2012 Chicagoland Fly-In: Paramotor Enjoy Field

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 the trip.

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 figure.

The Indy Air Hogs, including our favorite PPG Moron (Paul Anthem) are here and listening to their stories is entertainment on its own right.


Church 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 and bruises.

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 YouTube here.

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.

Red Bull 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.


1. No, Lance did not fly THROUGH the blades.

2. Friday morning there wasn't so much traffic.

3. The Borg shutlecraft. Made in America.

4. This is the place we flew to.

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