This is the Police, Launch!

2015-05-19 So yeah, this happened. Kind of. Photos by Tim Kaiser

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 spot.

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!

Kristianna May and Lieutenant Kenny (don't remember his last name) watching.

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