What a fantastic event! Somehow having the proceeds go to a
charity makes it that much more fun. The "Palm
Bay Para Fly-in," as it's officially called, was a fundraiser for
PAL (Police Athletic League), a 501c3 that got cut off from from
municipal funding threatening many programs dedicated to youth
Having the Palm Bay police para pilots was handy since, if anybody
complained, they already knew what was going on. Not that there's anybody out here
to likely to
complain, it's kind of a no-man's land with nary a house in sight. The
sound of screaming dirt bikes and R/C airplanes is common. These guys
were there strictly as volunteers, on their own time, to help their
charity. Plus, they just great guys, what we've come to expect of those
who share our passion.
All the proceeds went to PAL which raised a total of $5200. Nice job,
Great people, great flying, even great food have made it perfect.
Really, if all you do is is give people a flying field and porta pottie,
they'll entertain themselves quite handily. These guys did a lot more
and my hat's off to Scott Adair, Palm Bay Police Captain (and PPG pilot) Mark Renkens,
Don Jordan, Leeta Jordan and others expended enormous time to pull this
This place is square miles of roads grass and scrubs.
A couple PPC's were here. Big yes, but they couldn't hold a candle to
South Florida Mosquito. It wasn't so much the actual little bugger's
size, but the effect they were able to achieve. And lets not leave out
the red ants. Don't forget about these little biting nightmares.
Thankfully it's pretty easy to see the nests but you gotta be lookin.
They hope to do the event again next year with even more activities
during mid-day including seminars. John Black of Beach Blast was here
supporting the organizers which is the type of teamwork is awesome to
Speaking of Beach Blast,
be sure to register early. Also, make sure to sign up for the
There are going to be two divisions, one for newer pilots and another
for those have competed before. A qualifier may also be used to
determine where pilots fit. It ought to be a blast. I've registered and
am looking forward to seeing some old hardened hands along with some new
Pylon Cloverleaf Filming
Eric Dufour setup his four pylons so I could film him flying around
them with the helmet camera. Unfortunately it was too bumpy for the
shots to be really good but some of it did look really cool. The sidebar
picture in the upper right is a frame grab that shows Eric, one Pylon
and the launch area. Eric is mastering the use of speedbar in the task
which is improving his already-winning speeds.
It was interesting to see what happened with me on my Pluto 18 and
him on his GTR 20. With the huge speed difference I had no prayer of
keeping up. Plus, I'm concentrating on framing and that makes it harder
yet. So after a few runs, I motioned for him to land so we could trade
wings. Wow. Now the problem was overrunning. I've just got to get to the
point where I can have the trims halfway out and use speedbar while
recording or accept that I won't be able to exactly follow a pilot
around the thing. It's a definite learning curve. If the weather
cooperates we'll try it again this morning (Sunday) but, with clouds
overhead, the lighting will be ugly so I don't have high hopes for for
the look of what I get but hopefully will improve on the content.
One observation is that this new breed of reflex wings is indeed
quite a bit easier to launch. I'll have a review of the GTR and Hadron
up hopefully soon.
Also, for anyone who can make it, Paratoys in California is setting
up a cloverleaf for an unofficial competition at their
April Ranch Fly-In. Plus it's just a gorgeous place to fly.
There was mercifully minimal carnage. In fact, the only thing I saw
was a hungry prop that snacked on a pilot's throttle, ripping it out of
the carburetor. He was right over the flying area and did a nice job
landing between and beyond the motorhome areas. There were plenty of
options for a quartering tailwind landing but he chose an upwind landing
in a more confined area. It was a good choice and he executed it well.
That's good to see since he was a fairly new pilot.
I don't know who did it but there was an enormous fire pit there for
evening gathering. Then on Sunday afternoon, they cleared it all away
when everyone was essentially gone. Saturday afternoon saw two model
rockets launch that were quite impressive.
Tim and I got there on Friday afternoon and it was a bit breezy but
gorgeous and most everyone who wanted to partook. I'm told Friday
morning was the berries and I'm not surprised since I got a great
flight, in perfectly calm conditions, up at Christmas. Saturday dawned
nice but devolved into a minor blowfest within a few hours. It was still
flyable throughout the day as long with 4's on the bump scale. I was
mostly trying out the Dudek Hadron, getting it dialed in and doing some
steep maneuvering up high to gain a feel for it. I did get my speed test
done and, along with the Paramania GTR, should have it posted within a
day or so. I have other reviews that need to go up but this has been
requested by a number of pilots specifically.
Sunday opened a fairly small window of windy winging. Eric and I set
up the pylons and we tried to do some filming. That was tough and I
don't hold up much hope for the footage to be very good. Too bad because
it's tough to get all that together--a pilot as good as Eric and all the
pylons set up and me with my helmet cam setup. We'll see; I'm sure there
will be a very few short pieces of interesting stuff.
After most people had left the wind continued to build. Don Jordan
was working with a student who was kiting until it got too windy. That
turned out to be great opportunity to do some trailer climbing in spite
of nasty bumpy conditions. It was still fun and I climbed the trailer
several times. Just a paraglider and the wind -- gotta love it!