969. Shell Creek

I never thought I’d jump out of a plane but there is a time and place for everything.

Today is the birthday of my beautiful first borns.  I had to do something to celebrate….        so I flew …….like a rock.

This was under a chute but it was a tandem skydive instead of the usual PPG.  I had met my instructor, Carlos, a couple of days ago when I stopped at the field to drop off a waiver.  Actually we had been waving to each other from across the LZ for a couple of years while I  was packing up from a flight and he was opening the Skydiving Business.  Talking with him I got the idea that the best way to retain my rights at Shell Creek was to let the people get to know me.  So… I booked a jump.

Everything went off perfectly.  After a 10 minute video explaining the rights I was signing away with the waiver and a 5 minute orientation with Roy on how to exit the plane we were ready to go.  I was the first to board and sat facing back behind the pilot.  Carlos sat opposite me and two other jumpers sat by the door.  It took about 15 minutes to climb through a layer of cumulus to 13,000 ft.  The other guys exited first and Carlos and I took position at the door.  He gave me two rocking moves and on the third, we were out.  I’m not sure I had my arch just right but we stabilized quickly and he tapped my shoulder to indicate that I could release the harness and use my hands to steer.  I have to admit that I was looking at my hands, and his, more than the scenery.  It was surprisingly easy to turn just by using my hand like a rudder.  I was just about to experiment with pitching down when he pulled the chute.  

I was expecting to be jerked but the chute didn’t inflate that quickly,  in fact, Carlos had to use some brake to get one side open.  The decent was a blast.  The first thing we did was pull full brake to make sure the lines were running free.  Then we pulled some hard spirals.  I was surprised by the huge amount of pressure and length of pull required to get some response.  I could barely hold it in the full drawn position and even then I think he was helping me.  So we did a few turns.  Nothing too dramatic but I guess it was unusual for a first time jumper to go for a second and third spiral.  The landing was quick we overshot by a couple of feet and I came down gently on my butt, as requested.

On landing I was greeted by a group of 70 somethings who had obviously been jumping for years.  My response to, “How wiz it?” Was, “Its like flying a school bus!”  That got a few laughs and we chatted a bit more while we stripped off our gear.  Anne presented me with a certificate and advised me to drive carefully on the way home.

A good time was had by all… and I think there will be no problems with securing the rights to fly my rig at Shell Creek Airpark.


Last Powered Paragliding Flight at the Louisville Home Site #515

It was looking a little iffy.  There was a light breeze coming from the West.  It was just enough that I didn’t want to attempt a downwind launch.  I taxied to the other end of the field and looked at the possibility of launching into the hill.  The terrain was perfect, freshly mowed and smooth…but the breeze was coming straight off the hill and there were big trees that would have made it tough to turn right after liftoff.  It looked doable if I could maintain a good climb rate. 

I set-up and launched without a problem.  The climbout was exciting because I was just barely able to maintain enough separation from the earth to go between the trees and and climb the hill.  There was always the possibility that I would be met with some rotor at the top but the breeze was light and the top was smooth so I figured the worst would be a little sink and I was confident the Falcon could power me up.

What a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and lots of hot air balloons off to the north.  I headed North and caught some low flying balloons.  They were just barely skimming the surface and one of them set down in a back yard that wasn’t 50 foot square.  After playing with the balloons for 30 minutes I turned back and headed for home.  It was a great day to be alive.

The bad news was seeing the police cruiser waiting for me when I came back to land.  He hadn’t called to give me the bad news … which was good … at least I was able to get in one last flight.  …BUT according to the City lawyer that he had gone out of the way to consult … I was not exempt … and could no longer launch out of the home field.  Later I called the devil spawn and… yes … Shakespeare was right.  ” The first thing we do is to HANG ALL THE LAWYERS”

The next evening I went for a drive after work looking for a new site.  The obvious ones that I had picked out on Google Earth were fenced and posted or were attached to huge estates that did not invite me to knock on their door.  After an hour of dead ends I was driving home and feeling low when I spotted a field that was free of weeds, it was right off Boulder Road next to a large Catholic Church ( Saint Mary of Perpetual Motion) and there was a car parked right in the middle of the field so…  I pulled in to see if there was anything for me there.  I made contact with a caretaker who gave me the number for the the owners son who will ask his father to allow me to launch.  LETS  HOPE!

Bummer …. Busted

I knew it was too good to be true.  I had an LZ less than a minute from my front door.  I could land and “power kite” right back to my house.  Well after a beautiful 30 minute flight I was decending to the field when I saw a police cruiser parking by the truck.  It took a couple of laps before I was able to set up for landing and even then I was lifted by the upslope breeze and came in 100 yards east of the truck.  I could have pushed it and approached between a couple of trees but this wouldn’t have been a good time to showboat.
The officer was friendly and polite but informed me that the Town of Louisville had an ordinance making it illegal to fly over the city limits.  My field is just inside… Damn!  I’m sure that I will be able to overfly the Mesa area but I’m going to have to find a new field.
Just inside of the city

Simms is questionable

This afternoon I checked out Simms, it is covered with tangle weed and worse there are new “No Trespassing” signs posted at the entrance to the field. It’s looking grim…I might be able to find a place to launch over by the school but probably not for long. With Titan and Simms gone all that is left is Snowflake and the Southern sites. What a drag…I have to find some place close to home.

#371 & #372 Goodbye to Titan …Again

Taking down the windsock for the “last time” at Titan

Greg and I met at Titan, we watched Steve Alley launch from his house shortly after. I thought he was going see us and land but he turned North West and that was the last we saw of him. Later I found out that he had flown to work. “Lucky guy” to have an LZ right next to the fire station.

Before we were able to set-up and launch the fellow from RUSH Soccer came along and told us we couldn’t fly from there. He let us go today… but “NO MORE”. He claims to still own the land but also said that he was not going to build a soccer field because of some zoning issues. So… for the time being Titan is closed… Steve and I have to check on some issues with Douglas County Zoning and the ownership of Titan…perhaps something can be arranged so that area will still be open to us.

Two flights, the first was 30+ minutes. I flew over to the balloon port and checked out the corn maze. Both times I crossed over the inlet to Chatfield ..it was bumpy. I’ll never forget that place because it was the site of my worst collapse. I tried it at 1000 feet on the way in and 500 feet on the way out, no difference…bumpy as hell but worth it because I was able to check out the balloon. It hovered close to the ground for a long time and eventually climbed to about 1500. The air over the port was pretty calm but it was a fresh Easterly closer to the hogbacks. My hands were really getting cold so I landed and put on the heated gloves. They are a pain in the ass and bulky as hell but my hands were warm.

The second flight was shorter. Lots of sinking air on takeoff and getting whacked shortly after liftoff kinda took the joy out of the flight. I lapped the field a couple of times ….went North to find smoother air and when it was looked like the conditions were deteriorating, I landed back at the truck. For awhile the winds picked up and a few small gusts blew through but to mellowed and I was wishing that I had not put the rig away while waiting for Greg to land. He got in a marvelous flight, well over an hour and a half. Got behind the hogbacks and covered lots of ground.

I’m thinking about talking with John Fetz about putting winglets on the prop blades, He seems to think it will ad significant thrust it will be interesting to hear what Terry thoughts are.

#338 Simms & #339 South of Dicks

Two Flight Two Site Day

It was dead calm at 6am while I drove circles in the field trying to find the spot where the grass was low and the tumble weeds were scarce. The moon was setting behind the mountains and the cross on the hill was beautiful! As the sun got closer to the horizon the wind came up and I waited in the truck for 40 minutes till it came down enough for a good safe launch. I had to use the small American Flags for wind socks because I had forgotten my big one. Not to easy to spot when I’m trying to land but they worked well as long as I was sitting.
The launch was normal and the air was fairly smooth. The wind was switching from west to nil to East so there were patches of turbulence that moved around rather than hanging over a particular spot on the Earth. The temp dropped 3 degrees after the wind came up and didn’t start to warm until 7:15. I was starting to get chilled and headed back to the field where I saw an unknown SUV with a paramotor pull in next to my truck. I came in surprisingly hot when what I thought was no wind turned out to be a tail wind. No Worries.
The other pilot was John Sieb and if it had been a little earlier I would have gone back up with him. There was a balloon flying over by the Hog Backs that I had missed and lucky John was going up to play with him. I packed up after he made the longest take off run of his life….:)
Unfortunately the 2 stroke demon bit and he landed after 5 minutes with a loss of power.
The second flight was at a new site a mile north of Dicks. We were asked to leave by the local police at Dicks…They sent us ( Dan, Paul, Paul, Ramon and Me) to the other site where we were met by the Security of the adjacent Mall. We tapped danced and were given permission to get a flight in. The winds were NNW between 5 and 8. I literally Popped up when the wind picked up during the run out. The air was not allot of fun but I did several laps before doing a touch and go and landing. On final I was having a difficult time holding a smooth glide. I would drop 10 feet return to normal glide and drop again. I was still able to set down where I wanted but it was more challenging. beautiful sly with the skyline of Denver in the sunset and a huge full moon rising in the East. I would have loved to take some pictures but it was active flying and I didn’t feel comfortable going no hands.
I was glad we were moved because the goat head thorns were at their dry worst over at Dicks but the new field was clear with just some 1 foot weeds scattered about. They are grading the area so it won’t be flyable for long. Interesting that the graded area is 6 inches of really fine powder. I hope it gets packed before the next big rain.

#301 Lucent

Goodbye Lucent…I hardly knew ya

Last night I drove to the Lucent site and discovered that they plowed half of it. The north south “runway” is two thirds shorter. Damn it! I talked with Jerry Kerr and Marek and we decided to go for it anyway.
I got out there at 5:15 with almost nil winds. It built slowly and when Jerry showed up it was light breeze from the south east. I had set up and launched shortly after he arrived and loitered overhead until he got airborne. My launch was a bit unusual I recovered the wing going far right and far left before getting it stabilized. Then… when I did get up and over the grass there was some serious sink and I didn’t get above 30 feet up until I was well out over the next field and my first turn was a tad low for my taste.
I circled the field several times to get altitude and wait for Jerry. I did see him take off and noticed that his wing seemed to be “hanging back”. I didn’t think much of it and circled for a bit longer when it looked like he was planning to stay around the “patch ” , I headed off to Chatfield. Great ride, nice air …bump scale of 2…Flew out over the ol marina and it sure felt great to be back at my first home field. On the way out I did a circle and took a 360 degree panorama series. That’s gonna be fun to mess with.
The landing was cool, the wind had come up considerably and I did a quick turn to a short final and landed dead on. Throttle control is getting better. Later Jerry & hit a bad Waffle House, and on the way out I took him to see South Park ….only to find that it has been fenced out and the church doesn’t want any stinking paragliders….:(

April 4th 2008 #131 #132 At Simms Lz

131 132

Marek and I met at Titan only to be met by the “Landowner” he has had a change of heart and we are no longer welcome. He had no complaints…there have been no problems…no major incidents or injuries. It’s Just, ” No Mo Fly Boys Allowed”.

Rather than waste anymore of the evening trying to plead our case, we packed up and hustled over to the Simms LZ. It worked out well because Chip W and Dan K. were already there and looking at the sky. Chip was grounded because his wing was in the shop after an extended vacation in Hawaii. (poor guy). Worked out well because I was able to lend him my 28 and I flew the 26. My worries about how it would fly at 6000ft were groundless. It came up fast and flew even faster. I noticed a little longer run out but with a touch of break it climbs out nicely.

The most notable moment was when Marek was taking off . I was watching from about 80ft comming up from behind at his 8’oclock. Marek was starting his take-off run and 50 feet ahead of him Chip was getting ready to start. He popped some brake to lift off and almost immediatly began to drift back down, when he was alongside Chip his prop started cutting the grass and I saw a puff of dirt. Luckly he was able to stay airborne but the prop strike startled Chip who was just beginning his forward. I’m not exactly sure what happened but Chip ended up falling backward and going turtle while Marek managed to climbout and fly.
Mean while Dan cruised around all of us in his speedy little Spice.

I logged two good flights and one Touch and Go

It was a good day…