IL Flyfest: Foot, Wheel, Wheel

May 29, Elburn, IL. Powered Paragliding Flyfest
This was Memorial Day. I extend my gratitude to those members of our armed services who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in execution of their duty. And to their families and friends who continue to pay. I'm grateful to live in a land that, in spite of its warts, is essentially free and open.

For me and others in the Illinois area it was an all day flyfest starting with a southern sojourn to the Scholtes Paradrome. Its owner, Nick Scholtes, was recovering from some sickness as evident from his comments on bodily functions. I'll spare you the graphic details but, suffice it to say that the wrong things were coming out the wrong ends. Nick has drifted more into airplane flying anyway, having earned his flight instructor rating in both sport pilot and regular general aviation aircraft. He now gives flight instruction at nearby Morris airport and rarely does PPG instruction any more.

It was, of course good to chat and we did a lot of that. But there was air there. Scott Baxter, David McWinnie and me partook with David and I going on a little cross country over to the familiar McDonalds a few miles east. They conveniently provide PPG parking right across the street and equip it with a landing pond as a motivation to make your launches.

1) Scott Baxter heading south from the Paradrome.
2) One of the larger McMansions blocking access to our favorite flying fields.
3) turning to launch,
4) David cruising the burbs, and
5) getting airborne.

After a bit more chatting with Paul Paulikas, who was going to do some flying later, I set off for part 2. My half-share of the Samba hang glider trike awaited me at Harryport near Elburn, IL.

Every time I go to Harryport there's something new. This time it was a completely new building, nearly as big as the original one but sporting a fabric roof. Turns out it's for storing hay. Of course many other things get stored there, mostly farm goodies, but there's plenty more room. Harry doesn't retire, he just moves on to something else.

Samba Sortie

I haven't flown the Samba in half a year. My fear, of course, was that I'd forget how. Everything is backwards on that thing. The throttle pulls backwards to increase, you push the bar forward to go up, and step on the left pedal to go right. That's all backwards. Thankfully, it came back.


Harry Rosset has a good time doing landings and cruising about on our shared Cosmos Samba. In the first picture you can see the Fly Ohio trike to Harry's left in the back.

Launch and the first few minutes held a bit of awkwardness but then I settled into the familiar motions, it rekindled appropriate responses. Control in flight is magical sensation to me, something I have yet to tire of. Soon I was finding deserted roads to fly down, centerlines to straddle then land on, nascent corn rows to tickle with my tires and porpoising to the beat. I was relishing freedom to the tune of my favorite music.

PPG is still my favorite flight form, but, when a glimmer of Mylar caught my eye, I did a very PPG-like action. This strangely shaped balloon must escaped some child's hand and now bobbled below. In the paramotor, I would have snatched it. Why not the trike? Maybe the left main wheel could snag it? At worst I would end up landing in this field and would probably be able to take off again. So I went for it. Turns out it was no problem although Harry was a bit puzzled when I showed up with that thing draped over the left wheel.

This whole flight was probably one of my favorites in the Samba. She ran beautifully, it was warm and everything felt right. Who knows why. Listening to music grants a whole new dimension to being aloft and free to move in 3D. (See Flying With Music safety comment in sidebar).

After landing I told Harry that he must partake of this air. Not that it was particularly smooth or perfect, that doesn't matter quite as much in a HG trike, but I just didn't want to keep it all to myself.

FlyOhio Trike

Harry had just mounted his Fly Ohio Free Spirit to a trike from Bruce Brown but had never flown one before so I offered. Not that I'm Mr. Trike, but my observation is that learning trike is pretty easy for anyone already adept at wing control. I know it's gonna happen but, so far, I have yet to blow a trike launch of the 10 or so I've attempted.

This was different than any other trike I've flown. It did two flights, a bunch of landings and will hopefully get a review up soon. Playing again under my Spice was nice. On one approach, I landed on the runway, turned down the  taxiway, then went around the circle and launched the other way down the taxiway. That was fun but the downwind part was just a bit too downwind. It worked but I'll skip that maneuver next time except in calm winds.

Surprise Visit

After landing the trike for the last time, Harry and I were putting stuff away when we spotted Marc and Chisty Damon flying their PPG's towards us. How cool!

They landed and we kibitzed for a while. We made plans to meet for some dinner so they flew back to the polo field and we met later. It's always good to catch up with these two who just recently moved into their first house. Congrats!

1) Marc landing. 2) Christy Landing. 3) Marc watching Harry takeoff in the Samba. 4) Marc helps Christy up. 5) Christy heads out.

Christy Damon performs a flawless inflation but feels something is amiss and wisely aborts. Enlarge the image to see what happened. She launched fine on the next one and headed for the Polo field followed by her husband Marc. These two had their wedding reception on this field and she threw her flowers from here.


The inset shows what happened. Some B lines on the right side caught on the fabric covered hoop and pulled. The abort was a good call.



This family saw our arrival and came to ask questions. It's always fun to further flame the spark of interest. Who knows whether someday the moment may be remembered and a new participant joins our ranks. David is pictured on the left.



Myself (Jeff Goin) Christy Damon, Marc Damon and Harry Rosset from left to right.

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