Flying with Friends
I learned to fly with bumps, I would not know a flight without bumps here in the Rocky Mountains. by Stanomatic
Flying with friends and sharing the experience.
Flying with friends have many benefits and one caution. I remember seeing many post on Facebook from a guy in Colorado Springs named David Proctor. From my observation David flew a lot and that was the person I wanted to fly with to hopefully show me the ropes and get a lot of air time. I was correct, David was able to get me connected on Telegram to meet other pilots. He was also instrumental in helping me take off from Meadow Lake Airport paramotor field for the first time.
I met David September 13th, 2022 and also John Rychener at Meadow Lake Airport. The flight was my first solo flight without my instructor Tom Pitchford. My first 23 flights I took off for the most part on the first attempt. I don't know what was going on that morning but I could not launch. I guess I lost my security blanket of my instructor. Or, the elevation at Meadow lake was 7000' above mean sea level (AMSL). What ever the case, the experience was very frustrating. David took off flying and I was on the ground making attempt after attempt trying to launch.
David returned from a good morning flight and I was on attempt number five. John's engine would not shut off so I grabbed his boot on his spark plug and pulled it to kill the engine. I accidentally pulled the boot off his spark plug wire. Opps! Luckily, John was chill about it and fixed it later that week. John had a few issues with his engine but finally worked them out.
David was kind enough to help me with my launches. Attempt number five failed and David discussed what he saw was wrong. Finally, launch six went fair as I was in the air. David gave me the thumbs up as I was running like my ass was on fire and I lifted off! All mental for me. I really appreciate his help and interest in having me launch at Meadow Lake. There was another time John was helping me at Sandstone Lz. The problem that day was I had bought mirrors that attached to my paramotor frame so I can tell how much gas I have in my tanks. My wing lines kept snagging on the mirrors and threw off my rythm. John could tell I had a very frustrated morning. He came over and gave me a hug. Unexpected but very welcomed. I went home and pulled my mirrors off and taped my joining frame for a smooth line over. The next time out flying, I launched on the first attempt.
I settled back into my training roots and have had many first launches since then. Where flying with friends really count is when you meet up and we discuss the landing zone, terrain and weather. For example, we met at Greenland Lz and I was warming my engine up to get ready to launch. David walked over and asked what am I doing? (More like what in the hell are you doing) I replied, getting ready. He looks over at the windsock that was possessed by Satan and says the wind doesn't look good yet. I completely respect a safe judgment call and cooled my heels. Twenty minutes later we were all up in the air based on our collective decision that the time was right.
Discussing with your friends where your keys are on your vehicle so they can come pick you up if you have an engine out is a great idea. For safety reasons, just knowing where your friends are is comforting. They are watching you and vice versa. On that note, that is the one caution, know where your friends are in the air. As it turns out, I like altitude so they usually know I am above them and they are below me. At the end of the day, keep your head on a swivel. The comrade experience after the flight is always a pleasure and discussing your flight experience is always a great time.
It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill. by Wilbur Wright