Enterprise Returns, Master PPG & More

Phoenix to Chicago, taping, editing and other news

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I'm making enormous progress with Master Powered Paragliding 1: Advanced Ground Handling. 25 of 90 minutes of finished. That's huge. Mind you that I've gone nearly 18 months writing, recording narration, shooting, and animating, but not getting anything edited together. No more. I'm now getting to put all the pieces together and it is extremely rewarding. A lot of work, to be sure, but with results I can now see in finished product. 25 minutes doesn't sound like a lot but after seeing zero minutes for all this time it's tremendous to me.

This video is about teaching, not showing off. So there are lots of graphics and explaining what the pilots are doing—the finer points, along with tips and techniques—that I wish I had after getting the basics. Some of it is review but most of it concentrates on more advanced concepts. There are 14 chapters in video where chapter 10 is the meat and potatoes, reverse kiting with a harness.

Tim Kaiser and I brought the Enterprise back from Phoenix and nasty weather means that I only got one flight and that was back in Phoenix. But I got lots of taping done! We had extremely high winds so I took advantage of that to get shots that I needed, filling black holes on the timeline.

2010-May 29 Local Enterprise Trip


As I write this, Tim is taking us westward for a Memorial Day short cruise and I'm sucking in video from this morning's shoot. We flew last evening at our premier Chicago site, the polo field. Got some necessary footage first then Tim and I launched for little evening glass-off. Just after giving Tim grief on the radio about getting his camera out, a loud noise signaled the demise of something expensive combined with vibration. It was still producing thrust so I briefly considered continuing but figured it would only get more expensive and wisely pushed the stop-cost button. I managed one last radio transmission: "Something broke, I'm landing now"  at which Tim came around and snapped pictures. Great.

My 5 year old muffler finally and completely gave up the ghost, cracking near the cylinder. Thankfully I have a brand new one that should have been installed already. Bummer is that I saw the crack on preflight and figured I'd get a couple more flights out of it. Dumb dumb. We ran by the house to swap out motors and hit the road.

Shooting For Master Powered Paragliding

See the video's log here

We're getting a few shots for chapter 1.9 and improving on shots used in 1.5 and 1.6. Every now and then the narration describes something that I haven't taped just right and these excursions give me the chance to improve on things.

It's obvious now why movie productions are organized the way they are. This is a training production so I'm striving for clarity. That's easier in many ways because the script is more concrete than, say, a acted drama. But there's still room for  improvised improvement, even if re-narrating is required. Mostly because, in the process of taping other stuff, I see the value of including some left-out concepts or techniques. It's the never-ending project.

As I watch scenes gel on the timeline, though, it helps inspire me. Videos 2 through 4 will go much faster as I learn how better to organize my time and resources; shooting with better clarity of purpose. You almost have to go out with the script in hand—a simple shot list isn't enough. The shot list just tells what you need to get based on what assets and conditions exist at the time. For example, calm air work needs to be done in calm air, whether the scenes require a motor, kiting harness or whatnot. The shot list tells which scenes can be done, the script tells how to do them. It's quite intensive. Plus, I'm learning a lot about how to name things. I see now the value of labeling shots not only by what they do but where in the script they're intended to be. Thankfully, some shots can be used in several places. They frequently get combined with different graphics anyway.

Thanks so much to Tim Kaiser. Without his efforts this project would be nigh impossible. Besides acting as occasional pilot, he's frequently the director, driver, reviewer, camera man, and critiquer of output. If he doesn't like it, changes are made. Rest assured the final output will be much better as a result of him. And, as much as Phil Russman hates to hear it, he's also enormously responsible for making the production much better than it would have otherwise been. Thanks guys!

Memorial Day 2010

A brief note of thanks to the soldiers who make this freedom possible. I relish my ability to engage in free speech, to fly when I want and essentially where I want, and to have more freedom than anywhere on earth. A good 2/3 of all humans aren't so lucky and it bears mentioning that things could have been different here our soldiers not served. I'm thankful for their ultimate sacrifice and to those who still serve. So many of us have different opinions but, we should all be appreciative of the freedoms so grudgingly wrested from the hands of those who would willingly usurp them. Men and women of the military, my hat's off to you and your brave service.


We're going to enjoy some non-flying fun around Madison, meeting friends and hopefully roller blading the downtown if good paths exist. It looks like a cool town. Then in the evening we're hoping to meet up with Hal, Pat, and Jeff B. for nothing but flight. No filming this time mostly because I don't have a good shot list for those resources.

If things go REALLY well I hope to soar some place along the coast. They're going to blindfold me and lead me there so I can't tell anyone where it is, though, so I know we'll have to be on our best behavior.

And it's warm! Did I mention how much I hate the cold? Well let me now mention the opposite: I love the warmth. Crank the A/C and hit the gas, Tim, we goin' flyin!

Saturday Afternoon May 29

After a brief visit to downtown Madison, we connected with local pilot Hal to meet at one of his haunts east of town. Hal is quite the survivor, having beaten cancer and continuing on keep flying these crazy things although now he's into trikes. He's got the latest iteration of Terry's four-stroke machine.

What a treat to meet up with several of the Central Wisconsin pilots at Rockdale, where Hal flies. Jeff D, Jeff B, Pat S, and Hal.

Conditions weren't great so we kited for a while. In fact, now that I think about it, Pat and I are tied in a kite war and need to do a tie-breaker. Hmmm. 

Eventually it mellowed out enough that I was willing to play guinea pig. Our launch site, Rockdale International Airport (a euphemism if ever I heard one!) is a beautiful lilttle grass ultralight field that is surrounded by healthy trees and hills to the northeast. Rotor lives there.

At first it was clearly nasty, a fact made obvious by the difficulty in kiting there. Sometimes you had to run backwards to keep enough airflow and other times you get lifted. Kiting is always fun, though, and several of put our wings up, including Hal who was motivated to get back into foot launching. Go get em!

The flying was indeed bumpy down low, as you would expect, with baby-butt smooth above about 300 feet AGL.

Afterwards flying and kibitzing we at in the dark (outside) at Heather's Bar & Grill.

Oh what great fun the whole experience is!


Sunday May 30: Paraglider KiteSkating (or SkateKiting?) & Flying

One of our missions was to roller blade the Milwaukee shoreline—Sunday became the day. Soon after hitting the path we discovered it was their kite festival. Hundreds of people were out there with all manner of kites and kiters from dangers-to-society  to extremely skilled formation stunt flyers. Most were toy-like affairs with toy-sized humans hanging on or running them into flight.

At one point they sung our national anthem to the scene of a giant hang-glider kite and a formation of red, white, and blue stunt kites. It was quite spectacular. I'm not sure why the Canadian National Anthem was performed just before but I'm happy to honor our neighbors to the north as well. Our soldiers have fought along side each other many times.

After skating aplenty we headed back, by all the hubbub, planning to leave, when I got this crazy idea.

We fly kites, right? Big one, for sure, but they're still kites. So Tim, poor Tim, agreed again to be both victim and camera man while indulging me in another crazy pursuit, paraglider KiteSkating.

Mind you, I've done this before but here was an ocean breeze, in a huge park, with paved paths and an audience interested in flying kites. Admittedly we were quite a ways from the main attractions just because I wanted to have room with fewer people around. This time. So we skated back to the motorhome, grabbed camera gear, a harness and wing, then skated back to do our deeds at Milwaukee's Memorial park.

At first the breeze was so light I had to do a forward inflation and just skate down the bike path while kiting the wing, turning off to the right in order to avoid a group of flagpoles. This was no place to risk an embarrassing wing drape over flagpoles! That went well and I did it a couple more times but then the wind picked up. Game on!

Soon the wind picked up and I was getting lifted. I've got to tell you that this was the most fun I've ever had under a paraglider without being at a mountain or powered. It was more fun than flying. Well, regular flying, anyway. Not that I'm going to give up flying and just do paraglider KiteSkating, but if I can find more opportunities, I'll certainly take them!

These are all video extracts so the quality isn't as good as still pictures, especially since the video is interlaced, meaning that each shot is intended to have two frames. 1) My partner in crime, Tim Kaiser carried the wing while I filmed. 2) Northbound. 3) Southbound. 4) It got stronger until I was occasionally "getting air." That's when this got to be incredibly cool. Here I've gotten lifted but manage to stay upright and keep kiting. Tim did all the recording, of course, with my hillbilly steadicam, and the shots came out great. See the video's log here.

Winfield Flying

After all the kiting excitement we headed south and met a couple pilots at Winfield Airport. Instructor Mikey and one of his early student's (now very experienced pilot) Rafal. The weather wasn't ideal but we were able to get some time aloft. Unfortunately, motor problems kept Tim grounded. I landed to see what why he wasn't launching and offered him to take my miniplane for a ride while I putsed with his machine. I flew his machine around but had to hold the throttle up to keep it from dying. This should be easy to fix. The big bummer was that, when he went to start my motor, he heard a "funny noise" and wisely shut it off right away. Somehow, one of the starter pawls had gotten on the other side of where it should be and the noise was it hitting things it shouldn't be hitting. Had it run another few seconds, or at high power, it would have destroyed many dollar signs. This is an easy fix.

There are some significant requirements about flying out of Winfield that must be respected so please, contact Mikey Cannela before flying there. All sites are sensitive in some way and this is no exception. One cool thing was a reported meteor crater visible in the swamp just northwest of runway 18/38. Sure looks like one to me. I've got pictures and may get them up here.

We got our fill this trip, and a wonderful fill it's been!

1. Getting Ready.

2. Tim didn't want to wear out his souls. Gotta get steel heels.

3. You can see Tim climbing out over the distant ramp.

4. "seriously, ANOTHER picture?"

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