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Jon - Day One Training

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Right, finally putting finger to key for day one of my training with Simon and Colin. Was about to start typing a few days ago when Dazman produced his rather impressive blog, which I must say knocked me back a bit!

I suppose I should start with why I am doing this. Looked into paramotoring with a friend a few years back but nothing came of it, then watched the Mission Everest film which re-kindled my interest (I think this is probably the case with a lot of newbies). The idea of being able to get in the air with a relatively small launch site and outlay on equipment was pretty irresistible. I flicked about on the internet, emailed Parajet and shortly after received a call from Simon. I then sought the approval of the almighty (wife) who seemed strangely keen for me to do it whilst asking how much ££ and telling me I had better be up to date with my life insurance! I reckon her thinking goes along the lines of whatever I might spend on paramotoring she gets to spend the equivalent on something else. I am sure others have had similar problems and any advice on wife management in relation to paramotoring would be appreciated.

Anyway, day 1 at Lambourn started a bit hazy with Simon saying it was unlikely they would get in the air to give any demos. We discussed the equipment and theory (and Simon’s encounter with a curry the previous night and its effects, he still turned up though, that’s dedication!) and then we made a start with some ground handling. I was presented with very crisp new wing which I think at the time had been used very little. My first concern was the responsibility of keeping this impressive bit of kit away from the trees and bushes! First Simon showed how it should be done; with a good breeze coming up the slope Simon raised the wing, turned and ran off down the hill, managing to get off the ground for a short while. He re-appeared a few minutes later saying ‘sorry I wasn’t planning on doing that but couldn’t resist’

A short while later and it was my turn. What looks as though it should be straight forward in practice and makes sense in theory is not so easy at first attempt. Starting with a reverse launch and keeping an eye on the wind sock I raised the wing thinking it was pretty easy. I then realised that the hard bit is keeping it there! With directions from Simon, the simple instructions of left hand down (and right hand up) seemed to get little further than my ears. It seems so obvious but you end up concentrating so much on pulling down on the correct side that you forget about raising the other one!! I can now see why it is important to master the groundhandling before going any further. After a while I realised it is much easier to build the wall, turning the wing gradually towards the wind if required, rather than moving quickly backwards and getting it straight up - you seem to have a lot more control that way. I am hoping to a certain extend that it is like riding a bike and at some point it all clicks into place, the difference being that I think regular ongoing practice is required. After a couple of reasonably fair attempts (in my opinion) and a lot of poor ones the morning haze cleared much to the delight of Simon who could clearly be seen to grin as he unloaded a Parajet Macro from the van. This was the all important part where I get to see a paramotor in action (and Simon gets to play). Simon and Colin then wanted to test a smoke grenade for use in the Tip to Tip. They discussed how to carry, set off and eventually drop the grenade. All very interesting.

I then carried on with reverse launches, occasionally stopping for a breather. By this point the sun was out and I was pretty knackered. I would like to say by this point I had got the hang of it but keeping the wing over head is going to take some practice. In the afternoon Darren turned up and Simon gave him instruction. I carried on with Colin and when the wind dropped off we tried some forward launches; these in some ways seem easier but not being able to see the wing overhead is a bit awkard. I was told that forward launches are probably more important in paramotoring as you really want to fly in a little wind a possible. A few more forward launches and a couple of reverse and I was sufficiently worn out to call it a day. I have to say that the sun and physical activity had caught me out, leaving me dehydrated and sun burnt! Lesson learnt – drink plenty of water! Having made things worse by having a few beers that evening the following day was a combination of sun burn, sun stroke, dehydration and aching muscles. All worth it though as I thoroughly enjoyed what I hope will be the first of many days.

Thanks to Colin and Simon for their patience; not only were some instructions not sinking in but when interested in something I don’t’ shut up very often! I think at one point Colin suggested I close my mouth and open my ears.

Should have done this the day after as I am already forgetting exactly what we did![/img]

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Hi Jon,

Just to let you know you did well for your first day and like I said on the field use the time till you get to the field for your second day to mentaly rehearse what you have learned ( which is a lot though you wont think so just now ) and you'll find it will come together when you put it into practice.

Looking forward to seeing you again.

Cheers Col....

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Hi Jon

Great blog! Glad it's not just me with the right hand wrong riser issues :D I recognise just about every issue you mentioned and I guess if super smart physically capable guys like us struggle :D then most 'heros of the skies' like Simon and Colin must have also struggled at some point... :D Maybe there's hope for us yet!

Look forward to seeing you again.



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