2006-12-03 Mission of
Omission: Escape from the ColdA category 5
nuclear snowstorm loomed on the radar for Chicago's west 'burbs. It was
time to leave. The Enterprise, wintering currently in Phoenix, would do
Tim Kaiser joined me and we met up with longtime airline
friend, Marc Whitehorn. He's the sane one among us, keeping his distance
from the aviation strangeness called PPG. Plus, he's smart
enough not to live where category 5 nuclear snowstorms dwell.
The first day was chilly, for Phoenix anyway, and we hiked to the top
of Camelback mountain. 5 days later I'm still suffering the pain of that
stupidity, but it was absolutely beautiful on top. Over 1000 feet above the
city-sprawl that is Phoenix
you could hear sounds for miles around. It was also the perfect perch for
Tim and I to target of our next-day's paramotor destination: the
I enjoy finding better ways to explain paramotor techniques and get pictures to go with them. One such opportunity came after having
just gotten pictures of flying backwards with a free-flight
harness—something I do at soaring sites. Why not with the motor?
So I did! The first time I left the motor idling. Then I got to thinking of possible problems. What if I hit the
throttle while reversed? Ooops. No more Jeff. So I committed to making future
efforts power off. Now the risk is primarily that I
have to land backwards which I've done before in free flight for fun. Just
keep flying the craft.
The next day I wanted pictures. Even those aren't foolproof. In spite
of numerous witnesses to these shenanigans, serious skeptics will
say, "nawwww, but nice Photoshop work!"
Mind you, this is an entirely useless undertaking and there is no
conceivable benefit from learning this skill. It is meant primarily as a
demonstration. I've told people countless times about how, if they start
twisting around under the risers, ease the power back and reduce brake
pull--the wing will fly just fine regardless of where you're pointed as long
as the power is back. Plus, if you ease the power back in time, you
won't end up twisted in the first place. Better yet, properly adjusted
motors won't cause it, either.
So we set out on a mission to get pictures of flying backwards with a
motor. First, Time stayed on the ground (reluctantly) to get them looking
straight up. Then he took off and got some aerials.
Just like in free flight, control is done by pulling the brakes from
above their pulleys. Brake press is also used to prevent spinning back
around. Another anti-spin method was to put my arm behind one riser to
hold the other riser in the twisted position.
Whenever turning around I would apply pressure against the risers to
slow it down to avoid continuing in the other direction.