Last week, Brendan was able to visit Andrew Solano up at Skyfield Flightworks for 2 days to film this documentary about his school. Skyfield Flightworks is a brand new Aviator Alliance paramotor school based in Ridgeland, South Carolina and this past October was their 4th consecutive class so far!
Andrew has a truly incredible story. When he was 12 years old, he and his family moved to Okinawa Japan for his father's relocation in the Marines. In Okinawa, Andrew discovered paragliding and learned to fly, acquiring his first solo flight at just 13 years old. From there, he started building ultralights as a teenager and then joined the Marine Corps and became an airframe and hydraulics mechanic, working on the Harrier and F-35 during his 20 year career. After recently retiring from the Marine Corps, his wife Christan helped convince him to start Skyfield Flightworks and begin training people how to fly.
Andrew visited us down at Aviator in Lake Wales, Florida and apprenticed with us for 4 months, learning the ins and outs of our training system so that he could employ it in his own school. He then went on to learn from the venerable Eric Dufour at Paratour in Palm Bay, Florida. In addition, the exceptional Jon Eisele joined Skyfield as an instructor and consultant. Jon teaches here at Aviator as well as many other Alliance schools around the country, and he's been helping Andrew perfect his teaching as he literally gets this business off the ground (pun intended).
Andrew and his wife Christan are a total power couple. Christan handles all the business management and is the primary contact for students looking to schedule a class. They have an amazing facility at Ridgeland airport where they teach ground school. They're in a huge hangar with couches, a refrigerator, a big television, and tons of floor space for laying out wings. The airport is also currently getting a new runway built so the area will be exponentially expanding in the next couple of months, giving even more space for towing, kiting, launching, and landing!
We're so excited to have Skyfield Flightworks join us and we can't wait to see all the incredible pilots they create! If you wish to learn more about Andrew and Skyfield Flightworks, please visit their website at www.skyfieldflightworks.com.
The Ozone Roadster 3 is here! Okay, well it's been here for a few months now, but we took our time testing it out and finally released our official review of it on YouTube and Facebook! The Roadster line has been around for years and it's always unique and interesting when they come out with a new iteration. At first we expected it would be a slight improvement on the 2, but we were really blown away by it's enhanced performance. The 3 is a complete redesign. It still has the heavier fabric that differentiates it from the light weight Spyder, but Ozone made a lot of great changes to improve its characteristics.
The first thing you'll notice is that the wing is already much easier to launch than the 2. It also still has the shark nose feature and it still has the EN-B safety rating that you'd want in a glider that you're going to grow with. We did a bunch of frontal collapses on it to see how it responds, and it snaps back to full inflation with very little pilot intervention.
Having such speed, trim range and tip steering while still maintaining EN-B level stability are just a few of the reasons this wing is such a joy to fly! Ozone really tweaked the handling on this glider to make it a lot more fun. You can really rip some turns on it if you wanted to. As a beginner pilot transitioning from something like the Ozone Mojo Pwr, you'll find that the Roadster 3 is much more responsive to your inputs especially as you begin to incorporate the tip steering. You'll find you can really grow into this glider and we feel this is the type of wing that you could fly for the rest of your life and truly never get bored.
Obviously color ways are very objective, but we wanted to comment on how much we love the standard color ways that Ozone offers for this glider. We've gotten a lot of compliments as well on the blue/yellow/purple 22m and 24m we've been flying.
Being only a few months old, The Roadster 3 incorporates the absolute latest technology that exists in the world of paragliders. It also has some really high-end features that you'd normally only see in a more advanced wing. We really appreciate the attention to detail that Ozone put into this design and we are really excited for you all to try one out! If you have any questions about it or would like to order one, give us a call!
We've shared videos and blogs about this exceptional chassis before, but it's been about two years since we've mentioned it, and we felt it needed some love. Here's a brand new video with Eric's thoughts on the Nitro XL!
The Delta's Crazy Cousin...this motor / frame combo is INCREDIBLE.
Swinging the industries first ever 150cm prop, the Nitro XL takes the standard Nitro revs down from 7,800rpm to just 6,100rpm...but while a reduction in revs may not initially sound like a good thing, it actually changes the performance MASSIVELY for the better.
The overall thrust of the unit is up by a large margin (we don't have a thrust sled yet, but our butt-ometer is showing us an absolutely INCREDIBLE increase in climb rates). Additionally, fuel consumption, vibration, and noise are all drastically reduced.
The Delta XL stands a massive 5'4" tall (162.56cm) and astounds all who see it...
Although it's size is massive, we've discovered that it still handles power forwards with ease, in fact, we have yet to fail a launch with it. There IS a bit more friction on the lines as they're being pulled across the cage, but the feeling is inconsequential and something that you'll get used to.
Reverses are easy as well, though with the Delta's forward leaning angle you do need to take care not to rub the lines too heavily on the top of the looming cage.
In addition, the strength of the cage is exceptional. I've had no issue with full power forwards even in moderate wind or with larger wings. Overall the entire unit is extremely well balanced and has completely taken my heart.
Though it's larger than any other motor out there, this cage's unique combination of balance, weight shift, thrust, and controllability is second to none.
If you'd like more information or to special order your own Delta XL check out our shopping site, or Contact Us any time.
Thank you for reading as always!
Ed, Billy, Allan, Eric, Beau and Rodney all took to the skies this September. Six new Paramotor pilots have joined the community! It's always an amazing feeling to see new students walk into our shop having sometimes never even seen a paramotor in person, and within 5 days they are flying solo. We are always just as excited as they are to see them complete their journey.
This short documentary showcases our students from their perspective. They explain what it's like learning to fly paramotors from ground school, to kiting for the first time, the motor simulation, towing, and of course their first solo flights. For anyone interested in what our training program is like, this video is a little peephole into our world.
The days are intense; 12 hours long, beginning with kiting practice at sunrise, ground school all day, and then more field work in the evening. We cover weather, federal aviation regulations, safety, maintenance, airspace, and so much more. It's hard work, but the gratification that comes with ultimate success makes it all worth it. It takes a lot of patience and practice, but eventually it will click. One of the biggest lessons the students learned this week was to just shut their brain off and listen to the instructors' guidance on the radio. "Hit the I-believe button", as our instructor Jon would say!
Overall, the growth that we saw in each and every student this month was awe-inspiring. This sport truly does change lives, but not just because it gives us all a new hobby. We firmly believe paramotoring makes us all better people. We constantly practice valuable skills like patience, diligence, and humility. Our perspective on life changes. We make new friends and new family. We make new memories that we'll cherish forever. THAT is why we love what we do so much. Paramotoring is so much more than just flying and six more people discovered that this month.
We just released a video that's been highly requested for a while. A lot of people have wanted to see how the 2BSure Powerfloat is properly installed onto a paramotor. Luckily, this is a very simple process and it only takes two minutes. In a nutshell, the powerfloats have five straps for attachment points. The three in the middle are velcro and the top and bottom have buckles.
There are two places you can attach the powerfloats: either on the shoulder straps, or directly onto the frame against the side of the harness. Attaching them to the shoulder straps might be a little more uncomfortable, but it allows the power floats to be as close to your body and to ride as high as possible, keeping your head above water in the event you go in the water. In the end, the location of your powerfloat is mostly up to preference. Just make sure you put them on the proper side so that they open outward to the sides instead of toward you. Also consider tucking in the red pull toggle on the bottom to prevent accidental inflation. The powerfloats will automatically inflate when they contact water and you don't want them accidentally going off. However, if you know you will be flying over a large body of water, it's a good idea to keep the red toggles exposed so in the case of a motor out, you can pre-inflate the floats before you go in the water.
Drowning is the number one cause of death in this sport, which is why we highly recommend that you install power floats onto your motor. Paramotoring is as safe as you make it, and with these devices you can fly over water with much more confidence and security. They can be purchased at our online store here:
Paradigm Aerobatics' final airshow of the 2018 season took place in Owensboro, Kentucky, an up-and-coming little town about 30 miles from Evansville, Indiana where we performed last year along the same stretch of the Ohio River. What a great town to finish out the season! Owensboro had one of the best crowds we've ever experienced, and their enthusiasm and cheering during the performance rivaled the feeling of Oshkosh.
Travis, Kyle and Brendan arrived on Wednesday afternoon and spent the day scouting locations for the launch and landing of Saturday's riverfront show. We ultimately found a field right by some spectator seating that allowed us to take off and land right next to the crowd which is always a treat for us!
On Thursday night, everyone from the team arrived at a local field to practice the show. We were also able to give the local media a tandem flight! Ethan Martin rocked the tandem as always and the rest of the guys put on a great show for the camera.
Friday morning, the team visited the Owensboro Innovation Academy to talk to the students about our sport and explain some of the STEM applications of the motor and paraglider. In the past, we've only visited younger students, but this time was special for us because the high-school level students were able to understand and appreciate the science of powered paragliding on a much deeper level. We were impressed by their great questions, and we loved their enthusiasm!
That night, we put on a beautiful sunset performance at the Owensboro airport and everything went off without a hitch! The weather was perfect, and the crowd was amazing!
On Saturday, we had an afternoon show as the opening act for The Blue Angels. Luckily we were able to perform, but the wind was pretty choppy so David couldn't safely perform infinite tumbles and the photo pass stack was quite challenging to hold. In the end, we still had an incredible show that the crowd loved while still remaining safe and smooth.
We were so thrilled to be in Owensboro for the airshow and to open for The Blue Angels. It was a spectacular event and a wonderful way to end the airshow season! The Paradigm Aerobatic team will be training hard in the off-season and preparing to come back next year better than ever!
Two weeks ago the Indy Air Hogs Fly-In was cancelled due to inclement weather, but luckily that didn't stop us from flying! Mr. Hodges was gracious enough to allow a bunch of pilots to fly into the Hodges private airfield in Americus, Georgia to spend the weekend. For those that haven't been there, this field is like a putting green that stretches for hundreds of yards. The grass is kept to absolute perfection and it makes take-offs and landings feel like a dream. It's a paramotor pilot's paradise (alliteration intended). We were super excited to get to fly there again after flying there back in May for the Bad Apples Fly-In, only this time was different since it was so last minute the skies were much less packed.
While Travis, Kyle and Brendan were in Georgia, Eric was in Alaska with his brother Joseph and father Bob. They spent 4 days fishing, riding ATV's, flying, and exploring the countryside. Eric captured some beautiful footage of his trip and was able to share some pretty spectacular moments with us!
At Aviator, we always say flying paramotors is best when you have someone to share it with, and we believe life is the same as well. In this video, we all enjoyed sharing life with family and friends. We hope this video inspires you to enjoy life and share it with those that you care about as well!
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A week ago we shared our first Air Conception paramotor maintenance video on YouTube. We've been wanting to do these types of videos for a while and we were very pleased with the positive response to it. For those of you that were wondering- yes, we'll be doing an ongoing series for Air Conception paramotor maintenance which will feature short tips and tricks as well as more in-depth fixes of motors that get sent to us for repair. We think it will be a great education tool for pilots of any skill level, and if anything, these videos will hopefully be entertaining to watch!
In this first video, Kyle goes over the top 10 things you should routinely check every 5 to 10 hours to keep your motor working well and under warranty. Most of these should already be in your daily preflight and post flight checks, but this video breaks down each aspect in great detail while adding further explanation and extra things to check on. Kyle covers how to maintain the exhaust bolts, cylinder bolts, spark plug, belt tension, rubber exhaust bushings, carb screws, primer system, harness straps and the swing arm.
The great thing about this entire maintenance procedure is it only requires a few screwdrivers and wrenches and it should only take a few minutes each time you do it. We've found from experience that properly taking care of your motor using this method greatly reduces issues in the long-run, keeping you in the air longer, and keeping you safer as a result!
Even if you feel very comfortable with your own motor maintenance, it never hurts to get a refresher. Definitely check this video out and let us know what you think!
We are very excited to release a brand new product that we've been developing for the last 18 months! Designed to offer pilots an extra hour of flying bliss in the BEST air of the day, the NORTHSTAR strobe features 5 high intensity LED's powered by an 18650 lipo cell which provides up to 5 hours of blinding strobing action between recharges.
Our goal with the NORTHSTAR was to offer paramount visibility, ease of use and mountability for paramotor pilots worldwide. This is why the NORTHSTAR has a sleek design with single button operation and multiple mounting options specifically tailored with paramotor gear in mind. The two photos below are from our early design process with Flitetest. We were originally going for a mohawk shape for helmets, but eventually settled on something that would be more universally mountable.
The final prototype was developed with the help of Strix and Alex Huff. The picture below is one of the final prototypes they sent us. We couldn't be more thrilled with the end result. The NORTHSTAR achieves everything we originally set out to accomplish, and we think it will really make a difference to paramotor pilots everywhere.
Each NORTHSTAR includes three different mounting systems.
As with anything you mount, please ensure it is not a snag hazard and is properly secured to not go through your prop. We hope this strobe helps you enjoy flying more than ever and helps increase your visibility and safety.
**IMPORTANT NOTE*** We anticipate this Strobe to begin shipping to our clients approx. September 21st.
You can order the NORTHSTAR in our webstore under PPG Accessories.
Back in July, our paramotor aerobatic team had the awesome opportunity to perform at the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow as the opener to our Summer 2018 lineup. We documented the entire adventure with the help of our talented intern Micah Stevens.
The first day started with scouting out launch sites for the paramotor show. Eric and Travis got themselves lost on small back roads, making 16-point turns navigating old-town until they finally found a parking spot and got to walk the arch, longingly imagining what it would be like to fly straight through it! By the end of the day, the team was able to get in a practice run in front of the Gateway Arch while backlit by an impressive sunset just an hour after a thunder storm cleared from the skies. Kyle described the flight as unreal once you got over the fear of being directly above the fast-moving St. Louis River!
Day two was even better than the first and the weather couldn't have been more perfect for our airshow. As you can see in the pilot's helmet cam footage, we had a spectacular view from the sky. There was something truly magical about this performance. Maybe it was the presence of the Gateway Arch itself, or the way the sunset reflected off the water, or the stark contrast of our graceful paragliders against the pure blue sky. Combine all that with the spectacular crowd of 1.5 million people -- yes MILLION -- and you'll start to grasp what an incredible experience it was. Travis described it as the most satisfying show we've ever done.
The cherry on top of the whole weekend was getting to spend some quality team-bonding time with a relaxing trip to the St. Louis City Museum. We goofed around on all the interactive exhibits and the inner child came out in all of us! We do have some of the youngest airshow pilots in the industry after all!
Overall we couldn't have been more proud of every individual on the Paradigm Aerobatics team, and we can't wait to do it all again next year!
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