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Tony Fisher - Paramotor Training Blog


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This is a quick intro to me and my level of flying skills.

I completed a Hang Gliders EP course about 15 years ago in Cyprus – never really touched one since. Microlight – 30 hours, 10 being solo. 2 years ago completed all the ground school work. So, not an expert at all, but with a little experience behind me, hoping it will help.

I am 47 yrs old, married with two adult boys. Joined the army (Infantry) at 16 and left at 40, now working as an IT Manager in an automobile manufacturing company in Swindon.

Reasons for doing this – Spent the last year on forums and reading other sites. Enjoyed the diaries of newbie’s so thought it was my turn and hope other people will read this and give them the extra ‘GO’ to get started in this sport, which I have been told is the fastest going aviation sport.

As you know now, I did NOT go to university, so education was not listed high on priorities – I had to work for a living. So please, no feed back on grammar or spelling, but would love any comments – is it worth it; to long; to short or a waste of time. Any comments I make, please take as ‘my opinion’ only and I hope not to offend anybody, if I do please let me know. My last word is – Do not take my advice, because I am not an expert – this is only my opinion.

Happy reading - ‘Fly High, Fly Safe’.

Tony

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Subject: T001 Training Morning – Ground School

Date: 01 July 2007

Site: Lambourn Club

Wing: Nil (Ordered Synthesis Wing)

Motor: Nil (Thinking about Parajet motor)

Another miserable day – rain and strong wings – Is this the right kind of sport to choose as I was driving the 35 minutes to Lambourn. After meeting and greeting with Simon, we had our first cup of tea and talked about paramotoring in general. Simon’s school was in a couple of small barns at the back of his house. Not exactly, a ‘flying school’, but we all must start from somewhere, with bits of motorbikes; tractors, flying models and of course bits of paramotor lying around we found and dusted off two chairs and sat down. Now sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea in my hand, looking at the rain and talking at flying – thinking this feels better.

We started off with meteorology, which was nice and simple – things that effected flying a paramotor with no big long names to remember, but I think all essential to paramotoring. I have passed all the Microlight modules before about 2 years ago, so most of it was still somewhere in my head. Then we covered ‘Principles of Flight’ – gain all relevant to paramotoring. After three hours, two cups of tea and two modules done I had only two to go.

The last hour or so I had a look at Simon’s Paramotor, which even he hasn’t flown yet!

Simon started the Parajet, put the beast on my back, and told me to open the throttle and feel the power……….. What an awesome feeling. Also thinking that I need to run with this beast on my back while waiting for it to push me in the air! - Can’t wait}

Over the past, few weeks I had order my Synthesis Wing, but not 100% sure on the motor yet, but looking at the Parajet.

So deposit for the training paid, all I need to do is wait for the weather. Next booked day – next Sunday.

Lesson learnt: It’s a beast of a motor

Thinks to remember: Pray for a sunny day

Summary:

Two modules completed: Meteorology and Principles of Flight. Felt the power of the motor on my back.

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Subject: T002 Training Day – Ground Handling

Date: 08 July 2007

Site: Lambourn Club

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling

There was a nice small crowd waiting at the school today, including a few with low flying hours and Stuart who has a few good training days in front of me. In addition, there was Dave Hairs (British Champion) and his partner Rachael. So what a great variation of flyers – good to see at the club.

We arrived at the site at 1100, everybody started to unpack their wings, and Simon introduced me to mine. We then went through the different parts / names and general explanation of the wing including the pre-flight checks. By this time Dave was up and gone - checking the flying situation, ready for a XC with Rachael. In addition, all the others had their wings out doing some ground handling. Simon had mine up and flying above his head now – and it was looking so easy (how wrong was I)

I now had my harness on and the wing on the ground trying to get the dame thing in the air and once it did ??????? – it either completely turn upside down and the wall collapses. Thinking to myself – this is not as easy as it seems. I then spent a few hours trying to get it to do what I wanted it to do…. Joke. Still thinking the cells have been put in upside down.

After lunch I sat back and watch and talked to a few people and getting a feel of the sport. A few more flyers arrived, which was good and Dave went home, because the weather was just a bit to much thermic for the XC – I felt a bit better then. I think, the most important thing I learnt today (apart from it not being easy) that you AWAYS need to practice ground handling at whatever standard you are. Also, if you are learning it will eventually come together.

I did leave with a smile on my face, but thinking about all the ground work, I need to do and need to learn my left and right!!!!

Lesson learnt: Practice at ground handling at all levels

Things to remember: My left and right (need to buy pink and blue ribbons)

Summary:

Pre-flight inspections and basic naming of the wing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tony,

I have got to know Gilo and the Parajet team quite well over the last couple of months and can heartily recommend them. Gilo is probably the most talented engineer/designer I have ever met and his build standards and product quality must be very hard to beat. I am sure that should you want to have a look around his facility and talk Parajets either he, Marcus or james would be pleased to show you around.

I have no doubt that Simon has filled you in from his perspective.

Parajet contact details.

PS: Order your machine through Simon tho' eh? :wink:

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Norman - Thanks for the input.

Not being an expert, but having seen three different manufacturing types so far I can even tell the build quality for the Parajet is a big marked different. I know it is a bit more, but I think you gain that with the build and I hope the performance.

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Subject: T003 Training Day – Ground Handling

Date: Sat, 28 Jul 07

Site: Lambourn Club (Temp field)

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling with Small Training Wing in Strong Wings

On site about 0930 hrs, lovely new temporary site, this was right on the Ridgeway footpath. There were plenty of ‘On Lookers’ from the footbpath, but did decrease during the morning. On arrival, I did notice a few new faces, which was good again and the weather was nice but the wind very strong and unstable.

After 30 minutes Clive Bunce landed in his microlight in quite bad conditions (in my limited experience I would of never landed) and delivered a new training wing (Dudek, Marlin), which is a 12m ground handling wing used just for training. After the boys had a play they passed it onto the students and what a different. The winds were blowing about 10 – 15++ with a lot of rotor from some trees behind us and this wing was going all over the place. After a time I was able to get the thing in the air for about 20 seconds, which was a good achievement for me (please note further on). Francis arrived later with a tandem frame thingy, which he has been designing. But, still a secret and in the early stages, can’t really say must else – but it does look strange!!!) I guess all inventions do at the start.

During the day, Sally Anne (The land owner) appeared and Simon threw the poor girl straight onto the 12m wing with no training, no experience. I was guessing that this is going to scare the poor woman away and never come back again. Well, was I wrong! After a few attempts the wing was in the air and being controlled – and me feeling quite sick now…..

Stuart arrived later in the day hoping to get his first flight, but I was guessing the weather is just not right. After a few more goes with Dan, (Dan had a few goes and was very good, but did have more experience at GH) and me being dragged along the ground (by this small training wing and me being nearly 90 kgs) decided to give in to the wind ‘You can always fly another Day!’ came to mind.

Thanks to Dan for his input and Simon’s voice of authority, “Hands off the brakes” I gained some good experience, and left with the thought, that if the weather was better I think I can now get my larger wing in the air and know a bit more on how to control it.

Lesson learnt: Actually, the cells might be round the right way on my wing and I could GH it

Thinks to remember: Wear a helmet (Cycling type) and long sleeves next time when GH

Summary:

Good GH with a 12m wing, which you can use in a much stronger conditions.

More experience gained in GH and keeping the mini wing above my head for more than 20 seconds.

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Walking the dog on a new route by my house and stopped to talk to a farmer.

After 30 minutes talking and cut a long story short. Interested in flying – wanted to be a helicopter pilot, but is colour blind. The good news is I can use his fields for ground handling and they look pretty good.

The seed is laid – let’s hope it grows.

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Subject: T004 Training Day – Ground Handling

Date: Sun, 05 Aug 07

Site: Hyde Farm (Purton)

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling

While walking the dog near Purton (last week) a farmer (John) said good morning and then we started chatting. After a short time we started to talk about Paramotoring and it got round to land and the laws involved. Well, making it short – John wanted to be a helicopter pilot , but is colour blind and the interest is still there. Also, I can use any part of his land to practice ground handling – the seed is laid - I can feel a good site coming here in the future…

The morning seemed a perfect time for some GH on my new found site. The wind was a steady 5 -10, gusting up to 13 mph. Bit nervous, knowing that I was by myself – no Dan, Stuart helping or Simon giving his good words of wisdom.

Now at the site – looking good, all the kit on the grass checked then doubled checked. The site was flat with short grass – a few cow packs, but hey, it can’t be perfect all the time.

Harness & gloves on and now strapped to the wing – since it has only been out the bag twice (still smelling new) and the last time Simon packed it away, it seemed to sort it’s self out and a wall was built in no time – it felt easy and very manageable. After a sweaty 45 minute sessions it was flying above my head for about 30 – 45 seconds on each good lift – (very pleased with my self, because John was watching from a distance too). Good time for a break and get some fluids in me, because this was feeling like a good work out.

While having a break I did notice a front coming in and the wind was getting friskier, anyway I needed to go about 3 ish for a well deserved family BBQ so I thought it would be good to get my kit and go for it again.

Another 45 minutes of good wall building and bring the wing up level – a lot of ‘just collapsing’, but I think that was due to the wind. I think 45 seconds was still my best time – still pleased with that. Now, the last few times I was finding it hard to keep up – when it was collapsing left, I was moving left, I was pulling left and the dame thing was still going left. Just not sure, why – time to stop. The wind and clouds was coming in so I thought one last go and pack up (I did think that a few times), but this time….. The wing was flying well, but then, the left side just collapsed into the wing and I think went through the right side leading edge, which then turned me 180 degrees and it lifted me 3 feet in the air – pulling in the brake, flaring – no chance I was lifted and dumped to the ground like throwing a 87 kg bag of spuds. Wind 1 – Me 0. I eventually gathered al the lines and sat on the wing waiting for these gusts to pass (Good job wearing gloves). I tried to straight out the lines, but with the mess and the wind, I was loosing a battle (Wind 2 – Me 0). So, I stuffed the wing in the bag, tired up the field and thought about the cold beer and the food.

All in all a great adventure – by myself for the first time, then my first frequently getting the wing above my head for over 30 seconds and then my first hop with the Synth and still in one piece –what a great sport this can be.

Lesson learnt: GH Synth wing for 20 – 45 seconds.

Thinks to remember: Always wear gloves.

Summary:

First time setting up and GH with Synth by myself. GH wing for 20 – 45 seconds. 3 foot hop

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With nil wind, I thought it would be a good time to give my ‘newly’ wing a once over and try and sort out the tangles I had on my last GH saga, which included an epic hop and a twist which landed with a bump.

After watching Pete (sorry, not sure of last name) on YouTube I thought I would give it ago. After 20 minutes it looked even worse, all the lines were looking green or red and just in a tangled ball. I was thinking that I would have loved to watch someone untangle this lot on Sunday, but then again they must, or don’t get in that situation…

I gave myself another 10 minutes and then all of a sudden one side was done and all laid out neatly on the floor – success I’ve done one side. The bad news was dinner was ready so I had to pack the dame thing away again, hoping not to get it tangled. Good lesson learnt thou and I was happy with myself.

The real question now – as I was checking the wing I noticed some small ‘skid’ marks from some cow pies. I knew you can’t use detergent so I used a soft sponge and cold water.

Well, this got rid of the main mess, but left a stain in the material still. I am guessing this is not good for the wing, so –

Question – What is the best way to get rid of the stains please?

Many thanks in advance.

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Subject: T005 Non-Event Day – Ground Handling

Date: Fri, 10 Aug 07

Site: Hyde Farm (Purton)

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling

After playing ‘Cats Cradle’ last time with the wing I needed to sort it out before Saturday. The wind was less than 4 mph so I thought I would take it to the farm. It only took about 15 minutes to sort it out, so that was pretty good. I then spent another 30 minutes playing around, building a wall and waiting for the wind that never came. Still good practice at my stage – I was laying it out, building a wall and just playing around. After an hour the wind didn’t pick up so I packed up and went home with the feeling that the wing was sorted and ready for my next lesson.

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Subject: T006 Training Day – Forward & Reverse Launches

Date: Sat, 11 Aug 07

Site: Lambourn (Temp Field)

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling – Forward and Reverse Launches

First student on site f(or a change), time now about 1030 hrs and the wind was pretty low so we waited around for about 30 minutes and there was a slight breeze starting. I unpacked my wing and trotted off to the centre of the field while Simon played around with his ‘hang points’ and after about 20 minutes he had a small flight around the field and came back to earth with a smile on his face. In a short time, a few more people turned up and with the additional spectators, the site was buzzing.

My goal for the day was to practice ‘Forward and Reverse’ turns. Also, my aim now was to try and cut this a bit shorter and stick to the facts a bit more, but you do get carried away when your mind is wonders about the day…..

The wind was calm, so straight into forward launches – great. The wind was good to me, the wing came straight up, and I was running like a sweaty pig and getting nowhere. So in general Simon and I were pleased with the process – so either the wind or wing was good for me that morning, or I was getting the hang of this. After a break, the wind picked up and I went into reverse launches with 1 or 2 out of 3 I thought all was going well until…. Yep, big gust of wind I was doing my 3 foot hop and a scrape along the ground bit again. I ended up with a few grazes along my other forearm to match the other side, but still feeling good.

Another break needed. Simon Payne, was getting ready so I though a good time to get my new camera out and take a few shots. After a few attempts with his new wing and with the very unfriendly wind conditions Simon was up and away doing some thermally right above us – looking great. So, after a bit, I tried again, but the wind was nil and the sun was hot so with the day getting on and an Indian meal calling my name I said all the goodbyes and packed my kit away.

During the day, I found out that yesterday a person completed his Solo. Met Norman and he was getting ready for his solo this evening. Also met Ken who was GH and a bit experience than me. ‘All in all’ - a good day for the club and me.

Lesson learnt: Ensure you check the trimmers on your pre flight checks

Thinks to remember: Wear a LONG SLEEVE SHIRT

Summary:

Half a dozen good forward and reverse launches completed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Subject: T007 Training Day – Forward & Reverse Launches

Date: Mon, 27 Aug 07

Site: Hyde Farm (Purton)

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Nil

Ground Handling – Forward and Reverse Launches

After a busy family Bank Holiday Weekend, wife happy and dog contented I thought it was time to get the wing out and have a play. It was 1600 hrs and the weather seemed prefect, I phoned Simon who was watching TV and having a peaceful day at home and bless him, he was kindly agreed to come out and watch me GH’ling. Quickly packing all my kit and getting plenty of fluid, I got into my car and started to drive to the site. The site was about a 45 minute drive and I started to think that it was pointless going all the way there, when there is lovely grassy sites just 5 minutes drive from here. So, I phoned Simon and explain and all was ‘cool’ – cheers Simon for the willing body, but we all need some time off and it is a lovely site.

Got there, no cows, great unpacked all my kit and got out my ‘wind machine’ – blowing up to 8 mph, constant and looking perfect. Good for a few solid hours of GH’ling, not to hot. I have never really done GH’ling in the evening and this seemed prefect for the job.

Laid out all my kit, wind sock up – remembered my helmet and gloves (no long sleeved top thou!) Done a pre-flight check and untwisted a few lines – clipped in and recheck the brake lines, rechecked the trimmers and feeling good. It does seem to come back to you when you are there – all looking good (I bet you’re waiting for the but,,)

Holding onto the brakes in the correct manner (Simon, please note) pinching the ‘A’ lines and gently getting the wing into the wall. Looks and feels great. Now, gently leaning back and up she comes. Now above my head and a few small movements on the brakes – after about a long 5 minutes I put the wing down (I thought this must be the first time that I put the wing down). Done a few more and was feeling/looking good. Now, taking the wing up, turning around, and started to run/walk with the wing above. With only slight adjustments, I was running/walking the wing right down the field (good 75 metres). I did try and pull the brakes a few times, but did not get off the ground. A couple of runs completed and I was knackered. Time for a breather – fluid taken

In the mean time, the wind had dropped right down, so I thought I would have a go at forward launches. Laid the wing out, kit on and went for it. Up she went above my head and holding like a good one. After twenty paces stopped and collapsed. Completed this twice and thought it was not so much fun, because it was hard work and also I have to unclip lay out the wing and get back in again. In the end I had a few goes and started to pack my kit away about 1830, thinking to myself that I had done well, but as people say, if the weather is prefect then it is a lot easier.

As I was packing my wing away, I notice out of the corner of my eye that a bloody herd of cows was snorting this way. Wing still out, kit about 50 metres away and the field gate open. Panic, quickly grappled the wing ran over to the gate, making silly noises, because with the rustling of the wing the cows were getting very engrossed. I dumped the wing down behind the gate, closed the gate and ran back to get my kit. Afterwards had a big grin on my face and drove home. Lovely day out. Not like some, who has the chance to get off the ground and fly in this prefect weather, but getting there.

Lesson learnt: Good weather, good forward and reverse launches. Good evening time for GH’ling.

Thinks to remember: Field checks – shut all gates. A good pre-flight check does put more confidence in your work

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  • 1 month later...

Tony / all,

To ease the pain,

Very well done with your launch attempt today Tony! To even have a go in light / nill winds makes your effort well recognised here! As long as the effort is there and the WANT to get in the air, I will never moan about Props and Kit. Its just stuff.............

GOOD EFFORT! The next time its yours mate!

SW :D

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Subject: T009 Training Day – Forward Launches with Motor

Date: Fri, 12 Oct 07

Site: Lambourn Club

Wing: Synthesis

Motor: Parajet (1st time)

Forward Launches and First (attempted) Flight

After a confirmation phone call to Simon, all was good for some training at 1500 hrs.

On arriving on site Simon and Colin was waiting with big smiles on their faces – ‘Good day for your first flight!!’ – “Great, I said, let’s go for it”. Then stopped and thought, really! Since I have never practiced any launches with a motor on my back I thought this is going to be a hard day, but I was up for it. Wing out and pre-flight checks done while Simon was checking and adjusting the motor. I did try and build a wall a few times, but with no wind, I had no chance.

Motor was now on my back and given plenty of instructions from Simon – some taken in and sorry to say some not (lesson learnt by both – more to follow). I completed a few practice attempts and most was good – wing up, power on (in mind only) and go for it. Since I had, no power it was bloody hard work running a few meters and stopping, but the wing was coming up and I had the thumbs up by Simon. Done a couple more with the motor on idle and just gave the throttle a quick tap when I would pull 100% throttle. All seemed good, time for a quick rest and then the real thing.

Simon mentioned it was a waste of energy and time now practicing these, because it was the same as a real launch – heaven to my ears. Time to chill out and catch my breath.

The time had come and my first attempt was here so, more checks and instructions from Simon and I’m ready to fly. My first and second attempt was a wash out – wing and I was not there. Then a quick talk by Simon (cheers) and I was ready for my last attempt (as I was getting ‘chin strapped’ and the evening was closing in)

This time all my focus was on, (after watching others) putting on the power and then keeping it ON and 100% effort on the running. Thumbs up by Simon and I was off – Power 100% and run like a bull – wham, I was eating dirt. Power off (still going like a good’n) and looked up. Simon and Colin were running over. After spitting out more dirt and brushing off halve the field, I stood up. First thing Simon said was ‘Well done, you’re the first one to smash my prop’. To be honest, I thought he was joking, because I thought I did not hit the ground too hard and landed on my face with the motor on my back. After a quick examination – it was definitely smashed and mud all over the harness.

I must say on this forum that I take my hat off to Simon – I smashed his prop, a possibility of some slight damage to the cage, made his harness all muddy and he said to me ‘Well done – Good effort – It’s just stuff’ and gave me a sip of his beer (I think I might of got the WHOLE can if I flew!!!). After collecting all the kit and moved back to the wagon, we had a quick de-brief. No real damage – only my pride and ‘some stuff’ – Nice one Simon – the next Prop must be on me!

Lesson learnt:

A few on my part, but agree with Simon that on your first attempt a newbie should spend the whole day on the field and practice throughout the day in small chunks and then finally go for it in the evening.

I focused on only the power and running like a ‘dog’. Of course, I should, but also watch Simon for the first few times, because the wing was going over and he was giving me signals to correct this. Also, watch and feel the wing while running. Lastly, apply the brakes (I can’t honestly remember thinking about applying brakes, but I thing I would in the end…)

Over all, a bloody good afternoon and can’t wait for the next time. My main experience gained, is what it feels like running on FULL power. So next time I can focus more on the wing and GETTING IN THE AIR.

Many thanks to Simon and Colin and next time I want the WHOLE can.

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