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Sep 28/04 Video from my
line snag in speed system prop bust....
Sep 28/04 Flight in
Ellicottville - report by Mark. With red
remarks by Andre.
WOW, I now have 20 hours powered paragliding logged. The other
day Csaba (CHUBBO) Andre and I went for a brief flight from Bieda's Powersports
field. Progress was very slow because of the high wind speed and we
quit after 45mins. We were not too disappointed because both Andre
and I were on strict time limits from wives/girlfriends!
This Sunday was a whole different story. Andre, Csaba (Narrow
Arse!), Chris and I drove down to a place called Ellicottville in
US. It is rolling countryside with a small ski resort.
The hills are about 800 ft high but not too steep and most are
tree covered. The area looks like a mini Alps.
None of the slopes are accessible or soarable to non
powered paragliders. We launched from a small airstrip and climbed
up high to do some thermalling. My machine does not have an electric
start so I cannot turn it on and off again in mid-flight. The others
were able to go unpowered for extended periods as they thermalled (a
definite bonus on the newest machines). This is a really good way to
hone those XC skills! You can struggle in weak lift all the way to
the ground and then just start it up again and have another go. This
is a great way to save fuel or extend your flying time. The weather
was perfect as there was very little wind. This is good for powered
paragliding because you can fly equally fast in all directions and
thermals are less sheared. It makes take off somewhat tricky
Yeah, about the take off. Last year with
Chris it took almost 2 hrs to get in the air. No wind just light and
variable conditions. The most challenging ever. This is even worse
because the take off here is on a narrow runway.
Can you guess which direction the
breezes were coming from? You got it! Across the runway so you
either take off against industrial buildings or 70 ft tall willow
trees. Needless to say we all went for the trees - they are somewhat
softer to hit and more pleasurable to hang from.... The plan was as such: Chris will take off first as
his RR full of fuel will last 3 and with some thermals possibly 4
hrs in the air. Next Cabbbe on Apache who will have 3 hrs, then Mark
with Airwolf and me on my RR. Being last person on the ground can be
quite bitch in these conditions as there is no one to move, or
spread your glider if you bust your forward inflation. So after
couple of attempts Chris was in the air, then Chabeee, then Mark. So
they are all buzzing above as I am getting ready for some serious
slavery. So I lined up, surged forward and to my surprise, the
glider went up, nice and equally. From there it was walk in the
park... power, brakes and I was off too. I think it only took about
for all of us to get in the air. Under such difficult condition
We flew around nice and high to start with admiring the scenery
as we went. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement. I looked
up to see a tiny speck high above me and a little in front. I
couldn't figure out what I was looking at for a split second. It was
a helium balloon. Well, actually it was two balloons tied together
with string. One was carrying the other. It was quite a bit higher
than me, but it didn't seem to be rising quickly. The sky is a big
place. I figure this doesn't occur too often...or ever so I had to
investigate. I let the others fly off without me and started to
climb on full power to see if I could reach it. Well, I reached it
after about three minutes. The two balloons were neutrally buoyant
so it was just floating there drifting with what little breeze there
was. I was flying around it trying to catch it in by lines. Three
times it went straight through the lines spinning as it caught on
one of them, but I didn't manage to capture it. I spent about 5-10
mins doing this. It was excellent fun and I managed to boot it once.
Eventually I had to leave my "friend" behind and catch up
with the others. They saw me flying around the same spot but didn't realize
what I was doing. Chris and Csaba saw the balloons, but didn't think
they would be able to catch them. It was one of the most surreal/fun
moments of my life. I think we are going to take some to the field
next time we fly and balance them to float. In fact I know I am
going to bring some. It is going to be great fun booting them about
in the air. It is just very weird being able to fly around and boot
something about at 1000 ft.
I have to mention this one slope over
Holy Mount private Ski resort where there was so much lift that we
spent about 20 min just cruising back and forth with engines off or
idling (sorry Mark) At one point I have caught nice narrow thermal
that took me all the way to the cloud base. My vario did not change
the pitch once that how smooth this thermal was. Chris had his vario on
as well but he could not quite hear it + he is flying DHV1 glider and
I was flying my Brontes by Sky Para which is DHV 2 so I was much
better off. Mark was anxious
to thermal as well but without vario it is nearly impossible but he
was holding his own. Oh, and one more thing. On top of this
was a flock of hawks circling around.
I counted nine, a number which was later confirmed by Mark. I joined them in
the thermal and for couple spins there was 10 birds in one thermal -
hawks and one large loud specimen of beer drinking, cigar smoking,
poker playing Czek bird.
We flew around for 2 hours 45 mins before I ran out of fuel and
was forced to land. Andre was a little concerned to learn I was low
on fuel and still messing about flying through the gap between radio
but I assured him I was "much higher than I looked". I
think he bought it. My fuel ran out about a minute afterwards and I
had to push out from the hill to avoid the trees. I chose the
landing spot carefully. The options were: short grass with a flag
pole in the middle (possible guide lines?) or rough grass. I chose
the first option. It was a tight squeeze but there were no guide
lines and what had looked like 'rough grass' was in fact 7 ft tall
scrubby weeds and bushes. Everything just looks that little bit
different from the air. An elderly couple seemed more than a little
surprised to see me land in front of their house and kindly offered
to give me a lift in their pick up truck. I accepted hopped in and
off we went. We soon saw Andre's car and trailer heading in the
opposite direction. He spotted me waving and we transferred glider
It was simply awesome scenery. All the trees turning orange and
red. People waving everywhere we flew low. An excellent day of
flying. If you are reading this wondering whether if this is for you
I would say this: "When I was a kid I always had the most vivid
dreams of flying, dreams of complete freedom. The ability to go
anywhere. Explore the countryside. Climb high and view the world as
a map. Swoop down really low so my feet barely leave the
Now these dreams come true. The best part is sharing them with
great people in the pub afterwards over a cool beer and nice food.
This truly is an amazing experience. I have been flying for 10 years
now. I look forward to every new flight. It simply gets better and
No kurva hosi to teda byla krasa. Na
tenhle let tak dlouho nazapomenu.
Mark + Andre
Sep 27/04 Flight in Ellicottville.
Who: Ciabia aka Chabe, Csebo, Cabo etc.,
me, Mark and Chris.
Time in the air: 2:45 min - one long superb
Pictures: None - I left my battery at home.
Hopefully Chris will send some.
Take off: Difficult - 6 on scale 1 to10
Highlight: Mark - running out of fuel and
landing in someone's front yard because he was too busy kicking
helium balloons 1500 ft up and did not pay attention as to where
we were thus did not know how to get back where we took
off from when his fuel was low
Damage: One very lightly chipped prop blade and
small dent in the cage - Mr. Miller who was too late on shutting
engine on no wind downdraft landing
Wind: Non existent especially on take off.
Ridge soaring and thermals: Abundant
Scenery: Spectacular, amazing, unbelievable - no
other words can better describe it - hopefully Mark will create
short video or perhaps write longer report (hint, hint) that I
can put up on the web
Sep 22-25/04 I have flown
almost every morning. Great flights.
Sep 21/04 Sunday Sep 19
at Sodom Rd.
Story by Mark.
Saturday's forecast had been completely wrong in terms of wind
strength. The morning had been too windy to fly, but by 4pm the wind
strength was down to 7 km/h. Sunday was looking good. Andre and I
headed out for the Sodom Road field and messages were left for
anyone that was interested. We were at the field by 11:30am to find
Dennis had already had the same idea. The wind was a bit strong at
this point in the day and Dennis decided to wait until conditions
dropped off a bit. Andre and I got all the kit out and fueled up.
Andre was all set to launch. We intended to get a flight over the
Falls before training kicked off when everyone else arrived. With
the wind coming from a northerly direction this was a good
opportunity for me to finally make the flight over Niagara Falls.
Andre's glider came up well enough and everything seemed ok, a large
correction needed on the brake lines to maintain direction. He
applied power and was off....briefly. His wing lurched violently to
the left swinging him around to meet the floor, with the now
familiar 'thwack' of a busted prop! With the weight of the tandem
unit behind him this looked like a nasty 'landing', but Andre was
fine, little confused though. What the hell was that? Fortunately I
was ready with an instant replay to capture the incident. I had been
wearing the helmet mounted camera that I fly with, to film the
flight over the Falls. Reviewing the tape we could see no obvious
collapse of the wing. After a bit of investigation it turned out
that one of the tiny karabiners that connect the speed system to the
harness (which was disconnected) was open and had snagged a line
rerouting it and shortening its length by about six inches. It just
goes to show there are always new ways to screw up! Pre-flight
checks.....It is easy to become complacent when flying regularly.
Had it been anyone less experienced it is doubtful they would have
taken off in the first place. See
video here. A few minutes later and replacement
prop blades had been fitted and we were all set to go again. Andre
launched first. This time there were no problems. I followed and we
headed off for the Falls. Climbing as quickly as possible to get to
the required 3500 ft I saw Andre turning back. He radioed me to say
that the new blades were not well balanced and that the paramotor
was shaking enough to make him turn back. I continued alone.
Progress was painfully slow into the headwind and I soon realized if
I was going to make it, it would be in an hour or so! I could see
the Falls but I wasn't really over them. I turned back and turned
the engine off to make a quiet decent. I quickly lost my height and
was back on the ground to start training. Csaba (aka Csebo, Cabo
etc!!), Dennis, Bob and Matt turned up with Imad making frequent
calls updating us on his slow progress in traffic (never actually
arriving). Bob spent the whole day working really hard on his
inflation technique. This was pure hard work as he just continued to
refine his technique. By the end of the afternoon he was ready to
for his first launch. Andre talked him through it and he was ready
to go. Bob it was a great first effort! He ran with determination
and was soon airborne. There was no sign off 'sitting down' on take
off which is fairly common for beginners. He was loving it exploring
past the boundaries of the field at considerable height until it was
time to land. The landing was even better! This is someone who
learns fast. Dennis made two flights throughout the course of the
day. They were both good take offs and landings. Another two flights
to add to the log book. Matt launched several times throughout
the day and was also looking very controlled and skillful. Towards
6pm the wind began to subside. The trip over the Falls was back on.
Csaba, Matt and I were all up for it. We refueled and got ready. Matt
was airborn first, then me, then Csaba. Since they did not have
altimeters they were to follow me and make sure they were higher.
Halfway there I saw Matt turning back to the field. Csaba and I
carried on. I forgot that Csaba did not have a flight suit and thick
gloves (just thin 'dollar store' gloves). I climbed to 5000ft just
to get a good view. It was a bit 'nippy'. Csaba was staying even
higher. When we landed he was freezing his tits off! Eventually the
cold was too much and he too turned back. I made it to the
Falls...SPECTACULAR!!!! I saw the helicopter tours directly below
me, and the whole scene from a totally new perspective. It was
superb. I too was a tad on the chilly side. I headed back at
altitude for another silent, engineless descent. On landing I found
out that Matt had only returned because he had accidentally
turned his engine off whilst doing his jacket up! He was calm enough
just to turn around and glide back to the field to land. Time to
pack up. We headed over to Dora's, just the remaining four of us.
Wings, pizza and beer for all. What a great way to spend a Sunday.
Csaba paid for the food too. Thanks mate (I promise to spell your
name right from now on) .....Oh yeah one other thing I've been
meaning to write since 'The fly in (Aug 22)'....... Mete used to be
a make up artist!!!! Ha ha ha ha. More on that next time. Safe
Sep 17/04 Interview with
Dell Schanze USA WJ importer.
Dixon White interviewed the owner of Walkerjet.com,
USA exclusive importer, Dell Schanze, on January 28th 2004. His
comments on the Walkerjet line of motors are as follows:
Walkerjet a rocking company; we have the new
Airwolf in stock with the RDM100 motor weighing in at about 50lbs
with about 130lbs of thrust. We also have a similar unit with the
new Sky100 liquid cooled motor of about the same specs. That with
the venerable RR and the Spider at only 45lbs and 108lbs of thrust
and we have a serious line of the best engineered and designed
setups on the planet. When I first got involved with motoring I
bought everything in the marketplace so I could really find the very
best equipment, Walkerjet was clearly the best brand in every
way.....Read more here.
Sep 17/04 Too windy?
Never mind! Lets go kite buggying....
Kite bugging is a great fun. On those days when it
is too windy to fly PPG you can take your traction kite out, sit
down in your buggy and boot around like you would in a sail boat.
The ground handling skills necessary to control traction kite are
easily transferable from PPG. I just got my self a kite and a buggy
and had a great time the other day. My friend Roy saw me and
convinced me to sell him the equipment. I have new kite but am
waiting for another buggy to arrive. At the same time I am working on converting
this buggy into a trike that would accept WJ paramotors. Once
done I will master the triking technique and this may be a solution
for those students that have a hard time handling the weight of the
paramotor on foot. Cost is $ 500 for the buggy and
$ 500 for the kite including handles and lines.
Sep 17/04 Ground spiral -
do not try this at "home"....