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Another day of fun - Wednesday 24th August 2005 - View the entire paragliding news archive
Today, there were two students to train and three tandem trike launches to organize.

Bruce was back again to try for his first ever foot launch. Herb also joined us and Bob was keen to get back in the air after a short break. Roy made his first flight after six years and we got two lovely ladies in the air!

The wind was fairly strong when Andre and I arrived at the field so we knew there was little point flying until later on. This gave us an opportunity to watch part of the DVD, I had leant Frank the previous night. It's called Soul Flyers and follows some crazy French skiing/paragliding/base jumping/skydiving guys as they pull of a series of impressive stunts in various locations. Great camera work, I recommend you see it. Anyway, after watching that, we had a nice cup of tea. We are getting pampered now that Frank has his RV at the field. The wind was still on the strong side so we were in no rush to try to launch.

Bob arrived first and watched the tail end of the DVD with us. We got all the equipment out of the trailer and removed the lawn mower from the roof rack.

Andre wanted to cut a grass strip running perpendicular to the large airstrip, which would allow us to make trike launches in many more wind directions. We set Bob up with a harness and a wing a went straight into ground handling/reverse launch technique. Bruce turned up soon afterward and was also straight into some ground handling. It was a hot day so lots of sunscreen water and rests were the order of the day. Frank worked with Bob. I worked with Bruce. Andre mown some grass!

He soon got bored with that and tinkered with the tandem trike, mixing gas ready for his first tandem client of the day, his friend Roy.

Roy and Andre are very good friends and actually bought a paramotor between them about six years ago. Roy had never actually flown yet! So, after six years this was to be Roy's first powered paragliding flight. As you can imagine he was looking forward to it. Conditions were near perfect. The wind had now dropped to a comfortable breeze and the take off was very smooth.

While Andre and Roy went off for a nice thermic flight towards Niagara Falls, Bob and Bruce continued to slug it out on the field with multiple inflations and a lot of sweat. It wasn't too long before they were taking a break.

Another vehicle pulled up. It was Andre's next tandem client, a young 18 year old girl by the name of Andrea, who had spotted a recent article in the Globe and Mail. We don't get too many females interested in the sport. The weight of the machines is definitely an issue when foot launching, but with a trike there is no reason for women to be put off. I guess it takes an adventurous kind of person to want to fly. I chatted with Andrea and her mum for a while as we waited for Andre and Roy to return. They were soon back within sight and making an approach to land, which gave Andrea an opportunity to see first hand what she could expect. They touched down and I refueled the machine ready for another launch. Andrea got strapped in and they were soon all set to go.

The take off was not perfect, as the wing started to drift to one side. Andre recoverd it quickly, coming off power and realigning himself, before applying power again and lifting off.

They stayed over the field for a while, which gave us plenty of opportunity to get some photos. Their climb rate was pretty good since Andrea was way under the 185 pounds limit we set for the tandem trike. After they had disappeared into the distance it was back to work on inflations for Bruce and Bob. Both made excellent progress. It was looking like they would both get a chance to foot launch later on when the conditions were smoother.

Andre and Andrea returned to the field and looked like they were setting up to land.

Frank suggested I hop in his machine and get some aerial shots of the tandem unit in action. I agreed and hastily strapped in and launched, while Frank signaled for Andre to stay up a litlle longer. Frank is somewhat lighter than I am (35 lbs lighter!), and his machine and wing do not have a fantastic climb rate. The combination of factors meant that I was running for a considerable way before I got anywhere near taking off. When I did eventually get in the air, I was only just clearing the shrubs at the end of the field. That got my heart racing a little!

After take off I circled with Andre and gained some altitude before I was able to get some good shots of them both as they flew around the field. It is tricky operating a camera while flying but the results were pretty steady. I will try to get the footage on the website soon.

We all landed and we sent Bob up (If I remember correctly). He made a great committed launch and really emphasized the fact that he wasn't going to stop running until he was way up in the air. Previous take offs (last year) had seen him making the mistake of sitting in the harness early.

Once Bob was flying, Andre took Frank's wife, Joanne for a flight.

The take off was a good one this time, and again they headed off towards the Niagara River. Since we had not given Bob a huge amount of fuel, I talked him down on the radio. He made a great landing after a nice circuit of the field. I had made him land quite a way up the field to make sure he had plenty of room. I thought it would be easiest to fly the machine back, rather than carry it so I strapped in and attempted a launch. I am not sure what happened next, but the machine did not want to fly straight. I think the problem was that the wind shifted and was blowing slightly cross wind, although I had set up into wind. Anyway, I ended up aborting the take off. I didn't quite cut the engine soon enough. The wing came down and one line wrapped around the still spinning prop. Fortunately, there was no damage. Bob and I marked the line for later inspection and performed a quick line test. All was fine.

After all that messing about, I decided to carry the machine after all. Walking from one end of the airstrip to the other is a long walk with a paramotor and glider to carry. I was pretty sweaty by the time I reached the other end.

Next to fly was Herb, who had taken a fair while to set up.

The air was now very smooth and conditions for launch were getting trickier, since the wind speed was now much reduced. He launched ok, with a bit of an oscillation, but was soon flying around nice and high.

It was now Bruce's chance. He strapped in and made a very good launch. The key to that first foot launched take off, is a committed run once the glider is above you and stable. Bruce had a full tank of gas, making the machine quite tricky to launch in such light winds, but he managed very well. He enjoyed a magical evening flight with still air and awesome views of the local area bathed in the orange glow of the sunset. A very nice first foot launched flight.

Now it was getting late. Soon the mosquitoes would be biting. We started to pack all the equipment away. I brought the lawn mower back to the car. Andre didn't want to bring it home until the strip was cut so I mowed the remaining grass for a while. We now have a secondary cross strip on the airfield for other wind directions. Bruce and Herb landed and everyone went home.

Bob, Andre and myself stayed to drink s a beer with Frank and Joanne and enjoy a few snacks before setting off.

Another successful day - nothing to fix.

Three tandem flights (two lovely ladies). Two foot launching students (first time for Bruce)

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