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Article from The Hutchinson News, Sunday, May 25, 2003

Parachute Fly-in has Participants Holding Heads up
By Jim Misunas

Linda Weible talked her nephew, Grant Gardiner, into the ride of his life Saturday afternoon.

Grant, 12, is accustomed to riding a horse or an all-terrain vehicle at the sprawling Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland. But when Grant returns to town, he'll be able to tell his buddies about flying in a powered parachute.

The 45-minute spin, courtesy of pilot Dwane Richardson, gave Grant a bird's-eye view of the countryside. The boy was breathless when he returned to solid earth after setting sail at 25 mph.

"That was fun - really fun," Grant said. "I was a little bit scared when we took off. I didn't think I was up there very long. It was great fun."

Grant's aunt also flew in the second Central Kansas Powered Parachute Fly-In. Morris Yoder's ranch, 3612 South Mohawk Road, will feature more rides at 6:30 a.m. Memorial Day. Saturday afternoon's light winds and partly cloudy skies were perfect for takeoff. The powered parachutes don't take off if low clouds or winds higher than 15 mph exist.

"It was every bit worth $20," Weible said. "We even saw some cows that looked like they were stuck in high water. That was all fun."

Tom Angell, retired from the Hutchinson Police Department, took up parachute flying after a friend who works for the Reno County EMS service started talking about it. Angell flew Cessnas and Piper Cherokees in his younger days.

"But it was hard to justify the cost of flying at $50 an hour," Angell said. "But I've always loved flying. It's something I always wanted to do again someday."

Angell considers Yoder's flight instruction in a two-seat craft a perfect learning environment. Some instructors teach their students, who fly in one-seat crafts, via radio communication.

"What I like about Morris' instruction is we fly together with dual controls," Angell said. "We can talk back and forth about what we're doing. Flying with an experienced pilot takes a lot of pressure off the student pilot."

Angell said the pilots stress safety. Bombardier's Austrian-owned Rotax-designed engines and parachutes are carefully inspected. The preflight routine of making sure the parachute is sitting just right is crucial to getting off the ground.

"Everything depends on the parachute being properly positioned," Angell said. "You won't see anyone take off if the parachute isn't stretched out right."

The powered parachutes aren't cheap. A used model can be bought for $10,000, but noew PowraChute models cost $17,000. More than a hundred people from a five-state area were expected for Saturday's fly-in.

Report Jim Misunas can be reached at jmisunas@hutch-news.com or by calling (620) 694-57090, ext. 315.


Schedule of Events

Fri. May 23 5:00 PM
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
 Arrival & registration
 Pilot briefing
 Fun flying
Sat. May 24 6:00 AM
7:00 AM
10:00 AM
10:30 AM
12:00 PM
1:30 PM 
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
 Pilot briefing
 Cross country tour
 Pilot briefing
 Airport Etiquette Seminar - Ed Wells
 Lunch at your choice of restaurant
 Sport pilot seminar by Jim Stevenson
 Grilled hamburgers by local youth group
 Introductory Flights
 Field Closed
Sun. May 25 6:00 AM

1:30 PM 8:30 PM
 Pilot briefing
 Fun flying
 Field Closed
 (no flying till after lunch, there are too many churches close
 to the flying field.)
 Worship service- J. D. Rice
 Lunch- on your own
 Fellowship & fun flying
 Hot Dog Roast-bring your own roasting utensils
Mon. May 26 6:00 AM
6:30 AM
9:30 AM
 Pilot Briefing
 Fun flying
 Breakfast at S. Hutch Truck Stop (1/4 Mi. So. K96 & US5O)