Sept 5, 2007 Naperville to Peoria

This jaunt was planned just a few hours before departure. With only two days to burn and no particular agenda, we hoped to find and fly some beautiful places. Hopefully we'd add rollerblading at some point, too.

I know, it's flat here and you must wonder what could possibly be so good to look at. But it's not just about the scenery. Its paramotoring—the thrill of an unlikely dew-drenched launch, the smell of wheat cursing between my feet, wearing down the soles of shoes while centerline-sliding new country roads and a dozen other little aspects of paramotoring.

Always an Adventure

Somehow these trips manage to be an adventure. I swear that the unexpected adds as much as the expected. How else to explain my marvel at not being utterly ticked off when my throttle let loose forcing a landing. It helped that I'd just shot a bunch of gorgeous pictures. I was jockeying for another angle when the motor went to idle.

I had two choices. A perfectly relaunchable field that was a good mile from the road or an improbably relaunchable field next to the road. I continued gliding. From this altitude I had a lot of time to ponder the possibilities. I thought about my on-board tools or, more accurately, the lack thereof. A screwdriver and allen wrench set. Hmmm, not likely I'll be able to fix it—the retrainer probably broke and I won't be able to fix that. Better go for the road. Even then I picked a rise in the hill hoping that the surface would be ok to launch in case I could fix it.

As I got lower the only noise arose from the beans, licking their stalks at my impending nylon desert. I had to stay away from power lines running between me and the driveway so there would be no avoiding setting down amidst the beans.

A word about landing in beans—flare above them using the "Daniele One Step." That's where you flare so as to rise back up slightly then settle down to a one point landing. You will not be able to run in full-grown beans. The landing worked as advertised and, as a bonus—my wing didn't get tangled in the beans. Unfortunately, there would be no relaunch from here even if I could get her fixed.

Day 1: Construction site near Naperville. We ran out of time to go anywhere so just flew one of our local haunts.


Day 2 morning: Somewhere west of Peru, IL.


Day 2. Afternoon at the park in Chillicothe then rollerblading in downtown Peoria. The headband is homemade.


Day 2: Evening just northeast of downtown Peoria on the river's east side.

Chillicothe & Peoria

We stopped into this huge private park (see the pic). Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us fly there due to insurance worries but did offer that, if we had a convention, they would love to have us there (for some fee obviously). Too bad, that would have been nice.

Next we stumbed upon a nice little ultralight field whose owner was gone. It was too early anyway so we headed for skating along the river in downtown Peoria. Mother necessity showed up when Tim discovered his sweat band missing. A cut-up towel served sufficiently and it was a good roll that had to be cut short—it was time to find our next launch site.

Time had, in fact, run out and it looked like we might miss our launch window. The target, an airport, was probably some 30 minutes distant and shadows were growing. Sunset was upon us and we'd burned all our fuel.

While heading north we stumbed accross an open area near a car dealership. Hmm. That looks good. Tim did a "U"y. I looked up the airspace because we weren't far from downtown. Everything lined up so we gassed up nearby and planted the new paraport. Like Neil on the moon, we inserted our windsock.

This field was interesting because it required a circling launch. We didn't want to climb out over the road so had to inflate into the weak wind (about 2 mph) and immediately turn to climb out while avoiding humanity. My wing came up straight and it was no big challenge. Plus, with more power (Snap 100 over Top 80), my run was shorter. Tim, on the other hand, dealt with a crooked inflation which he handled masterfully. He got under it, re-steered to parallel the road then took off and did an immediate right turn to remain over the field. Nicely done!

It was a gorgeous flight. Spectators seemed to enjoy our bean spirals and road-borne foot drags although not nearly as much as we enjoyed flying the. We had the perfect perch to sea flooding—high water had spilled onto an adjoining fields. Fortunately there were no flooded dwellings.

We came in for silent landings next to the Enterprise and called the trip complete. Considering the amount of planning that went into this one, it was time well spent.


Sometimes even the sour surprises can turn sweet. Nothing hurt, nothing damaged, it's all in how you view them, I suppose. My throttle let loose sending the motor to idle and me to an unplanned landing.

While walking back to the Enterprise with my gear I took a break to capture the moment. Then a car came—I had to be quick.


While walking, I found a little semi-hidden driveway  with what looked like forgotten equipment. Poking around, I stumbled on this strange looking drum set. Surprise, surprise! See the full-size pic to see what I mean.

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