s soaring distance record, Jaro, wasn’t able to stay aloft. Bummer.
Big milestone for Kevin Monday night, he made his first flight! We’ve been working up to this for quite some time. He began training last year as a foot launch student but we switched to wheels after a while to make things easier. The transition was simple for him. He quickly mastered wing handling from the trike, which is actually more challenging than foot launch.
The conditions were ideal about an hour before sunset, no wind to speak of and smooth skies. As soon as I gave him the go ahead he brought the wing up smoothly, taxied for a bit then squeezed the throttle and climbed into the warm sky. He made a few controlled laps around the field and set the trike down softly in the center of the runway. Way to go Kevin!!
Preston drove over from the Milwaukee area to join us for the fun. He made a couple flights as well. He made significant improvements in his landings that night. Nice work Preston!
Josh C stopped out and took the Top80 for a flight. Unfortunately the throttle cable busted about 10 minutes into his flight and he had to end it sooner than planned. No worries though, he easily brought it back to the runway and landed just the same as every other flight. He then grabbed the ATV to run the disabled paramotor back to the hanger for repair. He jumped on it and gave the throttle a hardy twist breaking the throttle cable on the ATV too! Yep, he busted two throttle cables in less than five minutes. Someone on Facebook accused him of having a “gorilla grip”. I chased replacement cables in the morning and soon had them both ready to battle again.
Reon was out to take up his new rig for the first time, a matte black Moster 185+ Miniplane and sweet new Macpara Charger. He let me have the honor of taking it for a test flight before he took it up for his initial flight. Oh, the hardships I suffer for my students ;) Thanks Reon!
Tuesday I met Mike at the field for more training. He is really improving and getting much more comfortable flying. Tonight was the bumpiest conditions he’s flown in so far but he handled it well. Nice job Mike!
Preston was back again for the second night in a row. He added four more flights to his log book and has mastered his landings, easily standing up every one right in the center of the field. Keep it up Preston!
Victor, Guillermo and Greg we’re back Tuesday after the rain for more training. The conditions were great for learning wing handling and the guys from Paraguay picked it up quickly. Sure they struggled a bit in the beginning but they were soon navigating the wings down the runway with good control. Great job guys!
After that Greg took 4 more flights and added several skills. He was flying hands free, adjusting the trimmers and even using the tip-steering toggles but most importantly he was nailing his landings! On his feet easily with just a few steps. Way to go Greg!
Madcity Paragliding graduate Josh K was at the airport too enjoying the post-storm calm. He made a couple of motor off landings from more than 1,500’ just for fun. Right on the runway both times! Welcome back Josh!
Owner of MadCity Paragliding and Adventure Addict