Flying my powered parachute has always been a challenge, but a church steeple?
I’ve been flying My Powered Parachute for over 12 years and each time it’s exhilarating as I would constantly try a new flying technique. Once I had attempted to spiral straight down as you see test pilots do in air shows. Never could do it, but most of the other tricks i would finally get to do, maybe not perfectly, but doing it was the challenge. I’m showing you this so you can experience just what it feels like to fly a “PP”.
As you can see it’s just a pleasant way to see everything below you. What was always very special was to fly near and around different church steeples in every area I would fly in. One time in Arizona, I was flying and came across more than 20 hot air ballons. As I passed each, They would wave. They could only go where the wind took them, but I could fly near and around each, say hello and go onto the next. Wow, what an experience. As the wind took them, I couldn’t stay with them long, as i had to stay close to me Motorhome because I had a circular limit on how far I could go with the gas I had and more importantly the wind conditions. I’d like to mention here that the only control that could overcome my flying where I would want to go is the wind. Any thing over 7 miles per hour meant that I was going the direction of the wind, so it was always import to take that into consideration when flying, especially when flying over water. Rivers always have a wind in the direction of the water flow, and the ocean shore was always a challenge cause the wind changed drastically at different times. So, you always knew, when your over water, to be very careful, cause a powered parachute without gas didn’t float but rather went straight down to the bottom non stop with you strapped in it!
One day when waiting for the wind to calm, which it did every morning a 6AM, I was finally able to take off and make a circle around our home below, but the wind was tricky, it swirled my plane around and was pushing me backwards over a highway below and then continuing to head me in a direction I knew well, directly at the church spire I have flown around many time. However this time I had no control of where I was going and it seems I was heading directly for the point of the spire. OH OH!!! What to do? Hey, ding dong, try to spiral down! So, I pulled down as hard as I could on the parachute lineswith my right arm forcing me to spiral down clockwise with my eyes on the up and comeing spire. Harder, harder and finally the shoot stopped and spiraled straight down. Taking my eyes off the spire and looking to see where I was headed, I was shocked to see a gas station below me. Which one was empty with no car getting gas on the left side of pumps. I headed there and came in for a one point landing, with the shute luckily landing along side of a pump. Whew! double whew!! Everyone at the station looked shocked as I came straight down from the sky. No-one had ever come for gas that way before and then the shoot lowered and covered three cars that were parked. I apologized and gathered up the shoot which is 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. A task in itself, and then have to push my plane over to the side, I immediately called my neighbor Sam, who thought I was nuts to ask for a lift for my powered parachute from our local gas station. He arrived in his pickup and we proceeded to tow my plane with me steering back to our homes, with all the people at the station clapping and laughing. I actually had fun through it all and all in one piece, instead of “Rest in Peace”