Midwest Midsummer Tour

Kankakee, IL; Mansfield, OH; and Monticello, IN

Kankakee, here I came!

What's this, the third Pig Roast? Probably they've done a lot more but not with the crazy foot launchers buzzing around. Jim Leon of The Ultralight Place and Lance Marczak of, well, Marczak build and fix, put on another great event. Refresh me on the Chef's name? The food was awesome.

My trip there was abbreviated because it's a whirlwind of brief visits using my barely-big-enough Beech Bonanza. It was stuffed full of paragear, sleeping gear and me. I learned that a Miniplane fits just barely. Of course it all depends on how much you take apart and wanted to take the least apart possible. I need a bigger plane. Not that I'll ever have one, and I'm super thankful for this one, but there's always that hankering for a bit more room. Just a bigger door would help a lot.

Kankakee was a blast. Weather and notoriety contributed to a great showing of pilots. This is the IL fly-in. Gary Brown also flew down in his Cessna 172 along with two of his offspring and a Sky Cruiser.

Ray Macmahon was kind enough to send two of his "Dudek Babies" up for us to trya Nucleon and Plasma. I'll be doing a full review on both wings. The Plasma is, by far, my favorite of the two but it serves a way different mission than the Nucleon. It's way more dynamic and nimble wheras the Nucleon is a for cross country competition where efficiency and speed count for a lot. There's just no comparison of handling to the Plasma. In fact, the Plasma felt very much like the Ozone Viper that I tried in Salt Lake City. I look forward to playing with this Plasma some more. Anybody who likes the handling of a Spice will appreciate it's light touch. It would be valuable to contrast the differences in four wings, the Ozone Viper, Dudek Plasma, Paramania Fusion, MacPara Spice, and Axis Pluto (what I competed with). Someday.

Paul Anthem was up to his usual antics. Too bad I missed the fun but, suffice it say, a dummy got dumped. You'll just have to watch his next installment of "PPG For Morons." One thing we tried was capturing the ribbon that he was trailing behind his wing. I launched first then he came up to join me while I was recording on his camera.

Got to try Terry Lutke's "Cheap Trike." Talk about quiet. It had plenty of power for my measly 150 pounds and was a joy to fly. I even tried it on my Spice and was impressed that the highly efficient 22m Spice had close to the same climb rate as a much-larger Paratoys 33. It was, of course, quite fast given the trike weighs 150 pounds. I'll hopefully get a more complete write-up on it soon. Thanks to Gary Brown for taking pictures that will be in the review. Now if we can get Terry to trade in the Coroplast fender with aluminum...


Mansfield, OH

Halfway through Sunday I left for my parent's place, Mansfield, OH. They still live in the same house where I grew up. At first I thought about leaving the Miniplane in Bubba (the plane) but then figured that I might as well take it with me. Just in case.

Seeing my parents is always a treat and, Lord knows they're used to my air headedness. When my Mom saw me peering at the motionless tree tops after dinner, she knew. "Have a good flight."

That flight was, in fact, magical. I've done it before, so it wasn't anything particularly new, but it was quite enjoyable no less. I think people around here are even less familiar with strange aviation than people in bigger cities. The cool part was that everyone was so enthusiastic when I came by on a low pass. It's helpful that I kept some distance and was flying a very quiet machine.

Boyer Flight Park

Don Jordan and the Boyer's put on another great time of casual flying and friendship. There's a good chance this is the last one because the Boyer's are no longer doing instruction and so the field can't justify its existence. I, for one, appreciate their hospitality over the years. And thanks for the knife, Jimmy.

I was only there for a day but that evening was an exquisite ride. It got off to a bad start, though. My strobe, which I've screwed to the netting, cut the inside support line, allowing the net to go loose and ease back into the prop. Ooops. I landed, tied the break, tightened it back up and proceeded to fly the evening out.

Phil Morgan and I had a fun time playing chase. I followed him as he banked and maneuvered around the terrain. What a hoot.

We ate well, too, sucking up Leeta's treats and main courses. It was all I could do to share those mint chocolate-chip cookies.

I'd have pictures but they're all on a camera that's 2000 miles away. I'm on an enterprise trip at the moment, having just come down from flying Hat Creek in northern California. Ahhh.

1. Lance waves at those hanging around base camp.

Powered paragliders probably flew 4 times more flights than all the other ultralights combined. But it sure was fun seeing the other craft come by.

2. We even had a visit by the B2 bomber.

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