My Back Door

Aug 04, 2007 Naperville, IL

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 yard. Ahhh.


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.

2007-07-30 Helitravel

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.


Looking north: the taxiway that serves as my runway. Trees like tasty nylon—red's their favorite.


Lest anyone think that suburban life is a cakewalk, check this critter out. He was lurking in the hangar, ready to pounce on his unsuspecting victim who would be quickly immobilized with deadly neurotoxin. Thankfully, I found him first and was able to bring my weapon to bear before having my life blood sucked out.

OK, so the imagination is on overdrive and my weapon was the camera that snagged the image. I figured he probably eats West Nile mosquitoes for desert so I let him go.

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