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