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APRIL 2011 Volume 41 Issue 4 $6.95 Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

On the cover, Jerome Maupoint captures the most stressful part of any race with a start gaggle shot at the Paragliding World Cup in Turkey. Meanwhile, Scott Mason snags a shot of Kevin while parahawking in Nepal. MAGAZINE STAFF Martin Palmaz, Publisher: Nick Greece, Editor: Greg Gillam, Art Director: Martin Palmaz, Advertising: Staff writers: Steve Messman, Dennis Pagen, Christina Ammon, Ryan Voight, Tom Webster, CJ Sturtevant | Staff artist: Jim Tibbs Staff photographers: John Heiney, Jeff Shapiro

OFFICE STAFF Martin Palmaz, Executive Director : Robin Jones, Information Services Manager : Beth Hollendorfer, Membeship Services Coordinator: Terry Rank, Office Coordinator :

USHPA OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Rich Hass, President: Dave Wills, Vice President: Bill Bolosky, Secretary: Mark Forbes, Treasurer: REGION 1: Rich Hass, Mark Forbes. REGION 2: Dave Wills, Urs Kellenberger, Bill Cuddy. REGION 3: Bill Helliwell, Rob Sporrer, Brad Hall. REGION 4: Ryan Voight, Ken Grubbs. REGION 5: Donald Lepinsky. REGION 6: David Glover. REGION 7: Tracy Tillman. REGION 8: Jeff Nicolay. REGION 9: Felipe Amunategui, Hugh McElrath. REGION 10: Bruce Weaver, Steve Kroop, Matt Taber. REGION 11: David Glover. REGION 12: Paul Voight. REGION 13: Tracy Tillman. DIRECTORS AT LARGE: Dave Broyles, Bill Bolosky, Steve Rodrigues, Mike Haley, Dennis Pagen. EXOFFICIO DIRECTOR: Art Greenfield (NAA).

SUBMISSIONS HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine welcomes editorial submissions from our members and readers. All submissions of articles, artwork, photographs and or ideas for articles, artwork and photographs are made pursuant to and are subject to the USHPA Contributor's Agreement, a copy of which can be obtained from the USHPA by emailing the editor at or online at HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine reserves the right to edit all contributions. We are always looking for well written articles and quality artwork. Feature stories generally run anywhere from 1500 to 3000 words. News releases are welcomed, but please do not send brochures, dealer newsletters or other extremely lengthy items. Please edit news releases with our readership in mind, and keep them reasonably short without excessive sales hype. Calendar of events items may be sent via email to, as may letters to the editor. Please be concise and try to address a single topic in your letter. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. If you have an idea for an article you may discuss your topic with the editor either by email or telephone. Contact: Editor, Hang Gliding & Paragliding magazine, editor@, (516) 816-1333. ADVERTISING ALL ADVERTISING AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES MUST BE SENT TO USHPA HEADQUARTERS IN COLORADO SPRINGS. All advertising is subject to the USHPA Advertising Policy a copy of which may be obtained from the USHPA by emailing the Publisher at The USHPA is a member-controlled sport organization dedicated to the exploration and promotion of all facets of unpowered ultralight flight, and to the education, training and safety of its membership. Membership is open to anyone interested in this realm of flight. Dues for Rogallo membership are $270. Pilot memberships are $75 ($90 non-U.S.). Dues for Contributing membership and for subscription-only are $52 ($63 non-U.S.). $15 of annual membership dues goes to the publication of Hang Gliding & Paragliding magazine. Changes of address should be sent six weeks in advance, including name, USHPA number, previous and new address, and a mailing label from a recent issue. You may also email your request with your member number to:

The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association Inc. (USHPA) is an air sports organization affiliated with the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), which is the official representative of the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), of the world governing body for sport aviation. The NAA, which represents the United States at FAI meetings, has delegated to the HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING (ISSN 1543-5989) (USPS 17970) is published USHPA supervision of FAI-related hang gliding and paragliding activities such monthly by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Inc., as record attempts and competition sanctions. 1685 W. Uintah St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904, (719) 632-8300, FAX (719) 6326417. PERIODICAL postage is paid at Colorado Springs, CO and at additional HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine is published for foot-launched air- mailing offices. sports enthusiasts to create further interest in the sports of hang gliding and paragliding and to provide an educational forum to advance hang gliding POSTMASTER Send change of address to: Hang Gliding & Paragliding and paragliding methods and safety. magazine, P.O. BOX 1330, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1330. Canadian Post Publications Mail Agreement #40065056. Canadian Return Address: DP Global Mail, 4960-2 Walker Road, Windsor, ON N9A 6J3

DISCLAIMER The publication of any submissions, articles or advertising in HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine does not constitute an endorsement of the authors, advertisers, products, services, apparatus, processes, theories, ideologies, opinions, advice and/or recommendations presented, nor does it constitute an endorsement of the authors or companies involved. The statements of fact and opinions as well as any product claims in the submissions, articles, advertisments, artwork and photographs appearing in HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine are those of their respective authors, contributors and advertisers and not of the USHPA. The USHPA makes no representation, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, advice, opinion, recommendation, apparatus, product, product claims or process disclosed, in such submissions, articles, advertising, artwork or photographs. All individuals relying upon any materials published herein do so at their own risk. The USHPA is not responsible for any claims made in any submission, article, or advertisement. Advertisers may not, without USHPA's prior written consent, incorporate in subsequent advertising that a product or service has been advertised in a USHPA publication. COPYRIGHT Copyright (c) 2011 United States Hang Gliding And Paragliding Association, Inc., All Rights Reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the United States Hang Gliding And Paragliding Association, Inc.

The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, a division of the National Aeronautic Association, is a representative of the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale in the United States.

For change of address or other USHPA business call (719) 632-8300, or email




















Getting to the point There are some flights you never forget by Paul Edwards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

REVIEW: FLYING RAGS FOR GLORY A book by Mads Syndergaard by Josh Cohn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

GLIDE RATIO - It means a lot Part II in a series by Dennis Pagen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

ESFERA Interview with Pal Takats about the new maneuver by Giorgio Sabbioni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

FORBES AUSTRALIA HG COMPETITION Jamie heads down under and breaks a personal best by Jamie Sheldon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

TOWLINE All about filing a NOTAM by Tracy Tillman and Lisa Coletti. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

THE ERECT INFINITE Or Infinitely Erect


by Hayduke Midlfinger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Jungle sky gods Go where no pilot has ever gone before by Jumping "Gene" Jose-Phat. . . . . . . 42


Sometimes it’s about getting higher. Sometimes it’s about soaring longer. But, it’s almost always about having fun. Whatever you’re about, we get it, and since 1973, we’ve built quality hang gliders that take you there. Where will your Wills Wing take you?

500 West Blueridge Ave . Orange, CA 92865 . 1.714.998.6359 .



pril is here, and the coming of spring gives the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Magazine staff the pleasure of bringing you the April Fools’ edition. Putting this magazine together reminds me of playful times centered around flying. Sometimes it seems we lose track of one of the goals of any pursuit worthy of our infatuation—having fun. According to Johan Huizinga, a father of modern cultural history, fun is “an absolutely primary category of life, familiar to everybody at a glance, right down to the animal level.” As the season comes into its own, hopefully you will determine how you can focus on fun as well as skills and achieve your goals with a big smile. I recently returned from a competition in Colombia. On the first day of a six-day meet I flew very well, initially making great time through the first 20 miles of the course. I charged out across the valley in front of the field and felt secure as I left the climb several hundred feet below the pumping cumulus cloud I was under. I didn’t realize that the valley was enveloped in a cirrus haze that would leave me desperately wishing I had taken a few more turns at my last climb. I lawndarted in the center of the valley into ankle deep water and feebly watched as gliders climbed out only 100 feet above me. I packed up with little thought of what awaited me. I have landed out a lot. I pride myself on pushing that extra bit and taking the long walks. But this walk would be different. I went from ankle deep, to knee deep, to chest deep water in a matter of two miles. All I could do was laugh and use a mantra I had been taught —I chanted, ADVENTURE. I repeated it when snakes rustled through the over-head grass—ADVENTURE; when cobwebs strewn across the aforementioned grass covered my face and entered my mouth—ADVENTURE; and when I slithered up steep banks by kicking into muddy canal walls as my pack floated above my head— ADVENTURE. This slog continued for several hours, as I made my way to a sugarcane plantation that hadn’t been flooded by the 100-year rains that had plagued the Colombian countryside for months prior to our arrival; it was hard not to laugh. The memories from such an experience were priceless. As I ate my celebratory ice cream in the tienda of the local village and hailed a taxi to take me back from whence I came, I was struck by how much fun we have even when we’ve bombed out. I used to get very upset if I failed to make goal, but at this meet my perspective shifted. Actually, it had to—I landed out in the boonies the first four days (earning the nickname “Swampthing” from my fellow competitors). I surprised myself by appreciating these somewhat grueling treks in a place I would not have been privy to without the encompassing ride of free flight. We hope you enjoy the April issue and its lighthearted theme. As you start to take to the sky again this spring, focus on what’s important to you about free flight. And if you find yourself in a tough spot—in the air or on the ground—try the chant, ADVENTURE. US Hang Gliding Team members and aspiring team members.

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


New | Improved | Buzzworthy


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 APCO's TWISTER 18 MKII Apco has released the latest installment of their acro wing—the Twister 18 MK II. They state that it is similar to their earlier version but with a significantly refined feeling and entry and exit from all the hot maneuvers. More information: www.

 NIVIUK's TAKOO 2 Niviuk's long awaited Takoo 2 tandem glider is now available.  Total line length has been reduced by 22%, which greatly reduces drag.  Niviuk has reduced the amount of mylar in the leading edge by incorporating the plastic battens used in their most recently released gliders.  The line reduction, and use of a structured leading edge has helped to reduce the weight of the glider by 0.7kg.  The trailing edge also incorporates battens, which is the same technology used in Niviuk's Icepeak 5, and Peak 2 gliders.  While reducing line length, Niviuk has also increased the amount of attachment points to the


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canopy, which improves wing loading and pressure.  For more information, visit

 U-TURN ACRO WINGS U-Turn has released two acro wings that are meant to bridge the gap between free style and cross country with the unveiling of the Thriller 2k11 in sizes 24 and 26. With weight ranges spanning 75 kg to 120 kg it will be interesting to see if these wings can do both disciplines successfully.

 OZONE CALLS IT QUITS Ozone announced they will disband their R10 team and recall all Ozone wings from national and international level competitions. Faced with what they claim was “ unreasonable amount of fan mail and news pieces regarding R10 competition wins..." Ozone has announced the cancellation of all current and future R10 orders and has asked for all current R10 pilots to return their wings at their earliest convenience. Ozone spokesman Matt

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

 

Gerdes says, “It just got to be too much. All of the pilots were boasting, “My R10 won here, my R10 won there...” We just couldn’t keep up with the emails and news items on our website. Plus, I just got really tired of catering to all of the PWC wannabes. Suddenly everyone wants to be our friend; these are the same pilots who, for many years, were laughing at us and calling us “acro weenies.” The fickle nature of XC pilots is unbearable. So we’re just going to forget we ever made this 2-liner thing happen.

NEW OZONE WINGS Ozone is excited to announce the arrival of two new wings for the 2011 season.

 The Mantra M4 Ozone says this wing retains all of the comfort and ease of use that the M3 became famous for, but has been updated with every bit of new technology developed from the BBHPP and R10 research programs. Ozone

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claims that a massive glide improvement of 0.8 over the M3 will make the M4 the serial class wing to have in the coming season. With a relatively moderate aspect ratio of 6.5, Ozone says that the massive performance gains for this glider are the result of an R10 profile and leading edge design, as well as a super low-drag line plan for “free” performance gains. The M4 is certified EN D (ML size, other sizes pending). More info at www.

 The Rush 3 is Ozone’s answer for pilots who need maximum glide performance in the EN B class. Created with Delta and R10 technology, the Rush 3 is the most advanced EN B wing they have ever built. With modified tab positioning, leading edge reinforcements, and a lowdrag line plan, the Rush 3 is truly a next generation wing to follow in the footsteps of the Delta and R10. The Rush 3 is the first EN B class wing to feature R10 technology and Ozone claims that this wing is not only at the top

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of the EN B class in terms of performance, but that their glide testing has shown it is well into the categories above. The Rush 3 is certified EN B (M size, other sizes pending). More info at 

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 NEW VENDING MACHINE In an effort to boost revenue, Crestline Soaring Society has installed a prototype Downtube Acquisition Machine Instant Terminal ( D.A.M.I.T.) near the landing zone for easy access to pilots in need.

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Later next month CSS is planning its first annual Spot-A-Palooza - a spot landing contest every weekend for an entire month. DAMIT inventor Dusty Rhodes was quoted as saying sales are expected to far exceed even optimistic


 SAFE PILOT AWARD Dennis Servetter earned his second safe pilot Diamond award. Congratulations for 2000 safe flights! (continued next page)

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


New | Improved | Buzzworthy


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 OZONE DELTA FILM Ozone says that at first they had a lot of earnest questions about the Delta, and now they’re getting a lot of positive feedback from Delta Pilots. They have now put a video about the Delta live on their website, check in the paragliders section to see the new Delta Short Film.

 Support our Flying Troops It's time to step up and show your national pride, and support your US national paragliding and hang gliding teams. Flytec USA has unofficially declared April national "Support Your Team" month. For anyone who doesn't know the pilots




! R A D N E L A C T S A L E H T

Submit horizontal photos in digital format with a MINIMUM of 3120 W x 2400 H pixels (7.5 megapixels). Please submit unaltered at the highest resolution you have. Photos must have been taken no earlier than January of 2009. Each submission MUST INCLUDE: Signed contributor agreement (1 per photographer) photographers name, mailing address, phone, email address AND a photo caption, location, site name, pilot name, wing type, month & year of photo. Please submit digital photos on CD or DVD if possible, but FTP is also available at the link below. SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE IS MAY 31ST.


That's right – according to the ancient Mayans and several very reliable sources in Hollywood, 2012 will be our last calendar ever. So if you are sitting on great photos, waiting for your moment, this is it. Use them or lose them because everything will be smashed upon impact with the rogue planet and that includes your photos. Photos making the final cut will score the standard contributor payment and everlasting fame. By everlasting we mean until sometime in 2012 when the universe implodes.

on our national teams, these guys live out of their cars, scavenge off of other people's plates to get a square meal, and on occasion have to sell their gear to buy gas. So now is the time to step up and crack the piggy bank, dig through the sofa cushions, hold out a sign on the highway, whatever it takes and help our top pilots represent at the upcoming world meets. These are our national heros so please show your support. You can buy products or just donate by visiting: www. for paragliding, or www.flytec. com/worldteam for hang gliding. Go team America!


2012 2012






Submission info & forms are found at: calendarproject.asp 1-800-616-6888 Send your photos to: USHPA Calendar PO Box 1330 Colorado Springs CO 80901-1330

AirMAIL HAND GLIDING  Hi Nick, it's me–Greg. I turned off my spam filter so I could get your latest email and found something interesting. I thought you might like to run this weird message I received for the April Fool's issue (spelling included)...

The opinions expressed in the letters published in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the magazine staff or USHPA officials. While every effort is made to verify facts stated in letters, readers are urged to check the accuracy of any statement before taking action or forming an opinion based on the contents of a letter.

Saturday for a group of 7 coming on training. I am booking for 4 hours per day for 4 weeks (Monday Saturday)

Good Day Sir/Madam,


My name is Tony Hopkins from the university of Clinical therapeutic and epidemiology London. It is my pleasure to inquire for Hand Gliding and Paragliding Training in your facility as a means of an exercise to unwind from business and learning organized by our group of medical experts. Besides I would like to book for 4 weeks Hand Gliding and Paragliding Training for 4 hours each day Monday to

Since they are newly employed in my hospital business, we decided to give them the chance of training in the state with their foreign counterparts so that they will learn some modern methods from them. We are doing this to live our competitors in a pit while we move with different innovative ideas. I hope you accept Credit Card Payments. Get back to me ASAP so that we can proceed with the training. Thanks.

I have to say, I got excited about the prospect of meeting a gregarious gaggle of flying epidemiologists, but then I realized that with all the crazy diseases in the world, no self-respecting epidemiologist would take off an entire month to fly. They must think I'm stupid. - Greg (The Art Director) ED. Hi Greg, it's me–Nick. I did recognize your name from the masthead. Please pass along my considered response to Mr. Hopkins....

Sir, Free flight training is a lot of things, but a warm fuzzy hot tub experience it is not. Thank you for your interest and good luck living with your competitors in a pit. I think this would make a marvelous reality program.


CALENDARS DISCOUNTED NOW! 2011 United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

ONLY $7.50! 2011 & Paragliding Association ing Glid g United States Han

Membership | Policy | Involvement



ast October, USHPA’s regional directors elected Rich Hass, a paraglider pilot from Medina, Washington, as our new president. Region 1’s Seattle-area director, Rich is one of those “get ‘er done!” guys—if there’s a big hang gliding or paragliding project in the works or some sensitive land-owner issue, he’s on it. For the past couple of years he’s been working closely with King County (Seattle area) to resolve traffic and parking hassles that have been ruffling the feathers of the neighbors of Tiger Mt. landing field. It’s looking like his proposals and negotiations are paying off, and some significant changes are being made that will likely be acceptable to everyone. Rich is taking office at a challenging time for USHPA; as I write this, USHPA’s former director of business operations, Martin Palmaz , has just been hired as our new executive director, and USHPA will be hiring additional office staff to fill the gaps resulting from Martin’s step up. Rich faces challenges with enthusiasm and a broad range of skills and talents— a good man to have in the lead position right now! Where He’s Coming From: A P-4 pilot since 1998, Rich has been flying for decades and has been one of Region 1’s directors since 2006. During those five years on the board, he served as chairman of the Finance committee, as a member of the Organization & Bylaws

“Acknowledging that growth in both hang gliding and paragliding is currently ‘pretty flat’ in the U.S. and worldwide, Rich perceives USHPA’s number-one mission as an organization is helping to grow the sports.”


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

by C.J. Sturtevant

committee since 2009, and was elected as USHPA secretary in the fall of ‘07. He thinks a good bit of what he’s learned from his years on the BOD and the executive committee (comprised of the elected officers) will carry over to his new duties as president. “Being on the board of directors has been a learning experience for me since day one,” Rich reflected. “Probably the most important lesson has been patience: Sometimes the fastest way to get something done is to slow down and work through the process, tagging all the bases and allowing the checks and balances within USHPA to work. There is a lot of institutional knowledge among board members. I’m still learning how best to tap that knowledge.” Patience: an attribute that serves anyone well in most endeavors, and which Rich seems to have in abundance, as evidenced in his careful, methodical crafting of the Tiger LZ solution. Growing the Sport: Acknowledging that growth in both hang gliding and paragliding is currently “pretty flat” in the U.S. and worldwide, Rich perceives USHPA’s number-one mission as an organization is helping to grow the sports. A key component of that growth is setting up the infrastructure to facilitate bringing in and retaining new pilots: “… having instructors and flying sites available to help get people started, and an active chapter and mentor network out there to help keep pilots safely engaged. I look forward to leading USHPA in a direction where it can make a positive

impact in the growth and perception of foot-launched flying as a cool sport.” Since the U.S. has a relatively small pilot base compared to most other countries, we’re often quite invisible, except for occasional appearances on the nightly news. “Our challenge, simply put, is to find ways to increase our sport’s visibility in a positive way. USHPA is working on a number of initiatives to bring exposure and interest in flying to a much wider audience. Then, the challenge is converting interest into a lifetime passion.” He reiterates the basics: “We need instructors, chapters, mentors, training hills, flying sites and support from an active flying community. It looks like there’s room for every one of us to play an active role in achieving this goal!” What’s In It For Us? As a member of USHPA’s Executive Committee and BOD, Rich is in good position to explain what, exactly, USHPA does for us pilots. Most of us would cite as member benefits Hang Gliding & Paragliding magazine, and the USHPA liability and site insurance. But USHPA’s role in our aviation

opportunities is far more extensive, Rich points out, basically providing “the organizational framework so pilots can go and fly. In very specific terms, USHPA has developed a recognized training and pilot rating program so new pilots can more easily gain from the collective experience of others. USHPA also works with the FAA to keep airspace open for foot-launched flight, and is the conduit for a well-developed competition program, where U.S. pilots can compete in sanctioned meets from the local level all the way through world championships.â€? These are not trivial bennies in today’s increasingly restrictive and litigious world! It Takes a Village‌: Not even the most dedicated president can accomplish the big goals without support. “It never ceases to amaze me how often pilots come up and thank me for being involved in USHPA,â€? Rich says. “Many share ideas and suggestions. What is clear to me is, pilots value having a national association that is just as passionate about flying as they are. One of my goals as president is to help bring new volunteers into USHPA in a way where they feel just like I do—

that is, they feel their contributions are appreciated and feel that USHPA listens. This is a challenging but fun part of the job!� He adds, “Great communication is essential for USHPA to succeed. I encourage members to take the initiative to contact their regional directors with suggestions and ideas. It’s even better when those suggestions are followed by offers to help execute these ideas. USHPA is a volunteer-driven organization.� Yes, regional directors and elected officers are volunteers, but they are a mere thirty bodies and we are many thousands, and without participation of the masses, there’s only so much a couple dozen folks, no matter how dedicated, can accomplish. A Visit From the Prez? Rich is recently retired (from commercial real estate), but even before he had all that extra time on his hands, he was exceptionally active in his local flying community. He frequently hosts member and board meetings of both the paragliding and hang gliding clubs at his home, he volunteers for (or chairs) site-improvement projects

and fly-ins, and rarely misses a club meeting or local clinic. Now that his constituency has broadened to include the entire nation, he is looking forward to expanding his community connections: “I love traveling to new places to fly and making new friends in the process. I enjoy going to the comps, and I plan to fly in some of the recreational meets. I’m looking forward to visiting some chapters this year and yes, I plan to bring my wing.� He expressed concern that he might “get caught up in the business of USHPA and lose sight of what brought me into this sport, which is flying,� and he intends to be vigilant in avoiding any such shortsightedness. With an eye toward maintaining an appropriate balance between USHPA business and flying for fun, Rich has prudently scheduled a paragliding trip to Costa Rica in February. If you’d like to invite him to participate in your local community’s activities, or want to offer suggestions or assistance regarding USHPA’s goals or those of your own flying group, send him an email at

Love Canopy Flight?

Come Play with Us!



How big was it?




Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


Analysis | Preparedness | Incidents

SafetyBULLETIN FRENCH ACCIDENTS 2005-2008  The FFVL (Fédération Française de Vol Libre) is the French equivalent of USHPA. Like USHPA, the FFVL publishes accident reports in its magazines; unlike USHPA, it also makes the raw accident data available online. Because France has significantly more pilots than the USA and the historical information is freely available, it is interesting to do an analysis of French accidents. During the time-span 2005-2008, the FFVL had approximately 34,000 members. Unlike USHPA, the FFVL also represents kite flyers and kite boarders, who accounted for 34% of the membership. So the FFVL had approximately 22,440 pilot members; approximately 21,420 flew PGs and 1,020 flew HGs (presumably there were some bi-wingual pilots, but they weren’t called out in any statistics I’ve seen). The first thing that is shocking about these numbers to an American pilot is how high they are! There are at least twice as many French pilot members as American ones, and, if you take


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

to HG pilots in France, this article may be more relevant to US PG pilots than HG pilots. The US reports are divided into account population size, at least 10 into PG and HG and, as HG statistics times as many. When one considers the are only available for 2 of the 4 years, I relative size of population in the two have only compared the French statistics countries, there are at least 20 times as with US PG statistics. This analysis covers the period 2005many French paragliding members as American. There are many explanations 2008, inclusive. Accidents are not always for this difference, but it is an indication reported consistently throughout that of how under-developed free flight is in period, so some factors have a sample that is fewer than four years. As in the the US. The second big difference in French US, accident reports are often missing, statistics from USHPA’s is the break- incomplete or inaccurate. Combining down between HG and PG. According all of these factors with the statistically to membership numbers, the PG to HG small sample size, we have to interpret all ratio in France is over 20:1; in the USA of these statistics carefully. Generally, the conclusions in this I believe it is virtually even. It’s hard to translate membership numbers into report are taken directly from the French flying statistics. For example, are there reports. Where any conclusion is mine, I 20 times as many PG flights or flying have clearly identified it as such. French reports at http://federation. hours to HG hours in France? The FFVL produces “integrated” ; US informaflying accident reports that combine tion is at paragliding and hang-gliding. In a few cases, statistics are separated for PG and Fatal Accidents [top table] HG (e.g. fatal accidents), but they are The French reports include more inforusually mixed together. I have followed mation about Fatal Accidents than we do. the FFVL’s practice in this article (often In most cases, the difference between an there is no choice). Given the ratio of PG incident, an injury accident and a fatal by Douglas Mullin

accident is simply the outcome. The same Fatal Accidents 2005-2008 Number % per year errors that produce a “close-call” could France, PG and HG 39 0.043% have a much more serious outcome. From the point of view of an analysis, France, PG 33 0.038% fatalities seldom (if ever) go unreported France, HG 6 0.140% and are investigated in more detail; we USA, PG 15 0.078% can be reasonably confident that the French and US numbers are complete. Thankfully, fatalities are rare, but statisAccidents 2005-2008 Number % per year tically this makes extrapolation difficult. France, PG and HG 1134 1.26% What explains the lower French PG fatality numbers? Statistical variation, France, PG 1079 1.26% pilots who fly less, better pilots, better France, HG 55 1.35% rescue facilities, safety in numbers, better established / understood sites, easier sites USA, PG 177 0.9% or more benign conditions for paraglid403 * 1.28 1.34% ing? I don’t believe the difference is be- USA, PG, Corrected 2001-2008 cause a lot of French PG members are inactive—for example, it is more diffi- too, but I don’t know if they are higher, made between slight and serious injuries. cult to renew FFVL membership than lower or the same as in the States. Your In general, the US reports during this USHPA membership. I think the sample guess is as good as mine. period filter out the non-injury incidents, size is large enough to rule out simple but they are available for the period statistical variation. Beyond that, I sus- Seriousness of Accidents 2001-2005. Over these 5 years, 30% of pect all other factors contribute slightly. 28% of the reports are non-injury inci- the accidents involved no injuries, 64% But, you decide for yourself. dents, 26% of the reports involve slight involved non-fatal injuries and 6% ininjuries, 43.8% involve serious injuries volved fatal injuries. Accidents [bottom table] and 2.2% involve deaths. The reports This particular statistic is widely afThe French numbers include non-injury don’t describe how the distinction is fected by reporting rates; the more seriincidents; the French PG and HG accident rates over the 4-year period are very similar. The French PG accident rate seems to be somewhat higher than the US one— 1.26% of members per year versus 0.9%. But this is deceptive for (at least) two reasons. First, the French numbers include non-injury incidents, and the US numbers exclude them. Since 22% of French accidents are non-injury incidents, we can compensate by “adding” a similar fraction to the US rates. Second, looking quickly at the US statistics, the number of accidents in 2005-2008 is substantially lower than the 2001-2004 period (177 reported injury accidents versus 226); taking numbers over an 8-year period reduces fluctuation in the smaller US sample size. Using this “corrected” number shows a slightly higher US accident rate (1.34% versus 1.26%). It’s unlikely that such a small difference is meaningful, especially when we consider reporting rates. I believe the vast majority of accidents are unreported in the States. I strongly suspect reporting rates are low in France, Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


Flight Type in Accidents 2005-2008 Leisure Competition XC Amateur Tandem Professional Tandem ous the accident, the more likely it is to be reported.

Percentage 82.5% 3.2% 2.9% 4.7% 6.7%

Time of the Year

In several places the reports describe two peaks for reported accidents. The first Gender, age and weight differences occurs in spring, when the combination 14.5% of the reported accidents involve of rusty pilots and strong conditions female members; this is slightly higher produce many accidents. The second is than would be expected according to during the busiest part of the summer, membership rates (13% of members in July and August, when many pilots are are female). Statistical variation (always flying and lots of tourists take tandem more likely with a small sample size) is flights. Of course, there is no data on the the most likely explanation. US reports general number of flights throughout of this period, based on a much smaller the year, so it is hard to know how sigsample size, show big year-to-year fluc- nificant these peaks really are. tuations in the accident rate of female pilots. Type of Flights [SEE TABLE] Without providing detailed analysis The report designates the type of flight as over the 4-year period, the French re- being leisure, competition, XC, amateur ports state several times that many ac- tandem or professional tandem. cidents involve pilots slightly older than I find the number of tandem accidents the membership average and pilots who surprisingly (actually, shockingly) high. are slightly heavier than the national av- Anyone who has flown in the Alps in the erage. The US statistics seem to show the summer will have seen how many flights opposite trend with age; in the US, older professional tandem pilots cram in. I’ve pilots seem to have fewer accidents. also seen professional tandem pilots fly in strong winds (sometimes using both Root Causes launch and landing assistants) when solo The accident reports state that accidents pilots were not flying. The accident reare usually caused by the pilot, rarely by ports comment on this high rate as well equipment or weather. The air conditions and make three points: often are described as being calm in the 1. There are approximately 500 professionmajority of accidents. Strong thermals al tandem pilots in the FFVL; around figure as a factor in maybe 20% of the 2.2% of the members are having 6.7% accidents, peaking during the summer. of the accidents. 2. A tandem accident can involve injuries Phases of Flight to two people. In several places, the reports state that 3. The passenger is more vulnerable than the pilot in a tandem accident. 50% of accidents occur during the landing sequence— statistically the worst The flip side is that professional tandem phase of a flight. 30% of the accidents pilots are required to report all their acoccur during the launch process. Only cidents, and will certainly have a higher 20% occur during the flight itself, and reporting rate than normal pilots. I also find the low number of XC accithose are generally linked to a poor recovery from a collapse while paragliding. dents surprising and wonder if some XC flights are being categorized as leisure. 16

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How Often the Pilot Flies The accident reports divide pilots into flying daily, on weekends, monthly or less often. The first two (daily or weekends) are considered as flying often and the second two (monthly or rarer) as rarely. 38% of accidents occurred to pilots who fly rarely. However, the accident reports generally interpret habitual flying recidivists as suffering from increased exposure. The FFVL states; “the greater expertise from flying a lot does not compensate for the risk associated with increased exposure”. I interpret this rather differently. I would estimate that the frequent fliers are having fewer accidents per flying hour, while those who fly rarely are suffering maybe 3 or 4 times as many accidents per flying hour.

Parachute Deployments Parachute deployments are mentioned in the text only to state that “no-one in an accident had thrown a reserve.” There isn’t any direct statement that some of the accidents could have been avoided (or made less serious) by deploying, but it seems a reasonable conclusion.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics It is terribly difficult to draw strong conclusions from accident reports from different countries. The sample sizes are always statistically small. Countries have different reporting systems and may have different rates of reporting accidents (or near accidents). Caveat lector!

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Getting to the Point by PaulEDWARDS


recently accomplished a goal that has been on my radar for some time. I flew my Wills Wing Eagle 164 twenty miles up the ridge and back— to a place known to the locals as The Point. The Point is at the northern tip of Lookout Mountain overlooking the Tennessee River, with downtown Chattanooga visible in the near distance. It is a beautiful spot, much


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adored by sightseers for its views and his- sites. It is not a highly challenging route, tory. Atop The Point is a park with a monu- although it does have some technical asment dedicated to the soldiers who fought pects. There are pilots who fly to The Point a critical Civil War battle there. As beau- and back multiple times in a single flight. tiful as Lookout Mountain is, you’ve not The record time for flying to The Point and seen The Point until you’ve seen it from a back is just over twenty-four minutes. It grand over! Flying to The Point is some- took me closer to two hours! thing that is done frequently from Lookout When I landed from this flight, I was Mountain Flight Park, one of my home (still) walking on air. This was not my lon-

“...I will remember the specifics of this flight for a long time, because I believe one of the critical steps in the development of hang glider pilots is coming to terms with the idea of landing-out in a field, other than a designated LZ.” gest flight, nor was it my highest. In this, my first year of flying, I feel privileged to have had many glorious days in the skies at sites across the country. But this flight to The Point stands out as a rite-of-passage that occupies a special place in my logbook and mind. Though I’m certain I will fly this out-and-back route many times in the future, I am equally certain that I will remember the specifics of this flight for a long time, because I believe one of the critical steps in the development of hang glider pilots is coming to terms with the idea of landing-out in a field, other than a designated LZ. Landing-out safely not only requires solid landing skills, but also the ability to judge a field’s size, terrain, and vegetation from the air. You must be able to determine the wind direction from the air, while calculating your approach and timing your execution. You must also be willing to deal with the unexpected, for you never know when a barbed wire fence is going to shift into focus at the last moment, or when a smooth flat field is going to resolve itself into a hilly swamp going downhill in all directions. These are some of the more subtle skills that you don’t learn landing in proper LZs, skills that you can’t learn until you venture off the reservation for those first tentative steps into the wild green yonder. The fact of the matter is that if you are going to fly XC, you are going to be landing-out. Many pilots never reach the point where they are comfortable with this notion, and that isn’t necessarily bad! Flying a hang glider evokes awe, wonder, and challenge, and, for some, flying within range of a known, manicured, windsocked LZ is adventure enough. For others, the thrill of flying off into the unknown in search of new terrain, new sources of lift, and new LZs adds a completely new dimension to the art of hang gliding.

I had considered making the flight to The Point once or twice before. On this particular day, conditions looked good. It was cold but not too cold. The wind was smoothly and consistently blowing a steady fifteen straight in. The lazy winter sunshine was about to strike the Northwest-facing ridge, at which point the lift would improve even more. My good friend, Brandon, was there and ready to go, both of us with our radios fully charged. The conditions were perfect for a trip to The Point. As we were readying ourselves for launch, I remembered my previous attempts. A moment always came when I realized that if I flew any further, I would be out of range of the designated LZ. At that point, it seemed as if there was an invisible tether holding me back. I could always think of a reason not to continue. Maybe I wasn’t high enough. Maybe it was getting too late. Maybe I didn’t have someone on radio I could communicate with if I were to land-out. In truth, while these reasons are all valid, the real reason was always my inability to overcome a singular nagging worry: What if I sink out and have to land somewhere out there? We launched at 2PM. With the arrival of the sun, the gusts were starting to pick up. As soon as my feet left the ramp, I was going up fast. By the time I had kicked into my harness boot, I was one hundred feet over launch. By the time I had turned around to watch Brandon launch, I was three hundred feet over. It was definitely on today! Despite our radio check just prior to launching, we were unable to communicate now that we were in the air. We later discovered that my radio’s channel had changed during my launch. We started flying to the north, looking toward the first and biggest hurdle, Steadman’s Gap. From the south side of Steadman’s Gap, one can easily coast back Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


[left, top to bottom] The author launching with assist from Matt Spitalny. Half way there. The Point overlooking The Tennessee River and Chattanooga. Returning to Earth. Photos by Paul Edwards. [below right] The author | photo by Katrina Edwards.

to the main LZ at Lookout Mountain Flight Park. However, once you’ve crossed that gap and gotten over the power lines on the north side, you are no longer in range of the primary LZ. This is the point that I have never managed to break past on previous flights. I’ve been more than high enough to cross the Gap on several occasions, but I’ve never actually crossed over. However, on this day, when that moment came, I felt no hesitation at all. I looked ahead at the marching line of big, cultivated fields and thought, “Yeah, I could land; that’ll be no problem.” Just like that, I stepped through the door. The rest of that magical flight proceeded smoothly. I lost sight of Brandon at some point along the way. Out of sight and with no radios to communicate, we couldn’t coordinate our flight, so I chose to keep going. “After all,” I thought, “he knows where I’m going.” The sun continued to warm the rocks and the lift got better and better. I worked my way up the ten miles of ridge until I arrived at The Point. I took a deep breath and shouted a cry of exultation. It was a glorious sight! The beauty of The Tennessee River, snaking away in both directions, was breathtaking. A freight train lumbered along the riverbank. The mountain below The Point falls away to the valley where Chattanooga rests at its feet. I was reminded of a scene from a Disney movie. And there I was, climbing in the best thermal of the day right over the monument that rests atop the tip of Lookout Mountain. It is difficult to describe the complexity of emotions I was experiencing. First, there was the heady wonder caused by drinking in the stunning beauty of where I was and what I was seeing. Then, there was the sense of accomplishment I felt at having achieved a goal that I had set for myself some time ago. Yet there was something more compelling moving me— the change that occurs in oneself when something once unattainable is finally reached. The most significant part of flying is not arriving at the physical goals we have set for ourselves. The biggest impact comes via

the process of altering who and what you are in the effort to reach these goals. Hang gliding is a very dynamic activity. It can be at once transcendent and thrilling— heavenly and frightening. It requires a constant evaluation of where you are and where you are going. You cannot drift aimlessly into hang gliding. If you wish to keep growing as a pilot, you must do so with focus, passion, and determination. This is not a sport that requires great physical prowess, nor does it require special intelligence. What is does require is heart and courage and a willingness to take measured risks in the quest for higher heights, both physical and metaphorical. In my short time as a pilot, I have been stretched, challenged, uplifted, and, on occasion, pounded by my desire to master free flight. I am a much happier person because of it—more fulfilled. And I have a heightened sense of integrity that can be seen in all areas of my life. I haven’t mastered free flight, nor do I believe mastery is possible. In fact, I am constantly surprised by one simple facet of flying. Flying doesn’t ever become normal. Flying never feels mundane. Every time I start to get comfortable with flying, or start to feel as if I’ve got some part of it down, some new experience is out there waiting to provide a glimpse of a whole new level. Some aspect of flying will demonstrate that I have barely begun to scratch the surface. Something else will catch my attention, and I will have taken the journey up to and right through another door. But, after all, when you think about it, isn’t that The Point?

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Photo courtesy Cross Country Magazine


Flying Rags for

Glory a book by Mads Syndergaard By Josh Cohn


hen I heard that Mads Syndergard had written a book about paragliding comps, I preordered it right away.  There were, after all, precisely zero books on the subject to date and I knew Mads to hold many opinions, usually with solid arguments and experience to back them up. Getting into competing in the US in the mid-90’s, you had to pretty much move to Sun Valley and join a commune to get some inside competition information.  Not being the joiner type, I had to learn the slow way.  Having a book like this could have saved years of confusion and lackluster results. The chapters on gear and paperwork, task types and scoring systems will be useful for beginners.  Of particular interest is a piece of advice that has raised some controversy on the forum recently.  Mads recommends picking a previous season’s glider with a good reputation as a first comp glider.  This makes sense. The feel


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of a comp glider is typically more talkative than that of a serial glider, since it is aimed at a different user.  So while this year’s serial glider may go almost as well as a two-year-old comp glider, the older comp glider will serve as a better transition to a new comp glider in the long-term. The chapter on fear expands on something I’d heard Mads say a decade or so ago, in the context of flying into lee sides in the Alps, “It’s important to separate the real dangers from the mentally challenging situations.” A sidebar passes on a piece of advice I gave Mads a couple of years ago on the Inspo launch.  The angle of a pod harness can be adjusted significantly by fixing narrow risers toward the front or back of the carabiners.  I use rubber doughnuts from a hardware store. The advice about glider handling on glide is generally good, but doesn’t seem to incorporate the latest knowledge about 2-liners. The importance of getting a good start is paradoxical—it is often unimportant

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but often psychologically helpful.  Of even more importance, as Mads notes, is not being thrown off when you don’t get a good start.  It almost never works to chase the leaders from below. With some experience in paragliding comps, it becomes clear that it’s an almost entirely mental game, maybe even moreso than more physically demanding sports like golf or tennis. (After a quick and enjoyable read through Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open, one gets the sense that at the highest level of that game, mental factors are often decisive as well.) Perhaps in our sport, gear quality is analogous to physical conditioning in less gear-intensive games.  To be competitive at a high level you must have good gear, but the mental component is what tends to change from day to day and comp to comp.  Working on getting that under control is part of what keeps the sport continually interesting for me. Of course, the mental game is composed of many factors—motivation, fear, excitement, decision-making, discipline.  When you first make a boneheaded mistake, the impulse is to wonder why you didn’t think of the better option, after which you resolve to think more and better next time, and to pre-think many scenarios in the future. According to Mads, this is not the right way to think; there is too much input changing too fast for all decisions to be made consciously.  Of course, it’s good to get in the habit of having plans B and C in case A doesn’t work out, but we need to train the subconscious to make good decisions and then get out of its way. The well-trained subconscious could

be thought of as the mechanic who ing.  In that spirit, my reasons for and knows how to fix your car.  The against buying the book: conscious mind sometimes acts like an overbearing customer who The Cons: wants to watch and second-guess Not being a native English speaker, or perthe procedure.  Mads proposes haps just not a copy-editor at heart, Mads some solutions to keep the pesky uses some unusual spellings and words customer occupied with maga- (“3first” for 31st on p. 191, “Sinus wave” zines in the waiting room.  One on p. 66 and “Odds and sods” on p. 108, is repeating a mantra, though although apparently this is a reference to a I haven’t had much luck with 1974 Who album).  Depending on wheththat.  Another, which seems er or not you’re a grammar nerd, this could (from a very limited survey) to be distracting.  The style is informal to be much more common than the point of sounding like a blog or forum post at times.  One photo looks a lot like I’d realized, is singing to oneself. Mads writes that it’s usually coun- an ad for a UP harness.  There is not a lot terproductive to try to keep track of of technical depth, though a good bibliyour rivals.  I had a chance to learn that ography helps compensate.  At about $45, lesson the hard way in ‘97.  I was in the it is expensive for a 7” square paperback lead on the last day of the Nationals with a somewhat fragile cover.  The subin Lakeview.  Lee Kaiser was a close title promises “The A to Z of Competition second, so I was trying to keep track of Paragliding” but there is no Z.  Worst of him.  However, I got stuck during the all, I’ve now got a folk song with a very climb out from launch and got a bit similar title stuck in my head. behind.  Playing catch up, I got to within sight of Lee’s yellow Xenon on glide for Pros: goal.  I was in a climb with goal almost The informal writing style is also a on glide.  I did a rough mental calcula- strength.  It is a quick read, partly due to tion and decided that to have any hope the lack of graphs or detailed technical disof holding on to first I had to leave early cussions. That said, some of the ideas are and take a risk on the final glide.  Of profound enough to stand up to multiple course, I landed short.  It turned out that readings.  The photos, many from Martin the light colored glider was not Lee, who Scheel, Mark Hayman and Nick Greece, had landed before the first turnpoint, but are outstanding and capture the beauty and humor of comps well.  A glance at Todd Bibler on his light blue Sector. Detailed advice is given about how to the table of contents indicates a breadth of approach potential cash sponsors, with topics, from “Pimping” to “The External the caveat that working at a job may actu- Catheter.”  There are topics to interest the ally be a more efficient use of time.  Mads’ beginning competitor or spectator as well view of pilots asking for free gliders could as the seasoned PWC pilot. Compared to be summed up in a few words: “Good a red Thermallator II and plane tickets to luck with that.”  Elsewhere, he suggests a Brazil, it’s cheap.  And, lastly, it is interestfree glider that is not competitive may be ing to read a friend’s writing that’s usually seen in a quick forum or blog in the worth what you paid for it. The history section brings back memo- organized thoughts and longer format of ries and fills in some events I missed.  As this book. the disclaimer warned, I remembered a ny competitor or person curious few things differently, mainly in terms about paragliding competition of which gliders were out which year will want this book for his/her and whether there was a fatality at the ‘99 Worlds.  It is as up to date as could collection.  The more ambitious will want be hoped, covering (briefly) the 2010 to give it a close-reading-or-three and dig Superfinal and reflecting at length on the into the bibliography.  With inspiring photography and vivid tales, Flying Rags Ozone dominance in the 2010 season. The book begins with a preface that for Glory is a good reminder of the highs lists the reasons for and against compet- and lows of this game.


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Glide Ratio

Means a lot

Part II

by DennisPagen


here’s a line in a Tom T. Hall coun- of all the forces acting perpendicular to try song claiming the essence of life our path of travel (the good forces); drag is “faster horses, younger women, is all the forces acting parallel and in the older whisky and better glide,” or some- opposite direction of our travel (the evil thing like that. I don’t know about the forces). In figure 1 we see a few flying defirst three, but can’t we all agree on the vices. The rock is falling straight down glide part? The better glide we have, the and all the air’s forces upon it are directed higher we reach any point we are heading opposite its direction of travel. Like a marfor, be it a landing field, the next thermal riage gone bad, all it gets from its relationor a distant bar. A great glide ratio along ship with the air is drag. The first airfoil is like a single surface with a good sink rate makes for an excellent glider. It’s easier to be an excellent hang glider wing cross-section. It may be pilot with an excellent glider than with a high lift, but it is also fairly high in drag, especially at lower angles of attack. The garbage bag. airfoil on the bottom right is more like a double surface hang glider or a paraglider GETTING GLIDE Glide ratio is how far we reach forward for airfoil. The total lift and drag on the three every unit of altitude we fall. For example, is illustrated. Note that the double-sura 10 to 1 glide ratio has us going forward face airfoil has less drag than the singleten feet for every one foot of drop (in still surface one, and therefore a better lift to air—we will always be talking still air in drag ratio and thus better glide ratio. In this article). The maximum glide ratio is truth, lift to drag ratio of the airfoil itself the best forward distance we can achieve is determined very specifically by the for a given drop, and this occurs at a very shaping of the airfoil at all points along its specific airspeed for a given glider/pilot top and bottom surface. But pitch stabilcombination, known as the max. glide ity of the airfoil is also determined by this shaping. So, it is the designer’s job to find airspeed. Here are the design and physical as- the best combination of low drag/high lift pects that help produce a good maximum and adequate stability for his/her design, glide ratio: low drag. What? Is that all? weighing all the other factors that affect Yep, but (and it’s a big butt) getting that stability. Aspect ratio, simply put, is the width of low drag requires a good airfoil, a good (high) aspect ratio and as few things as a glider’s wings (span from tip to tip) dipossible hanging out in the breeze to trip vided by its average depth or chord (front the air. We’ll look at each of these points. to rear distance). It is a well-known axiom A good airfoil is one that produces lots in aviation that the higher a wing’s aspect of lift and minimum drag. By convention, ratio, the higher the maximum glide ratio, in aerodynamics we define lift as the sum all else being equal. The simple explana-


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tion for this principle is that as a wing moves along, it plows air out of the way. Mostly the air moves over and under the wing, but some of it escapes around the ends of the wing, creating tip vortices or swirls as shown in figure 2. These vortices do nothing much for the lift of the wing, but require a lot of energy to produce, and are therefore a loss. We represent this loss (along with some other factors, such as spanwise flow) as a form of drag, called induced drag. In fact, at best glide airspeed, fully 50% of the drag on a wing is induced drag. By increasing the aspect ratio, we make the escaping air a smaller percentage of the total airflow, and thus the induced drag becomes a smaller percentage of the total drag burden, as shown. The final contributor to drag—things hanging in the airflow—is a major one. Generally speaking, everything in the flow, other than the wing, contributes mainly drag, not lift to the system. These things (in our type of flying) include the pilot’s body and harness, harness straps, lines, wires, tubes, instruments, hanging tongue, etc. Add then all up and you get form drag. The smaller and more streamlined you can make form drag, the less total drag and therefore better lift/drag ratio and thus glide ratio. One other factor adds to the total drag package and that is the skin friction on the wing. Any roughness increases the drag. We’ll lump all this drag that isn’t induced drag into a term parasitic drag, and if you know parasites like I know parasites, it ain’t good. So there you have it: to get a better

maximum glide we have to minimize drag. panying chart shows the angles related to Note that I didn’t emphasize maximizing glide ratios. If our glide ratio is a 1 to 1, lift along with minimizing drag. That’s angle GA is 45 degrees. If it is 4 to 1 (early because the lift always has to be nearly the hang gliders), GA is 14 degrees. Now look same. What?! Yeah, think about it. At a 10 at the angles (GAs) for 10 to 1 and 11 to 1. to 1 glide, lift is 99.5% of the total upward There is only a half-degree difference. Do forces on a wing. The total upward forces you think you could measure this differalways have to be equal to the weight of ence? Well, after a mile glide, there would the glider/pilot system while gliding along be a 48-foot height difference, assuming in a steady manner. Otherwise we would no horizontal wind. It should be clear, speed up if the lift was less than the weight, however, as glide ratios get higher there is or slow down if the lift was greater. So we a smaller and smaller angle difference in concentrate on getting rid of drag to get the glide paths of two adjacent glide ratios better glide performance (last month we (.3 degrees between 14 to 1 and 15 to 1) and the height difference in a mile of glide discussed a few of these matters). is equally less (25 feet in this case). Sailplanes and birds help emphasize FINDING GLIDE Now lets look at measuring glide ratio. We some of the above ideas. The bird with can express glide ratio as an angle, since the best glide ratio overall is the albatross our glide path forms a triangle with the and it gets its exceptional glide by virtue vertical distance and horizontal distance of its 11 foot wingspan and high aspect shown in figure 3. We have labeled the ratio. Other high-glide birds like condors, glide angle GA in the figure. The accom- frigate birds and pelicans also sport high aspect ratio wings. But these natural creatures can’t compete with sailplanes. The top sailplanes have aspect ratios pushing 40 and claim a 60 to 1 glide ratio. The difference between the glide angle of 59 to 1 glide ratio (GA=0.955 deg.) and a 60 to 1 (GA=0.971 deg.) is 0.016 degrees. In ten

miles there would only be a 15-foot difference in still air. Impossible to measure with reliability…you think??? So how do sailplanes measure glide ratios? Well, sometimes they put fuselages and even scale models in wind tunnels to collect drag data, but more often then not, they do flight testing and measure sink rate related to specific airspeeds, then create a polar graph from which they can measure the maximum glide ratio (the whole concept of polars and how to measure glide ratios from them is dealt with in depth in the book Performance Flying). For this method to work airspeed must be calibrated very accurately and sink rate is best calculated by using an accurate altimeter and timing the drop through a given height, say 100 feet. With this method, sailplane gurus can get pretty accurate polars, able to detect differences due to small gaps in control surfaces, bugs on the leading edge or waviness in the airfoil. However, there are problems using this method with hang gliders and paragliders. To begin, we cannot calibrate our airspeed very easily. In sailplanes, they use a remote sensor for every glider tested. This item is essentially an airspeed probe on a “bomb” hanging below the glider out of

1 to 1, GA=45 deg.

6 to 1, GA=9.5 deg.

11 to 1, GA=5.2

16 to 1, GA=3.58

2 to 1, GA=26.5

7 to 1, GA=8.1

12 to 1, GA=4.8

17 to 1, GA=3.37

3 to 1, GA=18.4

8 to 1, GA=7.1

13 to 1, GA=4.4

18 to 1, GA=3.18

4 to 1, GA=14.0

9 to 1, GA=6.3

14 to 1, GA=4.1

19 to 1, GA=3.01

5 to 1, GA=11.3

10 to 1, GA=5.7

15 to 1, GA=3.8

20 to 1, GA=2.86

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the wing’s airflow distortion effect. For a hang glider this method has been used some time ago and did show quite a bit of difference when measuring the airspeed at the base tube (where most instruments are attached) and well below the wing. The effect is greater the higher the angle of attack. On a paraglider, this effect is less, since the pilot is further below the wing, but there is still airflow distortion around the pilot’s body. The biggest problem with our glider testing is that we are light and so are affected more by slow and random movements of the air. A sailplane’s inertia means it is less susceptible to little changes. Finally, our higher sink rate (about twice that of sailplanes) means we need many more flights to get the required meaningful data points. All that being said, still the best current method to get a realistic polar map of our glider’s performance and thus a maximum glide value is to use the current instruments that record airspeed versus sink rate and plot points on a graph. If you try this method (and you should, because each pilot/glider combo may be slightly different due to wing distortion), you will find much scatter of data. It is simply impossible to perform a very controlled experiment when we are out in the


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seething environment. Of course the still- wing loading and span efficiency (see forest day you can find and a tow system to mula 3). Now we can assume a given span allow repeat flights helps, but still there is efficiency and airspeed for best glide and data scatter. It is almost impossible to find calculate best glide (aspect ratio and wing air that is not moving, as any balloonist loading are known for a given glider/pilot combination). The first thing we can do is can tell you. assume 100% efficiency and calculate the upper limit for max glide ratio. CALCULATING GLIDE—HANG GLIDERS Let’s use a topless hang glider for exAnother way to get some glide answers is to use well-developed equations to cal- ample, since we have some ballpark data culate it. The formula is pretty simple— for those popular wings. If the aspect ratio max glide equals the square root of the is 7.5, the flying speed for best glide is quantity: pi (π) times aspect ratio (AR), 28mph (41.07 feet per sec.), and the wing divided by 4 times the zero lift drag coef- loading 1.9 lbs/sq. foot, the L/Dmax (best ficient (Cdo) times K, the reciprocal of the glide) is 12.6 to 1. But even the sleekest sailplanes don’t span efficiency. This equation is formula 1in the side panel. The unknowns in this quite get 100% efficiency, so we need to case are Cdo and K. Cdo can be readily tone our numbers down. With 95% effifound in a wind tunnel, but to my knowl- ciency, we get a max. glide of 12.0 to 1, edge, no one has done this to a full-sized and with 90% we get 11.4 to 1. These are modern hang glider (models don’t work pretty small numbers compared to presbecause it is very difficult to scale stiffness ent-day claims and assumptions. Why so low? My answer is that our and size at the same time). So we can use true airspeed is higher than our instruanother formula to eliminate Cdo The formula for velocity (flying speed) ments indicate. Below a hang glider wing at best glide is given as formula 2 in the (any wing) the airflow is slowed, and the side panel. By using formula 1 and 2, closer you get to the wing, the greater this we can make substitutions and come up effect is. At the base tube (where most with a new equation eliminating Cdo. instruments are located) the slowing is 3 The result is an equation that gives the L/ to 5 mph. In my personal example, I see Dmax in terms of the aspect ratio, velocity, minimum sink speed between 20 and 21

mph on my instrument, which relates to FOR ASPECT RATIO = 7.25 an actual airspeed of say 23 to 24 mph. If a glider’s polar is truly a parabola (which Best glide MPH Best glide FT/SEC it nearly is between say 20 and 35 mph), 27 39.6 then from mathematical analysis the best 28 41.1 glide speed must be 1.316 (the fourth 29 42.5 root of 3) times the minimum sink speed. 30 44.0 Here’s a table of these speeds: 31 45.4 Now let’s assume my min. sink speed is truly 23 mph so my best glide speed is 44.4 feet per second. Keeping everything FOR ASPECT RATIO = 7.5 else in the above example the same, for27 39.6 mula 3 gives us a max glide of 14.6 to 1 at 28 41.1 100 % efficiency. If we assume actual 90 29 42.5 % efficiency we end up with a max glide 30 44.0 of 13.1 to 1. This value sounds very close 31 45.4 to actual. To save the reader a lot of math we offer the following chart giving glide FOR ASPECT RATIO = 7.7 ratio values for various aspect ratios, best 27 39.6 glide speeds and span efficiencies (note, 28 41.1 the wing loading used in these computa29 42.5 tions is 1.9 lbs/sq. ft. If your wing loading 30 44.0 is different, don’t worry too much because 31 45.4 in formula 3 as wing loading increases, so does the velocity Vo. However, if you are cy should be higher than a flex wing. going to do the calculations yourself, use your correct wing loading and best as- PARAGLIDER GLIDE sumed Vo): Calculating paraglider glide is nearly impossible until we find some reliable data MIN SINK BEST GLIDE SPEED points. In fact, it is difficult to decide 20 mph 26.3 mph (38.6 fps) what to use as an aspect ratio number. The 21 mph 27.6 mph (40.5 fps) reason being, is that the downward angled 22 mph 29.0 mph (42.5 fps) wing tips are like diffuser tips, which tend 23 mph 30.3 mph (44.4 fps) to reduce tip vortices. In addition, who 24 mph 31.6 mph (46.3 fps) knows what to use for K? The elliptical Looking at the above numbers it ap- shape of the canopies is good for span pears that the higher the aspect ratio, the efficiency, and so is the down-curved tip better the glide. Normally, that is true, but shape. It is possible that a paraglider has not much is normal in hang glider design. more span efficiency than a hang glider. The problem is, with our flexible sails and But its drag Cdo is higher. I ran some airframes (we are not speaking of rigid numbers on the GIN Boomerang Sport wings here), it is difficult to keep twist out (it had the most detailed data I could find of the wing as the aspect ratio gets higher on the internet), and used it’s projected (the wing gets longer and thinner). So in (flying) aspect ratio 0f 4.5, Vo of 21 mph, most cases, there is not a big difference in a K of 1 (100% span efficiency) and a the max. glide of a glider with an aspect wing loading of .83 lbs/sq.ft. Interestingly, ratio of 7.25 or 7.5 and more. Again we see the result is 9.6 to 1 max. glide, which is the difficulty of getting precise glide num- the same as the manufacturer published. bers either by measurement or calculation. Since tenths of a glide are impossible to From all the data I’ve seen, I believe we get measure, it leads me to believe this is a 90% or less efficiency and our best glide calculated value. But do we know how acairspeed is between 29 and 31 mph, de- curate this is? I would like to see two things: pubpending on the wing loading and glider. lished polars acquired on a good instruRigid wings can be looked at with ment, and some glide ratio testing. The the same analysis. They tend to have less former has a few potential problems, bewashout and sweep, so their span efficien- cause paragliders fly so slowly and are so

L/Dmax at 90%

L/Dmax at 95%

L/Dmax at 100%

10.1 10.8 11.6 12.4 13.3

10.6 11.4 12.3 13.1 14.0

11.2 12.0 12.9 13.8 14.8

10.4 11.4 12.0 12.9 13.7

11.0 12.0 12.6 13.6 14.5

11.6 12.6 13.4 14.3 15.3

10.7 11.5 12.3 13.2 14.1

11.3 12.1 13.0 13.9 14.9

11.9 12.8 13.7 14.7 15.7

light that they have even more sensitivity to very slight movements of the air than a hang glider. The latter has not been done to my knowledge with modern top performing paragliders. I think what we did in the 90s should be repeated, using a hill about 200 ft. high (a higher hill risks more chance of moving air, lower and the takeoff and landing phase are too great a part of the flight and thus influence the glide calculation). Once we get some of this data with a good reliability, we can start running the equations and see how it washes out.

REALITY CHECK There is one more thing we can do to check our logic. We can look at glide ratios in comparison to aspect ratios, since aspect ratio is one of the important variables in the L/D max equation. To whit: I have searched dozens of published sailplane performance specifications (available on line) and find that the max glide of these craft tends to be between 1.5 and 2 times the glider’s aspect ratio. The most common numbers for higher performance sailplanes is about 1.75 times the aspect ratio. For example, if the aspect ratio is 20, the stated max. glide is around 35 to 1. What does this tell us? We shouldn’t expect our hang and para gliders to do better than say 1.7 times their aspect ratio, Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero



GLIDE @ 1.5 X AR


ures, but by no means were we more accurate than half a point, and more likely 6.0 9.0 10.2 one point of glide. In my view, most cur6.25 9.38 10.63 rent stated/published/displayed glide ratio 7.0 10.5 11.9 claims are unrealistically obese, and while not as overweight as they became in the 7.25 10.88 12.33 inflated eighties, they still are a bit off. 7.5 11.25 12.75 What’s wrong with a bit of enthusiasm, 7.7 11.55 13.09 you may ask? Surely a pilot doesn’t calcu13.3 19.95 22.61 late whether or not he can make it past a sea of trees based on published specs, so especially since sailplane wings are more jury is out. If the Boomerang truly gets why worry? Well, besides the scientist in efficient and their Cdo is less than ours. 9.6 to 1, then that’s more then twice the me rebelling, I think it behooves us to know where we are at all times in terms Above are some max glide ratios based on projected aspect ratio. aspect ratios times 1.5 and 1.7. The purpose of this whole exercise is to of performance so we can detect and deThe first value is typical of a top para- point out how difficult it is to accurately termine the small increments in improveglider’s projected aspect ratio. The next measure glide ratio, so that many claims ment that gradually come our way. Hyper two are like an intermediate hang glider or are suspect. Anyone who has tried to use claims require a designer who makes a a paraglider’s geometric (flat) aspect ratio. the recording instruments to get their breakthrough, no matter how small, to The next four are typical top hang glider glider’s polar knows about the serious exaggerate, so the pilot community as a ARs, while the last is the aspect ratio of an scatter of data. It is nearly impossible to whole cannot truly judge the benefit of Atos VR. The reader can do other similar find air with zero movement. For years I the progression. The tremendous advanccalculations to satisfy his or her curiosity have conducted glide ratio tests on hang es in performance that have accrued over and secret lust for math. In general, I am gliders and initiated the glide ratio course the years in flex and rigid hang gliders as very doubtful that we get more than 1.6 at Morningside in New Hampshire for well as paragliders are too good to have to times our aspect ratio for max glide in a the purpose of determining glide ratios, stretch the truth. That’s my story and I’m flex wing hang glider. For a paraglider, the and feel we achieved good ballpark fig- sticking to it. 4.5



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FORMULAS The value for the L/D max of a glider is given by the formula:

This formula is derived from basic aerodynamic equations assuming an elliptical lift distribution (the best case) and can be found in many aerodynamic texts. Similarly, the formula for the airspeed at L/D max is:

The above two formulas can be used to eliminate Cdo by solving for Cdo in one equation and substituting it in the other equation. The result is:

This formula can be used to find L/D max if we assume a value for K, the efficiency. Conversely, if we have an accurate value for glide ratio and the speed at which it occurs, we can find K. Incidentally, if we use the first two formulas and have reasonable data for max. glide, and its airspeed, Vo, we can solve for the two remaining unknowns, K and Cdo. I did this for a flex wing hang glider using L/Dmax of 13 to 1, a Vo of 30 mph, a wing loading 1.9 lbs/sq.ft. The result was a K of 1.099, meaning an efficiency (1/K) of 91% and a Cdo of .032. These numbers seem to be about right to my ear.

In these equations, the following symbols apply: L/D max = the maximum glide ratio a glider can achieve. AR = aspect ratio (span squared divided by sail area) K = 1 divided by the span efficiency. This factor takes into account a wing’s twist and departure from a true elliptical planform. K should be 1 (100% efficiency) or greater. A 90% efficiency is K = 1.11 Cdo = the zero lift drag coefficient. It can be found in a wind tunnel by changing angle of attack until zero vertical force is created, then measuring the airspeed and drag force. Generally it is not known for our wings and must be calculated. Vo max = velocity at maximum L/D in feet per second (mph x 1.467 gives feet per second). Po = air density (.00238 slugs at sea level) W = wing loading in pounds per square feet (total weight of glider and pilot divided by total wing area.


by GiorgioSABBIONI

An Interview with PAL TAKATS Pal Takats, the Hungarian acro star, finally suc- when Raul discovered the Infinity Tumbling. ceeded in being first in the world to perform the most advanced acro maneuver: the Esfera (Spanish word for Why was Esfera impossible in the past but is sphere, globe). It is based on the Infinity Tumble: he feasible now? What’s changed to allow this? entered into a SAT, went through Rhythmic SAT up into Infinity, and, instead of closing the rotation with Pal: The problem might be related to both the a full stall, he forced the glider to fall back down into a pilots and gliders. When the Infinity was developed, SAT, but turn in the opposite direction from the direc- pilots worked hard to perform it, but nowadays tion it took at the beginning of the maneuver. While there are not so many pilots who are able to master making this transformation, the canopy completed a it and cannot see possibilities beyond the Infinity. perfect spherical rotation around its pilot. That gave it In the past, gliders were a problem, but they have the name the “maneuver.” improved. My current glider, the Thriller, is the best one I’ve had, and I’m convinced that it helped me Is Esfera a new idea or an old one? realize this new maneuver. I love the feeling of the Thriller; it’s dynamic and has amazing stability. Pal: I spoke with Raul Rodriguez, and he told The Thriller is the result of a long collaboration me that he had been experimenting with the anti- between the designer Ernst Strobl, Gabor Kezi and Rhythmic technique at an earlier date, and the SAT me. Since the beginning, we have flown gliders deteam named it Esfera (also Total SAT) back in 2005, signed by Ernst: we started to fly with the G-Force,

[opposite] Esfera. [above] Pal Takats. Photos by Giorgio Sabbioni.

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“It wasn’t something like doing your first SAT and then knowing how to do the SAT forever; I did it one time, but I couldn’t repeat it.”

[above and right] A series of stills from within the Esfera | photos by Pal Takats.

then with the Twister from Apco that was also designed by Strobl and then the Morpheus. Finally, the combination of the experiences we gained with these gliders, along with the genius of Ernst, resulted in the production of the Thriller. Besides requiring perfect piloting, the secret to completing a successful maneuver is that the glider must be capable of performing a very stable Rhythmic SAT, followed by the anti-Rhythmic and switch back to the SAT. Making the first Rhythmic SAT to Infinity, Raul Rodriguez had the idea of coming down from Infinity back into SAT. He told me he attempted a few times to perform it, but it was not easy. It is very frightening, because as soon as you start to come down from the Infinity, the glider starts to move really strangely and starts to lose energy. These signs indicate that sooner or later you will lose a lot of pressure in the canopy, but because the movement is still very high, a dangerous situation is created where you could easily fall into the lines or the canopy. So I think that all of these possible problems have created kind of a barrier or wall in front of the pilots who wanted to reach Esfera. How did you work to get it? Pal: In the beginning I was very uncertain if it would be possible. It was hard to imagine it could be a clean maneuver. Last year I started practising by going into a Rhythmic SAT, building it up to a high tumbling angle, then trying to come back down to SAT again. It worked pretty well, but the main problem was: how could I come down from a straight, symmetrical Infinity without messing up?


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In May, in Oludeniz, I made a couple of attempts, but when I tried to work down the angle from Infinity towards SAT, I got really scared. I didn’t feel good about it and didn’t think it was possible. I felt like the glider was missing the right stability. However, I was convinced that the maneuver should be possible and came to the conclusion that it required a special glider. I spoke with Ernst Strobl about making a sick prototype with special reinforcements inside, to make it collapse-resistant. At that moment I was sure that this development was necessary to execute the Esfera. However, the plans and all the details of this prototype were so complicated that Ernst needed to be right there in the production line, supervising, to make sure that the result would be what we wanted. This was not possible. This year, in October, I went to Oludeniz again. I had my brand new 17m2 Thriller 2k11 edition, which is the latest model of our wing, and basically has the same construction we used to perform the Tandem Infinity. I had a good feeling about the wing and started to practice the anti-Rhythmic again. I just entered Infinity and started to do corrections on one side to see what happened. That was kind of scary... because for a very long time, I hadn’t done new tricks in acro: everything I had been doing or practising over the past few years I felt confident about. But I got the same feeling I had when I was training in Organya four years ago to learn the maneuver. Every time I try to learn something new, the possibility of running into an emergency situation is there. So, since I was trying something completely unknown, I was over-excited. I just told

myself: “OK, now I have the water, I have the altitude, I have my rescue chutes, what can go wrong? Just go for it and continue until it collapses, or something goes wrong!” So, that’s what I did. But I didn’t understand what was happening, because the way the glider was moving and pushing me in my harness was really different from the Rhythmic SAT. The feeing was very strange. So I made a video of the execution and—I’m not joking—I probably watched that a hundred times to try to understand it better. During the next couple of days, I continued to try the Esfera over and over again and spent hours watching the videos in the evening. This was really important to achieve success. When you execute the trick live, everything happens so fast you just do it by feeling. I slowly started to believe that I could reach my goal with my serial Thriller 2k11, even without special reinforcements. The glider was surprisingly stable, allowing me to avoid ”hot” situations. Finally, a few flights later I managed to do the first successful Anti-Rhythmic and go down into SAT. It was not well done, because the wing-tip lost pressure, but it did not collapse. It wasn’t something like doing your first SAT and then knowing how to do the SAT forever; I did it one time, but I couldn’t repeat it. I still don’t have the perfect technique. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but… I probably did it 10-12 times. A few days later, I did the very first Esfera, starting in a left SAT, going up to Infinity and exiting in a SAT, turning to the right. Are there two new maneuvers in the Esfera concept? Pal: Anti-Rhythmic is the technique itself: coming down from Infinity to SAT. Esfera (the ‘ball’) is the complete maneuver: you start with a SAT, build it up to Infinity and exit in a SAT, turning to the opposite direction. I’m sure there is still a very fine, special technique to be discovered in making the transition fluid. I probably need a couple of more months to work on it.

Was it more difficult for you to reach the Infinity tumble or the Esfera? Pal: Interesting question: there is a big difference. When I was learning Infinity, I already knew that Infinity was possible. When I was trying to do the anti-Rhythmic, I didn’t know if it was possible. So, this uncertainty put it into a new perspective. Actually, Infinity is much harder and more dangerous to learn, because you have to master the feeling of perfect timing, how and when to correct it, how to do the Rhythmic, the entry, the exit...everything is completely new and you have no idea of the limits. By the time you get to the point of learning Esfera, you should have already mastered all that, and, most importantly: you know when it is really time to stop the maneuver. But, I’m very excited to see Raul, Félix, Horacio, Antoine and all the young talents trying the anti-Rhythmic. Every Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


[above] Composite image of the Esfera in action.

pilot has a slightly different technique and, as soon as some other pilots are able to do it, we’ll be able to share experiences and work on it together. And, who knows, maybe it will open new possibilities? So, are you reluctant to share your information? Pal: Not at all. I am open to telling about it, but only to the right pilots, to those who I’m sure are not going to kill themselves trying it. The basic technique is not very difficult; it will not be a secret, as the Infinity was five years ago. When the Infinity appeared, nobody believed this maneuver could be possible, so it was a very big surprise, something


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completely new. The difference with the Esfera is that most of the top pilots have already been taught about it. They know about it; they have it in mind. I’ve made it, but other pilots with the right glider are ready to follow, because they are advanced enough. I’m not reluctant to share my knowledge or experience with them. In fact, I’m happy that I can do something for our sport in this way. I’m especially excited to see the differences among the gliders and how the different models will succeed or fail. :-) You are currently at the top of the acro world, but there are a lot of pilots who are close to

reaching Infinity but are not able to do it. Based on your experience, what is the step they need to take to be able to do it? Pal: Information on how to achieve Infinity can be gained relatively easily. The gliders are good, there are many pilots who are able to do it and they will tell you how. it’s no longer necessary to risk your life and learn from your own mistakes. You can discuss technique and watch videos from top pilots and see how the pro’s do it. There are more technical things to learn, like helico combinations, but Infinity is the most radical and spectacular, and people think if you do Infinity you are a cool guy, so pilots starts to learn it too early, too fast, before getting familiar with the basics of it. In acro you have to go step-by-step. You cannot jump from one maneuver to the other without having good basics to progress and step to the next level. Infinity is not the most difficult maneuver, but it is the most dangerous. The problem is that the only safe way to learn Infinity is to master the Rhythmic SAT, because only with the Rhythmic are you able to learn the right timing, the technique of the correction and how to maintain the movement. But many of the acro gliders are not able to do

good Rhythmic SAT; some of them don’t work at all. The only way for pilots who have gliders like this, but desperately want to learn Infinity, is to go for the spiral-tumbling entries. This is the worst situation, because the guys make spiral, enter the tumbling and then, when they are in a vertical tumbling (I do not call it Infinity because it’s just a vertical tumbling), they don’t have any idea how to make corrections: how it feels when they are in the center, how it feels when they are on the side— they don’t know anything. That is like Russian roulette. They are in a very dangerous situation, because in any moment, a touch on the brake or the wrong timing, and they are in big trouble. Today I see many pilots buying acro gliders and going for hardcore stuff. Without knowing how to do a helico, a nice tail-slide, or dynamic full stall, they want to learn Infinity. They want to do it and simply go for it without thinking. I’m really afraid to watch these pilots. There already have been some bad—sometimes fatal—accidents when pilots have fallen into the glider, and it will happen again. My advice is: go step by step, don’t rush into a new maneuver, get good basics, and, most important, get a glider that is capable of doing GOOD Rhythmic SAT. Master the Rhythmic SAT first. When you are ready, Infinity will knock on your door!

As with all advanced manuevers, a highly trained coaching session over the water is advisable. For videos and a deeper understanding of the terms used in this article go to


wing to the extraordinary success of the POISON2, the bar was set

high for its successor. Consecutive two-time winner of the German Paragliding Series Class, the POISON2 has been treasured by pilots for its balanced flight performance. We are certain that we have developed a worthy heir. With optimized silver cloth, rigid foil, individual line connection and an aspect ration of 6.8, this is an extremely impressive and performance-strong wing.

: ww

w.w olf

gan g




Pho to

We are pleased to present our new flagship, the

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Forbes Australia

198 Miles of Good Times

by Jamie Sheldon


ay 5 of the Forbes Flatlands: I got out of bed that morning with the worst attitude. Nothing was going to fix my day, and I seriously


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questioned whether I would even fly. town of Hay.  Having not made it even Hearing what the task committee had close to goal on the two previous, and planned for us didn’t help either. Word much shorter, tasks, I could only feel disat the briefing was that they were call- couraged at the thought of such a long ing a 318.9 km task—the third longest one. But, rather than spend the energy in hang gliding comp history—to the explaining to everyone who would ask

“I jumped in the launch line very early, thinking I could get it over with more quickly if I started first.  But it seemed I couldn't even do that part right.” all morning, I decided the path of least resistance was to go through the motions at the field, tow up, release and just glide on course for 10 or 20 k’s.  I jumped in the launch line very early, thinking I could get it over with more quickly if I started first.  But it seemed I couldn't even do that part right.  I got to the front of the line and onto the launch dolly, tested my harness zipper, and it jammed into a position that wouldn't go up or down. I was completely stuck.  That nearly made the decision for me.  I thought, in my incredibly grumpy state of mind with things already going wrong, that most people would agree the best thing to do was call it a day.  However, Jonny Durand wasn’t going to accept my not flying. He loosened the zipper, but I still couldn't zip more than halfway up to my knees. Flying unzipped any length of time is not fun; it's cold at altitude and holding up your legs in a position that is reasonably comfortable is tiring. But from the time I rolled across the tow field and got airborne, my condition and attitude quickly improved.  My first goal was to make 100km.  Small, easy goal, little chance for disappointment.  Check.  That didn't take long.  Although the start was slow— very light climbs in a gaggle of 30 gliders never getting over about 5,000 feet—it wasn't long before the day started to turn on.  The Forbes veterans said it was a classic Forbes day: strong, relatively smooth, fat lift.  I never thought 1000fpm climbs outside of Florida could be so beautiful and relaxing.   [left] The sky that day. [right] Charts from the flight. Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


I met up and flew with various people for the first 150km. But I spent the longest part of the task with up-and-coming Russian pilot Zhenya—meeting up, separating, magically meeting up again, gliding together, losing touch, then somehow finding each other, over and over again.  It was so cool.  I had Carlos on radio just ahead of me for the greater part of the day, feeding me information that helped keep me motivated and in-the-know on conditions in front of me.  It wasn't long before I was reaching goal number 2, making 200km; then number 3, making the last turnpoint. This distance was just over my previous 230km personal best and even sweeter 38

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since I was flying on my trusty Litesport Damien. (The 230 was flown on a rigid wing, and I had never felt it really counted.) At this point I thought another 90 kilometers was absolutely within reach and realized I might actually make goal.  I was on such an amazing high that I wasn’t noticing I had been in the air nearly six hours. Fortunately, I was able to stay pretty high—between 7 and 10,000 feet—for much of the day. It wasn't until the sun was low that the climbs became weak.  Knowing the day was shutting down, I tried to stay as high as I could and take every single little climb that came along all the way to the top.  I

started thinking final glide at about 40km out, but Carl was on radio telling me that the climbs weren't going much past 6 or 7 grand, so I should be very careful.  My last real climb came at about 20km out, but my 6030 was telling me I didn't have it, so I knew I still had to find another 1000 feet or so somewhere.  Well, I didn't find it.  I had no choice but to keep gliding toward goal and pray that something came along. [above left] The author setting up to fly. [above right] Seconds after I landed. You can see the antenna in the background and the barbed wire fence that I couldn't quite make it over. Photos by Jonny Durand.

Carl was on the radio guiding me to goal, telling me I had it “easy…no problem” when I was sure I didn't. As it turned out, he confessed at goal that he didn't think there was any way I would make it from the altitude I had on final. Lying can be such a good thing sometimes ;-). While observing many gliders scratching down low and landing one after another, I pointed my toes as hard as I could and pulled the VG rope, in an attempt to get just one more millimeter out of it.   When I finally had goal in site, I remembered they had told us at the briefing a giant antenna was located just short of the goal field.  I spotted that as well as gliders still rigged on the other side

of the road, power lines, and a fenceline over and over again. I actually didn't that ran perpendicular to my glide.  To think I had made? goal because I wasn't make the goal field, I had to cross all in the goal field. As it turns out, I had three.  On radio, Carl told me if I flew made the 400-meter cylinder, so all was right over the top of the antenna, I would good.  easily make it into the field.  But I could It was a giddy four-hour drive back see I wasn't going make it over the top to Forbes.  We stopped at a pub where of that stinking antenna!!  No worries, I a few other pilots were having a beer would just continue gliding straight to and, while I was standing at the bar, a the fence and, at the last second, make local walked up to me and said, «Are you a 90-degree turn into the wind. Simple Jamie?”  Turns out the guy was a trucker enough. But I never dreamed it would who had been on our channel listening work out as perfectly as it did.  Jonny to Carl and me chatting throughout the Durand videoed the entire final glide whole last half of the task.  Apparently from the goal field and, even now, long he thought it was pretty funny when after I’ve come home and come down Carl got low, and I told him he had to from that high, I still love to watch it “keep it up” to help me get to goal. Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero



Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

Cade Palmer flying tandem in Queenstown, New Zealand in front of Ian Clark who is also working showing someone the joy of&free flight | photo by Rebecca Bredehoft. Hang Gliding Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero 41

Jungle Sky Gods by "Jumping"GeneJOSE-PHAT



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I was getting low over a sea of trees with few lift prospects, and even fewer landing opportunities.


he sea was actually an ocean, for towering trees extended hundreds of miles in every direction. I wasn’t miles from human habitation, but the humans down below had no concept of hospitality, civility or modern medical care. It was do or die. My only hope was a small clearing with a few huts and a smoky fire wafting in the humid air. I thought maybe I could auger my hang glider down in a spiral within the circle of clearing, ending in a Wiley Coyote cloud of dust and only a broken upright…or so. No hollow prayers, no hopeless regrets, no scatological expletives; as crazy as it seems, what passes through my addled brain is a refrain: the Oscar Mayer Weiner song…”Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, I wish I were…”over and over again. It distracts me from my fear, but the Madison Avenue mantra also gives me a false sense of security. It may be Freudian, it may be some repressed regression into childhood, but for better or for worse, I was thinking hotdogs while I slowly descended to my fate in that steaming jungle. How did I get myself in this fine fix? It all started last May at my home site, Kagel, on the edge of the San Fernando Valley, where the LA smog meets the San Gabes. I had just landed and went to get a beer from the car when I saw a notice on our bulletin board. I looked closer and saw the headline: “Travel, Adventure, Good Pay for experienced pilots.” I thought, “Hmmm, sounds like they’re calling my name. I’m a pretty good hangie with ten thermaling years in my logbook—if I had a logbook.” I read the notice and was hooked. The job was to fly for an anthropology experiment somewhere in South America. All expenses paid and a pilot could earn $100 a day for flying. I looked over my shoulder and didn’t see anyone paying attention. I confess that I tore that notice off the board and pocketed it. I wanted first—and the only—dibs on the offer. When I called the number provided, I got an appointment to meet the principals of the project at the anthropology department of Southern Cal University the following day. I learned they were looking for a hang glider and a paraglider pilot to fly over a very isolated tribe deep in the jungle near the Venezuela/ Brazilian border. They explained that During WWII, cargo airplanes flying materiel over New Guinea were noticed for the first time by a Stone Age tribe. The natives were awed and astounded by these strange shiny apparitions that passed high over their village with a distant roar. They naturally thought it was some type of god and erected a large effigy of an airplane made out of sticks, in the hopes of appeasing or attracting back the “god.” In short, like humans throughout history, they created a religion to help explain a mystery they did not comprehend. This religion was discovered after the war when explorers Photo © Shailesh Nanal | Dreamstime

breeched the interior of New Guinea. The tribe became known as the Cargo Cult and has been studied in great detail by anthropologists. It turns out that the people hiring pilots were anthropologists who wanted to go one step further. They wanted to duplicate the Cargo Cult experience and also wanted the pilots to land and interact with the natives. The idea was to see if they would recognize us as humans or consider us gods or demigods. Then they wanted to try to quantify the disconnect between what people believe and what common sense dictates. That all seemed too academic to me, but I was chuffed up on the chance to fly in an exotic place and be paid to boot. Truth be known, I was ready for a change. My girlfriend had just dumped me when she found out I wasn’t the financial-broker type I had implied. What I actually did was sell lottery tickets in front of concerts and other public events. Besides, my rent was past due, my dog had bitten the postman, my credit card was over the limit and my medical marijuana prescription had just run out. I needed to get outta Dodge. So I met the main guys and we seemed to hit it off. The project lead was none other than Daryl Darymple, the same researcher who analyzed the DNA from hair found near Big Foot tracks in British Columbia and showed that it matched the DNA from hair associated with Yeti spoor in the Himalayas, proving them to be the same species. The second in command was a cognitive science consultant, Berte Songré. His claim to fame was aiding the marketing company, Skewer, Inc., in creating the “Buyrus” that is now sweeping the world. As you may have heard, the Buyrus implants a virus in the brains of all those who listen to rap music with earbuds. The Buyrus compels them to desire and ultimately buy whatever product pays Skewer a fee and gets identified by key code words. Apparently the ethics of this endeavor is under question, so Songré was looking for another project to help bolster his reputation. There were other grad students and helpers included in the group, but the main participant I wanted to meet was the paragliding pilot. I wasn’t thrilled about having to share airspace and attention with a PeeGee pilot, but they were adamant about wanting more than one type of flying apparatus testing the native’s credibility. He wasn’t there at the first meeting, but a few days later we all got together, and he turned out to be a she. Because of later events, I won’t identify her by name—she can do that if she wants. But I will say she was originally from Colorado, and she was stunning, with long blonde hair and a peek-a-boo physique. She had an alluring smile and sparkling eyes, bluer than the deepest ocean on a Mercator map. They had recruited her with a sign they put up in Santa Barbara. I Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


was even more eager to be part of the project after seeing her and barely restrained myself from being a blithering, blathering idiot when we were introduced. Right from the start, we seemed to hit it off, which apparently satisfied the directors. Within a week I got a call that I was hired, along with the lady PeeGee pilot whom I’ll call Desiree. Then we went to work. First, we found out where the study site was. About 180 miles south of Angel Falls, deep in the Venezuelan jungle, right on the Brazilian border, is the southern edge of La Gran Sabana, a chain of Tapuis that are the remains of volcanic and tectonic activity eons ago. The highest peak in the area reaches over 9000 feet MSL. An arm of this chain, the Pakaraima Mtns, lies right on the border. That’s where we were headed. That jungle region is some of the most remote on the planet, because it is well north of the Amazon drainage, and the rivers surge out of the mountains with numerous rapids preventing navigation. Apparently several expeditions that entered the area were turned back by the multiple threat of disease-bearing mosquitoes, blasphemous vines, foot-rotting humidity and various death dealing adversaries such as natives, jaguars, caimans, anacondas, fer de lances and the machacha beetles, not necessarily in that order. The people there, known as the Guanomano, according to tribes living closer to trade routes, have apparently never seen anyone from the outside world. Despite the isolation and hardships, with new technology—

ters of the Surumu River. At one point as we crossed endless tracts of trees, Darymple saw me staring out the window and leaned over and said, “It sure looks like nothing but trees, but I can assure you, there are people scattered all through the area. Let’s hope our Guanomano are friendly and at home.” When we reached the campo alto site at 5,000 feet, the crew jumped right in to setting up. It was pretty warm, even at that altitude, so we all changed into comfortable clothes. While the rest of the crew chopped biota and set up tents, Desiree and I got our equipment together. I sure envied her with that paraglider—all she had to do was pull it out of the bag and shake out the lines. The generous funding of the program had purchased me an Aeros Discus glider as being the best performing glider that breaks down to a two-meter package. It posed no problems for the many transportation permutations, but it took me hours to erect it to full size. Eventually, I finished and we started preparing the motor systems together. We worked well as a team, mixing fuel and rigging all the peripherals. The only problem I ran into was trying to keep my mind on the project at hand while distracted by Desiree working in her bikini. I was dying to get her away from all the commotion so I could put my slick hang glider moves on her. After resting for the rest of that first day, we got up early and began to explore the possibilities. We soon discovered that a nice upslope breeze began around 9AM on the south-facing

“We orbited the Guanomano clearing for at least a half-hour, making sure that there were enough people there to observe the landing and spread the news that the ‘gods’ had come to earth.” generally GPS and satellite viewing along with eventual helicopter extraction—the expedition planned on success. In fact, they figured that success depended on planning, and this they did to a T. They had satellite shots of the area which they had us poring over. We soon realized that while we could launch and fly over the intended area, we could not make it back to the launch point without potent thermal help. Who knew what the conditions were over that jungle? We could see a clearing within flight range, but that was where the natives grew their jiali, a form of manioc. Elsewhere was nothing but imposing trees. They didn’t want us to land in the clearing until we had established our presence as gods, passing overhead in the sky. So we soon realized that we would have to fly with power. I had done this once before, so felt confident I could pull it off. Desiree hadn’t, but they enrolled her in a powered paragliding course at a nearby school and she was a quick study. By May we were ready. We flew the personnel and equipment down to Manaus, Brazil, because of the sour attitude the Chavez regime in Venezuela has towards Americans. We then chartered a helicopter and flew up the Negro (Black) River, then up the Blanco (White) River to Boa Vista, a small settlement at the very top of Brazil. Then it was on to an even smaller village, Desposito, then the final 70 air miles up to the border area and our campo on top of Tapui Arumi, near the headwa44

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slope and were pleased to find it continued all day. A decent bit of wind variation also told us that there were thermals for the taking. We were salivating to fly. We both agreed that we really didn’t need a runway for level takeoffs, we could both launch down the slope with the engines at idle and probably do most of the flying by riding thermals to our destination. We did a little clearing of our ideal launch spot and took an afternoon flight in moderate thermals. Sweet! For two days we bobbled around in the lift near our mountain aerie. We experimented using the engines to climb, thermaling with minimum power, ridge soaring, cruising in the evening buoyancy and landing with the engines off. Everything went like a breeze, and the only negative in my view was that Desiree consistently out-thermaled me. She was as intuitive as an Inuit. I resolved to prove to her that I was man enough to keep up. On the third day we went for our first flyover of the village. Desiree launched around noon and I soon followed. We cavorted in local thermals until we were nearly two grand over, then headed out. We were gratified to find thermal after thermal over that steaming jungle. Even though it was all trees, the location at 4.5 degrees north of the equator meant plenty of solar energy to cook the surface. We flew cross-country at idle, saving fuel. The idea was to get near the village, descend and add power to

fly level about 500 feet off the deck, so they could both see and hear us. It seems that dwellers in the deep jungle have little experience of finding things in the sky worth looking at. There’s nothing there. Even the parrots and monkey-eating eagles flew below the forest canopy. It was our job to rock their world with a mystical vision. Soon we settled into a routine: We crossed over the village every one to three days at different times of the day. The idea was not to let them predict when we would be there. Within two weeks we saw it: a crude outline of a glider made of stones appeared on the open ground. A couple of days later, they had filled the area inside the outline with large leaves, coloring it, although they couldn’t duplicate our brilliant glider colors. We reported everything we saw to the scientists. After two more weeks of suitably holding the Guanomano in thrall and awe, the researchers decided it was time for us to meet them. The plan was for Desiree and me to land in the clearing, get to know the people and take careful notes of their attitudes and interaction with us. In about three weeks, the rest of our party would join us by forging up the river in inflatable boats that could be collapsed and portaged around the many rapids. If that plan failed, the backup was helicopter extraction. However, what I hadn’t told them was that during my passes over the clearing, I became pretty certain that it was too small Photo elements by Ben Bendetson and William Berry

to safely land a hang glider. They were a little put out, but they figured they at least had a goddess to wow the natives. Desiree put on a brave face and was soon ready to go. She loaded her harness with water and some power bars, just in case, and headed off, but she wasn’t alone. I flew as her wingman all the way and expected to watch her land safely. That’s not the way it happened. We orbited the Guanomano clearing for at least a half-hour, making sure that there were enough people there to observe the landing and spread the news that the “gods” had come to earth. What I hadn’t thought about was what a hold Desiree had already placed on me. I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing her for at least three weeks, so relying on my limbic system and testosterone, I cut power to my engine. My momentary burst of confidence was replaced by panic. I tried to reach the pull chord to restart the engine, but a virile thermal was rising off that clear ground and it was too rowdy—I had to hold on with both hands. Again, I had underestimated the important role of talent, for the little landing area loomed closer, and I knew it was made for a better pilot than I was. As usual, Desiree was above me, and I doubt that she knew I was going to land, until she saw me enter that death spiral and auger down inside the trees. When I reached the treetops, I realized I still was about 300 feet up and the clearing was a bit Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


bigger than I had judged—the trees were so tall they distorted sisted of fourteen platforms open to the air with thatched roofs. my perspective. But it wasn’t going to be pretty. With Oscar There were shy children watching us from between the legs of Mayer soothing me, I approached the ground at a high rate of the adults. Mangy curs gnawed on scattered bones, a couple of speed in a bank. At the last minute I tried to level out and shoot captive macaws screeched out their displeasure and several fires across the open space, but an errant bush grabbed my low wing, smoked away the insects. People dropped what they were doing and I pinwheeled in a cloud of dust. when we arrived and a great babble began as everyone talked When the particulates had settled, I just lay there, literally about the miracle that had just occurred. We were sky gods and kissing the ground. Later Desiree said she thought I was injured, their world had just been split asunder. but with the luck of the Irish (my great grandmother), I was I won’t go into any more details of that first day, but eventujust dusted and disgusted. I figured I had blown my status as ally we were installed in a hut; I was happy to be sharing the a god, but, in fact, all the Guanomano men had run into the adventure and living quarters with Desiree. We decided to work jungle for cover as I got lower and started screaming my song. on communication with the Guanomano, and after a few days Soon Desiree came in to land like a feather, dead clearing center. we could have some rudimentary conversation. We did not tell She rushed over to me and checked my health with a hug. She them we weren’t gods, because the anthropologists wanted to helped me wipe my face off—it wouldn’t pay to appear as a break the news so they could closely study the natives’ reactions. filthy god—and told me how So we lived like gods. I must happy she was I came out all say it’s not a bad way to live, as right. I was positively glowing long as you don’t have to mix inside. too much with the mortals. But But then it came time to Guanomano society knows little face the people. We had a privacy, and while the adults small vocabulary which we were mostly occupied hunting had practiced back at So. and cultivating during the day, Cal, because the anthropolowe were hounded by the kids gists were pretty certain the watching our every move, often Guanomano were part of the sitting only a few feet away and Tularemia language group. No staring. I wondered if I would doubt we had strong accents, ever get a chance to express my but we could communicate desire to Desiree. Then somethe essentials like food, water, thing happened. peace, come, go, give me, After about a week we please and where’s the nearest became aware of a controversy, McDonalds? We hoped. We then a heated discussion, folgot out of our harnesses and lowed by an argument, ending Desiree folded her wing while in open hostility. Later we I assessed my damage. The learned that there was a rift in Discus was a total wreck, with belief. While the entire tribe two busted uprights, a bent thought we were gods from the keel and a broken leading edge. sky, there was disagreement But I hadn’t really expected we as to who was the greater god, could carry it out anyway—I Desiree or me. It turns out the was simply elated to be alive. Guanomano were keen observers, and they had watched how One by one the Guanomano came trickling out of the forest. we flew. Some thought sitting down and floating around was They were fairly short, muscular and totally naked to a man… the supreme trait of a god, while other thought that the true and woman. They were wary, but seemingly not hostile, for god would fly like birds. Eventually, the dispute got so bad they seemed to be in awe. Their eyes were big and they spoke in that it caused a serious split in the tribe. The chief had chosen hushed tones. We put on welcoming smiles and tried our first me as his god, but the shaman had chosen Desiree. The people words: “Olleh”—hello. They stepped back and murmured, but separated into groups, according to their beliefs. The paraglidthen an older man slowly walked up to us. It turned out he was ing sect hustled Desiree away to live a mile west in a previous the shaman. He was staring at Desiree’s golden hair, and we hut area. I despaired of ever getting close to her. Life went on could see right away that he thought she was otherworldly. I and the split tribes grew ever more hostile to one another. Soon think that adulation made up for all the blonde jokes Desiree the hangies (my group) were urging me to help them defend had heard in her entire life. themselves from their erstwhile friends, neighbors and relatives. Eventually, we were escorted to the tribe’s living area about I realized I was growing fond of my “tribe” and decided to give a mile away and met the rest of the pack who hadn’t been near them an advantage. the clearing when we landed. The clearing was their crop area, They had helped me haul my glider wreckage to the hut area, while their living area was nestled among massive trees and con- so I dug out the good leading edge and managed to pull out the 46

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Photo © Dmitry Ersler |

“The situation developed into open hostility, until a few days later when I was appalled to be presented a shrunken head with blonde hair.” tip without tools. I plugged up one end with mud and sap, and drilled some holes near that end with a bow drill and grit. Then I loaded it with a manioc root like a potato gun and invited all of them to help blow into the holes. What I had created was a giant blowgun, or rather a blow-cannon. They were fascinated by the shiny tube and delighted over its ability to hurl a large projectile. I had in mind a potato-type cannon, but they had other plans. They fashioned multiple spears and shot them at those “sitters,” as they called them. We were the “liers,” and we had a full-scale religious war on our hands. The situation developed into open hostility, until a few days later when I was appalled to be presented a shrunken head with blonde hair. I stared at it with horror and nearly broke down. I couldn’t believe my tribe had decapitated and shrunk Desiree’s head, all because she was a paraglider pilot. The reality of how wrong this experiment had gone struck me like a tidal wave of sewage. But that night I got a visitor. It was Desiree. The awful head was just an effigy my sect had made to help voodoo her power. I was so relieved to see her that I hugged her and started thinking romantic thoughts—an amorous interlude, steam heat in the sultry night. But she was focused on trying to resolve the grave rift that had overcome the Guanamano society. In my ardor, I suggested that we could simply become a couple and the people would see our harmony, and realize that we were one. At once her soft, liquid eyes turned hard and she intoned, “That would be about as welcome as a fart in a burka. If we were marooned for years on a desert island, I wouldn’t begin to want you, old man.” I was shocked by her vehemence; after all, I was only in my forties, and she had to be at least 27. How could I have misjudged her friendliness for interest? I tried to hide my embarrassment with a retort: “How ‘bout marooned in a steamy jungle?” “You see that bug?” she asked, “I’d rather kiss it than you.” She picked it up for emphasis. Suddenly she recoiled and flung it off. “Ow, it bit me!” she hollered. We both looked at the bug, then at each other. My jaw dropped and hers clenched. We saw it at the same time—the characteristic red stripe on its underbelly identified it as the dread machacha beetle. We had been warned about it. It is the world’s most powerful aphrodisiac, for if you are bitten you must have sex within 24 hours or you die. No exceptions. I am not one to take advantage of anyone’s helpless position, nor one to tattle, but you can figure out the rest. It should go without saying that not much happened in and around that village without the people observing. They saw the whole thing from the shadows. It turns out that my suggestion was accurate. Once they saw Desiree and me in an embrace they had to rethink their religious rift. The Shaman sheepishly sashayed up to the chief and offered him his belly, the tradi-

tional Guanamano greeting and peace offering. The chief did the same, and they exchanged a mutual rub for a moment, then broke into a bit of nose twitching, their equivalent to smiling. After our sole encounter, Desiree was decidedly cold and not amused at my suggestion to “make sure the machacha antidote took.” She tended to avoid me, so I wasn’t a bit unhappy with what happened next. The chief offered me his daughter in marriage. I took him up on it; what did I have to lose? Her name is Traeioula, which translates roughly as She-who-lets –herhusband-get-a-word-in-edgewise—sometimes. And it turns out, that when you marry a Guanomano gal, you also marry her unwed sisters. So I suddenly found myself married to three women, when previously I had no prospects. The Guanomano women are quite small but strong and tend to smell pleasant, like smoked ham, due to the wild boar fat they rub on themselves to fend off the hordes of mosquitoes. I was content with marital bliss for another two-and-a-half weeks until the rest of the team arrived. When anthropologists discovered that we had precipitated a religious war, I had created a weapon of mass destruction, we had shown ourselves as decidedly human in plain view and I had married into the native tribe, they were incensed. I guess we polluted their data, but hey, we weren’t exactly well-prepared Stone-Agers. In short order they wrapped up their study and hauled us out of there. Desiree seemed overjoyed to leave, but it was with reluctance and much weeping that I left my three wives. We looked long and hard at each other as my canoe drifted downstream around the bend to the sad refrain I had taught the entire tribe: “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner…” *




am now in LA and regretting being here every minute. The same ol’ smog, the same ol’ traffic jams, the same ol’ flying site with the same ol’ friends in the same ol’ thermals—just doesn’t excite. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the rewards of pure adventure. I spent many days just sitting around dreaming of that jungle Shangri-La and my lost spouses. I found myself wandering through the meat department of the local grocery store and lingering at the smoked ham section. Ah well, why fight it? I’ve given my dog to a friend, I’ve put my car, guitar, CDs and glider up for sale, and I’m planning to resume my hands-on anthropology with the Guanomano. I’m going back to live a wild, natural life unfettered by the modern world. Once you’ve been a god, it’s hard to be a common man. I wonder how Desiree can handle it, but I guess with her looks she gets pretty much treated like a goddess no matter where she is. The only thing I don’t understand is how a paraglider pilot can resist the varied and potent charms of an experienced hang glider pilot. Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


Tug | Truck | Boat | Rig


HOW AND WHY TO FILE A NOTAM  The basic theme running throughout our current series of Towline articles has been ensuring success through mitigation of unforeseen negative consequences from tug operators’ actions. Our concern is not only about negative consequences for tug owners and pilots, but also for individual pilots and our sport as a whole. The FAA and other sectors of our government have a habit of over-reacting when events occur.

by Lisa Coletti & Tracy Tillman

obvious examples include breaches of homeland security and mid-air collisions.

Lisa: Pilots need to be knowledgeable, careful, and responsible regarding how and where they fly for their personal safety, for the safety of others, and for the future of our sport. A mid-air collision with a private airplane would likely result in the death of several people. A highprofile near-miss with an airliner could result in political and regulatory consequences to our sport. I shudder to think Tracy: All members of the hang gliding of the consequences of a mid-air collision and paragliding community must rec- with an airliner. ognize that problems, accidents, or inci- Tracy: Soaring pilots need to know that dents they may cause can have a drastic this can and has happened. An NTSB impact on the whole of our sport. Two accident analysis report [ref 1] gives details about the collision between a glider and a Hawker commercial jet near Reno, “They are listening and talking Nevada, a few years ago. The NTSB mentions reports of four near-misses beon the radio, writing down in- tween gliders and jet traffic in that area just 30 days before the collision. Because formation on their kneeboard, of this collision and so many reports of near misses between gliders and airplanes looking at charts and instru- across the country over the last few years, the NTSB wants transponders to be inments inside the cockpit, and stalled in all gliders [ref 2]. Lisa: That has not yet been mandated, are not able to spend much but many sailplane pilots have taken it upon themselves to install transponders time looking out the window. and other collision avoidance equipment in their gliders for their own safety, the Bottom-line, they are not safety of others, and ultimately for the continuance of their sport. If more colgoing to see you.” lisions or too many near-misses continue


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to occur, we can expect that the use of transponders will be required in sailplanes, and could be required of us too. Tracy: Too many hang glider and paraglider pilots just don’t understand or appreciate the real level of danger of being in the wrong place when flying, and don’t know where the wrong places are in their flying area. Lisa: And we know what it is like. We were hang glider pilots before becoming airplane pilots. Ignorance is bliss, but it’s not safe. Until we started flying airplanes, we had no idea how much airplane traffic there is up there, and how air traffic can be concentrated in places other than near airports. This really hit home to us after we started filing IFR flight plans and “using the system” for our personal crosscountry flights [ref 3]. “Using the system” means getting direction and guidance from Air Traffic Control (ATC) throughout the entire flight, along with traffic advisories from them to help us avoid mid-air collisions. ATC can usually “see” other airplanes on radar and from transponder transmissions. That information enables ATC to communicate with us and other airplanes to provide safe separation. Hang gliders and paragliders are basically invisible to airplane pilots and to ATC; they don’t carry transponders and don’t use aircraft band radios for reporting or receiving location information. Because of this, one of the most important things for a soaring pilot to do is to actually follow cloud clearance rules. Tracy: Yeah, it is very common for us to be flying our airplane through cumulus, or descending through it at very high speed, often on autopilot and usually on an instrument flight plan. Most airplane pilots are not soaring pilots, so they probably don’t think about it much, but I get very concerned about it when we are in our airplane on a good soaring day, knowing that soaring pilots might be in those clouds or at cloud base. Soaring pilots need to realize that there are thousands of airplanes cruising through clouds or descending through clouds all over the country every day. Soaring pilots, stay of out of the clouds. There are monsters lurking. Lisa: Another thing that soaring pilots can do is learn more about the heavilyused airspace in their flying area or flight

path, including controlled and uncontrolled airport areas, victor airways, special-use airspace, SIDs and STARs, published hold areas, and instrument approaches used by airplane pilots prior to entering the vicinity of an airport. There is a lot of air traffic in these areas, and many times the airplane pilots flying in these areas have a higher work load, may be flying on instruments and under the guidance of ATC, are listening and talking on the radio, writing down information on their kneeboard, looking at charts and instruments inside the cockpit, and are not able to spend much time looking out the window. Bottom-line, they are not going to see you. with on-ramps and off-ramps to instruTracy: Most soaring pilots probably ment approaches at large airports, as well know something about these differ- as smaller airports in the area of larger ent types of heavily-used airspace areas, airports. When we go on trips in our except for SIDs and STARs. Could you airplane, we often fly on the same SIDs explain them to our readers? and STARs that are used by large comLisa: Sure, a SID is a Standard mercial aircraft. Most airplanes flying to Instrument Departure and a STAR is or from large airports will fly on a SID a Standard Instrument Arrival. If you or STAR. There are tens of thousands of think of a victor airway as a highway in these flights in the US every day. You can the sky, you can think of a SID or STAR see some SIDs and STARs being used as a 12-lane superhighway for airplanes, in real-time on the FlightAware web site

Photo by Bob Grant.

[ref 4]. A soaring pilot flying in the area of a SID or STAR can be compared to a bicyclist riding in circles during rush hour on an LA Freeway, the Washington D.C. Beltway, our Detroit Racetrack, etc. We have provided the url for a Youtube video about SIDs and STARs [ref 5] in our reference list at the end of this article, to help pilots learn more about them. Tracy: It seems obvious that all pilots should know where TFRs, SIDs, STARs and other heavily-used and controlled

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airspace areas are in their flying area. It seems even more obvious that organizers of flying events, such as soaring competitions and fly-ins should do an airspace study prior to their event to identify these airspace areas and help participants avoid them. Lisa: The other important thing for an organizer of a comp or fly-in to do is to file a NOTAM for their event so that pilots, Flight Service, and ATC can know that a temporary heavy-use airspace area for soaring pilots has been established during the time-frame of the event. Tracy: A NOTAM is a Notice to Airmen, defined as time-critical information of a temporary nature or not known sufficiently in advance to permit publication on charts or other aeronautical publications. The NOTAM system is generally described in section 5-1-3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) [ref 6], but the AIM does not provide information on how to file a NOTAM. Lisa: The NOTAM system is more specifically described in the FAA Order JO 7930.2M Notices to Airmen manual [ref 7]. This publication describes different types of NOTAMs along with a bit of very technical, but not very clear information on how to file them. NOTAMs can be used to communicate TFRs, runway closures, changes or problems with navigational aids and radar service availability, military activity, unlighted towers, moored balloons or kites, airspace restrictions, and unusual activity, such as rocket launches, airshows, parachute jumping, hot air balloons, aerobatics, unmanned aerial vehicles, and more. Tracy: What about towing and soaring

“It is not necessary to file a NOTAM for normal soaring activity, although it is good to try to get a glider symbol placed on aeronautical charts for your flying site.” 50

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activity by sailplanes, hang gliders, and paragliders? Lisa: It is not necessary to file a NOTAM for normal soaring activity, although it is good to try to get a glider symbol placed on aeronautical charts for your flying site. Sometimes that may not be possible if the chart already has a lot of other information printed on it where your symbol should go. Otherwise, it is a very good idea to file a NOTAM for unusually heavy towing and soaring activity, such as for comps or fly-ins. Tracy: Actually, sailplanes, hang gliders, and paragliders are not listed as categories in the JO 7930.2M NOTAM manual. This contributed to a problem that we had in getting a NOTAM posted for our club’s 2009 annual fly-in and fun comp. There were two other major things that contributed to the problem—one was that the entire US NOTAM system had just undergone some major changes, and the other was that management of the US Flight Service Station system had just been transferred from the government to Lockheed-Martin. When we tried to file our NOTAM, the Lockheed-Martin rep told us that we could not file one because (a) we were not pre-approved, (b) we didn’t have a waiver, (c) hang gliders were not a part of the NOTAM system, and (d) our airport, Cloud 9 Field (46MI) was not recognized by the NOTAM system, even though it is shown on aeronautical charts. Lisa: Well, I know that you got a NOTAM posted. How did you do it? Tracy: I was most concerned about air traffic coming in and out of the nearby Lansing Class C airport, so I contacted

the ATC manager there to ask for help. He was concerned as well and tried to file a NOTAM for hang gliding activity at our airport for us. He’s an expert, so you’d think that would work—but he also encountered problems and was not successful. The solution he came up with was to establish an aerobatic area NOTAM, which Lockheed-Martin and the US NOTAM System knew how to handle. It was not a perfect solution, but it can be considered a reasonable approach for solving the problem, since soaring gliders often turn at high bank angles. Lisa: Actually, other organizations reported having trouble getting NOTAMs posted around at that time, including the United States Parachute Association (USHPA) [ref 8] and the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) [ref 9]. Tracy: Early last year, I encouraged the organizers of the 2010 Midwest Championships in Illinois to try to file a NOTAM. I let them know that that we had some trouble getting a NOTAM filed the year before and that if they were successful at getting their NOTAM filed, we would like to know how they did it. Lisa: It is my understanding that they did not experience the same problems that we did the year before, and were successful at getting their NOTAM filed for hang gliding. Apparently, by that time, some of the misinformation floating around inside Lockheed-Martin and the US NOTAM System, regarding the requirement for a waiver and hang gliders not qualifying for a NOTAM, got resolved. Tracy: Later that year, we had no prob-

REFERENCES 1. “NTSB Report LAX06FA277A.” Summary and full narrative reports of glider collision with Hawker jet: id=20060906X01297&key=1 and id=20060906X01297&ntsbno=LAX06FA277A&akey=1 2. “NTSB Wants Gliders to Have Transponders.” by Scott Sonner, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 2, 2008: 3. “File a Flight Plan: Activating your Flight Plan Just Might Save the Day.” AOPA Training web page: 4. “Flight Aware.” Live flight tracking web site 5. “SID and STAR Tutorial Part 1.” Youtube video: watch?v=nJ7c-02va_g 6. “Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system.” Aeronautical Information Manual, Section 5-1-3: Chap5/aim0501.html 7. “Notices to Airmen (NOTAM).” FAA Order 7920.2M: documentLibrary/media/Order/NTM.pdf 8. “USPA Clarifies NOTAM Procedures” USPA News Archive 08/01/08: 9. “Problems Opening Aerobatic Boxes.” IAC Government Issues web page: 10. “NOTAM Retrieval.” FAA Pilot Web NOTAM web site: https://pilotweb. 11. Lockeed-Martin e-NOTAM filing web site: 12. “Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization.” Online downloadable form: 13. “Subpart J – Waivers.” Title 14 CFR Parts 91.102 and 91.105: http://ecfr. 1f500047b1&rgn=div6&view=text&node=14: 14. “Changes to the US Notam System (USNS)” effective May 5, 2011:

lem getting a NOTAM filed for our club’s 2010 annual fly-in and fun comp. The Midwest Comp organizers shared their NOTAM filing process with us. One very helpful thing we learned from them was that a NOTAM cannot be filed specifically for a private airport, like ours at Cloud 9 and like theirs at Enjoy Field. Rather, the NOTAM must be referenced to a nearby VOR and/or public airport. Lisa: So where can we find documentation that gives simple step-by-step instructions on how to file a NOTAM? Tracy: Apparently there isn’t any. I could not find any simple, clear-cut documentation on how to file a NOTAM in any official FAA document. I went to our local FSDO, and they couldn’t find any either. I called the US NOTAM office to ask if any such information was available; they said that they didn’t think so. Lisa: So, bottom line: how do you file a NOTAM? Tracy: Based on what we’ve learned, mostly through experience. Here are the steps: 1. File your NOTAM 24 to 72 hours prior to the start of your event. 2. Call the toll-free NOTAM phone number at 1-877-4US-NTMS (877-487-6867). 3. If prompted, specify your locale, usually a US state or portion of a state. 4. Provide your name and telephone number to the Flight Service representative. If they ask if you are a pre-qualified airport operator, tell them that you are not posting a NOTAM for an airport condition, but rather for a soaring event. 5. Give them the dates and times of your event. They may want the times in ZULU (GMT) time, so have both local and ZULU times available. 6. If they ask you about having a waiver, tell them that you don’t need a waiver because you are not requesting a closure of airspace and just want to inform pilots, flight service, and ATC about an area of concentrated flying activity during your soaring event. 7. Give them the size and altitudes of the high-traffic flight area. You will need to specify the center of the area by distance in nautical miles and compass direction in degrees from the nearest VOR/DME or VORTAC, if it is 25 NM or less from the center of your activity. Alternatively, specify your distance and direction from the near52

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

est public use airport, if the center of your activity is more than 25 NM from the nearest VOR/DME or VORTAC. Then, specify the radius of the area in nautical miles and the altitudes from surface to top in MSL. For comps, it may not be practical to try to specify task lines, but it would be good to specify areas of heaviest traffic activity, such as launch/towing areas and start gate areas. 8. They may want a phone number for contacting you during your event. For towing comps or fly-ins, they may want to know the identification number of your tugs and aircraft band or other radio frequencies used. 9. Sometime after your NOTAM is filed, you can check to see if it is in the system by looking it up on the FAA’s Pilot Web NOTAM retrieval web site [ref 10]. Lisa: So it’s not that hard to do if you know the tricks. Tracy: Nope, it’s not as hard as they seem to try to make it. Lockheed-Martin also has an online e-filing system for NOTAMs [ref 11], but that is really intended for public airport operators and others who need to file multiple NOTAMs each year. Lisa: What if you do want to close the airspace in your event flying area to other air traffic? Tracy: Then you need to fill out FAA Form 7711-2 [ref 12] to request a waiver of FAA regulations and submit three copies of it to your local FSDO. It needs to be approved 45 days in advance of your event. Regulations about getting a waiver are specified in Subpart J of Title 14 CFR Part 91, under 91.903 and 91.905 [ref 13]. Lisa: So, we’ve talked about why it is important to know about the airspace you

are going to fly in, why it is important to file a NOTAM for flying events, how to file a NOTAM, and how and why to file for a waiver. Anything else? Tracy: One piece of great news is that the FAA has announced a NOTAM policy change [ref 14] such that on May 5, 2011, Paragraph 6-1-11 will be added to the FAAO 7930.2 NOTAM manual [ref 7], to provide a category that specifically covers NOTAMs for Gliders and Hang Gliders. Lisa: That should help to eliminate some confusion and help make the NOTAM filing process easier for us. Anything else? Tracy: Well….yes….it seems that we are being noticed more by the FAA lately, which you may or may not consider to be great news. When I walked into our local airport the other day, I noticed a display of business cards for the FAA’s Safety web site at, featuring a photo of a hang glider on the cards. Lisa: Mmmm…a hang glider representing the FAA’s safety web site. That’s good, I think, maybe…let’s not disappoint them! Lisa is currently the Chair of USHPA’s Towing Committee. Tracy is a past Chair of the Towing Committee and is currently Regional Director for Regions 7 & 13. He is also a FAAst Team Safety Counselor for the FAA Detroit FSDO area. They are both very active multi-engine commercial airplane and glider pilots, tug pilots, and tandem hang gliding instructors for the Dragon Fly Soaring Club at Cloud 9 Field (46MI), Michigan. Please feel free to contact them about towing related issues at

Photo by Bob Bendetson Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero 53

The Erect Infinite ( or Infinitely Erect )

by Hayduke Midlfinger

the annals of the universe’s greatest catalogue of human behavior: Dear Diary: It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m com. One day, while searching for an feeling the love. Love for all of the people entertaining kitten video that I had not who have been there for me on this epic yet seen, I stumbled upon the magnificent journey to the top. Thus, before I record image of a brave feline standing upright these events and chronicle some of the on his hind legs, and a bolt of inspiration hardships involved with inventing an hit me, dizzying in its stupendousness. I iconic and everlasting paragliding maneu- would standfly! ver, I want to send out a personal thank Flying has been a sit down sport ever you to the people who believed in me and since the Wrights made history with their supported me over the years. Thank you, I powered hops in 1903, a fact that had love you, and you will know who you are never been lost on me, a fan of mostly when this diary is eventually published. stand up sports such as badminton, rollerAnd so I begin. It all started with an blading, and T-ball. I made an exception online video, of course. You see, there is when I started paragliding. After all, it nothing that exists in modern or even pre- was flying, even if while seated. For over historic form that cannot be found within a decade I took seated flight for granted, 54

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

until the standing cat film changed my life forever. Soon after my first tenuous standing flights, I knew that I had found my calling. In much the same way that Bill Gates must have felt when he installed his first Window or when the Standing Cat first elevated himself to hitherto unseen heights, I realized that this was a meaningful event in my life. But, of course, simply standing was not enough. I knew I had to take it to the next level; I had to have an Infinite Erection. That is to say, I immediately started planning to be the first person to execute a standing “Infinite” tumble. I knew I would have to train, so the training commenced. While balance is key, an attempt at standing flight would

be foolish without great strength, as the loss of grip in the midst of the maneuver would mean certain death. Also, an intimate connection with your equipment is crucial when attempting such a maneuver. Therefore, I began to actually strength train with my gear, using it for weight and endurance tasks. This may sound silly, but anyone who hasn’t already tried onearmed pull-ups holding a glider in their other hand, or pushups wearing a harness loaded with fifty pounds of ballast, can shut their pie-hole. Diet was also a major concern, obviously. While one popular energy drink is widely credited with the ability to arouse flight in many deluded young people, I know for a fact there is nothing better than pure, white milk for increasing strength, energy, and mental acuity. Laden with nutrients, milk contains precious insulin-like growth factor-1, crazy amounts of protein, and essential saturated fat. It strengthens bones and whitens teeth. Indeed, anyone who has ever met me in person has marveled at the magic spell that milk has cast upon my pearly whites. Thus, milk is my drink of choice during heavy training for intense paragliding maneuvers— in this case, the Erect Infinite.  After an entire afternoon of milk chugging, ballasted pushups, and one-armed pull-ups, I was ready. I jumped on a plane to Oludeniz and began to mentally prepare myself for the maneuver. This consisted of writing a series of Facebook posts outlining the difficulties and dangers in what I was attempting. For example: H.M. just arrived @oludeniz. Chicks in bikinis, HOT!  Dude pilots r checking out me redbull underpants. I luv this place! H.M. on launch! Gunna send the Erect Infinite! H.M. this s**t is hardcore, I’m not scared though. I rulz the air!

With my pre-flight preparations out of the way, I got down to business. For my sponsors, it’s crucial that I keep my fan base “engaged” constantly. I do this by posting an average of 83 Facebook status updates each day. My fans always know when I wake up in the morning, launch my paraglider, or take a dump. Today, they would be treated to live coverage of

me completing the world’s hardest paragliding maneuver. H.M. in da air! my glider is the best glider in da wurld! H.M. high over da salty water! This is gunna be so siiick! Stay tuned I’m gunna rip it. H.M. entering wurld’s hardest maneuver, windin up and gettin speed yo! H.M. *%$#&er bit&#... H.M. under reserve canopy! Crap, guess I shouldn’t text n fly. About to splash down in Mediterranean. Chicks on beach pointing at me dood they want me I gunna get some tonight!

  My iphone didn’t survive the saltwater splashdown under reserve canopy, which put an end to my live Facebook updates until I could get on Google at the bar. Thankfully, only a few minutes had elapsed from the time I was dragged up onto the beach until I posted my next Facebook status update from the bar. Therefore, I’m sure that my three thousand fans were not worried for very long. Dried off, with a tepid glass of Turkish milk in hand, I finally realized that this maneuver was going to be harder than I thought. If it was unrealistic to attempt it while typing in live Facebook updates on my phone, then maybe it wasn’t worth the risk. Confused and dejected, I called my sponsor for advice, and he told me not to worry. After talking to him, I instantly felt better! Apparently it’s not important to complete the maneuver or the mission for projects like these; all that matters is adequate media hype. The rest can be handled with what he calls “press briefs.” He said these things happen all the time, and I shouldn’t worry about it. So I feel much better now. Anyway, I have a top secret new trick coming. It’s going to be sicker than anything ever seen before, including this sickest ever maneuver that I almost pulled off but didn’t. I can’t really talk about it, not even to myself, due to the absolutely top secret nature of this project, however, the universe has never seen anything like it. It’s just like a cartwheel, only…

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Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero




Neil Pankler

1976 All of these photos were taken in the spring of 1976 at the Masters of Hang Gliding Event at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. I was 22 years old and had just been introduced to the beauty of hang gliding. By April, the ski season at Sugarloaf, Maine, had ended, and it was time to pursue other interests and adventures. A handful of hang glider guys of varying experience put together a caravan of dilapidated vans and VWs and headed south to the Masters of Hang Gliding Championship, stopping along the way to test the air in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and wherever flying looked doable. I was a complete rookie, getting my first air on this trip. My friend and hang glide mentor, Larry Flewelling, loaned me his ragged old standard to fly. I became hooked on hang gliding and still fly, although it has become more of a part time obsession. Having fairly recently started living a more conventional lifestyle, with house, wife, electricity, and computer, I am in the process of going digital, scanning old negatives and slides. Hope you enjoy these historic photos.

[previous page] Launching at Grandfather Mountain, 1976. [right] Larry Flewelling’s sunset flight in his Sky Sports Kestrel at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, 1976. [opposite top] Unknown pilot on launch. [opposite bottom] Launching at the Masters of Hang Gliding Event, 1976.


[right] Larry Flewelling flying his beloved Kestrel.


[above] UP Glider, launching at Grandfather Mountain on beautiful spring day, 1976. [right] Manta glider launch.




he moment of awareness hit me as I Now, back to the topic at hand. was driving home from work a few I wanted you to dwell on various days ago. But before I divulge the support groups because they all have a full details of my awakening, let’s take a common denominator—the realization moment and talk about a few things that that the individual is an addict and needs will help us get on the same page, and will help. Sometimes family members may no doubt result in many of you saying, recognize an addict within their family “Yes, I can relate to that.” circle and coerce him to attend support Let’s start by talking about support groups. A couple that are known to most of us are Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. Both programs offer assistance to those looking to make changes in destructive, addictive behavioral patterns. Participants in the programs can make incredible steps toward turning their lives around and reaching goals set within the parameters of their particular program. Many who successfully reach their goal abstain from alcohol or illegal drugs for the rest of their lives. Congratulations to all those who have succeeded! It is truly an accomplishment worthy of our respect. Other support groups offer help with addictions to food, sex, smoking, and more. I personally have not participated in any of these programs, but, in thinking about them, I imagine that one of the most difficult in which to succeed may be Overeaters Anonymous. Why? Because the other forms of addiction already mentioned involve things you can live without. Yes, we can live without alcohol, recreational drugs, tobacco, and sex. But we can’t live without food. So regulating how much we eat would seem to be the most difficult to control if one has the ten- group meetings. But addicts will never dency to overeat. succeed in a program until they reach a I just lost a few of you, though, didn’t moment of self-awareness when they truly I? You’re still back a few sentences, think- believe and fully accept their addiction. ing, “Wait a minute . . . I can’t live with- This is the moment of awareness that I out sex!” Rather than debate that issue, spoke of at the beginning of this article— I’ll leave it as a subject for discussion on the moment when I finally accepted and “parawaiting” days. The next time condi- admitted to myself, “I’m a Paraholic.” As tions are blown out and a bunch of you a concerned family member who loves me are hanging around, bring up the subject. unconditionally, my wife tried for years


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to convince me of this, yet I would not accept it. I’d tell her, “I love paragliding, but it’s just a hobby, a really great form of relaxation. I don’t have to do it, but I truly enjoy it.” However, she’d seen the look in my eyes after an epic flight, heard the excitement in my voice, and had known for years that I’m addicted to this sport. I just would not accept it . . . until the other day. My moment of awakening hit me like a ton of bricks. It was really just a subtle shift, but one that gave me such clarity I could no longer deny it. As I was driving home from work, I approached a curve in the road, and my moment of awakening and acceptance occurred. Undeniable proof that I have gone over to the dark side. I weight-shifted. Yes, just before I turned the wheel, I unconsciously lifted the opposite cheek of my backside from my intended direction. And all my defenses, my rationale, my reasoning , my explanations came crashing down. My moment of truth had arrived . . . “I am a Paraholic !!” What kind of person weightshifts to turn a car?! I will no longer argue with anyone who points out my addiction. I humbly accept my condition and hereby admit it to you: “My name is Dan Bruce, and I’m a Paraholic.” Now that the veil has been lifted from my eyes, I can look back and recognize symptoms of my sickness that continue to this day. One indicator is the fluctuation of my listening skills, depending on the subject being mentioned. Truth be told, when I’m in the middle of a discussion about paragliding or reading about it, I am intensely focused. The rest of the world is shut out, and sounds are muffled, except for the beating of my heart. I’m in “the zone.” It almost takes a bomb going off to jolt me out of this hypnotic state. I used to be that focused on my wife, Sherri. I remember how attentive I was

in conversations with her twenty-eight years ago. I clung to every word, every breath she took, and admired every sparkle emanating from her captivating hazel eyes. I must confess that, now, my attention at times may be less than rapt. Or, more correctly, my wife has informed me of this phenomenon. Also, daily experiences that used to have a singular impact on me have taken on double meaning. Clouds no longer are just beautiful puffs of vapor— they now indicate wind direction, lapse rates, and thermal generation. I can’t drive by a majestic mountain without looking for potential launches and LZs. Lakes and ponds display wind direction and strength by the ripples formed on them. Electrical lines are no longer simple carriers of electricity—they’re potential obstacles on a final approach. Even the beach is not a safe place. I find myself scanning the seashore, looking for a bluff, then wondering if there is enough of an offshore breeze to create a soarable liftband. I’m sick. I need help. With this revelation, awakening and acceptance of my condition, I feel an obligation to help any of you who have reached the same conclusion about yourselves. I have never heard of a “Paraholics Anonymous” group, but I’m willing to be

the founding member if you’d like to be a participant. I’d be happy to take any of you in tow, under my wing, so to speak. The sky’s the limit for our group, and I promise that you won’t have your thinking clouded by your participation. We’ll harness every resource and instrument at our disposal to reach our goal. The starttime, or rather time to start, is now! You may reach me through the publishers of this fine magazine, although the more I think about it, this magazine is like paragliding porn to those of us who are paraholics. Just what we need –more pictures and articles that glorify the sport. Feeding our disease. Anyway, let’s take the first step and organize our first meeting as a support group. I suggest we meet on a hillside with a gentle, steady breeze coming upslope. Bring all the instruments of your addiction along: your wing, harness, helmet, vario, etc. You’re going to LOVE my 5-step program!! Author’s note: This article in no way was meant to diminish or show disrespect for any form of group support for any condition mentioned above. It was merely written to show the addictive nature of our sport, and the parallel between it and the support group programs out there helping individuals.


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MAY 28-31  National Hang Gliding & Paragliding Day. Events, poster templates, media and press support, as well as other information coming soon. Please submit your Memorial Day weekend fly-ins and events for this 2nd annual national event as soon as possible to get them in the magazine, newsletter and online. MEETINGS APRIL 16  Bangor, PA. Foundation For Free Flight

Meeting. This will be our first meeting in the Northeast, and will be our most important meeting in history. Three new trustees will be elected at this meeting. All interested volunteers should attend along with all participating individuals. More information: David Leggett, 610-972-5401, or

Non Sanctioned CompETITION APRIL 24-29  La Belle, Florida. 5th Annual Spring Fling.This is a fun trainer comp designed for newer pilots who want to improve their thermal and x-c skills and learn the basic skills needed to compete in sanctioned competition. Daily clinics with top pilots covering everything from GPS to flat land flying skills,towing safety and much more! This event will also be a warm up event for pilots to prepare for the 2011 US national championships in Hearne, Texas. Limit of 30 pilots. More information: David Prentice 505-720-5436,

SANCTIONED COMPETITION APRIL 30 - May 6  Florida Ridge, Clewiston, FL. 3rd Annual Rob Kells Memorial Competition. XC race to goal. H4 or foreign equivalent aerotow rating, xc & turbulence sign-offs, extensive experience on glider to be flown in comp. 3D GPS. Trophies & day prizes awarded. $250 registration fee plus $375 tow fee. Practice date, 4/29. More information: James Tindle, or www.


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

MAY 1-7  East Coast Paragliding Championships, Florida Ridge Flight Park, Clewiston, FL. Requirements: P3 with tow sign-off, tow bridle. Ten percent of entry fees go to the top three overall pilots. Entry Fee: $250 plus $150 tow fee. More information: David Prentice at, or www. May 8-14  Various airfields from Florida to Geor-

gia starting at Quest Air. Flytec Race and Rally. XC race to goal, rally format. Requirements: H4 or foreign equivalent, aerotow rating, xc & turbulence sign-offs. Extensive experience on glider to be flown in comp. 3D GPS, maximum 50 entrants. Trophies, day prizes and prize money TBA. Entry Fee: $250, towing fee TBA. More Information: Jamie Shelden 831-261-5444,, or

May 17 - 21  Enjoy Field, Chebanse, IL. Let’s pro-

mote HG sport in the midwest. All tasks “Race to Goal”. Requirements: H3/H4, aerotow. Kingpost/ Topless/Rigid, GPS w/trcklogs. Nice trophies and prize money. Entry Fee: $260 Rain dates 6/12 6/18. More Information: Krzysztof Grzyb 312-6564403,, or

MAY 23-28  Carter Memorial Airport, Luling, TX. Texas Single-Surface Shoot-Out. Race to goal via single surface gliders. Requirements: H3 w/at signoff. Meet specific rules. Single surface glider, helmet, gps, parachute, aerotow release harness. Entry Fee: $200. More information: Joel Froehlich at 210-381-5193,, or June 5-11  Highland Aerosports Flight Park, Ridgely, MD. East Coast HG Championship. Race to goal. Requirements: Advanced H4, (H3) with meet director approval XC, turbulence, AT ratings, previously flown in a USHPA aerotow comp or have written approval (before registering) from meet director, GPS. Prize money awarded based on number of competitors. EntryFee: Class 1/5 $450 early, $500 after 4/15. Sport class $375 early, $425 after 4/15. More Information: Highland Aerosports, Inc 410-634-2700,, or www. June 19-25  Woodrat Mt, Ruch, OR. The Rat

Race. Race to Goal. P3 minimum requirement, USHPA membership, helmet, reserve, radio capable to transmit & receive on USHPA frequency. Race trophies for top three open, serial, sport & women. Sprint trophies for top three serial, sport & women. Entry Fee: $395 postmark 4/15; $495 4/15 - 6/19. More Information: Gail Haley - MPH Sports, or

SEPTEMBER 4-10  1st US Nationals Open dis-

tance Championship at Inspiration Point (Squaw Peak Lookout), Utah. Open distance as per USHPA OD scoring system. Requirements: P3 w/turbulence sign-off, reserve & back protection. Trophies Entry Fee: $325 before 6/1 $375 after. More information:, Ken Hudonjorgensen, 801-572-3414,, or

FLY-INS MAY 12-17  Baja, CA: Fifth Annual Full Moon “Fiesto Del Cielo” Fly-in at La Salina Flying Ridge. Originally deemed “The Perfect Ridge” by HG pilots in the late 70’s, La Salina is known worldwide as Baja’s best Airsport venue with various glider launches and LZ’s including beachfront spots at BajaBrents and the Cantina! Soar for hours, climbing to 3000 ft+ in strong thermals, and land on big/beautiful sandy beach, or cross country 30+ miles into Baja wine country. Fly PG, HG, PPG, and trikes. Thursday is site intro day, XC and flying task events begin Fri-Mon. Full moon flight Sun/Mon night). More details at www.FlyLaSalina. com or or call 760-203-2658, or 01152-646-155-4218 or email: bajabrent@msn. com

Paragliding US Nationals. Race to goal. Requirements: P3 w/turbulence sign-off, reserve & back protection. Trohpies. Entry Fee: $325 before 5/1, $375 after. More information: Stacy Whitmore 435979-0225,, or

MAY 27-30  Alamogordo, NM. This is a 4-day tradition in the Southwest at a consistently flyable site with big desert air, and a welcoming community. Enjoy thermalling high over launch while your family is in cool pines in the nearby Sacramento Mountains. Contests, trophies and a club barbecue. Entry fee $25. Come Fly Dry! More Information: Robin Hastings 575-541-5744, RHastings@PSL.nmsu. edu, or

August 14-20  Big Spring Airport, Big Spring,

MAY 28-30  Ruch, OR. 35th annual Starthistle

JULY 24-30  Monroe Peak, Ritchfield, UT. 2011

TX. Big Spring US Nationals. Safe, Fair & Fun Race to Goal. Requirements: H3, aerotow, current experience. Trohpies. Entry Fee: $350 by 6/1 More information: David Glover 405-830-6420,, or

AUGUST 14-20  Hearne Municipal Airport, Hearne, TX. Lone Star Nationals PG. A natioal level flatland race to test the potential of hosting a large scale national tow event in the USA. Requirements: P3, tow sign-off, tow bridle. 10% of all entry fees go to prize money. Top three overall & top female. Entry Fee: $250 before 7/1, $350 after 7/1. $150 tow fee. More Information: David Prentice earthcog@, or SEPTEMBER 11-17  Francisco Grande Golf Resort

& Hotel, Casa Grande, AZ. Santa Cruz Flats Race. XC race to goal. Requirements: H4 or foreign equivalent, aerotow rating, xc & turbulence sign-offs, extensive experience on glider to be flown in comp. 3D GPS. Max 60 entrants. Trophies and day prizes. Entry Fee: $275, tow fees TBA. More Information: Jamie Shelden 831-261-5444 naughtylawyer@, or


Fly-in. Join RVHPA Memorial Day weekend for the legendary Starthistle Fly-in at Woodrat Mountain in Southern Oregon. Great thermals and fun times! For more information contact: Karl Blust 541-944-9415, or

June 3-5  Glassy Mountain, SC. South Carolina

Springtime Fly-In, at Glassy Mountain near Greer, SC. Come and enjoy flying and competing (spot, duration, X-C, balloon toss, etc.) at this beautiful south-facing mountain. Plaques awarded to all 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in all competitions (except balloon toss). $20 entry fee for competition flying and $10 for fun flying. Fly-In T-shirts are available. (Due to tree restrictions at launch, paragliders cannot be flown at this site) More Information: Paul Peeples 828-885-2536 pbrannenp@, or http://www.southcarolinahanggliding. com/.

June 17-19 Jackson Hole, WY. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY. AeroFest 2011. Hike and Fly, Spot Landing, and XC contests. BBQ, Party and Raffle. Discounts available on lodging and lift passes. More information: Scott Harris 307 690 8726, or www.jhparagliding. com.

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


clinics & tours November 13- APRIL 9  Valle de Bravo, Mexico.

Yet again we offer week-long packages for all levels of HG and PG pilot. Winter flying fun and excitement with the longest running tour operator in Valle de Bravo. We’ve helped pave the way for the others but our knowledge can’t be beat. More Information: Jeffrey Hunt 512-656-5052,, or

DECEMBER - APRIL  Yelapa, Mexico. Come TOW

in paradise. We are offereing siv/acro clinics during the winter months in beautiful Yelapa. We have a great line-up of world class instructors, and state of the art equipment. Also a great place for non-flyers. More Information: Les Snyder, +52 322 209 5174,, or www.

March 31 - April 4, April 8-10, 16-18, 23-25, April 29 - May 1, May 13-16, 20-23 & 28-30 

Owens Valley, CA. Fly one of the best sites in the US with one of the best pilots in the world. Kari is a Bi-Wingwal pilot and a three time world champion with multiple national champion titles under both of her wings. A variety of trips for all levels are available. Work on everything from take offs to landings, high altitude launches, dust devil awareness, reading the sky, how to map a thermal, goal setting and of course cross country and more!!! Come FLY the Owens and see why it’s so easy to achieve your personal best flight!!! More information: Kari Castle 760-920-0748, or www. KARICASTLE.COM.

APRIL 1-7  Milpitas, CA, Seven day complete

USHPA Hang Gliding Instructor Clinic with Pat Denevan of Mission Soaring LLC. Includes Instructor Training Clinic, Apprenticeship and Instructor Evaluation. At conclusion Qualified pilots will receive their Instructor rating. More information: Pat Denevan, 408-262-1055, or mission@hang-gliding. com.

APRil 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 & May 13-15  Sebring, Florida Spring training! Thee day over the water(SIV) maneuvers training courses: Personalized progression from basic to advanced. Come enjoy one of the best SIV venues the US has to offer. Limited space. Contact: David Prentice or call 505-720-5436. april 15-17  Utah. Instructor Training with Ken

Hudonjorgensen. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or

april 17  Utah. Instructor Re-certification with

Ken Hudonjorgensen. More information: 801-5723414, or, or

APRIL 22-24  Owens Valley, CA. Thermal and

Cross Country Clinic with Eagle Paragliding. Many pilots are sure to get personal bests. View photos and videos from our last clinic at www.paragliding. com, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

MAY 5-10  Over-the-water Maneuvers Clinics in

Northern California with Eagle Paragliding. America’s top all-around acro and competition pilot Brad Gunnuscio will be coaching with our state of the art towing set up. Visit , or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

may 7-8  Utah. Tandem (T2 & T3) with Ken Hudonjorgensen. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or may 15 - june 15  Peru. Touching the Andes of

Peru Tours.  Join Jeff Cristol and Adventure Tour Productions for our annual paragliding tour to the Andes of Peru.  From Huaraz in the northern cordilleras to the famous flying near Cuzco visit the high mountains of Peru with Jeff Cristol who intimately knows sites throughout the country.   Please visit, and sacredvalley.htm to read about these adventures and for any questions or to reserve a spot:(970) 729-0078, or write

MAY 20-22  Santa Barbara, CA. Instructor Certi-

fication Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. This three-day clinic is open to Basic and Advanced Paragliding Instructor candidates, and those needing recertification. Visit, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

may 21-22  Mt. Diablo, CA. Mt. Diablo Flyin is set

SEPTEMber 16-26  Italy. Join us for Eagle Para-

may 21-23  Utah. Thermal Clinic. Many pilots

september 24-25  Utah. Mountain Flying and learning how to pioneer a new site in Utah with Ken Hudonjorgensen. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or

to take advantage of Contra Costas amazing conditions. Awards will await the winners of the eagerly anticipated spot landing contest. Great camping and fun times on Mt. Diablo. We will be camping at launch at Juniper camp ground. More information at, or 925-497-1059. have reported that “Ken offers the most comprehensive course and booklet on the subject of Thermal Flying for paragliding”. Most will learn in 3 days what it would take 3 years to learn on their own. Utah flying sites with Ken Hudonjorgensen. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or

MAY 23-24  Santa Barbara, CA. Tandem Para-

gliding Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. Classroom and practical training at our world class training hill. Visit, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

may 26-29  Utah. Cross-country competition

clinic; a friendly introduction to cross-country flying with instruction from Ken Hudonjorgensen who held the XC record in Utah for 7 years and has won the Utah XC cup for 6 of the 13 years it has been run. All aspects of XC & Competitions will be covered. Utah XC sites. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or

may 27-29  Jackson Hole, WY. May 27-29, Tan-

dem Certification Clinic at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort presented by Scott Harris. More Information: Scott Harris 307-690-8726, scott@, or

JUNE 3-5  Jackson Hole, WY June 3-5, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY. Instructor Certification Clinic presented by Scott Harris. More Information: Scott Harris 307-690-8726, scott@jhparagliding. com, or JUNE 9-14  California. Over-the-water Maneuvers

Clinics in Northern California with Eagle Paragliding. America’s top all-around acro and competition pilot Brad Gunnuscio will be coaching with our state of the art towing set up. More information: www., or 805-968-0980

june 18-19  Utah. Mountain Flying and learning

how to pioneer a new site in Utah with Ken Hudonjorgensen. Phone: 801-572-3414, or twocanfly@, or july 1-4  Richfield, UT. Paragliding Pre-Nation-

als xc and competition clinic. More information: Ken Hudonjorgensen at, or 801572-3414

AUGUST 4-9  Over-the-water Maneuvers Clin-

ics in Northern California with Eagle Paragliding. America’s top all-around acro and competition pilot Brad Gunnuscio will be coaching with our state of the art towing set up. Visit , or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

gliding’s Italian Dolomites SIV and XC Tour. This tour starts with a three day SIV clinic at Lago de Garda in Italy. We travel to the Dolomites and other flying sites in Italy flying XC routes. Your tour guides will be Rob Sporrer and Brad Gunnuscio. More information:, or 805-968-0980.

SEptember 29 - October 4  Over-the-water Maneuvers Clinics in Northern California with Eagle Paragliding. America’s top all-around acro and competition pilot Brad Gunnuscio will be coaching with our state of the art towing set up. Visit www. , or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

Life Insurance for Pilots - Inexpensive life

insurance is indeed available to U.S. Residents that will protect your loved ones with complete coverage, Term or permanent life. Includes coverage while Hanggliding or Paragliding without exclusion. Call 619-721-3684 or email for more information.  Ca. ins lic 0b18364


facilities, largest inventory, camping, swimming, volleyball, more. Wide range of accommodations., 877-HANGLIDE, 877-426-4543,


OCTOBER 7-9  Owens Valley, CA. Thermal and Cross Country Clinic with Eagle Paragliding. Many pilots are sure to get personal bests. View photos and videos from our last clinic at www.paragliding. com, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

AIRJUNKIES PARAGLIDING - Year-round excellent

NOVEMBER 4-6  Santa Barbara, CA. Instructor

best year round flying in the nation. Award-winning instruction, excellent mountain and ridge sites. www., 805-968-0980

Certification Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. This threeday clinic is open to basic and advanced Paragliding Instructor candidates, and those needing recertification. Visit, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

NOVEMBER 7-8  Santa Barbara, CA. Tandem

Paragliding Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. Classroom and practical training at our world class training hill. Visit, or call 805.968.0980 for more information.

november 8-15 &/or 17-24  Iquique, Chile. Fly

sites w/Ken Hudonjorgensen and local guides. A great trip to what many pilots consider to be the best place to fly in the world. More information: 801-572-3414, or, or www.


pg) -HARNESSES (trainer, cocoon, pod) -PARACHUTES (hg&pg) -WHEELS (new & used). Phone for latest inventory 262-473-8800,

BUSINESS & EMPLOYMENT Instructors Needed - Full or part time basic/

advanced hang glider instructors. Lodging available. Please contact Greg at Mountain Wings in Ellenville, NY 845-647-3377

instruction, Southern California & Baja. Powered paragliding, clinics, tours, tandem, towing. Ken Baier 760-753-2664,


FLY ABOVE ALL - Year-round instruction in beautiful Santa Barbara! USHPA Novice through Advanced certification. Thermaling to competition training. Visit 805-965-3733. FLY AWAY HANG GLIDING - Santa Barbara. Best hill/equipment, glider shuttles up hill, tandems, sales, service, 20 years experience, Instructor Administrator Tammy Burcar. 805-403-8487, www. THE HANG GLIDING CENTER - PO Box 151542, San Diego CA 92175, 619-265-5320. Mission Soaring Center LLC - Largest hang gliding center in the West! Our deluxe retail shop showcases the latest equipment: Wills Wing, Moyes, AIR, High Energy, Flytec, Aeros, Northwing, Hero wide angle video camera. A.I.R. Atos rigid wingsdemo the VQ-45' span, 85 Lbs! Parts in stock. We stock new and used equipment. Trade-ins welcome. Complete lesson program. Best training park in the west, located just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Pitman Hydraulic Winch System for Hang 1s and above. Launch and landing clinics for Hang 3s and Hang 4s. Wills Wing Falcons of all sizes and custom training harnesses. 1116 Wrigley Way, Milpitas, CA 95035. 408-262-1055, Fax 408-2621388,, Mission Soaring Center LLC, leading the way since 1973.

Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero


TORREY PINES GLIDERPORT - This historic site, established in 1928, offers all of the services you need. We provide USHPA certified instruction, advanced training, equipment sales, tandem flight instruction,  paramotor instruction, SIV clinics, cross country clinics, tandem instructor clinics, paragliding instructor clinics, and a fully staffed cafe. We also have an extensive glider sport  shop offering parachute repacks and full-service repairs. We are importers for Paratech, Ozone, Skywalk, Independence gliders and are dealers for  all brands!  We also carry an extensive certified used inventory of gliders and harnesses. We are the primary Ki2Fly dealer, and also carry AustriAlpin, Crispi, Black Hawk Paramotors, and too much more to list!  Check us out online at:, or give us a ring at 1-858-452-9858. WINDSPORTS - Don’t risk bad weather, bad

instruction or dangerous training hills. 350 flyable days each year. Learn foot-launch flying skills safely and quickly. Train with professional CFI’s at worldfamous Dockweiler Beach training slopes (5 minutes from LA airport.) Fly winter or summer in gentle coastal winds, soft sand and in a thorough program with one of America’s most prestigious schools for over 25 years. 818-367-2430,

COLORADO GUNNISON GLIDERS – Serving the western slope.

Instruction, sales, service, sewing, accessories. Site information, ratings. 1549 County Road 17, Gunnison CO 81230.Call (970) 641-9315, or (866)238-2305.


Road 80, Clewiston, Florida 863-805-0440, www.

GRAYBIRD AIRSPORTS — Paraglider & hang glider towing & training, Dragonfly aerotow training, XC, thermaling, instruction, equipment. Dunnellon Airport 352-245-8263, email fly@graybirdairsports. com, LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - Nearest mountain training center to Orlando. Two training hills, novice mountain launch, aerotowing, great accommodations., 877-HANGLIDE, 877-426-4543. MIAMI HANG GLIDING - For year-round training

fun in the sun. 305-285-8978, 2550 S Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove, Florida 33133, www. Quest Air Hang Gliding - We offer the best instruction, friendliest staff, beautiful grounds with swimming pool, private lake and clubhouse, lodging, plus soaring in our super-famous, soft, Sunshine State thermals. Come fly with us! 352- 429- 0213, Groveland, FL, WALLABY RANCH – The original Aerotow flight park. Best tandem instruction worldwide,7-days a week , 6 tugs, and equipment rental. Call:1-800-WALLABY 1805 Deen Still Road, Disney Area FL 33897


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

GEORGIA LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - Discover why 5 times as many pilots earn their wings at LMFP. Enjoy our 110 acre mountain resort. www.hanglide. com, 1-877-HANGLIDE, 1-877-426-4543.


information about flying on Maui. Full-service school offering beginner to advanced instruction every day, year round. 808-874-5433,


SUSQUEHANNA FLIGHT PARK Cooperstown, New York. Serving the North East since 1978. We have the best training hill in New York. Dealers for Wills Wing, and others. Trade-ins welcom. www., 315-867-8011



Let's Go Paragliding LLC - Paragliding flight school offering USHPA-certified instruction for all levels, tandem lessons, tours, and equipment sales.,  917-359-6449.

See Cloud 9 in

MARYLAND HIGHLAND AEROSPORTS - Baltimore and DC’s fulltime flight park: tandem instruction, solo aerotows and equipment sales and service. We carry Aeros, Airwave, Flight Design, Moyes, Wills Wing, High Energy Sports, Flytec and more. Two 115-HP Dragonfly tugs. Open fields as far as you can see. Only 1 to 1.5 hours from Rehoboth Beach, Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia. Come Fly with US! 410-634-2700, Fax 410-634-2775, 24038 Race Track Rd, Ridgely, MD 21660,,

MICHIGAN Cloud 9 Sport Aviation (hang gliding equipment), North American Soaring (Alatus ultralight sailplane and e-drive systems), Dragon Fly Soaring Club (hang gliding instruction), at Cloud 9 Field, Webberville, MI.More info: (517) 223-8683,, TRAVERSE CITY HANG GLIDERS/PARAGLIDERS

Put your knees in our breeze and soar our 450’ sand dunes. Full-time shop. Certified instruction, beginner to advanced. Sales, service, accessories for ALL major brands. Visa/MasterCard. 1509 E 8th, Traverse City MI 49684. Offering powered paragliding. Call Bill at 231-922-2844, tchangglider@chartermi. net. Your USA & Canada Mosquito distributor. www.

purchase of equipment! The largest hang gliding school in the world. Teaching since 1974. Learn to fly over the East coast’s largest sand dune. Year round instruction, foot launch and tandem aerotow. Dealer for all major manufacturers. Ultralight instruction and tours. 252-441-2426, 1-877-FLY-THIS, www.



See Cloud 9 in

PUERTO RICO FLY PUERTO RICO WITH TEAM SPIRIT HG! - Flying tours, rentals, tandems, HG and PG classes, H-2 and P-2 intensive Novice courses, full sales. 787-8500508,


Chattanooga. Become a complete pilot -foot launch, aerotow, mountain launch, ridge soar, thermal soar., 1-877-HANGLIDE, 877-426-4543.

TEXAS FlyTexas / Jeff Hunt - training pilots in Central

Texas for 25 years. Hangar facilities near Packsaddle Mountain, and Lake LBJ. More info: www.flytexas. com, (512)467-2529

UTAH CLOUD 9 PARAGLIDING - Come visit us and check

AAA MOUNTAIN WINGS INC. - New location at 77 Hang Glider Road in Ellenville next to the LZ. We service all brands featuring AEROS and North Wing. Contact 845-647-3377,,,

out our huge selection of paragliding gear, traction kites, extreme toys, and any other fun things you can think of. If you aren’t near the Point of the Mountain, then head to for a full list of products and services. We are Utah’s only full time shop and repair facility, Give us a ring at 801-5766460 if you have any questions.

FLY HIGH, INC. - Serving New York, Jersey, and

Super Fly Paragliding – Come to world famous


Connecticut areas. Area’s exclusive Wills Wing dealer. Also all other brands, accessories. Area’s most INEXPENSIVE prices! Certified instruction/ service since 1979. Excellent secondary instruction! Taken some lessons? Advance to mountain flying!, 845-744-3317.

Point of the Mountain and learn to fly from one of our distinguished instructors. We teach year round and offer some of the best paragliding equipment available. Get your P2 certification, advanced ratings or tandem ratings here. We have a full shop to assist you with any of your free flight needs. 801-255-9595, ,


/ region 4 area. Certified HANG GLIDING instruction, sales, service. World class training hill! Tours of Utah’s awesome mountains for visiting pilots. DISCOUNT glider/equipment prices. Glider rentals. Tandem flights. Ryan Voight, 801-599-2555, www.

VIRGINIA BLUE SKY - Full-time HG instruction. Daily lessons,

scooter, and platform towing. AT towing part time. Custom sewing, powered harnesses, Aeros PG , Flylight and Airborne trikes. More info: (804)2414324, or



FOR ALL YOUR FLYING NEEDS - Check out the Aviation Depot at featuring over 1000 items for foot-launched and powered paragliding, hang gliding, stunt and power kiting, and powered parachutes. 24/7 secure online shopping. Books, videos, KITES, gifts, engine parts, harness accessories, electronics, clothing, safety equipment, complete powered paragliding units with training from Hill Country Paragliding Inc. www. 1-800-664-1160 for orders only. Office 325-379-1567.


OXYGEN SYSTEMS – MH-XCR-180 operates to


18,000 ft., weighs only 4 lbs. System includes cylinder, harness, regulator, cannula, and remote on/ off flowmeter. $450.00. 1-800-468-8185


SPECIALTY WHEELS for airfoil basetubes, round

- Award winning instructors at a world class training facility. Contact Doug Stroop at 509-782-5543 or visit

INTERNATIONAL BAJA MEXICO - La Salina: PG, HG, PPG www. by, He’ll hook you up! site intros, tours, & rooms bajabrent@, 760-203-2658

basetubes, or tandem landing gear.(262)473-8800,

PUBLICATIONS / ORGANIZATIONS SOARING - Monthly magazine of The Soaring

Society of America Inc. Covers all aspects of soaring flight. Full membership $64. SSA, PO Box 2100, Hobbs NM 88241. 505-392-1177,

MEXICO - VALLE DE BRAVO and beyond for hang

gliding and paragliding. Year round availability and special tours. Gear, guiding, instruction, transportation, lodging - all varieties for your needs. 1-800-861-7198 USA

maintain a full service repair shop within Cloud 9 Paragliding; offering annual inspections, line replacement, sail repair of any kind (kites too!), harness repairs and reserve repacks. Our repair technicians are factory trained and certified to work on almost any paraglider or kite. Call today for an estimate 801-576-6460 or visit www.paragliders. com for more information.

Get your annual inspection, repair or reserve

repack done quickly and professionally. Super Fly does more inspections, repairs and repacks than any service center in North America. Call or email for details and more information. 801-255-9595, info@

RISING AIR GLIDER REPAIR SERVICES – A fullservice shop, specializing in all types of paragliding repairs, annual inspections, reserve repacks, harness repairs. Hang gliding reserve repacks and repair. For information or repair estimate, call (208) 554-2243, pricing and service request form available at www.,

WANTED WANTED - Used variometers, harnesses, parachutes, helmets, etc. Trade or cash. (262) 473-8800, www.

STOLEN WINGS & THINGS Stolen 9/18/10 - Draper, UT. Gradient Aspen

PG, Black harness, white helmet and Flytec vario.   Please call:  Chris:  209-267-5090 , or Aaron: 916471-9695.

Introducing the new USHPA custom Visa Platinum Rewards Card.

The card with Flare. Submit your own image or choose one of these custom USHPA Platinum Rewards Cards.

Use your own photo.

Apply today at... More details in the full ad on page 21. Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero




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H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-1 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-2 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-4 H-4 H-4

Berkeley Berkeley Sunnyvale Santa Barbara Littleton Orem Fairfax Fayetteville Sebastion Vero Beach Rowland Haltom City El Paso West Lake Hills New York Oregon City San Francisco Stateline Los Gatos Santa Barbara Steamboat Springs Orem Sebastion Vero Beach Haltom City El Paso New York Las Vegas Sebastion Mcqueeney Bowie Miami Sebastion Austin


P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4

Flagstaff AZ Vineyard Haven MA State College PA Dundee Kingston Granby, Qc Toronto, Ont Beaverton OR Mukilteo WA Emeryville CA South Lake Tahoe CA Vacaville CA Lompoc CA Tustin CA Three Rivers CA Kaneohe HI Castro Valley CA Wahiawa HI Goleta CA Rancho Palos Verdes CA Albuquerque NM Phoenix AZ Snowmass Village CO Logan UT Albuquerque NM Phoenix AZ Cedar Crest NM Kamas UT Phoenix AZ Boulder CO Ridgway CO Flagstaff AZ Woburn MA State College PA Dundee Kingston Granby, Qc Toronto, Ont Ashland OR Portland OR Issaquah WA Mukilteo WA Vacaville CA Sacramento CA Las Vegas NV San Mateo CA Honaunau HI Santa Barbara CA Flagstaff AZ Palisade CO Monument CO Draper UT Greenwich CT Surfers Paradise Qld Seattle WA Mukilteo WA Long Beach CA Austin TX

2 2 2 3 4 4 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 12 1 2 2 2 3 4 4 10 10 11 11 12 2 10 11 11 10 10 11

Maya Mileck Keenan Pepper Richard Sibley Max Mironov David Graham Darrell Stanley Kautilya Vemulapalli Daniel Smith Richard Van Zyl Roger Robinet Michael Bartlett Michael Canfield Lee Boone Tom Keller Robin Moore David Fitzwater Jose Pruneda Jessica Williamson Karen Meyer Max Mironov Mark Cahur Darrell Stanley Richard Van Zyl Roger Robinet Michael Canfield Lee Boone Robin Moore Adam Huston Richard Van Zyl Jay Fisher Marlin Payne Grant Emary Richard Van Zyl Daniel Jones

Barry Levine Barry Levine David Yount Zac Majors Mark Windsheimer Shadd Heaston John Middleton John Middleton James Tindle Malcolm Jones Robert Morrell David Broyles Eric Smith Jeffrey Hunt Eric Williams Greg Berger Zac Majors Patrick Denevan Patrick Denevan Zac Majors Eric Williams Shadd Heaston James Tindle Malcolm Jones David Broyles Eric Smith Eric Williams Harold Wickham James Tindle Joel Froehlich Jeffrey Hunt Mark Windsheimer James Tindle Joel Froehlich


P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1

1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

John Patterson Christopher Dolan Nick Herman Forest Pullman Christopher Cram Amicaya Frediani Kevin Fowler Kristopher Reynolds Travis Kean Amy Wellbourn Michael San Gabriel Cody Mittanck Mike Maness Rob Harter Robert (rj) Simonson Ian George Daniel Neises Julie (meg) Van Sciver Mindy Malin



Mukilteo WA Emeryville CA South Lake Tahoe CA Lompoc CA Tustin CA Three Rivers CA Kaneohe HI Pine Valley CA Wahiawa HI Goleta CA Rancho Palos Verdes CA Logan UT Albuquerque NM Phoenix AZ Cedar Crest NM Kamas UT Phoenix AZ Boulder CO Ridgway CO

Chris Santacroce David Binder Mitchell Neary Patrick Eaves Chris Santacroce Bruce Kirk Pete Michelmore Jeffrey Greenbaum Pete Michelmore Rob Sporrer Robert Peloquin Chris Santacroce William Smith Rob Sporrer William Smith Stephen Mayer Chandler Papas William Laurence Chris Santacroce

4 8 9 13 13 13 13 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 8 9 13 13 13 13 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 8 13 1 1 3 11

Lena Lander William Straw Raquel Price Robert Mulvie Scott Manson Angela Farr Daniel Steiner Daren Lindley John Patterson Christopher Dolan Nick Herman Ken Potts Forest Pullman Christopher Cram Amicaya Frediani Kevin Fowler Christopher White Travis Kean Amy Wellbourn Michael San Gabriel James Borders Joshua Breger Paul Morgan Cody Mittanck Mike Maness Rob Harter Robert (rj) Simonson Ian George Daniel Neises Julie (meg) Van Sciver Mindy Malin Lena Lander Ismar De Paula Alves Raquel Price Robert Mulvie Scott Manson Angela Farr Daniel Steiner Allison Trafton Eric Larson Matt Becker John Patterson William Talbot Josh Gartner Keita Sakon David Lehr Daniel Velasco Christopher Mckellar Lane Lamoreaux Dan Slover Eckehart Zimmermann Keith Pearson Lorenzo Toro Dan Sobotka Francisco Henriquez John Patterson Wiliam Florez Serrano Russell Croman


Tanner Patty Heath Woods James Griffith Jurgen Von Dueszeln Jurgen Von Dueszeln Robert Peloquin David (dexter) Binder Brad Hill Chris Santacroce David Binder Mitchell Neary Kevin Mcginley Patrick Eaves Chris Santacroce Bruce Kirk Pete Michelmore Klaus Schlueter Pete Michelmore Rob Sporrer Robert Peloquin Charles Woods Chandler Papas Alejandro Palmaz Chris Santacroce William Smith Rob Sporrer William Smith Stephen Mayer Chandler Papas William Laurence Chris Santacroce Tanner Patty Heath Woods James Griffith Jurgen Von Dueszeln Jurgen Von Dueszeln Robert Peloquin David (dexter) Binder Greg Babush Brad Hill John Kraske Chris Santacroce Bruce Kirk Jason Shapiro Ron Peck Jeffrey Greenbaum Christopher Langan Bruce Kirk Chandler Papas Chris Santacroce William Laurence Ken Hudonjorgensen Rolan Yang Rob Sporrer Douglas Stroop Chris Santacroce Kevin Mcginley Paul Greenwood

William Miller earned his P-2 in December of 2009. Yes, 2009. We missed it. Sorry, Bill.


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

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78 |

Precious Gifts

Paul Voight over the South Side, Point of the Mountain, Utah

by Steve Messman


he rainy season is very special in these far reaches of the great northwest. Some consider the rain as a gift of sorts, as long as you can maintain a slightly soggy sense of humor for a few months. After all, these emerald-green mountainsides don’t just happen. Like everything beautiful, they require a certain amount of nurturing. Most of the country believes it rains a lot in Washington, but they don’t know the half of it. The actual amount of rain depends on exactly where you happen to be. Where I live on the Olympic peninsula, it can actually rain nearly a hundred inches a year—the true makings of a temperate rain forest. For me, sunny days during the dreary Washington winters happen very infrequently. Of course, the rain is a good thing, but those sunny days are very precious gifts that fire the urge, the desire, the need, to fly. So, one such day, it was off to fly with friends, and it was off to discover even greater gifts. Mountain roads are frequently gated in the winter, an effort to protect either saturated roads or overzealous drivers, but a gate is yet another gift that leads to even greater rewards. A threemile hike on a mountain road is wonderful exercise, and you haven’t truly lived until you have spent time observing nature at the speed of a slow walk. Fir trees drip wet diamonds through sunlit shafts that cleave empty spaces between giant trees. Streams that are silent in August gurgle with seasonal life through the shadows of giant ferns and wild rhododendrons. Winds that purr through tall trees and short, past weather-carved rock faces, into deep woods and out again, create an ethereal refrain that rivals the harmony of any angelic choir. Each of these gifts is wrapped in visions similarly beautiful: Puget Sound flowing and ebbing in the distance, Mount Rainier resting weightlessly on a bed of mist, Seattle hovering in the sun-drenched distance.


Hang Gliding & Paragliding | www.USHPA .aero

Each vision is, by itself, a precious gift, winds, clouds, sunshine, winds, clouds, yet there are more to come. At the end sunshine. The mountains, as one, seemed of the hike, at launch, I find perhaps the to inhale a giant breath, and in one surge, most precious gifts of all: friends who they exhaled. The mountains were living began the day even earlier than I did. We souls, and we were blessed to be witness share handshakes, greetings, smiles, and to their miracle, to be the fortunate reconversations. In their eyes I see child- cipients of their gifts. like excitement, and in their voices I hear But another precious gift remained. In the unbridled anticipation of at least one our group were two non-pilots who had flight, of at least some minutes doing the never witnessed the breathing of mounone thing that we were all born to do. But, tains that formed new clouds only to clear the gift of flight wasn’t to happen just yet; them away. The two stood in awe at the the weather had much more to offer. formation of every new cloud. They exWe all watched and waited for the claimed in excitement each time those winds to shift, and as we did, we found disappeared. They wondered at the movethat the gifts presented by the mountains ment of mist from above and below, and were pure magic. The valley floor was they marveled as the seeds of small clouds crystal clear at first, but then, the sun far below grew so fast, so high, and so peeked shyly from the quilted sky. The large. Every new cloud, every new piece warming valley floor lifted its sacrificial, of blue sky, every movement of the mist humid air into the sky, and the valley brought amazement to their eyes and exfloor was suddenly obscured by thicken- citement to their faces, and those, alone, ing clouds. Just as suddenly, the winds should have been sufficient gifts for the would shift. Air moved in from Puget day. Sound and pushed the clouds back into the valley. Then it would happen again: But then, finally, there was flight.



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Hang Gliding & Paragliding Vol41/Iss04 Apr 2011