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richjones last won the day on July 26

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About richjones

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  1. Quick update because I’m still buzzing ive wanted to fly over Santa pod drag strip for ages. I’ve spent many years here racing and partying, I love the place. today and tomorrow I’m here crewing for a racer and I brought my kit with me. I knew the forecast was good 7pm. it’s a private event with only about 200 racers and their crews so the big fields are empty. around 7.30 I went and parked my van in the field, I was a bit worried about security getting shirty. I waited a bit, the only vehicle in a big field and security drove past without batting an eyelid. So I got my wing out, nil wind setup. id already checked my motor and fuelled it in the pits so I just got it on and a quick warm up. Still no problems so strapped in and up. Forward launch with a bit of running in nil wind. Not a lot of lift so a bit of brake got me up. what a great flight, I went over the pits waving and taking photos then went out and about the local area spotting the posh houses. absolutely loved it. Flying around with my racing mates in the pits, taking photos of them. I came over the strip at 2200ft and came down to land by my van. Easy approach and a running landing on my feet again. I can’t see me ever getting bored of this! It’s just fantastic being up in the air.
  2. richjones


    I’ve used a throttle off thingiverse. Printed it and used bike gear cable. Works a treat.
  3. Got a couple more decent flights in last night at penkridge. Met Phil and Paul at the field about 6.30 and it was a bit windy so we waited and got ready. Phil hadn’t flown for around a year and has about 30 flights under his belt so we got him up first just to alleviate any nerves. Quick reverse and he was straight up no fuss. Paul reversed and I went forward. I’ve done a few reverses but it was light enough to go forward so I did. We went northwest across miles of farmland and very few buildings. We’re still getting used to the area so a couple of accidental sheep panics were had as we weren’t too high but discussed after and will be avoiding them in future. There’s also a couple of small airfields with airspace we had to avoid near Penkridge and Stafford. After some hedge hopping by Paul and waving to a lot of people on the ground happy to see us we turned back after about 40 mins. It was a lovely flight, we all took off easily and we all landed on our feet. Had a few minutes and got ready to go up again. Now my partner lives on the outskirts of Wolverhampton near j2 of the m54 and the wind had died right down so I said I’d like to fly over her house and wave. Phil had a little trouble with his forward take off but no real issues and we followed up and set off southerly towards Wolverhampton. Did a quick circle to check out the headwind for the return so we knew it would be a slow ride back and we knew we were on a time limit because of the time. It took about 15 mins to go the 7 miles to Dot’s house, flew over and waved. A couple of times we questioned whether to turn back or not but pushed on (my decision but anyone could go as they pleased obviously) As soon as we turned we knew it was a hard ride back, cross wind so fighting it all the way and couldn’t make more than about 18mph. I wasn’t worried and I knew paul wouldn’t be worried but then we found Phil’s wing was really slow going back, he’s a bit underweight for his 28m wing I think. Once back in the open fields I came down low to get better speed. Paul was ok his wing is faster, Phil was behind me and gradually dropped back. Realising he didn’t have any navigation with him and it was dusk, and he was starting to worry about not getting back I suggested finding a field and landing out before it got too dark. That way we could pick him up and not worry about him struggling to find his way back. Radio comms became erratic but he got the message. However we didn’t hear back from him. We landed at the field close to 9.30 pm, on the limit after crabbing most of the way back. It was a bumpy and tense flight needing hands on all the way. I had sent Phil a text message on the way telling him to let us know where he ends up, but we didn’t know whether he was pushing on or landing. It was a bit worrying for a while. When we landed I got a text from him saying he’s landed and then got to speak to him. When he told me he’d crash landed we were even more worried, but he’d got a lift off three friendly ladies in a Range Rover who brought him and his kit back to the field. Turns out he’d found a field ok and come in to land but saw power lines at the last moment and had to brake left suddenly. I wouldn’t call it a crash landing, he landed on his feet in a wheat field and fell grazing his knee. No damage to him or his kit otherwise. Oh.. I can’t forget this - Paul, the infamous Paul who landed in the river Severn, came in with engine off and had to glide past the field only to land in the middle of a corn field about 6ft tall crops. No damage just unfortunate landing. There was nil wind at the field and I landed in the other direction on my feet yet again Great evenings flying, bit of learning about being able to navigate your way home and Phil learned limitations of his wing. paul has some pics he might put on here, these are what Paul sent earlier. I haven’t checked my cam footage yet but hopefully something good. All fun, no major dramas, always more lessons learned. Loving it
  4. A shorter update today. And a more positive one went to Paul’s field in Tamworth last night where Clive Mason was visiting and doing some tandems for the farmer and his family. I got there about 5pm when it was hot so I wasn’t in a rush to get in the air, so I got my new prop from Clive and fitted it, did my pre flight and got wing ready. a couple of tandems went up and we chatted parashit for a bit. I flew around 7.50 and went around Clive on a tendem then off towards Tamworth where I flew over a friends house and gave them a wave. It turns out I got the wrong house and was waving at some random people pretty uneventful flight as it goes, nice and relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed it. I came in around the village and the no-fly neighbour who doesn’t like us for a nice foot landing. a beer and bbq were in order and we left the field about 10.30 after a great night doing what we do. a couple of rubbish weeks, still have to repair my net, but relax and don’t rush, nice easy evening and all is good again Looking forward to flying in penkridge next week if the weather plays ball.
  5. Oh what a frustrating, exciting and expensive few days I've had! Indecision, inexperience and simply making mistakes - I'm still a beginner. Time to take a step back and refresh the basics! Let's start with failed reverse take offs. On Monday I went to Richard Leishman's field with a view to meet up at a pub near Nuneaton with a few others then fly back. The field is nice, flat but surrounded by buildings and trees so not ideal in windy conditions due to turbulence. Wind was around 10-12mph and gusting 14-16. I hadn't been to this field in this wind before, but now realise my limits. After a bit of kiting and a lot of waiting Richard got airborne with a slightly dodgy reverse launch. I got ready and tried, and tried and tried. I failed 5 times, each time the wing going up OK but gusting and changing wind making it impossible for me to control and get off the ground. Eventually, after lots of swearing and a little tantrum involving a thrown helmet I came to my senses and stopped trying. Good call. Richard flew a bit and came back dropping very fast towards the ground. Generally not a good evening i this field. Paul Page and Tracey Johnson had flown over as they were at Pauls field so I went there to get some photos and relax after the efforts. The wind there was considerably more stable so I did some kiting and eventually decided to have a fly. Simple forward launch and up first time for a 25 min flight at 3-400 feet around the fields. I came back in and landed lovely on my feet. At least I got my fix! Tuesday the wind was the opposite - nil wind launches! Four of us went from Pauls field. I had a very quick 5 min flight while waiting for others to get ready, quick round the field and land - on my feet again So far so good.. Then once we were all airborne, no issues, we headed for that pub in Nuneaton. I got there and two other people had already landed, so I came in after a go-around - I seem to be a bit nervous landing out at new places - fast approach and landed ok but on my knees. There were 7 of us landed at the pub. Turns out the pub was shut lol After a chat for a bit we all headed to the take off field with absolutely no wind. Any direction for take off. It's a nice flat field and we all got up OK even though the doubters were forecasting a couple of props haha.. Had a nice fly around low as it's all fields there, then headed back. Lovely flight, a bit of low flying over fields near tamworth and followed Paul almost foot-dragging a test track then back to the field. Simple enough, came in ok but fast and on knees again. I don't think my old legs can keep up with the fast nil-wind landings. No issues, nobody had any problems and a great evening had by all. Then last night, Friday I went to meet someone new at a field near Penkridge in Staffordshire which we're hoping to use regularly. Met up with Phil and had a look at the field which is a microlight airstrip so well maintained. It's good with a long runway but narrow so wind needs to be in the right direction for us. It was very gusty but settled for a while and I managed to grab a quick flight. Did a quick forward and got off OK, promptly being blown sideways. It wasn't bumpy just gusty so I kept on the brakes and did a couple of circuits of the field. It's a lovely area with no neighbours to get upset, just fields but accessible to Staffs and Wolverhampton areas to fly around too. I came in to land having to keep adjusting for the wind but nothing scary - then hit some sink and dropped low before the field. Hit the throttle and just got in the field with my ass dragging through the hedge, came down and somehow managed to land on my feet. New field, should have landed further down the runway but didn't cause any problems. A bit later the windsocks dropped completely so I got strapped in and Phil was going to follow. Sods law as soon as I strapped in the wind started changing direction again so I had to wait for a moment. Went for the forward, wing was slow coming up, got turned a bit and corrected but was heading for some crops. Big mistake not to cut power and tried to get up but hit the crops (wheat or something so not too tall) and took the ends off my prop. My new prop which was less than 2 weeks old Bloody expensive game, making mistakes! So now my plan is back to basics. Don't take off unless its 100% perfect just like when I was training. I think with experience comes more risk taking. Thinking you can do something but you're not quite making the right decision but decide to take the risk anyway. Silly game to get into, and costly. I've had a great week with 5 flights but ending badly because of a bad decision. I hope people learn from my mistakes Heres a shot of the new field as I was coming in to land.
  6. I wouldn’t say doomed from the start as we had two successful 25 mile flights. lessons definitely learned though. And yes it was far too late. Won’t be doing it again.
  7. I don’t see any point in hiding mistakes, it’s all about learning and if it helps someone else that’s even better The decision of going or landing was a kind of constant discussion on the way back, always had a landing spot available except when it got totally dark. When you can see it’s only 3 or 4 miles back to the field and you push on, then you realise you had to turn the phone off so you could see past the screen. I think that was the ‘oh shit’ moment. We knew we could get back, we know the area well. I may have struggled on my own as paul has flown there many times more than me. Landing when you can hardly see the ground was a worry, and rightly so To be honest if it hadn’t been such a cloudless night we would probably have had to land out. Such a good feeling to get back to the field though
  8. Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m advancing or going back to novice!! One evening, 2 props (one mine), 3 failed launches, turbulent flying and flying in the dark How not to plan your XC .... Sunday’s forecast was perfect for flying early and late. I got to Paul’s field about 5 and started setting up. The wind was mild but changeable. We had decided to fly from Tamworth down to Clive’s at Market Harborough, have a break and fly back. Usually this is very doable in an evening of light wind. Setting up I found my engine cut off didn’t work so i had to bodge it so I could short the wires on my throttle cable to cut engine. Not convenient but worked. We set up to fly about 6 knowing it was going to be a bit thermic after a hot sunny day. Paul got up ok forward launch. I didn’t! Almost nil wind my wing came up a bit off centre which I corrected and then ran. I wasn’t sure I was going to get up as it wasn’t lifting (or I wasn’t running enough) but just as I got lifted for some dumb reason I loosed the throttle. Face planted into the ground. Busted prop and chewed up net. Tied the net up with some line Paul had, and he had a spare prop which had previously had a big repair but hadn’t been tested. So, thought I, I’ll use this and get a new one off Clive at the field. By this time the farmers family had come to watch and add to the pressure Tested the prop and it seemed ok so went for it. A bit of wind this time and Paul reverses easily. I clipped in and went for a reverse which went like a dream with the audience, and off we went The flight there was easy, a little turbulent but not too bad. Took 52 minutes and got to Marston about 7.45pm I circled waiting for the field to clear as it was a busy evening then came in only to land on my feet! Getting good at this now Unfortunately I couldn’t cut my engine until I landed so had to let the wing come down in front of me landing all over another pilot (Nigel I think) Checked the prop and found it had a crack straight across it!! So I got a lift to Clives house and got a new prop from his wife, got back and swapped it over to fly home. Nil wind. Hopeless! Two failed forward launches, so hot!! Third try I put a bit of power to help the wing inflate and got off ok. Headed for home and it was a lovely flight. But I hadn’t got up until 9pm and with sunset at 9.26 we were pushing it to get back within half hour after sunset. Anyhow we got going, then soon after going over the m69, about half way, it got bumpy. Really bumpy! To the point I pulled my trimmers in to get on the brakes a couple of times. I was only getting about 12mph and it was getting darker. I could see Paul’s strobes in front. Then my radio died too. Whether to land out and arrange a lift, or whether to push on hoping it wouldn’t be to dark is a difficult decision. We opted to push on. And on. And on... Eventually some of the familiar landmarks became visible and gradually we got back to the farm. Paul landed a little cross wind, couldn’t see the windsock (or anything else) from the air. He tried to call me on the radio and I could hear but couldn’t reply but he said which direction to land anyhow which was good. Came in, slippery condensation on the grass and landed on my arse! Back to normal It was only then I really realised the time, about 10.30 pm No bother, got the wings off the wet grass, had a beer, went home. Would I do anything different ? Perhaps not go the distance so late - but we didn’t know I’d get delayed going to clives for a prop. Journey back with headwind - perhaps shouldn’t have gone until the wind was the other way. But it was forecast a lot lower than we felt. Should we have landed out? Probably. But making the decision to carry on wasn’t terrible. We could just see enough to find the field and to land. Balance that against landing in a strange field with the danger of wires etc etc and I’m happy enough we made it ok. In future we’ll plan better. I don’t know whether it was scary or exciting flying in the dark but I don’t want to do it again!!
  9. Well I like to think I’m always learning.... sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards. Got out in Tamworth last Thursday 2nd July for a couple of evening flights. Brad Quinn was at the field who I’d never met before which may contribute to my performance on the day. Maybe. having had forecast rain around 5pm I was at the field around 6 and we chatted while waiting for flying time. Almost nil wind but some rain clouds about and still a bit warm. Decided to fly around 7pm and I’d forgotten how much running is needed on a nil wind take off! My first attempt was rubbish, I didn’t get the wing nearly high enough. My second attempt I didn’t run enough. My third attempt I don’t even know!! The wind changed direction every time and I had to move my wing to take off in a different direction each time. It was hot work! Brad was near me watching and talking to me too and I think I went back to student mode, not liking being watched. It certainly didn’t help though it’s only me failing the launches. Anyhow, new direction, fourth go I got up, don’t know what all the fuss was about. After all that fuss you’d think I would enjoy myself but no.. it wasn’t thermic but proximity of the dark clouds was enough to make the ride a bumpy one. I didn’t like being near them and I could feel the effect of the air moving around them. So I did a small circuit and came in to land after 20 mins. My approach was good, there were plenty of people in the field to watch me land in my arse but I denied them all! Lovely landing on my feet Gave it an hour or so and went up again. Yet another failed launch! Just didn’t get the wing overhead and it dropped to the side. Next go I was straight up, no messing. Me and Paul went towards tamworth town and around the M42 area. Someone local sent us a photo and I got some gopro footage and actually made a video. I like to think I’m pushing myself a bit more each flight if I can - I got closer to paul than I’ve ever been in flight before I think Not close but close enough for me for now. I also came down low a couple of times to fly over the fields. Only down to about 10-20 feet. Not something I do normally as I’m more than happy up looking at the views but I fancied a go. i lost sight of paul so flew about for a bit and then headed back. I came down low again to see the windsock and just testing myself, then went around to approach for landing. Now the wind was almost nil so no issues except it would be fast. The direction had been changing all evening. There was a fire in the next field showing wind direction different to the windsock, but I went with the windsock and came in fast, feet down, run ya bigger! Got it again! On my feet I watched Paul come in straight after me landing at 90 degrees different. When chatting he decided to reveal he’d clipped the windsock earlier and it was just leaning one way so not showing the wind. The smoke was true. Another lesson! I’m sure if there had been a bit of wind the sock would have moved anyhow but these little hiccups make you aware for next the future. short video for this one below, and a couple photos paul got of me. It was a lovely flight Not happy with 4 failed launches in one day as that now bring my total to 16 since I started I’m normally better than that. I’m up to 56 flights and around 41 hours flying time now. Still a beginner I think
  10. Seconded. I learned with Clive last year. Great instructor and great bunch of people and he’s on your doorstep really in market harborough.
  11. Well when I saw today’s forecast I had to get the exhaust repaired sharpish! good friends in the paramotor world! I needed a new baffle in the silencer as it had broken into several bits. I’ve ordered one from a bike shop but not in time to fly today. Paul page came to my rescue and offered to repair it today, so I dropped it off with him this morning (Monday) (I know I’m writing this after midnight so strictly speaking it was yesterday!) he drilled loads of holes in a tube and reassembled by silencer. Winner so.... met paul and Richard at the field to fly around 7pm. Noticed thunder forecast for 9pm so wanted to see if we could get up or not. And I got my exhaust bolted together at the field. wind was very low, clouds looked friendly and sun was shining so we went for it. Forward launch, long run and seemed to be little lift, I was very low before the wing finally woke up and took me up. Probably jumped in the seat a little early which I haven’t done for ages. Had a lovely flight of about 40 mins then came back in - it was getting a little windy and it seemed I was being circled by a police helicopter!! Had a couple of other Paramotors join us for a few mins too, so 5 of us flying around Tamworth. No thunderstorm here but Birmingham, Rugeley and possibly Nuneaton areas looked as if they were getting a good hammering of rain. Great to see from the sky. We were constantly aware of the surrounding and upwind clouds just in case. Anyway came in to land, fast with little wind. Brakes, flare, too much and up again, down again, on my feet the fell over on my knees. Almost got it! chatted for a bit then I had 3 litres of fuel in so went up for a 20 min flight. This was 9pm. Easier take off, forward. Had a little meander round fields at about 5-600ft and got some photos of Richard. Really lovely and smooth flight, wishing I’d got more fuel lol we all came back about the same time, Richard landed first and I came in straight behind him, long, fast and onto my feet who mentioned arse landings? Not here! The thunder arrived from the east about half an hour after we landed and we sat chatting, having a beer until almost 11pm two lovely flights, beer and chatting to mates. What a great evening
  12. Yeah we just have to put up with the off days don’t we. It’s still fun just with added frustration. oh and yes to top it off my exhaust fell apart flying home.
  13. Well I’m definitely back to being a beginner! 3 failed launches and two shitty landings. but two great 25 mile xc flights planned to fly with paul to clives field in market harborough from Tamworth. Got to the field about 3.30 nice and early to set up. The windsock was playing silly buggers with nil wind really but gusts in all directions. paul took off and I set up in the same place. The grass in the field is too long but we have flattened a bit for a runway. Anyhow, I ran and ran and ran and ran out of runway but kept going into the grass. Fail. I gave up when I ran out of field, just couldn’t run fast enough in the long grass to get up. I was exhausted. then set up on the tyre tracks where it’s flat but not such a good direction but nil wind thought I might be ok. Fail. I was so tired from running with 40kg on my back that I couldn’t do it. Paul was circling and I gave it a few minutes and failed again. I told him best to land as I need a rest. Really wasn’t feeling it by this point. had a drink and fries the sweat off the set up to go again knowing if I failed I was going home. paul went, I stood engine running waiting for the windsock to show a little something. Finally I ran for it and just got lift before getting far into the long grass again. so off we went on out 25 mile journey. The first half was quite bumpy, not really enjoyable but as we approached market harborough it smoothed out. Great flight otherwise, no dramas. found Clive in a different field to what I was expecting and came in high and quiet as requested to glide in for a landing. Now the field is massive, and I got just over the hedge to get in (engine was running so no danger , I could have gone round) nice approach then promptly landed on my arse oh well we chatted for a while and set off home about 8.30. Forward launch nice and easy straight up. Stayed mostly around 2000ft but after about half way back it was bumpiest I’ve ever flown. Hands on brakes as the gusts kept turning me. got back to the field ok, no wind, came in fast and onto my knees/ face. so got two hours flying in which was great. lost all ability to land and had the most failed launches since I’ve been flying. just a day of not quite getting things right. apart from that it was lovely
  14. Flights 51 & 52 last night. joined the mile high club first flight half hour, I didn’t put my flight suit on. Mistake lol. had a little bimble around a quarry I hadn’t seen before. Nice little flight but I was cold. The houses you see when flying too! A mansion hidden in the trees you’d never know was there. went back to field to get more layers as I was too cold and fell forwards on landing into my knees. then got my suit on and went up again. Me, Paul page, Richard leishman, up, up, and above the clouds. Such an amazing feeling. Both my phones died of exposure just approaching 5200 so I just kept climbing. First time above a mile for me and Richard. Three of us up there, clouds below us. So peaceful I can’t even describe the feeling. (Well I can, it was bloody freezing!) I glided down on tickover all the way down to 900 ft before touching the throttle. Got a video of it all so that will follow but no proof of the height. I guess I’ll just have to do it again came back to field and fell on my knees again after a few mins I got the feeling back in my fingers and realised I’d twisted my ankle. By the time I’d driven home I couldn’t walk! Had to get my son to help unload the van. ice, painkillers, elevation. Doesn’t feel so bad this morning but not out of bed yet I only have 38 hours flight time total. Still a beginner. I love flying
  15. On Tuesday 2nd June my mom was 80. I went flying got to the field to meet Paul about 7.45pm in time for the last hour or so of light. wind of around 8-9mph, not too gusty so went for a reverse launch. when in training with Clive my feeling was that reverse was far more controllable and a better way to take off. At flight 48 this was my 3rd reverse take off. I just find forward so easy. however reverse was needed and first attempt flopped as the wing tried to overtake me then I over compensated and lost it. Simple reset and tried again. Up, turn, check, run. Done. Easy. bit of a non-eventful flight really. The wind was too strong to go anywhere and at one point I was doing 4mph. Turning just meant I’d get taken downwind somewhat and spend the next five minutes making up the distance I lost so I ended up mainly flying slowly in a straight line before turning back and getting a max recorded speed in ppgps of 50.9 mph. Now that’s more like it quick circle of the field and gently down with a little bounce after flaring because of the strong wind, nicely on my feet. Becoming a habit this! 52 minute flight, average speed 17mph. some of you long term fliers may know Nathan Washington. He found us at the field and introduced himself after trying to find us for weeks. He’d followed us back after I was circling over his house. I thought it was going to be another complaint. Watching the forecast and deciding when to fly.. it was a nice enough flight, not too bumpy, but the wind made it not the most exciting flight. I’m still glad I flew. Got my camera out and got a few decent pics of paul too.
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