2012 July 13 Flatland Paradise at 4LL4, near Kankakee, IL
There is exactly one sit-down restaurant near Enjoy field BUT, it
conveniently packs a paramotor launch pad that's JUST big enough. So
after using up morning's smooth air, Lance suggested making the trip and
I took him up on it. You haven't paramotored until you've landed at a
gas station, walked by the pumps with your bundled wing, and walked in
for a bite. Just imagining what these people must be thinking is worth
After a sufficient gorging on Dairy Queen's finest, we picked up our
gear and headed out.
Flying here means coursing through corn canyons, slaloming hay bales,
steering clear of cropdusters and other assorted amusement. I've also
been doing some filming with great results. You're gonna like video
three. I'll be putting a a few seconds of just fun, interesting fying
from all over the world in to breaks so as to let the previous section
sink in. They'll be brief but, I think, enjoyable, and will only add
about 3 minutes to the length.
I also got to do some paragliding courtesy Alan Abair and Jaro of Chicago
Paragliding. He and Jaro Krupa brought tow rigs and did towing on a rarely
traveled road northwest of Enjoy field. What great fun. Paramotor pilot
Pete Sachs took his first tows and, although he landed in the beans, he
learned more about dealing with emergencies than most pilots after
having to deal with a cravat and getting some opposite instructions over
the radio. He was frustrated but, from my perspective, did well under
heat. Alan, the tow driver, got off the pressure when he needed to and
everything worked as intended.
There was no lift by the time I got there but it was still a fun
little sled ride from a 2000 foot tow. Paragliding is another fun
dimension to our sport. Since it was smooth I did a little foot drag on
Jaro's van during landing. The next day was better but overdevelopment
shut us down. I did manage to get a good 40 minutes of soaring in,
though, from a 1500 foot tow.
A lot more people showed up Friday night and Saturday so the field
was scattered with the nylon droppings of many needy airpigs. I took out
the Blackhawk 172 and went for a high climb. She's got way more power
than I need so it was fun to pump up the rate to over 400 fpm. I
essentially ran it out of gas and enjoyed a long glide down. The amount
of power determines how steeply you can turn so it was fun to pull off
some continuous steep turns just off the grass. If you stay in the turn
you don't go through your wake, either.
I grabbed some more video in perfect morning light. Just very brief
snippets that will be fun to watch.
Chef Bill cooked up tasty kibbles and bits Friday night and Saturday.
Very good and based mostly on donations.
Going into town means either the Dairy Queen we talked about earlier
or about a 15 minute ride up to Kankakee. Eating enough, given Bill's
goodies, is no problem for me.
I got to try out a new motor, rather one that I've flown but have not
reviewed yet and also a new wing, the MacPara Chronos. One cool thing
about the motor is that this Talon, which belongs to Michael Mixer, is
the same engine that crashed in Panama City. So it was cool to be now
flying it with Michael standing right there. I'll have a review on both
motor and wing up in a few weeks.
Francesco was here with a demo Miniplane and Leon Wacker was there
his Paracruiser. It was good getting to know Leon a bit better and our
sport is lucky to have him. There are few people who are that generous
with their time.
Othar Lawrence showed up sporting a new Parajet. It's one of the new
frames. He must have had nearly four gallons of gas in it and I loved
his comment. He needed to run so much break-in fuel through it so he
figured he'd just fill it up. Nice. I flew that frame in Basse Ham but
not with a Moster so I'm curious to have a go at it. Right now it's
thunderstorming (15:08) so hopefully this evening will turn out nice.
Steve Reed is on of Chicagoland's instructors and also a blast to be
around. He claims he doesn't work out but one look at his log-sized arms
suggests that something is up. I'm using brake handle extensions for tip
steering on my Viper (someone else's idea) and encouraged Steve to take
it for a ride, which he did. After landing he confessed to breaking the
dowel rod. I figured he must have fallen (VERY unlikely) but no, he just
has that kind of a grip! That was a good chuckle.
Speaking of Chuckles...
Michael mixer endured physical therapy through intense pain for a
couple weeks before finally convincing another doctor to really look at
his shoulder again. The Springfield doctor discovered that the ligament
had pulled apart a bone and was moving around inside. OUCH! He had to
get another surgery and is now recovering from that with a sling which
he is allowed to be out of for an hour each day. Guess how he spent that
hour this morning? Yup, flying the quad. Good on him!
There is a dog that carries a rock around in his mouth. Not a stone,
mind you, a rock--probably 4 inches long with a 4 inch radius. Go
The Indy Air Hogs, including our favorite PPG Moron (Paul Anthem) are
here and listening to their stories is entertainment on its own right.
was in session and every parapew was full. EVERYBODY, it seems, partook
of Sunday smoothness. I flew several times including one flight to
record someone in the corn. There were two pilots this year who ended up
in the corn but nobody was hurt. Corn is inconvenient and the husks can
be painful but I've yet to hear of anybody getting more that scratches
Red Bull pilot Othar Lawrence flew the day before, breaking in his
new Parajet Zenith. He showed up Sunday morning again and I joined him
for a romp through the fields. You can see the results below and on
All-in-all another great time. Thanks to Joe for having us at his
airport, to Jaro for setting things up and to Lance for making all the
T-shirts. Lance is another one of the guys that, if you can get him to
stop talking for long enough, he'll give you the shirt off his back. Plus, he's
probably the best 2-stroke mechanic out there. He's gotten more people
back in the air than anyone I know.
Pilot Othar Lawrence Cruises the Croplands
Just after liftoff I'm settling in to a climb. It
doesn't get more than about 5 feet high.