Powered Paragliding … Today was a comedy of errors # 509

I was excited to be flying from my new home field which was just a few blocks from home, unfortunately the winds were light from the west, which was exactly the wrong direction.  So… I drove 1/4 mile to the mesa above and set-up amid a group of stretching joggers.  There were two wonderful runways going in the wrong direction, so I decided to launch through the field.  The surface was smooth but the weeds were high, dry and thick.  I walked the projected route and tossed the worst of the scrub out of the way. 
The wing inflated well and while the run out was rough, it seemed doable until I drove into a large tangle of weeds and branches that I had missed during the preflight.  Abort … Abort … Abort…   

The mesa just wasn’t going to be suitable unless I had the perfect wind that would let me use the running path as a runway. While loading up and rubbing a sore elbow that had been whacked by a branch, I noticed that the wind was shifting to the south.  The sun was being covered nicely by the clouds and so I decided to give the lower LZ another try.

Here is where it starts to get interesting.   The first launch was successful but I had to set down quickly when I couldn’t shake out a cravat in the wing tip.  I could have stayed up and tried to work out the tangle, but since there was a good landing zone ahead of  me, I didn’t see any reason to tempt fate.  The landing was fine and I gathered up the wing and drove the rig back to my truck.  By now the wind had shifted to SSE which was perfect for the field.  I quickly layed out the wing, hooked up to the trike and jumped into the seat.  The wing came up straight and I was powering down the field when I noticed that I had picked up the wind sock, including the 20 foot pole!  This was a first,  I’d clipped wind socks on landing but never on a launch.  Apparently the right side was a little close or had oscillated to that side because, there it was, hanging from the farthest line and looking like it wanted to go for a ride.  I wanted nothing to do with it and aborted once again.  One more time, I gathered the wing and drove back to the truck. 

I was about to set up for my 4th attempt when I noticed that one of the rear tires had gone completely flat, which had probably happened during the aborted launch in the weeds.  Enough was enough, I really wanted to fly but I was going to have to be satisfied by a short hop across a couple of fields for flight number # 509

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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