Wings Over Winter 2017
2017-01-07 Fourth Annual Wings Over Winter
The first flocking together of paramotor pilots was an abbreviated
blast. Everyone who could read the forecast saw that Friday would
probably be the only good day and indeed it was except for those who
arrived early. In spite of that 130+ pilots came together including many
escapees from their frigid confines.
Eric Farewell has carved out a good working relationship with the
airport, enough to put this on, which is no small feat. There is a lot
going on here so pilots must keep their eyes open especially since it's
pretty open as to where you can launch and land. There is tons of room.
Parking was tight but there was enough room and pilots could park
very near the LZ. Tim & I brought the Enterprise but it's close enough
that we could have commuted. Originally I was only going to be there on
Friday morning but feeling a bit below the weather meant that I begged
off my day job.
Kudos to Eric Farewell, Travis Burns and Co. for putting this on. It
seems easy but involves many hours of prep work that goes on behind the
scenes and lots of expenses. In their case, it also puts a lot of stress
on their primary training environment. Thanks to the city of Lake Wales,
too, whose forward thinking leadership recognizes the value.
Reasonable restrictions were in place to make nice with the
surrounding community and only one thoughtless pilot, it seems, brought
out the police. He was reportedly trying to tap or chase cows. Figures.
Eric's Paradigm team did some flying for a Fox outlet that put it on
the air live with a camera feed from Eric. Pretty cool and some positive
publicity for the
Friday was all-day flying with blue sky thermalling for those with
higher bump tolerances and reserves (hopefully). Several large groups
set out on cross countries in the afternoon and the bumpy breeze set
down by about 4:45pm to leave a sweet soft finale. That's good because
the rains came overnight and were followed by chilly winds on Saturday.
Most pilots headed out by Saturday afternoon.
Seeing everybody was most of the fun for me, and meeting so many new
entrants flying. It was also the first cross country Tim & I have done
in a while.
Youth & The Greybeards
What's up with all the youngsters? Nice that young blood is coming
in--there were a number of early twenty somethings flyers tearing it up
whenever flyable air presented. Some of them are working towards being
intstructors and hoping to do a lot more flying.
Us oldsters were there in force, too. I enjoyed seeing Dave Warfield
and Bill Corbet, two of the orginal Parastars, out there flying some
well used wings.
Here is the story in pictures.
Tim Kiaser takes off for his second flight of the
Eric Farewell and others starting some formation
Lance Marczak is the king of fixing. Fixing anything,
really, but we know him best for incessantly getting people back in the
air after their motor stops motoring. He specializes in the Top 80 but I
can't think of a motor he's not been able to revive if all the parts are
there. And a few where the parts weren't all there.
Some non-paramotor friends came to visit and we all
went out to Mannys on Friday night. Ray & Dexter (bottom right) may not
be paramotorists yet but they have been learning to kite as my student
victims -- one of several research projects for the instructor book. It
was so cool to finally get Jeff Hamann from San Diego and Lance Marczak
from Kankakee down to our place. John Stovall has been down before but
it was good to see him and his son Nicholas, too. Lance is the nutjob
who just made a paper airplane out of the table covering. He couldn't
get it started, though, which is unusual for Lance.
Tim Kazmierczak just finished a downwind footdrag
along this alligator containing canal. The calm water betrays a pretty
calm wind, though.
Jeff Hamann and Lance Marczak cruising the cowscape. We took off with no
particular destination in mind, just headed into the South wind. Jeff is
threatening to wipe his shoes on Lance's Old Spice.
Tim put this long, curvy path to good use.
Four of us form up. Tim (low & left), Lance, John Stovall (highest) and
Jeff Hamann (red wing).
Tim over orange groves.
Jeff found himself a big one. This gator is probably 10+ feet.
Looking in about any direction yielded paragliders. We definitely needed
to keep looking! Everyone suspected that this would be the last day of
flying given the forecast unless you were willing to put up with a cold
Trent Almon with the launch area beyond. It's a huge area but that's an active runway so look
really carefully left and right before taking off or landing here.