From R/C to PPG
Last week I took a week vacation to head on down to Cape Coral, FL at PlanetPPG.com for powered paragliding training. Ever since I got into R/C, I've always dreamed about actually flying in the air. My dream was finally realized! Here's how it all went down: Also check out the video
Monday - Met my instructor Paul Czarnecki at the Pine Island Airport a 7:30am. The weather was calm so we immediately went up for a tandem flight. I've flown in small aircraft before, but this was different. There was nothing in the way, and you could see everything all around you. It was awesome!!! After that we hit the books and went over the training syllabus. I had a pretty good understanding from doing research and years and years in the R/C hobby. I took the PPG1 written test and passed.
Tuesday - We did some ground handling and practiced launching and kiting the wing. The weather got too windy and we called it a day.
Wednesday - Did some more kiting, but this time I had the engine on my back. It was hard work and got winded pretty quickly. I was ready to solo, but the alas the winds had no mercy. So we went over more bookwork and I took and passed the PPG2 test.
Thursday - This was it... The day had finally come. I was ready and the weather was perfect. I put on my gear and Paul was in my ear over the radio with his calm smooth voice. He gave me the go ahead and launch and before I knew it I was up and flying.... on my own... for the first time!!!!! It was scary and awesome and exciting all at the same time. I made some turns and then Paul walked me though the final approach, flare, and landing. I did it!!! We got in 3 more flights that morning before the thermals started to pop. I was filled with adrenaline for what seamed like the rest of the day.
Friday - More good weather. I got in 5 more flights including 2 reverse launches where you stand facing the wing pull it up overhead, turn and then off you go.
Saturday - My last day. I got in 3 quick flights and took my spot landing test and passed. The 4th flight that morning we did a cross country trip up to the north side of Pine Island. It was a great view and fun to go explore some. My Mom and her husband came down from Ocala to visit and watch me fly. We took a long lunch break and then returned for more great weather and flying in the afternoon. There was lot of PPG pilots out and some of them are R/C pilots too. I got in one last flight that evening and went to explore some of the west side of the island. My arms were tired from all the training so I turned around and came in to land after a half hour or so.
Many Thanks to Paul at http://www.PlanetPPG.com I could not have done it with out him. If you looking to fly, this is the place to get your training. Very professional and safe instruction, not to mention a great bunch of guys to make friends with.
So if your in the Nashville area and see a paraglider flying, it may very well be me up there.