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Up up and......whoops


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I will start out by saying that my blog won't be a patch on some of the amazing atories on here but I certainly aim to report back after each session.

After a taster paragliding day about 3 years ago I've always wanted to learn to paramotor, don't get me wrong I enjoyed the very brief intro into  para sorts but always preferred the idea of powered flight. My only flying experience is flying power kites and whilst no relation I've been flying rc helicopters and planes for about 10 years (no pain when crashing those, apart from in the wallet!).

So after a chat with Simon at Membury over the phone between Christmas and New Year I found myself paid up as a VIP member on here and a full course with Simon. My plan is to get as many sessions in as I can over January and February, being realistic about weather of course. I work for myself and have a girl Friday who mans the phones when I'm not around so I'm pretty flexible as to when I can train. 

So after 1 day back at work post Christmas I found myself checking weather pro app and texting Simon to suggest today which he said would work. I live Worcester which traffic allowing is about 70 minutes door to door and given that I used to drive about 1000 miles a week this is a short hop for me! I arrived in good time as I had predicted (wrongly) that today would be a hellish traffic day but it really wasn't too bad at all.

After loitering near the silos I met up with Colin (Simon was joining us later) and we drove round to the field. Short intros done he proceeded to get out the trainer mini wing. After a shaky start I soon was controlling it (holding lines NO harness yet) but was incredibly twitchy which Colin explained was due to size and that bigger wings are more docile but also a lot more powerful! The weather the whole time was what I call gusty (I'm sure there is a much more technical way of describing it!). I also discovered that I'm either left/right dyslexic or had serious brain fade whenever Colin shouted orders as to which side I should putting inputs in to when wing was collapsing or starting to roll over. I'm hoping it's just me trying to take everything in.

Then the problems started.....Colin got the harness out and said that the A's are pretty much left alone once the wing is airborne so I thought great, just brakes to control. WRONG! I just couldnt get it as my hands holding the brake lines would be down near waist rather than 'nipple height' as Simon called it and no matter how many times he told me this was useless as I was effectively putting brakes on permanently and that my arms should be out in front of me. I also just couldn't relax my arms when I got correct height and when I applied brakes to one side of the other I would bring hand down so it hit my groin area instead of taking hand down beyond my leg (behind it). There were other issues too in that when I was losing the wing and was told to move round and make inputs to brakes I got flustered and wing tendered to always need a manual rest rather a shake and auto flip over!

we had a coffee and Simon and Colin both helped me to try and get my head round things and slowly got some issues sorted. We then had coffee and they decided a bigger wing would be worth trying as it will be more stable. So back to no harness and I was soon lifting kite and controlling it. The initial process Of getting wing opened, straight and ready for lift (level leading edge) was soon second nature to me so we got the harness out again. Initially all the problems came back again I just complete mind block, initial lift ok, release A's ok and eventually I was walking around to keep wing in the air and the crucial centre of leading edge above my head with good brake inputs. It was when we then tried some reverse launches that I again got really confused. The initial lift was great, get it up was ok, levelling fine but when I turned I just couldn't stop looking up no matter how many times Colin said don't look up, look at the tips. I also couldn't really get my head round how much to compensate in forward motion for Wing dropping and brake inputs were a bit erratic. I think out of at least 10 tries only once did I mange forward motion with a relatively straight wing but only for a second or two before it collapsing around me.

all in all I felt for a first day I achieved a lot but felt the last half hour or so i became a little frustrated and the techniques I had mastered were slipping also. Colin said all the right things and said for the little we had (9am to 2pm) we'd covered a lot and I had done well.

what scares me is that trying to do all this with a motor on your back with the risk of lines getting in prop! I think I'm going to need to spend a lot of time on ground handling, way more than I thought.

cant wait for next sesssion which is hopefully Friday.


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Well done on your first day. You might feel daunted but you'll be walking your wing across the field without looking at it very soon. Don't spend too much time worrying about how you'll cope with the motor, just focus on what you are being taught now - there's a reason you don't start with the motor! :-) 

Welcome to the PMC and the world of paramotoring. 

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Well done, sounds like a normal first days lesson.  Each step you progress you're find it difficult at first, then it becomes second nature.  Then you move onto the next step. Learning all the time.

Take/think each small step at a time, (this even counts for when your'e flying).  This will then turn into a giant leap.

I use to fly RC helicopters many years ago.  Now, I fly and I've never touch them since.

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Hey Shaggy....congrats on taking the leap of faith and pursuing your dreams.

Simple thing to think about with your ground handling....go with it, don't fight it....less is more, and most important...just "feel" what is going on and let your natural balance tell you what is right and what is not.

Practice, practice and more practice, until you start having dreams about it, then more practice.

Have Fun.

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Had a morning at the field today which was a bonus as I am not normally allowed out to play at weekends. Had the little wings out (which I'm learning to despise) as there were two new trainwes there. Great to meet them both and already signed in for bore watch, perhaps I've got wishful thinking that I'll be up for that!

Im going to be kind on myself and say another far from ideal day conditions wise and ground very wet so wings were soon weighing far more than when we started. That said my two fellow students seems to outshine me which left me feeling a little inadequate. I would have much preferred the larger wing out as I find that so much easier (and obviously more representative of what I'll eventually be using but totally get why we couldn't due to conditions).

Ive told myself that I am intelligent enough to finally get it and if it takes weeks of ground handling to master it then so be it, I want to be totally confident of managing the wing before I even think about flying (and I'm sure this is the ethos of the training school). Chatting today to has made me think I am going to get my wing asap so I can practice ground work on my own as well as going  to Membury for proper training. 

Weekend visit will be few and far between as my son is disabled so it's not fair to leave my wife to do all the caring so back to weekdays it is going forward. I need to save weekend brownie points for flying season and all the socialising that paramotoring seems to involve!

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I've been dying to get back to the field to get more ground handling in but the weather has been terrible over the pas few days. I was all ready to go on Tuesday so did the usual check on the weather pp Monday night and it looked quite good to an untrained eye like my mine but the following morning it was pea soup fog and Simon said no way.

So same again Tuesday night and it looked better so again another check with the boss man and I found myself at the field at 0850 raring to go. I have my new Dudek Synthesis 32 (bought of Mark Boraman......hugely helpful chap, many thank there) so that came out of the car for it first outing in my hands! 

We focused on forward launches and whilst there was almost no wind a lot of the time an occasional gust would appear which helped greatly. As the the morning went on it typically got better, never rising above 3mph I'd say. Well what can I say I think something clicked as everyone said it would and the first few 'runs' were spot on. Colin was shouting to remind of certain things for the first 3-4 times i.e. 'TURN TURN TURN' or 'LEFT BRAKE, LEFT BRAKE, LEFT BRAKE' but after about 4-5 goes he then said he'd just observe whilst I did everything myself. This consisted of gathering wing at end of each run walking back, un-hitching, placing wing, hitching back up, prep for launch (checking wing position in relation to me, line tension, wind etc) before going for launch. I did about 5 totally on my own and apart from a couple of little errors they went really well. One error was pulling too much on the line whilst trying to get even tension and spoiling the nice leading edge wall I'd made!

The issue I did have was stopping (mimicking a landing or aborted take off) and getting wing down the right way up whilst turning to get parameter away from wing. I would either apply brakes but too much so it come down before I turned or not apply enough brakes or too much and the wing kind of landed in a heap! The though of doing this whilst trying to get the lines around the cage of paramotor safely does scare me a bit!

All in all really chuffed and Colin is talking about one more day perhaps with reverses and some theory then I could be up in the air for my first flight!

So glad I am using my own wing so I can get to know it, just need to find money for engine now.....!

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Best day so far for me I reckon! Arrived at 9 with steady light wind which did become a little more changeable in direction as morning went on. 

Busy day, 3 learners and Connor who showed us how it should be done coming in for a low flyby and giving Colin high five on the way?.

Pretty much left to our own devices to be monitored as we went about our various practice handling/launching techniques and as I had yet to manage my new wing without harness I thought I'd give it a go. We'll at first all my initial bad habits came into play, not moving quick enough and misjudging brake inputs. Got better and then went onto harness and hey presto got some nice forward and reverse launches in again something 'clicked' and I really started to get feel for wing and after a couple of hours my forwards didn't involve looking up at wing but just to sides and feeling for which way I had to go to get that all important lift point.

i made a couple of stupid errors, whilst forward launching I landed wing when I'd run far enough to achieve a launch and did th necessary turn to face wing. Then I thought great I'll try a reverse now, without checking the lines! Result was that due to my favourite direction of turn Being left that's the way I turned only to realise I'd gone the wrong way and lines twisted again! I managed to save it both times by turning back two turns to correct it. All I needed was someone blaring out 'twist and shout' on there stereo and you would have a seen a great dance display.

wind started getting a bit changeable and although Simon said some of us were getting towards first flight day it was getting too windy for any novices. I'd like to think he was aiming that comment about being ready for first flight to me as well as others....! 

All in all great and I quit while ahead and count down to next time

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14 minutes ago, Shaggy33 said:

i made a couple of stupid errors, whilst forward launching I landed wing when I'd run far enough to achieve a launch and did th necessary turn to face wing. Then I thought great I'll try a reverse now, without checking the lines! Result was that due to my favourite direction of turn Being left that's the way I turned only to realise I'd gone the wrong way and lines twisted again!

I told you not to develop a preference! :-) It will become a disability not being able to turn both ways dude.

Awesome day on the field though!! Both Colin and I went away feeling brill with a massive smile. :-) 

Well done to you, and the others there today...  


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Hi Shaggy, just read your posts. Thanks for that. Good reminder of my first days. It is weird how quickly we forget the 'bad' bits. 

I remember that overwhelmed feeling : I'll never be able to cope with all those lines and brakes and then the throttle in my hand too, not to mention the motor and all the noise.

I had a long break after my initial training and first flights. Just recently recommitted and got my CP. 

As you have noticed it all comes together after a while. Enjoy the whole journey! I really hope you'll be up there soon. As they all say: flying is the easy part...

Might see you at the Bore Chasers ...


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Day 5....Headed down on Tuesday morning although it looked very foggy. Got about half way and Simon said it's not looking good sadly. I didn't turn around (which was lucky....read on) instead stopped in Swindon for a quick caffeine fix. Whilst contemplating what I should do, either drive home or go and see a customer who is nearby Simon called again and said the it looked ok at airfield so head over. So off I went thankful I hadn't turned around...

Paul, a fellow trainee whom I've met before was also there so we set about with a bit of ground handling after we'd let the sun burn through a little more. After a while it was announced that some aviation was going to take place so out came the club machines and I was strapped in for the first time for a feel of it and also had a run round the field getting a feel of the thrust generated. I only got to 1/4 throttle as any more would have seen me blown across field of face planting in the dirt! Half way round I heard a strange noise but it didn't last long but after that I felt the throttle had become a little sticky. It was a bit unnerving so I cut engine and walked back to Colin. It turns out that due to having hands lower than where they would be when flying the throttle cable was clipped by the prop and made a nick in cable which caused a sticky throttle lever. I was absolutely gutted for obvious reasons but you learn by your mistakes! More updates soon I hope although the weather is not looking to clever for the next few days....

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