Good Bye Paradiso

Flight 987
Dawn left the house at 4am and I was wide awake. I was late to leave the house but arrived at the field in good time, thanks to the shortcut Tony showed me. I set up the wing and rig before suiting up because I thought it might be a good day for a new altitude record. It was 78 degrees at sunrise so, as soon as I pulled on the cold weather gear, I hustled to get airborne.
The air was smooth as I climbed out, flying to Gasparilla Marina. When I was over the Marina, I did a slow spiral and made a couple of passes down the service dock to get a shot of my old boat. Then I turned back toward the LZ. Climbing up to 3700 ft I kept my eye on the weather. It was heading my way but looked like it would pass to the North. Below me it was calm with minimal breeze. There were a few wispy clouds floating through and I blew through the biggest to get some video. While descending I flew to the Southern end of the meadows and enjoyed the calm. The landing was good

Beat the Storm at Yorkshire, flight 986

I should have checked the weather first thing, at 5am, when the alarm went off.  It was too late to go back to bed now,  I’d showered and was enjoying my first cup of Hawaiian Bold when I opened Weather Underground to check the radar.  There was huge storm building West of Boca Grande.   

X marks the LZ

I expected it to move inland but I figured I had time to crack off a quick flight. Placida was obviously not going to work so I headed to the Peachland LZ. No joy there. The grass was high and big sections were still flooded. So…. I plugged the Yorkshire LZ into the IPad.  I wouldn’t have thought of this place except that Bob Harrison had mentioned it yesterday as his preference over the Orlando LZ.  And…. it is better,  Yorkshire St. loops through the northern section of undeveloped North Port North East of I-75.    It’s the same basic flying area as Peachtree and offers a slightly wider corridor with less traffic than the Orlando LZ.. The ground between the paved roads is saturated but not flooded and the grass is short enough for footlaunching.   

I set-up on the road and launched in nil wind following the curve of Yorkshire Loop until I had enough altitude to traverse the forest.  Once up, I found the wind behind me at 7 mph.  I climbed to 1400 feet in smooth air and the wind increased to 15mph.  The storm was beautiful with two distinct domes boiling on top and a gigantic base dumping 5 inches of rain into the gulf.   Over North Port it was smooth as butter.  The only bump I felt was when I flew through my own prop wash.  I flew south to the Lake Suzi Airstrip hoping to see sign of Paul C. but he wasn’t there.
I could have probably stayed up an hour but that storm was dominating my attention and this was my third flight in as many days so I turned back and landed by the truck.  

 I got my fix for the day and got back in plenty of time for social sailing at The Isles.

Placida 985

Bob Harrison and I.  Climbed to 3000 and enjoyed the ride while Bob went over the causeway flying low.  Big cloud formations over the coast were threatening nasty air and there were pockets of sink.  I was climbing 35/ft/min at 3400 RPM.  Up high was a different story.  It was smooth with lots of lift.  New guy Paul came out to watch and Kite.  

Video credit and thanks to Paul

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Going for Altitude at Placida 

Flight 984

This was a good one.  Launched Into light easterly and climbed 6000 on the way to Gaspirilla.  Then I turned back to South Gulf Cove and climbed to 8000.  Averaged 225 ft/min climb.  The decent was lovely.

Below are quotes from the Facebook Group “Paramotor self trained”.  Doh…  These guys are going to be the reason the FAA STARTS TAKING INTEREST IN US…..

Pilot A

Have any of you has close calls that scared the crap out of you?I want to get into this but saw a wing collapse on you tube.Its looks fun besides the falling to your death part.I think I will just fly low over water to be safe unless that thing makes you sink like a rock
Pilot B

I’ve had a couple of close calls while training without even ever taking off. But that was to be expected going into this (I fully understood and accepted the danger I’d be putting myself into before starting). One time, the winds picked up a little bit and it was getting afternoonish and I got swept up while ground handling and there were three sequential gusts in a row that took me way up above the tree line long before I could react and kill the wing. Luckily instead of panic, I was able to let go and focus and pull on the brake toggles to feel the controls and turn the glider around to have more room and glide down and flare for the landing and run it off. Another time I was practicing free flying and clipped the tip of my wing on the very top of a very tall light pole (I was certain I’d clear it but the wing is bigger than expected). I was totally fine in both cases but did have to send in my wing for repair on the second one. Accept these things as a possibility (or far worse…. or smooth sailing for that matter) and proceed, or like other said if you cannot accept that and don’t feel comfortable with every fiber of your being, try an instructor in a more controlled environment.


Placida #983

I’ve been blessed with great wingmen.  In Colorado it was Mike Bennett and here it’s Mike Lange.  Both are great pilots with enormous mechanical ability.  

This morning was picture perfect.  Light breeze from the East and not a cloud in the sky.  It was bumpy up to 100 feet and smooth as silk after that.  I flew along the North Gulf Cove canal and out to the Gaspirilla causeway.   No Drama.

Bummer!  No Fly Day

Perfect morning, warm, clear, zero wind.  The streets at Placida had just been repaved.  I had a full tank of gas and a belly full of coffee.

 BUT…..  

The battery was dead and the mini charger couldn’t turn it over.   So, I positioned the truck to jump and …. then…. discovered that the hard landing last flight broke loose a weld.  Two strikes and time to call it a wrap.

Orlando #982

Light winds made for an easy launch.  Mike and I flew out past the Reservoir, he stayed mostly low and I alternated between 2500 and chasing the animals down low.  Saw deer, sand hill cranes, a gater and lots of live stock.  The radio worked better with the resistor plugs.  Landing was tricky with bumpy air near the surface.  At the very end I hit lift, sink, lift, sink, and again after touching down some more lift that brought up the rear right wheel.  No damage.   Good fun.