Flight 225 Simms

A small milestone

It’s looking allot like the end of the season and in a couple of days I’m going to have my knee repaired…So…I REALLY WANTED TO FLY TODAY. Weather Underground was predicting 15 mph NE and later NW winds. Away from the foothills and out on the plains it look better with 4 to 5 mph. I was looking for places in Aurora and trying to find the old Aurora Air Park on google and map quest and decided to drive out east and take my chances. On the way home I noticed that the wind was considerably less than predicted. I decided to try Simms and sure enough there was a very light breeze 1 to 3 mph from the ENE. Perfect !

I set up and launched at 290 degrees. The wing came up wanting to turn left and it changed my intended bearing so that I was pointing right at the truck when I took off. Fortunately it was a non event because I had marched far enough out into the field so that I would be able to clear or turn once in the air. Later I realized that I had let one trimmer out an inch before taking off which explains the cockeyed launch. Some thing must have distracted me because I know to do things like that in pairs to keep things symmetrical. Anyway, I flew trimmers out as well and in this flight I really like the firmness of the wing with the trimmers out but the mixing air got me to thinking it was better to play it safe.

The air was smooth except for a few spots. I’ve noticed that when I get into rowdy air, I have a tendency to turn away and seek clear air instead of plowing through and getting to the other side of whatever is mixing the air. It really wasn’t that bouncy but I was leery of the cut in the mountain and what could be flowing down the hill. So I turned and ran toward the home field. What I should have done was to turn 90 degrees and then when the air was good turn back to the direction I wanted.

When I was back over the field I did some low passes and apparently scared a dog who ran away from it’s owners. I didn’t know about it until I landed and met the family. Their little boy who was probably 13, approached me right away and asked if I’d seen their dog. I felt terrible when I met his mother and she said my PPG is what spooked him. I remembered flying right over the lady at maybe 30 feet. She was concealed by her truck until I was within 100 feet. I remember thinking, “That’s not Cool”, but I don’t make a practice of flying over people, it was just one of those things” …I wished it hadn’t happened and apologized sincerely. She was very cool about it and said there was no way to know that the dog was going to react that way. I think she had more warning of me than I had of her and probably would have been able to secure her dog if she had thought it was necessary. At least I hope so …

So I offered to go back up and look which she was all in favor of. The wind had shifted to the WSW and for some reason the wing hung back and came up crooked. I aborted when I started to feel it pulling.

Huh…maybe I’m finally starting to get a feel for the wing.

A breakthrough at 225 flights!

Anyway… I aborted the first attempt and when I was collecting the wing …What should come on to the IPOD that was playing random songs? ….John Blacks near fatal accident. It was just the audio but that got my attention.

I could hear the paramotor clearly in the background and the camera man was saying oh o…oh shit…. John? Well it caused me to pause and when I set up the second time Damn if the wing didn’t do the same thing coming up off to the side. I probably had room for one more attempt but the sun was getting low and I decided to call it quits. The lady still hadn’t found her dog when I pulled out. I’ll give her a call tomorrow to see what happened.

It was a nice long flight ! Over 50 minutes and if I hadn’t heard some strange sounds from the motor I would have stayed longer.
I spoke with the owner the next day and…they found the dog!

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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