Enjoy Field

2008 Oct 05 Naperville, IL to Salem, IL

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Enjoy Field

What a way to start the trip. It looked like a little fly-in at Northern Illinois' Enjoy Field, a hang glider training facility that is very welcoming.

The Enterprise has embarked on a planned 20 month tour of new places, starting with Houston, TX. On the way, Tim Kaiser and I hope to fly numerous sites with different folks and the first stop was perfect.

Alex, Pete, John, Jaro, Mike (Koval), Lance, Wes, and a few others were there. It was fun to have us all in one place for the first time in a while. Tim took his first flight on the extra small Axis Pluto, a wing I'll be reviewing this trip, both for its flight characteristics and how it looks on camera.

As we arrived, a hang glider was landing. They were done for the day, we were just beginning. Perfect.

Several new pilots were flexing their wings, that's always good to see, and all had a great time. Thanks to owner Joe Yobbka for welcoming us to his slice of heaven.

Row one: 1) Alex Varv & Pete Sachs cruise together. 2) Alex Varv swooping the field. 3 & 4) Pilots getting ready for launch at Enjoy Field. 5) Lance Marczak gets up close and personal to the corn.
Row two: 1) Pilots setting up and landing. 2 & 3) Tim Kaiser above the airport.

Kenny Carlock

It's always nice to have a welcoming place and Kenny provided just that. We flew the bumpy morning, climbing up into a smooth, strong wind aloft that didn't let us go anywhere. The lake was inviting but we didn't want to push it. I made several flights, including one on the Pluto to see how it behaved in Turbulence. No issues and it doesn't accordion anywhere near as much as the spice. Brake pressure is higher but it will dive as requested, a characteristic I want. Any wing, including the spice, can be turned just as flat as any other, but a wing that doesn't yaw when braked cannot be dived easily.

Salem, IL

Next stop was Salem, IL. Kenny joined us there, too, as we flew out Tim's constricted area launch. It was plenty big as long as the motor kept running but we flew as if it would quit anytime so the entire climbout was within the confined area.

My mission was helmet cam work and that went great. Until I realized that the manual focus wasn't. Bad words issued forth. Thankfully, some of the footage that followed getting the camera setup came out pretty decent.

Flying with Kenny and Tim was great this time. Smooth calm is where its at. Kenny scared up a deer that startled me as much as him since I was following right behind with the camera. He was a big one according to Kenny.

Memphis, TN & Competition news

The Enterprise door blew out of my hand when I opened it. "That can't be good" I thought. It wasn't. Not for flying, anyway, but we needed to get video of high wind kiting and hey, here was some high wind. Why not. I did some of the more mundane stuff then started climbing the Enterprise. That was fun. Getting to the top, pushing off, landing on top again. I did it with Tim shooting from the side, from far away, and from on top of the Enterprise. 

Finally, with a half-hour to go before sunset, I took to the air. It was bumpy but tolerable, a 2 on the scale. I got some video, Tim got some cool stills while I landed on the Enterprise which is, I might add, named after an aircraft carrier. I'm just putting it to good use.

I also found out, courtesy of Roy Beisswinger, that I'm currently the #1 ranked pilot in the World Air Games qualifications (as of Oct 8, 2008). OK, so it's a small world for us, it's still kinda cool. Gotta enjoy my 15 minutes, right? There are quite are several top-ranked pilots in that group so it feels good. It was also exciting to find out that Stan Kasica and Chad Bastian are likely to be on the U.S. team, representing our country in Italy. Both are great folks and great pilots.

Vicksburg, MS

As morning came over our parking spot along a highway, all that was drowning out the sound of trucks roaring past was thunderous rain. Great. Radar wasn't very encouraging, either, but there was hope. If we could make it west of Jackson, MS, we might be able to drive out of. Our first plan was to brush through New Orleans, visiting Bud Johnson, but he didn't think there was much to see. So we opted for the shortest route to get west of the thundergoo line.

There was an airport only 40 minutes west, a little GA airport painted on expansive flood plain. Perfect. We checked with the airport folks who were very welcoming. Dexter showed us around and the airport manager offered up a grassy area south of the main ramp. It was perfect.

Strong winds pushed from the SSW right against the hangar. Tim parked the Enterprise perpendicular to the flow so it would be easy to kite up or maybe even soar.

There was a nice hangar, too, about 10 feet tall and running several hundred feet. Now maybe I could soar that? Turned out, it wasn't quite enough but I sure got good video trying. Too bad the camera wasn't rolling when I got gusted against the hangar. Stronger conditions would have been easier but trying to get up during this gusty stuff was tough. Darned glad I had that helmet on. I came darned close to soaring that thing, though!

We got probably 8 minutes towards the video which is nice.

Evening came around with little letup in the wind but it was reasonably steady so Tim and I launched. He played on the hay bales while I practiced filming. It's useless footage due to the 2 level bumps but was still good practice.

Neither of us flew for long but clouds, colors and Tim made for some interesting photos. I was so loaded with camera gear that I'm surprised I could get up. Especially with my poor ragged out Spice. God love her, she's looking a bit long in the tooth. Still flies like a dream.

The Airport's Dexter came by, gave us exit directions and wished us well. Another great time. Our hope is to fly the Mississippi River tomorrow. We'll see. Rain is pelting the roof right now but hopefully it will pass. It's supposed to.

While flying I heard a whack but nothing changed. The engine purred, thrust remained and nothing was ticking. Hmmm. Noises like that are never good so I didn't stay up much longer. Sure enough, after returning to earth, we found one exhaust bolt missing. And I had JUST tightened them. Need safety wire but those holes are such a pain to drill.

The bolt, like everything else that leaves the paramotor, left its mark on my nice prop. But of course.

Then it was onward. Southwestward. And I had a prop to fix. It was probably quite the sight tonight while fixing my prop's bolt gouge.  I went outside, under an overhang to apply Shelac at "Bubbas" service station. Not the same Bubba we know in Colorado but I'm thankful for his bit-o-shelter.

Row One: 1) Kenny Carlock near Coffeen, IL. 2) Jeff & Tim at Vicksburg, MS, 3) Shooting all manner of guns. 4) Jeff banking around in Salem.

Row Two: 1) Kenny preparing to nail a forward. 2) Jeff landing. 3) Tim nailing a forward. 4) Jeff launching to try the air in Salem.

Oh, and if you fly a machine with fabric around the cage hoop you must put smooth, slippery tubing around it. Your paraglider lines will thank you and your forward launches will suddenly become brainless. Yes, I know, it's in the book but, for some reason I didn't have this stuff on my Blackhawk and just wiggled the A's on each launch. Now I've got it and there's no more wiggling.

I've got a million things I SHOULD be doing and this Blog isn't one of them. Oh well, I enjoy it. Hopefully you'll not see any more of these for a while--it means I'm getting my real work done.

On To Houston

Eventful would be an understatement. The trip is now complete so this is but a quick summary.

We flew some friendly fields, friendly airports and put enough miles behind us to end up in League City, Texas, home of Andy McAvin, Beery Miller and a bunch of other Texas Wingnuts. From there we spend the next two days flying with various Texas boys, first on East Beach then West Beach.

Wow, that's impressive. First off, it's impressive how much destruction is visible. Just driving in you can see miles of debris. Most of the places seem structurally sound but are reeling from flood damage. The inundated innards have frequently been piled out on the street along with appliances and other detritus of civilized dwelling. It will take many months before this place sees any semblance of normalcy.

What a contrast flying on the beach was. Of course there was still debris everywhere--strange debris at that. Childrens toys, parts of picnic tables, containers, kitchen contents, and the list goes on. But the flying was awesome.

Andy was gracious enough to do some work for the Master PPG video both in front of and behind the camera. One fun shot was when he drove the truck as I flew just behind with Tim filming as I demonstrated pendulum swings, slow flight to fast flight and other things. The air was surprisingly turbulent so the footage will have marginal use but having different angles and styles adds interest. At one point I got dumped and had to run it out. That's wouldn't be a problem except that I pulled a muscle. Ouch.

Flying all day is sure sweet. We did a bunch of flights and quit because we'd had enough.

I flew the small Velvet. What a ride. It actually reminded me of flying a Speed-flying wing which is said to be more like a skydiving canopy. When you steep turn it and point towards the ground, it stays pointed there for longer than most. That's actually a cool behavior but you gotta know it's coming. 

Tim Kaiser getting ready to take his first ride on the Power Pluto XS.


1 & 2. It is, after all, an aircraft carrier. Might as well land on it!

3. The crop dusters at this airport has some very interesting patterns. These guys are good.

Photos by Tim Kaiser

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