2018 accomplishments: well done! - bloomsburg ... ... memberships are available astaffin@gmail.com...

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  • Bloomsburg Municipal Airport



    BJ Teichman, Airport Coordinator - TOB Dave Ruckle, Pilot airportcoordinator@bloomsburgpa.org ruckleds@yahoo.com

    IF you know of someone who would like to receive our monthly newsletter, please have them email me at airportcoordinator@bloomsburgpa.org. I will be happy to include them.


    Happy New Year Everyone. We had so much fun in 2017 we can’t wait to begin making

    memories in 2018. Again, for new readers, if you wish to review any of the newsletters from

    2017 please follow these instructions. Go to the Town of Bloomsburg website, select the

    “community” tab, then “select” airport. All previous issues of the Newsletter are located on that

    website and identified by month.

    2018 Accomplishments: WELL DONE!

    • January Bloomsburg Flying Club member soloed on 10 January!!

    Right: John Donahue, holds his solo T-shirt. Below CFII Phil Polstra cuts the t-shirt.

    mailto:airportcoordinator@bloomsburgpa.org mailto:ruckleds@yahoo.com mailto:airportcoordinator@bloomsburgpa.org

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    Recently Completed Events: Electronics in the Cockpit

    16 December, 2017

    Above, Corporate Pilot, Bob Frederick gives presentation on Electronics in the cockpit.

    Below: Seminar attendees.

    John Sibole, FAASTeam Program Mgr. was our co-facilitator. Thank you for these photos.

    The Chili Cook-off was held the same day. Approximately 50 meals served. Four pots of chili were in contention for this year’s honor. All of the chili in the running were distinctly different

    and extremely yummy! And the winner is:………………………….

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    Vanessa Ruckle, wife of pilot, Dave Ruckle!

    Vanessa will keep the flying Ace

    Snoopy until next year’s chili


    2nd. Place – Brenda

    3rd Place – George

    4th Place - BJ – I guess I will stick to making chocolate chip cookies!

    Thank you to all the participants who provided the food and to Denny Stahl who grilled all the hot dogs!

    Thank you to the community and councilmembers who attended! We hope you enjoyed your time with us.

    Speaking of the Ruckle’s please enjoy Dave’s most recent feature article.

    The link to enjoy viewing this amazing type of flight is at the end of the article.

    Dare to Compare!

    Life is full of contrasts. Take, for example, how different the weather is in the month of

    January when comparing Pennsylvania to Florida, or the skill level of my golf game and

    that of Jordan Spieth. Better yet, just consider how different it is flying in, say, a Boeing

    747 compared to a paraglider!

    Oh, what’s a paraglider you ask? Well, keep reading and learn not only what it is, but

    meet a local man who has mastered the skills of flying one.

    Powered paragliding is a form of ultra light aviation. Similar to an airplane, a paraglider

    consists of two basic components: the wing and a propeller attached to a motor. But,

    that pretty much is where the similarity ends. Also known as paramotoring or PPG, the

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    pilot wears the motor/propeller on their back to provide the thrust for taking off and

    forward motion and maneuvers in the air with a parachute-like object called the wing.

    The wing is made of fabric, while the motor portion includes, not just a prop, but also the

    frame, seat, and harness the pilot sits in while flying. Because there is a minimal

    amount of equipment and is easily transportable, the paraglider can be launched from

    virtually anywhere.

    Participants in powered paragliding can be found all over the world. But one, in

    particular, can be found right here in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. His name is John

    Lewallen, a 36-year old aviator who has been catching the attention of a lot of folks

    around here.

    “It is my passion,” says John, “I love doing it! Since the late 1990’s when I lived in

    Indiana and watched paragliders flying over cornfields,” John stated, “It was always on

    my mind.” Then during a trip to Florida in 2006, while watching paragliders flying over

    the beaches, John thought to himself, “I’m going to do this.” With a job opportunity at

    the nuclear power plant bringing him here, John also found an opportunity to make his

    dream come true.

    Since paraglider instruction is not readily available everywhere, John began in

    Philadelphia and also received training in Texas. “There aren’t many instructors

    around,” John noted. “To find a good, experience one you may have to travel to Florida,

    Texas or the west coast.” “But,” he added, “The popularity of the sport is spreading


    Powered paragliding has very few regulations and requires no license. In contrast to

    most general aviation aircraft that fly at speeds of 100 mph +, paragliders typically

    cruise along at speeds of near zero up to 50 mph. On the other hand, however,

    paragliders are not handicapped when it comes to altitudes. From “foot-dragging” to a

    record setting 24,000+ feet, paragliders are commonly flown under 500 feet AGL (above

    ground level). John’s highest flight took him to 14,000 feet. “At that altitude,” John

    remarked, “most engines loose power due to the fuel-to-air mixture.”

    John owns four engines (three different manufacturers) and four different wings. This

    allows him to mix and match the various components to the type of flying he is going to

    do; low & slow, fast or cross country. John owns a pair of Ninja Flat-top, 21

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    horsepower. American made engines; an exceptionally lightweight, 130 cc French

    engine called Air Conception and a Fresh Breeze that’s manufactured in Germany.

    Like automobiles, wings are designed to achieve different results. The Dudeck is a

    bigger and slower wing primarily made for the beginner paraglider pilot with a top cruise

    speed around 24 mph. The flat-top designs like the Dominator and Gin Sprintevo are

    popular with the experienced pilots, while a much newer model, the Macpar Blaze GT,

    is one of the fastest wings available and is favored in cross country flying. It can be

    trimmed to airspeeds in excess of 40 mph.

    Since 2010, when John first got into powered paragliding, most of his flights have been

    somewhat local considering two hours or a tank full of gas, might only amount to a 60

    mile round trip. “I look forward to making longer cross-country trips,” said John, “like to

    Massey, Maryland for an annual paraglider fly-in that is held there.” “But,” he quickly

    added, “Considering the time and distance, such a trip may take more than one day just

    getting there. Long cross country flights requires a lot of planning and preparation.”

    As an extreme example, John used the Icarus Trophy Race, an annual 1, 000 mile,

    one-way paraglider cross country race that is designed to be the toughest air race and

    greatest aerial adventure on the planet. Depending upon ones flying ability, stamina

    and weather conditions, the Icarus Trophy Race can take up to five days to complete,

    requiring pilots to carry everything they need for the trip with them. Imagine spending

    days strapped to a paraglider, then spending nights camping on the ground in some of

    the roughest terrain the western U.S. has to offer. In the Race division the winner is

    quite simply determined by whoever gets to the finish line first with their paraglider,

    either flying it or carrying it!!! The 2017 race was from Polson, Montana to Monument

    Valley, Utah.

    The total weight of a paramotor outfit can range from 50 to 90 pounds. The wing is

    controlled by weight shifting or braking toggles while the engine, which starts with a pull

    cord like a lawnmower, and is controlled with a hand-held throttle. John’s paraglider is

    also equipped with a reserve parachute. For added safety, John has designed a noise

    canceling headset to monitor airport frequencies so he is aware of aircraft traffic in the

    vicinity of where he is flying. The headset is also equipped with a blue tooth adapter so

    he can make calls out on his cell phone.

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    “Situational awareness is just as important flying a paraglider as it is in any aircraft,”

    John stresses. “Don’t fly over anything you don’t want to land on.” And, like all pilots,

    John regularly practices maneuvers like power off landings and various take off

    techniques, like kitting. Where flying in high winds or turbulence is not recommended, a

    slight breeze helps deploy the wing overhead so the pilot immediately gets the lift

    needed to take off. When conditions d


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