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I’m doing this for anyone who cares and for myself so I can look back on it later 🙂

In April 2012 a nice nutter by the name of Bobby Frankham got me hooked on wanting to paramotor. I know a lot of you know him too. 

We were going from John O’Groats to Lands End on mopeds for charity. Anyway he went off around Loch Ness on his paramotor and the idea of doing it got me bad. Even better when Bobby explained how accessible the sport is.

Sometime around 2012 or 2013 I had a day’s training in Nottingham  while it was ok I wanted a more thorough training package including laws and weather etc  and I didn’t get to go back.

My life took a different turn and after many life changing events I got to 2018 still obsessed with getting up there. 

I had researched training a bit and decided where I wanted to go - Clive Mason has a great reputation and he’s accessible to me about an hours ride from home. 

So in October last year I contacted Clive and after impatiently waiting for an opening and weather I got to meet him and a few others at Marston airfield on 20th January this year. It wasn’t the right day to start but I chatted with people and had a go at a handful of forward launches to get a feel for the wing and harness.

Next lesson Sunday 3rd Feb. Plenty of wind  a little gusty meant I spent 5 hours or so reversing and kiting all over the field. Well by then did the day I was, at the start I was just wearing myself out I think! Good progress though and plenty of tuition from Clive with help from the others on the field too.

I’d got a holiday booked 25 feb and I was keen to get some more training in before I went. (Sitting in Thailand writing this😊)

But before that Clive found me a good used Ozone Spyder which I collected on 8th Feb😁

I got to go and train on 23rd and 24th Feb with Clive and it was great. Using my own wing was different to handle than Clive’s training wing.  Plenty of wind Saturday at the other field, then calmer and more technical on Sunday at Marston. Loads of time reversing and turning, kiting and falling over a fair bit too!

That’s my lot so far, to be continued when I return from Thailand in a week or so.

oh and looks like I just bought myself a motor too🙄😁  turned into an expensive holiday !

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by richjones
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Good to hear it's going well Rich.

I still remember the feeling I had after landing from my first solo.  Not sure if it was the adrenaline rush from the actual flight or relief to be back on the ground but it felt so amazing!  I was desperate to get back up again, i thought of nothing else until my next flight.

You're in good hands there and you will totally love it.

Andy.

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Welcome to the madness Rich. I hear you. I did something similar and work got in the way. But I have been on holiday with the family and ended up watching youtube videos of paramotoring. :)

Good luck and see you at some PMC events at some point

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I got another training day in at last!

After my holiday the weather has been bad for another two weeks. Seems hardly anyone in the UK has got a flight in for about 4 weeks - lots of people having withdrawal symptoms 😂

On holiday I had purchased a used Parajet Maverick from Lee Moss. He’d been in touch with Clive to buy a newer model and left mine at Clive’s house  I’d had a message from Clive to say it was sitting in his garage waiting for me. So on 16th March I went down to Clive’s to collect it, impatient to get my new toy even though I knew I couldn’t do anything with it! Clive showed me how it all worked and hung me up in his garage to get me all set up in the harness. I dismantled it and set off home with a big grin on my face 😁

i dropped the motor at home, went about the rest of my day before heading off to my partners house for the evening. She’s been with me to Clive’s and she knew I was itching to mess with my motor, a bit of cleaning and familiarising so she suggested I take it with us😁😁 That evening was spent assembling my motor in her kitchen, cleaning it up, trying it on and generally dreaming about flying😂 

Next morning I got the engine running in her back garden to see what it felt like on my back. I got myself a good lady there 😁😁

anyway enough waffling on ....

So on Saturday 23rd March the forecast was decent at last and I went training at Clive’s other field, Jimmy’s. it was a busy day with about 6 or 7 people ground handling at a time and others waiting for the gusts to drop off before disappearing into the skies. Plenty people got in the air as it turned into a lovely spring day. 

I continued practicing which took a little time to get back into as I’d had. Month off, but I was soon into it. I like to train hard and feel it’s been worth the 2.5 hour round trip to get there too, and I only stopped for a few drinks and food so got in total about 4.5 hours practice. 

At about 3pm Clive took up a tandem flight and he told me to start ground handling with my motor on. Potentially I would get my first flight after the tandem.

While they were up I was ground handling with my motor on which wasn’t too bad but got heavier as time passed! But the wind dropped to almost nothing and my reverse launch practice turned into forward launch practice. It was hot work, for most of the next 2 hours I had my motor on my back. 

Anyhow after a bit of rest I had the potential opportunity for my first flight but almost no wind. Clive said I was ready if I wanted to do it, but advised against it as for first flight the lack of wind would mean it would be a really fast landing. With potential to mess up my first landing and cause damage to my kit I was unsure whether to go for it. As it turned out it was decided for me as I should have left at 5.45 and the afternoon had gone far too quick, meaning I had 15 minutes to pack away, no time for a flight. I was late leaving and had a hurried journey home to a lovely meal with my ever supportive partner at a local Thai restaurant. 

Waiting...watching the weather foracast for next Saturday..... is this my life from now on??! 

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I thought I would get a flight in last Thursday. Carried my machine 80 m into a field and put it down. I turned to go back and get my wing etc and twisted my right knee. A loud crack and I broke the cruciate ligament (actually broke the bone - an ACL avulsion fracture).

I was then stranded, unable to move, in a field, with my machine. If I called ambulance, my machine would have been left in a field. It took half a an hour of waving at people in the distance before eventually getting a family to come help me! 

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I popped over to Clive's on Saturday Rich so I would have seen you there.

There were two guys practicing reverses with motors on and both looked like they had it nailed so one must have been you.

It won't be long at all until you're up in the air.

Andy.

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2 hours ago, AndyB said:

I thought I would get a flight in last Thursday. Carried my machine 80 m into a field and put it down. I turned to go back and get my wing etc and twisted my right knee. A loud crack and I broke the cruciate ligament (actually broke the bone - an ACL avulsion fracture).

I was then stranded, unable to move, in a field, with my machine. If I called ambulance, my machine would have been left in a field. It took half a an hour of waving at people in the distance before eventually getting a family to come help me! 

Ouch! 🙁

hope it heals well and doesn’t affect future flying. 

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2 hours ago, AndySV1K said:

I popped over to Clive's on Saturday Rich so I would have seen you there.

There were two guys practicing reverses with motors on and both looked like they had it nailed so one must have been you.

It won't be long at all until you're up in the air.

Andy.

Yes I would be one, gary was the other. He managed to get his first flight in as I was leaving. 🙂

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2 hours ago, AndyB said:

I thought I would get a flight in last Thursday. Carried my machine 80 m into a field and put it down. I turned to go back and get my wing etc and twisted my right knee. A loud crack and I broke the cruciate ligament (actually broke the bone - an ACL avulsion fracture).

I was then stranded, unable to move, in a field, with my machine. If I called ambulance, my machine would have been left in a field. It took half a an hour of waving at people in the distance before eventually getting a family to come help me! 

Ooooohh bugger. You don't do things by half do you Andy.

I'm sure everyone on here wishes you a speedy and complete recovery. Hope to see you flying soon at a PMC fly-in.

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Thank you Alan. I am busy sorting out my trike now...which needs a nice new Tornado to push it along. Of course my wife understands that it is essential to have the higher power. :)

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23 hours ago, AndyB said:

I thought I would get a flight in last Thursday. Carried my machine 80 m into a field and put it down. I turned to go back and get my wing etc and twisted my right knee. A loud crack and I broke the cruciate ligament (actually broke the bone - an ACL avulsion fracture).

I was then stranded, unable to move, in a field, with my machine. If I called ambulance, my machine would have been left in a field. It took half a an hour of waving at people in the distance before eventually getting a family to come help me! 

Oh dang, that's really bad luck. Both my knees have had cruciate and ACL rebuild work. Sadly there's a long recovery period, and its crucial you do the remedial exercises to build the strength back up properly. They'll be good to foot launch down the line, but it won't be next week! Knees are also particularly painful due to the abundance of nerves.


The trike will certainly get you going much, much sooner... best of luck with your recovery and with the 'Tornado discussion'.

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Thanks Lee. It is certainly one of the more painful things I have managed to do. We are working hard to try and stop it knitting up in a bent position. There is no cast, it is just left as it is. The surgeon said it needs physio every day while it heals, then the physios said we can fit you in mid April!

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I got my first flight today 😁😁😁

Down at Marston from about 12 for ground handling with a view to getting my first flight in between 3 & 4. I didn’t do too much work today I just wanted to be relaxed and ready. 

At about 3 I got to go, reverse launch in gentle but gusty wind. The handling of the wing was good, I turned and ran and it felt fine. As I started to feel lift under power I think I lifted my feet too early and possibly didn’t have full throttle. I was about a foot off the floor for a few yards but Clive was instructing me over the radio and I was soon up and away 😁

I have half hour getting into it and trying to relax myself but I was a bit more tense than I expected. It was pretty bumpy so I was a bit nervous. 

I did manage to stow my brakes and get my seat board up and even managed a selfie or two. 

Im guessing maybe 1500ft in height and a couple of goes around the field and local farms and Clive talked me in to land. 

Landing wasn’t as too bad, the approach felt better than I expected then I landed on my arse! Feet slipped under me and I just went down with a bump. No damage to me or my kit. 

Looking forward to the next one 😁

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I’m a bit slow updating this but...

got in flights 2,3&4 after waiting forever for good weather. 

 

Went to the bore chasers fly-in and on and on the Saturday evening managed to get my second flight. I’d waited for the right time all afternoon when there were not dozens of pilots on the field. Also needed to make sure Clive was available as he had a busy weekend. 

Finally at 8.30 ish we went for it. But he wind had dropped and I had to forward launch. I’ve not had chance to practice forward much and I’m much more comfortable with reverse. Anyhow I had s couple of failed attempts where I was slightly across what little breeze there was and I wasn’t moving fast enough or handling the ring right to keep it over my head. 

We moved around the field for a better launch direction, by which time almost everyone else had landed and I had a big audience. No pressure then!

forward launch, wing up, run. All ok until I jumped in the seat as soon as I felt a bit of lift. Big mistake - a was going across the field with my arse dragging along the grass. By some amazing bit of flying by me 😁 I managed to save it and get airborne. Lesson learned and luckily no damage. 

I git a chilly but lovely 35 min flight up to 3000ft over the river Severn. Fantastic! Then landed on my arse🙄

on Sunday morning I got my third flight. Forward launch again, run, run, run, fly😁

the launch felt great and the skies were clearer than the previous night. My seat board was folded under my seat and I couldn’t free it so I had to manage without. Up to 3500 and more relaxed getting used to stowing the brakes and enjoying the flight. 

After one aborted landing as I didn’t feel right, I came round over the corner of the camp and...landed on my arse😂

 

So, last night the wind was good and I drove down to Clive’s field after work for flight number 4. 

Forward launch again, run, run, run, fly. Easy, don’t know what all the fuss was about 😂

The plan was for Clive to follow me up and give a bit of tuition while we flew over Kettering and surrounding areas. The flight was great, had to put my gloves on (nobody tells you how to do that do they!), and off I went waiting for Clive to catch up. Seat board stuck again, must sort that out! 

After maybe half hour of searching Clive found me. Turns out my estimated 2500ft where I told Clive to look was 3600ft but he eventually found me. It was ok, I enjoyed flying around the A14, and I was happy I could find the landing field. Had a good 55 minute flight with a bit of emergency landing planning and had a fly about before coming in to land. 

I was still a bit high so lost some altitude and approached the field ok, and.... landed on my arse. Bloody hell!🙄

the grass was slippy but it was my own fault, I keep lifting my legs last minute, and not flaring soon/hard enough proven on a couple of videos. 

I’m loving the progress, not rushing my learning but dead keen to get up again. I’d be happier if I could land on my feet but it’ll come🙂

The bore fly-in was great. I’ve never seen so much variation of techniques and skills. Great to watch and learn. 

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Yes the Bore Chasers is a great event for spectating as well as flying, that's coming from a (very) old hand as well.

landing on your feet will come and you will love flying even more 😁

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Rich don't fret many pilots take numerous flights to master the landing, and in my experience you suffer from brain overload and frightened Rabbit syndrome, its like take off forwards or reverse as in training its easy with a little constant wind so reverses seem easier, but just all down to commitment and the learning curve which we go thru, i treat it like if i improve and learn 1 thing each flight it just gets easier every time, now be patient fly safe but have fun.

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Nice one Rich.

I saw your butt drag at the bore, OMG can't believe you made it off the ground!  Kudos!  There were so many people sucking through their teeth and willing you to get airborne that my ears popped 😆

We briefly met as I was the one that came over to say Clive was on his way to you.

Glad it's going well and i'm sure we'll meet up in the sky soon.

 

Andy.

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My plane instructor gave me a piece of advice about landing that massively helped me and it applies to Paramotors too. It may help you too. When you flair try to focus on flying a couple of inches above the runway for AS LONG as possible. Shift your eyes up and don't look too close to your feet. The theory is that if you are focusing on landing your brain will try and make the landing happen quickly - you'll look close to your feet and the ground will be moving fast, this will add to the overload and you'll try and make it stop by landing at that moment and you'll be going too quick. If you slow everything down, shift your eyes towards the horizon, the ground will appear to move slower, you'll feel like you have more time and your depth perception will be a lot better. Then try and hold yourself 6-12 inches above the ground for as long as you possibly can - all a flair is, is a way of trading your airspeed for lift, eventually, the wing runs out of lift when the airspeed isn't high enough to maintain it. At this point, you should touchdown at a much more comfortable speed (and if you're close to the ground, nice and soft). Since your engine is off there is no way to add speed to the wing so inevitably you'll touch down when the airspeed can no longer sustain enough lift for your weight. 

In short: don't try and land, because it'll happen to quick - try to fly above the runway and you'll touchdown anyway (just slower). 

I hope this helps you, it definitely helped me get over the sensory overload when landing. 

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The other big issue that most ppg pilots then encounter (me included) is that when looking forward, we underestimate how high we are ie we are thinking we are much lower than we actually are. Thus even when getting a nice long flair, keeping a nice even distance from the ground, you then end up a little high and so come down with a thump.

I had a friend film me sideways on and keep telling me how high I am. I was starting my flair 6' off the ground, thinking I was much lower. With his help I trained my brain to let myself go much lower before moving the brakes, keeping my hands fully up until I am a foot off the floor.

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Thanks all it’s good to have different feedback. 

I’m definitely flairing too late, or too slow, but I’m working on it. I think my distance perception from the ground is misleading me. 

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Flaring late you end up hitting the ground while still moving forward quite fast.

Flaring early, you usually end up stopped, but still a few feet up in the air. So you come down with a thump but little forward speed.

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If it was a fixed wing issue id say you're looking too close in. Move your gaze furher along the 'runway', defocus and look for the grass round your ears.   When you want to flair, check, count to two then flair.  

 

 

 

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Flight number 5 done tonight.

clive went up with a tandem as I was happy launching now I know to run like Forrest Gump ! 

Anyway, forward launch no issues and off for a flight of about 40 mins around the field. I didn’t log it but I guess about 3-3500 feet again. I must feel safer up high. 

I’m still a bit tense turning so tonight i made myself do a couple of tighter turns to get used to it. Need to relax more. I’m loving the flying and the scenery is amazing.

Came in for land and there was a slight wind, gently in, engine off, slowed the wing down the flared last moment and for the first time landed on my feet 😁😁

so easy and felt so natural after all that fuss! Just dropped on my feet without even a step forward, turned and brought the wing down. 

Makes smiles when you do it right 😁

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Well done mate.  You may it sound fun.  Im still struggling for cash - been off work for a year  😪so things a bit tight.  maybe later this summer.  

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