Sunday, July 31, 2011

Corn In My Teeth

 Another PERFECT weekend of flying this past weekend. I didn't get through the entire weekend without crashing, but it was a soft crash :-).  Ok Ok, not really a crash at all.  I was taking off up hill, along a tree line, over fences, bixtweenst horses, and through corn. Everything went fine until I got to the "through the corn part".  I just couldn't outclimb the terrain and ended up landing in the middle of a large corn field. I spent the next hour untangling my lines and getting my wing and motor back out to open field.  No damage!  Nice!  I love my SkyBolt II Frame built my Mr. Rob Williams of I've hit about everything the fields have to offer and I've never damaged it at all - OR ME! 
Anyway, Rob and Matt and I had a great weekend of flying and bbqing and swimming and perhaps a beer or 9.  We're preparing now to head to Ohio for the annual Flight Junkies Reunion this Thursday through Sunday.  Should make for a great time!

Here are two of my video's from this past weekend.  I have another one of Rob getting airborne that I have to finish editing.  It'll be up soon!  Hope you enjoy the video's.

1.  Huntin Corn

2.  Germansville Ball Diamonds

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back Up At Rob’s, Part Duex


Went back up to Rob’s today to do some more flying in the great Northeast of Pennsylvania. It’s real purty country up there with lots of neat hills and valleys to fly in.  We launched about 7:15 pm, but I think we should have waited a bit longer because it was still a bit more turbulent than I love to fly in.  Oh well, it builds character, right. 

Rob told me it was going to be a “technical” (he called it) departure. I didn’t know he meant we’d be departing towards the mountain, running up hill, in front of the woods, near a 500 kV power line!  I got airborne, made a left turn out and began my standard slow climb back to the South.  A few minutes later I was up to about 500’ and out of the wires, woods, and wind shear.  The rest of the flight went perfect!

Have a looksie:

Flyin’ up at Rob’s place again. This is a nice country up here!
Launch Zone for Flight 2
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cross Country Flying


I finally did it!!! I finally “cut the cord” and flew a good distance away from the field and stepped out of my comfort zone flying PPG’s and went somewhere.  Where? 20.02 miles down the way!  I departed Morgantown this morning and pointed Bertha East towards Kolb Field in Phoenixville.  I immediately began wondering if I made the right decision because it was quite a bit bumpy with early morning lifty / sinky air.  I pressed on and 37 minutes later, I landed at Kolb Field. 

I thought for a while about calling for a ride back, but figured I’d better at least try the flight back to Morgantown before throwing in the towel.  On the way out to Morgantown this morning (at 5:00 am), I stopped by Kolb and left a full gas can and set up a wind sock.  I topped off my fuel tank and got airborne again, this time having difficulty gaining altitude due to the “rotor” effect of the wind off the tree line surrounding the field.  I did get airborne and high enough to miss the tree and the lines and began my SLOW 6 mph journey back to Morgantown.  I was headed in to the wind this time and boy it showed. No longer could I enjoy the 40+mph ground speed that I had experienced on the way over.

I flew about 1/3 of the way back to Morgantown before finally accepting the fact that I wouldn’t have enough fuel at this speed to make it back.  I landed in a field across the street from O & J Roberts High School and gave my buddy Matt a call to come get me.  He quickly arrived and back to Morgantown we went.  I’m really happy that I did the cross country and I can’t wait to redo the return trip with more cooperative winds.  Here’s the vid!

My First Real Cross Country PPG Flight. Morgantown to Kolb, 20.02 Miles!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Campin’ Out In Morgantown


Given most any weekend where the the weather is nice for flying, you’ll find a tent or two set up out in Morgantown PPG Field.  It makes it so much easier to fly until 30 minutes past sunset (with a strobe), and then get up and fly again 30 minutes before the sun peaks back on the other side of the whole wide world.  This really does happen most weekends!

This weekend we must have had 10 wings up and 5 folks staying over night having a swaller of beer after flying and sitting out by the camp fire in the darkness of a night.  Out here in Morgantown, there isn’t any light pollution so you get a GREAT view of the stars so pack a sleeping bag and a tent, and bring a long a telescope;  we’ve got the beer. 

Hope you enjoy the video! 

Lil bit of flying this weekend!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Miss Maple in the Shade

The last flight of the morning I decided to travel up the way to Shady Maple, which is a humongous buffet joint just West of Morgantown.  This place seats about a bazillion folks and has the best breakfast selection that I've ever seen.  The food bars are about the length of a football field. You there laughing! I'm serious! Fathead!  The place opens up at 5:00 am and you better hurry because I think it closes at 10:00 a.m. and there will be a long line.  The Good Folks out in these parts get up about 3:30 every morning to start their work and somebody's gotta feed them. Do yourself a favor, look up Shady Maple and give 'em a taste test; you'll be real proud you did.    The flying was fun but a bit bumpy as the sun has been out cooking the ground for a while and the convective currents had already begun.  Hope you enjoy the vid.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flying Rob's Place

Matt and I headed up to Rob's Place today for a bit of flying around New Tripoli.  This turned out to be an excellent flight with gorgeous scenery and perfect weather.  The area is a bit more technical that I am used to as it's departing uphill, along a tree line, with rapidly rising terrain.  I ended up landing near the top of the hill because some power lines were in the near distance and I didn't want to take a chance on getting caught up in the them.  I looked around a bit after landing an now know that I did have an "out" to the North that allowed for descending terrain.  I'm going back soon so I'll know then!  Here's the vid!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Independence Day

We're headed down to Hilton Head this Saturday, so I wanted to get a flight in this afternoon so I could feed my airborne craving just before leaving on Holiday.  The picture to the left is Morgantown Airport, in Morgantown PA. This is about 3 miles East of where we fly paragliders out of.  We (PPG) fly in the early morning and late afternoon and the Gliders fly in the middle of the day so we happy co-exist without getting in each other's way.  My flight was fairly early in the morning and I had radio's with me to check on any air traffic in the area before doing my fly over.  Plus I got to see da Walmart from above! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scramble Scramble Unknown Rider

This afternoon I was sittin' there minding my own business when the scramble alarm went off.  Seems someone thought we were being invaded from another PPG club and I was sent out to investigate.  Lucky for us, I wasn't the last line of defense cuz I'm always liable to crash before I get airborne, just after getting airborne, or blowing a gasket and just barely reaching the (my) crash site. I got airborne and searched for the boagie and finally spotted him down low.  When I caught him in my new fast wing, I recognized him as one of our own, Rick.  Rick flys KingAir's so he's definitely one of the good guys.  We flew around together for a bit and then I came back to do a planned engine out approach followed later by a real engine out approach.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A bit of the hair of the dog that bit me!

Oh what a night!  Last night, we went out for a birthday drink and ended up having one more, 10 times.  Ugh!  I started with a little tiny sampler of various microbrews and then got a birthday drink, then another one, and then I couldn't spell anymore and next thing I knew it was 1:00 a.m. and I had to get up inaminute. I had a ball though and thanks Beth and Joy and Matt for a happy birthday celebration! 
I got a new Reflex Wing for my birthday and wanted to try it out.  Kevin, my instructor, was at the field and I decided to give it a try. Later, Matt and Jeff played around kiting it for a while while Mike got ready to fly.  Thanks guys for allowing me to bust on ya'll - you're good peeps!  Hope ya'll enjoy this silly video.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flying Time Again

I wanted to make sure I got out again this week before my Birthday in case we go busy doing stuff and I wasn't able to get airborne.  I heard of air-sickness before, but I get ground-sickness from not being able to fly every few days.  lol 
I'm happy ya'll stop by and look at the video's; I figure when I celebrate a few more birthdays and my teeth start falling out, I'll be able to look back at these and remember what I used to do as a younger chap.  Of course, they do have quads and trikes that can be connected below the wings, so hopefully I'll still be flying when I'm 102.  Wouldn't that be scary; forget who and where I am at a thousand feet about the ground and not having a clue where to land.  If ya'll find me in your back yard, can you send me home?
Hope you like the vid!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bugs In My Teeth

The sun just started its morning climb,  get dressed and out of them ‘jama’s,
Brush your teeth and comb your hair, you look like Bigfoot’s Mama.
Grab your motor, grab your wing, and get on out to the field,
There’s sites to see, for you and me, it’s gonna be a thrill.

My wing spread wide, the lines all straight, my beeners secure at the clip,
The grass is wet, must watch my step, so I don’t start sliding and slip.
Bertha is purring, she’s ready to go, just waiting on a squeeze of the trigger,
I pick out my spot and start running a lot, my grin it couldn’t be bigger.

It takes me a while, but in under a mile, I finally have air just below me,
Slowly at first, cuz gas she does thirst, but soon she starts climbing more quickly.
We fly over here, and we fly over there, to see all the sites there below us,
The chickens,  potatoes, the corn maze, tomatoes, the cows that look at us in chorus.

And sometimes it’s fun, to fly way down low, to watch all the sites at our feet,
The perspective of speed is all that I need, when flying in fields of tall wheat.
A wake I do leave, or sometimes a hole, if I don’t judge my airspeed correctly,
I’ve crashed once or twice, or maybe its thrice, where they’ve had to send someone to get me.

But usually I launch and return on my own, to gas up and go for another,
It may be up high, right up in the sky or maybe down here in ground cover.
I’m grinning for sure just zoom in and look at my wing where I’m sitting beneath,
I know this is true, It may have  happened to you, cuz I’m grinning with bugs in my teeth.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Joe & Joe & The Morgantown Creek

This weekend Joe and Joe came up from Delaware and Maryland to see what all this PAPPG (Pennsylvania Powered Paragliding) stuff was all about.  We (PAPPG) think we have a pretty good spot and are always happy to share the air with our friends and neighbors out of state. So much so, in fact, that seldom do we have a week of flying go by that we don't have several different states represented and you betcha that we consider them PAPPG'ers.  They're good folks and always welcome.
Both Joes have been flying for approx 10 years and it was obvious as soon as they got their gear out. It takes me about 30 minutes to get set up whilst it took them about 2, plus they launch with Tea & Crumpets in their hands and I don't think took more than 2 steps to get airborne.  One day I'll be able to match the number of my takeoff's to good landings. :-)  This video shows a bit of the creek that runs down Morgantown and some footage of J2 (Joe & Joe) flying with me.  Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Post Weather Hold Playtime

After striking out twice with the weather days earlier, I was finally able to get back in the air for a fun ride this evening.  A few of us headed back out to Morgantown for some evening flying and Matt and I did some airborne surveillance of the area prior to the sun going down.  With the addition of strobes on our Paramotors, the regs allow us to fly up to 30 minutes past sunset - so we do.  :-)  Landing is sometimes, uhm, fun when I forget to take my sunglasses off (which I use for eye (bugs) protection).  Perhaps some shooters glasses or something would work out better.  We'll see. Hah!   Here's a short vid from today's flying! Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mother Nature: 2 Me: 0

Man-O-Man was Mother Nature a wench this weekend.  First, We all drove up to New Tripoli Pennsyvlania to visit with Rob and fly at one of his fields.  Matt & Ginger had gone up to rebuild the carb on Matt's paramotor, and Beth and I showed up an hour later to install some camera mounts on Bertha so I could add some more camera angles to my flights.  After everything was all put back together, we loaded up and drove up the road to do some flying in the fields.  The wind was howling a lil bit but it felt steady, and therefore predictable.  I launched and immediately wished I hadn't.  I landed about 30 seconds later.  That was Saturday. On Sunday, I flew out at Kolb while Beth ran the perimeter of the runway a few times. I got airborne and the ride wasn't bad but clouds began to quickly build and I was afraid that a thunderstorm was developing and didn't want to get launched over to North Dakota - so I landed, loaded up, and will wait for next weekend.  I hate it when I can't fly long.  :-(  Po Me.
Here's the vid: 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lil Ole Ride In The Sky

Did some camping out this weekend with Ella.  I went flying for a bit then Ella and I played frisbee and she taught me how to chase bugs.  She was such a lil "ham" out there getting scratchin's from everyone and quickly identifying snack opportunities. Its funny to watch her "in action" as she wiggles up to someone and gives them a big ole smile and then promptly rolls over on her back for a belly run, and oh yea - a snack too.  If she wasn't so good at it, I'd have to stop her from doing it, little baconator!
She loves camping out and is a great tent mate; she doesn't snore (too loudly) and only toots occasionally!  She IS a Bulldog after all.  :-)  Hope you enjoy the video.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wheat! It's what's for Dinner

The weather has been getting nicer and we're starting to notice more and more of the 2010 crowd come back out to fly with us.  It's really nice to see the PAPPG (Pennsylvania Powered Paragliders, gang back out again.  We're already starting to plan some weekend campouts, cross country flights, and perhaps poker runs and flight competitions.  It's really a fun time. You can contact the instructor via the logo on the wing there (see picture) and schedule a tandem ride to see if you like it and if this is something you may like to learn to do.  It's really an amazing ride! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parajets and Rollercoasters

The weatherman said "Good To Go" but Mother Nature chuckled silently as she watched me putting my gear together to go flying. 
Vassilis was also out today in Morgantown and had brought along his new Wing and ParaJet paramotor.  Very nice setup indeed!
My launch ended up being a comedy act as I was pulled left and started running towards the bean fields.  Rather than harvest the crops I killed the motor and straightened out my wing to go again.  Vassilis' was ready to go so away he went with his new motor - which is very quiet and VERY powerful.  Once he got airborne he began a quick climb and then powered way back to avoid a self-induced airshow.  I launched next and immediately decided I wasn't loving the ride today.  Very lifty/sinky today and I elected to land and fly again later - when it would be much more enjoyable.  The only problem was, dispite how hard I tried, I couldn't lose altitude on short final and kept going around for another go.  Lot's of convective activity on the hill today and finally after a bunch of low apporaches, I was able to land.  Vassilis did the smart thing and killed his engine 1/4 mile final and rode the roallercoaster back to the field. 

Watching the video at YouTube in HD gives you the best picture.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Playin' In Poo, Mount Parapoo That Is

Woke up early this morning and headed out to Morgantown.  Winds were forecast to come from the South so I chose Morgantown instead of Kolb, however the wind was actually as calm as could be. Wasn't too bad though, as I was able to point down hill and run like a crazy woman ata hair spray sale and got airborne headed South.
With only a couple of exceptions, I hadn't yet "cut the cord" and stayed fairly close to the field. I did recently venture to Cow Mountain and a couple of other areas, but today I wanted to climb Mount Parapoo. I'd heard others talk about it but was still a little too cautious to go that far. I did today and loved it!  
After visiting Parapoo, I headed towards the cows again to check on them, then flew East towards the windmill cafe'.  The conditions were absolutely smooth as glass all morning and I never once got bounced around and enter lifty-sinky air.  It was the best air yet this year.  I'm sure there is more to come, but up until now it had been the smoothest in 2011.
Welcome to Mount Parapoo!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blown Up Over Phoenixville

Got up early this morning to depart from Kolb Field and head West to join up with Matt who would be flying in from Morgantown.  I figured I'd get in a warm up flight in the area, then land and refuel before heading out to meet him.  I never made it.
I had been hanging out over the golf course watching the morning golfers head to their golfcarts to load up their clubs. There were a couple of hackers already out but not many.  I'd just finished a light 360 overhead and began heading over to the East to overfly my house - didn't make that either.  Bertha's exhaust blew up and actually cracked completely in half.  Luckily, the muffler was well attached and no pieces flew off.    After landing and putting Bertha away, Matt arrived at Kolb Field after a 22 miles cross country journey!  Great Job Dude.  The rest of us will be doing that soon!

Enjoy the vid:   

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walkin' My Way Back Home

Matt and I went flying from Morgantown this afternoon as the conditions were settling and the flying conditions promised to be about perfect!  
Matt's planning to stay out in Morgantown tonight and fly out to Kolb Field (departing from Morgantown) in the morning. 
Tonights flight did prove in great conditions and I was feeling like I wanted to do some foot draggin', which is when you drag your foot along the ground to practive control of your climb/descent/speed/drag management all in one.  I soon discovered that my drag and descent were good but my climb and speed would need a little work.  Soon, I'd be walkin' my way back home.

Cow Mountain - Heffers In Battle

Woke up early this morning to go flying but soon discovered that the winds were blowing much faster than I could run.  For the 30 seconds I did get airborne, I felt like a 3 foot tall person stuck inside of a packed elevator - the situation stank and I was getting hit from all sides!

Later on this afternoon, however, I was able to get in a great flight and finally got down to see Cow Mountain - which is a name we (PPGers) gave this large hill in the middle of a pasture that the cows love to climb up and play King, er Queen of the hill.  As I was flying over I saw one large Heffer biotch slap another one tryin to take her spot.  Honest!

Here, take a look:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jibber Jabber - Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Matie!

 Each year my work puts together an operator seminar in which we give lectures and presentations on various topics within the energy world including lessons learned, emerging technologies, and best practices.  The seminar lasts for one week, however we repeat it 10 times in order for all of our operators and surrounding companies operators to participate.  All together, we host about 800 operators that come to the week long seminar.  This week we were ending our 7th week at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis Maryland and will now be moving our “show” to Cleveland for the last 3 weeks of this 10 week event.  To thank us for using their hotel while in Annapolis, Loews took all of us trainers on a tour of the bay on a chartered sailboat.  We were shuttled down to the dock in these cool eco-friendly battery operated vehicles.  When we first left the dock, we were served a delicious meal of Sushi, Turkey, various salads, and wonderful pies, accompanied with Rum Punch and a variety of other drinks.  We enjoyed the meal and soon afterwards the Captain announced that we needed to get prepared for the race that she had entered us in. 
What?  Did you say race?  None of us knew the first thing about sailing and I thought she’d lost her mind.  I barely knew which end of the boat was the front and she was speaking in terms of Ports and Starboards and Jibs and Masts.  She quickly went over the things she thought we’d do best at (leaning on the high side) and soon the cannon fired to signify the race had begun.  Our sails were raised and she pointed the boat down yonder way and off we went.  We started near the back of the pack but very soon started passing boats on the left and right.  We were leaning hard to the left and there I was hanging on like a tic in a dog park.  We jibbed and jabbed, circled a buoy and headed back to the finish line.  On the way back we were doing 9.4 knots and were in a race not only with the other boats, but with the lighting and thunderstorm we were headed towards.   
The Finish Line

Raw Oysters with Beer Shooters to celebrate our Victory!

We ended up winning the race and celebrated by more Rum Punchin' (YAY) and got back to shore just in time for the storms to arrive.  What a great time we had.  Can’t wait till next year when we go to Williamsburg Virginia.  After our victory, we stopped in for Lobsters, Oyster Shooters, and more punch!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Contour GPS Flight on Sunday - Morgantown

Got a quick flight in today after getting unpacked from Phoenix.  Had to repack my reserve and only halfway think that I did it right.  Didn't end up needing it :-) . 

I'm testing out my Contour GPS to see how the video matches up with the GPS track.  Looks pretty cool and this gives a great recap of where you've been and how high your were when doing it.
We only flew for a lil bit as it started getting a bit bumpy and the winds continued to increase.  After I got home the forecast for winds aloft had increased to 40 mph and I knew it was most probably accurate.
Beth and Baby Ella came out to watch our flying and as you can see, the Baby was watching each time as I flew over.  I want to get a harness and take her flying after I get at least a year of experience under my belt.  I think she'd enjoy it and hope to find out late this summer.   
Kevin called just as I was getting back home and was, himself, just arriving at the field with his family to show them what this fun and crazy sport is all about.  Brian also showed up after flying in on a cross country flight from his home.  I do wish I'd have waited a bit longer, but had no idea others were coming to fly.  Hopefully this weekend we'll have great flying weather to do it all again.  Be Particular!
Have a look and let me know if you like it. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Paragliding Phoenix, Part II

Back to the LZ for flight number 2.  I had another chance to fly while in Phoenix so I definitely wanted to take full advantage of it as it will probably be a year or so before I get back.  The afternoon and day following flight 1, the wind picked up and was way too strong for my skill level.  As you can see in the background, the wind is pretty strong here (guessing 20mph) and also in the wrong direction for a flight intending to land here.  Carlos had me go through a skills assessment prior to my first flight and would coach me along the flight with the radio's I brought along.  For this second flight, about as quickly as I got airborne, the ear piece came out so he could have yelled that my crack was showing and I'd of never known it.  Glad it wasn't a Full Moon over Phoenix. 
In The Park Practicin' the Torpedo
Anyway :-), I met Carlos on Friday morning for the hour long drive back up to the top of South Mountain in Phoenix.  He said it was a 50/50 chance that I'd get to fly because the wind was picking up.  I silently pouted a bit cuz I just knew that I wouldn't get the chance to fly.  Soon enough we arrived back on top and I started setting up my gear.  Carlos had me set up but we waited for a few minutes to see what the wind was going to do.  Finally there was a dip in wind speed and he said OK.  I could still feel it blowing a little strong so I asked him "Carlos, is it ok to go?".  He chuckled and in a Brazilian accent said, "You're the Pilot in Command, you tell me".  I grinned and away I went.  With the extra wind, it was a bit easier to get airborne this time and I actually climbed a little bit.
As you'll see, I did a "reverse" launch this time as the wind was strong enough to allow me to get the wing overhead without running like a crazy woman off the side of the cliff.  I was able to "fly away", off d'cliff.  I launched from the lil circle on the top of the picture to the left and you can see the elevation track at the bottom of the picture.  I didn't climb much, but my golly I climbed a little. haha.  My flight lasted a little bit longer than the first and I loved every minute of it.  Hope you enjoy the video.  I suggest watching it in HD.  Link here if that one below doens't play in HD: 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paragliding Phoenix

Well here I stood at the end of a short runway ( the picture makes it look long but it's really about 30 feet) getting ready to run off the side of a mountain. Am I nuts? We had actually came for a seminar, and I had coordinated with Fly High Paragliding to take an abbreviated transition class from Powered Paragliding (PPG) to Paragliding (PG) so I could jump of this mountain now right in front of me. It sounded fun before I got here, now I gotta pee.  The actual flying portion is only slightly different from the paramotoring that I've been doing.  In PPG flying, I have a motor that I can use to take me elsewhere to a better landing spot, or just to keep me airborne for as long as I have fuel.  In paragliding, you must find thermals to use to gain altitude, or your ride will be short (like mine).  I'm using a paramotor wing that may not be as efficient in getting the best glide performance but it's probably also due to the fact that I was about to take my first paragliding flight and had never had to go thermal hunting before. 
There was another flyer there with me today, Tracy.  She was there to take a tandem ride with Carlos, the PG instructor.  I was to go first just in case I bought the farm; he'd call in help to get me off the side of "South Mountain".  I had learned that just a month earlier in better conditions than today, an experienced paraglider pilot stalled and fell 60 feet to the mountain side and had to be medivaced out of there.  Wonderful  I thought, and why was I thinking of that now - as I stood near a cliff I was about to run off.
The day before Carlos had met me in a local park to do a "skills check" on me to ensure that I really did have a little bit of kite handling skills.  I practiced the "torpedo" launch a few times and then he murmured something in Brazillion and told me to meet him the next morning at the base of South Mountain.  I'm not sure if I was cussed at or congratulated. :) 

The Torpedo training was fun until I had to run
back up the hill about 5 times in a row. 
This morning I met Tracy and Carlos at the base of the mountain and we drove over to the LZ (landing zone) so Carlos could discuss the proper approach to landing sequence that he wanted me to do.  I thought to myself "I know how to land" but once we got there and I saw that the whole landing zone was surrounded by cactus, with some reaching 25 feet high, I began to listen a bit more closely.  "Don't fly over this ravine low level", and "don't go near that cactus there", "and watch for these rocks, those snakes, that power line there, this sticker bush here....".  I started to take notes but figured I wouldn't have time to read it before landing anyway. 
Soon enough we headed back to the vehicles to take the hour long drive to the top of the mountain. It's not really that far (launch to land) but the only roads up the mountain top originate on the other side so we had to drive all the way around.  We reach the top, Carlos said set up your gear, and now here I stand wondering again, am I nuts?  I just peed a little.....    Here's the video of my quick flight, hope you enjoy it.

If the video is too small, click on the YouTube icon in the lower right hand corner. I'd also recommend changing the video resolution to HD by clicking on the number in the lower right hand corner and then clicking on the highest number.  Hope you enjoy it! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bounced Around Phoenixville

Went flying at Kolb (Phoenixville) earlier this afternoon and got a bit more than I was expecting.  The wind at Pottstown Limerick airport was only indicating 5 knots on the ground, but lawdy lawdy was it howling about 20 feet up.  I launch out of Kolb and immediately was ready to land but I figured I'd give it a little bit to see if the ride got smoother.  It did a little bit but still lots of rotor off the woods line and a bit of lifty-sinkiness throughout the flight.  I decided after only 14 minutes that it was time to put Bertha back on the ground.  When my GPS speed read 39 mph, I knew that I was playing in conditions that I wasn't expecting.  Jeff came out with his 900 pound dawg, Apollo, to watch the flight and make sure I didn't get stuck in a tree.  Thanks Jeff :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Morgantown Fly-In

We had a good get together today out in Morgantown.  I bunch of the gang came out that we hadn't seen in a while so it was nice to get back together and do some flying.  I got up to about 2000 feet today (my GPS in the picture shows me climbing through 1525').  We're starting to talk about a couple of events for the 2011 season to include a short cross country flight between Morgantown PPG Field and Kolb Field in Phoenixville - which will be a 20.03 mile flight.  Another event we're just starting to discuss is a Poker Run which will be a series of short (3-8 miles) flights with a landing at each spot to pick a card. At the end of all flights, the pilot with the best poker hand wins! I'll post the details as they progress.  Be Particular!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness in Morgantown

Got a chance to get a short flight in today after the wind finally settled down a bit.  Prior to the flight, I did some much needed kiting proficiency training to get the "feel" back of knowing what the wing is telling me through soft (ideally) pressure changes in the brake toggles. This is how I'll stay safely inside the envelope whilst flying. During more active wind, the pressure changes are more direct and if its a violent change, forget about it - I'm shittin'.  I enjoyed the ground refresher training and actually "kited" (kept the wing over my head) for over 8 minutes without letting it down.  USPPA standards require 2 minutes for the next rating so I guess I may be doing ok.  Soon the wind was down below 10 and it was time for me to be the "wind dummy".  The rest of the fella's would know that if I got beat about by the wind and slammed into stationary objects (ie. ground, houses, cars, trees, etc) that she should maybe think about delaying their flight for a little longer. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kolb On Sunday

Sunday afternoon flying at Kolb was amazing.  Marcus Kolb had just brought some new horses in to the field so we were to remain clear.   I think we did for a few minutes, but the horses did fine and he didn't holler at us. :)  My fixed wing flying buddy Mark also came out today to watch us PPG fly.  He'll be starting lessons in a month or so and wanted to see us doin' our thing.  He brought along his camera and boy am I glad he did. I had no idea what a photographer he was becuase I've never heard him mention photography and we've probably got 50 or more hours in the plane together on various cross country flights.  Anyway, he sent me a bunch of the photos he took and they turned out great.  I especially liked the first photo (upper left) where he made the photo black and white and then restored the colors in the wing.  How cool. 

Loving the Pictures Taking Too.  I tried doing the same with another one of his pictures but as you'll see the workmanship isn't quite there yet on my part.  It's amazing what one can do with a bit of time and patience.  Hope you like them.  You can click on either one of them to enlarge the photos. 

Down at the bottom is my video of my Sunday flying. The wind was calm and the temps warm enough to allow 2000' foot flying and not freeze.  Thansk for stoppin' in.  Ya'll be particular.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morgantown's Muddy Mess

Boy was it a fun day in the air yesterday!  Conditions were a little mushy at Kolb so we all decided to meet at Morgantown. Sadly, Morgantown was 22 times muddier than Kolb was but with 45 minutes between the two - we were staying here. 
Two vehicles (all wheel drive) got stuck in the mud and we left them there until the end of flying time and then all got together and tug-a-war'd 'em out of the mud. Teamwork Rules!
As quickly as I got airborne, the wind picked back up and for the 3 or 4 of us in the air, it was a bit of a bumpy ride. Nothing crazy, but definitely not smooth. We all stayed airborne about 30 minutes before landing to wait it out.  About 20 minutes later it was smooth again and a couple of more folks got airborne again.  If you'd like to watch the video below, I do suggest you changing the resolution to 720p. You can do this on the lower right hand corner of the video box where it say 360.  You may have to open the video up in YouTube by clicking on it to do so.    Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hangin' Out Over Kolb Field

Surprisingly, there was a huge change in the winds aloft forecast between this morning around 9:00 am and this afternoon around 3:00 pm.  It has changed by 36 mph at 3000 feet. What that meant was it was time to pack up the gear and head to Kolb Field.  Four of us met around 3:30 for some afternoon PPG flying.  What a difference 2 weeks can make.  The snow was gone, the mud and slush was gone, and the flights were on! 

Next time I'll venture away from the field to capture some video out yonder way. 

Hope you enjoy the vid.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mud Bath + Turbulent Winds = No Flying

Fun Mud Bath, Yesterday Not So Fun Mud Bath.
Not My Photo.
I was all excited about flying today but at the last minute (and while I was on the way to Kolb) Kevin called and said the winds-aloft had gone from 13 to 33.  I was still willing to try though, since the winds-aloft forecast was just that, a forecast. Also, the closest station we could use that was aligned with the wind (headed our way) was way over yonder in Westminster Maryland.
When I arrived at the field, I parked over on the West end this time and noticed that Kevin was standing out in the middle of the field.  He looked a little shorter than normal and I thought he was getting shorter.  He sludged his way back over and looked like Willy Wonka after having played in the chocalate factory.  We both walked around the field for a while and found the least squishy of the all-squishy area and set up our wings for launch.  The wind sock was showing about 7 mph winds so it wasn't looking to bad. 
Kevin went out first.  He took off and I could see he immediately entered rough air. Instead of his normal graceful flight, the wing was surging up,down, left, and right.  He entered a right downwind to a lazy eight pattern and almost got down-drafted all the way to the ground on base leg. After landing, he said, "I'm done, have fun".  I knew that wasn't a for real have fun and I did an about face and started packing up all my gear.  Tomorrow (Friday) is now supposed to be windy, as is Saturday. Sunday "may" work and Monday it may rain.  I'm hoping something gives and I'm able to finally do some flying this weekend. I miss being airborne.  I may have to take the Viking Witch flying today. She's my Piper Cherokee who I haven't flown in over 4 weeks so I bet she's mad at me.  I'll let ya'll know.

Be Particular!

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