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Patrick's Progression


PatPux
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Mine is flown with ec extreme simo mini plus 2. My flights haven't needed a long straight run yet where it's been an issue yet. I found the risers a bit messy at first but once up everything just sorts itself out. Nice stable wing and fairly quick, but I agree at 34 it's a heavy bugger.

Lee

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Mine is flown with ec extreme simo mini plus 2. My flights haven't needed a long straight run yet where it's been an issue yet. I found the risers a bit messy at first but once up everything just sorts itself out. Nice stable wing and fairly quick, but I agree at 34 it's a heavy bugger.

Lee

Its nothing compared to the weight of the 46 :shock:

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Day 11 25/6/13 FLIGHT 2

Weather promised 7mph winds, cleared the work diary for Tuesday and there I was at Membury at 8:30 ready for a 9 o'clock start. Soon after Sam turned up , him looking hopeful for his maiden and me for my second.

It was completely clear to start and even when those little white clouds did start popping off to the west things didn't seem to liven up too much.

This was my first chance to try out the Synth 34 I had picked up last Friday from Neil Cullingford. The wind very light and just hand kiting to lay I out ,it was immediately apparent how much more wing I was dealing with, than the 29 I had been used to.

I tried a practice forward in the light conditions and found it really difficult to get the wing up, tried a couple of times before getting one that was just about passable. This was going to be hard work, I would need to pace myself.

I did wonder whether changing to learn with the 35 today was the right decision when it might have jeopardised my chance at my second flight.

Luckily the wind picked up a little and I was soon consistently reverse launching the new wing, actually the initial launch was the same as the 29 in both technique and effort, the final part actually seemed steadier and easier wit less tendency to overshoot.

Simon was now readying Sam for his first flight, so I stood by behind his wing, ready to help reset it . Not that I was needed, a very steady raise was followed by a controlled turn and go. Building throttle with only a slight hesitation mid run soon saw him airborne.

http://www.vimeo.com/69140873 :D

Things were just starting to get a bit variable, so lunch was called. Luckily the cloud cover started to build and things smoothed out with a steady light Westerly.

I was good to go for number 2 :)

Col B was going to officiate. I did my own check of the motor unit and harness, even though I knew it had been done, it s a good habit to get into for the time when you don't have an instructor holding your hand.

With the benefit of my de-brief, I can describe the launch, I got the wing up fine , but I hesitated immediately after the turn-so the wing dropped back a little , but I kept forward momentum and basically by just keeping going and applying power got the wing back up to where it should have been, by which time by applying full power I got into the launch proper. Kept running, kept full power, consciously kept running and away we went. So achieved OK , but not with great finesse!

I then kept full power on climb out, which my 105kg needed in noticeable difference to The lighter Sam who was able to back off a little and still climb.

I was not in the seat properly, so after getting some altitude, I didn't feel confident enough to park the brakes, but by wriggling and using my elbows to lever off the back of the risers was able to get in, but I felt a bit squashed up with my knees too high. It turned out the the seat front lap was folded under-I found out later.

Anyway the flight was BRILLIANT. I was left to my own devices with minimal radio contact, initially, making my own decisions on when to level out and when to make my turn to come downwind at the west end of the field. I was warned about an aircraft on finals to the South and advised to keep along the Northern boundary.

Spotting other aircraft is incredibly difficult, even after being told roughly where it was, I suppose its partly getting used to working with that 3rd dimension you get once airborne

I had backed off most of the power now, but was still climbing in some strong lift, comparing myself to Membury's student altimeter- the radio mast at 500ft I must have been up around 1000ft. So I spent sometime just tooling around over the grain silos at the East end , putting in tight 180s and various left and right turns to lose height, while the incoming aircraft cocked his landing up and had to go round again. I felt really comfortable doing this-I think my distant paragliding experience just kicked in subconsciously.

The go round meant I had to now look at landing on the grass strip rather than my original target of the practice field, but I had plenty of height, in fact I still had to put an Ess in.

Out of the seat now , getting a bit bumped around by something off the trees behind the services, corrected left, felt I had pendulumed right and might be in for a bit of side swipe landing, but applying the brakes for flair seemed to straighten it all up.

:acro:

I was sure this time I was going land gracefully on my feet, but no, it ended in a sort sliding arse skid for a couple of metres, but no damage done.

Lessons Learnt

I felt I started to make better judgements about my height and how and when to lose it, but the last bit still happens quicker than expected.

Turn and go immediately on launch.

Keeping a look out and the difficulty of spotting other aircraft.

Edited by Guest
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Congratulations on another flight and a well written account of the day.

I'm quite surprised to see that you're reverse launching. I haven't made a reverse launch since I was free flying on the towline. I've yet to encounter a day when there's been enough surface wind to reverse launch without being more than I'd like to fly in.

:explode:

Keep up the good work, both flying and writing.

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Thanks

Interesting on the launching. All three that launched that day (and the other 2 were maiden flights as well) did reverse launches. I certainly found that easier than the forward with my bigger wing. Conditions must have been just right for reverses, 5 or 6 knots and steady.

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Day 12 29/6/13

A windy but sunny Saturday morning at Membury, ground handling the 12m Dudek training wing , both kiting and in the harness.

Weather was wrong for flying and in any case the Macro was still recovering from a "getting into the seat too early" coming together between prop, frame and ground. Not me!

Mid morning the wind settled a little and I was able to have a go in the harness with Col's 23m Paramania (not sure which one).

It was an interesting morning of experimentation.

On the plus side, especially with the training wing, you could try all sorts of inputs and timings and see the results, on the negative you re-calibrated to the different wings, which worries me slightly, for when I get the bus, that is the 34m Dudek back out again!

Another interesting point I noted is how much the zone of influence of the windward trees increased in the windier conditions. In a position I would normally have expected relatively clean air on previous days, it was choppy enough to make keeping the wing stable overhead very difficult, but move to the middle of the field and no problem.

As an aside and as often seems the case , there was somethingelse interesting going on. A man with very large Cahoonas was flying a home built replica of a WW1 Fokker monoplane

http://www.vimeo.com/69376206

Also met Laurence, Simon's latest recruit, down for for his first lesson, who got a handle on kiting the training wing pretty quickly. With business in video media, I might actually get some video of me doing something!

Today's learning points

Kiting the wing is one of your pointers as to whether to fly

Do not under estimate how far into a field local obstructions can have an influence.

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Days 13 &14 5,6/7/13 FLIGHTS 3&4

Well how short is the memory of a paramotor pilot? Two days of glorious weather, with some perfect flying conditions and I for one have forgotten the poo stuff over the last couple of months ( and if I'd been in it for longer, I might say years)

Friday had looked like a good day right from the start of the week, so I had that booked.

FORWARD LAUNCH PRACTICE

Conditions were beautifully clear as I arrived and after a coffee I got straight into some ground handling.I felt I really had got reverses sussed now, being able to launch the wing with controlled inputs and balance it overhead instinctively.

But I knew I needed to be in the same place with my forwards if I wanted to give myself the opportunity to fly in the widest possible range of conditions.

But I wasn't there yet, so that was the target for today and the light wind conditions were perfect for practice.

Initially there wasn't even enough breeze to set the wing, so remembering that set up of the wing on the ground is key I took time on that and ensuring it was square to the direction of whatever wind there was and I was standing directly in front of the centre spot, feeling even tension on my A's.

Steady push forward and try to feel which way it is moving and step into it.

I was having some success but was finding it difficult to get the wing to that perfect overhead self stabilising position, it was always hanging back slightly.

And that was frustratingly where I stayed, until the next day when a SW suggested that at that point, not to just keep pushing the As but to actually pull them down and forward a little. This worked a treat in just getting the wing properly overhead.

(That may be a tip for my wing only, a Dudek Synth, or may be universal, I don't know, ask your instructor)

I now had something to work with on my practicing.

Thinking about it now, perfect conditions for learning forward launch are initially some breeze to make the wing launch easily ( but not enough to pull you backwars) while you learn the technique, then you want it decreasying while you perfect the various controls and inputs . So that by the time you have zero wind you have done your learning . I realise getting those conditions in the right order will be asking a lot!

So after some practice over a couple of days it's coming together but needs more before I can say I've got it nailed.

The only other thing to say about it is that in Summer the right conditions for forward launch practice will usually be accompanied by heat and with the inherent additional effort required , fatigue and dehydration need to be recognised as obstacles to learning, so take breaks and drink A LOT.

THE FLYING

I suppose I need to mention the two flights!!

Hang in There

Conditions on Friday got quite bumpy through the day so I had to wait till the evening before getting a go. I thought there was enough wind for a reverse, but after 3 unsuccessful attempts, I had to take a break. When I came back to it we tried a forward.

Learning point: recognise the threshold in wind where you swop from reverse to forward. A difficult reverse is an easy forward

Went Ok , but I hung onto my As too long, only releasing my grip after much shouting from Col B ( note, this was before tip mentioned above, so I hope will not be a problem in future)

So I got away, but I could not get in my seat, no matter what I did, parking the brakes once I had some height , but no amount of wriggling or levering would bring it down.

Without having experienced it I would not have believed the physical exertion required to hang in a crucifix position out of your harness and try to fly a paramotor. Col B could see the problem and brought be round to come straight back in, but I was long and so I had to do an engine restart at pretty low height- thank you Mr Parajet, it fired immediately and round we went again. I had another unsuccessful go at getting into the seat. By now I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and needed to land whatever, which although I didn't stand up was still a well flared and controlled landing.

Tick the box for engine restart and Go Round, and for flying under physical duress . I do not want to do that again!

Up Up and Away

Yesterday's flight by contrast was the nuts! A lot of examination and re- adjustment of the harness took place till we got the seat flipping up nicely in the squat.

Tip: Note your particular harness settings if flying a school machine, shouldn't need saying really

Forward launch , first went sideways, but easy no drama abort, reset and away fine on the second go and importantly, straight into the seat, phew!

I am still un-nerved by that short period in the take off run where your harness trussed legs can't take big enough steps to keep progress with how fast the motor is now pushing you, but that dab on the brakes just gets you way before you fall flat on your face. I am still a few flights off, take offs being something I can't really remember rather than "a thank god I got away with that again ,moment"

The only option today was an away flight because of a lot of airfield activity, so although I had a radio after I got a " now f**k off in that direction and come back when you feel like it"(I précis, of course) followed shortly by " No, not that direction!" I never heard from Simon throughout the flight, including on my return, when he'd left the radio in the van, which was not an oversight, but a lesson in pilot autonomy, independence and self decision making.

I just went for a fly, headed East along the M4 as far as Welford Park, turning just West of the old MOD Cruise missile storage base at RAF Welford.

Did a few 180s and Esses on the way to try to spot Paul and the others who followed me out. I made a conscious effort to constantly look for land out opportunities and think about what my approach might be.

On return I kept a look out for landing aircraft and put in a few esses to the West as one cleared before starting my approach. My landing was planned and good in the flair, certainly ending within 100ft of my initial target. As I levelled it off I had to tweak the brakes to help me hop over a parked paramotor unit and I still landed seated ! but very slowly and controlled. I had no excuse not to land upright and on my feet, and that is something I need to work on and sort out!

Awesome flight for a beginner! This is what it's all been about

Progress/learning

Building confidence in targeted landing

Always look for a spot to land, in doing so look for power lines. They are EVERYWHERE. They are impossible to see, but look for the poles/pylons and the patches around them in the crops.

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Day 15 12/7/13

Dropped into Membury on my way through to holiday in Cornwall for a week, hoping to get a flight in.

So I got straight into some practice forwards to consolidate my last session.

But I just couldn't get it. There was a light breeze, so enough for a reverse, and I tried a few of them just to prove I could do something, which I did with no trouble at all.

Had another try at a few more forwards, and only managed one with Colin spotting for me, but couldn't get it on my own.

Time to stop flogging a dead horse and call a halt for the session.

More practice required, I need to get to feel which way it's going instinctively without looking. It will come, I know, and now I have a couple of flights I am quite relaxed and out of that frustrating period of waiting to get your first couple in.

Paul flew,setting up nicely on his own and getting away with a clean uneventful launch first time. Although it looked silky smooth, he reported back some airily bumpy conditions.

So I decided with time pressing on, I wouldn't fly today.

So off to Cornwall, and topped the day off with some ground handling in a beautiful silky sea breeze on top of Trevose Head.

Then back for well earned G&T

image.jpg

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A week away in a blisteringly hot Cornwall. Took the wing and did a bit of ground handling practice, first up on the top of Trevose Head although great conditions couldn't keep it up due to getting really bad hay fever off the long grass. I then tried in the large garden of the house we were staying in, but there was too much turbulence off the buildings and hedges.

During the week I caught up with Geoff Walton who was on holiday at St Merryn and was able to use a great field behind the village, so I got some good practice there one evening.

http://www.vimeo.com/70515028

I even managed a couple of forward launch practices in the 4 knot breeze. I tried some different trim settings to see the effect on getting the wing past that hanging back position. In the end there seems little alternative than a sustained push with as much speed as you can muster when getting a 34m Synth properly overhead.

On the plus side though, I found no problem in consistently executing reverses in 4 knots.

On the way home I took the opportunity to drop in on the Parajet factory, where Tom gave me the tour. A very slick little operation with them doing most of the fabrication and machining in house. The cage jigs and 3 CNC machines were impressive. And good to see how many parts of the world they export to.

Tom showed me the relatively new addition of the Minari engined Volution V2 but only in the Compact, where I would need the Macro, this, he says produces about the same, if not a little more, static thrust as their now discontinued XT . At £5300,though it doesn't do a lot to persuade me away from finding a good second hand V2 XT Macro, difficult, though that might be.

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Day 16 27/7/13

Three people hoping for first flights having practiced all day yesterday in too thermic conditions, so Col said I would have to wait for availability of the school machine, but as luck would have it, 2 had their own motors and the third was going to use RAF Cols Compact-so the Macro was available- result!

It was truly nil wind today, so I did a few practice forwards. I did manage a few successful ones, really pulling ,almost punching and pumping the As forward before releasing and applying a little brake control. This got it overhead, but without the motor to sustain forward motion it was impossible to keep going. This was all with plus 2 of trim.

Waited for a couple of unsuccessful first flight attempts. Then it was my turn, the Cols had let me prep for the flight unaided and I picked up a loose exhaust manifold bolt in my pre-flight which was duly tightened, taking about half a turn.

Col B spotted for me in zero wind. Away I went but I was not applying enough/ any throttle so that although it came up nice and straight I could not maintain way and the wing gently went right as I ran out of puff.

Complete lack of commitment! I don't really know why. I basically over thought it, thinking I needed to get the wing up overhead before applying power, instead of feeding it in progressively from the start and letting it assist me, like I had done every other time

I was thinking of this as my first real go at a nil wind launch, when actually I should have reminded myself that all my four flights so far had been reasonably executed forwards, ok, with a little breeze.

By now, the blanket cloud cover had been clear for an hour or so, and the wind was swinging 180, so too late, I had missed my chance and only myself to blame.

Lesson: I am now at the stage of preparing myself for flight and going for a fly, so that is what I should be doing. Turn up, un pack the wing, quick ground handle to check the wing, layout, pre-flight and go. Don't waste time on knackerring forward launch practice. I'm not saying I have perfected it, by any means, but I am not really gaining any learning that I won't get better and with less effort than by getting on and doing it.

No short cuts but equally no fannying around, is what's required.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 17 10/8/13 5th Flight.

Well a great flight and a number of lessons learnt, some ordinary and one very important one.

The line between a lesson well learnt , never to be forgotten and disaster is a fine one! But more on that later.

I set myself three tasks to cover today

1. Use of the trimmers and tip steering

2. A number of circuits with approaches to land, then go round, to help with judging position relative to landing point

3. Land on my feet!

There was a light breeze, which signalled a reverse launch, while I set up, but that had dropped by the time I was ready, so I decided forward.

Simon said I had 40mins of fuel, so plenty to try a few things.

Still quite keyed up in my prep getting risers and throttle sorted, need to chill!

With Simon spotting I gave a good forward stride and push on the As, up the Synth came although I lost grip of the right A, ready to apply power, glanced at wing going left , then misunderstood Simons move left Signal for abort take off, which I did with the lines coming too close to the prop for comfort.

It turned out I had routed the throttle under a lower harness strap, which was why I lost grip of the right A. Just as well I didn't get off the ground!

Breeze had picked up a little, now, so a reverse was possible, which went fine, perhaps still hesitated a fraction long before feeding the power in, I'd give it an 8/10.

Task 1 , Use of trimmers and tip steering

Once at about 1000ft I parked the left brake and then the right, which was a bit of a fumble with the throttle, but generally Ok. Letting out left trim to 7 then right, I noticed no particular adverse steering during the transition. I did notice greater sink and the need for increased throttle, and I did feel the increase in speed. I found the Dudek "Balls" responsive and easy to use for steering.

I didnt notice the increased stability, I think simply because the air wa very laminar in any case.

Pulling trims back in was also uneventful. I did this transition and the reverse at least 3 times.

So tick , use of trims and tip steering first go as very straight forward.

Task 2 Practice Approaches

I then moved onto practice approaches and go rounds, I did 5 in all.

First I could tell I was too high, next two, better- in the park but still a bit long. Next good , having put a couple of Esses in.

Task 3 Landing on my feet

On that pass, though, I noticed frantic signals to land. I picked up the urgency, thinking it was about the increasing breeze and bumpy air, so I came round under power, knowing I was rushing things a bit and indeed I was, killing the engine too close to the ground and not giving myself time to get out of the harness properly. I did get the flair OK, but still it was another skidding heels/arse landing, but quite gently. And I landed more or less where I planned

Still- fail for landing on my feet.

Important Lesson learnt

But, as it turned out, that was the least of my problems. The signalling had been because I had NO FUEL. And I mean, no fuel, on inspection we could not see ANYTHING in the tank. I was on fumes and another go round, especially at low level, would have lead to disaster.

If asked, I would have said I had been airborne for 20 mins- I had been up for 35. So very poor judgement of time, you can't rely on your mental clock, when your enjoying yourself

GET A WATCH AND USE IT, AND ALWAYS KNOW YOUR FUEL LEVEL.

So luckily the lesson has been learnt, without mishap, but - too close for comfort.

That aside, to summarise the days learning

Prep-Chill out a bit

Take off- OK

Trimmers and tip steering-Good

Approaches- improving, but need more practice

Landing on my feet- Fail again, although it was partly due to my rush to get on the ground.

Finding a field

On another note, I have over the past week, negotiated the use of a very large field , (700mx 450m) with our local landowner. I used a modified version of the landowners liability waiver, which is on this forum.

Initial approach was to the estate manager followed up with a letter to the Estate owner. Including the proposed waiver, AXA Insurance policy sample and a little brief on what Paramotoring is, applicable rules and outline of training. After a lengthy phone conversation, a couple of requested additions to the waiver and a subsequent conversation with his Manager, I got an email on Friday, with a yes, subject to a meeting on site to discuss exactly how I would operate. If anyone wants the waiver form , PM me.

Just need to finish my training and get the rest of my kit.

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