31 December, 2011

New year party

The pic is geotagged, as most of my pics are. 2011 is closing off in styl. A bit warm outside but there are aircons in the house. Bye,bye everybody and see you in 2012. A new year a new story.

Last barbecue for the year.

Half of Humansdorp SAPS Court Services Unit.

For the last working day of 2011, my colleagues and I decided to take it easy work-wise. We worked a bit  more during the week and on Friday we call it a day by 11:00! After that, I quickly made a fire and we got to some serious stuff. To you all - have a prosperous new year and see u in 2012 :)

18 December, 2011

Our local Airfield is underwater.

2011-12-17 Airfield Under Water
For almost 6 months now the Paradise Beach airfield has a huge problem. During August 2011 we had good rains. At first people were happy but when flooding became a issue, the mood changed quickly. Worst of all areas was Paradise Beach. There, a huge dune of about 30-40m high and 300-500 meter wide, has cutoff the low lying inland. Therefore, every time it rains more then normal, the rain water is stuck.  Unfortunately the local airfield is regularly submerged. Depending on the amount of water, it can take up to a year before it dries out and by that time the following rainy season is here. I am fortunate though. Very fortunate Open-mouthed smile I don’t need an airfield at all. A car park will do. I fly a paramotor Winking smile
The pic I took hastily with my cell phone (a oldish Nokia N8) while paramotoring up and down the coast. If you are interested, there is a short youtube video. However, the quality is not that good. My helmet handy-cam is rather "skinny". Mind you, it easily fits in a standard sized match box with room to spare.

11 December, 2011

South of South Africa.

This morning a old buddy of mine ask me to come visit him at his vacation house. I know him for years but somehow forgot about that place. He fixed it nicely and from now on it will be put to 'good use'.

10 December, 2011

Another amazing Paramotor flight.

This morning the wind was a bit erratic and I was late too. Usually I don't bother with flying if I am not up 1hour after sunrise at the latest. This time of the year (summer), thermals are bothering fairly early in the morning. For paragliding is a 'wish come true' but for a paramotor thermals are just another issue to deal with. Another issue was the fairly wet grass onto which I had to takeoff. The wing I am using is a pretty heavy/oversize one and the extra water just makes things worse. After a so and so takeoff I had to fight the wing a bit. After a few minutes it must have dried up because it did not hang back that much anymore and was more responsive. I set course for St.Francis Bay and after reaching 500ft/150m, I ate my BarOne. Did not finish though. There was a bit of unnerving turbulence and I hate it when the wing is not sitting nicely over my head. The 15Km/h wind was coming from the East and I was flying dead South. After about 25 minutes I reached my first turning point and took the picture below :-)
St.Francis Bay as seen from North looking South.

After St.Francis I set course 040deg and flew along the beach towards Jeffrey's Bay. The laminated sea breeze made the flight a pleasure and now I took some 'time off' and played a bit with my cell phone's camera. Not much to see down below (just bush field) - so below is a picture of myself having a good time.
Mario flying between St.Francis and Jeffrey's Bay.

After 20 or so minutes I reached Astonbay, a suburb of Jeffrey's Bay, my destination. Astonbay has e relatively new housing development called Marina Martenique, and a renown starshaped low-rise building with a million dollar view.
The building above is the only one with more then 3 levels in the entire area!

Another 7-8 minutes and I was looking at the Jeffrey's Bay police station, a place where I worked for exactly 12 years. Thanks God, now I have been transferred closer to home (Today I work at the Humansdorp Police Station)
Jeffrey's Bay main beach and town center.

Here is a friend's house, just before my landing place at the Kabeljous lagoon.

Final destination :-) With my petrol tank almost empty I descended to 30-40feet (10-15m) and had a good time scaring the fishes in the lagoon below.
Kabeljous Lagoon north of Jeffrey's Bay.

This was a very nice flight. A bit bumpy at first but very exciting. A pity I only started with a bit more the 4L fuel, otherwise I should have flown back to Humansdorp. With the 10-15Km/h wind from behind, I should have covered the 15Km in 20-25minutes to complete the triangle. At least I have a challenge now :-)

08 December, 2011

29 November, 2011

How many of you use Windows Live Writer ?

A few days ago I have installed Windows Home and Student 2010 on my PC. I was surprised to see it comes with a blog writer application. They call it “Windows Live Writer”. It is rather nice but really, how many people actually use it to publish on their blogs?

Nokia N8 in action.

27 November, 2011

A few more pics from Buffel's-Bay

Buffel's Bay - Main beach and parking area.

 Daddy and Emi canoeing on Buffel's River.

Our last day was rained out. Yet the N8's camera did a rather good job at taking this final pic.

26 November, 2011

Another Buffels Bay pic.

Just have a look at Google earth and at my picture. Technology is wonderfull. One can sit all his life at home yet still see the whole world !

Buffels Bay beach.

The picture quality of my old Nokia n8, never stops to surprise me. Over the years I've learned a few things about pictures and cameras however, on many a occasion I find it difficult to see which picture has been taken with my canon and which with the cellphone :-) Thank God there is such thing as a exif data in a Jpeg picture. And yes, all the cell pics are geotagged. (use Picasa and have Google earth installed)

Weekend outing.

Finally, I made some time and took the family out for a well deserved weekend. We decided not to drive more then 2h and to go to some place we already know. After all, one weekend is to short to figure out a new surrounding. After a short deliberation we all decided to go to Buffels bay.

18 November, 2011

Murder suspects at the court.

Is sad to hear of 7 year old children been murdered in Jesus's name. The police man in the small picture at the left is none other then myself :) I only hope the suspects will be found guilty and will rot in jail.

13 November, 2011

Went Paramotoring on Saturday.

My friends house in a nearby valley. 

Impofu Dam from 2Km NE and 300m up.

On Saturday afternoon I had a quick (1Hour) paramotor flight. My wife went to a friend's birthday and I was supposed to fix the roof. Guess what, as soon as she left, I left too. And no, I did not go up on the roof - I went somewhat higher, much higher :-) 
The takeoff was a bit dodgy due to my chronic unfitness. Once in the air I realized the speed bar was still locked behind the leg straps. I guess I was to keen (hasty) to get up. I wanted to fly to the Impofu dam for a picture session but the wind was coming directly from the said dam, which meant I reeeeally needed that speed bar. To deploy it though, I had to undue my leg straps. Not a wise move considering the air was a bit rough at times. However, all went well and on half bar I was doing about 28-30Km/h against the wind. At that speed I will be at the said dam, in 20 or so minutes. The Impofu dam is only 10Km from my TO. However, the closer I got to it, the stronger the wind got (and rough). I did not want to push my luck twice on the same flight and about 2KM from the dam I decided to get out of there. I flew to a friend's house where the air was much calmer (and warmer). After that I got low over a nearby wildlife sanctuary where I saw some bush buck. A pity the camera's battery did not hold up. Never the less, a nice 1hour flight. And yeah, it was much better then fixing the roof :-)
P.S. The landing was much better then the takeoff.

29 October, 2011

Stulting school - End of year Certificate award ceremony.

Emerei improved a lot in her school-work over the last few years. Now, at the end of Grade 5, she is 1st in her class and 3th in her Grade (out of just over 100 pupils). Well done Emi. You've really earned that Samsung tablet you want so much. Christmas is around the corner :-)

27 October, 2011

Pixelpipe test post.

This post will be deleted. It is ment for testing purposes only regarding the validity of my enabled pixelpipe accounts.

16 October, 2011

Paramotors and Safety Chutes.

I see, most reserves in PPG have the bridles connected behind the karabiners, closer to the cage. The idea is, in case of a deployment, the pilot will be 'forced' into a standing position and the legs will absorb most of the force from the (imminent) landing impact. That's at least the theory. In real life things are a bit more complicated because a paramotor pilot can not apply the PFL technique, as easy and meaningful as with a paraglider. Personally, after destroying 2 props and hurting my back a bit, during 'rough' landings, I decided to have a closer look at the issue. It quickly became clear, even experienced PPG pilots have little understanding what it means to land under a safety chute with a 50pound+ and 5feet+ steel/aluminum cage on your back. Fortunately, unlike paragliding, paramotoring is done in less demanding flying conditions, which means a safety chute deployment is less luckily. I was not satisfied though. I wanted a passive system (kind of safety belt in a vehicle), which really does something in the case of a emergency landing. Eventually I came up with a carbon-fiber 'add on' skid, which is mounted/bolted at the base of the cage. Further, a fairly thick (15cm) Hi impact absorbing foam under the seat. The system looks pretty neat and (unfortunately) it did not take long before it did shown its capability.
On a fairly rough Sunday afternoon I was desperate for a flight. But shortly after TO I realized I was better on the ground then in the air. My wing is a very safe one. It is the only wing on the market, which has a factory recommended C-Line (not B!), parachutal stall rating. It even has specially mounted tabs (red color), which the pilot can activate by pulling down to initiate the procedure. On that particular day, at around 100feet above ground, I did just that. In turbulent conditions my wing turned into a (fairly stable) parachute and according to my vario I was descending at 5-5.5m/s. As expected, within 5 or so seconds I was on the ground. To my huge surprise (and relief), the feathering system worked as planed and the fairly hard landing (on grass mind you), resulted in absolutely no damage to the motor or myself. It reminded me of jumping in my swimming poll while hitting the water with my bum. Now, I expected the landing to be cushioned but not by that much. I am not a good pilot, however I know a thing or two about physics and maths (applied maths is my other hobby) and I must admit, even I was surprised at how good the system worked. This needed further investigation.
 When a paramotor lands under a safety chute, the movement is almost entirely vertical and a fairly fast one at that. The legs hit the ground first and then we are supposed to do a PFL to dissipate the remaining energy. But here is the problem! The big cage and weight does not allow that and we end up falling on our bums hitting the ground hard while the cage basically falls on our backs, on top of us! Not good.
It turned out that in my case, the movement was spread over three stages, each absorbing a chunk of the impact force. First the legs hit the ground (obviously I get out of the seat but DO NOT hang out with the cage high on my back as you would if the bridal/safety chute was connected much further back then the usual karabiners !) Secondly, the cage hits the ground - it basically slides down behind your back. Here the fiberglass attachment (tested to 10G's before bottoming out), absorbs most of the motor/cage's impact. Then the cage bounces back a little. And because it is strapped to our backs it basically pushes the body in a forward motion just as the bum hits the ground. Here, the Hi-impact foam absorbs what our legs could not absorb during the initial impact. It is of note that the engine/cage actually helps with the landing, by forcing the body in a correct, spine protective, forward leaning position, mere milliseconds before the bum hits the ground! It took me a while to figure out all this and come up with the right amount of flexing in the carbon-fiber skid. Now it works rather nicely as long as two things are happening before the impact.
1.Have the correct skid and Bum protection in place as a passive safety feature !
2.After activating/deploying the safety chute, get out of the seat as you would normaly do before landing. DON'T lean too much forward!
From here on, nature takes care of the rest. I hope this helps someone out there.
Mario ☺

11 October, 2011

Some more pics from our Capetown vacation.

Wine tour - the end. (note the slightly blurry bottle in the background! I am shaking a bit. Or is it the ground shaking?

Club Mykonos on the west coast. Believe it or not, I won this round :-)

Clanwilliam dam is 100% full. Looks much better in reality then in this pic.

Eating pora's "fish and chips".

And buying the "Fish and Chips" from the one and only - Pora's fish market :-)

Marina just before going on the famous "Cobra" roller-coaster at Ratanga junction in Capetown. The Cobra pulls a bit more G's then my paramotor when I fly tight spirals, but it only lasts for a second or so. Mind you, that was enough for Marina to slightly hurt her neck :-(

Michael (right in the front carriage) on the "snail train" at Ratanga pleasure park.

Michael watching the Orix antelope on the slopes of Cape Point. 

Table Mount seen from Water front - what a sight -

This pics have been taken with my cellphone (Nokia N8) and are geo-tagged!
Use the program Picasa + Googleearth to see the exact location.
Welcome to the 21-st century :-)

10 October, 2011

Capetown Vacation pics.

Emerei. Michael, Marguerite and Marina at Hout Bay.

 Hout Bay - Panorama picture.

 Old ship in the dock - Capetown.

 Unknown butterfly at the Butterfly farm.

 Wild dove at the Butterfly farm.

Cape Parrot at the Butterfly farm. 

 Marina with friend at Morgenhof Winery.

 One more wine tasting to come . . .

 Marina, Marguerite, myself and Michael on Table mountain.

 Emerei, Marguerite and Marina on Table mountain.

 Marguerite, Marina and Emi on Table mountain

 The whole family on Table mountain.

Myself with Emerei on Table mountain.

03 October, 2011

On vacation in Capetown.

After almost a full year, I went on a well deserved vacation with the family. The picture you see, I took while driving around in the Cape peninsula.

25 September, 2011

At Shaunda's Farm

At the old bridge.

Happy hour.

Emerei's first public apperance.

Yesterday evening (Saturday the 24th), my daughter Emerei made her debut on stage at the renown Pooter's Place local,  in Jeffrey's Bay. She looked stunning and performed just as good. Keep up the good work Emi :-)