Social Media Excerpts

There have always been guys who learn PPG without paying an instructor and many of them are excellent pilots. If you study hard and have a mentor it’s very doable. Personally, I prefer seeing a guy get a syllabus and and instructor but it’s their life.

Nevertheless, there is currently a movement in the sport promoting self training. There are a couple of groups on Facebook like “PARAMOTOR SELF TRAINED” and PARAMOTOR NEWBIES, where these guys swarm and share wisdom. I admit that I visit these sites and wonder at our future.

You have to love it. Where is Paul Anthem when you need him?

Test Pilot Guy

I have never flown, but I am at the beginning of what may be a year or longer process of achieving that goal. To me, PPG seems like a safe thing. Engine out, as long as you have altitude and always have a place in mind for a landing, shouldn’t be too dangerous. Reserve chute, in case, etc. As far as safety, seems like all bases are covered.

So, I’m curious. Those of you that have had an accident, either major or minor, what do you attribute the cause to be?

I’m trying to see if the majority of bad stories are created from bad judgement, complacency, over confidence, surprise obstacles, things beyond your control (sudden weather/thermals) or just plain equipment failure.

Macho Man

Pilot error for me. One of my first flights I underestimated my fuel requirements and ran out when I was about 50 feet above an open field. I instinctively jumped out of my seat and landed it like a boss. The only good thing that came out of that incident was proof I could react to a bad situation with a calm head. I don’t think I could have pulled that stand up landing off if it wasn’t for prior skydiving experience. From the time the engine cut out to the time I was on the ground wondering what the hell happened was about 20 seconds. It was pretty embarrassing explaining to the Uber driver what happened.

Epic X-Country

Port Charlotte to Lake Wales

Flights #995 #996

Falcon 4 stroke APCO LIFT EZ. LG. 31

Miles logged 85.1

Time. 2 hours 37 minutes

1000 feet

Ave 31 mph

Trimmers in neutral

It was Mike Lange’s birthday last week and the crew got together to celebrate. After dinner we were sitting around the dining table and, as usual, the topic of cross country came up,and as usual, it was Port Charlotte to Lake Wales. However, unlike every other time, it came to pass.

Bob was the key. Early in the week someone posted about flying and I came back, Friday morning. Nothing came from it until Thursday afternoon when I got a message from Mike L, “Looks like we’re going to make that flight tomorrow!”. For the rest of the day the texts and messages were flying. We crammed 3 months of musing into half a day. Routes, logistics, misgivings, reassurances all the typical issues were brought up and handled. At 10:00pm, just as the texts were starting to slow down, I was ready.

At 4:45 the alarm went off. I went through the usual rituals and hit the road. Then everything went to hell. We were to meet at the Orlando LZ and I got lost. Nothing looked right. I turned on Orlando and drove right past the LZ. When I realized I missed it I texted Mike and he said they were launching from Yorkshire instead. Yorkshire?, Yorkshire? I knew I’d flown from there recently but I couldn’t for the life of me, remember where it was. I was fishing on the nav app trying to figure it out when I got a text from Mike that they were going back to Orlando. I’d just been there so I pulled a u-turn and after 5 minutes of driving around and once pulling within 500 feet of the gang and turning around again, we finally hooked up. Luckily we planned the meet a little early and it was still nautical twilight.

Bob the Pilot Harrison says it best.

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Adventure flight #1

Mike Lange and Otten hv bn wanting to fly a x/c for a while. Well all the gears aligned for a North Port to Lake Wales flight via Avon Park Wally World for a slushie of all things.

We all gathered at Mike Lange’s house to reconfigure the chase vehicle. Meeting Joe at the LZ for a 06:45 departure.

Except for departing at sea level, it was a maximum effort takeoff having calm winds, high humidity/Temp and heavily laden with fuel, energy drinks and granola bars. Mike Otten kited my wing up nicely with a longer run than usual, then foot dragged half a football field mowing a new path in an already mowed grass median, eventually easing into the air. We weren’t sure if he was going achieve positive rate for gear up or a high speed face plant. Mike Lange and Joe Onofrio kited their wings into lifting position and were off with a bit longer runs.

I had programed road crossings into my GPSTest app for course monitoring. Was a bit of a challenge to keep up utilizing back country roads.

The Wally World stop was like adding an exclamation point to the adventure for Mike and Mike, I think Joe is still scratching his head. 😉 It was an open mowed lot with low obstructions for normal takeoffs. We used the philosophy of asking for forgiveness rather than permission, we used neither, so we’ll save it for next time.

On takeoff Mike Lange let the fast inflating Hadron XX get ahead of him, experiencing a 1/3 collapse, he kept the flying side straight while the other reinflated, throttled up and liftoff. Joe’s wing had a little waddle to it in the beginning. He straightened it out in taxi and throttled up.

Mike Otten controlled the wing nicely but didn’t have a normal takeoff. After mowing another path through already mowed grass, he had to add heavy right brake to counter a sharp left turn after liftoff while navigating between two oak trees a light pole while NOT stalling a strange wing. That took a level head and skill. Once through the obstructions he circled around to the left for another landing.

Mike was flying my APCO Lift and forgot to clear the four control lines or verify their proper connections. The L/Tip steer toggle was either wrapped around the risers or snapped into the brake snap causing an aggravated left turn.

Mike lange and Joe Onofrio were in a holding pattern until the event was over. I must say using radio communications, keeps everyone in the loop for changes and normal decision making.

The rest of the flight was a non event. They landed with fuel to spare at the AviatorPPG facilities located on Lake Wales airport. Jon allowed us vehicle access to load gear. After which we shop talked over lunch at the Depot restaurant downtown Avon Park before heading home.

Looking forward to the next cross country flight.

Bob the Chase Pilot

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I’m afraid that my 1000th flight is probably going to be a let down. The last three flights have been fantastic! The weather has been remarkably cooperative. I look forward to the winter sun and longer flight windows.

Above solar farm … Below our pit stop LZ

Placida #994

This was a friggin great flight n all respects. I launched a little before the sunrise and climbed to 2600ft. The sunrise was good but the best part was me flying south and watching the boomers. They were a pretty pale pink and in a heartbeat as the sun crested the horizon they turned orange. It was fantastic. I saw the color change and immediately turned my head toward the East and there was a brilliant orange sliver of sun burning brightly.

Staying at 2500ft I flew over Gasparilla causeway and north to Stump Pass. The Return was South East over Rotunda and much quicker than I imagined. This flight was all about the photos.
Here are the numbers and some nice photos.

Placida 993

First launch was aborted when I feared that a line had been cut. First, I heard the distinctive click of a line being cut and when I pulled some left break there was no pressure, so I killed the motor. Turned out to be nothing. Second launch was fine except that at 500 feet I could see rain west of Gasparilla Island moving my way. It was not huge and I hoped it would move off to the North but when I saw a powerful wind line form on the Intercoastal Waterway, it was apparent that I was in the path of the precipitation. So…. I turned back and landed without incident. On the surface the wind was picking up and a nice rainbow had formed by the Marina. I could probably have stayed up longer because when I was pulling away from the LZ, the rain had not yet arrived but there was nothing to be gained by staying in the air and daring it to get me. It's all good.

My Heart was Pounding

The following is a totally fictional log entry. The photos are stock images.
Night flights are against FAA Regulations.

Flight 992.
It would have been great if this had been #1000 but today was the day.
I’d been wanting to do this for as long as I can remember.

Last night the moon was full, the skies were clear and at 3:00am it was 75 degrees. The wind was 4 mph from the East. I set up on the freshly blacktopped road. It was a bit of a trick to clear the lines. Even with a full moon I couldn’t follow them all the way back to the wing to make sure they weren’t crossed and I was doubly surprised when I found one wrapped around the wing while squaring up and folding the tips.

I pre-flighted the rig, mounted the iPad and turned on the Garmin. Everything was done. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything to keep me from sitting down and buckling up. So I did. My left brake was in my hand and all I had to do was turn the key to start the motor. I was launching to the East the moon was at my back and looking down the runway it was pitch black. The runway was clear but if I was forced to either side, I would have to abort or risk catching one of the Stop signs, 200 feet ahead of me.

It was time, but …. My heart was pounding. I released brake and forced myself to relax. It didn’t take long. It was maybe 30 seconds, when I reached for the left brake, turned the key and started the inflation. The wing came up clean and I knew it was going to be good, the trike was accelerating nicely right down the center of the road. I didn’t need to mash the throttle or pump the brake, it was a clean launch.

I stayed on an easterly course while climbing over the pond south of the RC Airpark. It was exhilarating to see the lights of Punta Gorda across Charlotte Harbor. I started a slow right hand turn and there was the Gulf with that big beautiful moon reflecting back at me. Looking down at the field I could make out the roads but not as clearly as I expected. I knew where the truck was but it was only visible from the west. Worse case, I could navigate back to the launch and that was reassuring.

IMG_6084Photos.appfullsizeoutput_2151IMG_6104fullsizeoutput_2187

For the next hour I did laps around the meadows. Going as far west as Gasparilla Marina and back to the Rim Canal. I watched the eastern sky lighten and a few little clouds float across the Harbor. The views were amazing. To the west was Boca Grande, the Gasparilla Causeway and Stump pass. The lights of the Marina and jet port were convenient landmarks, the moonlight reflecting off the gulf outlined the coast and at first light I began to see the details of Cape Haze. To the East was the Myakka and Peace rivers and South was Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island. I’ve flown from Placida dozens of time but this was special.
After the sun was clearly above the horizon I descended from 1800ft and landed without drama.
Cheated Death Again!


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/229064799″>Full Moon Night Flight</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/joeonofrio”>Joe Onofrio</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Placida 991

Crosswind launch was a bit spicy. I laid out in the intersection and had to turn crosswind down the runway almost immediately . My rear right wheel lifted whilst in that turn. It did come back down before taking off but only for a very brief touch. I suspect that I started the turn before the wing had fully inflated and for a short time the wing and I were going in different directions . :). The landing was a little sloppy too.

Paul and Alvaro showed up to practice kiting. Paul s getting it and Alvaro is ready to fly. I guess Alvaro got a short flight the other day but it was a straight forward launch and land. He is ready and hopefully Bob will be there when he does.

990 Placida

Nice…. Flew to 6000 and explored a sector South and West of the Rotunda. Takeoff was terrible. The wing and trike didn't want to fly straight down the runway and I had to steer around a couple of stop signs, deep in the brakes, before I could begin to climb out. I had a similar experience earlier this week, it was not as spicy as this morning but I'm going to have to figure it out before it becomes a bad habit. The GoPros didn't perform well with the existing light. Everything is washed out. The Hero+ did better but not great.


There was a huge temperature inversion and several layers of bumps.  One at 300 ft and another at 2500 and 3700, at 6000 it was smooth.