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I also have a MIO 168 with the inbuilt sat-nav (Co-Pilot), which I have had for a good few years and I am still very impressed with it.

Have you tried the Otter Armor 3600 case. In my microlight days I was thinking of getting one and a guy from 'Rugged Peak' offer to send me a old demo one as long as I gave him some pictures of it being used. I can email the contacts I had if you wish?

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  • 4 months later...
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Tony, thanks for the heads up on the Otter Armor 3600 case, will have a think about it... looks handy


Anyway back to training blogs, weather was perfect on Sunday afternoon so arranged to meet Simon at the flagpole. Arrived on site to see Simon doing circuits, it looked peachy perfect and when an old biplane flew very low overhead we waved and he waggled his wings - top guy !! talk about setting the scene.

Not flown for a while but have had a couple of blown out sessions which has kept my hand in with ground handling, but I did a quick launch practice which was fine, then waited for a horse and rider to pass by - did not fancy upsetting the neighbours, I bet that horse is worth more than my house.

Fired up the motor, Simon stuck a video camera in my face and said "no pressure mate but whatever happens it will be on film" :D :D there was just enough wind for a reverse so pulled the wing up, turned and ran into the sky. Gained altitude very quickly, popped out of the inversion at around 3000ft and the view was pretty cool, then zoomed around the sky circling tractors and general sightseeing. A few small planes passed overhead, but the inversion layer was quite muggy so I was hoping that nothing would appear out of it heading in my direction.

Once my feet were properly cold it was time to land, I turned off the motor a bit higher than usual and overshot the landing by a good hundred yards or so due to gliding parallel with the slope to the bottom, was pretty much nill wind by then but flared off the majority of my speed and ran off the rest leaving me standing up. That was probably the lowest wind that I have taken off and landed in, and as my wing is quite small and fast I'm glad to get the practice in.

Watched the sunset as we packed the kit away, absolutely loved everything about that evening.


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Thanks Norman.

Two flights in three days - wow......

Popped up after work as the weather looked very nice again, arrived to see Slim at height on his second real flight, well done mate. Then Ken had his maiden flight but after getting lost (which he denies - just sightseeing) he had a bit of a hard landing.

Wind was dropping but I just managed to reverse, had a scrappy run down the hill to get it all straight then full power to clear the muggy inversion again, the pics tell the story.

Will need to strip down my lovely H&E as the clutch has siezed :(

You could barely make out Ashdown house


Finally popped through and continued up to 3500ft, was like another world


The moon appears


Then the magical sunset, my gran died on the weekend so I was saying goodbye as her angel broke formation


Slim coming in for his landing


Slim deciding to go around


Emma colours in a picture of daddy flying


Max height reached so far, was bloody cold


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  • 3 months later...

X-Cweather and metcheck were showing windspeeds of 2-4mph and this was confirmed as by the Reading wind turbine on the M4 doing a very leisurely 6rpm (usually does over 10) so I knew launching would be interesting, something to think about on the hours drive to Lambourn. Also at the back of my mind was the new clutch that I had fitted - I was hoping that it was up to the job so today it would be tested in the air.

Turned up at the site to find a long line of parked vehicles and the place full of pilots and new faces which was nice. Would have been easy to stand and chat all afternoon but there was a purpose behind my visit so I rigged up and carried my kit to the slope doing pre flight checks as usual.

Wind was non existant but I put on my training harness and the wing still came up nicely in reverse configuration with me moving backwards at speed so I though I'd have a crack at this with the motor - especially as the regulars were having fun with their forwards.

Fuelled up and wondered if I had put too much in when I felt the weight on my back but if I was going to get air I wanted a bit of time to enjoy it. Managed to get the pull start handle stuck behind me when I had put the motor on but Colin popped over to free it - thanks mate - saved me unclipping. Then time to contemplate the launch, wing out and at the top of the slope for maximum take off run, spotted a video camera in Simons hands and everyone watching so no pressure then :oops: .

Watch limp windsock for a hint of a breeze, slowly it lifts a few inches from the pole - probably my best chance so blip the throttle, stride backwards, wing comes up slowly and with a bit of coaxing it's overhead. Turn and run, catch a slight turn to the right and as the slope steepens and bushes loom closer a dab of brake unsticks me.

Couldnt find a fleece in my car so I had put on a waterproof type summer flying suit over my T shirt, and this slid my bum back into the seat with ease and I was circling back over the crowd to wave before heading off to explore. I was very relieved to have got off the ground with the first go and as the adrenalin wore off it was time to sit back and enjoy, I had decided not to take a camera so it was 100% sightseeing.

First destination was the "rave" site which was more like a pikey camp, did a slow pass but no-one was interested probably because they had been buzzed a few times already - either that or they were higher than me ! so I headed over to the White Horse as you do.

Was on half trim so I could fly a bit slower and enjoy the view, the air was very smooth so it was nice to fly lower than I usually do (plus it was murky above 1500ft). Like Slim the previous day I dropped into the valley almost level with the footpath along the ridgeway and it was amazing how everyone stopped to wave. Beyond the White Horse was another festival site with a few tents still up and lines of portaloos - luckily the smell did not reach this height but plenty more people out waving - not long before my arms gets tired now.

Powered up to circle back right and follow the ridgeway path all the way back to the M4 mast at Foxhill, pigeons flying up from the fields and hiding in the trees as I pass overhead. One farmer was out with his shotgun after bunnies and I hoped his eyesight was good enough to tell that I was not dinner (don't laugh - there is a pikey site full of caravans who run out armed with air rifles not far from the Surrey site). Spot a horserider in the distance and deviate my route to avoid her and in doing so I fly over a piggery, not the place for an engine out as I'm sure they would eat your wing before you could unclip yourself.

Finally I arrive at the M4 and fly london bound - always fascinates me following traffic, a bit of tailwind and I could keep up with the HGV's. About 5 miles away is the Membury mast which is my next waypoint, and checking the time I'm not even halfway through my fuel. The occasional bump is given off from the ploughed fields but the overcast sky means it's about as smooth as it gets so I'm happy on half trim and just above tickover to maintain altitude. Approaching Membury services I notice that it's all built on an old airfield which turns out to be a WW2 USAAF base - now the M4 runs right through it but you can see two small microlight strips still exist.

Time to bank left and think about the return leg, some lovely country houses pass underneath and loads of derelict farm buildings with an overturned caravan next to them - must have been a strong wind that day. A light aircraft heads in my direction but easily 500ft higher, I wave at him hoping for a wing waggle but he just sails overhead. Slowly the Lambourn site moves from the horizon in my direction and as I lose height a huge carrion crow takes off with me in hot pursuit, if I'd had my shotgun he would have been toast, maybe next time.

A couple of circuits of the site and thumbs up from the guys it's time to land, I come in for a dry run and can't believe how fast the ground is whooshing past my feet and in sheer panick I power up and go around with the cage inches from the grass. Passing the lifeless windsock it dawns on me that it will be my fastest landing ever so I prepare for a bit of running, legs wiggled into life, landing trim, seat down. Circle back and the ground is rushing past just as quickly but instinctive braking and a bit of a footdrag followed by a marathon sprint sees me on my feet and thumbs up from the guys. Unusual noise from behind me and I realise the engine was still running - forgot to kill it in all the excitement as I was ready to go round again but no problem as it gets a tick in the "power on landing" box in my logbook.

Best hours flying I have had so far, scariest take off and landing though.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Arrived at the field expecting to fight for space but found it empty, everyone had been up early, flown and gone home.

I called Simon to check it was still this field to use and he popped up for a chat while I did the usual pre flight checks. Wind was more southerly today which gave an interesting venturi over the hill, it was quite a breeze and possibly the strongest wind I had flown in so I waited a while for it to drop. Clive appeared on the horizon hovering around Redlands so I decided to have a fly over to the windfarm.

Easy reverse launch into heavy sink, then lift then more sink each time only gaining a bit more height, the thought crossed my mind to circle back to land but with height comes smoother air so I pressed on up. Trimmers out stopped the airsickness kicking in but it was still quite bumpy so I decided to scrap the windfarm idea and stay local, plus turning back into clearer skies reduced the bumps a bit.

Watching the combine harversters was fascinating, and there was loads of activity in the fields as the farmers raced to get the harvest in, probably the best time of the year to fly over agricultural land. A slow blat into the headwind saw me over the M4 followed by a 50+ mph dash back to Lambourn.

landing was nice in the breeze and when I started packing away a hot air balloon zoomed along in the distance, someone has a backlog of pleasure flights to clear, I bet their landing was fun :shock: .

A formation of three paramotors appeared on the horizon from Redlands and slowly headed my way, they landed and it turned out to be Clive & PeteB. Unfortunately the take off was not as straight forward as Pete used up all his energy to hand crank his prop (flat battery) and after a few failed launches the lazy sod got a Dan taxi tide back to Redlands.

I got the camera out and had my first crack at videoing in flight - not quite "Britain from above" but it's a start.....

Ridgeway farm


Need new boots


Ashdown house


And again


Sally-Ann's crop being harvested


The best flying field ever


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  • 4 weeks later...

Superb afternoon, loads of people at the Ridgeway, a hint of wind and busted my first bloody prop.

Set up for a reverse and after a couple of failed attempts I was running into the wind and slowly applying power, just as I was getting lift I leaned back a little too far and I heard a ding as the cage contacted a lump of earth. Full power did not sound quite right so I assumed I had just dinged a prop tip and throttled back to land, but on cruise it sounded and felt fine (no vibrations etc) so after a couple of local circuits I had a lovely flight checking out the crop circles.

On landing Colin pointed out that a new prop was required, a whole 12 inches of trailling edge missing, if I thought it was that bad I would have landed instantly - bit of a wake up call to be so careful of anything touching the spinning balsa wood.

See what James Davies the nice prop repair man says - I suspect it's a prop clock :oops:


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey dan it has been good reading your blog on learning to fly. I have now been in contact with michel garnet in brighton about lessons. I am now waiting for a call to tell when i can go down for a lesson. He has told me as i paraglide already it should only take me a couple of days to get air borne and he has some kit i can use so i dont have to buy before i learn. Saying that i think i an seriously thinking about getting a bailey 4 stroke so all i have to find now is a wing!!! but saying that i use a ozone buzz z for my free flight "i think i can use that for now" but not sure i have been looking at the ozone roadster but i will have to have a chat with michel first!!

good luck with the flying

next time you fly give me a buzz on 077315996660 it would be cool to come and watch you fly

Ps there is a guy who fly's out of send do you know him?? if not i will try to find out where he lives and will ask him about using his field when i sort my rating out..

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Norman - those are my lucky flying boots even though they have been stripped bare of polish & wax :lol:

Just got back from a lovely taster flight on Simons Parajet (while my H&E prop is being repaired). Have to admit that switching off at height and just slowly circling back down is a very relaxing way to spend time although that will probably be my last T-shirt flight this year. The Parajet harness was very comfortable when seated and the small cage was very easy to manouvre, bags of power too but for the moment I'm happy with the H&E. Was surprised that you don't notice the weight difference between the two motors once you are strapped in.

Also had a chance to ground handle the Fusion - again very nice but really twitchy in comparison to the Revo, not ready for that quite yet....

Morgy - nice to meet you today, let me know if you find out about that site.

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Hey dan

It was good to see you and simon "dont remember the other two guys names SORRY" I had a great day i was shocked at how far i progressed in one day i thought i was going to have to run up and down a field for hours without getting into the air. My first flight on my free flight wing "buzz z" was a bit short due to the fact i wasnt wearing any gloves and i wasnt sitting in the harness properly whitch started to hurt my back. The second flight on simons reflex wing "fusion" was amazing that baby goes and solid as a rock over head. It was really good to ground handle very resonsive and a delight to handle even in the gusty thurmic conditions we had to put up with :lol: I flew to the white horse and then turned left going towards a small town "sorry dont know the name of it" then flew along the small ridge back to the landing field where i sprained my ankle on the bowling green flat landing field "i must have hit the only tuffed of grass in the whole field!!!!! :lol::P At least now i get to sitt at home and drink coffie and surf the net dreaming of paramotoring "and looking for a motor"

Dan i have spoken to my mate and now i think i know where the two fields are. He is going to keep an eye out for that guy and give him my number so fingers crossed. If you want to go and see them to asses if they are ok give me a ring on 07731599660

Thanks again to simon i WILL be in touch soon!!! :D

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Another ace day at the field with a good crowd and top banter.

I always fancied a crack at flying higher and Simons post a few weeks ago got me into the frame of mind to see the views from over a mile up. Nothing to it but keep the throttle nailed on slow trim to get up as fast as possile. Cloudbase was 3000ft and I circled up in a big gap between some straggly cumulus, a microlight was looping and diving through one having loads of fun and I don't think he was expecting a visitor so he flew over to investigate and wave hello before going back to his playground. I have not been above cloudbase before and as soon as the clouds were underneath they turned into a white carpet stretching to the horizon and the sky turned crystal blue. Instruments showed 200ft/min climb rate so my rough calculations meant another 20 mins climbing. I had incorrectly memorized the mile height to be 7200ft - and since being too young to work in imperial I did not know I was nearly 50% out - it's actually 5280ft which would have been a lot easier. Bollocks starting to get cold now and I'm mentally thanking Simon for lending me his gloves, I will get a pair as they are superb.

5000ft looks a lot like 4000ft and I think about going down to warmer air but the view is amazing, you can see the curvature of the earth, then a couple of hot air balloons pop up through the murk and it's tempting to zoom off to chase them. 6000ft looks a lot like 5000ft and I can feel a definate chill but the moon is up, the sun is setting and the view just gets clearer and clearer. Down below the cars on the M4 are like tiny ants and I see a few light aircraft following it's route way below me. 7000ft and nearly there, definately getting cold now, it is October after all.

I want to make sure I clear 7200ft so plan for 7500ft and a few mins later I'm there and it's time to kill the motor and glide back, the wind whistling through the lines just adds to the moment. My hands are a bit chilly now as is my face so I can't believe the descent rate is only 300ft/min, thats 25 mins to glide back :shock: so trimmers out to speed my drop into warmer air. Passing through cloudbase the sky goes a bit misty but warms up nicely so time to pull the trimmers back now that the chill has gone and have fun gliding around and eventually circle back to the field with a lovely landing.

Amazing flight, definately reccomended just for the view, pity the Suunto only saves to the log book every 30 secs but you get the idea....approx 1.4 miles up 8)


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Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to see Colin get his first flight in - well done mate, and nailed my first forward launch :D again using Simons Parajet. The crop circle is still visible even in the cut stubble, and now the autumn colours in the trees are starting to come out, temperature is definately dropping.




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So dan how do you rate the parajet over your H E???

I like the photo's

Good question, the Parajet does have a very comfy seat, is loads smaller so would be easier to fit in my car and the electric start is very useful.

On the negative side it's a bit more thirsty on the fuel so has a slightly reduced flying time but the worst thing is that personally I find it much harder to weight shift than the H&E but I don't know why. With the H&E you just lean a bit and can turn with ease, however the Parajet just seems to want to fly straight so needs loads more weight on the bars to get a decent turn - I even found myself going slow trim and using brake to turn - of course that would not matter if I fitted tip steering.

At the end of the day being a tight northerner the 25% price difference is a big deal, but it would 'almost' be worth the extra, I'm very tempted to upgrade.

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  • 2 months later...
Looks a good job dan!

How many hours flying have you amassed now?

Man it's not many at all, not even 15 - last year was really difficult as we had baby no2 just before summer, and then just as things were getting back on track I bust this prop and spent weeks trying to get the motor to run with the wrong replacement prop - ended up flying Simons Parajet when mine was in pieces.

Dan, I saw in another thread a very brief description of prop damage, what was the time scale & cost of repair if you don`t mind me asking?


The damage is on page three of this thread, I did both tips but just photographed one. No idea about price as not got an invoice yet but think it's well under a ton, 12 weeks to fix but James does say to leave him to it as it depends on how busy he is.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow, temperatures into double figures, it was one of those days when you look outside and you know it's going to be ace.

Last time I flew was a cheeky christmas flight over my village in Northumberland which was over a month ago and I needed to blow off the cobwebs, I missed a flight since then due to a dodgy carb meter lever setting so today was a bit of a test flight, also needed to get the repaired prop tested too (it was fine).

Nice to find the track to the flagpole has dried out, and great to see people in the air as I approach, nothing like it to get your heart pumping. The H&E started perfectly and ran just fine, I'd put in enough fuel for just over an hours flying, and decided on a summer flying suit which did the job nicely, peachy breeze so a couple of steps and another amazing flight unfolded.....

A farm


A certain castle ruins


You know what this is by now


Pegasus' farm (Sal any use to check out the slug damage ?)


Ashdown house


Membury services, check out the old airfield - rc planes were zooming around


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