Paramotor Boyer

July 21, 2007 Monticello, IN (added July 25) Don Jordan's Powered Paragliding Gathering

What a treat. I learned some things about people that I've known for a long time. Good things. These are some of our sports finest humans.

Coming was somewhat bittersweet since our fallen flyer and regular, Mike Rish, wouldn't be here. It was good to spend some time with the folks who last saw him alive. We did what Mike have wanted, though, we flew our brains out.

It was good to be among friends. Although there were more pilots here than last time it is still an small enough setting that we fit around a pit fire and trade big air stories. Egos were left at the door as pilots enjoyed flying, watching, occasionally tearing it up and solving world problems over dinner.

The weather. Wow. Lets hire whoever worked that out. You could hear the corn growing it was so quiet in the morning. Even mid-day was flyable. Gorgeous, soft mid-western thermals came through with slow changes to windspeed.

The came, kabitzed, commiteed aviationjand enjoyed 3 days of absolutely perfect weather.

Herald Journal Newspaper Article

Jul 23, 2007; Front page; Page Number:1  By DOUG HOWARD dhoward@thehj.com

BURNETTSVILLE It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a well, what the heck is it?

Aircraft that wouldn't look out of place in drawings by either Leonardo da Vinci or an episode of the Roadrunner cartoon filled the skies south of Idaville over the weekend for a fly-in at Boyer Flight Park, Carroll County roads 500W and 1200N.

About three dozen ultralight aircraft, powered paragliders and powered parachutes turned out for the fifth annual event.

In recent years, ultralights, a small aircraft that resembles a cross between a hang glider and a go-cart, have been learning to share the friendly skies with their smaller cousins, the powered paraglider.

Attached to a triangular go-cart style frame or strapped directly to the back of the pilot, the aircraft look like something that Wile E. Coyote, supergenius, would have ordered from the Acme Company in pursuit of the Roadrunner.

"They're really just like mopeds in the highways of the sky," said Walter "Bucky" Hines, a paragliding enthusiast down for the day from Rolling Prairie near South Bend. "That's what it comes down to, really."

"It's the safest form of flying because your parachute is already open," noted Don Jordan, Monticello, a retired commercial airline pilot and organizer of the event, now in its fifth year. After flying DC-10s, Jordan tried piloting ultralights but decided they weren't to his taste. He found that powered paragliding, a nascent sport that uses a parasail, a small gas engine powering an aircraft propeller fastened to either a go-cart like frame or by a harness directly to the pilot's back was right up his alley, however.

"It's been absolutely beautiful today," said Jordan on Saturday. "We couldn't really ask for better weather. To the untrained eye, a calm, nearly windless midafternoon would seem the ideal time to take to the skies. How then, to explain that the park at midday looked more like a campground than an airfield, with folks camped out in and around their recreational vehicles, seemingly in mid-siesta?

Anyone who has experienced turbulence while flying in an aircraft already knows the answer. The speed and size of most commercial aircraft help to mollify some of jolting effects of warm air pockets known as thermals that pop up more commonly wherever the ground heats unevenly. But to their smaller, slower, and lower flying cousins the ultralight and the PPG, the plunges in altitude can be literally breathtaking."It's not unusual to drop up there 300-400 feet," and in a matter of seconds, said Bob High, husband of Gail High, the park's cofounder.

Established in 1992 by Gail and her late husband, Bob Boyer, the long grass landing strip skirted by row crops and wood lots has been sponsoring fly-ins for ultralight aircraft since 1996. After Boyer's passing in 2001, his family kept the legacy alive. "The kids and I kept it going," said Gail. "That's how I met him," gesturing to her spouse resting in the shade beneath the wing of his two-seater ultralight.

A White County native who returned to the area after 25 years with the California Highway Patrol, High was piloting the Madam Carroll on Lake Freeman when he was invited to attended at fly-in a the park in 2002. "The rest is history," he said with a smile. "We got married and I learned to fly."

This weekend's fly-in was indicative of the park's future, as the 11th annual fly-in earlier this year sponsored by the park itself marked its last to be organized by the Highs and their families.

"The expense of putting on a fly-in is just outrageous," said Gail. But fly-ins such as the one organized by Jordan will likely continue, she said. "I'm going to keep the park open," said Gail. "We have way too much fun."

That's goods news for rookies like Tom Albers, St. Louis, who learned to pilot PPGs from Jordan last year and was back with his own gear this year. Albers' advice for those thinking of soaring like a bird with nothing between them and the great blue yonder but a helmet and a parachute or wing and a propeller? "Don't worry. You'll always come down you won't get stuck up there," he said with wide grin.

Beth Delisio (Left), 18, Valparaiso, taxis in her grandfather Don Jordan's triangular framed powered paraglider at Boyer Flight Park in preparation for her first solo flight. Powered paragliders, or PPGs, are gaining in popularity among amateur flyers due to their compact size and relatively low cost compared to traditional airplanes. Photo by DOUG HOWARD



Big file alert! This 1400 pixel wide, 220k shot has enough detail to put the faces with their names. These are some awesome folks! Great flyers, too.




Chris Bowles is in the business. But it turns out he still loves to fly, even after 10+ years of doing it, he was one of the first ones up for an afternoon flight. He likes to have fun, too, but occasionally drops the ball as this picture shows. Of course he meant to do that, in this case. In fact, this lured me up into the air to come play a little ball myself.


Dave Moore (L) looks on in sorrow at the damage wrought by a spilled battery on his wing. Wall Hines helps hold it up for the camera to see. Bad battery acid, BAD!


Nancy of Nancy and Mark let me crash in their motorhome. Sleep,  that is. No paramotor crashing. Paramotor crashing bad.

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