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Round Britain Paramotor marathon


flyingdoc
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Today was an excellent day. Started this morning with a big brunch for all the family as my daughter was heading back up to St Andrews to sort her house out for next year.

Lots of lovely food and great company gave her a good send off. Yes I know that has nothing to do with the trip but it was a good start to the day.

Later this afternoon once we had sorted out all the washing up from this morning..... the weather brightened up a bit so more ground handling practice was in order.

The car was already packed from the previous day's efforts. So when we pulled into the field I spent a little while putting up the wind sock and checking out the gusts. Mmmm, not too bad so pull the motor out as well and warm it up.

Filled the tank with 10 litters of 2 stroke fuel, not maximum but should be good for a couple of hours at least. I then spent the next 45 minutes frustratedly trying to get the wing up smoothly for takeoff. The wind was varying from a northerly to a westerly and from an easy reverse to a iffy forwards. Every time I was unclipped the wind picked up enough for a simple reverse but by the time I got hooked in it had gone flat again.

I was beginning to think the fates were against me once again when my final reverse attempt got the wing up above me long enough for a turn around and a gentle push into the air. Once airborne I was alarmed to see that we weren't climbing too well but I was trying out a new prop for thrust and efficiency.

Safely at 400 ft I leveled out and set the trimmers fully fast. Climbed gently on up to 800 feet and headed off south and west. I had previously programmed in a little trip around Beeston Castle taking me out west to Harwarden and Poulton airfield. Then south looping around Peckforton and Beeston castles, before turning back north to Ashcroft and thence home.

800 ft seemed fairly smooth and the westerly wind was not too bad giving me a ground speed of 17mph. I was constantly on the look out for landing spots and keeping an eye on the geography below which was a good idea as on at least two occasions the gps reported "no satellites in contact" not much fun when you are at 1000 feet heading near some airspace you don't want to enter......

Anyway the third turn point over Poulton airfield came up after 55 minutes and with the clouds over the north wales mountains looking a little rainy I was quite pleased to be turning back for home the track home was likely to be quicker as the ground speed was now indicated at 44mph. Slight climb for the hills around Peckforton and the Cheshire countryside spread out to all sides was looking bloody gorgeous. I am now starting to keep an eye on the fuel gauge and calculating my return time to make sure I will get home.

Ashcroft airfield at 1000 ft and the Winsford salt mine is now in sight. Almost home but the fuel gauge is now reporting 3-4 litres left. I have 5.6 miles to go with roughly 30 to 45 minutes  of flight time in the bag. No problem.

Unfortunately as I was coming over the back of the police station the lights started to flicker between yellow and red. I was now roughly 2.6 miles from home so it should have been easy but I was currently over an easy landing field and the choices around the home field were less than stellar. One thing I didn't want was to run out of fuel near home with less choices of landing strip.

So momentary indecision followed by a turn back to a nice wide open field of wheat. Now down to 500 ft and the field looks harvested already. Small pass overhead to assess wind direction and speed as there was of course no wind sock. Followed by a nice engine off landing into the corner of the field over a rough dirt track. I was slightly surprised to find that the field had not been harvested but the wheat was very golden and ready and the landing was very soft and hardly caught any of the crop.

A quick check after landing revealed that I had 2.5 litres left so I probably could have made it home.

However if I had arrived home some of you guys would have said it wasn't a proper xc. Also it was good practice picking a landing site and even better practice for Jane to come and find me for the pick up. Also it was a safer decision to land where I knew I could get in easily than to continue on to a potentially more difficult spot.

Anyway all told it was a great day.

More to come.

TTFN

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The wind was varying from a northerly to a westerly and from an easy reverse to a iffy forwards. Every time I was unclipped the wind picked up enough for a simple reverse but by the time I got hooked in it had gone flat again.

Usual story :!:

Great to hear you're cracking on, keep on posting :)

Cheers,

Alan

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Crap week in between and blustery day yesterday so no flying fun....

But today was very different.

Managed a great simple reverse take off this am from first try (very unusual..) then headed off up north to Southport flying up the VFR corridor btw manchester and liverpool airspace.

Going great guns over wigan and haydock races turned for southport and keeping a keen eye on things. Cruising at 1000ft well clear and always looking for likely landing spots. (remember St Andres Des Alpes)

Over a little place called Appley Bridge I had another engine out. No drama this time and a nice gentle drift down into a field of bullocks. (No you can't tell from 500 ft!) A bit slippy landing but in with no damage and a few spooked bullocks. (No that isn't a euphemism....)

Checked the motor over and still getting compression but no spark. Called for my lift back and walked up the road to be offered a cup of tea by a very friendly chap who had seen me come down.

Andy Walkden from Flyschool came over from Southport to check out the motor whilst I waited for my lift home. Turned out a simple wire had broke lose from earthing the coil. So replaced in no time and engine running fine again. (Thanks Andy) So we went by car back to Leisure Lakes (HQ of Flyschool) and filled her up again. Uneventful take off followed by a text book journey home. A little thermic near Warrington but otherwise the weather held up great right up to a slightly fast landing as the wind had dropped off a lot.

All told managed just over 70 miles today so looking really good for next Saturday.

Please guys take a little time to check out http://www.justgiving.com/justwingit and please make a donation. All the money is going to the Christie Hospital in Manchester which deals with all of the difficult cancer cases for the whole of the North West of England and also just happens to be where I started my medical career.

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Dear All,

I know someone is always asking for your money but this is important stuff.

I have flown on and off with light aircraft since 1979, Cessnas, Slingsbys, Tiger Moths, then Microlights and Paragliders (Circa 1993) and now paramotor for just over a year. Roughly 110 hours so far over the years

I reached the grand old age of 50 this year so decided to do something daft.

25 years ago on August 1st 1985 I started my medical career at The Christie hospital in Manchester which is a tertiary referral cancer centre for the North West. So this year I am going to try to give something back. Also my mum passed away from lung cancer 6 years ago so I am sure she would have approved too.

From Saturday August 14th I will take off from a field near my home (Cheshire) fly to the North Wales coast and then continue on round as far as I can get in 21 days. The whole route (Skipping a bit of the Highlands) is roughly 2000 miles so I need to do about 100 miles per day, every day. As a test yesterday I flew to Southport and back from home a round trip of roughly 70 miles in just about three hours.

There is a website with live tracking on http://www.JustWingIt.co.uk there is also a donation site on http://www.JustGiving.com/JustWingIt I will be providing updates on the main website, Twitter, Facebook and possibly here too.

I have a very small support team and a motorhome to follow me round but I will be flying alone.

Whilst I would welcome all support and perhaps some assistance on the way round I would most like to generate roughly £10,000 for the Christie. So please come and watch, or perhaps fly along side if at all possible but mostly go give generously to a really important cause.

Can you also take the time to spread the word and copy this to anyone you know who might be able to help?

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and please go and donate something now.

http://www.JustGiving.com/JustWingIt

Sincerely

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Hi Chris,

Weather predicts a nice westerly so I will try to take off from my next door neighbours field. Heading off to North Wales and then on round anticlockwise.

Planned takeoff somewhere between 8.30 and 9.30 but in reality who knows.....

Happy to see you there, just give me a call.

Have you checked out Ashcroft yet?

Meds and me are keen but need at least a third hand...

See ya Saturday.

:wingover::wingover::wingover:

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Reached Bude yesterday so now officially in Cornwall.

Last leg was 1 hour and forty minutes battling very strong headwinds. At times the GPS said I wasn't moving. I did a whole 13.9 miles. Landed safely but very wet.

Today was unfortunately a washout.

Will try again tomorrow but the weather is looking worse.

Won't stop trying though.

Paul

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Try not to fell too frustrated, you have taken on a difficult challenge considering the weather we have in this country.

If you can get past lands end, then you should be able to get some big distances along the South Coast next week, with tail winds

Good Luck

Paul D

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Thanks Paul.

Looking at the weather for the next few days the current plan is to abandon Lands End as we have arrived in Cornwall. Cut through across the top of Dartmoor heading straight for Exeter. Still difficult just to get off the ground at present.

Keep watching.

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Thanks for you thoughts Alan for those who aren't keeping up with the blog I think is the bit he was referring to.

I had a record day yesterday too.

Flew from Lyme Regis to Midhurst in West Sussex in a single leg.

104 miles in 2 hours at average speed of 51.4 mph with a max recorded ground speed of 69.1 mph. Used 10 litres of fuel flying a 29 synthesis and the polini Thor with a 125cm prop.

At takeoff wind speeds 14-17 with gusts up to 23 at ground level.

The more sane amongst us will suggest I should not have taken off and by the end of the flight I would thoroughly agree with them. I won't be repeating it.

I was very very lucky is the truth.

Edited by Guest
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Hi guys,

Landed near Faversham yesterday so have now completed the whole south coast! yeah. Done some 750 miles ish, but am grounded again by the wind.

Reported speeds 22 gusting to 32 today and 18 gusting to 30 tomorrow so no flying for a few days again.

I think it's a fair to say that there have been very few days on this trip when I would have actually gone flying if it was just for fun, and some of the days I did fly I probably shouldn't have.

Having said all that I do feel I have done pretty well and there are still a few more days left to get into the air. I know we can't make it the whole way round but I can still certainly go as far as possible in the available days left.

Please keep up with my progress on http://www.justwingit.co.uk and any donations to the charity are very gratefully received.

:wingover::wingover::wingover:

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Ok it's official three days earlier than planned the motor is now not working so the marathon is over.

We managed 808 miles in 18 days of which 9 were completely unflyable and several of the days we did fly we probably shouldn't have. This gives me an average of roughly 90 miles per day which is pretty darned good.

Unfortunately the last takeoff from faversham was not as plain sailing was it first appeared. We did manage to get all the way to Chichester but after landing I noticed the prop had been tipped again despite a perfectly good landing. Further investigation revealed a seized centrifugal clutch and this is something I can't fix "by the roadside".

So after a Herculean effort I am a little disappointed that we haven't made it the whole way round. I accept that I was probably too ambitious in the time I had allocated for the route but I know that the weather over the last three weeks has been much worse than anyone could have anticipated.

Either way I did "get of my arse" and try to do it, and overall it was worthwhile to me at least.

To any considering a similar concept for a charitable event all I can say is go for it but give your self a lot more time than I did.

I have expanded my flying experience considerably. I have seen some amazing sites. I have done some things that I will definitely not be repeating again. Hopefully I am a better pilot because of it.

My thanks to all who have followed me and supported me. Can I encourage you all for one last time to check out the web site and give a donation to a very good cause. http://Www.justgiving.com/justwingit

It was fun.

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Thanks Alan,

Not sure about the bigger b***s bit. One thing we discussed at length during the rain was the difference between brave and stupid.

In my opinion it was mostly a matter of luck. If you did something and got injured people said you were just being stupid. If you did the same thing and managed without injury it was called very brave.

The only difference is the outcome, and that is mostly down to luck. My flight from Lyme Regis to Midhurst 104 miles in two hours was probably mostly luck. I shouldn't really have taken off.

Just my 2p.

Here's to all the brave and lucky ones!

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