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Drones vs PPG


Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2018
South East, UK
Went out for 3 flights today, all at different locations, and having scouted the area and even done a perimeter walk I was getting all set up for the last flight of the night to catch the last of the sun on the longest day of the year here in the UK, when suddenly I heard what sounded like a 2-stroke engine firing up, and before I I had time to think to myself 'WTF is that?', a powered paraglider launched in the field next to mine, and only about 50 meters from my left !! '****' I thought - no flyings for me then until he is WELL out of the way !

But it turned out he was only gonna be in the sky for 7 minutes, and landed in that same field, just before I found the way into it and walked determinedly in his direction ! He seemed keen to get to his car before I reached him, but alas, he failed ! :)

And so followed a very interesting conversation, which took in everything from the comparative rules for those guys vs for us (a discrepancy so ludicrous as to beggar belief), his attitude towards drones being in the air at the same time as him, and how close works for him, and he showed me some incredible apps that were showing him wind speed in real time at ALL the levels at once, AND what the thermals were up to - it was fascinating.

There was something of the Ridley Scott about the man - he came across very as professional and knowledgeable, and was kind enough to listen to me bombard him with a relentless array of questions about the thing he is doing that I so badly want to do, but am not sure I trust myself not to die doing...

But anyway, of all the encounters we typically get in the field, I thought it would be good to share a positive one - what a delight to chat to and compare notes with a different kind of flyer !


A man, and his PPG, earlier.
I'll go through the video in detail tomorrow, and take notes ! but I got so much flight vid tonight it has taken me all night to go through that, so gonna get some sleep first !
"Dumb ways to die" But go for it, looks like a great hobby. We had a local guy flying his ultra light at age 75. Had a few "forced landings" even at that age.
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"Dumb ways to die" But go for it, looks like a great hobby. We had a local guy flying his ultra light at age 75. Had a few "forced landings" even at that age.
It's mainly lack of confidence that stops me, and because droning pretty much scratches the aerial itch for me so far. Not completely, but... enough for now. I know it's not quite the same, but I have enough occasions where I forget to do or check something in relation to my hobbies (you know, forgetting an ND filter or similar) and that's fine when my life doesn't depend on it ! Not sure I trust myself 100% of the time when it does !

And yet I should do PG fairly soon while my limbs still work and I can still stand mostly upright ! :)

As for dumb ways to die - well I've never been sure why dying in an epic flying accident is worse than watching some horrible ailment come at you, and try for years to wipe you out before it eventually succeeds ! And the view will probably be great on the way down, it won't have time to hurt much, and in the terror that encapsulates your last 30 seconds of life you are guaranteed to feel more 'alive' than you ever have before ! If you can manage not to land on anyone as you exit this life, I'd say there are a LOT worse ways to go than that ! ;)
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If you don't mind me asking, what were the wind speed and thermals apps?
The main one was this...

Free on desktop in advance of flight and 35 quid a year to have mobile, but we wouldn't need that so much.
Very much optimized for paragliders though; the minimum scaling on their charts is 2000 (doesn't say ft or meters!) so all the info we would need is in the bottom inch of the chart, but it still could have its uses.

For example, I can see below that if I go out flying tonight at 7 pm or so tonight my M4P will be gloriously happy at ground level, slightly stressed at 50 ft, and although the wind at my altitude max isn't past my maximum speed in sport mode, it's much more than I want to be playing about in with Cine mode for example, so I will be staying under 150 ft and making sure I have nice wind-sheltered groves to retreat to if it all gets a bit hairy !

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While in the Army in 62 I had an opportunity to go to rotary wing pilot training. I turned it down of several reasons. Might have been a good thing, as most of those guys went to Laos and didn't come back!
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