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Mark Pugh

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Mark Pugh last won the day on February 28 2020

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  1. This summer I updated my wing. I'd been flying a second hand Paramania REVO2 size 26 or 27 (I forget) and loved the wing. But it was made out of heavy duty (bombproof) material, and never mind what I did, it always seemed to land very fast. I'm getting older (57) and wanted something that was just easier to launch and slower to land. After chatting with Clive Mason, I took a punt and ordered the Sirocco 3 that he told me fitted the bill exactly. I trust his judgement and have bought reserves, carabiners, etc from him before. It was quite a long wait for delivery but I've now had ten flights on it and I love it. I can reverse launch in the lightest breeze, it only feels like a maximum of ten steps and I'm in the air and every landing has been stationary and slow. It doesn't feel like that as I'm rushing at the ground....but, with a wrap and the two stage flare, it's unusual I have to take more than a single step as I reach the ground. Just what I needed. Even on the first flight it felt solid and stable. I'm not into acro (way too old for that!), but it's solid on wing-overs and easy in and out of the spiral dive. Very pleased with this wing, a bit un-imaginative in the colour scheme and design. But the flying is brilliant. Very impressed. My last new wing was 1997 when I got an Edel Sector to compete on, but I've had a few second hand wings before converting to POWER.
  2. Hi Adrian, since speaking with you, I dropped more old mags to Ben and he has already taken the lessons and almost caught me up in flying hours!!! We have a small Telegram group, if you are still keen to learn or just have a chat, get in touch again. Covid won't last for ever !!!!!!! We are quite safe out in the middle of a field somewhere!
  3. Having problems sourcing a new rev counter, parts of my digital display have stopped working and the glass is cracked. This unit only does rev's and temp and I'd like to replace it with the same. Anyone got one for sale????
  4. I still fly out of Wootton Wawen and Great Alne with specific instructions from the farmers, having to text them before each flight and pay a small voluntary contribution. There are only 4 of us that fly frequently and we use a Telegram App to keep in touch and talk about the weather and potential days to fly. Generally fly at 1000 feet as we have a lot of horses in this area and do circuits lasting between 1-2 hours, down to the Cotswolds (Broadway Tower). Two of us flew yesterday, we average 2 flights a month over the year, but up to 6 times a month in the summer evenings.
  5. I learnt in the UK with Andy Moon at www.planespeak.com All done and dusted in a day, he specifically tailors the day for Paramotor pilots if possible, but my class had 2 paramotor pilots, one balloonist and a gyrocopter pilot. We all wanted a days lessons finishing with both exams to get our radio telephony license. The license cost through CAA is expensive, the air-band handhelds are expensive (don't think BAOFENG prices!!!), but now each time I fly I let my local glider airports know I'm in the air "Powered paramotor one, operating out of Wootton Wawen, en-route to Alcester at 1000 feet". If the control tower is in operation that day they reply that they will let other air traffic know we are in the area. I've also called up hot air balloons on their frequency and asked for permission to fly closer. At first they ask me to stay 100m away and never fly above them (they have a huge blind spot upwards), but after they have seen my control, the local Virgin pilot, says "Hi Mark, come as close as you want". I tend to then move further away and pull a few wing-overs and spiral dives for their passenger amusement. Several times I've landed with the balloon and shared the champagne!
  6. Hi Guys, I live in Stratford-on-Avon and fly from local sites. Parajet Zenith Polini 130 Thor and Paramania REVO 2 wing. We have a small local club on Telegram App. that lets other local pilots know if we are going flying that day. Officially there is no licence required to PPG but I would not recommend that route, better to take lessons that will also show you air law and how to fly safely. I was lucky, because I was an advanced rated paraglider pilot with over 400 hours, it was just a two day course to convert to Paramotor. I flew with an instructor from South Wales who taught on the beach, huge landing area, consistant on shore sea breeze. Perfect for learning. But there is another school in central lower UK. Both teach complete beginners from scratch or convert paraglider pilots. It's one of the few hobbies that REALLY gives you a buzz. Can't recommend it enough, but it will take over your life; always watching the weather, looking for the next window of opportunity! If you want more details, give me a shout.
  7. Meaning, I stop using trimmers, so actually pull them in tight almost to the stops! I weigh about 88kg naked. Then fly with a Zenith frame and polini Thor 130 engine plus, usually about 8litres of fuel on launch!. Maybe 120kg total!
  8. Ok, after being a paraglider pilot for 400 hours, it's taken me two years to put just over 40 hours on my REVO2 with my Zenith polini 130. Love the combination, but the wing is a medium and although I'm within the weight range for PPG (top end), it's not the easiest to forward launch and it comes in too fast for me. I take trimmers out, for slowest setting, come in fast and pull down to shoulder height at 1m off the ground, skim along bleeding off the last speed for a full final deep flare to land. But that last metre comes up very quickly and my 55 year old hips are suffering. I think I'm just too heavy on it, better for stability and speed, but especially bad if I have to turn in late for a small landing area. During turns I drop like a stone! I'm expecting that a larger wing will be more floaty and make a better final stall for landing slowly into wind. If I could have the REVO3 large I might be happy, but maybe better to upgrade at the same time and get a better second wing. I'm saving my money, doing extra overtime at work, what second wing should I be looking at. DUDEK, ITV, ? Not even looked at prices yet, but presuming my wing is worth £500 still and I will save up another £1500- £2000 in overtime. What should I be looking for?
  9. Hi andyy, it is the next step to being "professional"; I fly in the UK and we are remarkably unregulated in our hobby, this will not last forever. I see at least an airlaw exam having to be sat and maybe compulsory insurance in the near future. I try to stay as legal as possible, I took my rating through BHPA school, so have basic insurance, always fly with a large reserve, now carry airband radio, try to fly at 500 feet and 1000 feet over villages and towns and obviously stay away from airspace. But several of my launches are grass strips and even farmers like to see some insurance in place before giving the go-ahead. The more "professional" we can become, the less likely we will become over regulated in the future.
  10. Now it's early June 2019, just like to add to my own experiences. Since taking my rating, buying my second hand kit and gaining experience with the local Worcester Group; I'm now more likely to fly locally in Warwickshire. It did take a long time to find suitable fields. My three local grass strips were totally against it, I sent letters to the committees, saw them in person; but they mostly claimed they already had noise pollution problems and did not want another form of aviation there, especially one that was more likely to fly in the evenings when people were relaxing at home. I knew a lot of local farmers (20 years of metal detecting their fields and sharing finds, bottles at Xmas, etc.) but it's surprising how many fields are too small, have huge hedges and trees, or power lines in just the wrong places! Finally I managed to get a couple of great fields in different locations. The big help was having my motor on display to show them (on back of my car), taking photographs along of me flying (they look silent!), promising photos from the air of their fields, farmhouses, etc; but biggest single decision help was saying "Instead of buying you a nice bottle for Xmas, how about I donate £5 each day I fly from your field". Don't arrange to actually pay for the flight, this could involve insurance, paperwork, hassle. Just make a donation towards cost of parking car, cutting grass etc. This has encouraged farmers to say yes, and let's face it, I used to spend more than £5 in fuel to get to launch sites! The two fields I now have, are so large I can take off in any direction. This has greatly increased my chances to fly. Even though I worked through May, I had 5 evening flights, that's more than 1 a week!!! It's still taking forever to build my PPG hours, I have 400 paragliding and only 24 PPG. But that was in my first full year and with my local fields and more confidence, I'm sure I will get more of those flights in this year. Just remember, the first time people see a paramotor, they are interested and point and wave. The third time you go over their garden, they find you noisy and obnoxious. So take off, get high and vary your route. If you do find yourself going over the same point frequently, take a few A4 photos around and give them to the owner. They are more likely to continue waving at you ! In reality, once airborne we are supposed to cruise at 500 feet and 1000 feet over towns and villages. At that height we are much quieter, get a better view and are high enough to throw a few wing overs, spiral dive and if the worst happens, throw the reserve!!!!
  11. Well I've now had my airband license for a while. Has it been useful? I can talk to the other paramotor pilot in my club legally from the air, I frequently inform my local grass strip that I'm flying "Snitterfield Traffic, Paramotor 1, operating from Wootton Wawen to Studley at no more than 1000 feet". If they are at the airport, I get a response that they will let other pilots know I'm in the air. Do they pilots then come and look at me, probably, I get them coming past with a wave but at least they've seen me! I'm still waiting to see a balloonist in the air while I'm flying, then I can use their frequency and request to fly closer. Not happened yet, but I'm hopeful. Amplitude Modulation does seem "lower" tech. compared with FM; background interference when talking even when the squelch is set properly. Older technology really. But it does seem to work better nearer the engine; with 2m or 70cm I did have to go to tick-over to use the radio at all, maybe that is just having a well designed Yaesu, rather than a cheap Chinese radio. Better filtering, maybe. Biggest negative is the expense, we can spend thousands on wings and motor, but object to the licensing cost and radio cost of airband. It would def. be much better if more PPG converted...but the cost would put most off. I now know of 4 PPG pilots that have upgraded to airband radio.
  12. Whilst paragliding in approx. 1996 I always used a trailing antenna, just to get the 5W furthest from my body! But not such a great idea with a prop. strapped to your back! As for minimal range.... It's virtually line of site! People have bounced signals off the moon to get around the curvature of the earth. Many of my Ham friends received QSL cards (confirmation of radio contact) from the old Russian space station and even from the ISS. The range on VHF and UHF can be huge and in the air our signal will be picked up from miles away. I have over 50 QSL cards from Australia when the 11 year cycle is in force!!! Bouncing the signal off the ionosphere.
  13. Never seen any figures for this, but I've had my G7TVF license (Class B) since about 1982 and my G0WKT license (Class A) for well over 25 years and using the amateur bands in the air would definitely upset the amateur radio enthusiasts who will happily self police it. Being outside these bands by 30kc is the only frequencies I've ever seen paragliders and hang gliders use and never known anyone ever be overheard or prosecuted. I believe the 143.970 MHz channel is actually even legal in Europe for free flight teaching and competitions. I would not go far beyond these frequencies due to other people using them and the antenna not being tuned for this. There is one Airband frequency that is legally used air-to-air for hang gliders, paragliders and PPG, that is 122.475 MHz AM. Now I have my RTFL and so does another club member, I will report back how useful I find airband. I do not think the cheap Chinese BAOFENG radios even have type approval for use in the UK, never mind amateur radio use outside the frequency bands. Due to the filtering and the wide frequency availability. China does not have to follow our licensing rules and it's a grey area when we import them ourselves! My first ICOM 144 MHz (2m Band) was bought in about 1994 and I had to de-restrict certain features to use outside the amateur bands for paragliding use. So even the official expensive radios could be opened up for "illegal" use even then; Baofeng have just made it easier!!!
  14. After using Amateur bands UHF and VHF on FM (G0WKT full license), Airband on AM, original CB on 27MHz AM (circa 1979) and legal CB on 27MHz FM; I am surprised how poor the AM signal is. FM is much better reacting to squelch and just sounds more quality! The major problem for free flight use is the cheap Chinese Baofeng radios that only cost £30, are very poorly filtered with spurious emissions all over the resonant frequencies. You pay extra for ICOM, YAESU, KENWOOD, etc, because the electronics is just so much better and the frequency that is displayed is the only frequency you transmit and receive on. What I would like to say is if you use these radios, I would highly recommend that you use a frequency just outside the amateur band. Because the antenna are designed for the bands and although the equipment can be opened up to transmit on many more frequencies, the length of the antenna makes it less and less efficient and likely to blow internal components. So use just outside 144 - 146 MHz on the VHF band (ie 143.970) or 430 - 440 MHz on the UHF band (ie 429.995). Also be aware that this is true in the UK, in USA the bands are 144-148 and 420 - 450 (I believe!). I go to fields and cringe when I hear the days frequency is 139.000 MHz.... My personal belief is it's better to have a radio and be able to chat with others in the sport, than rely on your mobile phone after landing.
  15. This is me flying over the farm I launched from on 20th March 2019. There were small clouds at an initial cloud base at 2600 feet, once above them, it was silky smooth in the sky. 60 Best Haselor_Trim.mp4
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