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.
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
1) Scott Baxter heading south from the
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.