This is the Police, Launch!
2015-05-19 So yeah, this happened. Kind of. Photos by Tim
I've always had pretty good interactions with the police even when
they were putting the kibbosh on my flying. This was different.
Tim Kaiser, Kristianna May and I stopped at this park with intent to
rollerblade but construction made that impossible. Kristianna, wanting
to learning all she can about paramotor, wanted to do some kiting. You
don't have to ask me twice. I was showing her some techniques for kiting
in light winds when a fellow on a bike stopped by, curious. So I started
talking with him about it, explaining that, as fun as kiting was, flying
was even cooler but we would probably get in trouble if we launched
here. "No you wouldn't," he said.
Turns out that he's a Lieutenant for the local police. He talked with
a park ranger, likely to make sure he didn't overstep his own bounds,
and I went for the motor. I looked up the airspace which showed that we
weren't far from Memphis' airline airport but we were far enough--about
one mile from their inner ring, meaning that we had over a thousand feet
to play with--I wouldn't go over a couple hundred.
The site was tightish. We were on the top of a knoll that dropped off
into a lake. But by turning left then immediately right I could maintain
a landing option at all times. I explained that so he knew what to
expect and that it wasn't "hot dogging" to make the immediate turns. I
also explained that I'd turn off the motor and land power off.
A bit of breeze made for easy launching then, after that initial turn
I did a slow, boring climb, shut off the motor and glided back to our
It was a 90 second flight but hey, that's all I needed. The cruising
around gets kind of boring to watch so I made it brief, wanting to leave
him wanting more. Plus, I wanted to minimize any noise annoyance to the
observing rangers. I reduced power as I came around to reduce the noise
footprint further. Maybe there are locals who could get this site
approved for flying since, less than a mile away from here, in the same
park complex, there is some really nice areas that could be used for
launch. I'd like to leave the park people with a good taste.
Short but oh so sweet!