The Gift of Christmas, FL

Nov 29, 2007 First outing in the Enterprise's temporary home

I pulled into a driveway lined with huge tanks. "This can't be it" I thought and backed out.

But GPS Susy insisted on that being the right place. Nothing else on this road looked even remotely promising so I horsed the Enterprise around and went back in, venturing past the "Trespassers will be eaten" sign and next to a long two-story work shop.

Ahhh, now this is starting to look like a place where fixer-of-everything, Mike Britt, might hang his wrench. I poked my head in, saw helmets and knew it must be right. Nobody was around but it was late, and I still wasn't 100% sure of my choice. I gambled and made it my home for the night.

I hope this is right!

After a quiet night of solid sleep, I ventured out. Wondering around I still wasn't sure it was the right place since there was no other "para" phanalia. Then I stumbed upon the Para-go-round. Bingo, I'm home. Well, at least for a few days.

Mike's wife Carolyn, gracious and welcoming, gave me the complete rundown on the place. I even learned all about the tanks, refrigerant, mixing gas, containment, recapture and other fascinating tidbits of the chiller business. I'm cursed with nearly insatiable curiosity but she was quite enjoyable to talk with and most engaging.

Then she radio'd Mike who had yet to gain conciousness. Ooops. Fortunately, he has a heart the size of Texas and more generosity than he knows what to do with. So his reply was a sleepy but sincere "send him around."

Eric's glider shop and the entire arrangement is very well done. Not that I expected half-rate but I mean come on, they're storage trailers and a roof. Guess what, you'd be surprised. I was, pleasantly so. It is complete, finished, bright and nice. Besides the sparkling clean glider shop, there's a carpeted Movie viewing area, finished bathroom, air conditioned glider storage space, refrigerator and a full motor shop. And it's made to be moved easily. Eric confided gratitude to Mike and the folks who've helped him so much. Great friends, there.

Mike showed me around the place and I was duly impressed with what he's done. He even indulged me on the more mundane aspects of my curiosity. He's one industrious human.

Eric and Elisabeth were in good form. Elisabeth was busy healing gliders and Eric was packing parts. They're quite the team.

I met talented newbie Carlos and his expectant wife. Charming and fascinating folks. Carlos is an engineer, skydiver, helicopter pilot, and airplane pilot. Our paramotor discovery path was remarkably similar. It's a good thing neither one of us discovered paramotoring before our career paths narrowed.

Wide View on the World

For a new pilot this field would be intimidating. But it sure is convenient, being in the back yard and all. It's plenty big for a PPG2 or higher.

Elisabeth flew and taxied right up to the shop on landing then, right after I landed, Eric put his PPCg through it's paces. Among other things, he landed, taxied around the Enterprise while keeping the wing up, then took off. All right, I'll confess that, even with wheels, that looked cool. I've done 360 degree taxies on wheels but not in that small a space.

Marty and I went for a photo flight to both check things out and to let me try my new fisheye lens. With a 180 degree view, it has a very wide angle--the subject must be REALLY close. In fact, Jeff Hamann's cool fisheye shot that graced FootFlyers front page in Oct 2007 was my inspiration.

It felt soooo good to get up and play around in the warmth. Wow. I needed this.

Tommorrow we have planned an outing aboard the SS Parabarge and I hope to do more with that lens then. We'll see.



1. The world at my feet.

2. Marty Hathaway is not very many feet away but the fisheye lens makes him look afar.

3. You're truly mugging in bliss.

4. Eric takes to wheel. This started out with a wing straightening and went right to inftlation.

5. A 40 degree bank was about as steep as I would go while hand holding the camera.

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