Aug 04, 2007
Clearing my mind this morning was particularly fun. The fog of pending
tasks can obscure the good fortune that is life and the finely layered
fog outside was inviting. Of course I add all these burdens to myself but they
are no less, burdens.
Back to this morning. Instead of parking my eyeballs
on the screen, I sent them out back door
for a sunrise departure over the prairie preserve. It wasn't planned. After grabbing a peek
in the dawning light I saw layers of that fine fog. Inches thick,
it is magical to fly through. Magical.
Setting up, there was no discernable wind direction though I felt
coolness on my east facing cheek. Launch is
straight down a tree-sided taxiway but with super light winds a
crosswind is acceptable. The forecast called for it to be SE which is
tailwind. Yuck. I'd like that coming back because the approach is better
from the north.
As it happened, I squeezed off some push and she came up perfect. That's
unlike the last time, a few days ago, when she tilted into the stronger
east wind and forced an impressive sojourn houseward before some serious
gyrations got her back
on track. Speed is life.
Once up a hundred feet I throttled back to stealth setting and headed
towards the preserve.
The fog beckoned. Joggers now pace through recently added running paths so I have to
mind where I'm going more. I try to avoid annoying them let alone flying close.
The cool meter was pegged as I swooped and turned through razor thin layers
of fog that separated cool air below from the 10° warmer air just inches
above. I hate the cold so this was perfect. Get chilly? Get moisture on
the glasses? Pop up 5 feet and it was all below me—the fog and chill.
I cruised around for a while then spent another half hour pondering the
life below. We exist in an amazing time and, I know I've said it before,
I'm glad to have popped out at this particular place and time.
Eventually I headed back for a landing when The
Fray came on my mp3 player with "How To Save A Life." I love that song. Back
up for another round about the preserve. This one didn't last long and,
a couple songs later, I shut her off for the last time and glided down
to a slider landing—around the tree and into the clearing of my back
1) Dragon lake feeds the fog for my amusement. I love it when physics
works for me. 2 & 3) various views from level and above the layer. 4)
Popping in and out of this layer meant losing and gaining nearly 10°F.
5) Chicago was clearly visible the whole time but especially when I
climbed to 500 feet. The airport is out of view just to my west so I
stayed under its traffic pattern.
It's annual time for Ellie Foo Foo. Thankfully the weather cooperated
and I stuffed my little Fly 75 (Fly 70 modified) in the right seat and
flew up there. Darryl shook his head, as always, then drove me to a
launch site 1/4 mile away. I could have walked. I normally launch from
the helipad but winds were coming from the northeast which would require
launching into wires. I don't think so.
There's a new and enjoyable element in using your paramotor for
transportation. Of course I played along the way and had a ride lined up
in case things didn't go well but they went swimmingly.
It's nice having some speed for these little juants, too. Spicely is
faster than my Silex. Of course it should be, it's a 22 m˛ vice the
Silex's 25ness. When I turned into the strongish NE wind my groundspeed
plummeted. I wasn't able to simply angle accross due to congested areas
so I had to follow power line right of ways, open fields and so forth.
It was nice to let the trimmers out and go. I'm rarely into speed but
this was one exception.
I used my aircraft radio for this one and talked to Aurora airport to
get transition approval through their airspace. "Aurora tower,
ultralight papa gulf is 6 miles north, would like to transition
southeast at 1100 feet." To which they responded "ultralight papa gulf,
transition approved, report 2 miles northeast."
It was also nice hearing where aircraft were at my home airport as
they announced themselves. Even though I stayed below their pattern, it
helped me not spook them by announcing my position.