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Aug 22/07           PPG flight over Niagara Falls - poster

  Download high resolution poster here.

Aug 22/07   Quick flight before day 2 of PPG course Aug 18, 2007 - story by Mark

After the early start and long day we had on Saturday it was nice to get a later start on Sunday. Andre and I headed to the field at 12:30 pm. Conditions were somewhat thermic and it would not be suitable for students to fly in these conditions. After mixing some gas and refueling the machines we headed out towards Niagara Falls for some photo opportunities. At least that was the plan. I was struggling to get my machine to start, until I realized that I had not primed it properly. My take off was a bit sketch as the wind was light and variable and I was flying the small/fast glider. Running like a goose on steroids I eventually became airborne within feet of the bushes. Note to self: give yourself even more room to take off next time.

Once in the air we both proceeded to gain the necessary altitude to enable us to fly over the falls. Climb rates were limited. There seemed to be sink everywhere. Occasionally I would hit a patch of lifting air, but it seemed like everything was going down. Over Marine Land I could make out the killer whales in their tiny pond. It seemed weird to be flying over such magnificent creatures stuck in a tiny little enclosure. We continued climbing until we were ready for some photos. We have been meaning to get some shots of the Falls with a powered paraglider for ages, but either the wind direction is not favorable or we forget the camera. Anyway this time Andre got some nice snaps of me over the Falls, definitely print worthy.

We headed back to Sodom road. Andre encountered a bird that was 'soaring with him'. From above it just looked like he was pestering the poor thing and chasing it about the sky. Eventually it got fed up and sped off to a tree. On approach to the Sodom road fields we saw a plane performing acrobatics: tumbles, spins, loops, inverted flying. It was all very impressive but it was a bit intimidating creeping in low to land in the corner of the airstrip with this plane whizzing about. Andre touched down perfectly, but I stumbled as I was struggling to get fully out of the seat. Andre had recommended a different balance point for me, but it meant the machine was tilting back more than I am used to and I just couldn't get my feet down properly. Anyway, much to Andre's amusement a future student asked if it was my first week! No doubt it looked like it could have been. When I replied that I was an instructor. He indicated that he would prefer to learn from Andre!!

Aug 19/07           PPG course Aug 18 - Day 1 - story by Mark


Saturday started as it usually does, early! There is a lot of theory to get through, so we head to peaks to at 7:30am and get ready for the arrival of two new students. First to arrive is fellow Brit, Russell, a really animated character with some excellent stories of the early years of hangliding, when he built his own glider from a description in popular mechanics. Next to arrive is Vladimir, an experience pilot and free flyer wishing to convert to powered paragliding. Both pilots already understand the basics of flight, so we progress to the finer details pertaining to paragliders under power. After passing their pre solo exams we make our way to the simulator, which consists of a paramotor suspended from the ceiling of the climbing gym. This is where we balance the machine for each pilot before pretending to take off and land on foot, then it's a quick check on the weather before breaking for lunch. Andre is dogsiting for a friend this weekend so we have lunch while walking the dogs.

After Andre demonstrates the mystical art of untangling a paraglider and attaching it to the harness, before moving on to forward and reverse launch techniques. The weather is perfect for the day one training schedule, a little overcast, but not too hot. Nevertheless both students get a fairly good work out as they hone their ground handling skills on the field. Vladimir is already an experienced paraglider pilot with several hundred hours of air time so he is just getting familiar with his new wing. Russell picks it up really quickly and manages to inflate the wing successfully and run with it above his head within minutes. His technique is a bit sloppy, but he gets it in the air and keeps it there. It will just be a matter of practice now.

Doron and Hamid arrive at the field and Hamid scares the pants off of us all later as he sets up an approach to land DOWNWIND! Andre quickly radios him to climb higher and try again. Hamid had not realized that he was traveling at about 50km/hr a few feet above the ground and was preparing to get out of the seat. He had failed to notice that the wind had shifted nearly 180 degrees since his take off and was simply setting up to land in the same direction that he took off.

Once that excitement was over Doron had an opportunity to entertain us. With some trike flights under his belt, Doron was now keen to attempt a foot launch. Despite the constant reminders and video footage to persuade students not to sit down to early, Doron perfected the technique perfectly, lifting his legs and landing on the cage. I now have another example to share wit students, demonstrating what not to do. Thanks Doron. He then proceeded to do it again. Luckily our sturdy Walkerjets are up to the beating so no harm done and he had another try. Eventually he was in the air, but he still has a tendency to lift those legs a little prematurely. This is something that will need work on before he develops bad habits.

With nothing to fix and some successful flights completed we wrapped up the day and made plans for Sunday. It's a hard job but someone has to do it!

Aug 19/07           Quick flight before day 2 of PPG course Aug 18, 2007

  • Plan: Fly over Niagara Falls and take some pics. 
  • Execution: Done. 
  • Interesting bits: 

Got chased by helicopter and chased small hawk. Landed with plane doing inverted dives, upside down flying, spins, stalls etc over our field.... Scary... Mark getting spooked by the acrobatic plane and stumbling pretty bad on landing.... Future student Paul signed up for our Sep 22 course asking Mark if it is his first week...All together 1 lovely hour in the air. 


Aug 18/07           PPG course Aug 18 - Day 1

2 students. Vladimir from Russia and Russell from UK. Vladimir with 10 yrs of PG experience in Siberian, Altai mountains and 2 PPG flights 5 yrs ago. Russell with hangliding and sail plane experience.  Ground school in the morning as usual. Great conditions at the field. Vladimir was ready to fly once he switched from his own glider that kept falling back to one of ours. Russell learned a lot about kiting but had to cut the day short as he had to get up at 4 am to be at Peaks by 8 am. He did pick it up quite nicely. Doron and Hamid also came planning to fly more. After I tested air Hamid was first to take off. He had flawless forward inflation and an awesome take off. He reported some scary bumpy air though. Mark re-tested the air and deemed it OK to fly so Vladimir took off. Both his take off and landing was 10 out of 10. The 10 yrs of PG experience really helps. Doron was next. At 50 yrs old (happy birthday BTW) he is one strong man. He had no problem handling the machine on his back what so ever. We rarely see that. On his first and second attempt he sat down to quickly and on his 3 rd try finally go in the air. Good flight and OK landing. The Vladimir executed another perfect flight, all was 100 %. No problems. Then Doron tried again. Another attempt to sit down too early, then next try that was successful. After short flight, better landing. Then flight # 3. This time no attempt to sit down early but in process Doron forgot to control direction of launch run and took of almost down wind and pretty high speed. Got lucky this time but we do not want to see that again. Understood Doron? Very successful day with Hamid adding foot launched flight, Doron 3 and Vladimir 2. Normally we would go for beer as anyone who does first PPG flight with us must buy pitcher of beer but I was dogsiting friend's dog that was trying to eat my dog so I needed to go home to make sure that it does not happen.

Vladimir and Russell Doron


Aug 17/07           Busy

Hi all. This is just short update to let you know what is going on. Last 5 weeks were extremely busy for me. We are renovating and expanding Peaks, there was bunch of orders for single and double trikes, some warranty repair issues and lots of people trying to get bunch of parts ASAP. With more students and more machines sold, there is more and more people calling on me with urgent issues, semi urgent issues or just to chat. Lately, I have not had time to call some people with less or not important issues back as I simply lack time. Also my email responses were pretty simple and short. I am not ignoring you. I simply have to prioritize. Also, it has been pretty busy for me personally with bunch of things happening for example a new puppy called Jazz that is taking some of my time and 3 funerals that I had to go to in last 10 days.  Once things settle a bit I will be responding to calls and emails as well as usual.

Aug 9/07    Video from Rimouski

Rimouski PPG grounds Mark high Andre low

We arrived at Rimouski in the late afternoon on Friday. The wind was still too strong for a good flight, so we unpacked our stuff and set up camp. As soon as it had died down a bit every pilot was soon ready to launch. I fly the orange and yellow Fides 2...

Aug 7/07    Rimouski Fly-in.

Well, I was hesitating to post report from our trip to Fly-in in Rimouski as one of our past students, now quite experienced pilot, had pretty bad crash. I wanted to first figure out what happened, so I can explain to all how to avoid this in future. After conversation with Csaba today I know what happened and how to prevent it. See explanation at the end of this article. 

Rimouski Fly-in - story by Mark.

It seemed like a long way to go for the weekend, but Andre and I decided to bite the bullet and make the thirteen hour drive to Rimouski for some PPG fun... Quebec style! 

Friday 27th July 2007

After a grueling 13 hour drive, split between Thursday night and Friday, we arrived at the Rimouski fly-in. Having registered with the organizers we headed off to find Frank and Joanne who had been holding a spot for us. Frank is an ex-student of ours who now runs his own PPG school in New Brunswick. Dan and Natalie were camped beside them. It was nice to see some faces we had not seen for a while. We unpacked our gear and got the tent set up before getting ready for the first flight of the weekend. It was really nice to see some new scenery; Quebec has lots of it. This was my first time outside Ontario. Even though it was still only Friday afternoon there were a good number of pilots in the air by the time we launched. We all headed upwind, making slow progress in the strong breeze. Andre was flying the small 'Fides 2' and was soon way ahead of me. I did not even try to catch up. Instead I was content to do some filming and check that all my video equipment was functioning well. We landed just before sunset. Having packed up it was time to relax with a few beers, some home made Hungarian goulash cooked by Thomas and some of Dan's super crispy fries, which are always a big hit (apparently it's the sugar water that does it. Then it was time for some fire juggling/breathing before turning in for the night.

Saturday 28th July 2007

I got a great night's sleep, having stayed in Frank and Joanne's enormous motor home. I was waiting for 7am to launch since the site guidelines indicated there was no flying until that time. By 6am one pilot had launched. I later learned that it was ok to fly as long as you did not stay near the campsite, so I grabbed a machine and got a quick flight in before breakfast. The air was damp and it started to rain at altitude, so I decided to land, have cup of tea and wait for the conditions to improve. Andre emerged much later after a bit of a drinking session with Csaba the night before. After some tea and cake for breakfast courtesy of Joanne, Frank and I assisted Arnaud and Tim with their launches. Tim went for a nice flight to the local island opposite the town of Rimouski. Mark and Stan returned from an hour or so later, but there was no sign of Tim. Then the cell phone rang. It was Tim. He had landed on the island after his engine died and needed to get a boat to pick him up, but the tide was out so he would have to wait a few hours! He later told us that he had been low flying over some slippery rocks along the shore just moments before his engine stopped. Fortunately he managed to set it down on a sandy beach. There is a lesson o be learned here...

Stan, Csaba, Mark Dean and I decided to go for a flight to the island to see if we could torment Tim! This time I left my wing behind and flew the small 'Fides 2', so that I would be able to keep up. Heavily loaded, it flies like a torpedo compared to my wing. Csaba and Stan were really pushing their luck as they made their way to the island with very little altitude. I was not too confident with how my machine was running and stayed nice and high until I was within easy glide of solid land. Csaba, Mark Dean and Stan were having a great time flying really low along the beach, but I did not dare to join them since my engine was sputtering at low revs. I remained high and did some filming. The results are quite steady since the air from the water was blowing in really smoothly. I'll post the video on the website as soon as I get time to edit the footage. Anyway, we headed back to the mainland and landed, since the air was getting damper and we knew there was rain in the forecast. I managed to squeeze in a quick flight wearing the gorilla suit before the rain arrived. An hour later Tim arrived, wet and weary after his little adventure, hopefully a little wiser after nearly landing on the slippery rocks. We sat out the rain for a few hours and then it was Csaba's turn for a little excitement. The ground was still wet from the rain shower, but a few pilots were taking off again. Csaba took off, made a right hand turn and realizing he was pretty low near the crowd pulled a hard right again. This was at slow speed. There was an almighty thwack as one half of his wing stalled he dropped into the ground and his prop smacked into the ground and he cage. People were running to the field as Csaba lay motionless, in the tangled wreckage that was recently a paramotor. For a few tense moments everyone was very concerned, but with paramedics stationed at the event he was in good hands. Video. It was clear that he was in pain, but just what was the damage? In typical Csaba style, and with just a hint of bravado, he lit up a cigarette and asked his concerned wife to fetch him a beer! At this point he was sitting up with a crowd of onlookers staring at the scene. He was adamant that he did not want to go to hospital. We packed up his wing, salvaged the remains of his paramotor and carried him off the field and tried to convince him that he really should go to the hospital to get checked out. He assured us he would, once he was back in Toronto. Later that evening we learned that someone had caught the action with their camera phone. The resolution was pretty low as we watched the action on a borrowed laptop, but we could all clearly see what how it happened. It was time for some hearty food, courtesy of the organizers and of course one or two beers to end a very eventful day.

Csaba's crash -

Sunday 29th July

The morning was clear, but the ground was soaked, perfect conditions to put my forward launch skills to the test. I was a little disappointed being the second pilot to launch on Saturday morning, so before most people were even awake I was lugging the machine out to the far end of the field. I used the propeller to 'blow dry' a small area for the wing, then set out the glider. It was a long run before take off, but the gently sloping field sure did help. Having grabbed the first flight of the day I soon landed, we intended to leave early in order to get home before midnight. We had a long drive ahead of us. That was the plan, but we decided to stick around to film the 'mass fly', where they attempted to get every pilot in the air at the same time. One after another pilots launched and joined the circuit. I got the aerial footage, landed and packed up. We said our goodbyes and began our long drive back home, leaving just before noon and finally arriving home after midnight. Great flying, great people, not so great drive... definitely be there next year.

Pictures here:

So what happened to Csaba?

Csaba learned PPG using Atis glider by Sky paragliders. This is DHV 1-2 glider that is quite agile and great all around glider. After 2 yrs of flying Csaba purchased Eden 3 by Mac Para another very good glider. This glider has trims on both D risers that shorten D risers by as much as couple of inches. The neutral (trim) position is with trim released where the glider will fly 38 kmh. If both trims are pulled in the glider is flying at minimum speed, somewhere around 20 - 22 kmh. With such slow air speed any aggressive break input or sudden increase of power combined with gust of wind can slow glider to a point when it stalls. Either symmetrically or asymmetrically. In Csaba's case, the glider was trimmed to minimum speed on both left and right risers and aggressive brake input on left side (when Csaba got boxed in with row of spectators and trailers) stalled left side of his glider. The result was crash as you see on video. Luckily Csaba was flying Walkerjet and frame absorbed majority of impact. In fact Csaba did not suffer any injury beyond strained and very sore foot.

What do I learn from this? 

Always be aware of what the neutral (trim) setting is on glider that you are about to fly. There are 2 types of trims on paragliders. 

One type will release (lengthen) D risers and works as a speed system. This can be used symmetrically on both risers but increases possibility of frontal collapse. This type of trim will increase air speed from average 36 km/h to as much as 48 - 52 kmh. Use only in calm air with some height to spare. We can also use this trim system to counter react the torque. In that case only one trim would be released. Always the one on the side where paramotor wants to turn with torque.

The other type of trims will shorten D risers so in fact it is like holding brakes way down and steering from there. This type of speed system should only be used on ONE RISER ONLY to counter react the torque of the engine. This type of trim should never be used symmetrically such as slowing the glider down for easier no wind take off or landing. This type of trim will decrease air speed from average 36 - 38 km/h km/h to as low as 20 - 22 kmh. This is exactly what Csaba did and after applying aggressive brake he stalled the left side of his glider. 

Be careful!  Andre

July 24/06    This is how s#*&t happens... story by Elton


After 2 years of flying my ppg I've finally had the first crash. This was due to some "interesting circumstances". I'll list in order of importance.

  • 1. The field 
  • 2. Tension/tired 
  • 3. Judgment 
  • 4. A$$hole spectator spectacular 
  • 5. Judgment (on part of spectator)

Field: The field I fly from is decent. It's a hayfield which is part of a full section of land. A mile square, with power lines on one side. So you can go to one end or the other, and even do cross field take-offs and landings, knowing you have a full mile in any direction to put down in case of emergency. The full section is divided into four hayfields, and the owner of the fields, Jim, is a fantastic gentleman. He will always cut the hay in rotation, each month, thereby ensuring I always have a short stubble to take-off and land from. All he asks is that I let him know if I'll be having anyone else out with me, and that they sign the waiver we both drew up. I give him a couple of bottles of wine each year, and have his wife and kids over with mine for supper. I also take the time to show his kids the equipment, and have them out to watch the occasional flights. A great arrangement. The only problem with the field is that there is a small highway under the power lines, and it is here that I came to grief.

Tension/Tired: My wife and I went to the Harry Potter book release and ended up staying out past 1:00 am. I got up at 6:30 am and went out to the field. I need 7 hours of sleep, or I'm a write off. It's been raining for the past two weeks here, so there was no way I was going to miss the one day that it was bright and sunny in the morning with a nice 8kmh breeze, perfect flying weather.

Judgment: Should have stayed in bed for another 2 hours. Would have avoided this whole debacle.

A@@spectator: This was the crux of the whole disaster. I had just finished hooking up my wing, had the engine started. So pretty much deaf to the world. Didn't see any spectators when I had looked back at the road. I had my back to the road and power lines, doing a corner to corner takeoff from the field. I do have quite a bit of torque steering on my machine. No big deal, I let it bring me around to the right, and by the time I'm heading back to the power lines, I'm a few hundred feet high. Cross over and back into open fields on the other side, just in case of power problems. Going over all the problems in my head, making sure I have all of my alternates and outs planned, so no hesitation if I need them. Ready. Look back, see that wing is even, and A's tensioned properly, begin nice slow pull-up to overhead, looks nice, slowly add some power, then a little more. Everything is getting light, canopy is flying solid, pull a little brake, let wing lift me up and accelerate, start to pull a little more brake to begin climbing. WHAT THE F***, Silver SUV beside me with guys yelling and waving and I start to torque towards them, I'm only 8 or 9 feet high, and moving at 25-30 kmh. I had no choice, I pull hard left, stall the wing and pull as much brake as I can to soften the impact and slow down. It worked, I hit, bounced of the bottom of the WJ frame, and rolled over onto the cage, slid about 8 feet. Trashed my frame and prop, but was able to get up, albeit very slowly, since my back had a few severely pulled muscles. Cut knee and face, hay stubble is not forgiving at speed, and shredded my flying suit. Overall, not to bad an outcome for what could have been much worse. I go over it in my head, and if I would have pulled more brake, and tried to clear these yahoos, I may have stalled and fell from an even higher height, or may have not cleared, and hit a 3800lb SUV, at 30-35 km. Probably would not survive, or at least not in one piece. My erstwhile admirers, didn't even slow down... Watched me impact and slide while not even trying to stop and see if I was all right. They took off. I think they knew they would be deep in "Merde" to phrase the French. Luckily for me, Jim was parked across in the next field, beside the road. He saw it all, since he too wanted to watch my takeoff. He got the license plate as the A$$holes sped past him onto the field. He was merely going to get the cops to go after them for trespassing, he then called after this accident, and the driver is now facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident. He rushed over as soon as he saw me impact, and called 911 in the minute it took him to reach me. Of course, it was OK, I was already starting to try and get up, little hard with all the gear stuck on you, and a back that feels like its being danced on by 250lb blonde Swedish masseuse, and not an ounce of fat on her. I did get up though, and after a quick check up by the paramedics, was pronounced fit to go home, with all my assorted "pieces" of gear in tow. I now have the unenviable task of rebuilding my machine. Oh well, out comes the Skybolt. I'll be flying it for the rest of summer.

Spectator Judgment: He to should have not gotten out of bed this morning. The police called me tonight and told me his excuse for coming out on the field was to get a "better look". The cop asked him if he was trying to look at my nose hair, since he was pretty much close enough. He is now looking at a 3500 CDN fine, and must write a letter of apology to the pilot he so brazenly endangered. His reply, quoted verbatim from the interviewing officer, "that F***ing C**t shouldn't have been flying near a public road, he should have been at an airport. The cop told him that "if he had a problem with a pilot, flying legally on "PRIVATE" land, with an agreement with the owner that was in force at the time of the accident" then as a concerned citizen, he should have called the police, and let them come out to the field and talk to the pilot. Trespassing, speeding on private land, and trying to get a "better look" were not the best options.

Oh well, it's over, I'll be getting a letter of apology, the spectator gets 3500 beans lighter, and my insurance company may be going after him for damage to me and my machine. The police asked if I wanted to press charges, but it won't help the sport by bringing something like this to light. So I've decided to let it go at what it's at. This isn't to hear what everyone else thinks would have worked better, it's merely to share one of my first "milestones".


July 24/06    Port Dover ad.



July 23/06    PPG course July 21, 2007 - Day two both Doron and Said manage first trike flight.


Doron sent me this note that he emailed his wife late last night....Very nice!


-----Original Message-----
From: Doron Dekel
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 2:00 AM
Subject: Flight


So I had my first solo flight, and it was...awesome.

I revved up the engine and was airborne 5 seconds later. Squeezing the throttle, I started climbing up, making a wide turn over a forest. At first, I held on to the controls very tight, all my muscles tense, focusing completely on making the turn and continuing the climb. A short while later I was above the QEW, seeing the miniature cars racing a hundred meters below my feet. The sun was setting, painting the sky and the earth with a rainbow of warm colors and illuminating the moon just ahead of me. Rising further, I could see Lake Erie ahead, flowing to my left into the Niagara river, which disappeared in a cloud of spray at Niagara falls behind me.

Suddenly, it dawned on me just how surreal this is. I am just sitting there in the middle of the sky in a comfortable chair with nothing around me but air, looking at the world as if I sat on top of a high mountain that wasn't there. It was simply mind blowing.

I came down to a perfect landing, stopping right in front of the instructor who said it was as perfect a first solo as they've ever seen. I asked him how long I was up there, and he said "about 20 minutes". This took me by complete surprise, since it felt like 3-5 minutes at most.

I'm hooked.



July 23/06      PPG course July 21, 2007 - Day one ground school, kiting and trike taxiing.


  Text and pictures by Mark.


July 23/06      Video from Hamid's second flight



July 22/06      Video from our Wednesday flight - see news July 20, 2007



July 22/06      PPG course July 21, 2007 - Day one ground school, kiting and trike taxiing.


Students Doron and Said. 


  Start of the day    Finish of the day...



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