Palm Bay PPG Fly In

2012-03-24 Sat at "GDC" Fundraiser Fly-In

What a fantastic event! Somehow having the proceeds go to a worthy charity makes it that much more fun. The "Palm Bay Para Fly-in," as it's officially called, was a fundraiser for PAL (Police Athletic League), a 501c3 that got cut off from from municipal funding threatening many programs dedicated to youth activities.

Having the Palm Bay police para pilots was handy since, if anybody complained, they already knew what was going on. Not that there's anybody out here to likely to complain, it's kind of a no-man's land with nary a house in sight. The sound of screaming dirt bikes and R/C airplanes is common. These guys were there strictly as volunteers, on their own time, to help their charity. Plus, they just great guys, what we've come to expect of those who share our passion.

All the proceeds went to PAL which raised a total of $5200. Nice job, flyers.

Great people, great flying, even great food have made it perfect. Really, if all you do is is give people a flying field and porta pottie, they'll entertain themselves quite handily. These guys did a lot more and my hat's off to Scott Adair, Palm Bay Police Captain (and PPG pilot) Mark Renkens, Don Jordan, Leeta Jordan and others expended enormous time to pull this off.

This place is square miles of roads grass and scrubs.

A couple PPC's were here. Big yes, but they couldn't hold a candle to South Florida Mosquito. It wasn't so much the actual little bugger's size, but the effect they were able to achieve. And lets not leave out the red ants. Don't forget about these little biting nightmares. Thankfully it's pretty easy to see the nests but you gotta be lookin.

They hope to do the event again next year with even more activities during mid-day including seminars. John Black of Beach Blast was here supporting the organizers which is the type of teamwork is awesome to see.

Speaking of Beach Blast, be sure to register early. Also, make sure to sign up for the pylon races. There are going to be two divisions, one for newer pilots and another for those have competed before. A qualifier may also be used to determine where pilots fit. It ought to be a blast. I've registered and am looking forward to seeing some old hardened hands along with some new blood.

Pylon Cloverleaf Filming

Eric Dufour setup his four pylons so I could film him flying around them with the helmet camera. Unfortunately it was too bumpy for the shots to be really good but some of it did look really cool. The sidebar picture in the upper right is a frame grab that shows Eric, one Pylon and the launch area. Eric is mastering the use of speedbar in the task which is improving his already-winning speeds.

It was interesting to see what happened with me on my Pluto 18 and him on his GTR 20. With the huge speed difference I had no prayer of keeping up. Plus, I'm concentrating on framing and that makes it harder yet. So after a few runs, I motioned for him to land so we could trade wings. Wow. Now the problem was overrunning. I've just got to get to the point where I can have the trims halfway out and use speedbar while recording or accept that I won't be able to exactly follow a pilot around the thing. It's a definite learning curve. If the weather cooperates we'll try it again this morning (Sunday) but, with clouds overhead, the lighting will be ugly so I don't have high hopes for for the look of what I get but hopefully will improve on the content.

One observation is that this new breed of reflex wings is indeed quite a bit easier to launch. I'll have a review of the GTR and Hadron up hopefully soon.

Also, for anyone who can make it, Paratoys in California is setting up a cloverleaf for an unofficial competition at their April Ranch Fly-In. Plus it's just a gorgeous place to fly.


There was mercifully minimal carnage. In fact, the only thing I saw was a hungry prop that snacked on a pilot's throttle, ripping it out of the carburetor. He was right over the flying area and did a nice job landing between and beyond the motorhome areas. There were plenty of options for a quartering tailwind landing but he chose an upwind landing in a more confined area. It was a good choice and he executed it well. That's good to see since he was a fairly new pilot.


I don't know who did it but there was an enormous fire pit there for evening gathering. Then on Sunday afternoon, they cleared it all away when everyone was essentially gone. Saturday afternoon saw two model rockets launch that were quite impressive.


Tim and I got there on Friday afternoon and it was a bit breezy but gorgeous and most everyone who wanted to partook. I'm told Friday morning was the berries and I'm not surprised since I got a great flight, in perfectly calm conditions, up at Christmas. Saturday dawned nice but devolved into a minor blowfest within a few hours. It was still flyable throughout the day as long with 4's on the bump scale. I was mostly trying out the Dudek Hadron, getting it dialed in and doing some steep maneuvering up high to gain a feel for it. I did get my speed test done and, along with the Paramania GTR, should have it posted within a day or so. I have other reviews that need to go up but this has been requested by a number of pilots specifically.

Sunday opened a fairly small window of windy winging. Eric and I set up the pylons and we tried to do some filming. That was tough and I don't hold up much hope for the footage to be very good. Too bad because it's tough to get all that together--a pilot as good as Eric and all the pylons set up and me with my helmet cam setup. We'll see; I'm sure there will be a very few short pieces of interesting stuff.

After most people had left the wind continued to build. Don Jordan was working with a student who was kiting until it got too windy. That turned out to be great opportunity to do some trailer climbing in spite of nasty bumpy conditions. It was still fun and I climbed the trailer several times. Just a paraglider and the wind -- gotta love it!

1. Eric Dufour turns a cloverleaf with me filming.

2. Paul Czarnecki discusses the finer point of something PPG. Photo by Nancy Votek.

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