Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

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Paragliding in Seeley’s Bay

_MG_0783We are invited to stay another night in a cottage with Rita and Walter. The cottage we had last night is already rented so Rita gave us another, very nice and even bigger cottage. As the next day is cloudy and rainy we decide to write reports and dawdle. Although we did not really do anything time flies.
We are lucky cause weather changed the next day. It’s sunny and hot. Jan directly takes this opportunity to risk his first paragliding flight.

The Parking lot of an abandoned Mall is a perfect place to start, also the wind blown from the right direction.
First of all, we need to get the 20kg heavy engine off the roof what works well.
While I get the camera, Jan takes care of the cage and propeller, mixes the two stroke oil with the fuel and tests the engine without paraglider.
The brand new Paragliding engine -of the company named Fresh Breeze- needs some take-off tests until it gets fuel the first time.
Jan opens the throttle and it looks like he has a lot of fun without the paraglider already.

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I get nervous and ask myself:”Which buckle on the harness needs to be where? Is the oil-fuel mix correct? Did he put the propeller together tight? Is enough fuel in the tank?”
We prepare the paraglider, test the mobile radios, Jan gets ready to start and I get – the longer I need to wait – more nervous.
Unfortunately the wind changed by now and Jan has to wait for a good wind gust.
I am ready with the camera, wait, get more nervous again and ask myself anew if all buckles and leashes are in the position they belong to be…
Then finally: Jan opens the throttle, runs, the paraglider opens up, lifts and Jan runs faster.
Unfortunately, wind comes from the wrong direction, the paraglider collapses and Jan has to abort the take-off. I can hear him curse:”Arg! I knew it! That’s what always happens. Everything again! Oh crap!”

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We prepare the paraglider, Jan arranges the leashes and waits for wind again.

This time the take-off works perfect. Jan raises after several steps and flies. It looks fantastic watching him breeze around but I still have the queasy feeling about it. I can hear the engine for a while but then it is quiet.

We communicate with the mobile radios more or less understandable but I can hear him talking sometimes what means he is still alive 🙂

Some minutes later the first people stop to admire the big bird. A boy is absolutely delighted and wants to wait until Jan lands. 15 minutes later Jan wheels above us again and lands softly on the meadow next to us.

As everything worked well, Jan starts again. This time with the camera. After this flight I can also see the landscape from above as Jan took fantastic pictures.
Jan is happy that the flight was good and tells me that so many people waved to him from the ground.

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Back at Sunny Acres we showed the pics to Rita and Walter who are also delighted to see their property from the air. We met Niko and Anja -friends of Rita and Walter- who live in Kingston what is our next destination. They emigrated from Germany to Canada 10 years ago and we get into a conversation.
Niko flew an ultra-light plane in the past and is very interested in Jans motorized paraglider and equipment. Niko offers us, to park in their driveway as we want to visit Kingston. That’s fantastic!
After we said goodbye to Rita, Walter and Jane, we drove to our new hosts.

An Additon of Jan:
I am nervous. Three years ago, while the asian tour, I also had a complete motorized-paraglider equipment with me which was a waste of time and effort! In these 14 months I only flew two times because of wrong equipment that I decided to take with me. Everybody told me to bring another combination of paraglider and engine but I did not like to listen…
Well, I am persistent. Also on this trip I have the paragliding equipment with me. But I also learned. This time it’s a brand new engine of a company named ‘Fresh Breeze’. Thorix is the name of the new engine which is essentially lighter as the previous one I had. This time I have to fly! Especially because the equipment takes a lot of place in our car.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to test the new paraglider before the Landcruiser got shipped.
Fresh Breeze will soon sell a new “travel engine” – extra compact, extra light and extra small. That would have been ideal for the trip but sadly this engine was not ready yet.

My first take-off fails what is nothing bad and ordinary but makes me nervous. Luckily the second and third take-offs were very well. The engine works easy. I can feel that this engine is less heavy and also the flight itself is more comfortable without sensible torsinal moment.
Thanks to the tricky harness!