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 comfortable.

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 tandems.

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.

A new-to-me Blackhawk with a Black Devil 172 is my Chicago Tandem Machine. I'm still doing break-in so I don't spend more than about 10 seconds at full power.

This nearly two-year-old machine looks brand new.

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