ValkingBlog: A funny little thing happened on the way to the Convention...


Because there is more to life than just work...

Monday, May 09, 2005

A funny little thing happened on the way to the Convention...

Fantasy of Flight, USPPA National Convention 2005 Polk City, Florida

Well I'll tell ya gang, I was running down to the PPG Convention about what, two weeks ago when the van started to vibrate more than it usually does. Well I was going thru Orlando and I attributed it to the road work they're doing there. Really, it's torn up like Atlanta used to be, new lanes, lane shifts, new surface, bumps, drops, grooves, you know the drill. Well I should have paid better attention, but I didn't. Happily, someone was looking out for the other driver. Another van pulled up and beeped the horn a bit, got my attention and pointed to my left rear tire. I nodded, taking the hint and went for the shoulder right away, mouthing thank-you to the other driver. As disaster hadn't showed it's head yet, I knew to be thankful for the action on this guys part. when I got to the shoulder, I felt like disaster almost did make it. The Vans left rear tire was a mess. Half inflated it had started to lose it's steel belts and they were sticking thru and out of the tire as if it had decided it wanted a new hair style like Tina Turner in the 80's. It was hot, very hot and smelled like it was burning. it wasn't I'm glad to tell you and with the help of a brand new pair of mechanix gloves I'd brought to fly in, I remove the tire and got the spare on and was on my way at 55 in about 20 minutes.
I had mixed feelings. Before I even get to the PPG convention, I'd blown $100 on a tire and I was trying to do the weekend on the cheap. (Ended up replacing all the tires when I got home, $384 out the door. But that's another story...) Still, the tire hadn't blown and done worse, so I counted it as a blessing.
The weekend was fantastic. Starting as soon as I got there and registered at the Red Bull (the quicker pepper-upper) tent, I headed over to the camping area to pick a site and set up the camping domicile. This instance a double dome tent pair joined by a little tunnel. Way overboard for one person, but hey it was a nice set-up. I added a 10x30 green and silver tarp across the tents creating a porch and sunshaded area that really came in handy the next day when the rains and winds really kicked up. The tents never saw a single drop of rain, one very dry place in a wet camp and I'd recommend anyone in the same boat try it, wal-mart has these tarps and the difference they make is top notch. But I digress. Flying was awesome for the entire convention. I got in one flight a day. Thursday after arriving I strapped on my new camera chest mount as well as all my usual gear and flew my Sony HandiCam. The resulting 20 minute video turned out way better than I expected. From forward inflation take off to five step landing I got it all in one continuous shot. A couple of times around the pattern, out across some fields and orange groves, around a borrow pit, then back following some roads and back to the field and a pattern or two more. Throw in a touch and go that was supposed to be a foot drag and a turn of the cam for better a better view on low passes and it makes a fair show. At the very least it shows pretty nicely what PPG is for me. I look forward to flying the cam mount more and perhaps even getting some footage of our local beach site sometime soon.
The convention was a lot of fun. They had all sorts of PPG vendors, some clinics and on Saturday night a big banquet for everyone. Attendance was something like 150 plus and nice as my flying club's founder (#1) was the Master of Ceremonies. His name's Bruce Erion and he's also the guy most responsible for getting me into flying these fan powered pargliders. Go to and do a search on Bruce Erion. Some ineresting things come up, he's been flying for a long time and did a stint as a Pilot/Comentator/Cameraman in 'Hotlanta, most certainly one great guy. I still feel that way, even after he inducted me into the Bad Apple Fliers as part of the banquet festivities. As he said at the time, they weren't paying him, so what were they going to do? Here's a pic of the pilot's there:
ConvPilots(I'm by the Caddy's front left fender, all in black)

Being a Bad Apple's a nice thing to me, if I make too many dumb mistakes, I'm in good company. That's something of a trademark of the Bad Apples, anything you shouldn't do, but do anyway and get caught, just makes you better BA fodder. We're like the Black Sheep of the PPG world. In a good way, if that's

The convention wound down to a close without any other major problems for my wallet.
The drive home took about a hour and a half longer than the opposite direction as I kept the cruise control set at 55, but it worked out fine. I also saved gas that way, suprise, suprise. Been editing video and mixing having fun with it all. Another plus of the convention. I have a great wingman candidate. While I was down, one of the schools (Southern Skies) let me know they had a fellow training that is from my town. He's all geared up, but hasn't flown yet. Nice fellow, name's Lewis and I think he's going to be a good pilot if his approach to kiting is any indication. I've been out now with him a few times and figure he's ready to step up to flying, he's been going to the school every few weekends for training and is doing well. With any luck I'll be around for his first flights here as a second pilot is a good thing in this sport/hobby from time to time. They tend to see things you miss and that's a good thing...
Well gang, that's it for now, be safe.
-Rob "been out flying" D.


At 3:38 PM, Blogger clara* said...

that convention looked great!! i can't wait to see some videos...


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