-A Late December Paraglider Flight

Flying a Powered Paraglider

Flying a Powered Paraglider

Sunset at 5:24. I had to hurry up! Left the house at 3:00, arrived at the Waynesville airport at 4:00. I ask permission to fly, they always say yes. I fly as a guest at a grass field made for airplanes. I always donate to the airport’s scholarship fund as a way to say thank you. Lay-out the glider, fuel the motor. Warm up the 2-cycle engine, fuss with adjustments. MAKE SURE everything is hooked up correctly! Check, Re-check.

The wind is calm. The skies are blue. I can’t waste this weather. It is 4:40 PM. Lean forward. Push. Pull. The wing rises and comes to life behind me. Add a little gas. Trot. One last check. Everything looks and feels good. More gas… a little brake pressure. Run! Go! Go! Go!… Fly!

Sometimes it is called “running into the sky”. The moment is busy but magical. There is a lot going on. You have to feel and sense what the wing is doing. You have a 50 pound motor on your back plus another 9 pounds of gas. Add a helmet and long johns. Oh… and a 4 foot diameter propeller turning fast. Try not to trip!

Climbing to about a thousand feet I cruise south to a friend’s house. No one home. Then over to the gliderport where I am a member. It is all quiet too. No flight operations here. I have the gliderport to myself and skim the length of the runway.

I look at my watch. It is time… Climbing to about 1500′ AGL (above ground level) I head back to where I started. It is colder up here and I can feel my muscles tighten as they try to generate a shiver. I have a 20 mph wind right in my face. Brrr! It is warmer lower and I start an easy descent.

There is a Stearman in the pattern shooting takeoffs and landing. It is majestic with its 220 horsepower. I am a gnat. I wait doing some 360′s and figure 8′s until it is clear.

Gliding down I fly a small pattern and gauge my touchdown spot. Kill the engine, flair! I’m standing and smiling. The wing collapes into a heap of inert fabric. It is 5:20. Four minutes to spare. One takeoff … One landing.

Pulling out the cell phone… time to call home. “Just wanted you to know I’m down… Great Flight!”

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