2007 Arizona Powered Paragliding Flying Circus

The Oasis in Phoenix | Fri | Sat | Sun | Enterprise Log of In between Trip

It's certainly a change from our last few days in Glamis and the Salton Sea. We pulled in passed the fancy entrance, past palm trees, nice restaurant, etc. As a vendor I park just beside the grass. What a treat that grass is. Of course we'd all like to be able to launch from it but we're sure happy to have it for cleaning out wings and working on motors. Welcome to the Flying Circus.

There a number of us that came from the Salton Sea but a completely different mix is here, especially from Michigan. Around 20 pilots flew in on Wed or Thursday and most flew yesterday, leaving the snow behind. Ohio and IL are well represented, too. 

There are new machines to try with FlyOhio (Bruce Brown).

Day 1 Thursday

We left the Dunes on Wednesday with Stefan at the Enterprise helm in a mini caravan of Phil Russman, Paul Lindquist and Frank. Frank is a paraglider pilot who took his first flight under power at Glamis on the Bailey 4-stroke. He must have liked it, he bought it. Paul has now sold all three of the units they brought from England.

God love traveling with my machine setup. I'm ready within 10 minutes of arriving after unlocking . Too bad it was dark but it was fun catching up the many new faces.

Morning perfection was followed by afternoon perfection and fly-all-day weather. Even mid-day was surprisingly mellow with nothing more than 3 level bumps. 

I was getting some motor maintenance done and this was the place to do it. Leon Wacker and Wayne Mitchler were 50 feet away, Alex Varv was parked next to me and there parts to be had. Perfect! Thanks to all three for helping me out. Wayne Mitchler has a new product to help improve warm starting, a phenolic separator. It insulates the carb so that heat doesn't transfer to into it. It should make them easier to start they've sit sit for a while after running. We'll see. He also showed me a whole bunch of other tips which I'll eventually add here. Of course I took pictures.

In the afternoon, Phil Russman, Lance Marzcak and I headed west to look at some property for sale. We didn't get all the way there and, on the way back, decided to land near a convenience store for some soda. While awaiting a landing spot, I heard some god-awful noises from behind and immediately killed the motor, landing on a dirt road. Phil had already landed and Michael was on the phone to discuss the radio show that was going to start in 45 minutes. Uh oh. Unfortunately I would be busy trying to get myself back to the field and was mighty curious to see what was left of my favorite propulsion. 

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1) Panoramic shot of the launch area and vendors. 2) Wayne Mitchler's Phenolic carb separator being positioned on my new WG37 carb. 3) Phil Russman and I are the only ones airborne here. The weather is surprisingly benign given the mid-afternoon time. 4) Stefan Obenauer (who traveled with me along with Frank and Phil) takes my ride for a spin. 5) Josef Brehm inflates his Ozone Viper using a Nirvana paramotor called the "Fun," 6) Home. There were a few pilots who swung at balls before swinging in their harness.

Turns out the muffler bolts came off. I'd been thinking it was getting louder but it didn't seem bad enough to be more than a hole. Funny noises are never good and, following the PPG Bible's advice would have spared me a truck ride. Thanks to Leon Wacker for coming to fetch me.

But the out-landing gave me an opportunity to talk with some of the neighborhood kids who came out to check us out when they saw our landing. These bright little guys kept me company until Leon arrived. They were fascinated by the craft and were a pleasure to talk with. I hope they get to realize their own dreams someday. I got some cell phone pictures and will hopefully have them up soon.

Thanks to Wayne, Leon and Alex, the motor was fixed that night although I spent most of the morning flying other machines for testing.

Phil Russman and I did some "Synchro Spirals" which was entirely new and quite fun. Being on the same wings helped but I'll readily admit that I don't know yet how to get closer in. From the ground we were told it looked cool but we've got more work to do.

Day 2 Friday

Lots more vendors showed up today and the grass is now packed. I tried out more machines including Phil Atkinson's original LaMouette with a solo 210. It's a historical piece, the first paramotor imported into North America and it really wasn't bad at all. Afterwards I flew the Fly Products Flash Trike, a Fresh Breeze Simonini, Paracruiser and Fly Ohio's Free Spirit. A bit-o-breeze made morning launches easy then it went calm but remained flyable the entire day. More later.

A group of us, including Paul Bailey on one of his now-sold 4-strokes, schemed to fly the mine on Friday afternoon, heading out around 4pm. The pit, as it's also called, is about 1000 feet deep. Don't go in there. And it's erie to fly over. Phil Russman has his video camera and he got awesome shots although still nothing that rivals what he captured at Glamis Dunes.

After the mine, we did cactus slaloms. Hitting a "stick" would be most unfortunate. Other places called for the camera like a pair of abandoned tanks and the downhill road that leads away. We circled the tanks from just a few feet high with Phil Filming and then headed down the road. 

Next up was some kind of dried up leftovers. Hopefully it's nothing toxic because I must have done a quarter mile foot drag in it. That was cool. 

A bunch of vendors are here and probably half were not at Paratoys. So the two events combined are a great way to really immerse yourself, if possible.

Day 3 Saturday

This was the big one. The entire vendor area filled and spectators camed for the show. Some were probably hotel guests intrigued by the shenanigans. 

The evening party/raffle was fun and an Aerothrust frame was given away with numerous other prizes. Unfortunately, I didn't win the wing inspection (American Flyer). Yes, yes, I'll still get Mr. Spicely instpected. He's about due.

Day 4 Sunday

It was just the morning for me and a busy one at that. So much for the 1pm flight to Chicago. It was going well until Mike Bailey (no relation to Paul) suggested I try his modified Flattop. I'd already flown Dell's production model twice and wanted to compare. I'll try to get those reviews up soon but the J-bars worked as advertised.

The morning was marred by an incident when a pilot swerved towards the hotel during his takeoff run to avoid a wing that was in front of him. He wound up pointed at the hotel and pressed on with launch. Options dwindled soon after liftoff as he first hit a windsock about 10 feet high then wrapped his wing around a tree at about 20 feet. Amazingly he suffered no more than a bruised shoulder but his machine was badly damaged. Better the hardware than the software! Hotel management was looking on—hopefully they also observed how basically forgiving the craft is.

Thanks to Mo and others for putting this on. It's a ton of work and I, for one, am thankful to those like Mo Sheldon (and Bob Armond for the Salton Sea event) who step up to the plate and organize them.

I had an absolute blast, really loved the people and the flying.


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1) 1) Looking northwest. 

2) Tillutson carburetor before mounting on on older Airfer Bimax machine. Why is this here? It was one of many, many useful pictures that will eventually help me describe things for future articles.

3) My shoes after foot dragging the deep pit tailings pile. I'm very hard on shoes.


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Yes, that's Dell Schanze on the right as safety officer. He volunteered to help out on Friday afternoon and was quite helpful. A new leaf? Mike Bailey is getting used to a modified Flat Top with J-bars, the "SD Flattop."

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1) Michgan's finest let me capture their mugs by the Enterprise. 

2) Saturday evening gave perfect weather for the busiest flying of the event.


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!