Paramotor's Perfect Calm
The year's smoothest Powered Paragliding flight
In a year of wind, this morning's nearly perfect calm stood out.
There was some air movement but you could only tell using smoke and
time. Pete's insect fogger showed the slowest drift of air northwards.
That wasn't ideal because my backyard launch heads north. Tailwind. Ick.
It was so little, though, that I decided to go for it. I figured it
would be good practice trying to launch from a constricted area with a
very slight tailwind. Pete wisely went over to a large launch area.
The Spice 25 skips one characteristic of the 22: going nuts if it
comes up a bit crooked. The larger wing has longer lines and it
comes up straighter. Slower, but straighter. The 22 goes haywire at the
slightest provocation. Don't get me wrong, I still love the 22, but not
that one characteristic.
Good thing the 25 was so forgiving because I spent a lot of time
running with the A's in my hand and the wing hanging back, coming up
slowly, using the motor for speed. Yes, I know, I'm not supposed to use
power while inflating with the Miniplane, but it actually seems to
handle it quite well.
That the launch worked was a bit surprising, given the oozing
tailwind. Mind you, we're talking only a quarter mph here. But had it
gone very crooked I would not have had the room to recover. Nothing
dangerous, just more likely to end in an abort.
Once aloft it was amazing. Pure perfection. Nary a ripple disturbed
my pristinery as I tunneled upwards to warmer air aloft. Oh and the
clarity. This happens but a dozen or so times a year here in Chicagoland
and I'm happy to have sipped of this morning's sweetness!
I headed over to practice a bunch of constricted landings. They went
ok. Not perfect. 18 feet is not a long way to land over a 54 inch fence.
Even with a largish wing.
Then some frolic in the plants, swinging around and through the
vegetation and finally over to where Pete was launching.
I Came down for a 360 degree foot drag around the church field,
keeping my distance from Pete, who was getting ready to light. Don't
want to muck up his air.
Then I noticed the pin on my right clevis was completely out. That's
what holds the right front seatboard up from the weight shift bar. It's
departure wouldn't be a big deal but would certainly cause surprise. So
I landed to screw it in. Unfortunately, it fell out on landing but
thankfully, I had just put a spare in my side pocket. I screwed in the
back-up, snapped a picture of Pete's launch then re-launched again. This
time into the whisper of wind.
Pete and I enjoyed a wonderful cruise around the prairie preserve and
church. I slalomed the meandering path, a grass horse path and did more
All in all, the morning was another great time to be aloft.