‘Stun­ning vis­tas’ for Ti­maru’s paramo­tor pilots

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - ES­THER ASHBY-COVENTRY

You can see Glenn Doggett on a calm day at a dis­tance as he flies around the skies above Ti­maru on his paramo­tor.

With a ram wing that looks like a canopy and a 120cc en­gine, he dan­gles from a har­ness and takes in the view from his cruis­ing alti­tude of about 3280 me­tres.

‘‘The vis­tas are stun­ning... I can see most of Can­ter­bury. It looks like a quilt and changes as the sea­sons change,’’ he said.

His in­ter­est in avi­a­tion started about 20 years ago, when he learnt to glide.

The former man­ager has been paraglid­ing (no en­gine) and paramo­tor­ing for about the last four years.

He ex­plained that the 2-stroke, paramo­tor fan helps push pilots for­ward as they run about 20 me­tres along the ground into the wind, to get lift.

The ram wing is open along the lead­ing edge and sealed at the back. The air at the front causes pres­sure which forms an aero­foil, and forces it to lift.

‘‘There are no big Gs (G-forces) or huge ac­cel­er­a­tion.’’

‘‘Some peo­ple think you can just buy the equip­ment and start fly­ing, but no.’’

At this time of year Doggett will fly for about 30 min­utes or an hour, or un­til he gets cold or needs a toi­let stop, al­ways keep­ing an eye out for weather changes. When the weather is warmer, he stays in the air longer. His mo­tor’s petrol tank would last three hours, he said.

For fly­ing com­pe­ti­tions, some pilots used catheters or nap­pies so they could stay in the air longer, Doggett said.

He would not fly in a north­wester in Ti­maru as it was un­pre­dictable and could blow a pilot out to sea. An un­ex­pected gust could col­lapse the ram wing.

If he is trav­el­ling across coun­try, Doggett some­times car­ries a re­serve parachute but said he had never had to use it yet.

He and mate and fel­low flyer Andy Ross have free-flown (paraglided) off cliffs at Jack’s Point, Mt Studholme and from the White Horse in Wai­mate. Doggett has also flown in Thai­land.

The pair are mem­bers of the Can­ter­bury Hang Glid­ing and Paraglid­ing Club and both have un­der­gone ex­ams and train­ing for their avi­a­tion li­cences through the club. The New Zealand as­so­ci­a­tion comes un­der the um­brella of the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of New Zealand.

‘‘Some peo­ple think you can just buy the equip­ment and start fly­ing, but no.’’

The train­ing in­cluded learn­ing about weather, tech­nique and avi­a­tion law, as well as a prac­ti­cal com­po­nent.

His en­gine, which weighs 25kg, and his ram wing un­dergo an an­nual war­rant of fit­ness.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.