I have been deeply immersed in spreadsheets for the past week as I plot the course forward for my business. I’ve been so busy that in my free time, I’ve found it fun to clean up my Google Sheets Flight Log. I keep detailed records about every flight I have ever taken. I’m not OCD much, but after a couple of years of record-keeping it’s hard to let the habit die. Besides the obvious time and date, I record observations about the motor, the wing, the weather, and any maintenance tasks I have done, or need to do. With these logs I once discovered, for instance, that my original PAP Moster 185 Classic pull-starts only survive 8.5 hours on average!
Here’s a sample entry:
|Date||Location||Time of day||Inflation||Flight time (minutes)||People||Motor||Wing||Comments||Maintenance|
|528||10/3/2014||Turf Farm||Evening||Forward||35||Mike Sherwood||FB Solo||Rush 4 26||Engine occasionally missing a fire in mid/high throttle||replaced spark plug, changed carb jet from 155 to 160|
The opportunity presented itself to do a little analysis on 9 years of logging. I discovered interesting trends. I found out how many hours and flights are logged on each of my motors and wings. I visualized my gradual transition to “The Light Side” (unpowered paragliding, free-flight). Most useful to all, I learned
The Best Month to Paramotor in Maine.
It turns out it’s August.
Followed by July.
From my experience, these have been the best months. I tallied up the number of minutes I flew each month since 2010 (when I started PPG). Then I split the months up by year and averaged the number of hours I flew each month. Starting late 2014 I flew mostly paragliders, increasingly shunning the motor (and the cold), preferring the tropics to glide in warm thermals through the winter.
|Minutes Flown in Month|
|Month||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||Average # Hours|
I was surprised. I only averaged 8.5 hours in Augusts, and that is my longest month. So why so few hours per month? Did my full-time job at Boeing during 2010-2014 slow me down? No; I actually flew my motor more in the years that I had a full-time office job. The hidden reason: it’s because free-flight has been creeping into my life! In fact, while in Colombia this year, I finally passed the point where I have flown more hours without a motor (288 hours) than with one (285 hours). I have another chart that plotted free-flight versus paramotoring over 9 years, and it’s clear that my flights are longer and more frequent when I fly without my motor (sadly, I deleted the chart… there went 2 hours of my day!).
Other interesting stats:
|(All my flights, broken into motoring and free-flying)||Hours:||Flights:|
|Unique Canopies Flown:||35|
|Unique Motors Flown:||25|
And my Rush 4 is just over 2 years old, but look at her experience:
|Rush 4 Flights:||268|
|Rush 4 Hours:||256.7666667|
|Rush 4 Competitions Won:||2|