Former U.S. Champion, and prolific instructor Eric Dufour is
Two months to the day after Eric Dufour underwent quadruple bypass
surgery he regained his wings.
Eric was headed for Oshkosh to help represent
the Yuneec EPac electric paramotor and stopped in to to
visit with his Chicago-area friends. Naturally we took him to the
Batavia Polo field, our favorite local flying haunt. Originally he
wasn't going to do any flying but got approval from his doctor to do a
"light, easy reverse." More importantly, his wife, Elisabeth, gave her
approval after talking with the doctor.
I'd love to have heard Eric's query. "Doc, it's really just a walk with
the help of this little fan; the wing does all the lifting and the
motor does all the pushing." If only the doctor really knew!
So Eric launched into a foot drag and indeed, did take it easier than
normalóno wingtip touches, spirals, riding atop vehicles, or other
shenanigans. Of course he couldn't resist some
sweeping foot drags and steepish turns.
It was so funny to see that smile (picture 1 at right). You couldn't miss
it even when he was out on final
approach. Like a kid released from detention, he clearly reveled in rediscovered passion.
Eric is returning to teaching and will build up again to full-time status,
mostly doing advanced training and instructor clinics for those wanting to really learn the
business of teaching. He also hopes to help host what will become the
2009 U.S. National competition in December this year near Orlando, FL.
We had a great group of folks join us at the Polo field and, after the
winds died down a bit, most of us flew.
I did some flight test work, mostly measuring speeds and getting
pictures, on the Dudek Plasma, a wing I really like and cruised the
surrounding area with fellow flyers.
Lance, Tim and I went out for some formation fun, Bob Clancy did a
flawless touch on go on what must have been about flight number 9, Dave
Moore got back in the air after a hiatus, Dave McWhinnie launched while
missing his dog Guinness (no small challenge), Jay and Eugene came to
hang out and Shane showed off his newly welded (very nice!) frame.
It was a great time with our local flyers and particularly enjoyable
since we got to share it with Eric. Plus, it was a pleasure just to have
him visit for a few days.
Welcome back Eric!
1) Bob Clancy to the south. 2) Eric listening intently (with his "big
ears"). 3) Jeff G. welcoming Eric back to earth. 4) Believe it or not,
Bob found this in a fortune cookie. Classic! 5) Tim on the white Pluto
and Lance the red Spice. 6) Landing Lance. 7) Another formation angle.