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.