PPG - First Flights

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Rob Schaffer, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have not been around much here on the POA forums as an active poster in the past few years, but I still visit to see what all you guys are up to and the trips, posts, gatherings you do.

    October 22, 2011 was my last PIC flight in General Aviation. I lasted about a year after my third daughter was born before I couldn't financially continue. 2012 I made the trip to Oshkosh with the POA campground gang and had a blast, spending a lot of my time at the Ultralight section. While there wasn't a Powered Paragliding vendor there that year I was intrigued by them and the compactness for transport, as well as the low and slow flying aspect. Shane was flying PPG locally here, so I met up with him and discussed some more.

    So,... this years OSH'14 there was a vendor there and I was able to get a show special even though I wasn't physically at the show. The past few weeks since Labor day I have been training here locally, and it is a lot more challenging than those YouTube videos look. The science behind these paragliders is really cool and innovative.

    After many sore muscles and exhausted nights, I finally solo'd this weekend and became PIC again! The most nerve wracking part about the solo is that it was just me, exposed and out there, doing something completely new and feeling so different. Kind of sickening like an amusement ride that moves you around in many directions, mostly due to the new sensation and high adrenaline! You can practice all you want hanging in the garage or in a simulator, but that first flight has high pucker factor! After the first flight, I made a second which was much more relaxing once I was in my seat.

    So, without further blabbering, here is a link to my PPG solo video. :yes:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj5_TZkj52w#t=49
     
  2. iflyatiger

    iflyatiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Rob..

    Welcome back, congratulations and very cool !
     
  3. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Excellent. Another smart person sees the light and joins the fun. All I've flown the last few years are paragliders and speedgliders. One of these days I need to get a motor. Once you are dialed in with motoring give soaring a try. Heaps of fun, with heaps of frustration thrown in sometimes. And very weather dependent, still super fun. Welcome back to the sky, have fun.
     
  4. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    We saw one of these flying overhead the other night and I said "Man, that guy is nuts." :D

    Glad to see you getting in the air again and having so much fun. As I always say, there's a way to get airborne for basically any budget, and the ultralights give a great option for people who just want to be in the sky. You're one of the people I've met who has an enormous love of flight, moreso than even someone like me.
     
  5. VanDy

    VanDy Cleared for Takeoff

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    That is outstanding!!! Looks like a ton of fun!
     
  6. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  7. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    Cool!! Glad you were able to get back up into the air. Where was the field? Try as I might, couldn't pick out any landmarks.

    Gary
     
  8. Florida Cracker

    Florida Cracker Ejection Handle Pulled

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    WE frequently see them flying above the beaches. It was fun when I tried it, but I never got back to doing it seriously.

    Glad to hear you did.

    Have fun and stay safe.
     
  9. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks Ted, that means a lot coming from you.

    This has been a blast, and I am just getting started. Currently I am flying out of a field/park in Frazier/Exton area north of Brandywine Airport a few miles. Soon, when I venture out on my own, I'll go meet some guys at Van Sant, Kolb, and even fly from the farm across the street if all goes well. He just cut and baled some large fields again so they would be perfect for a local flight.
     

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  10. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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    What made you decide to foot launch PPG vs Trike Launch?
    What I don't like about this sport is you limited with Good flying weather with low winds only. I have researched this a lot myself and haven't given it a try. It wont replace my PP-ASEL it would just be another aspect of flying for me.

    BTW a brand new PPG setup I have seen from 5k to 10k range.

    congrats on your solo.
     
  11. TedR3

    TedR3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congrats on getting back in the air Rob!
     
  12. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I watched the foot launch and trikes / quads at OSH and online, and found for me that Foot Launch was a very portable way to fly and I am able to (no bad knees, ankles, etc). I have my paraglider in the stuff sack and put it on the backseat or in the trunk of my car, and the engine/cage goes on a cargo rack on the back of my Mazda 3. I can store it in as much space as my motorcycle too.

    After spending 17 AMU for a kitchen (we even did 90% of the labor),... spending a few more to get me flying wasn't hard. That was the deal with the wife. Motors and cages you can get used. I bought a new Wing, cause that's my lifeline. Porosity, line condition, and use I'd rather not take someones word for. If you watch some of the PPG forums or Facebook sites for PPG, some guys give it up to move to Quads / trikes and you can get some great deals for the 3-6k range.

    Also, I can run 93 octane mixed 40:1, and not have to get AVGAS. Some guys do, and some units require it, but mine runs great on 91 or higher.
     
  13. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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    thanks for the rely Rob. Enjoy slow and low. :)
     
  14. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Welcome back,and congrats on getting back to flying.
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    #bandozer
    It's a few AMU up front (which is ridiculously cheap anyway), but effectively free afterwards. I can't take the 310 around the pattern without it costing $50.
     
  16. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    For $50,.. I can buy about 8 gallons of 93 and 2 qts of 2-stroke AMSOIL Dominator synthetic,... and get about 12 hrs flight time :)
     
  17. noobJohn

    noobJohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How is the noise with a good set of headphones? I'm assuming hunky dory. The engine noise in your video would drive me insane but the flying looks fun. Did your stomache settle down with a few more flights? I've often wondered what swinging underneath a paraglider wing would feel like.
     
  18. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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    There are pro and cons to these things. The con is a finicky 2 stroke engine. I have been to a few PPG flyins and it seems several of them are fussing with their engines.
    I have seen more reliable 4 stroke and more quieter ppg with Trike Setup. These are using common Generator motors and have TBO something Like 2000hrs.
     
  19. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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  20. noobJohn

    noobJohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's probably the practical way to go. Foot launch looks so cool but I'm not getting any younger. :D

     
  21. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    If the noise would bother you, go motorless. You may way to take a day's instruction on flying a paraglider or a hang glider, or take a tandem ride. One of the cool things about learning to fly a hang glider is you get to fly solo from day one. I understand that when learning to fly a paraglider it's more like day two or three.
     
  22. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    HG pilots sheesh:D Same paragliding you'll solo first day(seconds of flight same as first day on a HG) unless you are really uncoordinated or the weather doesn't cooperate.
     
  23. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz En-Route

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    I picked up one of those PPG units and it felt very heavy. I think once you start your run for take of the parachute takes the weight off.
     
  24. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations Rob! Such fun :)

    I considered going that route several years ago and was looking at the then-burgeoning crop of electric motors.
    Did a tandem flight and loved it. But also realized I'd not get enough use out of it - needing perfect wx - at that time to justify getting involved.
    Still on the back burner...
     
  25. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    To answer a few questions:
    1) Newer 2 strokes, but simple and reliable. Mine has a Walbro WG8 diaphragm pump carb, others have Bing Carbs with float bowls. Those you see fiddling are often chasing a setting on the mixture cause they keep messing with it. I'm still in the early part of learning and running the motor, but once you break it in, you monitor the color of the spark plug to determine your rich/lean condition and shouldn't really have to touch the carb much unless you are changing takeoff altitude more than 2000 feet (so I am told).

    2) Noise, not to bad. Remember the motor noise here is with my GoPro on my head with a skeleton case so it picks it up a lot sitting 18" from it. I had a headset on for communication from my instructor, but I have run it up to full with just foam ear plugs. That said, i haven't flown with just foam ear plugs yet either.

    3) my first flight I was overcontrolling and swinging a little, as you can see in the video. My second I was smoother, and even much more once in the seat. I'm sure a better camera mount than my helmet would show some of the stability of flying. It was quite enjoyable the second flight and I was fine. I think the first flight was 95% nerves.

    4) with 3 daughters, my ability to afford to fly GA and take the time to as well is limited. This fits my mission currently in life by letting me fly those early morning dawn patrols soon with friends and being home shortly after they are up and had breakfast. Also, evening flights after a day at work I am really looking forward to. The preflight is easy, setup at the field in 15 minutes or less, and airborne.

    5) weight,.. my backpack unit is 47 lbs, plus fuel. So I am about 60 lbs ready to fly and it is up high on my back so it actually isn't to bad walking around. Getting it up off the ground is the tricky part once you strap into it. As you launch, the glider inflates and will begin to create lift. As it does so the weight of the engine and cage is lifted off of you. Consequently, your own weight then begins to go to your leg straps as you are lifted off the ground. When you are able, getting into the seat is a smooth ab crunch and pushing the seat below your butt/thighs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  26. evapilotaz

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    Thanks Rob for the informative post. Like I said before I have been very interested in this for the longest time.
     
  27. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Update Post:

    Off to a good start this year, getting some good flights in and expanding on my experience bucket. So far, only dipped into the Luck bucket once,... :)

    This post comes from our fly in at Massey Aerodrome in Massey MD this past weekend. A neat little grass airport that is well maintained and has a C-47 outfront of the hangars. Also has a neat museum, but I didn't get a chance to go inside. If ever in the area, drop in and check it out.

    Here's my GoPro of my flight.

    https://youtu.be/D0qt8tv3U3M
     
  28. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    As much as I hate to admit it, some of the ultralights have been looking like a ton of fun for just buzzing around and having fun being in the air and enjoying the view like a bird. Looks like you're having a ton of fun doing the low-and-slow thing with it.
     
  29. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Rob,
    It was great seeing you again at Wings! I hadn't seen this post when we talked. Sounds like you're having a blast!
    Grant
     
  30. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    The above video was from my perspective, and includes my flight.

    Here is a video from another pilot that took video of me in my final prep and takeoff that morning.

    https://youtu.be/4Q7IpNeog_k

    :D
     
  31. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    Rob,

    :thumbsup: Great to see you back in the air. I about spit my tea out when you said I think I'm going to be sick. :eek: The flight looked fun and the second looked even smoother.

    Hope I can catch up with you and Shane next time at Massey. You'll get some stick time in the plane when you're down in July, I'm sure your skills are just as sharp as they were.
     
  32. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looking forward to it Gary. Work is crazy and I'm in good need of a vacation.