If you enjoyed the stories about Adventure Wingman 2022 that covered 1000 miles in 10 days, then your gonna love this story covering nearly 2000 miles in just 6 days. This story’s journey started almost two years early having completed the 50 State Paramotor Tour and the Coast to Coast of the USA in just 8 days in 2020. If you haven’t read the two previous posts, consider starting there as it sets the stage with Paramotor Adventure Trip Choices that were considered before The months leading up to Sonoma to Oshkosh.
Day 6—Flight 1
I was now back on my original route coming through Minnesota and a mere 360 miles from Oshkosh. Conceivably possible to arrive by the end of the day.
I had decided it would be best with the wind direction to wait until the sun was up and use the short ramp that was available. It turned out to be an easy launch as I was in the air at 06:07.
Less than 3 hours on this flight and it looked like I could push further but fueI had seemed to burn more fuel than usual. Good sense suggested I should land at Bancroft but Austin was just 20 miles away. Could I make it? Looking at my fuel I figured it would be close, but I could make it, and in the event, I did run out, I was very high at over 8600 MSL/ 7200 AGL and so I knew I had lots of glide and time to work with.
Sure enough, 14 miles later the motor died and I had 6 miles to reach the airport from 7200 AGL. It was time to really see what this Davinci Disco could do (as if it hadn’t already). Not only did I reach the airport, but had to circle for several minutes to lose altitude and make my approach for landing. All the time and in the world.
To get fuel I headed to FBO and met with the Airport Manager who came out to pump my gas and showed a keen interest in my paramotor. Once fueled up I set about attempting to start the paramotor. Regardless of what I did or the carb adjustments made resulted in any success. I had a similar problem before where the carburetor needle tip had worn and once replaced worked fine. Resistance while pull starting was also low indicating that compression wasn’t where it should be. In the process of trying to get started, I finally broke the pull-start cord.
This wasn’t good as it requires the removal of the engine from the frame to fix the starter. The airport manager was kind enough to set me up in his hangar with some tools to work through the issues. It took some time but after 90 mins I had the pull start fixed and the engine back on the frame. Next, I took a look at the carburetor but didn’t find any issues. Finally, I pulled the cylinder head and the problem was revealed.
During preparation for the adventure, I pulled the head and cleaned off all the carbon. After reseating the o-ring I replace the head. It turned out that I had pinched the o-ring and it wasn’t seated properly. It’s amazing the machine had flown this long and it was now clear why I had experienced power issues and occasional ‘fuel starvation’.
I didn’t have a replacement o-ring so I delicately removed it with some oil and gently cleaned it up as best I could. Finally very carefully reseated it and replaced the head. After bolting everything down wanted to see if it would run. To my relief, just one tug on the pull start, and she started right up. Some additional full-power runup tests and everything was looking good.
Now on to the next problem—the weather was coming in and I had lost my window—I had blown my hope to achieve this huge additional day of success I wanted.
The Airport manager set me up with a courtesy car and gave me directions to some local hotels. He also allowed me to store my gear in his hangar. I would be back in the morning to cover the remaining 250 miles that I was sure I could complete in just two flights.
Watch this video of the live update and check out the lightning.
Day 7—Flight 1
Bright-eyed and busy-tailed from a good dinner and a comfortable night’s rest I made my way to the airport at 5 am and quickly set about getting ready to go. The wind had shifted coming from the north again so I had a nice down slop for my launch. It was a little foggy and had plenty of low clouds but still VFR. 05:44—Wheels up.
The winds were in my favor and I had a max ground speed of 73 mph and averaged above 50 mph, landing at Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells Regional Airport and completing 163 miles in just 2h53. An awesome start to the day.
Day 7—Flight 2
I had made arrangements to fly into Picket Field a small private RC and Paratomor LZ a few miles from EAA Airventure. Gorilla PPG had connected Scot Starbeck and who had offered to accommodate me while I would be at Oshkosh. I dropped him a quick text and let him know that I was 1 1/2 hours away and about to get going on the flight. Just 31 minutes and I was back in the air at 09:08 for my last leg into Oshkosh.
As I got nearer to Oshkosh, the sky started to get a lot more crowded. I could see one plane behind the other as they made their way on the approach to AirVenture. I was glad to have ADS-B to broadcast my position but decided to get some altitude and some space between me and the much faster aircraft because there was a fair amount of low broken cloud.
Picket Field was at last in sight and I quickly made my way around for a final approach. Just a few minutes later on the ground Scot and I high-fived and I had arrived.
My EAA Airventure Official Arrival would not be until the next day(opening day), Monday evening to coincide with the scheduled Ultralight session. Coordination with officials still needed to be worked out and Scot and Martin would work the details out with Justin Fox of Leading Edge PPG who was the Air Boss.
Monday afternoon rolled in and it was time to go. The approach had to be strictly followed and I had a specific time slot to make. I was a few minutes early and did a short hold just short of the final approach fix before heading in. Once the landing strip was in sight I popped smoke attached to my ankle and made my way in for an approved low fly buy and thereafter to a loop through the pattern to return and land.
Lined up and ready, I got out of my seat and set my sights on the mid-field landing spot in front of the announcer’s box where thousands of onlookers had gathered. There is always pressure not to mess up when lots of people are watching so I had to stick the landing. Flaring a little early I still stuck the landing and was quickly sprayed with Champayne (Soda Water) by Scot & Martin and filmed by Ray to capture the accomplishment.
Quickly moving off the field a short interview was held to answer questions and share with the crowd some of the trip experiences. It was an amazing way to make an entrance and officially complete the paramotor adventure trip.
Sonoma to Oshkosh Information Website
- Trip Information & Trip Details
- Route Map & Live Track Following
- News Articles & Charity Support
- Equipment Donations