Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Powered Paragliding by Rob Part 2 of 3

Sorry this is coming so late, but here you go...
Previously on Part 1: “Powered paragliding isn’t each of these; it’s a piece from each of these. […and next week I’ll explain how]”
And here’s how: First let’s take the roller-coaster. Take off in a powered paraglider is just like that first giant climb on a roller-coaster, heading up above the trees and reaching the very top of the coaster before that first huge drop that is the beginning of most really good coasters. You have a moment to look around as you slowly gain height and take in the wonder of it all. Once above the trees, it’s more like a cable car (you know, the one that takes you from one side of the amusement park to the other over the top of everything), just puttering along, letting you see the sights pass below as you float over, only slightly detached from the reality of it all. This is the real magic of this kind of flying. The feeling that you can turn the world into a model train set that you can explore from all sorts of angles, ( yes you occasionally do get that giggly feeling that you get in a cable car when it crosses the towers that the wires run on). Keep in mind the whole time you’re doing this you’re only going 26 miles an hour, about the same as riding around on a moped or scooter. Now take that giant swing set and think of the swinging motion as you make a turn. The harder you turn, the more you swing out. This is because you are acting as a pendulum under the wing. If you turn gently and slowly you’ll feel almost no swing at all, if you turn quickly and aggressively the swinging motion will be the same. It’s possible under some circumstances to get yourself completely sideways in a really good turn. This can be considered “yanking and cranking”.
So you get the basic idea. You’re busy puttering and around the sky under a parachute with a motor strapped to your back, happily burning about a gallon an hour when you decide that ice cream place you just flew over his calling your name. Conveniently enough it’s located next to a park with a large field as well as having a reasonably sized parking lot. You decide both are plenty large enough to land in, and to head back to see about putting this puppy down. Think of that escalator at the mall now, as you shut off the engine and glide gently down, ending your flight in only five or ten steps, much to the amazement of the little league baseball team that also heard the ice cream place calling its name and arrived only a minute or two before you did. You are now a superhero and world domination is within your grasp, many cool points are awarded... As you land and slow to a stop, you turn, look up, and watching your wing as it collapses, backing away, allowing it to stack neatly in a pile nearby where you’ll collect it in a moment. (Note: nothing ruins superhero status faster than having a parachute fall from the sky draping over you and your equipment making you look like a jellyfish on the beach or THE BLOB from the 1950’s)
Unhook your wing and mushroom it ( pull all the lines together to make a parachute ball), take off your motor, set the two together where you can see them, and go get a peanut buster parfait.

Keep an eye out for Part 3 coming soon!

Today's workout: Arms 'n Abs + 20 minute uphill walk. Not bad.


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