Bad Apples

2016-05-17 Tim Gaskins, Michelle Helms

Tim Gaskins is one of the most generous people I know. But that doesn't sound very "bad" for a group called the "Bad Apples." So where did that name come from?

What's In A Name

Pulling from my memory here, it started with some people who came down to Florida to fly paramotors. The ringleader was Bruce Erion, a long time professional helicopter pilot and one of the the funniest human beings I've had the pleasure of hanging out with. His colorful life included flying a helicopter while giving traffic reports for a local TV station but, more recently he was flying emergency medical services.

Bruce, better known as Brewster, brought some friends down to paramotor at a well known beach which they did. They had a reputation for flying at various sites wherever they could find and flying with a bit of "rebel" flare. Once that title has been applied to a group it tends to stick. At some point, a pilot was flying near a Tampa beach in a way that garnered some complaints. Later on it came up on a group forum, or maybe in conversation, and another pilot, possibily the organizer of an event, blamed the complaints on the Atlanta group,  but rather calling them "those 'Bad Apples' from Atlanta."

And the name stuck. More specifically, it was adopted by Brewster who held it proudly even though the offending pilot was not (as I recall) from their group! I'm not surprised, Bruce has a way of making people laugh at themselves and the oddities that humans bring to their every endeavor. He also stars in Master Powered Paragliding 4: Advanced Landing.


Back to Tim.

Tim Gaskins is a lover of life and helper of humans. He took up powered paragliding and immediately started contributing and bringing people together to make the Club bigger and better. He's invited Tim (my Tim) and me up to visit their clubhouse and flying field which this trip would finally allow.

What a cool place!

Turns out this clubhouse was his former business which he wound up selling to one of his workers but he kept the property. Another Bad Apple club member, tired of losing launch sites, bought a field that they could fly from. You get the idea that for all the bad  apple bluster this is a pretty giving group.


Michelle Helms is a new Atlanta area pilot that we also wanted to get together with so she joined us at the clubhouse. Tim took us around to see the field, his wife Sue, and their flying site. Sadly we weren't able to visit but it was cool finally seeing the place.

The clubhouse rocks as you'll see in the pictures. Tim Gaskins has more RC airplanes than the next 20 people I know who fly RC airplanes combined.


The rolling hills of this field have been immortalized in Tim's many tightly edited videos. It's really a beautiful site. At 15 acres it's plenty big for the attentive but, being surrounded by trees and wires, isn't that forgiving. Plus, you're almost always landing on a hill. That adds an unwelcome twist for new pilots. You'll just have to watch some of Tim's blooper reels to see what I mean.

It was a great visit and I hope to fly with them sometime soon.


Jeff, Tim, Sue


Jeff & Tim Kaiser

This prop has a story and it includes me. Tim and I had been footdragging at the Indy Air Hogs event many years ago. We both stopped for different reasons, me while trying to do a 180 degree turn within the width of the runway. It didn't work, I went to my knees and aborted. I reset the wing and launched. Unbeknown to me, Tim discovered that, somewhere during the process, his prop didn't just break, it disintegrated in these pieces. He didn't even feel it hit.
Such is my connection to their clubhouse. Wish it could be better.

The four of us with their field behind.

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!