I thought moving to the country would be all about planting corn (and I do actually grow corn in my backyard) and skipping through fields of hay and wildflowers with my trusty dog, Alpine, frolicking alongside of me.
In reality, my dog runs about a hundred yards in front of me and doesn’t come when called, the hay fields are full of chiggers and ticks, and the last time I tried to skip, I tripped, stubbed my toe. Oh and the corn in my backyard? The deer ate it!
Moving to the county actually meant dirt, grease, tractors, bugs, more dirt, and lots of bug spray. Not always glamorous – but moving to the country comes with one beautiful, totally-worth-it perk – lots of wide open fields perfect for flying a paramotor.
When you own a paramotor, you have to learn how to work on the engine. I can’t haul this thing down to the closest city and take it to a BP mechanic for a tune up. We own 3 paramotors. Try and make one guy work on 3 motors at a time and there’s a whole lot of F-bombs being dropped until 3am – So needless to say, I’m slowly becoming schooled in the art of paramotor maintenance!
I never signed up for the auto mechanic course in high school. The closest I ever came to an engine “repair” involved me hopping up and down screaming after the radiator on my 300zx exploded – smoke everywhere – and calling AAA to rescue me. I have manicured nails most of the time, and they had never had grease under them… until I became involved in PPG!
The guys started me off easy. After a long day of towing and instructing, they decided to make me change the flat tire on the trailer that we use to haul our gear. They couldn’t believe that I’d never changed a tire. Have you tried to get a lug nut loose? Those things suck! They are practically welded on!
They eventually gave me power tools (thank God for power tools). But wow what a pain in the ass.And that’s just changing a tire…Wait until your buddy buys a Top 80 off of eBay (do not EVER buy a paramotor from Joe Blow down the street off of eBay. Just don’t do it) – and gives it to you, it becomes your main flying machine while you’re training, and you discover -surprise- it’s BEEN IN THE OCEAN. (True Story)
Then, there’s a ton of grease, broken bolts, lots more F-Bombs (until 4am) and finally – a saving grace – a very talented motor man who whisks away your sad (salt water drenched) machine and mails it back good as new (Thank you, thank you, thank you Lance Marczak – Top 80 Pro!!!). This was designated as my main training machine – and Garrett wanted the best of the best to work on it. So out it went, and it is back and runs like a dream! 🙂
Now we’ve taken on a new project – a Rotron 294 rebuild. And as I watch the transformation happen and get to assist (and get my hands a little dirty in the process), hopefully I’ll become a skilled Paramotor mechanic myself.
I’ve decided I like my hands better with a little grease on them!
Maybe one day I’ll tackle my old sports car in the garage…You know you’re an air sports junkie when your flying gear is worth more than your car!
“I know there’s a lot of money in aviation because I put it there!” 😛