Chapter 20 competition-related information.
After flying and filming Eric Dufour on a pylon-based cloverleafs,
I'm even more stoked about competing with them. It's just a cool visual
that makes the flying more about flying and less about finding sticks.
You still have find the center but that's pretty easy given that it's in
the middle. One fact has become clear is that the only way to be truly
competitive in these competitions is to have a reflex wing. Preferably
in a fairly small size for your weight.
April 19: Paratoys may be having a competition in Northern, CA
that counts towards
national standings in April. They're working out the details to see
if that's gonna happen. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it.
Here are the details.
May 07: John Black is having a pylon race at
Beach Blast 2012
and I'll be competing, hopefully flying an 18 meter reflex wing. Ryan
Shaw will be the guy to beat after seeing how well he did at Paratoys.
This event, being on the beach, will likely have more spectators than
anything we've had to date so it's a great opportunity to showcase our
Course layout will likely change as they work out logistics so don't
practice any specific layout, rather work on technique. Practice getting
into out of turns accurately. To be competitive, you'll need to use
speedbar but don't go past your ability. Crashing is worth zero points.
Better to complete the course withOUT speedbar than to crash because you
used it improperly. For example, applying speedbar after the wing has
come forward and unloads, increases the chances of a collapse. Rather
apply it as you start to climb when coming out of the bank.
Endless Footdrag and Competition. This is a great opportunity to
earn USPPA ratings, learn about competition, and put your skills to
work. Ryan Shaw, the currently #1 ranked US pilot will be there and I
will also be competing. Dave Fore is running this one. They're planning
either a Cloverleaf or Japanese Slalom as the main event. This is a
USPPA event that counts towards your national standing.
June 14: Quincy Clinic & Competition. Jeff Steinkamp and
Michael Mixer are putting this one with blessings from the City. We'll
have pylons set up for the Cloverleaf and I will be offering a clinic
that covers advanced flying topics and competition techniques. It will
only be run if there is a minimum number of pilots and refunds will be
given if it is not run due to insufficient registrations. I will also be
competing in this event that counts towards your national standing.
Becoming an FAI / NAA Observer
Thanks to those who have signed up but we need more! Can you help?
We're further streamlining the process so that it takes even less
time to accomplish. One note: for all the documents that apply to
Microlights (which includes paramotors), click on "Sporting
Code Section 10: Microlights" then select the desired document. This
is the best place to look because it is the official source (FAI) and it
has all the rules annexes (like Annex 6 on GPS's).
The knowledge, along with a test, has been summarized
document from United States Ultralight
Association (USUA). Once you get your observer rating, it's good for
life although you must review the current rules before actually
acting as an observer for a record attempt.
Here is the process for becoming an observer:
- Join the USUA (about $30/yr). Note that you can do this on the
Application from USUA.org. The USUA operates under authority of
National Aeronautic Association.
- Read the
information summary from USUA.org and take the test. If you've got questions, email me. There's a one-time
fee of $15 paid to USUA.
- Send in or fax the Observer Application and completed test to
the address listed on the form. USUA issues the
David Rogers is another great resource for those who want to either
an become observer or try for a world record.
2012 Paratoys Competition
2011 Dec 24
The next competition is at Paratoys, Feb10 & 11, 2012 (Friday and
Saturday AM). It will be a 1/4 mile south of the normal launch field so
that fly-in operations can continue with pilots staying away from the
competition area. That was Mike Robinson's solution to avoid closing the
field. We appreciate his willingness to clear another area.
going to run it in the new style that is more fun for pilots, news
media, and spectators. Each task will involve a scored launch, precision
task, and spot landing. The pilot immediately walks over to the launch
deck and prepares to launch for the next task. So there are lots more
launches and landings. It's more fun to watch, requires fewer judges, is
more discriminating because there are more tasks (each time a pilot
flies he does two or three scored tasks), and requires MUCH less land
We'll hopefully be doing the new Japanese Slalom which should keep
the action closer to the spectators while reducing risk.
Go here to see
the change -- we're calling it the American Slalom.
Here is a video of the standard
Japanese Slalom. The primary difference is that, instead of turning
AWAY from stick 4,
you turn towards it.
Sign up at
2011 Beach Blast Competition
2011 Apr 17
Sign up now for the Beach Blast comp, there's under two weeks. The
registration is up at
USPPA.org and, as of this writing, there's under two weeks. The
competition is going to be held at a nice sized park near the main beach
flying site but competitors will have this field completely to
Sign up at
2011 Apr 12
Right now, nearly anyone who can
launch a paramotor could set a U.S. record that is
recognized nationally by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) which
is the U.S. body for handling such things. A higher level pilot could
easily set an international record as recognized by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique
Internationale). First, though, we need to
get observers. See Setting
FAI oversees NAA which oversees USUA for the purpose
Competition in the U.S.
Competition is enjoying a resurgence
in the U.S. largely owing to the contribution of a few pilots willing to
host events. Mike Robinson of Paratoys, John Black of Freedom Flight
Center, and Britton Shaw of Endless Foot Drag fame. These folks have
provided space and organized events that give competitors a chance to
try out their skills. Thanks to the retirement of Eric Dufour, the rest
of us have a chance.
Competition hasn't taken off in
the U.S. like it has elsewhere, probably due to population density and the shear lack of numbers. England,
for example, which has a thriving comp circuit, packs 60 million folks into a space smaller than Texas. Their 1000 or
so pilots can all DRIVE to competitions. That's a big deal. In our
country we have to go through the MUCH larger hassle of shipping and
flying to reach a competition.
And when we do field a competition it doesn't include the cross
country tasks that make up 30% of FAI events. Mostly that's because our
latest competitions have been very brief and in conjunction with large
fly-ins. Up until 2011, our largest participation was 15 pilots the 2003 Parastars.
Then in 2011 we had a surge of interest with 24 pilots participating in
the Feb Salton Sea Paratoys competition. That was fun!