Demo Danger

2009-Nov-10 Lesson from a quickie

Yesterday I took a friend flying in Ellie (an Enstrom helicopter) for a flight around the burbs, simulating along the way some typical paramotor flying beside the DuPage river. Yes, that's ridiculous, I'm flying a helicopter, showing what it would be like to fly a paramotor. The helicopter does have one very important advantage—heat, but doing this same flight in a paramotor is more fun in many ways and a lot less expensive! I'll drag my feet through the grasses but don't dare doing the same thing with Ellie's skids.

After returning to my backyard and putting Ellie away, I was enthusing over PPG, explaining that helicopter flying is fun but it can't hold a candle to paramotoring. I was describing a particularly interesting flight, the one where I flew up to retrieve Ellie from her annual inspection. I explained how, flying a fast wing with an underpowered motor, I had to go around some of the trees that line my taxiway.

After walking out to the taxiway I felt enough wind to kite and offered to show him a wing, just kiting it with the risers. While collecting the wing, I figured I might as well drag out the motor.  After all, if I'm going to all the trouble of kiting...might as well.

It was windier than I've ever flown here before, and was coming over the houses and trees that line my launch run about 70 degrees off from my launch direction. I kited briefly with the risers and found it to be sporty but decided to go for it anyway. Just a quick demo flight.

That was a mistake.

Launch was rocky and required lots of work climbing through the almost 5-level bumps. After bouncing my way up to 200 feet, I all but parked on a 70 degree heading. Landing would be interesting.

I knew he was watching and there's nothing more boring than watching a PPGer fly around so I came right back for a landing, which I knew would be sporty. It was. I'm glad to have kept the motor running because indeed I got royally dumped and was thankful for a last-minute throttle burst just before what would have otherwise been a mighty whack. It was still hard but I managed to stay on my feet. Barely.

Just a short demo flight, huh?

Self induced pressure—will I ever learn!?!?

Tim, who shot this, is looking due north down the taxiway while I approach. You can see that mechanical turbulence has a home here in anything other than north or south winds.

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