Aug 25, 2007 Peebles, IL: Monday
More to come but, for now...
There's no mistaking you're in the
south--I knew it the minute Mrs. Wendy took my order: "wujya liahk frahs
Dave Purdin's southern hospitality was refreshing, too,
as he welcomed all comers warmly to this humongous field. Grass
everywhere. It's the largest, smoothest field of dreams I've yet slid
soles across. The only rough section as probably the eastern eighth
which I only got into once with a trike (quad, actually).
local gang (Dave former students mostly), the "Indiana Hogs" were well
represented along with folks from other nearby states.
The event was a relaxing and flightful time for me. In between the
rainshowers and thunderstorms I got tons of airtime including several
test flights of the Naja wing. I hope to do some more testing of this
nimble carver (it's smaller than my Spice) but initial impressions are
good and I'll hope to have a review up. I have it for a week which helps
me get a better feel for it. I'm probably only going to write reviews on
wings that I can have for a week only because it's so much more telling
to fly them in different conditions. I'm also not going to bother trying
larger wings (>25 m²) because, at 145 lbs, they'll not be as fun for me
and it would be unfair to the wing.
I saw a lot of impressive flying,
including launching in very challenging conditions. You needed smoke to
tell wind direction, it was too light for windsocks much of the time.
Direction was a surprise but, overall, pilots did an incredible job of
managing it. To my knowledge there was not a single broken prop.
It was the most impressive professional fireworks display I've ever
witnessed. It helped that we were immediately below them--watching from
the stands only about 200 feet from ground zero. Pictures to come.
I've never watched a car race in my life but I can see how people get
into it. There's little doubting the high skill level required to win.
Besides the obvious fast car, driver's must carefully time passing and
path in a fine dance of direction, acceleration and braking. I was
One thing that's fun is inflating the wing and running into a
foot-drag without lifting off. I've done 360's like that plenty of
This field is next to a very well lit racetrack and benefits from
those lights. Races go on til after midnight. So there we were with this
illuminated, wet grass and nary a whiff of wind. I got to thinking. It's
not illegal to slide at night. As long as I keep a foot on the
ground, I'm not flying. So, at about 11pm, I did just that. I've got no
desire to actually fly at night anyway but this was cool! With trimmers
set slow, I inflated, got running quickly, pulled some brake and reduced
power just the wing's lift let me transition from running to
foot-dragging. I did one complete circle of the field followed by a
figure eight while keeping at least one, and usually two, feet in the
grass. What a blast!
We stayed up late kibitzing but then started again early on Sunday. I
traded back and forth between the Naja and Spice on both Saturday and
Sunday afternoon a number of us, led by Cincinatti "Sarge" set up to
gather again at a site near his house. We tore it up there in what ended
up being another sizable gathering of pilots.
That field, just north
of Cincinatti, is also used by rocket launchers. The were launchingn BIG
rockets, too, but were done at 6pm. That was cool to see, too. You think
paramotor fuel is expensive? These rockets cost upwards of $25 per
launch just for the one-use engine.
I had the misfortune of untimely
silence from Mr. Propulsion whilst carving about. The lading was no
issue but I was a half mile away and the motor would only idle. I
managed to finally get the wing inflated out of the tall weeds but
didn't have enough oomph to get me airborne. Even at 145 pounds I need
more than idle. Thanks to Dave Halcomb for fetching me.
What a great
group of people. I met some new ones, too. Hopefully we'll hook up again