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Frequency of flying


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Wut?

Those sound like some sort of (completely daft) official number - what I meant was - what is the figure below which you're really not going to be making any progress and in fact you're going to be so rusty every time you fly that you're on the wrong side of the danger curve...

 

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I know you were talking Paramotors, (which have no official number for competency and or currency.) 

My post was just to give you an idea of how the rest of the aviation world sees it. :-)

The 5 hours and 2 hours ARE actually the official numbers that keep you the correct side of that curve for those aircraft types. So I would think ours would be able the same amount, give that it's super simple to fly. :-)

SW :D

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Aye our wings are simple to fly but I would say the launch might be more technical as not being a solid wing. Getting a piece of material lying on the ground to an inflated wing above your head can be a bit daunting for low air time pilots.This can be over come with ground handling even if you can not get a flight

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Hi all,

I flew for the first time last night since last October! With a brand new wing to boot. Where I live there is no flying from November to March...too dam cold..like minus digits. Typical year for me is like maybe 8-10 flights total since this is not my only hobby. I try to pick the calmest days possible to minimize any drama and I fly like grandma. I launched second try no trouble and had 45 minute flight and landed on both feet with no issues. It all comes back to you quickly so I am not too worried about how much I fly.....its all good.

Brian

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

I'm not really talking about simply managing to get into the air and back down again without major trauma. It's the same with motorcycling - you could climb on a bike once a year and you wouldn't fall off, but you wouldn't be safe. You'd be rusty. You'd be out of practice in terms of hazard anticipation, proper road positioning, safety checks before and during, handling in bad weather (wet manhole covers etc).

Paramotoring MUST be the same, surely. If you don't fly enough you'll get out of the habit of, say, keeping track of the wind on the ground: looking for posts / wires; scanning the skies; trimming correctly and everything I haven't a clue about since I have never flown.

Someone out there must get what I'm on about. :-)

Greg

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20-30 hours per year I would think is fairly typical of 'frequent flyers' in this country. Doesn't sound a lot, but on average it's flying around twice a month all year round which is pretty good going given weather & other commitments. What works for me is to fly at least once per month, any longer space between flights and you do get rusty & apprehensive next time you fly, the paramotor is flying you for a few minutes before you get ahead of the curve again, it's not particularly enjoyable for those few minutes. All forms of flying are mentally challenging, the longer you don't fly, the more you come up with reasons why not to. That's when people give up and the kit ends up on eBay.

 

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I rode bikes for 20 years every day (never owned a car) but had a gap of about 7 years before getting back onto an EXUP1000 :-)

I took it easy (as I guess you would with a PPG gap) and built myself back up to a happy place. 

I think its the same with PPG. You won't 'forget' but you will get rusty... If your take off is bad then hey.... your staying on the ground.... If the landing is bad, I guess the minimum from anyone who has been taught (even many moos ago) would know its to get it into wind and flair, so I guess its never going to be 'not walk away from' bad. 

We teach people who used to PG 10+ years ago to PPG and its normally 'flooding back' in about half an hour of ground handling. I have not ridden a mountain bike for more than 10 years but I recon I could get one and ride in now without thinking about it :-) 

SW :D

 

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Hi Greg,

this is an interesting question and i for one am glad someone asked it.

I agree with one of the other answers in that i believe it is rather difficult to nail down to a specific amount of time. Having said that, i can say that for me, being able to fly the motor is the easy part...its the launching and landing that i have most problems with when i dont fly the motor very much (or have a long break between flights)...even if i keep right on free flying throughout it doesnt help keep the launching and landing up to scratch.

A few thoughts that come to mind after i recently had 3 months off from all flying due to an operation...and didnt get back into flying the motor for a few weeks after i started free flying again.

1. confidence in oneself tends to wain somewhat and as a result ones commitment to launching in the heat of the moment is not as good as it should be. The wing lift is not a strong one, then the wing has barely enough energy to want to come up straight and thus tends to go offline, pilot doesnt apply enough throttle...etc. One very quickly starts to second guess the launch if it doesnt miraculously end up perfect immediately, (and considering the lack of confidence, real commitment and effort), a failed launch usually results.

2. Fear of landing speed and/or descent angle on final approach has one shitting themselves. Since this was one of the last things in ones mind after a previous motor flight, your second and third motor flights after a long break are less likely to even eventuate (ill go free flying instead is mentally an easy option).

I think no matter how many hours a pilot has in total, our personal level of ability is never as good as it should be if we dont fly often. Personally, i would say one should at least try to do a launch and land every week or fortnight if weather permits. In terms of hours per year...i dont think this really matters as your flight experience may be biased towards particular environmental conditions...go outside those conditions you are used to, and your currency for said conditions will be limited.

 

A personal experience that i hope illustrates (for the flying part at least)

I fly a Dudek Universal ppg wing (a very low end reflex glider, often used for training) and general, i fly a lot (over 200 hours per year...about 150 hours free flying and about 50 per year on the motor). Over the last couple of months since my operation i can handle the weight of the engine better when launching and landing so consequently, my last 20 hours on the motor have come relatively quickly by my own 3 year average.

Anyway, on a motor flight a few days ago, i was approximately 1000 feet above the tops of hilly terrain when I hit some thermic activity that had me absolutely shitting myself. I suddenly lost both outer wing thirds repeatedly in full reflex and didnt have time to attempt to pull in trimmers as my hands were full down to my butt on the tip steering trying to keep the center of the canopy flying, realistically not having a clue how to achieve that using only tips which were deflated at this point simply flapping almost completely limp a few meters above me. To be honest the tip steering was barely doing anything for directional control and the glider almost immediately started to yaw left and right violently for what seemed like a very long time. This happened twice over a distance of about 200-300 meters. As soon as i got through the first one i quickly reached up and hauled in the trimmers, the second one wasnt nearly so bad but still had me very very worried when i hit it although now that i was flying on brakes my free flying experience helped a lot.

In full reflex mode I had unexpectedly encountered strong thermic conditions heading inland back home from a round trip to the coast and back that i was not used to flying the motor in...although am very happy to, and regularly do, free fly in such conditions. Whatever hours i have flown the motor since my operation (which is about 20 motoring and similar free flying), they were not enough for this encounter whilst in full reflex mode. Not sure about other gliders, but for me this is where the Dudek Universal paraglider does produce a very awkward situation...almost all of its speed system is allocated to the trimmers (only about 5km/hr of its approx 20km/hr speed range comes from the bar).

 

The moral in my view...currency is relative to the flying environment one is used to flying in. Had i had more experience recently flying in shit paramotoring conditions i would have reassessed changed inland conditions i was returning too and would have been far better prepared, indeed even expecting of, what I encountered and would not have been flying with trimmers all the way out.

 

Edited by adamjedgar
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Hi all,

Due to my infrequent flying and long winter layovers I try to minimize my risk and drama by never straying from my simple rules...which for many would be great flying days.

1. Too windy for forward launch then I am not flying.

2. 2hrs max after sunrise and 2hrs before sunset no exceptions.

3. I never have trimmers out past neutral and hands on brakes at all times..never fussing with cameras and such. Dont have any use for speedbar either.

The above rules for myself keep me relatively safe with my low flying frequency and work for me as I am just out for the scenery and never really have a destination and endless miles of open landscape here.

Brian

 

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