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JANUARY 2013 Volume 43 Issue 1 $6.95






Hang gliding and paragliding are INHERENTLY DANGEROUS activities. USHPA recommends pilots complete a pilot training program under the direct supervision of a USHPA-certified instructor, using safe equipment suitable for your level of

ON THE COVER, Jerome Maupoint snaps

another cover in the French Alps near Grand Bornand, France. MEANWHILE, Mark Vanderwerf on approach at Wilcox.

experience. Many of the articles and photographs in the magazine depict advanced maneuvers being performed by experienced, or expert, pilots. These maneuvers should not be attempted without the prerequisite instruction and experience.

HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING magazine is published for foot-


launched air-sports enthusiasts to create further interest in the sports of hang gliding and paragliding and to provide an educational forum to advance hang gliding and paragliding methods and safety.

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



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 www.ushpa. aero. 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,, (516) 816-1333.

published monthly by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Inc., 1685 W. Uintah St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904, (719) 6328300, FAX (719) 632-6417. PERIODICAL postage is paid at Colorado Springs, CO and at additional mailing offices.

POSTMASTER Send change of address to:

Martin Palmaz, Publisher Nick Greece, Editor Greg Gillam, Art Director

Hang Gliding & Paragliding 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

C.J. Sturtevant, Copy Editor

COPYRIGHT Copyright (c) 2012 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.

Staff Writers Steve Messman, Dennis Pagen Christina Ammon, Ryan Voight, C.J. Sturtevant

Terry Rank, Advertising

Staff Photographers John Heiney, Jeff Shapiro





















USHPA in Action Dues Increase ������������������������������������������������������������������ by Mark Forbes


USHPA in Action Mark Cahur ���������������������������������������������������������������� by C.J. Sturtevant


FEATURE | Six Long Years �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������by Rodger Hoyt


FEATURE | 2012 Santa Cruz Flats Race �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������by Ryan Voight


FEATURE | Hang Glider Aerobatics �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������by Ryan Voight


FEATURE | Tools of the XC Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Gavin McClurg


FEATURE | Five Weeks at Acro Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Caroline Lewis


Pilots Who Make Goal World Record Tumbling ������������������������������������������by Christina Ammon

Life is good

500 West Blueridge Ave . Orange, CA 92865 . 1.714.998.6359 . HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING MAGAZINE


Photo by Marshal Miller





appy New Year! As January goes to print, I have almost forgotten about the summer routines and rituals that surround every day, like searching the sky for signs to give myself an excuse to head for the hill. During the winter’s cold and windy months, I find myself drawn to forums and news of flying in the southern hemisphere. They keep me attached and feed my imagination and visualization for the upcoming season. Some of us will head for warmer climates to get a flyable fix, while others will rely on the Internet and magazine world. This issue focuses on providing inspiration and tips from our contributors to help you get through the month of January. C.J. Sturtevant is back with a profile of Mark Cahur, who takes over the Site Management committee with more expertise than any previous director. As you will read, he “has worked in the US Forest Service for more than two decades in all phases of land management, so has knowledge of public land uses, environmental constraints, land-management planning, and environmental-analysis processes.” USHPA is thrilled to have a person with his expertise running this all-important area for site development, procurement, and retention. Rodger Hoyt reports from the Rogue Valley about his six long years away from hang gliding and how photos from Jonny Durand’s GoPro helped him find his way back. Staff contributor Ryan Voight sends in an epic story about his first competition in Arizona this year and the lessons he learned from flying with America’s best racers. Gavin McClurg presents information he learned this summer in his quest for cross-country miles in the Alps and Rockies, focusing on the gear that is mandatory to safely get you down range and on your way to personal cross-country bests. If aerobatics interests you, check out the hang gliding and paragliding features on cranking and banking. Chris Ammon covers Max Marien’s world-record infinite tumbling feat from a helicopter above Torrey Pines, San Diego, this summer, and Caroline Lewis sends in a piece about a beginning aerobatic pilot going to Europe for a “trickster” camp. Ryan Voight also contributes a piece that sets the stage for defining aerobatic hang gliding and creating a starting point for those interested in learning more about flying in alternative configurations. Hopefully, something in this issue captures your imagination and propels an upcoming adventure or learning experience. We at the USHPA magazine staff hope we can provide that at least once this year!





 ASCENT H1 In 2008 Ascent introduced the V1, the first and only small full-featured wrist(or riser-) mounted vario. Now they have announced a new vario, H1 with

The mission is very personal for

GPS functionality. The new H1 shares

each pilot. For many, it is the ful-

the same menu structure, beep, and

fillment of a lifelong dream. Solo

altitude information as V1. However,

pilots commit to raising a minimum

Ascent claims to have listened care-

of $5000 USD, and tandem pilots

fully to pilot feedback, and many of

commit to raising a minimum of

the suggestions were implemented

$10,000 USD towards the charity

into the new model, including ground


speed, glide ratio, heading, and

A complete trip report will be pub-

downloadable track logs. For more

lished in this magazine in the coming

information on the $425 vario/GPS,


go to or visit a

At this time, the US-based pilots

dealer near you.

participating in WoK need and hope


assistance you are able to give. Please

for your support! We appreciate any

On January 29, 2013, 200 adven-

look us up at: www.wingsofkiliman-

turers from all over the globe will http://wingsofkilimanjaro.

Flymaster is proud to release the

depart on a mission to fly paraglid-


Heart-G, a combination heart-rate

ers from Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world’s

united-states-of-america/. Donations

monitor, pedometer and G-force

tallest freestanding mountain. The

can be made online and are 100% tax

meter. The Flymaster heart-rate moni-

climb-and-fly event, something that

deductible. All funds from the US go


tor can measure, display and record

is usually banned by the Tanzanian

to non-profits based in the US. If your

your heart rate wirelessly to any of

government, will raise $1 million for

employer has a matching donation

the Flymaster VARIO, GPS, NAV and

three non-profits making a difference

program, this may help increase your

LIVE instruments. This feature allows

on the ground in Tanzania: Plant with

support of your fellow pilots.

pilots to monitor their effort rate and

Purpose, World Serve International

stress during a flight. Also included in

and One Difference.

the Heart-G is a G-force monitor that

A team of more than 1000 porters,

US pilot list as of Nov. 14, 2012: Dan Retz and Katie Bush, Danielle Kinch, David Lehr, David Metzgar and Nicole

tracks the Gs that the pilot is being

guides, and crew will support the 200

Chastain, Greg Hunter, Jason Kinch,

subjected to—a must-have feature for

adventurers. The group will spend

Jeffrey Brown, John Kennon Shea,

any acro pilot. The built-in pedometer

seven days making the trek to the

John Melfi, Johanna Haskell, Kari

allows pilots to work out how many

19,340-foot peak where the pilots

Castle, Mark Haase, Tom Parsons.

steps they have walked to launch or

will launch. This is slightly longer

from landing. For more details check out www.


altitude sickness.


than most groups take to summit


Kilimanjaro, because time is needed

will be held March 14-16 in Colorado

to optimize the pilots’ acclimatization

Springs, Colorado. For more info go

and minimize the risk of hypoxia and


A beautiful sunset caps the end of an incredible soaring day... Will future generations be able to enjoy the same? We can help.

Each year we grant thousands of dollars to help dedicated individuals and organizations achieve their goals of:  Site Preservation  Safety  Education  Competition Your contributions during this season of giving are greatly appreciated!  USHPA matches your gift (up to $500) if you donate with membership renewal  Please consider naming the Foundation as a Will or Living Trust beneficiary

P.O. Box 518, Dunlap, CA 93621






Culture of Safety Awareness campaign Website Safety Section

by Robin Jones

SAFETY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN A wise person once said, “I don’t need to fly today; I want to live to fly another day.”


he USHPA Strategic Plan (originally drafted in 2005) states that we will create a culture of safety for the members of the Association. Many of our members and instructors worked hard to make safety a priority during the 1970’s and 1980’s—a period during which our fatalities and accidents were starting to give our sport a negative, yet accurate, reputation. Although our opinions of this matter may differ, we all participate in a risky sport that sometimes requires us to make calls that put us and other pilots



in danger. In the months after you read this article, we will be launching more safety support for you, our instructors, and our chapters that will both satisfy our relationship with our insurance partners and also save you, our cherished member, from ever having to deal with the repercussions of loss that might occur when accidents happen. Participation in this effort is optional. But our collective advisors have confirmed that a FOCUSED pilot is a safe pilot. USHPA assumes our members want to be safe and don’t want to be hurt, hurt others, or participate in actions that result in airspace loss or loss of a

Accident Reports Outreach - Physical Reminders Articles and Briefs Safety Coordinator Participation Webinars Contests Committee Focus Chapter Support Member-Focused Engagement Proactive & Timely Updates Safety Lessons Learned

flying site. Our entire organization is committed to learning to recognize safety issues and avoid accidents. Safety is not USHPA’s only mission; however, it is a practice we can bring into effect with collective energy. Nothing is more important to us than YOU. Please look for the FOCUSED logo for safety articles, starting in the next couple of issues of the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Magazine. And please visit our Safety website page regularly, as it will include many of the updates to the campaign as it grows. This is serious stuff, but it can be a part of our routine. We urge you to work with us to accomplish our goal; we hope all of you will see the benefits personally and throughout the community. The Prevention list and the entire outline is available at the USHPA website.

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

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$50 donation by the bank, to USHPA, when you first use the card.*

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Earn points at hundreds of participating online retailers redeemable for namebrand merchandise, event tickets, gift cards or travel reward options.

Use your own photo. Apply today at: The USHPA Visa card program is operated by UMB Bank, N.A. All applications for USHPA Visa card accounts will be subject to UMB Bank N.A.'s approval, at its absolute discretion. Please visit www. for futher details of terms and conditions which apply to the USHPA Visa card program. Donation made when card is used once within 90 days of issuance. After this period a low variable APR will apply. Powered by CardPartner. The #1 provider of affinity credit card programs.



by Mark Forbes USHPA Treasurer



t the fall 2012 meeting of the USHPA board of directors, the Finance committee reviewed the budget for 2013 and determined that a dues increase is necessary for USHPA to remain on a stable financial footing.



After much discussion, the board voted to increase pilot dues from the present $75 level to $99. Rogallo instructor dues also increase by $24, from $270 to $294. The family discount was also adjusted to reflect the marginal cost of

magazine production and mailing, for multiple members in a single household sharing one magazine. The dues increase goes into effect with January 2013 renewals.

Factors driving the increase Two major factors are driving this dues increase. Our insurance premium more than doubled at the last renewal due to some large claims. After some years of stable premiums, we’ve had a bad run of luck in the past few years. We’re taking action to reduce future claims




Data from Minneapolis Federal Reserve INFLATION TRAILING 5 YR AVG

2012 EQV $10 IN YEAR X

$2.00 $11.11

$55.56 1972




$3.00 $15.71 $52.35 1973




$5.00 $23.56 $47.13 1974




$10.00 $43.19 $43.19 1975



Martin Palmaz, Executive Director


$10.00 $40.84 $40.84 1976





$15.00 $57.53 $38.35 1977





$20.00 $71.27 $35.63 1978





$20.00 $64.04 $32.02 1979





$25.00 $70.52 $28.21 1980





$29.50 $75.41 $25.56 1981





$29.50 $71.04 $24.08 1982





$29.50 $68.84 $23.33 1983





$29.50 $65.99 $22.37 1984





$39.00 $84.27 $21.61 1985





$39.00 $82.69 $21.20 1986





$39.00 $79.78 $20.46 1987





$39.00 $76.64 $19.65 1988





$39.00 $73.12 $18.75 1989





$39.00 $69.38 $17.79 1990





$49.00 $83.61 $17.06 1991





$49.00 $81.15 $16.56 1992





$49.00 $78.83 $16.09 1993





$54.00 $84.67 $15.68 1994





$54.00 $82.36 $15.25 1995





$54.00 $80.02 $14.82 1996





$54.00 $78.18 $14.48 1997





$54.00 $77.00 $14.26 1998





$54.00 $75.34 $13.95 1999





$59.00 $79.62 $13.50 2000





$59.00 $77.44 $13.13 2001





$59.00 $76.24 $12.92 2002





$59.00 $74.54 $12.63 2003





$59.00 $72.60 $12.30 2004





$59.00 $70.21 $11.90 2005





$69.00 $79.55 $11.53 2006





$75.00 $84.06 $11.21 2007





$75.00 $80.96 $10.79 2008





$75.00 $81.25 $10.83 2009





$75.00 $79.93 $10.66 2010





$75.00 $77.49 $10.33 2011





$75.00 $75.00 $10.00 2012





$99.00 $97.25 $9.82 2013





$99.00 $95.53 $9.65 2014





$99.00 $93.84 $9.48 2015





$99.00 $92.18 $9.31 2016





$99.00 $90.55 $9.15






$99.00 $88.95 $8.98 2018




Jeff Mosher, Program Manager Robin Jones, Communications Manager Eric Mead, System Administrator Beth Van Eaton, Membership Services Terry Rank, Office Coordinator

USHPA OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Rich Hass, President Ken Grubbs, Vice President Bill Bolosky, Secretary Mark Forbes, Treasurer

REGION 1: Rich Hass, Mark Forbes. REGION 2: Steve Rodrigues, Josh Cohn, Pat Hajek. REGION 3: Corey Caffrey, Bill Helliwell, Rob Sporrer. REGION 4: Ryan Voight, Ken Grubbs. REGION 5: Donald Lepinsky. REGION 6: David Glover. REGION 7: Tracy Tillman. REGION 8: Michael Holmes. REGION 9: Felipe Amunategui, Dan Tomlinson. 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, Mike Haley, Dennis Pagen, Jamie Shelden. EX-OFFICIO DIRECTOR: Art Greenfield (NAA). 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 USHPA supervision of FAI-related hang gliding and paragliding activities such as record attempts and competition sanctions. For change of address or other USHPA business call (719) 632-8300, or email 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.



by increasing the focus on spectator and site safety, as you’re aware. We hope that our future claims rate will improve, and that will help to keep our premiums down. The numbers don’t lie; if the insurers are paying out more in expenses than they get from us in premiums, then the price goes up or we can’t get insurance at all. We must find ways to improve safety for everyone and keep the claims rate down. While we hope that our efforts will improve the insurance loss ratio, we don’t expect our premiums to drop significantly in the short term, and we’re budgeting accordingly. Inflation is the other factor that drives our dues rate up. Our last dues increase was in 2007, when we obtained instructor liability insurance coverage. Since then inflation has steadily chewed away at our purchasing power. Dues rates over the life of our association are illustrated on the chart. The moving average shows that constant-dollar dues have remained fairly stable at around $75-$80 for many years. The 2007 dues increase was worth $84 in today’s dollars. Inflation forecasts predict a rate around 1.8%, and we’ve used that figure for future estimates.

Income sources USHPA income is primarily from membership dues, and to a lesser extent from magazine advertising sales, merchandise, and rental of space in our office building. We receive no government funding, unlike associations in some other countries, and we don’t have corporate sponsors like some of the high-visibility sports. The pie charts show how our income and expenses break down by amount and category.

Expenses USHPA expenses fall into several categories: salaries and benefits, magazine production, printing and mailing,



liability insurance, sports marketing, utilities and so on. The budget is posted on-line in the Members-only section of the website for your inspection. Breaking it down by category, about 28% of our budget goes directly to pilot and instructor liability insurance. Another 20% goes for the magazine, 19% for staff salaries, 11% for administrative costs like legal expenses, phone and Internet, credit card fees and postage. Another 6% goes for marketing and member communication, 2% for merchandise, 2% for office building expenses and 11% for everything else.

Mosquito Power Harness Dealers Wanted! US & Canada

Options: • Internal Fuel Tank • Dual-start Engine • Folding Prop High Performance Exhaust now Standard

Weighing the alternatives During the Finance committee meeting, we reviewed the 2013 budget line-byline. The initial draft would have us running a deficit of nearly $250,000 next year, which was clearly unacceptable. We did some cutting and penciled in a $10 dues increase, which got the deficit down to $160,000. We went through it again, cut some more, and raised the dues by $15. That left us with a budget deficit of about $120,000, which was brought to the board. The plan was to raise $15 this year, and some more next year to finally bring revenue into line with expenses. The board debated this at length, and decided that one larger increase now was preferable to two smaller increases. After more discussion, the final decision was to raise dues $24 starting in January 2013. Members renew over an entire year, so a change to dues doesn’t show up on the bottom line right away. The projection for 2013 is that we’ll still run a year-end deficit of about $99,000, and a projected surplus of $20,000 by the end of 2014. We recognize dues revenue over a 12-month period, so this dues increase won’t fully show up on the books until December 2014. Running a deficit doesn’t mean we’re in trouble though, because we’ve maintained cash reserves to cover surprises and smooth

Dealers across America & Canada Traverse City Hang Gliders/Paragliders Bill Fifer • Traverse City, MI 231-922-2844 phone/fax • Pilot: Paul Farina Photo: Greg Dewenter


Dues vary widely in other countries, and at $99 USHPA falls into the middle of the pack. The comparison doesn’t factor in the different benefits offered by associations in other countries, but it at least provides an idea of what it costs to fly in other parts of the world. At the low end is Portugal at about fifty bucks a year. At the high end is Malta, where pilots don’t have a national association but do have to pay for liability insurance, at over $380 per year. Up north in Canada the rate is higher than here, but there are some local club dues collected in that amount.

Portugal 40 euro $51 Japan 5000 Yen $62 Slovakia 50 euro $64 Germany 69 euro $88 Finland 70 euro $90 South Africa 840 Rand $95 USHPA $99 Switzerland 80 euro $102 New Zealand 138 NZ$ $113 UK 92 pounds $146 Canada 150 Cd$ $150 Australia 270 Au$ $281 Malta 300 euro $384



USHPA Financial History

THIS CHART illustrates USHPA’s finances from 1999 to

Fixed Assets: The USHPA headquarters building, furniture,

the present. We update this chart monthly and watch it

computers and so on.

for trends or unexpected changes, as a way of keeping a close eye on how we’re doing through the year. Here’s a

Total Assets: The sum of all the above.

brief explanation of each item.

Current Liabilities: Bills received but not yet due, acCash and Investments: This is liquid cash-in-the-bank,

crued vacation and taxes payable.

money market, CDs and so on.

Long-term Liabilities: Membership dues received, but not Receivables: Money we’re owed which we haven’t yet

yet booked as income because members pay once a year

received. No significant non-collectable debt is on the

for 12 months of service. Each month 1/12th of this moves


over from liability to income.

Inventory: Shirts, books, hats, DVDs and so on, sitting on

Net Assets: Total Assets minus Liabilities. It’s what we’re

the shelf to be sold.

worth, netted out at the end.

Prepaid Expenses: Mostly insurance, with a bit of prepaid

Net Asset Projection: An estimate based on the budget

postage and subscriptions.

of what Net Assets should do, averaged out over the year. This resets at the end of each year to the actual Net Asset value.



out the difference between expenses and income. But we still have cash in the bank! Yes we do, and we want to keep it that way. That’s why we’re making changes now, instead of waiting until we run out of money. We were able to absorb a huge hit on the insurance premium without going to the membership for an emergency fundraiser, because we had adequate cash reserves on hand. Without this dues increase, we could still keep going for a couple of years before things got desperate. We discussed that option in the Finance committee and decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to run our reserves that low. We hope that we won’t have to come back and raise dues again for some years, and we’ll continue to look for ways to streamline our operations and reduce expenses wherever possible. Sometimes a long-term savings requires a short-term expense, and having sufficient reserves on hand lets us take advantage of those opportunities. Our building is a good example. We were able to buy it for cash at a deep discount, and over the past seven years it has almost paid for itself in rental income and rent we haven’t had to pay others. We were able to take advantage of that opportunity only because we had enough reserves on hand when we needed them. That savings has helped to hold down costs and delay dues increases. The key to a long XC flight is to get high and stay high, and not to spend all your time scratching low. We did some low scratching back in the late ‘90s, and narrowly escaped crashing into oblivion. The board wants to make USHPA’s flight a record-breaker, and working together we can keep ourselves high and on course for the long term. Larger versions of the charts, as well as the detailed budget, are available on the USHPA website in the Membersonly section.


Light Soaring Trike


Light Soaring Trike

Climb to cloudbase shut down engine and soar!




by C.J. Sturtevant



ite management is a huge issue these days in every flying community, and because of the diversity among our sites, pro-



viding support to chapters whose sites demand some TLC is a major challenge for USHPA. At the October 2012 board of directors meeting,

Mark Cahur took over the chairmanship of the Site Management committee. He brings with him some valuable professional background that

The committee can support, guide and help direct your efforts, but it’s you, the local, who is in place and who has the passion for the sport that we need to make these types of inroads and maintain them for the long term. provides him with numerous essential insights into working with landowners or potential landowners. Mark graciously agreed to this interview, with the intention of making the membership aware that there is assistance available through USHPA for dealing with issues at your home sites. Mark, you’re now chairman of the Site Management committee— what’s your committee’s mission? That’s a good question! I had a vague idea of what some of the needs of the position might be, but after attending my first BOD meeting, my eyes were opened to the many, many needs and especially the many, many opportunities for site management. The committee’s general mission, I believe, is very simple: assist with site acquisition, site management and site preservation. Of course the individual chapters will be taking the lead on all site issues, but the Site Management committee can help and will hopefully be a kind of “center of excellence” in site-related issues.

LEFT Mark in Seward, Alaska | photo by Kelly Kane.

Tell us a bit about your background that makes you such a good fit for this position. I am a glutton for punishment, so this type of stuff suits me well. Seriously, I am a forester. I have worked in the US Forest Service for more than two decades in all phases of land management, so I have knowledge of public land uses, environmental constraints, land-management planning, environmental-analysis processes and the like. Real fun stuff, I tell ya’, but it’s good knowledge that can be put perfectly to use for many of our sites and sites-to-be across the country. Who’s on your committee, or who should be? What are some qualities or skills or areas of expertise that would help with site-related challenges? Currently the committee consists of myself and a few of the regional directors and other pilots I just met for the first time at the fall 2012 BOD meeting. They are all great and giving people. There are many different professional skills that could help site-management endeavors. However, as an example, if you have an idea for creating a new site, I think we need you! The committee can support, guide and help direct your efforts, but it’s

you, the local, who is in place and who has the passion for the sport that we need to make these types of inroads and maintain them for the long term.

Host your own



Go to or call 1-800-616-6888 •

Training Events and Demos

Spot Landing Contests

Friendly Competitions

Fly-Ins and Cook-Outs

Community Awareness

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Do you have any suggestions for those of us managing our local sites, things to do/not do, or say/ not say, or how to best develop a strong working relationship with site owners? In my mind, relationship building is the key. To build a strong relationship that benefits our endeavors, chapters and individuals really should strive to understand landowners. Get to know their necessary processes, needs and concerns, and then mitigate those for them. Always attempt to view our flying activities as a privilege and not necessarily a right. Act like a grownup, which I know is hard for many of us in this crazy sport. Does USHPA have anything available in print or online to support/assist local site stewards? If a member has an urgent siterelated challenge, what’s in place at USHPA to help avert a crisis? Yes, the USHPA website has numerous materials, including a sitemanagement guide, that can be found in the members section (click on Flying Sites, then look below the map for the link to the site management manual). I have already received some great ideas from members for additional materials and products, one of which is to develop a general presentation for site attainment, management, etc. That’s a great idea, and we are always looking for similar suggestions—as well as for volunteers to help implement them! If you have a site management

“crisis” call headquarters immediately, and they will get you in touch with me or the right individual or group ASAP. If you’re not in crisis mode, email me (site_management@ushpa. aero) and I’ll help you out, or at least try my hardest to find some solutions. Give us a bit of your free-flight history. I started flying paragliders in 1991. There were not many of us around here, or anywhere, at that time, at least that I could find. I flew alone mostly and pioneered a site near Toponas, Colorado. Sometimes I could be at 14,000’ by 10:30 in the morning—now that’s good position! I flew a lot of places all over Colorado, eventually hooking up with hang glider pilots in the early days, often at Villa Grove, Williams Peak, Dinosaur and Wolcott. I finally met some paraglider pilots who fly out of Golden, Colorado, and we really tore up the mid- to late-’90s for the Colorado area (at least in my sky-god mind we did), having great first-of-a-kind flights one day and then generally getting our ‘arses’ kicked the next day. I started hang gliding about four years ago and haven’t looked back. I am really enjoying the hang gliding experience. One thing about our sports: I have made and still enjoy some of the best friendships of my life. A lot of great and crazy experiences with friends this sport has offered me! Where’s your home site? What’s the flying like there? I have flown most of the western states’ sites, all the biggies for sure. I like my home site in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for the great flying with local buddies.

Do you have a favorite site, or sites? What makes it/them stand out? Every site I go to is my favorite. I really appreciate all the efforts associated with keeping these sites viable. All of them have specific needs, issues and a level of commitment from volunteers to keep them open. I realize the amount of work chapters and the individuals donate. I am just so appreciative of the ability to launch and then have an LZ waiting. Really, it is quite amazing how well we do as an organization, especially in today’s climate. I want to build on this and give back a little to the sports that have given me so much. What do you do for fun when it’s not flyable, or you want to hang out with non-flying buddies or family? Outside of flying I have my lovely lady, Kelly, and a bunch of goofy friends. I hate to say it, but we work probably a little too much. But once work is good, you’ll find us skiing powder somewhere, biking, camping or traveling. I am getting kinda hooked on this kite surfing thing. (Oh, no, not another wind-dependent sport!) I try to visit my family as much as possible, which usually involves a few trips to Cleveland a year, where I eat the most incredible heart-stopping food you can imagine and then hopefully catch a Browns game, and maybe see a win. You can reach Mark via email at site_ He’s ready to assist with site-related problems, and welcomes your suggestions and offers to volunteer.



Hoyt getting ready to launch again at Woodrat Mountain, Oregon | photo Roberta Hoyt.

Six Long Years S

ix years ago George Bush was in the midst of his second term as US president. Six years ago there was no such thing as an iPhone. Six years ago Twitter did not exist. And it was six long years ago when I last took a flight on a hang glider. Like many of today’s pilots, I began hang gliding in the early days. I don’t



recall exactly when my first lesson was, but I know it was sometime in the late 1970s. My first glider was a Wills Wing Alpha, a single-surface kite (literally) with flexible battens and deflexors, no less. When the Comet craze hit, revolutionizing hang gliding, I was quick to jump on board and rapidly increase my airtime. I became a cross-country

by Rodger Hoyt fanatic, setting many local and regional distance records. I flew all over North America and won several competitions. I was president and newsletter editor of my local hang gliding club. I earned a Master rating. I became a staff writer for Hang Gliding magazine and a USHPA special observer. When I reluctantly gave in to the allure of

rigid wings, I was blown away with the performance, stability and pleasure they were to fly. And then, in February 2006, I gave it all up... Don’t ask me why. Partly because hang gliding offered no more challenges. Partly because I succumbed to the easy airtime of motorized flight. Partly because I was 60 years old and feeling the reality of my mortality. But hang gliding had been more than a hobby for me; it had been a way of life for over 30 years. And the longer I was away from it, the more acute the pain of the separation became. I missed the mountains. I missed the camaraderie. Heck, I even missed the smell of Dacron on a hot summer’s day. The longer I went without flying, the more I wondered: Will I EVER fly again? Do I have it in me? Do I have the courage? Then came the summer of 2012. Thanks to the Internet, I’d been keeping up with hang gliding news via


online blogs. The tantalizing videos posted there tempted me to return to hang gliding. And something happened that hit me like a ton of bricks. For over a decade, hang gliding seemed to have stagnated. But on July 8, 2012, Dustin Martin and Jonny Durand shattered the world opendistance record with a flight of 475 miles. As I watched Jonny’s YouTube video of this incredible flight, it resurrected old memories of what it was like to be out there “going for it,” sailing


along at cloudbase on an epic day, knowing you were going long and far. On a microcosmic level, I had been just where he was many times. It was then I knew I had to at least try it one more time. One would assume that, after six years without a single flight, I should take a refresher course. Or at least go to the local training hill for some low-altitude flights on a forgiving glider. But my logic dictated that the safest thing for me to do was to take up


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Hoyt with his USHGA sticker | photo by Roberta Hoyt.

exactly where I’d left off, on a familiar glider at a familiar flying site. I loaded up my ATOS and drove to the 3840foot thermal powerhouse, Woodrat Mountain. I’d waited until mid-September, late enough in the flying season for conditions to be benign. Upon my arrival at top launch, the weather offered no excuse for me to back out: a perfect five-mph wind straight up the face with apparently negligible lift—probable sled ride conditions. The local instructor went off ahead of me, confirming that the air was indeed very smooth. So why were my knees shaking almost uncontrollably? As I began my takeoff run, I had the disconcerting thought: “There’s no turning back now.” And that was when three decades of practice, experience and muscle memory took over. My feet slipped effortlessly into my harness, and I headed where I knew the resident thermal




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would be. Within two minutes I was working close to the trees and carving 360s back toward the mountain. The ATOS performed its magic, more than making up for my rustiness, and soon I found myself 1000 feet above takeoff in air that was now much stronger than I would have liked for my reintroduction to soaring flight. With the bar to my stomach at 800 fpm climb rate, I wished I’d waited a couple of weeks LATER into the season for my return to hang gliding! After six years with no airtime, this was a bit intense, so I turned tail and ran out to the safety of the landing area. Now came the part of the flight I feared most... For basketball players, after a long layoff, the first thing to go is their shooting. For hang glider pilots, the first thing to go is their flare timing; I approached the LZ with dread. I performed an aircraft-style approach, pulled on full flaps, and almost stopped in midair. A couple of test pumps of

the bar and then FLARE! To my shock, I stopped dead with no steps. That’s when my knees collapsed from the adrenaline, and I sat down on my butt. It was a virtually perfect flight from beginning to end. I felt both elated and lucky. For former pilots returning to hang gliding, do I advocate skipping a session at the training hill? Of course not.











But I felt it was safer for me to re-enter in a familiar setting, with a familiar wing. Like riding the proverbial bike, no training wheels were required. At 61 years of age, I don’t expect to be the same pilot I once was, but it sure was nice to be back in the air. I guess you could say I partly owe my return to hang gliding to both Jonny Durand and the GoPro camera!



by Ryan Voight

2012 Santa Cruz Flats Race Casa Grande, Arizona T he Santa Cruz Flats Race is a race-to-goal format hang gliding competition held every September in Arizona. Year after year, pilots are flocking to the small town of Casa Grande, between Phoenix and Tucson. I’m new to competition, and new to XC for that matter. I came to this meet with no expectations. I did, however, have a plan. I received quite a bit of race coaching from several friends, and what I learned from all of them was that racing hang gliders is a unique skill set that I knew nothing about. I realized quickly that I’d have to follow the leaders to have a decent finish. Simple



enough in theory, but far from easy. The following is my rendition and interpretation of how it all went down, and some lessons learned along the way. Task 1: 93k Triangle. Dustin drags the anchor. The forecast looks good and the task committee decides on a suitable course for the day. As they discuss launch order, I learn that I am up a creek without a paddle. For the first day, the current NTSS points determine the launch priority. I have no points; I am dead last to get in the air today if I stand in line. My plan to follow requires me to be up with the top guys! Luckily, there is an open launch window, after the rigid wings but before the ordered launch. As we set up, seasoned comp pilots debate if conditions will be strong enough to maintain so early in the day, but as I have nothing to lose, I decide to open the window. Stomach butterflies consume me as I question my decision to lead the way during my first attempt at competition flying. However, fortune smiles on me as I am towed up by Mark Frutiger in the trike, which has a much slower climb rate than the Dragonflies. We fly through lift, but I stay on the line until Mark waves me off. Conditions are light, and if Mark would take me up another 1000 feet I would gladly accept. By the time I release, there is

another pilot off tow, and another who releases just after me. The three of us are dropped off near a decent bit of lift, and quickly gaggle to work together. Tug pilots work like bees to tow up the field and after every lap the recently released pilots join the giant thermal we have marked. Having launched first, I am able to climb to the top, where I can observe the gaggle growing below. Excitement hits a crescendo when Dustin Martin and Jeff O’Brien (OB) core up through the gaggle. I check my instrument, and see the first start isn’t far off. Time to focus; I need to stay on top of these guys if I plan to follow them around the course! I immediately lose Dustin, who’s OPPOSITE Pilots listening intently during a morning gliding ridiculously clean and fast. OB is pilots’ meeting | photo by just as clean, but not racing as hard right Desiree Voight. ABOVE off the start. Dave Gibson and I are on Davis Straub preps his T2C for radio together, and we see pilots out on the first day of competition | course marking the next climb, so we photo by Ryan Voight. head that way. We get there just in time to see Dustin leaving above us, racing onward down the course line. I want to follow, but Dave (wisely!) insists we climb more before venturing on. A few thermals later, we are shocked to reconnect with Dustin. Big lesson: In light conditions, it doesn’t pay to race hard out in front and drag others along. Almost everyone that tries it gets leapfrogged; leading



points don’t make up for the risk, and you don’t get to work with others through the challenging part of the day. Not having learned that yet, Dave and I climb up to Dustin. I see him pulling rope while still climbing, so I copy, and I know we’re about to go. Dustin takes off like a bat out of hell. Holy crap, can this kid go! Dave and I fly a bit more conservatively, letting Dustin race out ahead of us. A few others are gliding with us, and we’re all watching each other, trying to find the best line. We see Dustin hook a thermal and beeline for him.



On this first day, Dustin rallies around the course and we follow his lead. However, on our way back Dustin gets low and has to slow down considerably. We’re working broken lift, but our fearless leader is looking pretty down and out to me. I climb as best I can, along with a few other pilots. People leave the climb and scatter like buckshot along the course line. With no idea who’s got the winning hand, I’m forced to make my own decision. I head for the small mountain just outside of town, where we’d found good climbs earlier in the day. It’s not far off course line, and I favor

“While on glide, I’m having a moral dilemma. I’m in excellent position to jump in front of Dustin and beat him in, but the only reason I’m making goal at all is because of everything he did on course.” for power lines or anything preventing me from flying straight (upwind) toward goal. I have an uneventful landing, but I’m already wondering how many people made it to goal, and how the hell they did that. Funny how competition can have you wishing a good flight was better. As I unhook and start walking toward the road, something catches my eye— it’s Dustin! He flies over, landing at the far end of the field (going farther than me) but on my first day of competition I land in the same field as Dustin Martin? I’m ecstatic, to say the least! When results are posted, I learn that no one made goal, and find myself tied for 2nd!

the end that’s closest to the course. I find nothing, and desperation is starting to creep in. Getting lower, I see a pilot scratching and they’re gaining! Eventually I encounter the same bubble and slowly begin to climb. Only gaining a few feet on each 360, I’m drifting farther from goal at the hotel. Eventually, I realize I am not net gaining, and I go on glide for goal, knowing full well I’m not making it. At this point, I’m on final glide so no reason to fly any faster than best glide. As I take in the view, I’m estimating where I’ll end up and keeping my eyes open

Task 2: 86k Triangle Pimpin’ ‘Ain’t Easy/Dustin slaps me to goal After day one, the ordered launch follows the results from this competition. Which for me, is almost opposite from the first day. Two people had not turned in their tracks yesterday, and once they did and the scores were adjusted, I am 5th. Not last, but if I plan to follow, I need some time to get into good position. Again, I take the open launch and LEFT Mitch Shipley, Ryan Voight, and James Stinnett skip waiting for the ordered launch ready to fly | photo by Desiree window to begin. Voight. Pretty much the same thing happens on day 2; Dustin’s doing a great job of dragging us all along the course. Today I am able to stay above him at the start, and as he races ahead to find the next thermal, I am able to fly a bit slower. I am keeping him close, but also trying to maintain as much altitude as possible, and not stray too far off course line. He finds a thermal and begins turning, I could beeline to that thermal and at least maintain the altitude separation we had in the last thermal. I might not make good racing decisions, but I do climb pretty damn well



(thanks, Dad!). Flying this way allows me to play to my strengths, and to Dustin’s—he’s one of the best racers out there, and it seems prudent to let him make the game-time decisions. Before long we’re on final glide, headed back to the hotel. At this point I am easily 1000 feet above Dustin. I’m still flying in follow-mode, so even though my instrument says I have goal made easy, I wait for Dustin to climb a little more before heading in. When he goes, I go. While on glide, I’m having a moral dilemma. I’m in excellent position to jump in front of Dustin and beat him in, but the only reason I’m making goal at all is because of everything he did on course. As I’m wavering on what to do, I’m just above and behind him, maintaining my altitude advantage, and trying to stay where he can’t easily see me. As we’re getting closer, I remember Dustin saying how excited he was to “kick my ass” and I begin to speed up. As I’m gradually increasing my speed, I’m not gaining any ground—he’s speeding up, too. If I’m going to get ahead, I’m going to need to step it up. I pull VG from 100% to 110%, and I continue to pull in. I’m cruising at 70+ mph now, and I’m gaining! I’m burning my altitude advantage, but at this rate it looks like I will be able to get ahead and stay there. I’m going to do this! Then, I hit a bump. It was tiny, but I overcorrect, and the wing begins to yaw. After a few oscillations, I’m doing full-on wingovers— rolling from 90 degrees left to 90 degrees right. Only way to fix it now is to slow down and reset. I do, and I lose whatever gains I had made. I speed up again, determined to not go down without a fight. Another bump, another overcorrection, and more wingovers. To compound my screw-up, I fly in straight over the hotel, confused why I haven’t gotten the goal-arrival tone on my Flytec. Now I remember: Goal is over the tow paddock. I have just enough altitude to go tag goal, set up a nice approach and land on the driving range. I feel pretty good as I make goal on my second day ever competing! And, Dustin will score higher, as he deserves, but I also didn’t “let” him finish before me. A beer and a burger at the hotel restaurant cap off a fantastic day and 11th place finish. Task 3: 97k Triangle Maricopa and the Mountains, Part I (aka Detours waste time and altitude so one should follow courseline) This is a tough day! The task brings us over the town of Maricopa, which is traditionally pretty soft in terms of thermals. I don’t get the memo. I start the day well, again near the top of the gaggle, with good position on the group. As we tag the first turnpoint and head over



the town, the group thins out. At first there’s no lift to be had. Then there’s light lift, and a few stop to turn while others continue on. A few competitors land, and I hook up with a small group that’s climbing. The thermal is small, slow and broken. People are being kind of aggressive in the thermal as the desperation of the light lift deepens. I’m too stubborn to get pushed around, so stick with it, and dish it right back. After about the fifth or sixth time I need to take evasive action to avoid a collision and I can see that pilot is not making any effort to cooperate, or even avoid collision, I decide the risk isn’t worth the reward. I’m not having fun, and I’m getting so frustrated that landing doesn’t sound so bad. So I continue heading on course and leave that gaggle to fight it out in the scrappy light lift.

I look over my shoulder and no is one following. It confirms this is a mistake. Getting low, I see some pilots even lower and scratching. It looks like they’re at about the same height, but working different parts of a broken thermal. I bounce around between the different parts trying to determine OPPOSITE, TOP TO BOTTOM Meet organizers which is strongest. Chris Zimmerman Jamie Shelden and Kate is climbing and gaining on me, and his Hurst. L to R, Matt Barker, part of the thermal seems strongest. I Ryan Voight, Dangerous Dave join him. Gibson—all smiles! Dustin As we’re climbing, I can see some Martin’s normal preflight routine–clearly the guy needs pilots climbing very quickly near the to loosen up a bit. ABOVE Estrella airport. I also see Dustin really Pilots gaggle overhead. low out there, so I do my best to get Photos by Desiree Voight. high enough to make it over there with



“I see OB pulling rope and rock head down, and I know it’s on. I start to follow him, but he’s flying really fast. I think too fast.” some altitude to spare, and head that way. It takes me a little searching to find something, but I finally get a good climb. I actually get high enough to get cold, but I also am realizing it’s a long way back to the hotel, and I’m not really that high. It’s also getting late, and finding a thermal over the green fields between me and the hotel is pretty unlikely. I decide to follow some mountains that lead off the course line, but I figure it’s my only chance of finding lift. The green fields shouldn’t work, and after we all almost landed over Maricopa, I have no desire to head that direction this late in the day. I find nothing over the mountains, so I glide as far as I can toward goal. I have an uneventful landing, and begin breaking down and calling my driver. I’m also reaching out to other people to see where they wound up. Turns out, no one made goal again! A lot of people were faster than me, but if you don’t make goal, that’s irrelevant. When the results are posted, I can see that my detour off the course line in search of lift cost me. Chris Zimmerman, the last pilot I was with before going out on my own, was 12th for the day, and I ended up 20th. I learned a valuable lesson. Another burger, another beer, life is grand! Task 4: 94k Triangle Maricopa and the Mountains, Part II (aka You’re not smarter than Jeff O’Brien) Today’s task is nearly the same as yesterday’s, but with a little better forecast. It starts out slower, though. The first start blows by and we’re still scratching to get up. The second start come and goes, and we’re still jockeying for position. Third start and final start, and people begin to trickle out on course. Not much racing going on. I find Jeff O’Brien and a few others, and do my best to hang with them. My only focus is staying on top of them, and I’m letting them make the strategic decisions. It’s slow going, but it’s working. It’s obvious why these guys are the most consistent. They climb well, they glide well, they know when to stay and when to go, and most importantly they know where to go next. We get a strong climb just past the Estrella airport



again, and then head into the mountains to tag the turnpoint. We get scary low in the “gulch of death,” an unlandable area with no retrieve roads, between two mountains. We dig ourselves out, mostly because we have no other options, and get high. I’m cold, and our climb is breaking up. Check, please! After the way yesterday played out, I’m not about to try that stupid detour idea again! I see OB pulling rope and rock head-down, and I know it’s on. I start to follow him, but he’s flying really fast. I think too fast. He’s also heading out over Maricopa, not flying straight to the hotel. Following the straight line to the hotel would take us over green fields, unlikely to produce a late-day thermal. If we can get past Maricopa, there’s some open desert, and there might still be some lift. But, we’re facing a headwind, and we’re late. I wager we’re done for the day and do my best to fly best glide toward the hotel. Jeff is long gone by now, and again I’m on my own. I get really excited when I see a glider sitting in a field below me, because I think it’s Jeff and he raced himself to the deck. I try with every once of my being to glide just a little farther than that glider, which in fact is Larry Bunner. Somehow, from over 14k, I manage to come up well short of the hotel. Jeff, on the other hand, squeaks in to goal. I got owned. I actually don’t land far from where I wound up yesterday, and the lesson I take is that giving up and going on final glide thinking no one will make it pretty much ensures I don’t make it. Had I stayed with Jeff, I wouldn’t really have been any worse off, but I would have had a chance at least. A few others make goal, including two pilots who come screaming in downwind and tag the cylinder before crashing in with non-conventional landing approaches. One is high enough to turn, catch a tip, and slide in sideways. The other tries to do a downwind “slider” landing, but his foot catches in the hard dirt, and he is thrown head over heels as the glider slams in with enough momentum to flip over the nose and turtle upside down. I hear it was spectacular, and I wish I had been there to see it. But alas, I tried to outsmart OB. That was dumb. Task 5: 80k Triangle. Winning! Right up till I dirted… to be continued!

RIGHT A dust devil in the tow paddock (no gliders were harmed

in the making of this photo) | photo by Desiree Voight.






Hang Glider AEROBATICS by Ryan Voight




his article will be controversial. But I’m not shy, so let the flames fly. I refuse to use the term ACRO. (Refer to the end of the article if you don’t know why). I designate the style of flying as freestyle and individual maneuvers as aerobatics. Freestyle flying isn’t for everyone. But for those who are interested, there is a black hole of information available. Only a few people are willing to teach and share information, mostly in person. However, many people are unable to attend classes or find resources elsewhere. I hope this article will serve as a starting point for those who don’t know where to begin (safely). Section I. Safety Freestyle flying, at least for me, is an expression of self. It’s aerial art. And the last thing I want to do with my art is create a mess out of my glider or body. Safety is paramount for me and should be for you, too. Freestyle flying

doesn’t need to be dangerous. It’s about having fun and expressing yourself; it’s not about taking risk for the sake of taking risk. Many people believe aerobatics to be too dangerous. Many also believe hang gliding and paragliding to be too dangerous. News flash: Everyone is right. It’s all dangerous! All flying is about risk management, not risk avoidance. We manage the risks of flying by our choices: what we fly, where we fly, and when we fly. Aerobatics require us to make the same choices: what equipment to use, where to fly, and when the conditions are good. And, like hang gliding, no one attempts the hardest maneuver first. We all started hang gliding on the training hill, and freestyle needs to be approached in the same way, with baby steps. Section II. Preparation and Definitions Before doing any aerobatic maneuvers, be sure your equipment is up to the

task. Check your airframe and side wires for imperfections. Check your harness lines and hang loop for wear. Make sure your reserve parachute was repacked some time this season. Once your equipment is checked out, you need to prepare your mind. Review the key steps in a maneuver— the entry, the apex, and the exit. These are best defined as times when the wing achieves a keel-level orientation. As you pull up from a dive, the entry is the point when you become keel level with the horizon. As you perform the maneuver, whether you roll or climb, the apex occurs when you are once again keel level with the horizon. The apex is also typically the highest point of the maneuver. As you dive out of the maneuver, the exit occurs at some point when you once again become keel level. At each of these points you need to pay attention to two things: your heading and



Know your instructor

See Ryan doing his thing online!

bank angle. This gives us the understanding to continue our aero-education. Next, let’s DEFINE the maneuvers we are flying. Maneuvers can be broken down into three basic categories: rollovers, climbovers, and spins. In a rollover, your heading at the apex will be within 90 degrees left or right of your entry heading. By necessity, your exit heading will be beyond 90 degrees left or right of your entry. Imagine a glider that rolls perfectly upside-down, with the same heading as the entry…and with the exit exactly opposite the entry. This would be a “perfect” rollover. The climb-over, on the other hand, is just the opposite. The apex heading is MORE than 90 degrees off from the entry heading, and the exit heading then will be within 90 degrees of the entry. A loop is a perfect climb-over, as the apex is exactly opposite the entry, and the exit then matches the entry heading. Each name implies the method used to become inverted (if that is the goal). In a rollover, the glider is rolled upsidedown. In a climb-over, the glider climbs until upside-down. Within these maneuvers, you are paying attention to bank angle as well. The bank angle of a maneuver is measured at the apex. Spins are in their own class and are not for beginners. While they’re not overly difficult to perform, the risk is extremely high. There’s no “safe” way for a new aerobatics pilot to perform them. Just don’t! The last bit you need to wrap your mind around is that timing is absolutely critical when performing aerobat-



ics. It’s much like landing; you might execute every landing in a different way, but you are aiming for the same result. In order to better understand the timing of maneuvers, you must understand two components: input and attitude. You manage the inputs you give based on the attitude of the wing in the maneuver. Section III. Drills and Skills A few drills are effective for developing the precision required to perform more advanced maneuvers. Again, the key is staying safe out there. The first drill I recommend is practicing entry and exit headings. At this point, we are not so much concerned with bank angle, and we are not getting anywhere NEAR upside-down yet! Start this drill in smooth conditions. Launch, get high, and get FAR AWAY from everyone and everything. Once you’ve done that, pick an entry heading. Note that your exit heading should be 180 degrees (opposite) of your entry. Now practice linking turns that put you on those very specific headings. Speed is not a requirement; more speed means you might get yourself into trouble. Just focus on nailing those headings. Being close and calling it good is not doing yourself any favors. If you’re close to doing a loop, you will stall upside-down, fall into the wing, break the glider, and die. We’re striving for perfect here, and the more time and practice you spend, the better you’ll be later on. These drills provide your foundation! Once you’ve mastered the entry/ exit headings, repeat the maneuvers, but now with a desired bank angle at the apex. In order to effectively hit an apex, you need to enter with a little

speed (trim+10mph is plenty; don’t go crazy). While on your entry heading, pull in for extra speed. Pay attention to the attitude of the glider. The quicker you pull in, the more the nose comes down. As the wing picks up speed, the nose will begin to rise. Allow it to rise, getting maybe five-degrees nose-up as you roll into your “maneuver.” As the glider climbs, it will slow to trim, and this is where you want your apex to be. Pushing out beyond trim is extremely dangerous, as it makes your glider pitch-unstable (easier to tumble)… so don’t do it! I’d suggest starting with 45-degree bank angle. Once you’re consistently nailing 45degree banked maneuvers on heading, it’s time to move on. I usually suggest alternating the addition of more speed with more bank, to your maneuvers. So, from entering at trim+10mph, go to entering at trim+15-20mph. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR DESIRED BANK ANGLE! One new thing at a time. Once you are nailing these faster 45degree on-heading maneuvers, you can ratchet up the bank angle a bit. It’s not that everything up to about 90-degrees bank is relatively safe. Remember you are new at this, so if you aim for 90 and you’re off a few degrees, you could be in trouble. If you aim for 70 degrees, and you’re off by 10, you’re still in a relatively low-risk situation. If you DO find yourself in a bad situation, with low or no airspeed and a nose-high orientation, the best thing you can do is pull in ALL THE WAY and hold on tight. Just as pushing out makes your wing pitch-unstable, pulling in makes it MORE stable, increasing the tendency for the nose to drop and the wing to fly out of the maneuver. It’s important you don’t get yourself into this situation in the first place, but knowing what to do just in case is also wise. Please remember we are after perfection here. If you do nine perfect maneuvers and you’re off a little on the

10th, you’d still die if you were doing a riskier maneuver. Just as in regular hang gliding, we are managing the risk through training and preparation. Also, smooth conditions are key to your progression. You need to learn how your wing responds to your inputs at various speeds and attitudes, and you can’t learn if it’s not the same time after time after time. Section IV: Progression At some point following the above progression, you will not be able to add any more speed. You will be entering at max speed, climbing quite a bit to the apex and desired bank angle, and then flying it through the exit on heading. If you’re very, very consistent, you can move on to varying your timing and learning how it impacts your input/attitude. To do a 90-degree maneuver, you can add a little roll right at the entry, and because of the high airspeed and the time between entry and apex, hit

your mark. OR you can wait, entering wings level and allowing the nose to rise, then add lots of roll, and hit your 90 degrees of bank. Note that waiting too long here means stalling in a nosehigh orientation, which is very bad, so be careful. Take very small steps. The progression outlined above should take YEARS to perfect, so don’t expect instant mastery of these skills. But if you’ve got the drive to get radical, this is how to work up to it. And, when done correctly, it shouldn’t feel as if you’re taking any bigger risks than you do every time you launch or land. If you’re feeling fear or uncertainty, you need to back off. My instructor always says “You should never do a maneuver if you are unsure of the outcome.” Being sure doesn’t ensure safety, either, but if you’re unsure, you are just blindly taking risks. We strive to manage and minimize risks. This progression, followed diligently,

is how I worked up to doing straightover loops and 180-degree rollovers. But it’s taken me over 10 years of practice and moving to a location that has smooth, consistent conditions for practice. I never said it would be easy! And that is my concept of FREESTYLE. Freestyle, expressive flying is something we can all do, safely, if we so choose. Freestyle doesn’t have to be crazy, it doesn’t have to be dangerous, and it doesn’t have to be upside-down… it just has to be FUN! DISCLAIMER: Aerobatics are defined, by the FAA as exceeding 30 degrees in pitch and/or 60 degrees in roll. Our wings and equipment are not certified for aerobatic flight (and would not pass such a certification). Performing aerobatics is dangerous. Only attempt under the direct guidance of an instructor capable of teaching the maneuvers.



Tools of the

XCTrade by Gavin McClurg photos by Jody MacDonald




avoided paragliding consciously for over 10 years. Many good friends were pilots, and all of them continuously prodded me to make my first jump. It looked like a blast, something I’d probably take to, but I also kept hearing the old saying: “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” Accidents seemed frequent, with rather long-term consequences. I’m a total adrenaline junky. I don’t have a very good “stop” button. If a conservative, methodical approach were required to be safe, then paragliding was not the sport for me. I dreamed of flying, but kept my feet on the ground. Then I started hearing stories about pilots going places. It seemed preposterous—launching in one location and landing somewhere entirely different. I heard crazy stories about taking long train rides home after epic flights across the Alps in Europe because of landing in countries other than the one taken off from. Right here at home in the Northwest, one day a friend circumnavigated Mt. Hood and then threw some acro over the Columbia Gorge, before landing in his front yard! This was too much to resist. I had to see what flying was all about. That was back in 2006. After receiving my license and getting my first small taste of cross-country flying, my flying addiction has grown with every season. Whenever I get the opportunity, I chase distance.

I often compare the sport to a game of chess in the sky. One wrong move and the game is over. But it’s not a game. The endless decisions and resulting potentially serious consequences lead to the most exhilarating, sometimes scary, and always quite absurd, thing I’ve ever done. I haven’t OPPOSITE Eric Reed getting ready for another XC had a flight yet where at some point I mission. ABOVE The author didn’t think, “I cannot believe I’m doing getting ready for another big this!” flight. My pursuit has brought me to the highest mountains of the world in the Himalaya, to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, across the deserts of Namibia, and all across Europe. Recently, I joined an XC binge trip across the Sierras with a few of the finest pilots in the world—to date the longest vol biv expedition in North America—one we dubbed “The Sierra Safari.” It was a successful attempt at flying the full length of the Sierra range in California. This summer I was fortunate to fly in my first World Cup in Sun Valley. I still consider myself a novice XC pilot, and the opportunity to fly with some of the best pilots was an incredible opportunity to hone my skills. Before the competition began, a series of amazing US distance records were set—all by pilots who were also competing in the World Cup. Matt Beechinor flew nearly 190 miles from Baldy Mountain in Sun Valley, eclipsing the previous record. A few weeks later Nate



Scales, launching from the same site in Sun Valley, went even farther into Montana, flying 199 miles. Not to be outdone, Nick Greece and Jon Hunt took off from Jackson Hole and flew a remarkable 204 miles. These are all distances that until very recently were thought impossible in mountain flying. ABOVE Honza Rejmanek on So when these exceptional pilots, as the road. OPPOSITE Gavin well as three-time X-Alps competitor McClurg flying down the way. Honza Rejmanik, the flying “guru” Bill Belcourt, and world champion Russell Ogden started talking at the Open Distance Nationals in Sun Valley, I took notes. At the top of my notes I scribbled “Tools of the XC Trade.” No matter where you are in your flying career, and what you hope to accomplish, having the right kit is the first place to start. And by “kit” I don’t just mean equipment, but everything that is required to go far and fly safe. Here’s what the best in the biz recommend. Attitude Bill Belcourt said it best. “When you’re going XC, you have to always look for reasons to fly, not land.” This



one sounds simple and obvious. But this is not the approach of nearly every XC pilot. Usually when we are in the air we look for signs to stop: hunger, fatigue, fear, wind, cold, etc. Bill isn’t recommending we stop being conscious pilots and ignore things like deteriorating weather or realizing that we just aren’t in the right headspace to make good decisions. What he is recommending is that when the right day happens, which isn’t always one we can identify from a weather report, but something that happens two hours into a flight (not one of the pilots listed above knew he was on to a potentially record-breaking day when he launched) is that you’ve got to “bring it,” as Bill likes to say, when these days come along. To “bring it,” you’ve got to have the right attitude. You’ve got to be aggressive, confident, and you’ve got to make great decisions. You’ve got to “bring it” when you get low on the lee side and flying your wing feels like holding onto a roller coaster. You’ve got to “bring it” when you’ve got a potential landing area beneath you and a sea of trees ahead and have no idea where you are. The only way to get into this kind of headspace to begin with is to fly all the time. Hours

in the air teaches attitude. Get some. “When in doubt, go deeper.” This dicey little saying was voiced to me by Nick Greece on a flying expedition in Haiti last winter and belongs in many ways in the Attitude category. It’s listed on its own here, because no other words have had such a radical effect on my personal flying. Obviously, this isn’t necessarily safe advice, nor is it the advice you’re going to receive when getting your pilot’s license. But when you make the jump from small XC flights to longer, more committing XC flights, a big change in approach is needed. The key is simply to believe it can be done. Don’t for a second abandon all the critical observations that are required for successful distance flying (triggers, wind, clouds, time of day, sun, heating, etc.) when you are about to make a decision to go deep. These expert pilots are not suggesting that you blindly go into tiger territory. But if you want to go far, you’re going to have to abandon the rule that you should never fly over terrain where you can’t land. That’s a negative, and, in this game, you need positives. You’ve got to be thinking about making great moves, and you’ve got to be ready to make them for 6, 7, 8, or even more hours. Which leads me nicely into… Training Sitting in the saddle for more than six hours while flying in active air over complicated exposed terrain isn’t something a low-hours’ pilot can or should do. All of the pilots mentioned above spoke in length about the importance of physical and mental training. One of the tasks at the Sun Valley World Cup was 196 kilometers, the longest task ever set at a World Cup. The pilots who were used to flying for five hours or longer were like little kids at Halloween chomping at the bit to sink their teeth into the task at hand. But a lot of pilots were scared, even some of the best in the world. A guy like Honza Rejmanik doesn’t think too much about the downside of going into remote terrain, because he knows he has the physical ability to get himself out. Russ Ogden is a long-time test pilot for Ozone, which means he’s constantly doing SIV on purpose. He’s never once thrown his reserve. This isn’t because he’s lucky; it’s because when the shit hits the fan, he knows what to do. Nate Scales was adamant that cross training in other sports was as important as flying itself. So, clearly, being physically fit is key. But no less important is being mentally tough, which comes from hours in the air. Disaster is the inevitable outcome if you can hold it together for six hours, but decide



If you’re going to be flying in the western United States or Canada, or taking a trip to the Himalayas, don’t even think about not using supplemental oxygen. Climbs to 18,000 feet aren’t common, but they can certainly happen, and this summer they did frequently. to push on for another hour when you’re starting to become mentally unglued. Every pilot spoke in length about how critical it is to do regular SIV training and regular ground handling. If you spend a long time in the air, things will ALWAYS go wrong. You’ve got to be prepared for it. So… Be Prepared Preparedness was something I just started figuring out. For years I thought I had a great routine of basically



dehydrating myself the morning of an XC day, so I wouldn’t have to urinate. Once again, Nick Greece came to my rescue. He told me, “What sport exists where NOT eating and NOT drinking would be recommended?” Paragliding requires first and foremost good decision making. Brains only work well if they are well lubricated and well fed. You’re not going to pull off low saves or glide well if you’re sugar starved. Be hydrated fully before you launch. Eat a solid breakfast. Don’t drink too much the night before. Get a full night’s sleep.

Drink regularly during your flight, and eat something every hour with high caloric content. Bananas are my favorite, and I never launch without a few packs of Sharkies energy treats, as well as a Red Bull or some kind of liquid kick in my flight deck. Wear enough clothes. Many a flight has ended due to being cold, and this should never happen. Use a condom catheter (boys) or a diaper (girls). Develop systems for all of this that work. If you’re going to be flying in the western United States or Canada, or taking a trip to the Himalayas, don’t even think about not using supplemental oxygen. Climbs to 18,000 feet aren’t common, but they can certainly happen, and this summer they did frequently. Until recently the “hard core” contingent in distance flying shunned the use of oxygen. Matt Beechinor was one of them, consistently flying to altitudes near and above the death zone without ever feeling the need for O2. Until one day at a relatively low altitude of 13,000 feet, far below where he was used to flying, he started

getting hypoxic. Matt postulates that the reason might have been a bit too much coffee that morning, or too little sleep, or the hike up and the resultant dehydration. The point is that each day is different, and his story of losing the ability to communicate, then losing the feeling in his hands and limbs ABOVE Launching Baldy in Sun Valley, Idaho. is terrifying. Imagine trying to fly in extremely thermic conditions with no feeling whatsoever in your arms! Finally, today we have one other remarkable resource that the previous generation did not: Google Earth. Spend a LOT of time on XContest and Leonardo studying track logs for where you plan to fly, and you’ll find your distances will make a big jump. Read Burkhard Martens’s Thermal Flying no less than three times, cover-to-cover. Then read it again. Equipment To go far and be safe, all of the above are absolutely critical, but nothing is as important as having the right



gear. Paragliding is indeed dangerous, and crosscountry flying can push the dangerous Richter scale right to the limit. But there’s a lot we can do to mitigate the risks. On the last day of the Sun Valley World Cup an experienced pilot from the UK crashed and disappeared. A major search-and-rescue effort was launched immediately, but the terrain was so remote and difficult he wasn’t found for two nights, and then only by a small miracle. He was badly injured but will have a full recovery. In a word, he was lucky. Had he had just one relatively cheap piece of equipment—SPOT—he could have been located in minutes and saved hundreds of man hours, thousands of dollars of expense and radically improved his chances. Equipment choices, of course, change, depending on the kind of cross-country flying you’ll be doing. Going 200km in the Alps is a lot different from going 200km SAFETY

ments when you’re way high. Take

 Reserve

 Full-face helmet

your gloves off at 18,000 feet and

 Trekking poles (optional, but

 Oxygen plus delivery system

you’ll lose the ability to use your

they are really nice if you land

(if flying above 10,000 feet, should

hands in seconds.


be considered. Above 15,000 feet should be SERIOUSLY considered.)



 Leatherman  Hook knife

 Warm gloves (consider battery

 Condom catheter or diaper


 Extra food (for an unplanned

 Vario (with written visible

 Long underwear

night or two out)

reminders taped onto it for pre-

 Sunscreen

flight checks: i.e., helmet buckle,

 Lip balm


harness buckles, oxygen turned

 Food

 Extra radio battery, extra phone

on). This little trick I learned from

 Snacks


the XC master Josh Cohn. During

 Ballast bag

 Satellite phone (if you will be in

the World Cup, I launched three

 Hose hydration system (i.e.

areas where there is no cell recep-

days in a row and forgot to buckle

Platypus® or similar)

tion, which is practically every-

my helmet. Sometimes we need

 Down jacket

where when paragliding)

reminders for really simple things.

 Wind jersey

 Space blanket

 Back-up helmet or flight deck


across Montana. Competition flying is a lot different from bivy flying. On the Sierra Safari, none of us had pods, because we had to carry a ton of gear and also wanted to be light enough that if we had to hike for a day or longer to get out, we could. During the World Cup, I was carrying 15kg of ballast, which would certainly not go over well on a 10-hour-hike out on a bivy expedition. Ask for advice from those who know more; there’s not a lot of room for ego in paragliding. Regardless of where you are in your XC career, below you’ll find a pretty comprehensive list for the days where you could go big. As the flying community witnessed this summer, we’re only beginning to realize the possibilities. Enormous improvements in wing design, skilled pilots pushing the limits, and a growing understanding of the tools we can and should use will lead to flights that right now can barely be imagined. Fly far, fly safe!

 Signaling mirror

vario (optional)


 Smart phone with downloaded

 Concertina bag (saves your nice

wing in case you get caught out)


XC wing plastics)

 Small wing repair kit


 Laptop (for studying XContest

 Basic first aid kit: pain pills, ace


and Leonardo routes during off

bandage, first aid tape, epi pen,

 Radio


lighter, iodine (for water purifica-

 Push-to-talk (PTT) communi-

 Pod (keeps legs warm, radically

tion and injuries)

cations installed with speaker mic

improves air dynamics = glide)

 Poncho

protected from wind

 XC wing—DO NOT fly a wing

 Head lamp

 A pencil or tool velcroed to

above your ability, but a wing spe-

 Tree kit (depending on where

your flight deck that can be used to

cific to cross-country flying cannot

you fly)

press the buttons on your instru-

be emphasized enough.

 Matches


 Bivy sack (to be used with your


Cross-country wing and accordion bag



Pod harness

10. Full-face helmet with push-to-talk (Thermal

3. Jersey and warm clothes 4.

SPOT device

Headlamp (Princeton Tec) Tracker)

11. Radio + extra batteries

5. Oxygen system

12. Hydration

6. Condom catheter

13. Balaklava


Flight deck: Garmin GPS, Flytec 6030 + 6015

14. Wing repair kit

backup, Samsung Galaxy 5.0 Tablet with XC Soar,

15. Heated gloves

Locus Maps

16. First aid kit

8. Food and sunblock



Five Weeks at Acro Camp by Caroline Lewis

Gerlitzen, Austria

“Are you OK?” asked the young tourists from their

paddleboat. “Yeah, no problem,” I responded, floating on my back in my harness, with wing and lines hovering around me in the water. “My harness floats, so I’m actually pretty comfortable.” “Do you need help getting out of the water?” “No, thanks, a rescue boat is probably on the way.”

T 48


he rescue boat finally arrives, and friends as well, to scoop me out of the water, help me unclip and gather up, and get safely to shore. Later, my

new friend Marika said to me, “Caroline, now you are really an acro pilot!” I had just tossed my first rescue in Gerlitzen, Austria. While practicing full stalls over the lake, I had made a beginner mistake of leaning into the collapsed side of my glider to reach for my stabilo line. I quickly went into a spiral dive towards the water and, in the moment, decided to throw. My reserve deployed clean, and I landed softly in the water. In retrospect, the situation could easily have been avoided, but it was an excellent learning experience. Last summer my boyfriend, Evan Bouchier, and I spent the month of July training acro in Gerlitzen, Austria. We first heard about Gerlitzen from Austrian friends whom we had met a few years earlier in Nepal. They told us that Gerlitzen offers up to 1000’-dropouts over a beautiful lake, accessed by a gondola with a cheap summer pass. And, to top it off, Gerlitzen is home to a thriving acro scene. At the time, the site in Austria sounded like a dream. The dream became a reality after our eccentric Scottish friend, Andy Guest, spent last summer there and persuaded us to come. The rumor was true: Gerlitzen is a special and beautiful place in the Austrian Alps where young pilots of all levels fly laps together over a clear alpine lake. On our arrival, the scene was intimidating, as any new site can

be. Some of the best acro pilots in the world, including Xandi Meschuh, Alexandra Grillmayer (Sosa), and Sebastian Kahn (Basti), train at Gerlitzen. Even everyday acro pilots were doing heli-connections and working on their infinity! However, we found the community to be very welcoming and one of the best parts of our experience. While I was practicing wingovers and full stalls and Evan was practicing helicopters, Basti would yell, “Hello, Caroline!” while doing turns in infinite tumble. In the evenings, the stronger pilots would offer sage advice, while all of us drank beer together and battled around the ping-pong table. (My ABOVE Aerobatic camp is a great time! Caroline Lewis in ping-pong game also improved signifithe center. cantly throughout the summer.) Anyone witnessing the flying and lively ping-pong matches might have assumed we were just a bunch of paragliding bums. But few would have realized that acro training is truly hard work! At the end of the day we were, as Andy says, “knackered. “ Gerlitzen draws pilots for acro training from all over the world. Evan and I were the only pilots representing the US; we trained with pilots from New Zealand, Central and South America, Canada, and various countries across Europe, including Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, and Macedonia.



Many claim that even Typical Acro Camp Schedule though other acro sites in 6:15 am Wake up and make a run to the town castle. 7:15 am - 8:30 am Shower, breakfast. Europe offer more height for 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Acro laps (between 4 and 7 laps, depending on how fast and motivated you are). training, Gerlitzen presents These laps include taking the gondola up, launching, flying over terrain with the option of thermaling, the most height for the practicing acro over the lake and landing at a large grassy LZ, followed by packing up FAST, and catchcheapest lift rides over a lake. ing a van ride back to gondola. 5:00 pm - night decompress, dinner, ping pong, beer,

Why do so many pilots travel far from their homes to this particular destination for acro flying? Many claim that even though other acro sites in Europe offer more height for training, Gerlitzen presents the most height for the cheapest lift rides over a lake. For me, flying over a lake in smooth air makes a huge BELOW Waiting for the difference when learning new maneuvers. clouds to break for the next Also, a rescue boat is on call to scoop session. OPPOSITE More you up in case everything goes wrong. than a thermalling turn. Acro flying has appealed to me since Photos by Caroline Lewis. I started to fly a year and a half ago. I



analyze the day’s GoPro footage with friends for mistakes and learning opportunities

learned to fly in Pokhara, Nepal, and my flight instructors were French acro pilots from Blue Sky paragliding. I loved sitting by Fewa Lake in Pokhara after landing and watching my instructors and other pilots fly huge wingovers and helicopters. Before going to Austria, I had gotten some SIV experience under my belt, but never had enough nerve to continue practicing full stalls and wingovers above dirt

on my own. However, this past summer, with so much height over the water plus so much acro group energy, I was able to work through the basics on my own. I made every mistake possible while full stalling into tail-slide. I practiced wingovers, over, and finally OVER again, and pulled my first SATs without a radio. I also had the opportunity to throw my rescue and began to comprehend how fast you really need to think and react when things go wrong. In addition to all of the obvious reasons that Gerlitzen is an ideal place to visit and fly, what really made the summer stand out in my mind are the lasting

memories that are more difficult to define. For us, this includes a stealth moonlit flight, morning flights over the clouds, and even some of the times when we couldn’t fly and resorted to silly games of tag to stay warm on launch. It is the memory of the congratulations and high-fives from World Cup pilots when I finally started to conquer my own relatively simple goals, and the remembrance of the road trips to escape the rain, as well as the late-night dance parties, and, especially, the new friends and mentors.





by Christina Ammon



n August 13th Max Marien opted for a simple breakfast. As he nibbled on a granola bar, a banana and some almonds, the 24-year-old pilot did his best to convince himself that what he was about to do was not that big of a deal. He was merely going to hop on a helicopter, hover 16,000 feet over San Diego’s Torrey Pines gliderport, “D-bag” out the door, and attempt to



break the world record of the hardest and most dangerous acrobatic maneuver ever performed: the Infinite Tumble. The maneuver looks like a carefree game of inverted skip-rope in the sky. But unlike the schoolyard sport, it has dire consequences. The tumbles were first pioneered by Raul Rodriguez in 1999, when he traveled with the SAT team in Argentina. The

tumble became “infinite” when he released the brakes, took hold of the risers, and pioneered the technique that rotated the wing without losing energy. From then on, the trick quickly became the granddaddy of all paragliding maneuvers, setting the bar of achievement for aspiring acro paraglider pilots. A lot can go wrong with the

LEFT & RIGHT Max Marien getting ready to set the

record | photos by Jeremy Bishop.

Infinite: If the wing loses energy, it can form dangerous cravats and twists. The most dreaded scenario is the “gift wrap,” during which the wing lines go slack and the pilot falls into the wing. To do an Infinite successfully requires a smooth entry and exit, perfect timing, the ability to endure high G-forces, and, above all, the ability to control one’s mind. Driving out to the gliderport, Max focused on what advantages he had on his side. The sky that morning was clear and calm, and he had confidence in his gear: a 2012 U-Turn Thriller acro wing and a Sup’Air Acro1 harness. And although he was just 24 years old, he’d already been paragliding for half of his life. He had grown up around the gliderport (in 2009, his father, Robin Marien, took over the business), and during this time he had accrued a lot of experience: over-thelake SIV clinics, recreational towing, and teaching. He managed his first tumbles nine years ago, and last year he got the hang of the Infinite, racking up 70 rotations from a hot-air balloon. The record for the Infinite Tumble was 286 rotations, set by Hernan Pitocco. Max was aware of it, but this morning he didn’t want to get too caught up in ambition or worry. In the end, he wasn’t after glory. He wanted to push his own limits. Acro is about controlling the mind; getting

wound up was ineffective. Staying within his limits was key. Over breakfast, Max set a reasonable expectation: Enjoy the helicopter ride—he’d never taken one before— and if he blew it after a few turns, he’d make the best of the altitude by enjoying the view and practicing some other acro maneuvers.


ax boarded the helicopter. It was lift-off time. As the helicopter ascended, he was happy to see it was a mild high-

pressure day, no clouds or wind. The pilot was Miles Elsing from Corporate Helicopters. The plan was to get to around 16,000 feet, D-bag from the helicopter door and start the tumbles from there. Max put on his oxygen and took in the scenery. It was clear in every direction. To the south he could see as far as Rosarito, Mexico. To the north, Dana Point. To the east he could see past the Salton Sea, and to the west, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, with 737s flying below.



Miles gave him the signal to open the door. Max removed the oxygen hose from his nose, popped the door open and moved into position, the deployment bag sitting between his legs. He paused and checked the instrument panel: 15,600 feet and 50 knots. He was ready. Miles gave him the thumbs up. Max gathered himself and scooted further out the door, glanced back, flashed them the peace sign, and did a lazy forward flip—slower than he expected—but resulting in one of the best openings he’d ever had. Max tried not to over-think, focusing on the feedback coming from his wing and trying to build up to a Rhythmic SAT, which he hoped would allow the wing to enter the tumble gradually. This would help him establish good timing on the



inputs required for the Infinite. The entry attempt failed; at 15,000-some feet, the air was thin, and he couldn’t get the wing to progress past 45 degrees. He exited the attempt and plunged into a spiral, entering the tumbles from there. The rotations became nicely symmetric, but were faster than he was used to due to the altitude. He noticed that the wing did not seem 100-percent pressurized. As the tumbles gained momentum, he felt his body pinned to the seat and tuned in to the sounds: the crack as the pressure hit the canopy, the subsequent whistling of the lines as the glider picked up speed above him. When his body went over, the lines stopped whistling, the wing tips curved slightly and everything seemed slow. He saw the ground

Above Set to go to altitude over Torrey Pines Gliderport | photo by Robin Marien.

above his wing The first 20 rotations were exciting, but as the adrenaline began to wear off, his body began to fatigue—as if he’d been jogging. His breathing grew faster and deeper. He knew he needed to stay cool and calculating. He tried mental tricks to prolong the tumble: It’s safer to keep going, he told himself. It will be over soon. Around rotation number 50, Max lost focus and gave the wrong input. He brought it back on the next rotation, and the glider kept going. He began to use a breathing technique borrowed from weight lifters: A breath out when the body is strained by the G’s at the top of the rotation,

WATCH MAX TUMBLE and a breath in as his body relaxed at the bottom of the rotation. Out. In. His body began to relax; his awareness heightened. At the bottom of each rotation he tucked his head forward to ease the strain on his neck, but this made it difficult to see the canopy while making inputs. And when he got the timing late, his neck strained to pull forward against the increasing momentum. Around tumble 250, his hand bumped the left trimmer, loosening it an inch. The wing started to tilt right during the tumbles, forcing him to compensate with only the left input for the rest of the tumbles. During the last 50 rotations, he looked to the horizon. He’d drifted out to sea and was now north of the

gliderport. He directed his heading to the LZ and would have top-landed except he didn’t have the altitude. So Max soon found himself enjoying a quiet victory, lazily folding his wing on the sandy stretch of Black’s Beach and wondering if he had the record. He hadn’t counted, but would review it on video. By the time he stuffed his gear back into the bag, 15 friends had scrambled down the cliff to congratulate him, offer him water, and shake his hand, which felt like Jell-O from gripping the risers so tightly. They carried his equipment up to the gliderport, where he was rewarded with an ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Soon after, Max reviewed the video: 374 tumbles. He’d beat the world record by an impressive 88

tumbles! While Max recovered physically— his arms, shoulder, back and, especially, his neck, hurt for weeks—the paragliding forums, websites and listservs reacted to the news. Someone asked who would be the first pilot to do an infinite number of infinite tumbles. After Max’s victory, the sky literally seemed like the limit. Another pilot weighed in: “They will need to start from an infinitely high helicopter, (or spaceship?) with an infinite fuel supply, and an infinite-energy pilot, with an infinite oxygen supply and an infinite amount of energy, and a very (infinitely) durable glider, so I think it may be quite a while ‘till it happens.” Someone else replied: “Just do it inside a never-ending thermal.”



New Launch at Eagle Rock by John W. Robinson


he Southwest Virginia Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, founded in 1974 and informally known as the Skywackers, has built a new launch at its primary flying site at Eagle Rock. This site, about 20 miles from Roanoke, consists of a mile-long ridge 1350 feet above the valley LZ and offers both ridge and thermal soaring. The site has had several takeoff incarnations in its relatively short history. Especially notable are launches from both sides of the ridge at Eagle Rock, accommodating both southeast and northwest conditions. This feature, of course, greatly enhances the flyability and overall enjoyment of the Blue Ridge Mountain site. In 2005, considerable effort was put into creating a spacious, pilot-friendly launch on the southeast side of the mountain, and it has been continually refined as club members and guests have enjoyed flying there. The takeoff on the northwest side has needed major improvement for several years. But many pilots felt an entirely new position for the launch would be better in terms of pilot safety, ease of launch, spaciousness, parking, and aesthetics. The new launch was in the planning phase for two years, during which time careful analysis of Eagle Rock topography,



wind direction, and velocity studies were being done. Of course, aerial studies of the new launch position were conducted whenever the site was flown. The best place on the ridge for a northwest launch was determined to be at one of the highest points, near a communications tower on a rounded promontory that smoothly bulges in an arc facing from 270 to 350 degrees. Then, the Skywackers estimated how much effort would be needed to build the launch. They quickly determined: a lot! Months passed, with steps gradually being taken to make the new launch a reality. Finally, early in the summer of 2011, work began in earnest, with the lion’s share being driven by club pilot and landowner Larry Dennis. It was an exciting time, as clearing began and the takeoff started to take shape. Continual assessment of the size and shape of the launch was conducted as the work progressed, and many Skywackers were involved in planning, financing, and hands-on working on the evolving creation. The new northwest launch at Eagle Rock has been flown for several months now, with rave reviews from all who have had the privilege of launching from it to soar the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in this beautiful corner of Virginia. Guests are asked to visit the club website,, for more information.



CALENDAR ITEMS will not be listed if only tenta-

tive. Please include exact information (event, date, contact name and phone number). Items should be received no later than six weeks prior to the event. We request two months lead time for regional and national meets. For more complete information on the events listed, see our Calendar of Events at: CLINICS & TOURS will not be listed if only tentative. Please include exact information (event, date, contact name and phone number). Items should be received no later than six weeks prior. For more complete information on the Clinics & Tours listed, see our Calendar of Events at: CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING RATES - The rate for classified advertising is $10.00 for 25 words and $1.00 per word after 25. MINIMUM AD CHARGE $10.00. AD DEADLINES: All ad copy, instructions, changes, additions & cancellations must be received in writing 2 months preceding the cover date, i.e. September 15th is the deadline for the November issue. All classifieds are prepaid. If paying by check, please include the following with your payment: name, address, phone, category, how many months you want the ad to run and the classified ad. Please make checks payable to USHPA, P.O. Box 1330, Colorado Springs, CO 809011330. If paying with credit card, you may email the previous information and classified to info@ushpa. aero. For security reasons, please call your Visa/ MC or Amex info to the office. No refunds will be given on ads cancelled that are scheduled to run multiple months. (719) 632-8300. Fax (719) 6326417 HANG GLIDING ADVISORY: Used hang gliders should always be disassembled before flying for the first time and inspected carefully for fatigued, bent or dented downtubes, ruined bushings, bent bolts (especially the heart bolt), re-used Nyloc nuts, loose thimbles, frayed or rusted cables, tangs with non-circular holes, and on flex wings, sails badly torn or torn loose from their anchor points front and back on the keel and leading edges. PARAGLIDING ADVISORY: Used paragliders should always be thoroughly inspected before flying for the first time. Annual inspections on paragliders should include sailcloth strength tests. Simply performing a porosity check isn’t sufficient. Some gliders pass porosity yet have very weak sailcloth.

If in doubt, many hang gliding and paragliding businesses will be happy to give an objective opinion on the condition of equipment you bring them to inspect. BUYERS SHOULD SELECT EQUIPMENT THAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR THEIR SKILL LEVEL OR RATING. NEW PILOTS SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION FROM A USHPA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR.



CALENDAR MEETINGS MARCH 14-16  Colorado Springs, Colorado. USHPA Board of director meeting. More information at


 Valle de Bravo, Mexico. 10th Monarca Paragliding Open. FAI Paragliding Competition paradise. Well-known organization and prize money. Entry is $265 until December and $295 after. $12 pick up at Mexico City Int. Airport. More Info: Alas del Hombre, 726-2626382, or www.monarcaopen. com.

clinics & tours THRU MARCH 31  Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Yep, hang gliding and paragliding daily at the winter flying paradise in central Mexico— Valle de Bravo. Base packages $895 PG, $1195 HG. Sunday to Sunday includes airport transportation, lodging, flying transpo and guiding. Getting close to 20 years of providing service. FlyMexico! More information: Jeffrey Hunt, 800-861-7198, jeff@, or december 8 - january 15  Valle de Bravo,

Mexico. Fly south this winter at world-renowned Valle de Bravo, with some of the most consistent flying that planet Earth has to offer. Improve your thermal and XC skills under the guidance of David Prentice, who has 20 years paragliding experience and 11 years guiding in Valle. World-class lodging and logistics. More info: David Prentice, 505-720-5436, or

JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 3  Roldanillo, Co-

lombia. Eagle Paragliding and Paraglide Utah are teaming up to offer 4 weeks of unforgettable flying in Roldanillo, Colombia. This is the world-class site where the Paragliding World Cup will be held just before our tours. These tours are for pilots of all levels. We will be offering coaching on thermaling, XC flying, tandem XC flying, and will be setting race-to-goal tasks daily for those interested. We have been offering tours for over a decade all over the world. Let Rob Sporrer, Brad Gunnuscio, and the rest of our high-caliber staff of instructors support you in achieving your goals for the week. Visit, or contact us directly at, or 805-968-0980.

JANUARY 20-27  Tapalpa, Mexico. P2 pilots will fly a world-class site with 2500’ vertical near Guadalajara. Enjoy four different sites within an hour of hotel: Tapalpa, San Marco, Jocotepec, and Colima. Avoid Valle crowds! Airport pickup, private hotel room, breakfast, and guiding & coaching during six days of flying for $1500. See videos and description at http://parasoftparagliding. com/tapalpa-mexico-trips/, or call 303-4942820. Or stay both weeks for $2500.

january 20 - february 17  Columbia. Come explore some of the best flying sites Colombia has to offer. From Medellin to Roldanillo we will fly many of the best-known sites. Improve your thermal and XC skills under the guidance of David Prentice, who has 20 years paragliding experience including 11 years guiding. World-class lodging and logistics. More info: David Prentice, 505-720-5436, or JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 3  Tapalpa, Mexico.

P3 pilots will fly a world-class site with 2500’ vertical near Guadalajara. Enjoy four different sites within an hour of hotel: Tapalpa, San Marco, Jocotepec, and Colima. Avoid Valle crowds! Airport pickup, private hotel room, breakfast, and guiding & coaching during six days of flying for $1500. See videos and description at or call 303494-2820. Or stay both weeks for $2500.

february 3-11  Roldanillo, Colombia. Eagle Paragliding and Paraglide Utah are teaming up to offer 4 weeks of unforgettable flying in Roldanillo, Colombia. This is the world-class site where the Paragliding World Cup will be held just before our tours. These tours are for pilots of all levels. We will be offering coaching on thermaling, XC flying, tandem XC flying, and will be setting race-to-goal tasks daily for those interested. We have been offering tours for over a decade all over the world. Let Rob Sporrer, Brad Gunnuscio, and the rest of our high-caliber staff of instructors support you in achieving your goals for the week. Visit www., or contact us directly at rob@, or 805-968-0980. february 15-23  Roldanillo, Colombia. Eagle Paragliding and Paraglide Utah are teaming up to offer 4 weeks of unforgettable flying in Roldanillo, Colombia. This is the world-class site where the Paragliding World Cup will be held just before our tours. These tours are for pilots of all levels. We will be offering coaching on thermaling, XC flying, tandem XC flying, and will be setting race-to-goal tasks daily for those interested. We have been offering tours for over a decade all over the world. Let Rob Sporrer, Brad Gunnuscio, and the rest of our high-caliber staff of instructors support you in achieving your goals for the week. Visit www., or contact us directly at rob@, or 805-968-0980. february 23 - march 3  Roldanillo, Colombia. Eagle Paragliding and Paraglide Utah are teaming up to offer 4 weeks of unforgettable flying in Roldanillo, Colombia. This is the world-class site where the Paragliding World Cup will be held just before our tours. These tours are for pilots of all levels. We will be offering coaching on thermaling, XC flying, tandem XC flying, and will be setting race-to-goal tasks daily for those interested. We have been offering tours for over a decade all over the world. Let Rob Sporrer, Brad Gunnuscio, and the rest of our high-caliber staff of instructors support you in achieving your goals for the week. Visit, or contact us directly at, or 805-968-0980.

february 23 - march 17  Brazil. Espirito

Santo, Governador Valadares, Pancas, Bixou, and Guandu. Come join us as we trek and fly across the amazing sites of Espirito Santo. Seven to 14 day tours. We will fly the amazing monoliths of Pancas, and Bixou Guandu, on our way to the world-renowned Governador Valadares. Improve your thermal and XC skills under the guidance of David Prentice, who has 20 years paragliding experience including 11 years guiding. World-class lodging and logistics. More info: David Prentice, 505-720-5436, or


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

harnesses FLY CENTER OF GRAVITY—CG-1000 The most affordable single line suspension harness available. Individually designed for a precise fit. Fly in comfort. More info: www.flycenterofgravity. com,, 315-2561522


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

ALAska AK Paramotor - Paragliding & Paramotor School. Year-round: USHPA+USPPA certification. Novice, Refresher, Training, Equipment. Frank Sihler 907-841-7468


paragliding and paramotoring school on the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line in Fort Smith. More information:


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

FLY ABOVE ALL - Year-round instruction in

beautiful Santa Barbara! USHPA Novice through Advanced certification. Thermaling to competition training. Visit 805-9653733.


FLY AWAY HANG GLIDING - Learn Year-round on Santa Barbara’s World Class Training Hill, Lessons, Glider Shuttle, Tandems, Sales, Service, 20 Years Experience, 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 wings- demo 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 408-262-1388, mission@, Mission Soaring Center LLC, leading the way since 1973. www.hang-gliding. com TORREY PINES GLIDERPORT - NEW NEW NEW

- we have been working hard to bring you more! Let’s start with the LIVE music and off the charts BBQ festivities happening every Saturday during the summer months. For all you snow birds, call us this winter for details on our domestic and international thermaling clinic/tours we are now offering. Speed Flying your thing? Come test fly our new mini wings from Little Cloud. USHPA certified instruction for ALL ratings including Tandem and Instructor Clinics, SIV and PPG. We have expanded product lines to include Triple 7, Little Cloud, Aircross, SkyWalk, Niviuk, Ozone, UP, Plussmax Helmets, Paratech, Independence, Crispi Boots, Black Hawk Paramotors, GatorZ, FlyMaster, GoPro, Flytec, Ki2Fly, Sup Air, Dudek, MacPara, Woody Valley, Maillon Rapide, and much more! Our full service shop offers reserve repacks, annual glider inspections, repairs and more. We also carry an extensive certified used invemtory of gliders and harnesses. Check us out at flytorrey. com or give us a call 858-452-9858.

CALIFORNIA PARAGLIDING - Year-round excellent instruction, Southern California & Baja. Powered paragliding, clinics, tours, tandem, towing. Ken Baier 760-753-2664,







KITTY HAWK KITES - FREE Hang 1 training with

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 world-famous 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, www.

COLORADO GUNNISON GLIDERS – X-C to heavy waterproof

HG gliderbags. Accessories, parts, service, sewing. Instruction ratings, site-info. Rusty Whitley 1549 CR 17, Gunnison CO 81230. 970641-9315.

FLORIDA FLORIDA RIDGE AEROTOW PARK - 18265 E State 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@, www.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 superfamous, soft, Sunshine State thermals. Come fly with us! 352- 429- 0213, Groveland, FL, www.

WALLABY RANCH – The original Aerotow flight

park. Best tandem instruction worldwide,7-days a week , 6 tugs, and equipment rental. Call:1-800WALLABY 1805 Deen Still Road, Disney Area FL 33897

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





full-time 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, www.,

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,, www.DFSCinc. org. 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, Your USA & Canada Mosquito distributor.

NEW YORK AAA Mountain Wings Inc - New location at

77 Hang Glider Rd in Ellenville next to the LZ. We service all brands featuring AEROS and North Wing. 845-647-3377,

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


why 5 times as many pilots earn their wings at LMFP. Enjoy our 110 acre mountain resort. www., 1-877-HANGLIDE, 1-877-4264543.

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!, 845-7443317.

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 welcome www.   315-867-8011



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-FLYTHIS,




Flying tours, rentals, tandems, HG and PG classes, H-2 and P-2 intensive Novice courses, full sales. 787-850-0508,

TENNESSEE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - Just outside 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:, (512)467-2529

UTAH CLOUD 9 PARAGLIDING - Come visit us and check

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 http://www.paragliders. com for a full list of products and services. We are Utah’s only full time shop and repair facility, Give us a ring at 801-576-6460 if you have any questions.

Super Fly Paragliding – Come to world famous 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, , WINGS OVER WASATCH HANG GLIDING - Salt

Lake / 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, 801-5992555,

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)241-4324, or


PARK- Award winning instructors at a world class training facility. Contact: Doug Stroop at 509-7825543, or visit

INTERNATIONAL BAJA MEXICO - La Salina: PG, HG, PPG www. by, He’ll hook you up! site intros, tours, & rooms, 760-203-2658 COME AND FLY GUANAJUATO MEXICO. Contact:, or call 473-732-9102 in Mexico. COSTA RICA - Grampa Ninja’s Paragliders’ B&B. 

Rooms, and/or guide service and transportation. Lessons available from USHPA certified instructors.  USA: 908-454-3242.  Costa Rica: (Country code, 011) House: 506-2664-6833,  Cell: 506-8950-8676,  www.paraglidecostarica. com.

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


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. 1-800-6641160 for orders only. Office 325-379-1567.

Gunnison Gliders – X-C, Factory, heavy PVC

HG gliderbags $149 Harness packs & zippers. New/used parts, equipment, tubes. 1549 CR 17 Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-9315 HALL WIND METER – Simple. Reliable. Accurate.

Mounting brackets, control-bar wheels. Hall Brothers, PO Box 1010, Morgan, Utah 84050. (801) 829-3232,

SPECIALTY WHEELS for airfoil basetubes, round

basetubes, or tandem landing gear.(262)4738800,


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,

SERVICE CLOUD 9 REPAIR DEPARTMENT - We staff and 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,

NEW! HERB FENNER is coating paragliders at Torrey. You can expect “Instrument Varified” results in UV A/B, Waterproofing and porosity. “Your Enhanced Glider Stays NEW Longer”, RISING AIR GLIDER REPAIR SERVICES – A full-service 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, billa@

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


lot in Albuquerque (along with a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited). Please keep an eye out for a blueand-white Apco Vista (size large) and black/blue/ red Spark harness (size large), with Apco large reserve and Apco Blade II helmet. If seen, please contact law enforcement and reference APD police report #120071427. The gear all belongs to Jim Borders in Albuquerque and he can be reached at, or 505-239-6303.

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.



photo by Jonathan Dietch







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



Michael Christian Colin Engler Alex Brozdounoff Jericho Sta Ana Greg Aiello William Wilson Michael Quinn Thomas Emery Darlene Brewer Kiana Kang Craig Dorich Brad Pasmore Martin Montoya Irv Mandelberg Christine Waters Takeshi Tsuyuguchi Varghese Mathew John Fuher Josh Schleicher Paulo Jorge De Resende Gregory Harrell David Kin Mike Kohlrieser Peter Kwag Shannon Cook Justin Morrissey Ying Wang Michael White John Glass Wesley Johnson Earl Gensolin Lillian Gensolin Michael Nelson Sean Culpepper Michael Cushing Rick Jackson Don Thomas Michael Wright Leah Mccreary Hugh Grandstaff Igor Brodetskiy Alexis Da Silva Ryan Bishop Jud Hobbs Alfredo Moreno Glenn Duval Colin Engler Greg Aiello Thomas Emery Michael Watt Daniel Zehr

James Tibbs James Tibbs Patrick Denevan Patrick Denevan Patrick Denevan Nickolas Lopez Robert Booth Rob Mckenzie William Dydo Greg Dewolf Alex Cuddy Mark Windsheimer Mark Windsheimer Daniel Zink Bart Weghorst Gordon Cayce Paul Olson Daniel Zink Paul Olson Edward Germain Edward Germain Thomas (tj) Baumann John Alden Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Steve Wendt Steve Wendt Steve Wendt Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Daniel Zink Gordon Cayce Daniel Zink Bryon Estes Greg Black James Tibbs Larry Jorgensen Dale Sanderson Larry Jorgensen James Tibbs Patrick Denevan Rob Mckenzie Greg Dewolf Greg Dewolf


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o, how does one choose to quit flying? What finally says that it’s time? What indicators finally convince a person that it’s time to sell all the flying equipment and buy a pair of running shoes? My wife told me that, while in the hospital a year ago, I swore that I would never fly again. It had to be the drugs; I truly have no recollection of ever saying those words. I did, admittedly, give the topic some thought. Should I quit flying? This accident could easily have had much more serious consequences. Is it really worth all this? But, really, when do you know it’s time? I have a friend who recently quit. He’s definitely not flying. He sold one wing, but kept another—just in case. I’m certainly not going to speak for him, but I believe his decision had its beginnings with an injury accident followed a few months later by an incident that was just too uncomfortable. I envision that many concerns poured through my friend’s head. I imagine that he gave thought to his career, his spouse, his family. Whatever my friend’s thought process was, I’m certain that it must have been both thorough and painful. Giving up one of life’s passions simply cannot be an easy decision.



by Steve Messman

But what of others who have chosen to quit flying? What pains did they suffer? What penalties did they consider? What reason justified letting go of something that they (quite possibly) still love? How, in the end, did they arrive at their conclusion to quit? I can speak for those people no better than I can speak for my friend. I only know that for me, I had to answer the question I posed in the first paragraph. Is it really worth all this? And, in order to answer that question, I had to figure out what “it” actually is. Defining “it” became a most serious quest. By “it,” of course I mean flying; but in truth, I found the notion far more complicated than that. Immediately, the word “family” came to mind. Some of my sons’ earliest memories are of standing on a launch ramp in Pennsylvania. My wife has spent years sitting on a hill: watching, chasing, and driving. We’ve taken flying vacations together. She’s passed on her blessings to my several flying trips taken without her. (Almost) equally important is the extended family—my flying family. I have never been closer to any group in any other activity, be it hobby or work, than the group of folks with whom I fly. We have fun with each other. We enjoy spending time with each other. We protect and help each other. We are family. There is no better way to explain that. I have sat on the tops of mountains and on the edges of seaside cliffs watching, listening, and waiting. I have watched nature’s multitude of

rhythms, watched valleys breathe in and out, watched clouds form and dissipate, and watched surf crash and retreat. I have seen Raven, mere feet from my head, flap his powerful wings to a similar up-and-down rhythm, and I have danced as partner to the soaring eagle at a slightly slower cadence. I have listened to the sounds of Raven’s powerful wings slice the air. I have listened to the lonesome cries of eagles and hawks blanket valleys. I have witnessed the skittering retreat of waves across pebbles, and I have eavesdropped on the whispered conversations between wind and boughs. I have learned that life’s lessons are magnified exponentially by the distance one spends from the ground. The critical need for common sense, the supreme value of patience, the vital need for making good choices are lessons taught quickly by flying and learned efficiently by pilots. Flying withholds neither reward nor consequence. When I stand on a mountain to prepare for launch, my heart beats with the energy of my first kiss with my first girlfriend. When the wind blows through my dwindling hair, I feel the same excitement I did more than a generation ago as I first stood under the shadow of a hang glider. Clearly, “it” is considerably more complex than the simple act of hanging in the air with a wing stretched over my head. “It” evokes emotions, generates familial ties, and powerfully reinforces life’s lessons. I believe that, for me, the benefits of “it” far outweigh the consequences. I certainly leave room for the future, room for a time when that belief might change, for a time when “it” just might not be worth all this. But for now…I believe in my choice to continue flying.



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Profile for US Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

Hang Gliding & Paragliding Vol43/Iss01 Jan 2013  

Official USHPA Magazine

Hang Gliding & Paragliding Vol43/Iss01 Jan 2013  

Official USHPA Magazine