Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Another evening Flight

Took a nice evening flight on Fathers Day and the air was great, so I flew home again and my wife was able to get some great photos of me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Flight 17 - Short XC flight

I've been looking to fly and use the paramotor to get from point A to point B and not just A-A.  Inspired by the Icarus Paramotor Race I figured I would attempt to fly a short XC flight from my current landing zone (LZ) at Farm B back to the house, and return to the LZ.  Total distance is actually less than my last flight from the Farm, so I wasn't planning anything out of the ordinary just using my aircraft in a different way.

I arrived at the field with a very light and uncertain wind.  This would be great for flying, once I could get off the ground.  The field was getting a little tall,.. maybe 8 inches or so, but clumps of weeds and stiff grasses were present here and there.  I took some extra fuel on board in case I decided to circle around the town and fly over the eastern farms and open space rather than returning along my start route.

Setup went well and I built a wall with my glider, layed it back down, and cleared my lines.  Last time I flew here my first launch was blown because my lines snagged a weed and I needed to reset.  So, this time, I grouped my lines together and walked them back to my wing.  Engine checked out, so I clipped in and prepared for the launch.  Of course, a truck with two guys is now in the driveway and I"m ready to launch, better get this one right!..... 3....2....1..... and off I went.  Smooth on the inflation and power, and I was off rather simply.

Here is a video of my flight.  Down the eastern side of the lake to stay away from over town and the most direct way to my home.  A few quick circles around the house and neighboring farm, and I decided to follow this route home instead of taking the eastern side of town.  I didn't get much time to map out a route on that side so maybe that will be the next flight.

Well, damage done, but not to bad after I really inspected it.  Everything else seems in tact and no damage to the prop, netting, or me.  Even though the night was full of soreness.
Bent outer cage as I tripped up on landing
Sometimes, you just have to get creative.  I installed some lag screws into the big jams of my garage door and used a series of ratchet straps to secure the cage at the joints so that nothing should shift.  I used another as a stretcher, and took my time keeping watch on things.  Snug one here, one there, and I'm really happy with the end result, can't even tell if you didn't see it here on my blog.

"Experimental" method of repair

Hope to get some flights in soon.  This working stuff is taking its toll.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Paramotoring Video Playlist

So, been a little while as the winter winds and weather were not cooperating with my schedule.  The video playlist above is updated after each flight session or test video.

2016 is off to a good start so far.  I have made two flights with good takeoffs and landings, and even had one inflight situation where my kill switch wire broke and I couldn't shut down the motor on final.  Not a problem, made a good landing and was just cautious as I unstrapped so the throttle didn't wind up.  More to come as the flying season starts!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The New Adventure.....

Ok,... so in 2011 I had to hang it up,... but, I was never to Oshkosh, so I actually was able to go in the summer of 2012 and make it an Epic Adventure.  Man, if I only had a GoPro then.

I saddled up my motorcycle,... yes, motorcycle, to trek from PA to Oshkosh WI to go to the Mecca of all Airshows.  The ride was great and I would do it again for certain.  Along the way I stopped back in to see Steve and Gina in Ohio who graciously opened their home for me to stay the night.  There were two main attractions for me at Oshkosh, Warbirds and Ultralights.  The rest was a sea of vendors selling things I couldn't afford and a sea of airplanes that were amazing to see, but knowing that I couldn't fly GA anymore kind of snuffed the interest down a notch.

Ultralights had my attention, as they are affordable and retain the love of flight.  Not going to far destinations or IFR weather, but flying over this amazing countryside in the early morning light or warm summer evenings.  But, where do you store the craft?  I have a garage that I could have one on a trailer and still take to an airport,... or,... these Powered Paragliders just stuff into the back seat and sit in a truck bed,.... COOL!

After researching for a few months on them and contacting various vendors and instructors, I found the one I thought would fit the bill best.  It was now Oshkosh 2013, and that vendor was at Oshkosh and was having a sale as well,.... even though I wasn't there, they agreed to give me the show discount!
My Paraglider Arrived!
I chose a very bright colored paraglider for me to grow into.  This is a Velocity Elektra, EN-B rated glider.  What is nice about this one is that the color is on the top and bottom skins of the wing, where many are white underneath and just have the color on top.  This also has trimmers for trailing edge adjustment in flight and the capability of connecting a speed bar to the leading edge.  All these allow you to change the in-flight profile and angle of attack to aid in wind penetration and increased speed.  But, with increased speed comes increased risk of collapse,... remember, this isn't a rigid wing, it's a bedsheet.  :-)

All opened up for the first time
Above is the glider opened up at my instructors home during training.  Yes,... I'm a Private Pilot but I still need training.  And wow,... was it intense!  A lot more physical than it appears to be on YouTube or watching those that know what they are doing.  I'm writing this now a year into flying and I still get sore if I go out and do a few flights in one evening.

How do you fly into the sky? You ask?..... well,... I strap a gas tank to my butt and a nicely sculpted 2x4 attached to an over sized weed eater motor,.... yea,... I'm crazy.  In essence, I have a harness that I strap into that has shoulder straps to carry the weight of 60 lbs, a front strap to keep me in,... and leg straps to keep me dangling by my precious parts till I can get altitude and get in my seat.   Here is what that looks like in the front.
My harness and seat

The business side.  125 cc 2-Stroke with clutch gearbox
The engine is a 125 cc Two-Stroke engine which puts about 20 hp out.  The engine idles around 2000 rpms and at full throttle I'm breaking 9500 rpms.  I use 93 Octane fuel with 2-Stroke Synthetic racing oil.  I'm still learning how to maintain this thing, but so far it has been very reliable.

Training consists of learning how to handle the glider in various wind conditions and being able to fly it like a kite, but putting it in the sky under control the whole time.  Walking forwards and backwards, side to side, laying it down lightly, opening it up,... high winds, low winds,... basically a full body workout.  Only after you master the glider can you start doing all that again with 48 lbs on your back (no fuel) so you can feel the handling with the motor in the takeoff position.  Then finally you add fuel and taxi around the field keeping the glider above you and in control while managing the engine.  And then one day,... you just squeeze that throttle some more and try to keep your heart from beating out of your chest!
Packed up from a long practice evening

My Wing in the air while practicing
Flying By

Flying away

In the Private Pilot world, you fly with an instructor in the plane with you and they teach you along the way.  In the early days of aviation, the instructor may sit behind you.  Once you Solo, the tradition of cutting the shirt tail off the new pilot was a sign that the instructor couldn't tug on you anymore and you were free,... so I asked my instructor, Kevin, to cut my shirt tail that evening of my Solo.  I'm going to have it framed with my Private Pilot one too when I get the chance.
Instructor Kevin, Cutting my Shirt-tail for the traditional Solo Flight.
And,... here is my perspective on my first solo flight with a Powered Paraglider!

Now let the adventures begin!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Aviation Posts are Back!

For those that have followed me for a while, you may be pleased to know that I'm going to start posting about my new Aviation Adventures in Powered Paragliding.  But, before I get there, let's recap where it all starts,....

My Dad took me for a ride in this C150-T at Pennridge Airport when I was just a little guy,..

I've always had a fascination and love of flying or anything that I can make take flight.  I've flown stick and tissue rubber powered craft, Cox 049 Control Line models, Free Flight, Sailplanes, Radio Control gliders and powered models, all thru my younger years and high school.  Remember those balsa rubber powered machines you could get at the 5 & 10,... I'd fly them till one broke, then morf them together into a twin like a P-38, and fly them till they couldn't fly anymore.

Then, college came and I was up at Penn State University.  A few RC models came to life there in my apartment and I even did some model reviews for Hobby Lobby RC.  One day, another pilot saw me flying near Beaver Stadium and stopped over.  He later introduced me to the Soaring club just north of State College and I visited a few times to fly some real gliders with them.  But, still RC for me.

Post-College, my new bride Becky and I were out to dinner with some friends and aviation came up in conversation.  Uknown to me, the one member of the group was in a partnership in a Piper Cherokee based at Quakertown Airport.  After dinner, we went to the airport and took a short flight,... WOW, I was hooked!!  My wife knew it as soon as we parked infront of the hangar that I was not going to be able to just take that flight,.... a few months later and I was signed up for my first flight lessons.

August 4 2007, I took an intro flight,...
Jan 5, 2008 I gook an intro flight / first instructional flight at Perkiomen (N10)
March 15th 2008, I solo'd
June 12, 2008, I passed my FAA Checkride and became a Private Pilot!

You can also view this on YouTube
My Wife and Kids were so Supportive!!
From then on,... I was at the airport any chance I could get.  Flying is more than a fascination,... it is really an obsession or addition.  Once you have tasted flight,.... you will just keep thinking about it.

So, time to move up.  From a small 2 seat Cessna to a 4 seat Cessna. 

Cessna 172 SP

Diamond DA-20-C1 at Wings Field

Then to a Sporty Diamond DA-20.  That aircraft was so much fun.  I would buy one in a heartbeat if I could have.  Fast, economical on fuel, sporty handling, and great view from the cockpit.
1967 Cessna 172-H
I made a lot of new friends along the way, one of which, owned a Cessna (shown above) that wasn't getting a lot of flying time.  After some discussion and agreements, I soon had the keys to an Airplane!!!  I flew before work,.. after work,.. weekends,... nights,... any chance that I could for as long as I could.  I went camping with my daughter in West Virginia, flying with Friends and Family, and enjoyed the blue skies.

Flying my Aunt and Uncle

Landing at Windwood West Virginia
My Last General Aviation Flight,... George and Lisa, October 6, 2011
Thus Ended A Chapter of My Aviation Story..... For Now....
But,... Costs go up,.. family grows, and it was time to put the General Aviation down for a while.  Hopefully not forever, but it will be a while.