Frigifly 2010 - The Illinois Boys

2010-12-2 Winter Party Turns Crazy as Local Take To the Wing

There's no way I'm gonna fly when it's 12F out. But some of the locals here in Northern Illinois are just nuts enough to do exactly that.

Scott Clark set up our annual Winter lunch at PIlot Petes, the well-known restaurant that feeds transient airplane pilots and quite a few locals. We've been doing this feast for a number of years and each time there are those who talk about going flying first at a local site then meeting at the restaurant. And there are others who grouse about how cold it is. I'm in the latter group. Usually I do fly there in something but only if it has a heat knob and the weather is nice. This year was good. Cold but nice.

Gary Brown, who flies PPG and airplanes, got the idea to see if we could fly our paramotors right from Schaumburg. Mind you, this is only about 7 miles from one of the worlds busiest airports and has a fair amount of general aviation traffic. But Gary knows the lingo and is one of the most tactful types you'd ever want negotiating for you. The airport manager is obviously someone who loves aviation without arrogance about the type of aircraft. I don't know if our group is unique but paramotor attracts more than its share of professional pilots. We've got 3, Scott Clark, Pete Sax and myself plus a free flyer who is a Captain for a net-jets type outfit. Several of them are Private pilots--Lance, Paul, John and a few others. So Gary managed to get us approved and worked out really sweet procedures for flying. I'm voting Gary for USPPA president!

Quite a few locals showed up to fly. Quite a few is four. I came dressed only for Photography and had no plans on flying. In spite of endless ribbing about being a wimp I had as much interest in flying in this cold air as I did in sticking my tongue to a frozen light pole. Ensconced in Lisa Brown's minivan with the heat on, I watched from warmth as some of the guys flew. I did go out and got pictures briefly before retreating to a heater vent. Then Lance launched his little Top 80 and proceeded to foot drag on an icy part of the ramp. That looked like fun!

You guessed it. I couldn't resist.

Lance has a Top 80 and Spice 22, among my favorite combinations and he let me take a ride. I hardly even took off, rather I just inflated, got over to the ice and proceeded to ski, first into the wind, then I turned south and went down the ramp. I actually did come around and do it one more time before the feeling in my face started to ebb. It couldn't have been more than 2 minutes but it was fun. I'd been ice sliding on a pond many years ago and that was cool but I learned a wee lesson about relaunching from ice. That aint easy! Thankfully, this time it was quite easy since we staged from dry concrete.

My helmet's off to those who flew: Pete Sachs, Michael Mixer, Dave McWhinnie, Gary Brown, Scott Clark and yours truly (oh so briefly.)

Some of the diehards take flight. By Jeff Goin.

Also, Wesley Woo got a bunch of great photos (here is his album is here on Facebook). He exercised his higher brain function and passed on flying, sticking with recording all the nutjobs.


Social Light

Lunch was a blast as we got to meet some other groups including a long-time Hang Glider instructor, Dan Hardowitz, paraglider tow meister Alan Abair, and some others who will probably be joining our ranks at some time.

Lance Marczak was always on with his video camera and put together a fun, quick show that you can see here.


By Lance Marczak


I also couldn't resist bringing my little R/C helicopter to annoy people with, landing on plates and attempting to land on heads. That didn't work so well but I got close. I did land on hands but they made it easy.

The food was good as always, the conversation fun and we got to meet everybody, going around the room with each person standing up to give their name and flying toy. When Kelly Koerner's turn came up, she made the funniest line of the whole afternoon. She's not a pilot but her husband Steve, who owns Koerner's field, certainly is. In answer to "what do you fly?" question she quickly offered "I fly Steve." What a classic. And Sally flies Lance. Love it!

I got one good group picture and wrote down everybody's name. Too bad I left it at the airport when we were done, but between Lance's camera excerpts and asking around, I've got most of the names (right sidebar, top).

Thanks to Scott for putting it together, Gary for working out the airport arrangement, and the airport manager for helping make it workable. It was a great time. Here's to the warmth of spring. Hey, the days are getting longer!


The Clan. I'm missing a few names but will have it updated when I get them.

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