Don Jordan's Sixth Annual Paramotor Fly-In & Feast
Fly, eat, talk flying and watch videos about powered paragliding. Of
course it's ridiculous but was an absolute blast.
Indy Air Hogs ruled the roost at this one, especially with their
distinctive black shirts. What a fun group of pilots, too.
I had every intention on motor homing this trip but, when time got away from
me on Friday, driving at least 3.5 hours through traffic was none too appealing so I opted for
the helicopter instead. That's great for getting there but isn't much
for living accommodations. Thankfully, Mark and Nancy Votek AGAIN lent
me their couch. Thanks guys.
This event was different than some in that Don had to limit attendance,
reality of growth and limited room. It's a great place, but
there's only so much camping space. Don, his wife and helpers prepared the
facility, had food for us and did it all at no charge, asking only for donations
to pay for food and help the property owner.
How great to see some of the sports stalwart pilots and promoters,
they've been regular fixtures before I got into it. Chris and Tammy
Bowles, Bruce Brown, and Phil and Cindy Adkison, to name a few. Gems
Bumps abounded down low until a half-hour or so before sunset. No
surprise there. I got in four ribbon tosses and learned some things (see
competition info here). Many of us did a cross country flight of 35
miles across surprisingly pretty scenery, even hilly in some areas.
There's more to Indiana than corn.
Food was abundant. Leeta and her friend Kate did an awesome job of
keeping everyone fed. Faith Olestrom also contributed some tasty
We flew and kited all day although it was blowing hard just a few
hundred feet up. At one point, I launched, fought my way upwind for a
mile then backed up over the air field. That was amusing.
I love the "Indy Air Hogs." They dominated the event. Great pilots,
Mid-day was blustery but we put it to good use, kiting and playing.
Jeff Baumgartener gave me a hand tow while Chris Bowles grieved over my
lack of helmet. Ok, that wasn't brilliant. Jeff had his new v2 homebuilt
machine there. If you're thinking of building one, that's a great
I enjoyed taking Matt's daughter and her friend in the helicopter
when I went to refuel it. They were a pair of extremely enjoyable little
gals. Over at the airport, a crop duster pilot showed us around his
mount. Wow, has that profession come a long way!
At night, Don gave away some prizes for the longest flight, farthest
traveled and some others. We also watched some of Paul Anthem "PPG For
Morons" skits. His twisted sense of humor is applied capably to powered
paragliding video. What a hoot. We ended up serving as "extras" for his
latest effort which should be out soon.
We were also Serenaded by Scott Baxter's son who plays guitar and is
learning to kite. I suspect he'll be quite the pilot if he chooses to
never fails that I learn something new at these things. One of many was
this very clever throttle locking mechanism that serves as cruise
control. Thank god for inventive types. Using a saw blade, spring steel
and aluminum tube, Brandon made what I consider the easiest to use
cruise control to grace a paramotor. Unfortunately I didn't get to try
it in flight but it sure does look reliable and easy to use. You press
it down to engage but the ingenious part is in releasing. Just squeeze
the throttle and the little saw blade pops up. Perfect.
Since I flew the helicopter my paramotor of choice is the Fly 70, a
direct drive noise maker that fits in Ellie Foo Foo (helicopter) without
disassembly. It's got a 29" prop. Did I mention that it's loud?
The night before we checked on morning weather and it was to be
perfect. I promised to serve as the alarm clock EARLY on. And so, before
Nancy and Mark got up (thanks for the couch!), right around sunrise, I
snuck out, suited up, fired up, kited up and proceeded to foot drag that
loud little bugger right through the middle of camp. Yehaaaa! Wake up
you sleeping airheads--it's paramorning!!! One more full throttle scream
over the center fence and I headed out before guns could be aimed.
Then I had a magical little cruise along corn lined roads, abandoned
farms, ranging deer and a misty calm. Jeff Baumgartener was the first to
join me and we found some hay bales to walk. A westerly breeze was
building and the calm didn't last. It sure was nice, though.
I did a couple ribbon grabs then went back to land get the caution
tape out of my prop and take pictures of the launching masses.
On the next flight, four of us, Jason, Brandon, Greg and myself,
headed west towards White County airport. We climbed above the whispy
low clouds that added to flight's magic. Photographer Jason had his
behemoth lens and got some great shots.
Forward progress was abysmal due to strong westerly winds but it was
perfectly smooth so we pressed on. About jogging speed was all we could
muster and so the 8 mile trip took quite a while. Jason ran out of gas
and Brandon turned back about 3/4 of the way there. What a cool trip,
though, skimming around the clouds like that. We were low enough that
all we had to do was remain clear (below 700 feet we need a mile vis and
clear of clouds).
Greg and I made it to White County airport where we landed for coke
and coffee before heading back. The return flight was under 15 minutes.
Thanks so much to Don, Leeta and all those who helped out and to Gail
for maintaining the airport in such sweet condition. This was a
fantastic gathering of pilots and their significant. I had an amazing