Greenville, SC to Orlando, FL

2011-11-10 Finishing the migration

On the move again.

Our last trip left with the Enterprise in Greenville, SC, a quaint little airport that only charged me $140/mo to dock (you park a car, you "dock" the enterprise -- how geeky is that?). We walked out to the parking lot only to realize the Enterprise was nowhere to be found. Fortunately we kept walking and did eventually find it nestled alongside the lot's perimeter. Oh yeah, it's hilly here in SC!

Our mission was a leisurely 4-day trek to Orlando with visits dictated by weather and whim. It's nice not having a plan. Just the road, two people, their paramotors, and home wherever we find it. I've even gotten to the point where I don't have to fly every morning and afternoon like I did before. Now I can take a break, take in attractions, scenery, lounge a bit, skate, work on projects, do other things, etc.

We flew nearly every morning and evening. Sometimes it just goes that way.


Tim and II have enjoyed great luck at airports. We're respectful, we talk to airport managers whenever possible, we avoid airplane traffic patters, etc. But I feared this might be different after pulling into an airport whose lone occupant, wrenching on a little airplane, reacted to our craft. When I told him what I flew his nose immediately soared to snobbish heights with some grunt about how "those things aren't real flying machines." I bit my tongue. He reluctantly gave me airport manager's number to see about getting into the gate which I called and got a warm reception and directions on getting through the gate. I figured all was well.

There wasn't much time but I was anxious to taste the trip's first air. After setting up with the wing all laid out nice, a guy drove out in a white pickup with official looking markings. You always worry when that happens. Sure enough he proceeded to tell me we couldn't fly there.

Why? I'm US citizen, flying on federally funded airports under federal laws that grant me privilege to fly in this airspace provided I follow our rules. I offered to show him the rules and he accepted. I showed him a copy (in the PPG Bible -- and no, I didn't say anything about writing the thing) and explained our obligation and allowance. I offered that we were already planning on avoiding their traffic pattern and would represent less hazard than an airplane operation.

Finally, I think he realized that we were indeed law-abiding flyers out to enjoy the taxpayer funded facility that he managed.  I pay a *HELL* of a lot of taxes, including on the Avgas I burn in my plane/helicopter/ppg, and marvel at the snobbery in aviation. This fellow wasn't actually that way at all, but the first guy in the hangar, wow. What's up with that attitude? And I don't tell them about flying 737's because it's so remarkably irrelevant.

My flight was brief but sweet. It's just good to get back in the air on a trip, probably just to know I can. The gear worked flawlessly and conditions were perfect. I flew exactly one lap around an abbreviated pattern because of impending sunset.

What's funny is that another fellow came out, a member of the airport commission, and was utterly enthralled with the thing. He was there to fly his Cessna 172 and was clearly a passionate flyer without the arrogance that I find so despicable. He thought what we were doing was cool and invited us to come back and fly there anytime. That's the aviation I love and, thankfully, is what I find far more often than the other kind.

Off to Orangeburg

Morning was to be chilly so we skipped flying in the morning. There's a lot of trees in South Carolina so launch sites are scarce. I looked on Google Earth and found a site that looked promising near Orangeburg. But when we got there it wasn't anywhere nearly as nice with new hotels having been built rudely in our way. Tim poked around on his phone and found a plan B. But that turned out to be a challenging site requiring turns around poles and other obstructions that Tim wisely didn't want to deal with. It was even at the bottom of my minimum site size/complexity. And since I wanted to get pictures with him flying there was no point. We decided to go for the slightly more distant airport to see if we could beat the setting sun for a quickie.

American Beach

What a pleasant surprise. We pulled up to the beach and there was a windsock flapping out the tune of a 10 mph breeze. Moreover, it meant company. Tim and I arrived at this popular flying site North of Jacksonville only to find Steve Heller, a local pilot flying, and a new pilot, Dave (I think) practicing his kiting. Last year Steve helped us locate this same beach so it was good to see him again.

We had filming to do so I quickly got to work setting up the camera gear, namely a GoPro on the Miniplane's frame--it's the perfect spot since you can see all the control inputs. In the meantime Tim got in a quickie flight then we started working on three needed scenes. First was releasing and capturing a bag while in flight, second was proper and improper bomb toss (including two takes on the "crash into ground" scene), and finally proper and improper go-around. These shots, to be used on Master PPG 3 and 4 all went well including launch and release of a "toy" parachutist. You'll see why it's in quotes when the things come out.


1-3) Newberry. Getting ready, almost getting skunked for the first time, taking first air.

4) Orangeburg was a far, far friendlier reception.

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