Log

Eugene launching his Paratrike 1000 while Brian Del Campo looks on.

Season Opener

Mar 11, 2007  Batavia, IL | Rollerblade PPG | July 2007 Rollerblade Launch Video

For a change I'm not escaping anything. It warmed up enough in my backyard to meet up with friends only 40 minutes away. After one email posting led to another, the IL boys ended up with almost a fly-in at one of our favorite haunts, the polo field in Batavia.

In addition to tasting the local air, I had a mission, getting some pictures that illustrate certain techniques and hang styles. Unfortunately camera woes and uncooperative winds limited my success in that regard although I did get a few. I needed very light or calm winds and we never had that. When it got close, the camera coughed. Oh well, thanks to Marc Damon for helping, anyway. Marc, by the way, has gotten quite skilled at flying 3D remote control airplanes. He practices in his living room although his wife, Christy isn't always enamored with that locale.

Eugene provided me my 9th trike flight aboard his classy looking DK unit. Very nice! It has innovations that I thought were introduced on later Fresh Breeze setups. Namely pulling the A's automatically and self steeringóboth features of the DK. The Fresh Breeze Flyke does both and the Skip 1 trike pulls the A's for you.

8-Wheel Paramotor Launch, PPG on Rollerblades

Photos by Kevin Kanarski

I also got to try something I've wanted to do for years but was never willing: the roller blade launch. There's plenty of video and Kevin's still shots are featured below.

The challenge was actually pretty minimal due to soft ground. But then, with all the video cameras rolling, that was fine by me. It'll be much tougher with hard ground although I learned some necessary techniques. No matter how it's sliced, risk is high for a cage whack.

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Thanks to Kevin Kanarski for sharing his wonderful pictures. 

Bringing up the wing reversed required a "snow plow" stance with the skates towed inward. That allowed me to resist the pull during inflation. Turning and running were no problem in the soft grass and, I gotta tell ya, the foot drag that followed was pure fantasy!

Coming around for more taxi tests was interesting since my machine leans back a lot and my feet wanted to squirt out ahead. One behind the other was helpful but those boots don't lend themselves to bending so it was more difficult than with regular shoes. It was sufficiently fun that I'll try it again. Having a 45 pound Top 80 machine made handling the motor easier, too.

It'll also be fun to be on the skates and use the wing like a traction kite. I'll be curious to see how that works out. I might be investing in pads.

ParaPower

Lance Marczak is 140 pounds of nuclear energy. It's hard to slow this boy down and he's always got some gadget cooking. Besides his strobes (see picture) he had a pretty simple, but effective, foot camera mount. But I digress. His flying machine is a ParaPower, a mostly Fresh Breeze knock-off that is apparently no longer available in the U.S. It has some important differences, namely that the motor does not jettison and so the harness is rigidly fixed to its frame.

I haven't flown one of these in a long time and, given all the motor reviews I've been doing, asked to try it out. What I found was fascinating.

For years I've been saying that torque could be essentially eliminated if makers would sufficiently offset the motor. If your machine twists you to the left, move the motor so that it pushes more on your left shoulder. When doing my usual torque test on the Parapower, I made an interesting discovery. I could make it twist me either way! If I leaned to the left, that moved the thrustline leftward and, sure enough, it made me twist right. Lean right and it made me twist left. I could COMPLETELY counter any torque twisting effect. In spite of trying on other machines, I've never been able to do it. That was cool.

The Chill

Warming up is relative. By 5 pm it was 45 degrees. That's below my minimum operating temperature so my last flight was to move my motor and wing the 100 feet to my car. A quick trip around the pattern polished off the evening. Ahhhh, it feels good.

 

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(L) Mikey Canella helps make sure the nose stays on the ground as I launch the DK trike. It was windy and I wanted to help reduce the chance of tipping backwards.

(R) Marc Damon has that "well, ok, I think I'll finish this inflation now." look.

 

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(L) Christy Damon flashes that pretty smile in spite of being grounded by a spark plug.

(R) Lance Marzcak poses with his Parapower.

 

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(L) Side view of the solo powered Parapower.

(R) Lance and Dave model their strobes.

 

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(L) It took a few tries with a slow shutter and closed aperture but I captured the strobes flashing.

(R) Yours truly trying to get photos of a light wind technique. Too much wind and camera problems put the hurt on, though.

 

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(L) Eugene next to his pride and joy, a DK Skytrike 1000.

(R) Eugene is behind the scenes, biting his fingernails while I do a touch and go with his pride and joy.

 

Thanks to Marc Damon for taking the pictures that I'm in.


© 2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!