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Whitters diary 16 03 09


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Mon 16th March; First proper day. To give you a better picture I will list the people here.

Students are:

  • Allan Hunter
    Paul Deakin
    Pete Baldwin
    Simon Westmoor
    Richard Whitmarsh.

Instuctor is Piers Dent. Paul Haxby will be joining us for week 2 with the ab-anitio trainees (five of them for 1 to 1 instruction from the five of us). Norman Rhodes has developed the programme with the help of Piers, Paul and others producing the Paramotor Club Operations Mannual (PCOM) which is a comprehensive list of all things to learn and tasks to complete taking you from start to finish of learning PPG. The five of us instructors have extra sections / tasks to complete under the watchfull eye of Piers and Paul.

Up at 06.00 and on the field for 07.00 in clear sky with the sun rising over the frost covered ground with a gentle NE breeze. The field being a microlite air strip surrounded by massive flat fields, perfect. The morning flying was low flying practice in the calm conditions, stick kicking clover leaf like they do in competitions. folowed by spot landings. The top pilots manage to complete the clover leaf in under 1 min. best I could do was just under 2 mins. Flying low, down wind and sharp turning requires a degree of confidence in flying ability that I do not have at the moment. The wind was increasing which made it more difficult.

We then practiced spot landing, I kept my engine on tick-over for all but the last spot landing. I was pleased with my first few spots but as conditions became more lively it became less predictable and I got worse the harder I tried. By 11.00 we were all on the ground due to conditions.

We spent the midday period doing ground school in the field. Practiced ground handling and discussed best safest practice. It was gusting 18mph at times which made good challanging conditions for us to practice. Simon had a small 12 m training wing which was good fun and excellent control practice. We also went through sections of the Paramotor Club Operations Manual (PCOM).

The evening task was a navigation exercise, using map and compass, no GPS way points etc. Piers had issued us with laminated maps with lots of turn points on it and set us a task to fly. The maps do not have a scale so Allan worked out distances. Unknown to us Allan had got the scale wrong and the task was much much longer than we thought. Piers was aware of our error but allowed us to discover this for ourselves.

The wind didn't drop till late so by the time we were all airborn we were short of time. As soon as I set off for the 1st turnpoint I realised the scale was very wrong and changed my flight plan. I completed just the 1st and last turnpoints before heading back for an engine off spot from 500 feet only to miss by 20 yards.

Paul Simon and Allan had landed out in the countryside after running out of light. Pete didn't do the task.

Lessons for today: Navigation without GPS is very difficult. Get to know the map very well. Be more organised with kit and setting up so you can be ready as soon as the conditions are good and not waste time doing preperation that should have already been completed.

To be continued.


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That clover leaf sounds pretty hard to me, is it alright if I leave that until the Tuesday morning!!!!!!LOL


2 days to go and can't wait.

I'm hoping I know which way to sit on the thing by Tuesday morning!

Actually, having put my back and neck out on site yesterday I am going to start the week as walking wounded I'm afraid. I'm sure I'll smuggle enough ibuprofen across to numb the pain, and at least it got me back to the UK a day earlier than expected.

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