21st thru 33rd

9/4/06 #21
The morningof the wet wing… Strange takeoff “Lift no Lift” run out.

9/06/06 #22 Great Flight …Saw one man personal Balloon by the Swim beach… going farther afield

9/12/06 Incident with equipment damage

The whole fam damily showed up to watch a flight and I blew it when I got a wrap around the left hand and fell on takeoff. The wing came up good but started to turn during the run. I popped up briefly but came down immediately on my left side, breaking equipment and injuring my knee and wrist.

#23 9/25/06 Most Excellent Flight!
Got video of the whole thing…Including John Sieb’s exploding “cheap Mexican” propeller.

this was a milestone flight. My first long flight in Denver with another pilot. The DVD is the best video yet.

#24 9/28/06 Lots of People some didn’t fly. Sunset with layers of cold air mixing and causing bumps

#25 10/06/06 Short lap and landing after noticing a half twist in the risers

#26 10/13/06 Flew till out of gas . Pulled lots of break with no power and experienced quick turn and rapid decent Poor landing

#27 10/23/06 Clint Murphy was observing from home field…great to see him
Tweaked knee on run out

#28 11/03/06 Short flight Perfect takeoff and landing..Some virga scared me down…using knee brace all the time. video of landing is good and later ended up on my Ipod.

#29 11/8/06 Good flight …Broke exhaust bracket…exhaust was clipping prop.

#30 11/19/06 So So flight butt landing

#31 11/22/06 High winds Experienced extreme crabbing of the wing..Good reverse good landing

#32 11/25/06 Good long flight

#33 11/26/06 2nd Annual Birthday flight

Death of Barton George

No Fly Day 12/08/06 Rookie mistake… Jumped into sky …Broke prop and bent Frame…This was the end of my first season. It would be a long time till I flew again.

Barton George is Killed in Mid Air Collision

Report on Barton’s Incident


From Bubba:
No one will ever really know exactly what happened the day Barton died. There will be a report posted on the USPPA site. But, here, after much discussion by those of us that were there, think happened.It took two simultaneous mistakes for this accident to happen. Both pilots were in the pattern. One pilot was trying to adjust his radio to find the right channel for the clinic instructor. Someone had given him the wrong channel to monitor. The other pilot simply turned onto his base leg without clearing first. If either pilot had been alert, this tragedy never would have happened. The higher pilot looked up from his radio equipment to late and found the other’s wing in his lap. He pushed the wing off his lap and then pushed the remaining lines off, hoping that the lower pilot’s wing would re-inflate as it fell. There was enough altitude for this to happen. Unfortunately, when the lower pilot fell free, he fell backward into his wing. As he did, he pulled full throttle and ate his wing and fell to his death. The other pilot, fortunately, recovered and landed.In the 14 years that this sport had been in North America, only one other major mid-air collision has been reported and both pilots survived with minor injuries. That’s a pretty good record when you compare hang gliding, free flight paragliding and other ultralight sports. PPG is still the safest way to take to the air. So safe, in fact, that it appears we may have become complacent.This should be a serious wake up call for all of us. First, always be aware of the air space around you. Above, below and to both sides. If you need to remove your hands from the toggles to perform some task, first check the air space. You may need to fly away to a clear area first. Never do this in the pattern. Second, always clear the air in the direction you intend to turn before you do.

USPPA Incident Report

General Information:
Fatal Midair Collision
Date: 10/09/2006Time: 0800
Location: Albuquerque, NMPilot
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Pilot weight (without motor): 150 US Pounds
Rating: None Experience: Less Than 10 Hours Solo
Incident: Collision with Other Aircraft/Ultralight Primary
Cause: Pilot Error
Inflight Contributing Distractions: Radio Transmission
Windspeed: Light (Less than 5 MPH)
Wind Type: Variable Thermal Conditions: Light (Less than 300 FPM)
Visibility: 6+
Surface: Dirt or Small Rocks
Terrain: Flat Site Elevation: 5300 (feet above sea level)Phase of Flight: Cruise Purpose of Safety Gear Used: Helmet
Communications: Two-way Radio w/ Helmet Mike & PTT
Damage to Pilot’s Equipment: Severe (Greater than 20% of New Price) Wing: DHV 1Motor: n/r
Injury InformationPilot: Fatal

Narrative: While flying a morning session of practice and general familiarity, a collision occured between two powered paraglider pilots. Pilot Y was flying a yellow wing in an east direction, climbing slowly and in a shallow turn to the right. Pilot B was flying a blue wing in an east-southeast direction, straight and level. Pilot Y was to the North (left of) pilot B and they converged on a generally southeast course. They were about a half-mile from the field, east of the pattern in use, and heading away from the field. Pilot B says that he looked around then looked down to change radio frequencies and when he looked back up he was upon the yellow wing which was turning towards him. The middle of the yellow wing hit his feet and tangled in pilot B’s body/motor. The yellow wing hung up, slowing him down and causing the blue wing to surge forward. Pilot B emerged headed down steeply, pulled the brakes hard to recover from the dive at about 50 feet. The force pulled Pilot Y’s wing sideways forces which likely whipped pilot Y upward and sideways, causing him to fall into his wing. He hit the ground from this condition, wrapped up in the wing. Pilot B landed immediately, essentially unhurt. Others arrived soon after to administer CPR but Pilot Y could not be revived.

No one will ever really know exactly what happened the day Barton died. There will be a report posted on the USPPA site. But, here, after much discussion by those of us that were there, think happened.It took two simultaneous mistakes for this accident to happen. Both pilots were in the pattern. One pilot was trying to adjust his radio to find the right channel for the clinic instructor. Someone had given him the wrong channel to monitor. The other pilot simply turned onto his base leg without clearing first. If either pilot had been alert, this tragedy never would have happened. The lower pilot looked up too late and found the other’s wing in his lap. He pushed the wing off his lap and then pushed the remaining lines off, hoping that the lower pilot’s wing would re-inflate as it fell. There was enough altitude for this to happen. Unfortunately, when the lower pilot fell free, he fell backward into his wing. As he did, he pulled full throttle and ate his wing and fell to his death. The other pilot, fortunately, recovered and landed.In the 14 years that this sport had been in North America, only one other major mid-air collision has been reported and both pilots survived with minor injuries. That’s a pretty good record when you compare hang gliding, free flight paragliding and other ultralight sports. PPG is still the safest way to take to the air. So safe, in fact, that it appears we may have become complacent.This should be a serious wake up call for all of us. First, always be aware of the air space around you. Above, below and to both sides. If you need to remove your hands from the toggles to perform some task, first check the air space. You may need to fly away to a clear area first. Never do this in the pattern. Second, always clear the air in the direction you intend to turn before you do.

8th & 9th At the Sea

8th & 9th Flights
2/12/06

It was a perfect launch and a perfect landing! This was the best flight so far! And I think it was because of an equipment breakthrough. After the last flight I adjusted the harness so that the motor rode higher and closer. The shoulder straps are now a lot tighter and the sternum strap is looser. The new set-up allows me to run in a more upright position which made the launch a lot easer! Once in the air I felt a bit constricted but I could certainly loosen it or live with it. The important thing was I was running more upright which used the thrust better and allowed me to glance at the wing to make sure it was flying straight.
I flew north along the coastline at 1600 feet, until I was over the “rebel” camp of Mo Shelton and his entourage. After awhile I was feeling so good that I took a wild ass chance and used my mirror to check fuel level and I even took a few pictures. Then I climbed to 2800 feet and tried some ¾ power turns. What a rush! It didn’t take much brake to get into a mild bank, and for the first time I felt an increase in gravity. I doubt it was more than half a g but it got my attention…and I liked it!

Number nine was just a quick victory lap. I should have stayed up longer but I was worried that I would run out of gas and I didn’t want to do a dead stick landing. I climbed out, flew over the dome then turned left and followed the beach for about a mile then turned left again and headed back. I kept the power up and climbed all the way back to the LZ and was at 2500 feet when the LZ was right below me. I let the motor have just enough power to engage the clutch and keep the propeller spinning, then I did “S” turns and 360’s for a long time while I descended. This time I made sure to have my legs in position and did a neat little two step landing. I was a great way to end the last flight of my first Fly-in.

It was absolutely beautiful when we left. The air was dead still and the sun had just set. The last bit of twilight was painting the mountains purple, and there was a full moon reflecting off the sea. I marveled at how different the place had become in just a few hours. Where before, there had been the cacophony of dozens of paramotors, now you could hear the occasional sea bird. The crowd was gone and with it went all the furious energy that had driven the event. Everybody was moving slower, strolling instead of trotting. In the air was the silhouette of one last pilot who had gone up for a final flight. I listened to his motor wrap-up as he climbed out over the sea and then drop in pitch when he would glide back toward shore, then power up and out to sea again. I enjoyed his solitary flight for ½ hour. He was really quite good, doing all kinds of maneuvers, which would not have been tolerated when the sky was crowded.
He did wingovers and spirals and a move I had never seen before. The pilot would thrust forward and at the peak of the swing kill the power causing the wing to surge forward and dive. I kept expecting to see the leading edge of the wing collapse but he displayed fine control knowing just when to add a little brake and he consistently pulled out of the dive cleanly with a minimum of pendulum effect. He was still playing in the moonlight when Doug came by to pick me up.

Learn from the mistakes of others.
You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself.

The Paratoys Fly-In had been great. I doubled my flights, saw lots of different equipment, and even witnessed some honest to god incidents. The first was Doug who tried to take off in terrain that was too rough and obstructed for a trike. It was amazing how fast the trike swung around when he got caught by a small pinion tree. And there were a couple of other trike incidents, one was a guy who rolled his trike when he insisted on taking off with his wing oscillating forty-five degrees. Fortunently there were no injuries and it was certainly a well-built trike because he was able to crawl out from under, reset the wing and launch. Another trike incident was a guy who was taxiing off the field with his wing bunched up with him in the trike, a loose line got caught in the prop and sucked the wing right out of his lap. He broke the prop and parablended his wing.
I also saw a couple of classic mistakes that led to injuries. One was a fellow who didn’t check his carburetor during preflight. When he started it the motor ran up to full power and got out of control. He received a couple of pretty serious lacerations on his arm and leg. The worst injury of the weekend was a fellow who had been flying for a several years but had not often. He took off and apparently didn’t think he was climbing out fast enough. He pulled some brake to increase the climb and for some reason kept pulling brake with full thrust until the wing stalled and he dropped out of the sky from ____ft. up. Both legs were broken and I learned later that he required several surgeries and pins to rebuild his legs. The most dramatic incident I witnessed was a new pilot’s first flight. It was the last day, late in the afternoon and the guy had been training all weekend. His instructor gave him the go-ahead so he could solo before it was all over. I didn’t see the whole flight, but what happened was, he overflew the landing zone and crashed into the cab of a pickup. Just like Dave had done a couple of months earlier he lifted his legs and stuck them straight out in front just before impact. The bottom of the frame hit the cab just above the window and crumpled. Then the pilot slid across the roof and impacted the ground about 10 feet past the truck. Lots of damage to the equipment with only the motor and wing salvageable but luckily the pilot was not hurt. He sat there for quite some time and was obviously shook up but in the end …he walked away.

First Salton Sea Fly-In

Salton Sea

I’m told the Salton Sea is the largest inland body of water in California. It’s certainly one of the most toxic. They say it will eat the gel coat off a boat hull in a week and I believe it. Not good for boating or fishing, no seaside sunbathers or palatial summer homes. There is only one thing the Salton Sea is good for and that’s …Flying.

Smooth laminar off shore breezes make it one of the premiere PPG sites in America and every February, pilots from all over the world come together to attend the Paratoys Fly-In. With four flights under my belt I figured I was ready and joined up with Brian, Doug and John Sieb to convoy down for the “Big Fly-in”. I was excited to meet all the guys I’d been listening to on the Internet podcasts and looking forward to the easy takeoffs we would have in the thick air two hundred feet below sea level. The plan was to drive to Albuquerque, fly that evening, campout and fly again in the morning. Then go southwest to the meteor crater in Arizona and fly it the second night. The next day we would push on to the Salton Sea hoping to get there in time for an evening flight.

Somewhere by Pueblo we hooked up with Ranger Bo. Ranger Bo is a hoot. Six-foot plus with a perpetual grin. He wears a ‘ZZ Top’ styled beard has unruly long hair and wild man eyes. Bo radiates good will, he is the kind of guy that the first minute you meet, you just know, here is guy who will give you the shirt off his back and be a friend for life. Bo had hung up his spurs after twenty years as an army paratrooper and later as a member of the elite group called rangers. He moved to Colorado with his German bride and was planning to live the rest of his life spending his pension and enjoying himself. I liked the guy immediately.
Bo flew the Airfer which was a beautiful paramotor with lots of chrome and anodized blue aluminum and he kept it clean and polished just as you expect an ex-ranger to do. He was the first pilot I’d met with a logoed wing, his said,’ RANGER BO’, in big block letters across the bottom. Gotta love it!

The Albuquerque site was on the top of a small ridge overlooking the high desert plain with a midsize Butte about 3 miles west. When we got there Brian and Bo immediately suited up and went for a flight. The terrain was very rocky with lots of scrub, but I’d seen how Brian was able to run around or jump most of the obstructions and I figured that if I was careful so could I. Wrong…After three attempts in the light air, I had only succeeded in twisting my knee and tangling my lines. Either I stumbled and dropped to one knee or failed to get a good inflation. Try as I might, I could not get enough forward speed for take-off. I knew that if I really torqued the knee, I would be grounded for the rest of the trip, so I decided to quit and save myself for an easier launch site. My knee seemed ok but it was starting to swell and I knew I would be limping in the morning. I put on the knee brace and hoped for the best.

Doug also tried to launch but crashed his trike when he caught a line in a bush just as he started to lift off. Luckily he wasn’t hurt but; he did break a prop, cut one of the glider’s lines and shattered his airbox. He was able to splice the broken line with some scrap Bo had and get the wing flyable. The propeller wasn’t a problem because we all carried an extra prop but the airbox was totaled and his only hope was to find a replacement at the fly-in. While Doug and I were struggling on the ground Brian, John and Bo were exploring the territory and generally doing what every 12 year old boy dreams about. I’ll never forget Brian’s landing. He wanted to get in close but misjudged his approach and was about to crash into the trucks. Only by pulling some early brake and extreme athleticism at touch down was he able to pull off a two-point landing that flew him over one truck and dropped him between the two other vehicles. Of course he laughed off the whole thing but we both knew he had dodged a bullet. That night we sat in Brian’s pop up camper ate, drank and told hanger stories until it was time for bed.

High altitude and clear skies made for a very cold sunrise. Since I wasn’t going to try another launch at this site, I decided to sleep in. When I finally crawled out of the sleeping bag and went outside I was treated to a great view of a really spectacular flight. John Sieb was making an aerial assault on the Butte. Because we had camped up high on the ridge, the terrain between us and the butte was several hundred feet down and John was flying close to the ground. You could see him weaving through the sparse trees on the plain below. Sometimes he would swing around a clump of trees other times he would pop over them. I watched with envy as he approached the Butte and climbed until he was able to circle the top. What a sport, able to navigate in three dimensions, without going swimming! He had been in the air for a couple of hours when he returned and you could tell from his demeanor, that it had been a special flight. Sometimes when a pilot lands he is so excited that he can barely contain himself, often hooping and hollering is the norm. This time was a little different because John quietly gathered up his wing and packed his motor in the truck. When I asked him about it later, he looked off in the distance and just smiled. I guess you just had to be there.

The drive from Albuquerque to Meteor City Arizona took us most of the day. Meteor City itself is nothing special, a trailer park and gas station with genuine imitation Indian handicrafts made in China. The crater is not part of the State or Federal Park system so we were not allowed to approach unless we wanted to join a tour and follow their guides around. We had arrived in plenty of time for a flight so John and Brian took off and explored the area. Doug’s motor was out of commission and my knee had stiffened up so we had to content ourselves with watching and wishing. The crater is a couple of miles south of the highway, from a distance it looks like a ridge, once again nothing special. I do want to come back here and try again because the pictures John brought back were pretty cool and there is a ruin on the way out that I would like to investigate. John misjudged his fuel landing short and out of gas. I was impressed though because he recognized the problem early and while he was still out by the crater climbed to a high enough altitude that he was able to glide most of the way back toward the LZ.

It was blowing pretty hard the next morning so we didn’t waste anytime getting on the road. Several hours later we were on the final leg, approaching the Salton Sea when for no obvious reason, Doug’s truck broke down. We called for a tow and left Doug at the truck to wait, while the rest of us jumped into Brian’s rig and drove the last couple of miles to the Fly-in.
I saw the gliders off in the distance, there were dozens of them in the air, all going nowhere slowly. As soon as we had checked in, John and Brian carried their machines down to the beach and took off. I was limping pretty badly and opted to rest my knee until the next morning. That night Brian introduced me around and I wandered up to the “clubhouse” where I met Tim Russman, the photographer/videographer emeritus for Powered Paragliding. Tim is responsible for ninety percent of the PPG movies available. I had seen just about everything he had done so we had plenty to talk about. I also met Bob Peters, (a.k.a. Bubba), who had come out with his wife and a large group from the Pikes Peak PPG Club. I declined to join their sing-a-along but stayed around to enjoy the music. It was early to bed and early to rise because I was determined that the next day I would be flying!

4th Flight Crash Landing

4th Flight
Jan 6th, 2006

Even though I crashed on landing, this was the best flight so far!

Everything was going well. I took off on the first attempt and was winging around the field like I knew what I was doing. My turns were still relatively flat but I felt better about everything. There was more authority in my input and I was getting used to the routine. When I let out the trimmers I could feel a difference in the way the wing behaved. It is much crisper when you initiate a turn and it’s hard to tell at altitude but I felt faster. The whole thing was just much more comfortable than the previous flights.

Brian had me do several figure eights and then asked me to go north, turn and descend to the LZ for a low pass. I was feeling real good about the whole thing. My decent was perfect, I wasn’t going to overshoot or fall short. But…when it was time to add power and climb-out the motor started to bog down. The motor was spinning at maybe 4000RPM and I was just barely descending. I had noticed a delay to power in the past and kept hoping the Snap would start to wrap up. It didn’t and as I flew by Brian and Doug at about 10 feet I was still hoping for a burst of power, at 3 feet I lifted my legs and slid into the earth very softly. The prop was “cutting the grass” during the last couple of seconds but when I hit, something flexed and the prop struck and broke a two inch chip off the end of the blade. It‘s repairable but not for awhile. Even though it ended badly, it was a great flight.

At first I thought that the brake handle had somehow got between the lever and grip which would have prevented it from closing all the way, but the problem was with the Walbro Carburetor. If I had increased throttle gradually, I think it might have powered up just fine, but when I went from idle to full throttle very quickly, it lugged down. Eventually I learned how to tune the carb so that it would come up to power even when I mashed the throttle hard. It never did get smooth and there was still a delay, but after a short lag, I would be at full power. Another issue with the Snap 100 is that it had a very narrow power band. It would advance smoothly from idle to about 4000rpm then it would leap up to 7500 and advance smoothly again to 9200. The result was that I was either climbing like a banshee or descending. There just didn’t seem to be a cruising speed for that motor that fit my weight and wing.

Powered Paragliding…Making great small engine mechanics all across America.

A couple of days later I took the paramotor to a small engine repair in Golden that Brian had recommended. I wanted to have them check it out and adjust the carburetor. A couple of days and $125 later I picked it up, only to be told to increase throttle slowly to prevent it from lugging down. I think the guy didn’t really want paramotor business and was probably intimidated by the spinning prop. I wouldn’t be surprised if he never even fired it up. I sure couldn’t tell any difference in the way the engine ran. Obviously I wasn’t going to get any help from the lawn mower repair community so I began to research two stroke motors and their carburetion. I was able to get line drawings and owners manuals online but the best tips on tuning the Walbro card came from the PPG forums.