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Paramotor training, Paulb


paulb
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After a number of subtle hints (nagging) from Simon I thought I had better do the decent thing and pitch in with a training blog. So here goes.

Quick intro (boring)

I have been interested in various forms of flying for a number of years and have always liked the idea of simple aircraft. I originally looked at paragliding about ten years ago but was put off by a number of factors. However my favoured form of aviation has always been the helicopter (not exactly simple) but I have yet to net the required salary to finance such a beast. So my first attempt at personal aviation was a singe seat gyroplane (poor mans helicopter).

Anyway recently my attention was draw again to the paraglider and particularly the paramotor. Technology has moved on since I last looked at the sport. Having discovered a near-by club and trainer I decided to pay Lambourn a visit.

First Day

Met Simon, had a go of the training wing, and was towed aloft by some of the club members (many thanks guys). So after having a go at ground handling a wing, seen others soar off into the sky, and most importantly being well into a mid-life crisis (my excuse for most things these days) I signed up for a course. Handling the training wing was great fun and very good exercise. I certainly struggled to keep it flying for more than a few seconds. By the time I realised it needed some steering input and remembered which break to pull it was already too late, or needed more input, or I had pulled the wrong break anyway. Even this simple aspect of the training it quite additive and you don’t want to give in till you have sorted it out. The drive home was interesting as my legs were already seizing up from the unfamiliar exercise.

Ordered a nice new Dudek Synth shortly afterwards through Simon, delivered next day, by ‘air-mail’ it seems; excellent service just in time for a week’s holiday.

Having tried out my Synth I found it much easier to handle. This is probably partly due to getting the hang of things and party due to the wing being a bit easier to manage.

Saturday 3rd November (second day)

Turned up at the training field with the family in tow to get stuck in to some training. One of my concerns about the training is my current poor standard of physical fitness. I don’t fancy collapsing under the weight of the motor and busting something. It occurred to me that my children ( eight year old twins) were probably about the same weight as a motor. Having weighed them discovered they were 30.4 Kg, just about spot on. They were quite excited by the prospect of hanging on my back whilst I continued ground handling. Although I had dreamed up the idea to keep the children entertained it actually worked out quite well (must upload pics).

Got on really well with reverse launches, turning and running forward even with the girls hanging on my back. This wing seems to do all the work (probably ideal conditions). Took a break and Simon suggested trying ground handing with his Parajet on my back. Not particularly looking forward to this as I assumed I would end up face down in the dirt. Strapped it on and noted my left foot had sunk into the field to my ankle (ploughed field). Hooked up the wing and tried a forward launch with Simon pushing my back to stop me falling back. This went well and Simon left me to carry on. Got on quite well, although mucked up a couple of launches. Managed a good reverse launch, turned and ran forward for a decent distance everything staying straight (very pleased). Staggered back to Simon and offloaded the Parajet. The Mrs then had a go ground handling.

Sunday 4th November

Only managed an hour late afternoon today. Walked down to a local field and set up knowing that there was no wind and therefore a great opportunity to practice forward launches which I had little practice with to date. This is quite difficult as its all down to good technique and man power. Lots of good straight launches but very short lived. Not sure if I should be able to maintain the wing flying in these conditions, but good practice.

Hoping for some good weather over the coming week.

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4th Day, 5th Nov

Blown out day at Lambourn. No point in unpacking the wing. This didn't stop Colin however, as he had a nice shiny new Dudek Reaction 27 to trying out, and he wasn't waiting. Thought we were going to loose him over the fence at one point. Nice long skid marks across the field.

5th day, 6th Nov

Spent an hour in the local field this morning. Wind looked about right from the window. Walking into the field however I was met by a decent breeze and was not sure things were going to go my way. It turned out the wind was quite variable, once I was set up ready for a reverse the wind was totally gone. It came and went a few times allowing a few launches and some short forward runs down the field before the wind died again. It also changed direction a few times. All good practice. Running forward looking ahead and trying to keep everything straight is all good practice especially with the wind swinging around.

The final launch was a bit more interesting as a big gust caught me out and I managed a bit of 'air time' before chasing the wing down the field trying to stay on my feet. Time to call it a day I think (Simon did tell me to avoid gusting conditions!).

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