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Patrick's Progression


PatPux
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Here is my blog!

I hope I can keep to the ethos of these blogs which is to assist others who are coming into this great sport and give a flavour of what to expect. This first entry will contain stuff I have been keeping offline, but in future I will try to keep the enties up to date day by day of training.

I am sure the way it is written will reflect ones stage of learning and you will be able to look back in time and see how green one was at the time, but that's part of the point, I think.

I will try to highlight specific learning points in the text

And you can be sure that there are enough experts about who will step in , in a constructive way, if I write something that is mis-leading or dangerous where I have misunderstood something.

I think I first visited Simon's school at Membury

powerrun.jpg

http://www.paramotortraining.com over 2 years ago to discuss doing a course, and decided then that I didnt want to start till I'd definitely got the funds to be able to buy all the equipment immediately after the course.

Well, that was never going to work, there always being some other pressing need. So,in March I decided if I didn't get on and do it, I never would (aged 57). And if I get bitten by it,as I am sure I will, I'd find the money somehow, even if it meant losing some of the other toys!

So I waited through March and into April for what I thought was the right weather.

Looking back now , here is learning point number 1: The weather is everything, especially when youre training. What looks like a nice day to average Joe can be the worst possible thing, learning to read the conditions for safe flying will be one of the most important things you grasp and I guess long after you can handle a paramotor competently you will be learning how to do it. In the end I think that this will be an area where there is no substitute for experience

I kept in touch with Simon flying and the weather was never quite right. Remember, he has- I dont know- 50 pilots at various stages of training, he cant ring you to suggest you come down, the onus is on you to contact him and to be fair he will alway respond promptly as to whether its flyable or not . I usually text.

Finally there was a Sunday that looked OK for a first practice day at the end of April.

Day 1 28/4/13

Although the wind conditions were good for practice it was a pretty cold day for late April, but the bonus was getting Simon one to one as there was no one else there.

So I got 2 hours ground handling in breeze up to 10mph. And for day one that was enough, you are taking in a lot of info and exerting youself pretty hard.

When you start you will get a booklet containg a comprehensive syllabus of what you will learn. there is no set length to the course, it being governed by weather and the rate at which you progress. yo will complete the course when you have covered the syllabus and when you are competent to go away and fly by yourself, without endangering yourself or others.

That day I covered

PMC Course Exercise 1 and 2 Introduction, Club Equipment Ground and Safety Brief.

How to hold te harness for Ground Handling.

Building a wall with the wing, learning to place wing square to wind, kiting with wing overhead

How to drop wing if taken by wind: release the A risers

Steer: push D risers towards dropping tip

Keep walking backwards if not enough wind

Ensure D risers vertically below A risers for neutral

Day 2 1/05/13

All day with about 8 others at different stages, 3 of which were hoping for first flights

Harness training, sharing with Sam with Colin B teaching

Kiting.JPG

Pretty much immediately got the laying out and squaring off to the wind done as I more or less had the night before

Very quickly then got the hang of launching the wing in reverse. Had to keep reminding myself to keep thumb bases locked together as I levered up the A risers. Started to get the hang of anticipating when to come off the As and onto the brakes and balancing the wing

What changed today was anticipating when to make the control input and just as importantly when to stop the input to avoid overshooting.

Generally got the hang of the reverse launch, managing about 6 runs in control, putting the wing down at the end under control , managed about another 3 where I was able to turn and go for a forward launch, with fairly good control of the canopy.

However I was not able to be consistent and was still having a number of failed launches in the increasingly thermic conditions.

I think another day of ground work is required to get me consistently launching in reverse, turning, going forward and then being able to turn back, all in a controlled manner.

Next few days looking too windy. So hope for another 2 consecutive good days, and I might be in the air!

Day 4 5/5/13

A half day of perfecting reverse launches, launching, balancing the wing then turning and running, by the end of the session was able to consistently launch, turn and then turn back and drop the wing in a controlled manner.

Learning point, you havent really got it till you can do it without thinking about it.You go through the stages of intense thinking about exactly what your movements, actions and reactions are, getting it wrong, then starting to get it right, but still thinking about what you did to get it right, to learning to anticipate both the inputs and when to stop the inputs (ie not over controlling), to just doing it without thinking!

Day 5 6/5/13 FLIGHT 1

Got straight into forward launches and within the space of one session with a short break for a drink had them sorted.

10 practice forward launches with good control able to feel which way the wing was going and correct and then laying it down.

Feeling the wing without looking up at it and combining moving under the centre and light brake action tokeep it overhead were the key here. Never fight the wing-it'll always win!

Simon and Colin agreed I was ready for my first flight!

Wow that all came on quickly this morning!

So started getting used to the motor on my back, then on the ground power runs of the motor to get the feel of the thrust.

Stearman.JPG

Throughout the day we were kept entertained by low passes and smoke from a Stearman giving wing walking rides.

Day 8 26/05/13

Things should have calmed down nicely from the storm 2 days ago, with the weather showing a nice steady light breeze. I arrived around 9 at the field and you could feel it was different from yesterday, but maybe a little stiffer than the forecast had indicated.

I got the Synth out and after a quick bit of hand kiting to check the breeze and the wing got in the harness and banged out a few practice reverse launch runs without any drama.

As others arrived, Simon set out the order of the day: Paul and Phil? who each had some flights under their belts were going to be sent off together to fly to the White Horse - tick, flying with others training. Gary then Richard (the paragliders) were going up next, so Gary got the Macro on his back for some motor familiarisation, wandering round the field blipping the throttle and feeling the thrust.

Phil got away Ok and circled waiting for Paul to take off. He had a couple of failed attempts, so had a bit of rest. Phil continue with field circuits with Simon watching his wing carefully to judge the ever increasingly bumpy conditions. Both Gary and Richard were now looking a bit nervous about making this their maiden day. And I could see my chances of flying today slipping away.

Simon's philosophy is clear: you might be able to fly perfectly safely in the conditions but it would as bumpy as hell and not be enjoyable and put you off for the future. Plus landing with a wind that might drop away at your critical moment of arrival is not good. I am completely cool with that.............but it doesn't make it any less frustrating not to fly!

 

But I would say , you can help yourself by really committing and getting down there every flyable day there is. I know that depends on travel distance and having flexible enough work, but it pays off if you can.

 

 

 

Chillin.JPG

 

Buzzing.JPG

Harness.JPG

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Let me look at this end, I think the max number of pics per post is 5 but I can change it :-)

Eating then on it.

SW :D

Sent from my iPhone using PMC Forum mobile app

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Pat, you have the definitions of course and heading the wrong way round. (just to prove I was paying attention).

Great blog, love it.

Sent from Dorset on my iPad probably whilst drinking wine, lying in the sofa using PMC Forum mobile app

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Pat, you have the definitions of course and heading the wrong way round. (just to prove I was paying attention).

Great blog, love it.

Sent from Dorset on my iPad probably whilst drinking wine, lying in the sofa using PMC Forum mobile app

Wow! You certainly were paying attention. Thanks for that , I have corrected it now.

i get the impression, now, that although you should understand the principle and have worked through a couple of examples of a wind triangle, in the real world of local flying you will rarely use it.

Thanks for reading through it

Patrick

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Nice variation on the blog writing theme, Pat.

Apart from the writing styles, all training blogs would be essentially similar. We are all learning the same thing, after all.

WRT wind triangles; the mathematics are useful in being able to understand the principle of course correction. When flying, we just have to estimate the magnitude of the factors involved, but still need to understand the principle.

I look forward to more of your very technical reports.

Pete (briefly in Canada)

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100% agree

“ learning to read the conditions for safe flying will be one of the most important things you grasp and I guess long after you can handle a paramotor competently you will be learning how to do it”

Long after you will be learning this and some people never do they just trust in something they cannot see and fly anyway.

Here in Brazil the wind/conditions can change per/km on the shores. I’ll give you an example if we have 5-7kns in Jacaripi 20km south in Pointa Fruita they are kite surfing in 15+kns. If you enter this area you may not leave (long walk)

Just last weekend I was out the conditions were unstable and overcast. I knew it would be bumpy as hell (everything is going up). But if you understand what’s going on you get used to it. Here you just don't want to get too much height (gets a little crazy up top). Anyway I thought I'd go for a little rip up the coast. We have this area where the wind does something strange on south wind. I entered the area slowly and the deeper I went in the worst it got. I remember looking up to see the Ozone jumping around pretty good and for a Sunday that was enough for me.

Mt point is you also need to learn the area every area has its own personally just like women

Honest I don't know how people like Simon teach people. I can tell you its not for me. I don't have the stomach for it that's for sure. I've tried to teach people to Kitesurf and I gave up because it bothered me to much worrying about them. I kite like a crazy too, I'll launch 30 feet in the air take my board off throw it behind my back etc... but I cannot teach people.

Thank god we have people like this :)

Cheers

T

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Yeah the personification of calm, but maybe it all goes on inside and he just covers it up well!

He expects to be listened to, though. "If I have to tell you twice, I'll charge you twice" is an on going joke, if he actually did make good on that he might be a very wealthy man!

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Another week goes by. Sunday and Monday look possible at Membury according to WeatherPro, so plans to go and look at some interesting kit for sale in Sussex may have to wait, will decide tomorrow evening

Mind you, at the moment I am trying to work out a way round the "law of triple cost" that applies to any married man's hobby

Once for the cost of the kit

The same amount again " for me because you spent that much on yourself"

And again for a holiday "because we never do anything together"

Blimey, That puts Paramotoring at something between £10 and £30k

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Another week goes by. Sunday and Monday look possible at Membury according to WeatherPro, so plans to go and look at some interesting kit for sale in Sussex may have to wait, will decide tomorrow evening

Mind you, at the moment I am trying to work out a way round the "law of triple cost" that applies to any married man's hobby

Once for the cost of the kit

The same amount again " for me because you spent that much on yourself"

And again for a holiday "because we never do anything together"

Blimey, That puts Paramotoring at something between £10 and £30k

Cost me a trip to Australia!

Not that I objected. :D

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Day 9 1/6/13

Another day at the field with the promise of 7mph gusting 17. Straight away on arrival at 8:30 it felt like more than that. Casey was there early too, also looking for a second flight.

Got into some ground handling with the Synth, but it was already getting quite strong and by 9:30 you could already see the tell tale clouds popping off to the West

Was managing to raise the wing with good control, turn, run and keep overhead with a combination of light brake use and movement, before turning back and controlling the wing overhead in reverse. Felt I was starting to be able to do this instinctively.

Also managed a couple of forward launch practices, in the lighter moments .

But The breeze started to strengthen and get quite changeable.

So SW comes up

" Do you want to go flying, Patrick?"

Correct answer

"No thanks , if its this changeable and bumpy on the ground it's only going to be worse up there"

So I only got it half right, when I said

"yes, if you think the conditions are OK" !

Learning Point:- So if you're having trouble controlling things on the ground it'll be uncomfortable aloft. Don't let your enthusiasm to fly, blind you to dangerous conditions.

A short break for a sarny then back to it for a bit more , but it was just getting stronger and stronger, so called it a day.

Despite no flying ,I felt I had had a very worthwhile half day. With the instructor having noted a number of signs of me handling the wing instinctively.

I had tomorrow booked as leave, but with conditions likely to persist, no point taking that

The experts are saying really good settled weather may be on the way for week after next. Happy Days!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update, well no update at all really! So far I think I have managed to be at the field every day when the weather has been OK for training since my first day on 28th April some six weeks ago. And that has been only 9days so far of which I think only 2 or 3 were days that any flying was done.

That was until yesterday when work got in the way, damn it! I was on a course the only day that was calm enough in the past week and by the looks of it, in the next week as well! Mind you, my old bones had picked up a minor ankle injury mountain biking over the weekend, which probably meant I'd have hd trouble anyway.

Actually made me think, (jumping the gun I know) that eventually I will need to look at a trike

So, it's another week glued to WeatherPro waiting for something decent to appear on the right hand side of the page.

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It's important to learn the difference between training days and flying days.

Quite a few experienced pilots have been caught out recently thinking that it was nice to fly and ending up wishing they were on the ground.

During the early stages of your flying I can assure you that one of those flights of wishing you we're on the ground and praying you get down safely is enough to scupper the game altogether.

The weather is without doubt a killer if not payed proper attention too.

SW :D

Sent from my iPhone using PMC Forum mobile app

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Very sound advice there from Simon.

Regarding an ankle injury, I sprained my ankle very badly back in January (at the Parajet factory ironically) and have had to curtail my fell running completely as it is still swollen and painful after all these months. However, with a pair of decent boots giving ankle support (I use Hanwag GTX) flying even in nil wind (remember that? :? ) is doable. Proper boots cure all.

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Simon's message comes across loud and clear. And I think I have picked up a couple of times on it before.

On the ankle injury, I have probably overstated it- I was a bit of tendonitis that is all but clear now, but I agree about the boots, I have a pair of Hanwag Flys and the level of support they give and the feeling of security is superb

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ankle injury (overstated)

hemmmm was this maybe not even from motoring? Maybe you overstated a few things with the wife and now have a limp?

lol

When you’re learning it’s good to have what it takes to remain safe. After that you can do as you wish. Understanding you are still flying at all times safely.

I have a habit of flying over the takeoff only to kick my shoes off so they don’t get wet in the water lol.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 10 19/6/13

Got a call into Simon on Tuesday evening as the weather was unexpectedly looking good for Wednesday. 9 o'clock was set for a start. Conditions on WeatherPro were constant 7mph Northerly and sunny spells.

All looked hopeful for a first flight for Sam and a second for me , with just four students training on the day.

Met Col Baker (instructor) today back from a spell off, who was going to stand in while Simon had to return home to keep a eye on a new canine addition. And as it turns out to get his first helicopter lesson, with the instructor landing in his back garden to pick him up! That's service for you.

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Well , it's London Bus time, put out a feeler for a Dudek Synth 34 a month or so go with some results, but then 4 come along together.

A combination of good value, proximity and an independent confirmation of the wings history, made a look at Neil Cullingfords wing a must!

So yesterday after a promising exchange of texts with NC, the phone rings and its Simon saying there's this guy in Enfield with a real minter for sale, which he sold in the first place-one and the same! And to boot NC is just up the railway from Liverpool Street, where I'm working spending all your tax dollars on The Crossrail Project

Long story short, caught the 4:30 up there today and was the proud owner by 6.

So everyone's happy, I've got a wing, Neil has some wedge to fund a new Revo 2 and Simon knows I'll be thrashing my wing around the field instead of his from now on!!

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