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Shaggy33

Up up and......whoops

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Hi Shaggy, sorry to hear about the mishap! I am sure you are gutted. I'm just thinking, that must be one long throttle cable!    I am not sure it should be possible for the cable to be nicked, while you hold the throttle in your hand, no matter where you put your hands. I know the engine is usually off, when you do a full flare, but you should be able to do that and not worry where the cable is going.

What did Colin say?  Are there lessons to be learned for everyone?

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Damn you British winters, 2 weeks without any training! I purposely kept this week free in case of a window and it paid off as today was just about ok for some ground handling (but even that got tricky by about 11.30, more later). All the reports i read were about 11knot winds up to 12pm so knew it would be unlikely to fly but I guess I was hoping for a miracle 'pocket' of stillness over Membury but alas not. Oh well, I was keen to just get the wing in the air albeit with me on the ground for a bit of a refesh. 

So arrived at 9 and met another trainee (first day but he proved to be a natural after paragliding previously....). I set wing out trying to find a part of the field that wasn't a paddling pool and thought I'd just get straight into harness and go from there. For the first minute or so I almost forgot what went wear but they after a shake of the brain cells it all came back. Made a nice wall and did first launch which took me by surprise as I'd never had the 32 giant in this much wind.....jees thought I was going to end up in Membury services car park! Managed to get a handle on it though and after a couple of patchy reverse launches I was soon doing some nice launches, turning, running to the lift off point and then calmly walking keeping wing nice and straight as I walked. Then set about making sure I could control land it (the right way up!) and again I'll admit to some patchy ones (not putting enough of the relevant brake in quick enough to get wing down level onto the ground) but also got some really nice ones in where I could easily do another launch straight away with just a pull of the wing to get the 'wall' again.

I am trying to tell myself that, in theory apart from some optional ground handling practice even when I'm a fully fledged pilot I won't be spending much time walking around a field with the wing over my head, I'll want to be up in the air as quickly and safely as possible. It's why ground handling is so vital and the 'not even think about it' technique needs to be mastered.. Also I would never choose to be out with my wing in this without supervision, even just gound handling but glad I experienced it. Escpecially as the day went on it was getting up to 16kph +

We called it a day at 12 not before I made an upside wall with my wing to try and get some moisture out of it! It's now in the spare room with risers in the wardrobe out of harms way!

I really feel ready for my first flight and don't really mind if its forward or reverse which I hope is how I should be feeling??? The weekend could be it as the weather looks not to bad for then, I'll let you all know...

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After an agonising two week wait due to weather (serves me right for choosing to start the course in January!) I found myself back in Membury itching for my maiden flight. Started off with a few more practice launches (forwards were order of the day) and after a couple of hours and other people flying it was my turn. Colin was my radio man and we went through pre-flight briefing and buckled myself in to the paramotor. The plan was one or two circuits just being a radio puppet as Colin called so I could get a feel for the controls and get a launch and landing in. Sounded good to me but I must admit that as I stood there waiting for the signal to bring wing up the though went through my head what am I doing and never again! Soon that was forgotten as I found myself doing the procedure of checking line tension was even, two steps back, arms at 10 to 2 and GO GO GO. 

Wing came up nicely (apparently!) and was straight I started to run once it was overhead, let go of the A's and fed the power in. I can see what people mean when they say the more powerful the engine the less steps you take as it felt like only a few steps in and I was ready to go. Started taking longer strides but only a couple as Colin shouted full power and the next second I was up! Climbed to about 50 foot (so Colin told me) then I did the classic rookie mistake of letting off power as my brain told me that I was getting too high to survive a fall...! Another reminder from Colin in my ear to apply power saw me continue my climb after that little brain freeze. 

All I can say is WOW what a feeling and so nice to finally see what all the other fliers have been seeing as I've been on the ground learning! I was told to maintain height which I managed to do with a little input from Colin and made my way west to end of field before turning to come back round. I did another circuit and as I made my way back towards the services (along the tree line) I followed Colins advice to reduce height ready for my landing approach. First thought was Sh*t I am going waaay to fast to land this time but apparently not! I came down again being guided by Colin and although I flared a little early I landed initiall on feet and started running. Then I realised I was running too fast and fell to me knees but luckily not flat on my face! I'd done, couldn't believe and there was handshakes all round and a sigh of relief from me and probably Colin!

Couldn't wait for another flight but was told that second flights are best done on another day as you're full of adrenalin after the first time. So I headed home whilst phoning everyone I could think of to tell them of my success, some more interested than others! 

So I turned up Saturday praying for decent weather but alas no as there was fog which didn't look like it was going to clear and quite blustery conditions. SOme other new trainees were there so they set about ground handling and I thought I would too as I was there. Waste of time really as all I achieved was an incredibly wet wing and some pretty hairy reverse practices due to wind. I knocked it on the head at about 10.30 and headed home. 

Would have love to have been there today as it looks ok after the Doris experience yesterday but work calls so alas not. I have, as usual tried to keep next week free so I can get down there asap for my next flight. I am well and truly hooked!

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Frustrating day today. It's been 3 weeks due to my last visit which was the day after my first flight. Would you believe the only two days in those 3 weeks were flyable and I was busy for both of them!

Turned up today full of promise of perfect flying weather from weather pro app only to find a thick fog and over 90% rel humidity. So a round of Starbucks coffee and 30 mins later it didn't look much better so ground handling was the order of the day.. important I know but not a patch on flying.

after 2 hours or so of trying manage my instantly soaking wet wing I called it a day and decided sod work I'm back Monday for what's proving to be that elusive second flight....!

watch this space for more updates 

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Damn this British weather. According to weather pro last night today looked perfect (Simon agreed so it wasn't just me!) but alas it appeared that a mini Doris seemed to have descended and settled on Membury airfield. It's wasn't an definite no fly day but was told we'll see how things go. Simon went up at about 10 to assess and on landing said no way for a novice like me as it was pretty blustery. As gutted as I was he knows best and safety first and all that. 

It never really changed until about 12 so after lots of reverses and general wing handling I left feeling weather cheated again. Wednesday looks good (mind you i said that about today last night...!) so hopefully flight number 2 will finally happen.

what really winds me up is when friends or family ask how I got on and when I say no go too windy or too foggy or too much humidity they say the same thing...'I can't believe it it's beautiful here, perfect weather'. I'm close to saying unless you're sitting in the middle of Membury airfield and are an expert paramotorist how the hell would you know if the weather is prefect....grrrrr

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At last, 2nd flight has taken place!

Wednesday was looking to be perfect weather (so good in fact I didn't text Simon in the morning, just the night before) so I headed down to Membury, arriving at about 8.30.

Bob the Scott was there (lucky bugger is down for a month or until he gets signed off, good plan!). As the morning went on a few more people turned up including trainees and fliers, I recognised Russell as he was there the day of my first flight. Thanks for help everyone particularly Russell who filmed my launch.

So after some perfect forward pratice launches (and a couple of fluffed ones which I put down to an almost instantly soaking wet wing and zero wind....my excuse anyway). So I laid wing out to dry as by this time the sun was coming through and had coffee from Starbucks (cheers Bob!).

At around 11 we were ready and Colin was to be my radio man again. Got into motor, Simon oversaw me hooking into the risers and I was ready. First go was fluffed, bascially didn't commit properly and was too tentative on the throttle so abandoned it early enough for wing to settle behind me and the guys helped reset the wing. 

Next time was great, good power and committed early. The wing went off to the right slightly but I caught it in time and turned right slight and put left brake in to counteract it. 10 or so steps later I was up and this time full power all the way to get up to height. The idea of this flight is to get a better feel of the controls so Colin had me doing 4 or 5 circuits of the field as I practiced left and right turns. The first were a bit jerky but after that I masted the smooth pulling of the brakes and also smooth release which aids a nice gentle turn. Managed to enjoy the scenery too which was a bonus. 

Colin had me coming in for a lowish flyby to get an idea of descent and climb control before coming in for the landing which is where it went a little wrong! He had me coming in along the tree line near services which was fine, I was on tickover but had to blip throttle to a get a little more hieght (not sure I needed it but trees felt close). Cut Engine when told and got myself out of harness ready for the landing. As per the first time I was surprised at how quick I was coming in and put brakes in too early but not all the way then as I came lower I went for full brakes and landed on my bum! Not damage done except pride and some mud on bottom of paramotor frame.

In the debrief I learnt that 1. I was over the trees not along side them so if I'd had an engine cut i would have been dangling from a branch, not safely on grassy field. 2. Due to almost nil wind day I would need to come in quicker to give me more momentum for brake more brake authority at the flare point. 

You live and learn but apart from the landing I felt I turned another corner and bring on the 3rd flight I say.....!

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Well done. I had a flight on Wednesday afternoon so must have just missed yours.

Thanks for writing this up. I enjoy reading about other peoples experiences.

Lets hope the weather starts to play ball a bit more often and you can get a few more flights in.

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Glad to read you had a second flight. All helps with confidence. I feel I have done the right thing by doing my paragliding training first. I am about two or three days flying from completing my Club Pilot qualification and this will give me confidence on take off and landing when it comes to my paramotor training. Of course the technique is totally different for take off but I am reasonably fine with my ground handling so I can hopefully concentrate on the running and throttle side of things.  I shouldn't get the squeeky bum time quite so bad as many paramotor pilots get on their first flight if they haven't come to paramotoring via paragliding.

Why did you only get one flight in? Time? Or thought that was enough?

 

cheers

Steve

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For the first flight they say just do one as you're full of adrenaline afterwards and think you know it all which could encourage mistakes if you rush into a second flight.

as far as the second and third flight I guess you may be able to do these on same day but I had to leave at lunchtime. I certainly would have liked to get another one in if time had allowed...!

 

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As above. :-) 

First flight day = go home buzzing trying to decide if you should stop to call or drive faster to get home! :-):-)

This comes form my days as an army driver, the statistics for people driving home after a test 'were' shocking. ( it's against UK law to drive home after a test for the same reason ) 

2nd 3rd flight depending on the individual person can happen on the same day and from there on in... it's go go go... :-):-) 

SW :D

 

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Well 5 weeks to the day since my second flight I got the nod that weather would be good on Wednesday (yesterday) so I headed down. Busy day as there was at least 8 of us, some first timers and some on second or third flights like me. Usual arrangement, wings out and play in field until a flying order is decided, I did 3 or 4 forwards (bloody hard work as no wind) and a couple of reverses when I caught a sporadic gust that last long enough to do a reverse!....

Two first time fliers went up at about 10.30 and I was waiting in the wings (pardon the pun) but it got too Thermal and a bumpy ride and landing was predicted so flying halted. We hung around desperate to get a flight in but as 3 pm approached it was still deemed too risky as a very experienced flier confirmed after a test flight. Simon told us it wasn't what you'd call dangerous but not acceptable for 2nd or 3rd time flights. So I left at 4.15 (along with another 3rd timer) gutted we hadn't left the ground. The only reason it's been 5 weeks since my last flight is that every day I could make it down I was told the weather was not flyable but I did hear a couple of guys yesterday saying they'd been on days that were questionable but things had turned out ok. In view of this I am going to change my tack I think And head down on days that are borderline and try my luck, after all even with all this modern technology like weather apps etc no-one can truly say it what the weather will be like until it's here.

What made it more infuriating was that a fellow ppg enthusiast local to me had two flights in perfect conditions!

I left to go down today but as I approached Cirencester it was pissing down so I text Simon who said flying was doubtful so I turned around. Probably turn out that the weather turned as I headed home and that flying was happening all day!!

I am keeping my diary as free as possible from now on so I don't miss any chances of getting back in the air for what is proving to be the elusive 3rd flight!

 

 

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That's why it's called parawaiting. 

I flew yesterday. Forecast here said 7/8 degrees and 8mph with 10mph gusts. At the field there is only ever me as no one else seems to live up here! Wind was gentle. Fully overcast.

Off I went. 20 feet off the ground and I went up vertically!...then backwards! Uhm, lots of wind up here! At about 100 feet I managed to let trimmers out. Progress...moving forward extremely slowly. Oh well, having never used speedbar before looked it was time to give it a go. I have only just fitted it, having hoisted myself, in the paramotor up on a chain winch in the garage. Excellent, I could now go forwards...but note to self...only got 2/3 of the travel on the speed system!

As you can imagine, landing was also a new experience.

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It's important to learn meteorology and observation as part of being a pilot - what's happening on your bit of the ground can have very little in common with what's happening elsewhere and higher up. 

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The thing I learnt is that when there is a consistent cloud cover, there is no way of telling how much wind high up. It all just looks the same. Three different local weather stations all had wind at max 8mph.

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I've yet to have any theory and only really learnt the little I know about weather via listening/chatting to experience flyers so I know that I have a huge amount to learn. I have however learnt one important rule 'better to be on ground wishing I was flying than flying wishing I was on the ground'...!

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13 minutes ago, Shaggy33 said:

I've yet to have any theory and only really learnt the little I know about weather via listening/chatting to experience flyers so I know that I have a huge amount to learn. I have however learnt one important rule 'better to be on ground wishing I was flying than flying wishing I was on the ground'...!

Just what I was thinking 2 days ago!

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