|The story of my first flight...
by Frank H. Weeden
I had my first flight in a PPC last Thursday!
It was WONDERFUL!!! I got a call from Larry Breece
of Eagles-Wing. He builds and services the "Scout,"
less than a half hour from my home. He said that
the weather looked good, and asked if I wanted to go
for a ride. Boy, did I ever! My wife and I drove down
to his place, and from there, we followed him to the
Tullahoma airport. The wind was variable, but fairly
calm, as we pulled the Scout off of the trailer and
Larry set up the windsock. We pulled it away from the
cars and a good distance into the field, and Larry went
over the setup and layout of the wing with me. Larry got
started the engine and then put his helmet on and buckled
himself in. With a blast of power, the chute was up and
overhead, and it looked magnificent! With another burst
of power, he was rolling and then lifted off. After a few
circles, I was getting antsy to try it! My wife was videotaping
everything, and at last, Larry landed. We set the Scout up
again and Larry gave me some final instructions. He was also
in constant contact with me via radio.
I got strapped in, put on my helmet, started the engine,
and then waited for the wind to die down. With Larry's
O.K., I rolled the throttle forward all the way and my chute
came up. I backed off the throttle just a little, to give
the chute time to inflate fully, and then, I gradually gave
more and more until I started to roll and pick up speed.
Almost unexpectedly, I left the ground smoothly, and voila:
I was flying! It was great.... I kept the throttle all the
way forward and continued climbing until I was at about
a thousand feet. Larry guided me around and around, calling
out different altitudes and different directions. With his
constant, patient coaching, I did a few touch-and-go's.
I flew around for about 25 minutes, freezing my butt off in
the process, and my quadriceps on both legs were killing me
from the steering. On the ground, the winds had been calm,
but a thousand feet up, they shoved me around pretty good.
Finally, it was time to land, and I backed off the throttle
until I was only about three feet off the ground, then kicked
both of my feet forward, stalling the wing, and as soon as I
touched down, I killed the engine. I couldnt' believe how
soft and smooth the landing was! I didn't even feel it!
I was supposed to land into the head-wind, but the winds
kept on shifting, and when everything was shut down, the
chute came drifting forward and covered my head! Larry
called out cheerfully, that I was "covered in glory."
Laughing, eyes shining, (and slightly shivering!) I unharnessed
and dismounted the plane.
By then, it was time to retrieve the chute bag and line-socks,
and get the craft on the trailer. Within the next three weeks,
I will be a proud owner of a Scout, and Larry Breece is one of
the most fabulous, sincere, honest, and most generous people I
have ever met in my entire life.
Larry, if you are reading this: THANK YOU!
Frank H. Weeden
Shelbyville, TN, USA