Paramotor Tandem At Home
2010-Mar-23 Returning to flight in Twos.
The only problem with warming weather is how hard it is to stay
inside. So much work to do and now, with longer, warmer days, so much
temptation to avoid.
There was barely any wind and today was the day to try out my new
Tandem rig. After doing four such flights with the Miniplane, I decided
to make it easier on myself and get a bigger motor for tandems. Enter
the barely used, two year old Blackhawk 172 that I bought last fall
expressly for this purpose.
A few days ago during another spring warm-up, I flew this machine to
get break in the motor and make sure it was up to the task. Before you
give me grief about breaking in a motor in flight, realize that I can do
the manufacturers recommended profile while flying just as easily as I
can do so while bored on the ground. And we all know the non-event that
is a motor failure as long as you keep up good landing options.
Tandem in nearly calm wind is no fun. That this launch went
uneventful does not mean it's easy. In fact, I really don't feel like I
learn much when everything goes perfectly. I'll really learn when
I get a crooked inflation or when the wing doesn't come up since
everything is a completely different feel. This is why the Tandem rules
require 24 flights with an existing pilot before taking up unsuspecting
passengers. It's a very appropriate requirement. I'm still working off
those flights and will probably do more than the minimum just to feel
Each tandem setup and procedure will be different. Do you have the
passenger pick up the risers? Do you setup and connect the risers? It
all depends on your rig and the conditions. All of this is much, MUCH
easier with a reversible wind--in no wind I can't set up with the motor
in position since it would blow the wing. An electric start solves that
problem but is another 7 pounds--weight that I've hefted it plenty of
times but I can imagine it getting tiresome after a few no-winder
This flight had light and variable winds--the worst. The wind
was oozing slightly opposite on landing.
What a difference extra
thrust makes, especially when flying a relatively small wing. I'm on 33
meter which means we need extra speed. Without at least 7 mph it was
impossible to lift off with the Miniplane because of leg drag. With the
172 that wasn't a problem. Once I got the wing up, felt fully in control
and running briskly, I went to 3/4 power to get just a bit more speed to
lift the passenger (Tim) then went to full power and lifted off
promptly. Much easier.
We flew around the LZ practicing some steep
turns, low fly-bys, and approaches. Finally, after climbing up a couple
hundred feet, I shut down for a power off spot landing. I didn't worry
about nailing a frisbee and didn't even try to get right next to the van
since final approach was over a pond. But it went well and we managed to
stop at the end of a flare for minimal running. The swoop, up and drop
landing works best for minimum speed at touchdown.
The rig performed
flawlessly and everything is adjusted well now. I've got to use a
different passenger harness, though, since Tim reported it being
uncomfortable and difficult to get into.
One more thing to make use of
in warm weather.