Months with the Most Flying in Maine

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.

Best Flying Months in Maine (Click to Enlarge)

It turns out it’s August.

Followed by July.

Then May.

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
January 20 97 0 0 0 0 0 0.2785714286
February 60 15 30 45 0 30 0 0.4285714286
March 20 223 154 25 35 120 30 1.445238095
April 62 157 694 30 54 145 3.172222222
May 60 397 840 299 433 165 308 5.957142857
June 160 100 450 127 221 257 186 3.573809524
July 115 559 880 325 119 629 315 7.004761905
August 415 675 681 582 644 189 351 8.421428571
September 30 428 548 145 147 468 462 5.304761905
October 115 260 246 420 104 255 98 3.566666667
November 75 30 112 30 30 173 88 1.280952381
December 30 146 0 120 0 0 0 0.7047619048

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:
Total: 573.2666667 966
Freeflight: 288.4666667 400
Motor: 284.8 566
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

So pilots– keep good logs! You’ll never regret it.

A flight recording device such as a cellphone with a flight-tracking app, or a variometer such as one of these pictured, can help you keep a complete and accurate flight log.
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