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OCTOBER 2013 Volume 43 Issue 10 $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 experience. Many of the articles and photographs in the

ON THE COVER, Jeff Shapiro off tow near the Anapurna Range in Nepal. MEANWHILE, Cade

Palmer in Jackson, Wyoming.

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:

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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) 2013 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 Christina Ammon, Dennis Pagen, C.J. Sturtevant Ryan Voight

Martin Palmaz, Advertising

Staff Photographers John Heiney, Jeff Shapiro



















Chapter of the Year Arctic Air Walkers ������������������������������������������������������� by C.J. Sturtevant


Focus on Safety Flying the Right Glider? ���������������������������������������������������by Ryan Voight


FEATURE | 2013 Flytec Challenge Americus, Georgia ��������������������������������������������������������by Claudia Mejia


FEATURE | Generation Fly Young Guns Rising �������������������������������������������������by Christina Ammon


Soaring the Peaks of Rio Cauca Colombia ����������������������������������������������������������������by John W. Robinson


FEATURE | A Whale of a Hill Site Profile ���������������������������������������������������������������������� by Rich Jesuroga


Airing It Out Clinical Thinking �����������������������������������������������������������������by Lin Lyons

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all is upon us. For some of the USHPA membership, the summer was one big-thermal tale after another. We chased elusive flights from sled rides to ever-longer distances with the giddiness of children waiting to unwrap presents, and, if we were lucky, we found meaning and success in our endeavor. We studied the sky, tweaked on equipment to get information regarding weather, logistics, retrieves, and radio communication. While we attempted to line up our gear and prepare ourselves mentally for the task ahead, we carefully picked cycles and interpreted our environment with the hope of getting better at being “lucky”— of being in the right place at the right time, more often than not. Some contend, “it’s better to be lucky than good,” but we marvel at those who are both. In August I had a cracking day for which I’ve waited eight years. Six of us from the local community found ourselves in the right place at the right time and ready for adventure. We flew at high altitudes from Jackson Hole Resort through part of the Wind River mountain range and out into the Wyoming flats, arriving in Worland, Wyoming, for dinner. Like surfers, we continue to individually search for our interpretation of the perfect swell, or as Greg Myerson, the Warren Buffet of the fishing world reported, “ I don’t care about any of the fish I’ve already caught. The best fish is the next fish for me.” We know how you feel, Mr. Myerson. The October issue begins with an in-depth letter to the editor from Professor Adrian Thomas, regarding Andy Pag’s article about wing design. While the debate is ongoing, Pag’s article elicited one of the best letters to date. We hope more stories will spur readers to add their voices to the dialogue. C.J. Sturtevant reports back from her visit to the USHPA Chapter of the Year in Alaska, the Arctic Air Walkers. If flying in the midnight sun during summer solstice sounds appealing, their June 21st fly-in is not to be missed. Chris Ammon returns with a piece about the youth in the US free-flight scene, and Claudia Mejia sends in a piece from the 2013 Flytec Championship in Americus, Georgia. Rich Jesuroga presents an informative site report on a 3700’ vertical take-off named Whale Hill in south-central Colorado. And John Robinson’s description of his trip to the increasingly popular Colombia—where one finds friendly people, cheap living, and incredible flying off the peaks of the Rio Cauca—will intrigue those who are looking for a winter fix. Lin Lyons recounts his harrowing experience of deploying his reserve at the right time while off tow. And, finally, Ryan Voight drops knowledge and wisdom on choosing the right glider. We hope this diverse issue has something for everyone. Please remember to send in your most vivid memories from this year.






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someone who saved a life or saved

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a site, negotiated with a landowner

pilot is likely to

or faced down a bulldozer. Who do

Mophie’s aptly named Juice Packs

you know who takes super photos, or

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There is even a special award for non-

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and the glider will just accelerate, not collapse (as Luca Donini consistently demonstrates on final glides here at the Worlds). This is particularly true

A response to the “The Good, the Bad

and obvious with the high-split A pair,

and the Ugly” by Andy Pag:

where, at very high speed, the two A lines hold the nose at the designed

From the designer’s point of view,

The August issue of the USHPA

angle of attack, while, at the same

positive-cambered (high lift) aerofoils

magazine had a fascinating article

time, take out some of the camber

have a nose-down pitch moment, give

by Andy Pag that went into some of

from the airfoil.

good sink rate, and surge forwards

the technical details of recent glider

That brings me to my second

into thermals (so the glider pitches

developments and the issues they

issue with Pag’s article. He correctly

forwards and pulls you in to a climb).

have caused for pilots. I really enjoyed

points out that paraglider aerofoils

Reflexed aerofoils typically have

the article, but (ahem) I think there

have changed recently into a shape

good stability and speed, but not

are some fundamental flaws in Pag’s

with more thickness farther aft, and,

such good sink rates and a tendency

analysis. Two issues stand out for me.

in many cases, with some reflex. His

to pitch back as you enter a thermal.

First, the effect of having the A lines

analysis of the effect of these changes

The designer’s aim is typically to try

set back from the nose and, second,

doesn’t seem right. Far from being un-

to balance out camber and reflex

the characteristics of the current gen-

stable, the current generation of aero-

(putting camber in the nose together

eration of aerofoils.

foils are pitch stable, with the reflex

with reflex in the tail), so as to get

and thickness towards the trailing

a glider that pitches forwards just a

backwards over the last few years—

edge providing the righting moments

tiny comfortable bit as you enter a

roughly, from about 5% of cord to

needed to keep the wings flying when

thermal, biting into the climb or gust

about 10% of cord (round numbers,

they are unloaded. It is easy to test

and taking height, while maintain-

gliders vary). Top-end wings also have

this effect while kiting the wing—get

ing speed and control, rather than

switched from single A attachments

the wing stable over your head, then

being knocked back by each burst of

to a high split on the A-line leading to

pull down on the risers, and let go.


two attachments.

A wing more than five years old will

The A-line position has moved

I enjoyed Pag’s article. It made me

collapse, but a wing with the current

think, and, while I don’t agree with

changed the way the gliders behave.

generation of airfoils will pitch nose-

everything he wrote, that has to be

But I don’t think his arguments about

up and re-tension the lines.

the target for any article in a paraglid-

As Pag says, this development has

ing magazine. I’d like to see more like

the glider’s bending around the A

These sorts of aerofoils are used

attachment hold water. There is no

elsewhere in flying wings, where they


obvious bending around the A attach-

deliver the pitch stability that con-

ment visible during load-tests when

ventional aircraft get from the tail. In

the glider is subjected to 8G of load to

paragliders with these aerofoils, the

test the structure. And I doubt any of

result is much greater stability when

- Adrian Thomas (world-class competitor, former British national champion, and professor of biomechanics at Oxford University).

us pull more than 8G, even in the most

flying through turbulence with the

fully locked-in spirals.

brakes released.

Instead, what I think is going on

From the pilot’s point of view,

with these A tabs set far back, par-

paragliders with this generation of

ticularly with the high-split A pair, is

aerofoils have two stable flying states:

that the structure in the A region of

thermaling, where pitch stability

the glider holds the nose of the wing

depends on the low center of gravity

at the designed angle of attack across

and active pitch-control by the pilot

the whole speed range. Evidence that

(through the brakes), and gliding,

this is the case comes from the use

where pitch stability depends on the

of collapse lines on modern gliders

aerofoil, and the glider is best flown

with the A lines set well back. On

with the brakes fully released and

these gliders, you can typically hang

either speedbar or rear risers used for

all the pilot weight on the A lines,

pitch control.




Arctic Air Walkers USHPA's 2012 Chapter of the Year by C.J. STURTEVANT


very October the USHPA Awards committee sifts through dozens of nominations and, based on the “evidence” provided by members, selects one chapter as Chapter of the Year. This year, it’s the Arctic Air Walkers paragliding club from (obviously!) Alaska. Why them? The nominators provided ample evidence that convinced



the committee of their award-worthiness, but that’s just words on paper. At the awards banquet last March, Air Walkers president Laddie Shaw and his wife Linda invited George and me to come “share some time in the ‘Last Frontier’ with the Arctic Air Walkers paragliding club” during summer’s long arctic days, and experience the club’s awesomeness first-hand before writing

this article. We couldn’t quite make it for the solstice when, Laddie points out, you can legally launch on one evening and land the next morning, even if you just get a sledder. But during our midJuly week we never experienced any ABOVE Yes, the sun shines in winter. RIGHT A good time was had by all at Flattop, and the evening hikers no doubt enjoyed seeing a sky full of gliders. Photos courtesy Laddie Shaw.

dimmer-than-dusk light (I even woke up at 3 a.m. once, just to check), and that in itself was an amazing experience! Numerous nominators pointed out that the Arctic Air Walkers paragliding club has been in existence since the mid-’80s (read the tale of their origins at AAW%20History). Given Alaskans’ reputation for being the archetypical “rugged individualists,” that longevity is perhaps surprising. What’s the glue that’s held this group—some Air Walkers originals, many long-timers, quite a few newbies—together for so many decades? With the perspective of more than 30 years’ involvement in the club, Bob French offers some insights. He points out that, while his personal level of participation in the Air Walkers has varied over the decades, the momentum of the club has continued strong, resulting in a multi-generational, active, enthusiastic pilot base with a reputation for getting things done and for luring pilots from “outside” to include Alaska in their travel-to-fly destinations. Instructor Jake points out that “the bond that the AAWs have is unique in many ways. First, we love to travel as a pack. You can count on seeing several AAWs at events such as the Rat Race,

or great winter sites in Central and South America. Also, we tend to brag on Alaska flying, so many of the amazing people we meet abroad often find their way into an AAW home and are treated like royalty for their flying visit to Alaska.” George and I were indeed treated like royalty by the Arctic Air Walkers during our visit. From long chats around campfires and while hanging out on launch or in the LZ, and from my emails back and forth with many of the club pilots, here’s what I learned about the 2013 USHPA Chapter of the Year, and the pilots who make this club so awesome.

Why be an Air Walker? When I asked pilots what they, individually, gained from their membership in Arctic Air Walkers, almost unanimously, they identified being part of an active, engaged paragliding community as the #1 value. There were some interestingly creative spellings in the emails I received, but the meaning was clear: What the majority of AAW members most highly prize in their club is the sense of camaraderie, and everything that springs from those strong ties. P-2 pilot Kevin elaborates: “The club gives access instantly to dozens of folks interested in the same activity as me.

Martin Palmaz, Executive Director Eric Mead, System Administrator Beth Van Eaton, Program Manager

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: Jugdeep Aggarwal, Josh Cohn, Pat Hajek. REGION 3: Corey Caffrey, Dan DeWeese, Rob Sporrer. REGION 4: Ryan Voight, Ken Grubbs. REGION 5: Donald Lepinsky. REGION 6: David Glover. REGION 7: Paul Olson. 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: TBD. DIRECTORS AT LARGE: Dave Broyles, Bill Bolosky, Steve Rodrigues, 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.



The email listserv makes it super easy to coordinate flying times and carpool activities. Also, some of the instructors and senior members constantly post informative threads in the listserv that give me a chance to learn outside of my lessons with my instructor.” Chris A. is an intermediate pilot, but he still gets “the most benefit from being able to talk to more experienced

pilots who are more than willing to talk my ear off. I want to think that I can learn from others and their mistakes and then not make them myself. (It has helped, but I’ve still made my own mistakes.) Having that guidance is the most valuable to me, then the sites, and finally I’d have to say that paraglider pilots are some of the best all-around people to know. They are just so willing

to help in whatever way they can.” Additionally, many pilots pointed out that having a club like the Air Walkers provides benefits that go far beyond what each individual gains. Instructor Jake muses, “Like me, most every club member has served (or will serve) as an officer in the club in some capacity. This illustrates the willingness of club members to continue to provide fresh ideas and energy into our current activities and strength into the longterm efforts such as working towards maintaining flying sites and pioneering new ones. Much of the benefit to all club members comes down to being a part of a group that stays on top of land issues and has wonderful representatives who will go to bat for the club to help resolve, maintain and bring up issues that affect us all. Our elected officers generally serve two years to bring some long-term consistency to issues. It seems to work.” Kevin adds, “Being part of this club makes it easy to pool our resources to make Alaska a better place for paraABOVE Parawaiting | photo courtesy AAW. LEFT

Chris Reynolds launching from Marmot at Hatchers Pass in June 2012 | photo by Matt Bonney. OPPOSITE, TOP to BOTTOM A “pack” of Arctic Air Walkers at the 2013 Rat Race | photo by C.J.. Formal portrait of the Air Walkers. Josh Mulkey (left) and Sylvain Maeckelberghe launching from The Switchbacks in March 2013 | photo by Laddie Shaw.



gliders—resources like manpower for working on existing or new launches or LZs, or liaising contacts in unique positions (e.g. a club firefighter helped us get a new windsock installed high on a street lamp by letting us use his bucket truck), or bargaining power with the state or private entities for access to land for use in paragliding.” Troy expands on the camaraderie theme: “Not only is this a great group to hike and fly with, but novice pilots are nurtured along and new pilots welcomed with open arms. Even though we see more inclement weather than flyable days here in Alaska, there is a lot of flying going on because of the enthusiasm of everyone in the club.”

access to the sky A huge accomplishment for the Alaska parapilots was insuring Alyeska, the Anchorage ski resort, as a flying site. Bob, who’s been flying in Alaska since before paragliders were part of USHG(back then)A , says Alyeska has “blossomed into a well-run commercial tandem flight operation that continually displays our sport and introduces the curious to the unique thrill of free flight.” Another AAW long-timer, Bill M., adds that the club has “worked extensively with local governments to create LZs that are on publicly-owed land, protecting those LZs from development.” While many of the Alaska sites are pretty much unregulated, Janet points out, “We have some strict requirements for flying at certain sites, and everyone tries to take an active part in making sure the rules are followed so we don’t lose our privileges. Also, the tandem pilots routinely volunteer to take landowners and officials up for a tandem to show them what we are all about.” Chris A. adds that AAW has put up a kiosk at the Eagle River LZ, with information about the sport of paragliding and the local club (and a supply



of plastic bags for dog owners, to help keep boots and gliders from, well, you know). The launches on both public and private lands have been improved, with permission, at many sites. “We can’t always do what we want,” Chris says, “but striving for better is always good.” The majority of the Air Walkers live in or near (by Alaska standards) Anchorage, and George and I had the opportunity to fly and hang out with dozens of them during our brief visit. In deference to our heavy gear and lack of athleticism, our host Laddie took George and me to, he said, “the only two drive-to-launch sites in Alaska.” Well, almost drive-to at Eagle River; Laddie traded packs with me, as his hiking gear weighs about half what my pack does. Even so, he raced up to launch while I plodded. Lake Hill, at Hatcher Pass, was an easy walk-up even for me. Much to our disappointment, tram-accessible Alyeska was closed to

flying during our visit, due to helicopter traffic working on lift maintenance. In addition to these “accessible” sites, there are, we soon realized, seemingly unlimited launch options available to those who are willing and able to hike.

Forging relationships with the nonflying community Bob, the one who’s been around since the dawn of Alaska paragliding, says club members have been continuously involved with the local community over the years, “attending community council meetings when concerns arise, and recently taking the steps required to organize into a local non-profit (501c3) that works to keep flying sites pristine, and cooperative shared-use agreements in place. We have worked diligently and patiently to secure an arrangement that allows ridge soaring adjacent to our international airport (with tower approval), and we also work closely with State Parks and Rec, and local outdoor

groups, to strategically install remote weather instruments to help pilots forecast conditions despite our challenging local micro-meteorology.” Club members—instructors and others—have conducted seminars and clinics to offer prospective pilots the opportunity to learn more about the sport, ask questions, and then ground handle wings in a local park. Instructor and parapilot since the APA days, Scott points out that most of the AAW members are professionals with strong ties within the Anchorage community, which he estimates has a population of about 400,000. Even in a city that large, he finds “the outdoor community still seems small and tight. We often see people we know while we’re hiking up to fly and after landing.” Being part of the wider community provides the Air Walkers greater legitimacy when it comes time to negotiate for flying-related needs. The club, Jake

you Yearafter afteryear, year,working workingfor foryou you Year Year after year, working for Mt. Howard, OROR —— NPS Biological Assessment Mt. Howard, NPS Biological Assessment Mt. Howard, OR — NPS Biological Assessment Embreville, PAPA —— Legal Assistance for LZ Embreville, Legal Assistance for LZ Embreville, PA — Legal Assistance for LZ Mingus Mt, Launch and Campground Mingus Mt, AZAZ —— Launch and Campground Mingus Mt, AZ — Launch and Campground King Mt, XC Site Guide King Mt, IDID —— XC Site Guide King Mt, ID — XC Site Guide HG National Team HG National Team HG National Team Meet Director Training Meet Director Training Meet Director Training

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says, has “worked hard to secure sites and develop relationships with municipal, state, federal and private land owners to insure that we have places for us to fly in the future. As a group we provide recognized community support such as road cleanup events, and we host small clinics to expose the public to these crazy buzzards in the sky.”

Safety is top priority While the Arctic Air Walkers have no formal mentoring program within the club, both newbies and experienced pilots concur that mentoring is ongoing and an essential part of the club members’ interactions. P-2s quote their instructors as having a stated philosophy of “once my student, always my student,” and I saw that in action during my recent visit. The experienced pilots are open and proactive in their mentoring-type interactions with newer pilots, and several P-3s and P-4s point out that, in some situations, even they

can be a mentee. Instructors regularly schedule clinics, and often pull together an informal one based on requests from pilots. While George and I were in town, Jake held a kiting clinic that was attended by his students as well as experienced pilots looking (like me) to sharpen ground-handling skills. Jake

ABOVE George Sturtevant and others over the Diving Board out past Lake Hill at Hatcher Pass. Photo by Matt Bonney.

says, “I’d like to think that I mentor my students as long as they or I remain in Alaska. My current and past students will always receive calls from me about daily flying plans or conditions

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2010 2010 2010

FarView TowSite, Site,OH OH— —Site SiteImprovement Improvement FarView FarViewTow Tow Site, OH — Site Improvement John Wayne Airport, CA — HG JohnWayne WayneAirport, Airport,CA CA— —HG HGDisplay Display John Display Big Big BigSprings, Springs, Springs,TX TX TX— — —National National NationalTV TV TVFilm Film FilmShoot Shoot Shoot Wallaby Ranch, FL — Scooter Tow Clinic WallabyRanch, Ranch,FL FL— —Scooter ScooterTow TowClinic Clinic Wallaby Tenn Tree Toppers Team Challenge Tenn TennTree TreeToppers ToppersTeam TeamChallenge Challenge HG & PG International Competitions HG&&PG PGInternational InternationalCompetitions Competitions HG

2011 2011 2011

2012 2012 2012

“Live the Dream” Film “Live the Dream” Film “Live the Dream” Film Villa Grove, CO —— Launch Road Villa Grove, CO — Launch Road Villa Grove, CO Launch Road Woodrat Mt, OR —— Fiasco LZLZ Project Woodrat Mt, OR — Fiasco LZ Project Woodrat Mt, OR Fiasco Project Whaleback, CACA —— Launch Improvements Whaleback, Launch Improvements Whaleback, CA — Launch Improvements Hillcrest, MO — Butte Site Improvements Hillcrest, Hillcrest,MO MO— —Butte ButteSite SiteImprovements Improvements High Rock, MD — Launch & LZ Improvements HighRock, Rock, MD —Launch Launch LZ Improvements High MD — &&LZ Improvements HANG GLIDING & PARAGLIDING MAGAZINE 15 HG & PG International Competitions HG HG&&PG PGInternational InternationalCompetitions Competitions

(although my list is getting kind of long…). The cool thing now is that I’m getting calls from THEM asking ME to fly. Love that!” Call it mentoring, or mutual support, or friendship, the ties that develop among club members—pilots and instructors—are strong and enduring. Jake says, “AAW is truly my paragliding family,” and elaborates, “Whether it’s work that needs to be done on the website ( or helping a fellow pilot polish his or her skills, someone will step up. As a paragliding school owner and instructor, I can also positively say that every AAW instructor, regardless of brand or school affiliation, will go out of his way to help out fellow instructors. There is a very strong ABOVE The AAW 2013 annual road cleanup. Adults, from left: Scott Amy, Kent Hudson, Bill Mendenhall, Brad Crozier, Jack Brown, Adrian Beebee, Bryan Mac Lean, and Steve Amy, and a couple of their kids. Photo by Matt Bonney. OPPOSITE Laddie Shaw and Scooter the Adventure Dog, just after launching from tram-accessible Mt. Alyeska.



culture of safety and diligence to assure that newer pilots receive the training they need, the best gear available and the best mentors new pilots could hope for.”

Strong, and getting stronger Current AAW president Laddie reports that membership is currently at about 80 and growing, “actually quite quickly right now with all five of our resident instructors busy.” Chris A. observes that the instructors “do it for fun, and I think that is why it works.” Instructor Jake concurs with that observation, and adds that he is somewhat picky about who he’ll take on as a student. “The students that I choose to teach must really show some passion for the sport. It’s hard for me as an instructor to get excited about tire kickers, but I simply love teaching people who will live and breathe paragliding, at least for the time being.” Scott, also an instructor, observes that these days “we have a lot of interest

in hike-and-fly, and also speed-wing flying, especially in the winter launching with skis.”

Organized fun

The AAW is one of the first paraglider clubs formed in the US, and today’s club includes pilots—still flying!—who put the club together. Jake says, “We try to honor that by having an oldwing fly-in each year. Last year we had a couple of nine-cell wings make the flight. They look like and fly like speed wings. Funny how things come around again!” Bob, whose first glider was one of those old wings, adds, “The Arctic Air Walkers have hosted several 10-day Summer Solstice Fly-in’s, that have always welcomed dozens of pilots from around the country. Additionally, we have been fortunate enough to have had several stellar over-the-water SIV clinics featuring some of the best instruction available—Santacroce, Sic Nic, Enloe.” And of course there are the usual



holiday parties, BBQs, fly-ins, gatherings and celebrations. During our stay, George and I seemed to be part of an ongoing week-long movable feast and flying fest. We shared the air, the sunscreen, the bug spray with dozens of pilots; were offered burgers and hot dogs from numerous grills and cold drinks from an assortment of coolers; assembled s’mores with pilots and their non-flying family and friends around the campfire. This group knows how to have a good time together, and if there’s flying involved, well, that’s the icing on the cake. You could invest many hours in ABOVE Janet says, “My favorite place to fly is Hatcher Pass because it is just so beautiful and open there. You don’t have to worry about planes, power lines, trees, or water. You can land anywhere, although some places are better than others if you don’t want a big hike!” RIGHT Parawaiting on Lake Hill Launch at the 2013 July weekend fly-in at Hatcher Pass. Photos by Matt Bonney.



exploring this website. I found myself chuckling over, and rolling my eyes at, the tales of the early days of the Arctic Air Walkers as I reviewed the club history. Members listed their favorite go-to pages: The site guide, weather and wind information, minutes from meetings they couldn’t attend, a listing of gear for sale, photos of club experi-

ences. According to Jake, “The AAW site rocks! Totally set up and run by members and utilized daily to help provide information on what might be working for the day, who is going where as well as advice, opinions and general discussion about this crazy sport. There is a ton of pictures there as well.” Whether you’re a local pilot, a pilot

from “outside” considering a trip to Alaska, or just in need of a photo fix on a non-flyable day, has what you’re looking for.

Summing it up Bob speaks for many of his fellow pilots in his summary of why the AAW is so appreciated by its members: “In short, I would probably not be a pilot today if not for the manner in which the Arctic Air Walkers serves its membership. I believe the club has consistently done an outstanding job of securing flying sites, working with the community and officials, welcoming new pilots into the fold, and continually preaching the message of safety while also offering incredible camaraderie. The Arctic Air Walkers epitomizes the well-run, progressive chapters that represent and benefit not just its members, but the USHPA, and the community, as a whole.”


hanks to Bob, Bill, Janet & Chris, Bradley, Laddie, Scott, Troy, Jake, Kevin, Cody, Matt, Kent, and Caroline for taking time to talk with me and answer my emails, providing all the insider information I needed for this article. Special thanks to Laddie and Linda, and Jeff and Deanna, for the five-star accommodations and tourguide services. You are rock stars, all of you! C.J. Sturtevant is a H-5/P-5 pilot who, with her husband George, has for the last three decades taken every opportunity to travel to flying destinations around the country and the world. This was their first flying-focused visit to Alaska, where they flew every day, saw sights from unique perspectives (thanks, Jeff, for that breathtakingly beautiful overview from your Piper floatplane), spotted a halfdozen moose, no bears, and only a few mosquitoes, and were made to feel like part of the gang from the very first.

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by Ryan Voight



t seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? Hopefully, we ask ourselves this question and analyze our needs both before and during the purchase of a new wing. However, many pilots do not look back to reevaluate their gear, once purchased. I’d like to do just that and stimulate some thought on the subject. I’ll also offer some ideas to consider and some ways we can selfdiagnose to better answer the question: “Am I flying the right hang glider?” To answer a question, we sometimes



need first to ask another question. In this case, it’s helpful to ponder: “Why do I hang glide?” Wow, that’s quite the question! Most have difficulty refining an answer into just one sentence, so let’s simplify it: “What do I want to get out of hang gliding?” When driving home after a day at the local hill or flight park, you are satisfied if A) you had a safe and successful flight, regardless of duration; B) you had a soaring flight of decent duration; C) you flew cross-country, be it out-and-

BELOW Pilot Jeff Sharp confidently launches into soarable conditions | photo by Ryan Voight.

return, open distance, or to somewhere other than the standard LZ for that site; D) you got high before conditions mellowed enough to perform some aerobatics above the LZ before landing; E) you stayed up longer, got higher, and/or went farther than your friends (doesn’t matter how long/high/far, just that you “won”). There is no right or wrong answer here, and you might want to choose more than one, but knowing what you want is important. This line of thinking will help guide you on the characteristics of a wing that will best deliver what you seek, maximizing your enjoyment.

Performance Know it or not—we all crave the highest performance equipment we can get our hands on. There are many yardsticks we can use to measure “performance.” For some (stupid) reason, wings that glide better are labeled “high-performance.” In order of “performance,” Wills Wing’s lineup would look something like this: Alpha>Falcon 4>Sport 2>U2>T2>T2C. But what about a ridge-soaring site like Point of the Mountain? Compared to a T2C, an Alpha or Falcon is lighter weight, dramatically quicker to set up, and able to fly considerably slower, which means launching sooner and spending more time flying in the lift, and requiring fewer passes/turns which deteriorate sink rate. These wings also handle easier, which makes navigating the high volume of traffic far less tense.


Choosing the Alpha or Falcon, for example, might mean having more time to fly and the ability to fly in a wider range of soarable conditions, resulting in a more enjoyable flying experience. In brief, the Alpha or Falcon provides much higher soaring performance than a T2 or T2C. Obviously, this is a specific case, and these wings are the extreme ends of the “performance” spectrum, where the Sport 2/U2 (and, of course, other similar wings by other manufacturers) are compromises somewhere amid the range. The above two paragraphs make us think about how much (glide) performance we might desire, and you could see that having MORE glide performance than you NEED is actually a detriment, because the sacrifices made to improve the glide might take away from your maximum enjoyable experience each flight.


Skill What I have found to be far more important than the glide performance of a wing is the performance of the PILOT. For example, a pilot who is passionate about flying great distances XC might want the maximum glide performance available… but at what cost? The highest performance wings are expensive; they cost many paychecks, but that’s the least of it. They also cost flight time because they have more battens and take longer to set up and are also more complex and time-consuming at the end of the day, because they must be rolled and packed with excessive care to prevent them from eating themselves while bouncing on your roof rack. They fly faster, even when you don’t want them to, which means launches and landings are by default higher risk (and require more skill, which I’ll get


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into later). The handling is stiffer in roll and more delayed, often requiring additional clearance from terrain or other traffic. And these so-called “high-performance” wings also require constant focus and attention in order to be efficient. They are fast… they climb fast, but they also sink fast, too. One bad 360 can cost you LOTS of altitude, as can even a slight stall of one wing while trying to climb. High-performance wings require a lot more input, both in roll and in pitch, to climb as efficiently as possible, costing the pilot concentration and energy. When flying cross-country, for example, it can be tough for even the most experienced pilots to focus on climbing and planning their next glide to stay on course and find the next thermal. For many, it can be too much, and ABOVE The author finds himself landing downwind, at high altitude on a hot summer day in Utah. A more forgiving wing would sure be nice right now | photo by Shadd Heaston. RIGHT Paul Voight is a master-rated pilot, advanced instructor, tandem instructor, tandem and instructor administrator, USHPA director, and Wills Wing dealer… and his personal glider is a Sport 2. He says it’s everything he needs and more! Photo by Ryan Voight.



that’s OK to admit to yourself! I have quite a bit of flying experience, and I can say that sometimes it’s too much for me. Sometimes I must choose between climbing as quickly as possible OR planning my next move, because I can’t possibly do both. A wing that’s easier to fly allows the PILOT to perform at a higher level, which over the course of a flying day or a long XC, can add up to an improved experience all around, both in miles and enjoyment. The “higher performance” wings

also require larger LZs, which despite the improved glide, can actually make flying from landable-area to landablearea more difficult. In this regard, a glider like the Sport 2 is usually the safest balance, offering the glide to reach LZs and the low end to land short in tight places (of course, with the requisite pilot skill to do so). On the topic of SAFETY, it can be difficult to judge exactly how safe we are on our wing. It is NOT as simple as, “I’ve never gotten hurt, so I’m fine on

my wing.” Unfortunately it’s even more complex than, “I have great flights, staying up, getting high, going far, I’m obviously experienced enough for my wing.” There is no such thing as truly “safe”; a better way of thinking of it is managing your risk. Flying cross-country, for example, by default requires flying in thermic conditions and very well may result in landing in an unknown LZ. This can be one of the most demanding—read risky—situations in a hang glider. Let’s take one step sideways from the concept of safety and examine the skills required for the various levels of performance wings. To be honest, a hang glider flies like a hang glider, and even most H-2s could fly a topless wing. Notice I said fly, not launch, not land—these two phases of flight are the highest risk and the place where most accidents happen. And, by no coincidence, they require a compilation of experience, knowledge, precision, anticipation, and execution. I hope that sounds like a lot, because, frankly, it is. Even beginner wings require these things; it’s just that the margins are higher and the penalties for not completely delivering are lower. I like to dissect no-wind launches and landings in smooth conditions. Yes, smooth conditions. While thermic conditions require much more skill, a large number of variables are in play, and there is a low level of “repeatability,” meaning you can perform the same actions six times and get six entirely different results. In no wind, you know that anything the glider did or didn’t do was the result of your inputs. As you go up the performance ladder, each wing requires more and more precision. Because high-performance wings have much less twist, they are more critical of proper angle-of-attack. Because they carry weight more efficiently (and weigh more), we tend to fly them at higher wing loadings. Launching a topless wing in no wind—especially at high altitude—requires near perfection.

And when it comes to planning a landing approach, the ability to adjust landing placement through air speed becomes less and less. Spot landing is an exercise in precision flying and putting the glider exactly where you want it. Most schools of thought say that, to get good at spot landing, fly the same approach every time. For the purpose of evaluating how precise we can be with our wing, I like to ask myself if I can do several very different approaches and get the same result, landing on a specific spot. Can I do an aircraft approach, can I do figure-8s, can I do a variety of 360s, changing diameter and even direction, and still hit my landing spot? And can I do it in different LZs, especially ones I’ve never seen before? If so, I’m pretty precise on my wing! Landing quality is an entirely different animal. I like to look at fullflare, no-step landings as one of the hardest maneuvers to perform in any hang glider, and, doubly so, in highperformance gliders. Performing these landings requires a delicate balance of art and science, applying technique with exact timing and anticipating what inputs the wing WILL need, thinking ahead of your wing and not behind (again, faster wings require faster thinking). To be clear, I am not stating that one must be able to do a no-step landing in no wind every single landing in order to be safe. What I am proposing is that the ability to do one, like landing accuracy, can be used as a measure of your precision on your current wing. But if you CAN do it every time, on a topless glider, I think we’d all agree that that is impressive! Those who know me know I love to “stir the pot” and have no problem speaking my mind, no matter how unpopular my opinion may be. I will be so bold as to say that the majority of hang glider pilots are flying at least one performance level beyond what they should. As you read this, you are probably thinking I’m either being pompous or right-on. But you’re prob-

ably not getting at the fact that in all probability I am talking about YOU! Think of topless wings like the T2 and T2C (and, of course, the comparable offerings from other manufacturers) as COMPETITION class wings. If you don’t fly several times a week, 100+ hrs a year, AND have the skill to attend a competition and expect to do reasonably well, you don’t need a topless comp wing. You probably don’t have the skill to extract and capitalize on the additional performance. To put it in perspective, a wing like a U2 has nearly the same glide polar as the Wills Wing Fusion, their first topless offering. A U2 or similar is the max performance any recreational pilot should ever need. Anyone who says he or she needs more performance to fly for fun is just hoping the performance of the wing will make RIGHT Even pilots as skilled as Dustin Martin must weigh their ability to land in the current conditions before choosing to launch… and easier-to-land equipment can expand the conditions you select to fly in | photo by Ryan Voight.



up for their deficiencies as a pilot (yeah, I said it). For many, a Falcon or similar wing offers the most soaring performance for any pilot’s needs and desires. If you’re willing to put up with curved tips and a few more ribs, the Sport 2 and similar wings get you a big step up in performance, with nearly the same level of forgiveness in everything except landing approaches. Most recreational pilots who are flying for fun (answers A and B in the first paragraph) are probably best

served by a Falcon or Sport 2. If you are competitive with your friends and/ or like to “go for it” in terms of XC (answers C and E in the first paragraph), gliders like the Sport 2 or U2 are literally made for you! Observant readers will notice I skipped over which gliders apply to answer D from the first paragraph, because aerobatics is a general term. The Falcon and Sport 2 perform excellent aerobatics, if the pilot is capable. Again, some perspective: in the ‘80s people

performed straight-over loops in gliders that were probably most comparable to the Sport 2 (I don’t recommend trying it!). As pilot skill increases and the desire to “go bigger” builds, the added performance of a wing like the U2 allows for that. Unless you are performing aerobatics at a level in which you’d be willing to enter an aerobatic meet (if there were such a thing anymore) and do at least somewhat well, the speed and energy retention in a topless wing is highly unnecessary. The HGMA Standards provide for the ability of a manufacturer to certify a glider for aerobatic maneuvers, but no manufacturer has ever elected to do so, and consequently no glider has ever been HGMA certified for any aerobatic maneuver. Let’s bring all of this back to the question at hand: “Am I flying the right hang glider?” Clearly, that is a question no one can answer for you, as it depends on what you look to get out of each flight, your skill level and experience, and the level of risk you are willing to accept for yourself in pursuit of… whatever it is you are pursuing. Whether you’ve read this and received help in solidifying your choice of wing or are questioning your choice(s), I hope I have raised the question for you, the reader. Am I, Ryan Voight, flying the right hang glider? Sometimes I fly a T2C, but recently I purchased a Falcon 4. I chose to write on this subject because now that I have both wings, I ask myself this very question. Some days after launching, I realize I got it right, but other days, I know I got it wrong! The days I get it wrong I’m reluctant to land, because the T2 is so much more demanding that it isn’t as fun/enjoyable as the Falcon. And the more I fly the Falcon, the more I realize that the performance of my wing doesn’t always improve my enjoyment the way I thought it would.


Light Soaring Trike


Light Soaring Trike

Climb to cloudbase shut down engine and soar!





Flytec Championship by CLAUDIA MEJIA 26


Americus, Georgia, located two

hours south of Atlanta, may sound familiar to many of you for several reasons: You might live nearby; you might be a hang gliding pilot who participated in the Race and Rally during previous years; you might have heard that ex-president Jimmy Carter lives just eight miles away; you might be aware that Souther Field Regional Airport is where Charles Lindbergh did his first solo flight back in May 1923, or you could be one of those people who spent a week there in May of 2012, taking part in the Flytec Championships and/or the Flytec Race of Champions. The Race and Rally wasn’t held in 2013, but this year we had the Flytec Championships from May 17th till the 23rd and the Flytec Race of Champions from the 24th till the 26th at Americus. As enjoyable and unique as the Rally may be, it is also very complicated to organize and ends up being rather tough on the pilots and staff. So in order to get a little break and to have the best opportunity to bring back the Race of Champions, we decided to hold a “stationary” competition, including a three-day bonus of the Race of Champions. This article covers the first event; in a future issue, we will present details about the second. During all the years of rallying, we have been fortunate to visit many towns as well as their regional airports. However, Americus strikes me as being special. The residents are always extremely nice, and happy to accommodate us. The town also has great facilities and—perhaps most important— on several occasions they have invited us to consider holding a competition there. Consequently, when the decision not to have the Rally was made, Americus was at the top of the list and the Souther Field/

Jimmy Carter Regional Airport became our choice for the “hang gliding hub” this year. As we all know, a crucial component in the success of a competition is the staff. We had a great staff this year; in addition to an extraordinary team of tug pilots, an abundance of enthusiastic, helpful and hard-working people acted as ground crew, ensuring that the takeoff operations would run smoothly. This ground crew not only guaranteed a successful comp, they also added a joyful zest to the entire operation. Sometimes we may forget how important their job is. Two observations I made became “highlights” for me. The first concerns the person who sits on the back of the four-wheeler and OPPOSITE Sport-class pilot just after being sent off uses a hook to grab the dollies and hold by Mike McFadden. them tight, while the driver rushes back towards the line. This “hook-up” operation must be done swiftly and safely at least 60 times a day—that’s a lot of hooking. Towards the end of the comp, Mike McKenzie, who was most often the person hooking this week, was awarded the well-deserved official title—Hooker—which he proudly displayed on a T-shirt. The second highlight arose from the desire of tug

“This became, then, an almost dream competition, making it worth 80 WPRS points, and a perfect place for US pilots to get the chance to fly an international comp without leaving home.”



pilots to share a bit of information about their job. During one of their bar-b-q evenings at the hotel, they came up with a short song and thought it was so cool they should perform it for the pilots. After rehearsing for a couple of days, they were featured at the last pilot briefing. With Kenny acting as chief choreographer, they introduced the “Tow Song,” which was both brilliant and funny. (Take a look at the sidebar for the lyrics and snap your fingers while singing it.) My major concern after seeing their performance was that we might lose some valuable crew members to Broadway The superb quality of the crew was matched in this comp by the level of the pilots. We had a group of the finest pilots in the US, including half of the team who won the silver medal in Australia, and Dustin Martin, who currently holds two world records: straight distance and speed over a 100km triangular course. They were joined by some excellent pilots from South America, like André Wolf (BRA), who holds the South American distance record (307.5mi), and top European and Australian pilots, like four members of the Italian team—current world champions—and the pilots who placed third and fifth at the Worlds, as well as Jonny Durand, who flew with Dustin for most of the world-record distance and also flew the 346-mile world record to a “declared distance,” just days after his flight with Dustin. To put a



cherry on the cake, five of these foreigners are in the top 10 of the international ranking (WPRS). This became, then, an almost dream competition, making it worth 80 WPRS points, and a perfect place for US pilots to get the chance to fly an international comp without leaving home. It is important to underline the number of top pilots in the comps and remember their achievements. They deserve broad recognition; their presence is an added value for any competing pilot and organizer. Going to the other end of the spectrum—the less experienced pilots—we also welcomed a Sport class. This was possible only because we had a “stationary” comp, Michelle Haag managed to gather up the necessary crowd, and enough pilots signed up. I mention the comp being stationary, because when hosting the Rally, a type of competition that is more demanding of pilots’ skills and endurance, we were never able to offer an official Sport class. We were pleased that this Flytec Championship was challenging, new, educational, and also motivational for sport-class pilots. On the last two days, experienced pilots like Zac Majors and Pete Lehmann took time to sit with the sport-class pilots to discuss their tasks, give them tips and inspire them to fly farther! An interesting story of achievement and support

related to the Sport class is the connection between the Quest Air team and a Venezuelan named Soraya, who is fairly new to aerotowing. She learned AT in Ecuador with Raul Guerra. (Many of you know Raul from the Florida comps.) Following her experience in Ecuador, Soraya came to the US to try to fly in Florida; however, she was not able to solo and became increasingly frustrated. Last year, she visited Quest Air. Their team flew her through the “update” course and freshened up her AT skills, allowing her to finally solo. It was beautiful to witness what a skillful AT pilot she has become. She was towing at Americus in midday conditions and remained steady as a rock. I was happy for all of them—for Saroya’s having overcome an obstacle and for Quest Air, who, once more, had helped someone realize her dream. This year’s comp began with the official registration and first pilot briefing on Thursday, May 16th at the Souther Field Airport and ended a week later at the same spot with the prize-giving. During those eight days, we all had new experiences, gained knowledge, and witnessed the superb performances of pilots who, among the exceptional group of competitors, had achieved the highest ranks. Within the seven scheduled flying days, the weather was mostly good with fairly smooth conditions—almost “Florida style.”

Day ONE, 38 pilots completed the 109.7km task, with 62

kilometers being the least far flown. Pippo was first into goal at around 16:11; however, he did not win the day. Glen McFarlene, an Australian who is a new pilot in the international scene swiftly climbing up the ladder, came in right after Pippo, but did not win the OPPOSITE The two rigids, day either. André Wolf crossed the line ready to go. ABOVE Day 3– one second after Glen, but, again, was not smiling for Mr. Joe Bombastik, the fastest… who could not come to the I could go on like this until we reach comp. the guy who crossed the line in eighth place, Christian Ciech, who actually did win this task. All the pilots before him had taken the first start gate (SG) at 14:30, but Christian took the next one, 15 minutes later, and flew the course in 1:35:22. Christian got the highest speed points (422.3), Pippo the highest arrival points (75.4), and Greg Dinauer, who was fifth for the day, the highest leading points (105.6). These points can make a difference in one’s final result; for instance, Davis Straub was able to move ahead of four guys, finishing ninth for the day, because his higher leading points gave him a better final score. The Rigids were given the same task, and both pilots completed it with an approximate difference of 2.5 minutes.



Sport class had a 48.6km task that was completed by one pilot: Kip Stone. Each one of the pilots who tried that course flew from minimum distance all the way up to 38.2km, making it a high quality task with 943 points for the winner.

to stop the task. Happily, everyone was reported as having landed safely. Since the task was stopped just 19 minutes after the first start gate, with nobody even close to goal, it was not to be scored, in accordance with the rules.

Day TWO was cancelled due to bad weather, but that did not discourage us, because the forecast was fairly good for the rest of the week.

Day FOUR was filled with surprise. It was a little windy, the forecast for lift was not strong, and cloudbase was not high. But there were no hazards in sight, and no one could tell what the air was like from the ground, so the pilots took off. Before launch, we heard rumors that the Bolivian president Evo Morales was on his way to Americus, arousing the interest of the entire group. He was reportedly going to meet with ex-President Jimmy Carter. And according to information I was able to gather from the Bolivian Secret Service, Mr. Morales also intended to play a soccer game with a group of young athletes, after which he’d have breakfast at the Windsor Café downtown. Jamie Shelden got a picture with the president’s Secret Service agents, and Mike (our official hooking specialist) did not hesitate to drive into town to get a picture with the president himself. Of course, no towing was allowed during Morales’s

On Day THREE the committee chose what would be the shortest task of the entire comp: 79.8km. The forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms. The task and safety committee took time to analyze the situation before setting the route. During the briefing, pilots were notified of the possibility of the task being stopped and warned of the need to be extra careful and constantly monitor the sky. Launch opened at 2:00, and everyone got off, even the Sport class, who took off after Classes I ABOVE Last day–Pete and V. An hour after the first pilot was Lehmann discussing XC flying aloft, the sky looked worse than expectwith the Sport class (pizzas ed, and menacing “cu-nims” seemed to offered by the airport for be parked right on the courseline. After everyone involved with the comp). some deliberation, the decision was made



landing and taxiing operations, but the pilots did congregate to take pictures as the presidential plane—a French Dassault Falcon 900EX—whooshed by, and we all cheered at the unexpected guest. Then, the pilots prepared to fly the task that had been called: 111.4km to Hayes, Leesburg, and back to Americus. The window opened and off they went; however, initially, they did not go far. Everyone (pilots, tugs and crew) worked twice as hard: all but two pilots took off twice. One of those two was a DNF, and the other was able to successfully resist the pull of gravity. I heard somebody say, “I saw those who had landed getting ready for a second flight, so I thought I’d better come down, take a quick break and a sip of water before going back up and getting on course.” I was impressed by pilots who were able to climb in almost nothing and by gaggles (once again, in basically no lift) that stayed together in a constant search for better thermals. They were determined not to give up, and that strong willpower allowed them to stay in the air for a long time. While looking at the numbers from the scoring sheet, I discovered some interesting statistics: 11 pilots got minimum distance; nobody got even close to the nominal distance (80km), and ONE was the highest leading point available. Those who got the farthest flew 25.55 and 25.53km, which was relatively outstanding for this task. Pedro would’ve won the day with 60 points, and Larry would’ve been second by a one-point difference. Pedro mentioned that it had been an amazing, fun day, that he was impressed by everyone’s determination, and that he had been particularly struck by Larry Bunner’s ability to find the best lift within a thermal. He enjoyed watching Bunner go a bit farther in a different direction and find a spot with a better climb. Unfortunately, all of this collective effort for the 20-something kilometers flown in four hours resulted in zero points. Probably due to the desperate scenario of gliders circling, but not really getting very high, some pilots were towed a little higher than others. One pilot was towed way above everyone else, and others were dropped off right at the edge of the start cylinder. Even though the tows were well meant, this disparity created an unfair situation, resulting in a complaint. The committee dealing with the complaint examined all the evidence before deciding to invalidate the task. Nevertheless, this did not take away the feeling of pilots and spectators that the day had been remarkable. The Sport class also gave its best in the abovementioned thermal conditions; three pilots flew past their minimum distance, and Patrick Halfhill was able to fly

12.1km. The next day he mentioned: “I was ready to land with another glider; I thought it was a topless, but then I realized there was a kingpost on that thing and thought Ha! I have to land a bit farther… and I did!” This is how he managed to get the extra 1.4km on Kip Stone and win the day. Day FIVE’s task was

THE TOW SONG (approximately)

Cut the slack, cut the slack, And wind them up, and wind them up, Stick forward, stick back Stick forward, stick back Turn right, turn left Turn right, turn left Turn right, turn left Turn right, turn left Get the f%#* off Get the f%#* off Jamie's gonna get pissed

set at 131.3km, over Really, really pissed two turnpoints, And now you taxi, back to Americus. And now you taxi, Everybody was thirsty for some real And now you taxi... XC flying and racing. Jonny Durand swooped in first, taking the start gate at 14:00. Once again, however, Christian Ciech caught up and won the day, despite the 20-minute gap between their start times. Also, once again, the leading and arrival points made a difference, and Jonny, who had the fifth fastest time, jumped up to second place for the day, after getting the highest points available for leading (82.2) and arrival (58.7). Only 14 “flexies” made it in, plus one rigid; one pilot was just 2km short. The committee decided to give the Sport class another chance to fly the 51.4km out-and-return to Hayes that they had attempted the day before. Patrick Halfhill flew a bit more than twice the distance of the day before, landing 26.1km from goal and taking second place; a determined Kip Stone managed to fly the entire course. On Day SIX the task was the second shortest of the comp, less than 100km, but it required hard work, as evidenced by pilots recording their slowest average speed. The fastest pilot (guess who…) averaged 30.5km/h and the slowest, 27.6km/h. These scores are far behind the slowest times of the two fastest days: 38.2km/h and 37.6km/h. With a final count of only six pilots in goal and an evenly spread field of pilots throughout the course, this day was worth 996 points. Most people took the same start at 13:50, so Christian did not do any “catching up.” He won the day,



all the same. It was also a difficult day on the Rigids, with the best pilot flying 51.7km out of the 96km. The Sport class had an interesting day. Two pilots completed the task, with Brian Boudreau (CAN) taking first place. They flew impressively fast on their task of 26.9km, especially when one takes into consideration what the topless gliders were doing. The fastest Sport pilots averaged 27.6km/h and 26.2km/h; however, the slower pilot flew in front most of the time. Therefore, he got all the leading points and jumped into first place for the day. Kip Stone and Patrick Halfhill, who had been leading this class, landed about 10km short. One story worth mentioning concerns André Wolf and Greg Dinauer. André, who recently OPPOSITE Awards turned 50 and, I must say, is looking presentation, top three good, had been wondering if he should (left to right): Jonny (2nd), continue competing. After completChristian (1st) and André ing this day’s challenging task, he was (3rd)) thrilled, and, half-joking, half-serious, he said “I should get a prize at tomorrow’s briefing for being the oldest guy making goal.” To his surprise, Greg Dinauer popped up and told him that he might be the oldest guy in goal; André said, “No

way, how old are you?” And, to André’s amazement, Greg replied, “I’m 65!” The Brazilian pilot did not believe Greg until he was shown Greg’s ID. Then Andre declared that if Greg was 15 years older than he and still kicking butt, he did not have to worry about his future hang gliding career. Of course, we were all impressed with Dinauer’s performance: Greg was one of the pilots who made it to goal every day, along with Christian, Jonny and André. In addition, he finished in fourth place overall, being the highest ranked American of the comp. Way to go, Greg! On Day SEVEN the task committee considered placing the goal at Americus, so the administration could be easier and faster: downloads, retrieve, prize ceremony organization, etc. However, the weather required a different route: 170.9km race to Bacon (ESE from Americus) was called, the longest task of the meet. The Rigids were given the same task, and the Sport class had a 41km race to Cordele. Stephan Mentler won the day by being three minutes faster than the other pilot in goal, Kip Stone; Soraya came in third for the day. Christian was the first pilot to cross the cylinder line at 16:11:00, and Rob Dallas was the “closing man,” arriv-

Blog: Results Flex: Results Sport:



ing there at 17:53:55. In between, another 15 pilots made it in—for a total of 17 pilots in goal. Christian, who definitely was on a roll, beat them all by being the fastest, the first one in goal, and by flying in front, thereby collecting all of the highest points available, for a total of 994 that day. It was also a great flight for Rob Dallas, who, on Task 1, had achieved his first goal in competition and ended the week beautifully, with his second goal on the last day. Rob remarked that he knew it was going to be a great comp since he is one of the few lucky pilots who lives just two hours away from Americus. For once, he had been able to leave home at the last minute and still make it in time for the first pilot briefing. I think all participants will agree that this first-time competition in Americus, Georgia, was exceptional. We had lots of fun flying, racing, and promoting our sport. We also had many spectators and several tandem flights and were delighted to welcome new pilots, like Amy from Australia and Kim Holt, who took their first solo flights during that week. Four valid tasks were called for Class I as well as five valid tasks for Sport class and Rigids. Task 2 was invalidated for Class I, but not for the other two classes. As for results, the two rigid-wing pilots blended in well with the flex-wings, who seemed to alternate on winning tasks. However, Roger McKinley won an extra day by accumulating a 130-point advantage over Mark Stump, who did not fly on the last day. Seven pilots flew every day in the Sport class and enjoyed being able to take part in this competition, just as we enjoyed having them. Kip Stone came in first overall,

followed by Stephan Mentler and Brian Boudreau, our Canadian guest. There were many excellent pilots in Class 1 who could have won the comp; however, it was Christian Ciech who took first place by flying amazingly and winning every single one of the four valid tasks, for a total score of 3818 points. As Emperor Caesar proclaimed: “Veni, vidi, vici” or, as Ghostbusters (1984) paraphrased those famous words, “I came, I saw, I kicked a$$”! Jonny Durand, Jr., took second, just 208 points behind Christian, and André Wolf was a close third, just nine points below Jonny. The top ten pilots and their scores are listed below. Congratulations to all pilots, organizers, staff, driv-

ers and everyone who took part in this competition. Hopefully, we will see you again next year at the Flytec Championship. The date and type of competition has not yet been determined. Stay tuned…

Top 10 Class I Place






Christian Ciech


Icaro Laminar 14



Jonny Durand Jr.


Moyes LiteSpeed RX4



André Wolf


Moyes LiteSpeed RX3.5



Greg Dinauer


Aeros Combat 13.2



Davide Guiducci


Wills Wing T2C 144



Zac Majors


Wills Wing T2C 144



Pedro García


Wills Wing T2C 144




Matt Barker


Wills Wing T2C 144



Raúl Guerra


Moyes LiteSpeed RX3.5



Ricker Goldsborough


Moyes LiteSpeed RS3.5







Generation FLY




Young pilots get off their feet faster and fly higher, farther and better than ever.


s a teenager, the closest I came to free flight was on a few memorable family outings to the Torrey Pines Glider Port, where we’d sit on the cliff and unwrap turkey sandwiches. “Look!” my brother would say, OPPOSITE Seventeenyear-old Marcos Rosenkjer pointing to a blur of flesh on the nude experiments with acro. “I beach below. I was scandalized. feel like acro makes me a lot “Whoa!” said my step-dad, as a more comfortable in strong glider swept overhead. I gasped. conditions, and my active Here is what I osmosed in those piloting skills are better thanks to acro.” days: The naked people below and the flyers overhead belonged in the same category: They were crazy. Certainly, at that time it never would have occurred to me to fly (or to be naked in public). Fast-forward 25 years. I’m watching a 15-year-old pilot named Tyler Nicosia stand to be awarded his P-2 at the closing ceremony of the Rat Race. I feel two emotions: One is awe. Nicosia is not a racer, but this fresh-faced pilot unwittingly led the gaggle from thermal to thermal, to the start cylinder. The other emotion is envy. I spent my early teens permanently nested in a papasan chair in a Nintendo trance. And here is Tyler, excelling in the adventure of a lifetime.



ABOVE Eight-year old Summer

Barham sports her hand-made willow-branch wings. “As a kid I made blueprints to design humanpowered flight, and I nearly bought an ultra-light online when I was about 11.” RIGHT Young pilots often inherit the desire to fly from pilot parents, but sometimes it works the other way around. Blythe and Larry were inspired to fly when their daughter, Summer, took lessons. “Did I mention I have amazing parents?” she asks. “It’s really remarkable to mentor and fly with them both now.” Photos by Blythe Lasley. OPPOSITE TOP Kelsey Pearson learned to fly a hang glider at age 17. She had her first tandem with her father Steven Pearson (Wills Wing designer) when she was six years old. BOTTOM Kelsey Pearson grew up taking tandem hang gliding flights with her father. “I always knew I would eventually fly on my own. It was just a matter of when.” Photos by Lisa Pearson.


No law limits young people from free-flying, but it sure helps to be born at the right time. Thanks to the bumps, scrapes, and experiments of past pilots, a young person today is the beneficiary of better technology and teaching methods. Flight is no longer just something to watch other people do at Torrey Pines; it’s become an accessible sport that a 15-year-old like Nicosia can not only pursue, but also one in which he can excel.


n the “olden days,” learning to fly had an undeniably dicey experimental quality. Think flapping orinthopters, or the Rogallos fashioning glider prototypes out of living-room drapes. With no formal curricula, outsmarting gravity was somewhat like taking a fool’s leap into the unknown. The early free-flyers were happy with very little by today’s standards; a straightforward sledder was a reason


to smile. “In the first years, the main objective was to take off, which was not easy with the first gliders,” says Michael Nesler, a wing designer from Icaro who learned to fly in the 1970s. “Every standing landing was a big success.” Today’s young students draw on books, well written curricula and tried-and-true technologies. “Today it’s much easier to take off, and on the first day, a student is able to make short flights,” continues Nesler. “Even if the fledgling pilot doesn’t brake for the landing, he or she will rarely crash. Flying with school gliders is very easy now.” Steven Pearson, a hang glider designer from Wills Wings, qualifies this by pointing out that with better technologies, expectations have increased. Today’s longer and higher flights demand more skill, advanced maneuvering and well-executed set-ups for landing. And if a spiral dive was considered paragliding acro a couple of decades ago, it’s moved on to Helicos, SATS and Infinity Tumbles today. Nesler further explains that the high-performance wings that enable these tricks call for more coordination. “The good thing is that young pilots are clever, sportive and learn very fast. Consequently, they can handle more difficult wings more quickly and easily

than old guys!” So pilots who are new to the sport fly better wings and learn with better curricula. Some of them also have a genetic leg up as well. Twenty-one-year-old acro pilot Brooke Whatnall, for example, says that a passion for flight and adventure was strong in his family. His mom built and flew one of the first paragliding wings in New Zealand back in the 1980s. Her



passion was infectious. “I loved the idea of being exposed to the air and elements, really getting a true sense of flight,” he says. “I feel as if I have always known about hang gliding and paragliding,” says Pearson’s daughter, an 18-yearold hang gliding pilot named Kelsey. She had her first taste of flight on a tandem with her father, when she was six years old and remembers their home being a hang-out for pilots. Seventeen-year-old Marcos Rosenkjer can’t even remember his first flight; he was in his mother’s womb when she took a tandem with his father. His dad let him steer the glider when he was four, and now he is proficient in acro.

ABOVE Twenty-oneyear-old acro pilot Brooke Whatnall loops his glider in Organa , Spain. Whatnall thinks acro flying is sometimes misunderstood by the more conservative older generation. Photo by Brooke Whatnall. OPPOSITE TOP Tyler Nicosia distinguished himself at this year’s Rat Race by unwittingly leading the race gaggle to the start cylinder. The 15-year-old received his P-2 at the award ceremony. Photo by Peter Michelmore.



In many ways, learning to fly seems to work like learning a language; when you grow up with it, you absorb some of the skills more easily. “Young people learn extraordinarily fast, compared with older people,” notes Pearson.


he groundwork for flying may have been handed on a plate to young people, but the experimental spirit of the Rogallos and the Wrights persists. In fact, experimentation seems to be an intrinsic characteristic of a pilot. One doesn’t leave the sure-footedness of the ground for thin air without some affinity for the unknown. This trait usually rears its head early on. P-4 pilot Summer Barham remembers fashioning a pair of wings from cotton material sewn on a willow framework and jumping off the porch. She enrolled in paragliding lessons when she was 14.

“Young pilots like acro, speed flying and speed riding : these appear to be the most interesting parts of paragliding for them. It’s big fun and big show.” Rosenkjer continually tried to make the perfect paper airplane and flew remote-controlled airplanes when he was seven. He had his first flying accident with grocery-bag wings, when he was three years old. “I pretended I could fly like Dad. And one day I ran off some steps and busted my face when I fell.” Pearson liked to climb, the higher the better, and built a mini-Wright flyer when she was in sixth grade. This early precociousness is reflected in their flying styles today, hinting at a new paradigm for the future of flying. Nicosia’s flying so well at the Rat Race wasn’t an anomaly. Other young pilots have excelled quickly as well. Pearson’s father recalls Kelsey’s first flight off radio: she grabbed a thermal and parked on top of everyone. Nesler feels that young people are actually pushing the sport forward. “Young pilots like acro, speed flying and speed riding: these appear to be the most interesting parts of paragliding for them. It’s big fun and big show.” These innovations court the admiration of older pilots. But also the concern. Whatnall’s foray into acro gave even his flightloving family reason to pause: “I have a very open-minded family, who completely supported me, as long as I made the right decisions to stay safe and learn from the best. Moving on to aerobatic flying was a different case, but I showed that I was approaching it in the safest way possible.” Whatnall feels we are due for a new understanding of risk management. “I find, in general, that older pilots in the sport have a very conservative approach to flying, and, sadly, are usually misinformed.” Whatnall believes that this conservatism suppresses the wealth of knowledge needed for the sport to grow. If he sounds a bit contrarian, he also makes a valid point. At one time, the pilots launching from Torrey Pines seemed as wayward as the nudes on Black’s Beach below. But by breaking the ostensible rules of gravity, perception, and what was normal and usual, they were able to make flight accessible to more people.

This impulse to experiment has always been at the heart of flight, and the joy of it is exactly what little Barham knew when she leapt from the porch with her willow wings and proclaimed, “Mom, I think I got a little air!” Christina Ammon lives, writes, and flies at The Crash Pad at Woodrat Mountain in Oregon. Reach her at



Soaring the Peaks

of Rio Cauca



t’s been a great local flight, doing a circuit of the sky above the colorful colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, working the fine lift and enjoying the sublime views of this part of the Rio Cauca valley. But it’s time to land; the sky is over-developing. I’ll land where Ruben did a while ago: a dried-out pasture home to a few scrawny head of cattle. The Contador LZ looks good except for one thing. No,



I’m not concerned about the cows— they look rather uninspired. It’s the fact that the field is transected by several menacing-looking barbed-wire fences, a lot closer together than I would prefer. As expected, it’s active over the LZ and I get bumped a few times on my approach. One second I’m set up nicely, the next I’m on target to squarely commune with barbed wire. I’m lifted up—clearing the fence by inches—

then...touch down, trying to act casual like I land like this all the time. My Colombian friends laugh at me from beneath the bordering shade trees. They do land this way all the time. After all, this is Colombia and you’ve got to be ready for anything, right? A few days earlier my friend James and I had arrived at Medellin’s Jose Cordova International Airport, after a flight from the US through Panama

City. It was nighttime and the drive into the city was breathtaking. From the high ground occupied by the airport one descends over 3000 feet into the valley sprawled with this “City of Eternal Spring.” The view is expansive, and the huge blanket of twinkling city lights below instantly mesmerized me. There and then I had this feeling that our days ahead were full of promise, and it’s been nonstop ever since. From the outset, our plan for this adventure is to see and fly as much as we can during our brief 10-day sojourn in this part of Colombia. There’s no down time; the only chillin’ we do is bathing in the mountain streams when we get the chance.

“There’s no down time; the only chillin’ we do is bathing in the mountain streams when we get the chance.”

Santa Fe de Antioqua promises good

flying most of the time, and today is no exception. After our nice morning flight we travel across the valley to Guayabal, the high pasture launch— watch the cow pies!—above the classically tidy and lovely village of Sopatran. No wind. “It will turn on soon,” grins our guide, Ruben Montoya, who by the way is the pioneer of Colombian paragliding, and has opened and flown more sites in this country than anyone else. He’s right about the breeze. Soon there are light cycles coming in and we launch. Circling above the spires of the town’s proud cathedral 3000 feet below, I’m blown away by the scene. I mean, is this even possible? Sorry, I can’t help it. This feeling wells up inside of me pretty regularly when I’m flying such gorgeous sites. “You’re going to Colombia, eh? Well, nice knowing you!” Such are the clever quips with which I was barraged in the months and weeks leading up to my trip. Conventional wisdom seems to be that travelers to the South American country will likely be kidnapped and murdered. “Pulleaze, give me a freakin’ break!” I thought to myself while I politely shrugged over

my intention to go to Medellin in spite of yet another admonition. After all, I tried to explain, Pablo Escobar, the cocaine kingpin, has been dead since 1993, and “La Violencia” has been diminishing ever since. Of course, the cocaine trade still flourishes but once again it’s relatively safe for foreigners and natives alike to travel in and about the country. Anyway, my paragliding buddies always understood my desire to go to Colombia; I had been reading and hearing about the amazing flying, the beautiful land, the wonderful climate, and the welcoming people for a long time. I simply had to go see it—feel it—for myself.

Medellin and north to Matasanos. We arrive at the well-maintained launch early enough in the morning to sit in silence and gaze at the green valley below, the air still and the fog just beginning to lift. When launch conditions become perfect, which they do almost every day around here, we lightly step off the mountain into the welcoming sky. My good-natured Aussie friend Chris and I explore the sky over the valley, our long morning session finally ending upon landing in fields of wild flowers near the quiet village of Barbosa. Quiet, that is, until I notice on my final approach the happily shrieking kids streaking across the

Ruben’s wringing out the gears

OPPOSITE Relaxed soaring over La Pintada. ABOVE Chris and Jim enjoying the air of Cerro

on the 4WD Mitsubishi—man, this van works hard!—on our way out of




pasture to meet me. ] Days go by. We explore, we fly, we drink lots of mango fruitas (milkshakes), we feast on delicious almojabanos and empanadas, we sleep, and we get up and do it again. “You can’t land a comp glider at this place,” says Ruben, out of the blue. We’re in the van again and headed to the lovely little bowl of a valley containing the village of Cocorna. I stir from my window gazing with a “Huh?” at this rather cryptic announcement. It turns out this is another way of saying that the Cocorna LZ is tiny, being, such as it is, a small high-fenced soccer pitch. None in our little party are flying comp wings but gives one pause. How good are my spot landing chops anyway? Sheesh. No less “interesting” is the mountainside takeoff, which consists of a shallow spot by the road just big enough to inflate one’s wing and confront a steep and ABOVE LEFT The historic gold-mining town of Damasco. ABOVE RIGHT Lush vegetation of highland Colombia. BELOW The author: John W. Robinson. OPPOSITE TOP Girl and ice cream cone, Damasco. BOTTOM The crew, left to right: Ruben,

Mark, James, Chris. John is behind the camera.



gnarly drop-off. And light conditions prevail, with only the occasional gentle cycle stirring the tattered windsock. Ahhh, but not to worry; we’re here to fly and it’s a beautiful morning. Cumies are starting to pop and we’re excited, so off we huck. I’m scratching the terrain now, low over a modest mountainside farmstead. Part of my brain is scoping a possible ditch spot, another part delicately feeling and urging upward any tentative lift. Chris, James, and Mark are at cloudbase; they’re little specks. Why am I almost dirting again? As if on cue, like a benevolent hand reaching down, I hit modest but solid lift and soon join the boys above. It doesn’t get much better than this. The blue of the Colombian sky is stunning and the substantial but benign clouds welcome us in our forays among them. I’m hooting at my buddies when we’re banking in the same thermal. The time comes to land, and oh yeah we get down in that tiny LZ just fine, thanks. I’m at cloudbase at remarkable Cerro

Amarillo, a site south of Medellin in the heart of the Rio Cauca valley. Near the historic gold mining town of Damasco, the area is reached by a three-hour mountainous drive from the

city. I’m soaring aboard my Epsilon VI 4300 feet above the valley floor, working thermal to thermal, and sharing the expansive sky with the crew. There are four rivers coursing through the verdant landscape below; the Rio Cauca is the biggest, with Rios Poblanco, Arma, and Cartamana flowing into it. Farther to the east, beyond the distant ridges I can just barely discern, is the Rio Buey. With all this water there’s no surprise everything is so lush and green. When it comes time to land—storm clouds are welling up to the east—we’re all over the valley, but we agree to meet at a street cafe in the riverside town of La Pintada. Mark and I pick a pasture LZ on the edge of town and once again we face a happy barrage of local kids. It’s wild to watch them tear through the

streets and fields as we circle overhead and make our landing approaches. We make lots of new friends and soon our gliders are folded and packed and we’re being paraded through town to the cafe. Jim and Chris land on a broad gravel bar by the river, a few kilometers away, and they catch a ride with the local military patrol. At the cafe we share stories and laughs. The chicken and rice is ever delicious, and the forbidding sky overhead reminds us of how pleasing it is to be safe on the ground just now.

the north. It’s an unforgettable scene. I’m shaken from my reverie by a wild call directly overhead: “La Luna... la Luna!!!” It’s one of those local madman pilots, soaring the ridge by the light of the full moon. Raucous laughter and calls of encouragement are delivered to the fearless—OK, perhaps slightly drunk—flyer from the cafe patrons below him.

As Cold Play’s Stop Whispering fills the air, I think of my good fortune of being in this magical place within this strikingly beautiful country in the here and now, with good friends old and new, with enough memories of flying and living life to last forever. “La Luna!!!”

It’s now a few days later and I’m

having trouble punching through the 10,000-foot level; cloudbase is just there and Mark and I are having fun trying to best each other in being first to have a vario flash 10,000 feet. (I beat you, Mark.) We’re soaring the high country above the San Felix takeoff, the primary urban Medellin flying site, and the view of the city spread below is stunning. The land tumbles off steeply, and when we head out over the ragged edges of the city I’m particularly taken with the scene. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve emanates from outdoor speakers at this mountainside, open-air cafe. It’s surreal. Spread before us in the moonlight and open pit firelight is—besides the lights of Medellin far below—an impromptu Colombian feast: roast chicken, eggs, rice, and that fine hot chocolate with the thick, full-bodied cheese at the bottom of a stoneware mug. We’ve stopped here after top landing at San Felix, another magical day of free flight behind us. This is the night of the full moon, and sublime is the sight of it rising across the open gulf of the broad valley. A dozen local pilots are heading out over the city into this big moon, bound for LZs who knows where(!). There are towering cu-nims in the far distance, and they occasionally glow from within. Their ferocity gradually diminishes, and they’ll pass far to




Whale of a Hill by RICH JESUROGA



“This can be a big-air site, although sometimes the lack of wind at mountain-top level in the early-morning hours can make getting off launch a sound exercise in risk management.”

It’s Really A Mountain...


t’s called Whale Hill but with 3700 vertical feet between the launch and the landing area it is every bit a mountain. Nestled in the pastoral Saguache mountain range (pronounced Sa-watch) of the Rio Grande National Forest in south-central Colorado, Whale faces east with three launch areas that point northeast, east and southeast, all of which are 12,100 feet above sea level. Unlike the surrounding 12,000-foot peaks, the top of Whale is a long ridge that is relatively flat on top—thus, its name. You could land a Cessna on the above-timberline tundra if you had to. The primary landing area is located at the northern end of the San Luis Valley about 3.5 miles from launch at about 8400 feet above sea level. Aspen trees and ponderosa pines blanket Whale Hill starting from the landing area and covering the mountainside all the way up to just below launch. As the morning sun rises over the Sangre De Cristo mountain range to the east it warms the San Luis Valley floor and the front face of Whale Hill. This warming creates a slow-moving upslope flow that makes Whale an early-morning favorite among local pilots. By midday the prevailing westerly winds aloft mix down and make Whale unflyable for the rest of the day. Local pilot Larry Smith introduced me to Whale five years ago. The Drive Up A typical Whale flying day starts at about 8:00a.m. with putting up Larry’s infamous homemade wind indicators in the landing area. The drive up to launch is a 45-minute arduous climb on a no-longer-maintained Forest Service road. Needless to say a high clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle is required, preferably one equipped with a chainsaw that may be needed to clear dead timber that has fallen across the road. We feel

especially blessed when said vehicle comes with a driver. The rough rocky road takes you through pristine forest and beautiful rocky mountain landscape of which the upper reaches near timberline can still hold snow in early July. Wildlife along the ride up includes bears, deer, elk, mountain lions (although you hardly ever see them) and more bears. Local hang glider pilot Mike Chevalier injured his leg while riding his dirt bike down the road from launch, leaving him lying on the ground in excruciating pain. Sensing an easy happy meal, a black bear began circling within 100 feet of Mike while he awaited rescue, but that’s another story. The last quarter-mile of the drive above timberline will find several of us OPPOSITE Larry Smith flying his ESC from Whale hanging off the uphill side of the truck Hill with the San Luis Valley to help keep it (in theory) from rolling and Sangre De Cristos in the down the steep mountainside. Deep background. down we know that hanging off the side of the truck accomplishes nothing. But every time that part of the road appears in the windshield we’re scrambling like rats to get out, hoping that this dim-witted endeavor will work one more time. Reminiscent of our drives up Telluride years ago, just getting to the Whale launch is something of an adventure. Flying Whale The view from the top of Whale is awe-inspiring. Looking east across the valley to the Sangre De Cristo mountain range reminds one of how big this place really is. Hang gliding has taken me to some of the most beautiful places on the planet and the Whale set-up and launch area is definitely one of them. This can be a bigair site, although sometimes the lack of wind at mountain-top level in the early-morning hours can make getting off launch a sound exercise in risk management. As the sun warms the east-facing mountain a subtle warm flow of air rises up the hillside to the launch area.



“Subtle” is the key word here, as often the morning cook will produce only light winds on launch. Thermals drifting up the face of the hill can be abundant although timing when to launch during the morning cook can be tricky. The key is getting off launch in as good a cycle as possible without waiting too long, risking getting skunked if the westerly flow aloft mixes ABOVE Waiting for the right down to mountain-top level. Flying cycle to launch. OPPOSITE Whale is an exercise in patience while TOP Rich Jesuroga launching waiting for the streamers to indicate a from Whale Hill. BOTTOM thermal that’s strong enough to augment The Whale main LZ. the airspeed gained during your launch run. Sound launching skills in the rarified morning air and good technique are required at this high altitude site. But when launch conditions are on we are often rewarded with top-notch high-altitude airtime. Upon launching an astute pilot can work the gentle lift on the ridges and hillsides around Whale. The rustling aspen leaves in the trees below reveal the path of rising currents of air from the valley floor far below. Additionally, differential heating on the surrounding 12,000-foot mountains, their steep, warming peaks



poking up into the cold mountain air, offer up thermal generators for miles. If you can get up above launch it’s only two or three thermals to make the Villa Grove airport about 10 miles to the southeast, or even make the jump across the valley to the Villa Grove flying site (see Hang Gliding & Paragliding magazine, June, 2012) and Tiffany’s Tavern. In addition to generating thermals, flying above Burnt Mountain at 11,631 feet to the northeast of launch, Elkhorn Peak at 12,030 feet to the south of launch, and Hayden Peak at 12,129 feet farther south than Elkhorn provides an awesome spectacle of nature. Once above launch it’s easy to go XC (typically heading south) as there can be abundant thermals during the morning cook with ample places to land if somewhere along the way you bomb out. Landing in the San Luis Valley If a pilot chooses to land at the main landing, he or she will be rewarded with a huge, flat, wide-open highdesert landscape carpeted with native grass and small sagebrush. With over three miles from launch and

almost 4000 vertical feet above the valley floor, pilots have ample opportunity to search for lift along the various ridges on the way to the main landing area. Landing at 8400 feet above sea level is made easier by what typically is a consistent, brisk late-morning southerly wind that blows along the valley floor. In fact the wide-open San Luis Valley makes cutting the strings to the flying site and attempting an XC flight an inviting option. The southerly up-valley flow along the surface during the morning hours provides confidence to aspiring pilots who land out while going XC. In fact, you can land almost anywhere in the San Luis Valley (the size of Rhode Island), which runs south into New Mexico.

offers up spectacular scenery and great XC flying potential. There are many options for landing in the San Luis Valley, the main landing area being about 3.5 miles from launch. There are other nearby flying options including Villa Grove and Ute Pass. Ending the day at the Villa Grove landing area, complete with a bonfire and flying friends, makes for a perfect day.


hale Hill, located at the northern extent of the beautiful San Luis Valley in south central Colorado is truly a high-altitude big-air site. Mainly due to the high-altitude launch, Whale is considered a H-3/P-3 site although very experienced H-2s and P-2s with proven strong launching skills can fly the site. The road up requires a high-clearance four-wheeldrive vehicle, and drivers are especially welcome. Whale




IT OUT by Lin Lyons


aving just got my Hang-2, I was out towing, hoping for an easy day. I set up my Falcon 4 and lazed around for a bit, watching other folks towing. All the while, I was thinking, It’s kind of “switchy” up there, but not to worry, I’ve been up



when it was worse. Eventually, I put on my harness and carried my glider to the tow start-position. At Hollister, California, they use a very good static tow. They have installed a hydraulic winch to do the towing and then send the towline back for the next person in line. This allows the winch operator to focus his attention on whoever is being towed. And, the pilot heads directly away from the tow operator, so any deviation is obvious. Since I’d done more than 80 tows, I had the procedure down fairly well. At first, towing was difficult, taking considerable attention and correction to stay on course. But I am, slowly,

getting better at it. I’m trying not to be lazy by simply depending on the winch operator to give it more gas, so I don’t scrape the ground or land in a field with cows and what they leave behind. On this tow I had a good launch and went up to approximately 1000 feet. However, when I tried to release I wasn’t successful, and I experienced a slight panic, thinking the release might be jammed. So I pulled a bit harder. Still no release. I tried to locate the problem and saw the release pin hanging to the side, so I knew that wasn’t the problem. MORE PANIC. By now, the towline was almost vertical. No matter where I headed,

“I had gone to a parachute clinic a couple of weeks before. What had they said?” with the towline over the base tube, I was going to be pulled down to some degree. So I realized a smooth descent, with the towline still attached, wasn’t very likely. EVEN MORE PANIC. The first order of business was to dive for a little slack, in order to have something to work with. Somehow, I was able to move to the side, so the towline was not only tight, but also trailing behind, pulling the base tube down quite a bit. (Later, Harold, the tow operator, said that the towline was screaming off both the drums at an absolutely frightening rate.) And I was heading down, at what my vario re-

vealed later was 3000 feet per minute. YEAH, MORE PANIC. This wasn’t working; I fished for my parachute and tried to keep some semblance of glider control. Not working. OKAY, NOW REAL PANIC. I had gone to a parachute clinic a couple of weeks before. What had they said? Forget flying; put two hands on the release and toss the parachute away to some spot that looks clear. I pulled down, but that didn’t work. (Right, dummy, you were supposed to pull up.) I pulled up, retrieved the parachute bag, tossed it, watched it sail toward the clear blue sky, and felt the welcomed THUMP of its filling. WHEW! At that point, the parachute was over my head (so I knew I wasn’t going to die), and I was sort of lying on my glider, which was under me. We—the glider and I—were spinning somewhat, not tumbling, but rocking this way and that, fairly violently, with the glider acting like an out-of-control sail. Soon, I noticed some power lines closer than I liked. I missed them, but I saw they were overhead when I reached the ground. What seemed to me like four or five seconds was actually 11 or 12 seconds of parachute time, until the ground came up to greet me. One of the wing spars probably hit first, because it completely broke, absorbing some of the energy and cushioning my contact with the ground a bit. I will need to have the ripped sail repaired and replace a spar, but, for one who had to use a parachute in an honest



CORRECT emergency, I came out of it pretty well. The folks on the practice field saw my parachute deploy, before I disappeared over a ridge. However, they hadn’t been using that part of the field, so it looked to them as if I had landed at the same time the parachute deployed. When they eventually found me, they were relieved I was OK. I landed in a driveway, two roads over from the practice field. We were all pretty amazed that I had made it that far away from the main tow field. During my descent, the towline broke. When I landed, I had two or three feet of it attached to the bridle. The video seemed to indicate that it chafed on the pipe clamp that held my wheel in place. (Normally, the bridle would have put the towline ahead of that clamp, but I was plastered against my glider as we were hanging from the parachute.) It was good that the



INCORRECT line broke, because one of the roads was well traveled, and some car would surely have run through it, giving me a good tug. Did I learn anything? YES! 1. Check my tow link. Twice. A webpage (googlesites/linlyons) with photos taken by Pat Denevan shows that the link was still attached after I landed. I had reversed the second and third loops. There’s also a video (youtube/linlyons) that shows my flight. 2. TAKE A PARACHUTE CLINIC! Practice throwing your parachute. Remember that the parachute is supposed to be repacked occasionally. Unpack it yourself. Get it out and toss it, while hanging from a pretend glider, if you can manage it. Truth is, had I not just taken the clinic two weeks prior, it would have taken me longer to get out the parachute, almost surely with a very different outcome.

STUCK 3. When tow links are manufactured, color the middle loop. Use only two loops instead of three. Specifically construct the loop lengths so it will be obvious if they are attached wrong. 4. Eleven seconds of parachute time is WAY TOO SHORT. When I’m in trouble, I need to decide much earlier that I am in trouble, and toss the chute. A couple more seconds in my 35mph dive would likely have eliminated that parachute time completely. 5. This is one instance in which a tug tow would have been safer. 6. Would a radio have been good? Probably not. With only 20 seconds allotted time, communicating would have taken time that I didn’t have. The only useful communication would have been, “Pull your parachute!” Frequently, the first thought of most pilots would be how to correct the problem without using the para-

If you


the 2014



Aaron Hinckley

chute, likely doing serious damage to the glider. But that wouldn’t have been helpful in this situation. When a problem like this arises, it’s sometimes harder on folks watching than it is on the pilot, because there isn’t anything they can do to help. I was far too busy thinking about what to do/try next to waste time thinking about possible outcomes. (No, I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes.) Thank God, it was my own link I messed up. I’ve helped other folks dozens of times. It’s one thing to mess yourself up. It’s quite another to hurt someone else. Did I say: Take a parachute clinic? Take a parachute clinic. This wouldn’t have been written, if I hadn’t just taken one. It’s interesting for me to think about this incident. A couple of years ago, I was washing the back window of my van when someone ran into it, missing me by a few feet. At the time, I was fine. As I reflected on that close call during the following few days, however, I grew more and more concerned. The bumpers were at the right height to have crushed both my knees. On Saturday, when I looked at my glider, my worry was how much it would cost to repair the damage. But now, I’m finding that I want to talk about it, which is what prompted to write this. We’ll see how my view of this “adventure” changes over time. Oh, yeah: the bad news (well, the other bad news) is that several pilots are heading up to Hat Creek in a week or so. It’s unlikely that my glider will be repaired in time. It would have been my first trip away from the Bay Area to do some higher foot-launch flying.














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-3 H-3


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


Jove Lachman-curl Gordon York Terry Krabill Luke Krabill Demian Quesnel Joseph Council Walter Fender Michael Tome Faye Whitear Timson Garrett Mark Wheeler Jeff Barney Thomas Lyon Sara Weaver W Greg Buchanan Steven Martin Raffi Kasparian Jerome Shrum Stephen Lewis Charli Bray Jordan Mazaira Kelly Keener Dan Hekman Robert Williams Jared Hunt Aaron Bevill Christopher Albers Ricky Hayes Jeff Page Christopher Miller Bob Zinter Adam Logan Masaya Nakatsuhara Nicholas Mau Jove Lachman-curl Terry Krabill Luke Krabill Mark Jackson Linwood Lyons Michael Tome Kiana Kang Ian Brubaker Peter Dernbach Timson Garrett Mark Painter Mark Wheeler Thomas Lyon Steven Martin Jerome Shrum Tricia Webster Charli Bray Jordan Mazaira Kelly Keener Dan Hekman Jared Hunt Aaron Bevill Christopher Albers Ricky Hayes Jeff Page Christopher Miller Bob Zinter Adam Logan Masaya Nakatsuhara Philippe Blanc David Soltz

John Matylonek Charles Baughman Charles Baughman Charles Baughman Eric Hinrichs William Dydo Michael Macdonald William Dydo Greg Dewolf Oswaldo Lopez-armas Jeff Shapiro Alan Paylor Jennifer Copple Michael Pattishall Steve Wendt John Alden Andy Torrington Malcolm Jones Michael Pattishall Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Brian Leisenring Jennifer Copple Christopher (kit) Martin Jennifer Copple Malcolm Jones David Broyles David Broyles Rick Brown Rick Brown Joel Spano Thomas (tj) Baumann John Matylonek Charles Baughman Charles Baughman Glenn Zapien Patrick Denevan William Dydo Greg Dewolf Greg Dewolf Mark Windsheimer Oswaldo Lopez-armas Rob Mckenzie Jeff Shapiro Jennifer Copple John Alden Malcolm Jones Jennifer Copple Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Gordon Cayce Jennifer Copple Christopher (kit) Martin Jennifer Copple Malcolm Jones David Broyles David Broyles Joel Spano Rick Brown Joel Spano James Tibbs Barry Levine


Dennis Boic Thomas Rudolph Serhiy Kotsan Jerome Shrum Beau Buck Harold Johnson Jeffrey Curtis Jerome Shrum

James Tibbs Patrick Denevan George Hamilton Malcolm Jones Gordon Cayce David Yount Tom Lanning Malcolm Jones



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

Tim Harris Owen Shoemaker Joseph Schlehuber Cody Halterman Ed Sea Chris Barnes Isao Yamasita Daniel Barnes


James Reich Bob Hannah Marc Chirico Jake Schlapfer Steve Roti Douglas Hoffman Marc Chirico Douglas Hoffman

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

Mario Antonio Hernandez Jon Dobson Trevor Larson Hunter Nelson Ryan Harris Steven Hines Santiago Allende Luis Quinto Allende Jarrad Wycroff Eric Ginney Peter Murray Edwin (ned) Dwyer Gareth Ashworth Steven Wright Evan Thompson Craig Wheeler Kirk Wheeler Brian Tulley Chris Vennemann James Shelby George Habuki Rolf Fischer Maximilian Berassi Jason Shelter Fred Aghajanian Bunok Kravitz Jason Tuorila Andrew Char Nathan Urmston Brodie Smith Worsencroft Michelle Eaby Gordon Miller Gabriel Beninati Dustin Smith Charles Swanner Marc Christensen James Hawkins Robert Destefano Adam Symonds Brian Kromer Justin Spain Leigh Caswell Joseph Starr Thomas Mcpherson Jennifer Steyer


John Kraske Maren Ludwig Douglas Stroop Matt Henzi Marc Chirico Nick Crane Mitchell Neary Mitchell Neary Mitchell Neary Rob Sporrer Jeffrey Greenbaum Jeffrey Greenbaum Jerome Daoust Robert Edwards Stephen Nowak Jonathan Jefferies Jonathan Jefferies Stephen Nowak Jonathan Legg Max Marien Rob Sporrer Max Marien Max Marien William Purden Jr Blake Pelton Jonathan Legg Max Marien Robert Edwards Daniel Ribas Russ Bateman Patrick Johnson Russ Bateman Hernan (che) Castagnoli Dave Turner Jonathan Jefferies Mike Steen Gregory Kelley Mike Steen Jonathan Jefferies Chris Santacroce Charles (chuck) Woods Charles (chuck) Woods Stacy Whitmore Nik Peterson Nik Peterson


P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-1 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2


Axel Kjellstrom MT Ashley Tower MT Emily Holmes MT Mark Sparks IL Karl Welke IL Denis Graciov IL Paul Thomas MN Emmanuel Sanchez IL Richard Hall MA Chad Charles VT Scott Waterman VA John Everett VA Peter Wilson MD Vicente Garcia De La Puerta PA Daniel Eastman MD Robert Mccullough FL Alex Brewer NC Camille Mccullough FL Mike Chadima TX Heather Brantley LA Hunter Davis LA David Runge NY Juan Carrillo NJ Rene Doebel NJ Nicholas Chomut NJ Samuel Dallaire NY Greg Martin NJ Ebrahim Alhammadi Dean Geary Eduardo Calderon Stephen Greenau David Myers Tim Harris WA Owen Shoemaker WA Alicia Sam AK Joseph Schlehuber WA Cody Halterman AK Axi Wells WA Chris Barnes WA Isao Yamasita WA Daniel Barnes WA Trevor Larson WA Hunter Nelson WA Steven Hines CA Andrew Goessling CA Eric Ginney CA Gareth Ashworth CA Steven Wright HI Danny Murphy CA Lauren Langry CA Tyler Nicosia HI Evan Thompson CA Ryan Sims CA Craig Wheeler CA Kirk Wheeler CA Chris Vennemann CA George Habuki CA Maximilian Berassi CA Fred Aghajanian CA Andrew Char HI Nathan Urmston CA Brodie Smith Worsencroft UT Michelle Eaby UT Gordon Miller UT Dustin Smith AZ

Andy Macrae Kevin Hintze Andy Macrae Rob Sporrer Marc Chirico Jaro Krupa Steve Sirrine Jaro Krupa John Dunn Mike Steen Chris Santacroce Peter Humes Michael Appel Mike Steen Terry Bono Hynek Cibula Michael Appel Hynek Cibula David Broyles Christopher Grantham Hadley Robinson Benoit Bruneau Terry Bono Terry Bono Terry Bono Benoit Bruneau Terry Bono Murat Tuzer Rob Sporrer Nick Crane Murat Tuzer Murat Tuzer James Reich Bob Hannah Frank Sihler Marc Chirico Jake Schlapfer Ross Jacobson Douglas Hoffman Marc Chirico Douglas Hoffman Douglas Stroop Matt Henzi Nick Crane Jeffrey Greenbaum Rob Sporrer Jerome Daoust Robert Edwards Stephen Nowak William Purden Jr Pete Michelmore Stephen Nowak Max Marien Jonathan Jefferies Jonathan Jefferies Jonathan Legg Rob Sporrer Max Marien Blake Pelton Robert Edwards Daniel Ribas Russ Bateman Patrick Johnson Russ Bateman Dave Turner

RATINGS ISSUED IN JUNE P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2


Charles Swanner UT Marc Christensen UT Robert Destefano AZ Adam Symonds UT Brian Kromer UT Joseph Starr UT Thomas Mcpherson AZ Jennifer Steyer AZ Axel Kjellstrom MT Ashley Tower MT Emily Holmes MT Mark Sparks IL Karl Welke IL Denis Graciov IL Paul Thomas MN Emmanuel Sanchez IL Eric Esser VT Chad Charles VT Scott Waterman VA John Everett VA Vicente Garcia De La Puerta PA Robert Mccullough FL Camille Mccullough FL Mike Chadima TX Heather Brantley LA David Runge NY Juan Carrillo NJ

Jonathan Jefferies Mike Steen Mike Steen Jonathan Jefferies Chris Santacroce Stacy Whitmore Nik Peterson Nik Peterson Andy Macrae Kevin Hintze Andy Macrae Rob Sporrer Marc Chirico Jaro Krupa Steve Sirrine Jaro Krupa John Dunn Mike Steen Chris Santacroce Peter Humes Mike Steen Hynek Cibula Hynek Cibula David Broyles Christopher Grantham Benoit Bruneau Terry Bono



P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-2 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3


Rene Doebel Samuel Dallaire Ebrahim Alhammadi Dean Geary Eduardo Calderon Stephen Greenau David Myers Chris Irish Lee Overton Randy Lewis Ian Lamartine Joe Kaiser Chi Tang Aaron Hinckley Andrey Yakimov Maikel Van Der Verren Hunter Nelson Richard Mcallister Eric Brisson Gareth Ashworth Edward Szczepaniak Caleb Rosen Eric Steinmann Maximilian Berassi Ryan Voight Mitchell Lemieur Tim Connelly


Terry Bono Benoit Bruneau Murat Tuzer Rob Sporrer Nick Crane Murat Tuzer Murat Tuzer Marc Chirico Denise Reed Denise Reed Steve Roti Jake Schlapfer Marc Chirico Lan Do Chirico John Kraske Marc Chirico Matt Henzi Jeffrey Greenbaum Mike Steen Jerome Daoust Marcello Debarros Max Marien Jerome Daoust Max Marien Chris Santacroce Steve Sirrine Nicholas Greece


P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-3 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4 P-4

Jack Rossman Mike Packard Ben Anderson Adam Majors James Stuart Travis Eliasen Clay Geittmann Anna Kayfes Gerry Lempicki Emily Mistick Joel Sivertsen Ove Kristiansen Krischa Berlinger Eduardo Calderon Maikel Van Der Verren Thomas Davis Arthur Fabert Gavin Fridlund Mark Dorobiala Jonathan Foster Tim Connelly Gavin Mcclurg Keith Riemersma Joshua Sonner Miguel Afanador Eduardo Calderon




David Champaign Shane Denherder Chris Santacroce Andy Macrae James (matt) Combs Andy Macrae Scott Harris Steve Sirrine Ciaran Egan Charles (chuck) Smith Rob Sporrer Murat Tuzer Mitchell Neary Nick Crane Marc Chirico Wallace Anderson Marcello Debarros Marcello Debarros Jonathan Jefferies Jonathan Jefferies Nicholas Greece Jeffrey Farrell William Fifer Ciaran Egan Philippe Renaudin Nick Crane





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.




Directors meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn in Renton, WA. More info on


Richfield Red Rocks Fall fly-in. Fall colors and beautiful mountains and flying activities for all levels and interests. Thermaling clinics, spotlanding contest, ridge-soaring task competition, morning sledders, distance challenges, and maneuvers clinics. Low pressure, fun flying activities to give everyone a chance to mingle and enjoy flying from Central Utah’s many world-class flying sites. The mountains will be dressed in the fall formal colors, and flying from verts of 6000 feet is breathtaking. More information: Stacy (Ace) Whitmore, 435-979-0225,, or

clinics & tours OCTOBER 3-7  Owens Valley, CA. Women With

Wings only. Geared for P3 and P4 pilots. Back by popular demand! This year I’ll be limiting the number of pilots to keep the instructor to pilot ratio down as well as keeping pilots with similar skill level and goals together! Sign up early to secure your spot!! Owens Valley with Kari. Fly one of the best sites in the US with one of the best pilots in the world. Let Kari’s 32 years of flying and 25 years of living/flying the Owens Valley be your guide! We will work on everything from take offs to landings, high altitude launches, dust devil awareness, reading the sky, how to map a thermal, goal setting and cross country. More information: Kari Castle 760-920-0748, or kari@

OCTOBER 4-6  Bishop, CA. Owens Valley Thermal and Cross Country Clinic with Eagle Paragliding. We have had great success in the Owens Valley with our groups. The eastern side of the Sierras and the White mountains are our playground for this clinic. We have had participants go over 60 miles in these clinics. View photos and videos from previous clinics at More information: Rob Sporrer, 805-968-0980, or

OCTOBER 13-14  Owens Valley, CA . Owens Valley with Kari Castle. Fly one of the best sites in the US with one of the best pilots in the world. Kari is a bi-wingual pilot and a 3-time world champion, world-record holder with multiple National Champion titles under both of her wings. Let Kari’s 32 years of flying and 25 years of living/flying the Owens Valley be your guide! I will help customize your 3-4 day adventure to fit your needs whether you want one-on-one or a group setting. We will work on everything from take offs to landings, high altitude launches, dust devil awareness, reading the sky, how to map a thermal, goal setting and cross country. For more information contact:, 760920-0748, or sign up at OCTOber 18-21  Owens Valley, CA . Owens Valley with Kari Castle. Fly one of the best sites in the US with one of the best pilots in the world. Kari is a bi-wingual pilot and a 3-time world champion, world-record holder with multiple National Champion titles under both of her wings. Let Kari’s 32 years of flying and 25 years of living/flying the Owens Valley be your guide! I will help customize your 3-4 day adventure to fit your needs whether you want one-on-one or a group setting. We will work on everything from take offs to landings, high altitude launches, dust devil awareness, reading the sky, how to map a thermal, goal setting and cross country. For more information contact:, 760920-0748, or sign up at October 24-27  Owens Valley, CA. Women With Wings only. Geared for P2 and P3 pilots. Back by popular demand! This year I’ll be limiting the number of pilots to keep the instructor to pilot ratio down as well as keeping pilots with similar skill level and goals together! Sign up early to secure your spot!! Owens Valley with Kari. Fly one of the best sites in the US with one of the best pilots in the world. Let Kari’s 32 years of flying and 25 years of living/flying the Owens Valley be your guide! We will work on everything from take offs to landings, high altitude launches, dust devil awareness, reading the sky, how to map a thermal, goal setting and cross country. More information: Kari Castle 760-920-0748, or kari@ October 25-27  Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico. Three days of over-the-water maneuvers training with David Prentice. Come expand your skills with an instructor with over 21 years of paragliding experience, from beginner to advanced maneuvers. The best value in SIV training in the USA. More information: David Prentice, 505-720-5436,, or

NOVEMBER 8-26  Iquique, Chile. Where can

you ride thermals everyday of the year? Only in Iquique! Soar endless sand ridges high above the Pacific Ocean, then land on the beach next to our 4 star hotel! Your guides, Luis and Todd, have been multiple Iquique XC competition champions and have pioneered many new sites and XC routes over the last 15 years. Join them on a paragliding trip of a lifetime where most pilots gain more airtime and flying skills in one week than they normally would in an entire year! Instructional days available at the start of the trip focusing on building pilot skills. With amazing XC potential, many clients have flown 100 km flights! With over 18 years of combined guiding experience in Iquique, they guarantee you will fly everyday, or get money back!More information: Todd Weigand,, or

NOVEMBER 8-26  This year we have divided

the tour into 4 different segments: Instructional Days, Iquique Days # 1, 2 and 3. Our Tour leaders are: Todd Weigand, Luis Rosenkjer and Ken Hudonjorgensen. The entire tour will be packed with instruction for all levels of paragliding (including P1thru P4). For anyone wanting to fly this is the tour to join. The last tour will focus more on XC. Phone: 801-572-3414, or email: twocanfly@, .

NOVEMBER 8-10  Santa Barbara, CA NInstruc-

tor Certification Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. This three-day clinic is open to Basic and Advanced Paragliding Instructor candidates, and those needing recertification. We invite you to apprentice with us anytime to get as much hands on experience as possible before the clinic. More information: Rob Sporrer, 805-968-0980 rob@, or

NOVEMBER 8-10 & 12-14  Yelapa, Mexico. SIV/

maneuvers clinic. Join us for another great learning and fun experience in beautiful tropical Yelapa. Tow up and land on the beach in a warm friendly location with lots of great places to stay and eat. Brad Gunnuscio, world-class xc, acro pilot and USHPA Instructor of the Year will be teaching the courses. Cost: $750 for three-day course with an extra day for weather. More info:, brad, 801707-0508 or Les in Yelapa at: 011 52 322 2095174, or

NOVEMBER 11-12  Santa Barbara, CA.Tandem

Paragliding Clinic with Rob Sporrer of Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara, California. We will be doing classroom and practical training at the best year round training hill in North America. More information: Rob Sporrer, 805-968-0980, rob@, or

NOVEMBER 8-10 & NOVEMBER 15-17  Sebring, Florida. Over-the-water maneuvers training course at one of the best locations in the world. Advanced instructor David Prentice, with over 21 years experience, guides each pilot at their own pace, from the basics to the most advanced maneuvers over white sand beaches and crystal clear water, just seconds from downtown Sebring. More information: David Prentice, 505720-5436,, or earthcog. com.


NOVEMBER 15 - MARCH 15  Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Daily hang gliding and paragliding 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 transportation and guiding. 20 years of providing service. FlyMexico! More information: Jeffrey Hunt, 512-467-2529, jeff@, or DECEMBER 1 - JANUARY 31  Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Fly south this winter! Come fly the worldclass air of El Peñon in Valle de Bravo. Advanced instructor David Prentice, with over 21 years of experience and 14 years guiding tours in Valle de Bravo. World-class lodging and logistics, the best valued tour in Valle de Bravo, airport pick-up, local transportation, in-air guiding and XC retrievals included. We fly twice a day every day. More information: David Prentice, 505-720-5436,, or DECEMBER 6-8  Santa Barbara, CA. Santa Barbara Thermal and Cross Country Clinic with Eagle Paragliding. Santa Barbara offers some of the best winter mountain flying in the USA. Our mountain flying season starts in September and ends the beginning of May. More information: Rob Sporrer, 805-968-0980, or January 8-12, 2014  Southern California. Let’s go warm up and get ready for the spring flying season with Ken Hudonjorgensen . Phone 801-572-3414, email, or January 19-26  Tapalpa, Mexico. P-2 pilots

will fly word-class sites with 2500-foot vertical near Guadalajara. Enjoy four different drive-up sites within an hour of your luxury hotel room: Tapalpa, San Marco, Jocotopec and Colima. Avoid Valle crowds! Airport pickup, private hotel room, breakfast, site fees, guiding and coaching for six days of incredible flying for $1600. More information: Granger Banks,, or http://parasoftparagliding. com/tapalpa-mexico-trips/.






coastal San Diego flying year-round! We have live music and BBQ festivities every Saturday during the summer months. We offer USHPA-certified instruction for all ratings, as well as Tandem, Instructor and SIV clinics. Call us for details on our domestic and international clinics and tours. We have expanded product lines to include Ozone, SkyWalk, Sup Air, Independence, Little Cloud, Woody Valley, Niviuk, Paratech, MacPara, Dudek, Plussmax Helments, Crispi Boots, GatorZ, GoPro, Flytec, FlyMaster, Ki2Fly and much more! Speed flying your thing? Come test fly our new mini wings from Little Cloud. Our full-service shop offers reserve repacks, annual glider inspections, repairs and more. We also carry an extensive used inventory of certified gliders and harnesses. Check us out at or give us a call at 858452-9858.


WINDSPORTS - Don’t risk bad weather, bad

ALABAMA LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - The best 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:

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

AIRJUNKIES FEBRUARY 2-9  Tapalpa, Mexico. P-3 pilots

will fly word-class sites with 2500-foot vertical near Guadalajara. Enjoy four different driveup sites within an hour of your luxury hotel room: Tapalpa, San Marco, Jocotopec and Colima. Avoid Valle crowds! Airport pickup, private hotel room, breakfast, site fees, guiding and coaching for six days of incredible flying for $1600. More information: Granger Banks,, or http://parasoftparagliding. com/tapalpa-mexico-trips/.


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. www.flycenterofgravity., 315-256-1522





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.


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

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


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


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.


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

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.

Let's Go Paragliding LLC - Paragliding flight

school offering USHPA-certified instruction for all levels, tandem lessons, tours, and equipment sales. 917- 359-6449

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

New York State’s Finger Lakes Good News–The flying’s great here! Start by landing in your ideal home with New York’s leading REALTOR®


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,


Photo courtesy of

Timothy Alimossy

Real Estate Salesperson | NYS Lic. No. 10401238145

(607) 351-4755 | H2 Pilot




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





CLOUD 9 PARAGLIDING - Come visit us and check

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

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

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 Paragliding Hang Simulators-$150-$175. Durable aluminum, handmade by certified welder, female pilot! Also, hitch hangers-$150+. See for info.

OXYGEN SYSTEMS – MH-XCR-180 operates to 18,000 ft., weighs only 4 lbs. System includes cylinder, harness, regulator, cannula, and remote on/off flowmeter. $450.00. 1-800-468-8185. SPECIALTY WHEELS for airfoil basetubes, round

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,

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,

“The knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” – Douglas Adams from Life, The Universe and Everything 62


Introducing the new USHPA custom Visa Platinum Rewards Card.

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

No annual fee.

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

Ongoing contributions made when you continue using your card.

Low Introductory APR on purchases and no balance transfer fee for 6 months.**

Enhanced Visa Platinum benefits, including 24/7 Emergency Customer Service, 100% Fraud Protection, Auto Rental and Travel Accident Insurance and much more.

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.









USHPA T-SHIRTS! | ONLY $12.00! Get ‘em hot off the press. 3 Designs. Black shirts with graphics back and front. Only $12!

DELORME INREACH | $299.95 inReach enables you to send and receive text messages, trigger an SOS for help, and track your GPS coordinates, wherever your trip takes you. It keeps you connected when off the grid.



Top shelf soft shell jacket embroidered with USHPA logo

Now you can wear the same

and name of the association on the back.

navy polo shirt we wear to the country club. Where we work our second jobs. USHPA logo embroidered proudly on the chest.



Our blue baseball cap is made with sueded twill and brandishes the association logo proudly. Keep the sun at bay, the USHPA way.



Choose a 10-pack of either HG or PG on luxurious metallic card stock with matching

The ultimate coffee

4x9 inch envelopes. Inside is blank.

table book - part 2!

FLYING SITES OF THE ALPS | $56.95 Is there some reason you wouldn't buy this book? OK, maybe you don't fly in Europe, but you know you want to. Buy the book!






U S H P A . A E R O / S T O R E



This thorough guide by Dennis

Excellent illustrations and a

Pagen is a must have for any

companion DVD make this

paraglider's library. Get started,

paragliding tome a must-have

keep flying, or go back and

as an introduction or a

review. An excellent reference.

refresher reference.

EAGLES IN THE FLESH | $14.95 Erik Kaye's nonfiction adventure


UNDERSTANDING THE SKY | $24.95 You'll read Dennis Pagen's

story about men who become

ultimate weather book again and

birds, who soar over mountains

again as your brain attempts to

and jungles, and who look upon

wrap itself around one of the

strange new lands and exotic

most complex topics in the his-

cultures while flying like Eagles

tory of topics.

and partying like Vultures.

THERMAL FLYING, NEW EDITION | $52.95 Get the new version of

FLYING RAGS FOR GLORY | $47.95 The A to Z of Competition

Burkhard Marten's compre-

Paragliding: For the beginner or

hensive guide to thermal flying.

experienced pilot.

Nearly 300 pages illustrated with 500 diagrams and photos.

PUBLICATIONS ACROBATICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $41.95 AND THE WORLD COULD FLY. . . . . . . . . . . . . $32.95 ART OF SKY SAILING - A RISK MGMT MANUAL. . . . . . $14.95 ART OF SKY SAILING - A RISK MGMT MANUAL & DVD. . . $55.00 AVIATION WEATHER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 BEST FLYING SITES OF THE ALPS. . . . . . . . . . . . $47.95 BIRDFLIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $19.95 CONDOR TRAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 CLOUDSUCK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $17.95 EAGLES IN THE FLESH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14.95 FLY THE WING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12.95 FLYING RAGS FOR GLORY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $47.95 FUNDAMENTALS/INSTRUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . $12.95 HANG GLIDING TRAIN. MANUAL. . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 INSTR. MANUAL (HG or PG). . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.00 THE ART OF PARAGLIDING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $34.95 TOWING ALOFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 PG-PILOTS TRAIN. MANUAL & DVD. . . . . . . . . . $39.95 PERFORMANCE FLYING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 SECRETS OF CHAMPIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95

SLOVENIA: GUIDE BOOK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $31.95 STOLEN MOMEN TS 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $55.00 UNDERSTANDING THE SKY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 FLIGHT LOG BOOK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2.95

DVD BIG BLUE SKY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 BORN TO FLY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $34.95 FLYING OVER EVEREST. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $47.95 FRESH AIR RIDERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22.95 FROM NOWHERE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $41.95 LIFT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $19.95 LIFTING AIR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $39.95 NEVER ENDING THERMAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $41.95 PARAHAWKING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35.95 PARAGLIDING:LEARN TO FLY. . . . . . . . . . . . . $44.95 PARAGLIDING: GROUND HANDLING TECHNIQUES . . . . $35.95 PARAGLIDER TOWING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 PARTY/CLOUDBASE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 PERFORMANCE FLYING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $42.95 PLAY GRAVITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $41.95 PLAY GRAVITY 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $38.50

Be sure to renew your USHPA membership online to participate in the USHPA Green initiative. Online renewal is only available to current members, and members who have been expired less than 3 years. Members who have been expired more than 3 years will not have access to online renewal.

RED BULL X-ALPS 2007. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $45.95 PURA VIDA FLYING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 RISK & REWARD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 THE PERFECT MTN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $36.95 SPEED TO FLY/SECURITY IN FLIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . $48.95 SPEED GLIDING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $24.95 STARTING PARAGLIDING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 STARTING HANG GLIDING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95 STARTING POWER PARAGLIDING . . . . . . . . . . . $36.95 TEMPLE OF CLOUDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $31.95 THREE FLIGHTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $37.95 WEATHER TO FLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $39.95

ACCESSORIES IPPI CARD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.00 GREETING CARDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $16.00 LICENSE PLATE FRAME (PARAGLIDING ONLY). . . . . . $6.50 MAGAZINE BACK ISSUES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6.95 ORNAMENTS (PARAGLIDING ONLY). . . . . . . . . . $12.00 RATING CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.00 USHGA / USHPA STICKERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.00




1. Publication Title: Hang Gliding & Paragliding

15b1. Paid/Requested Outside County Mail Subscriptions Stated

2. Publication Number: 1-7970

on Form 3541: 8574 avg./issue preceding 12 months; 8624 for

3. Filing Date: August 15, 2013

July 2013

4. Issue Frequency: Monthly

15b2. Paid In-County Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541: 0 avg./

5. Number of Issues Published Annually: 12

issue preceding 12 months; 0 for July 2013

6. Annual Subscription Price: $60.00

15b3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors,

7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication:

Counter Sales, and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution: 12 avg./

1685 West Uintah, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado

issue preceding 12 months; 12 for July 2013.


15b4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 44 avg./issue

8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General

preceding 12 months; 42 for July 2013.

Business Office of Publisher: 1685 West Uintah, Colorado

15c. Total Paid and /or Requested Circulation: 8630 avg./issue

Springs, El Paso County, Colorado 80904-2969

preceding 12 months; 8678 for July 2013.

9. Full Names and Complete mailing Addresses of Publisher,

15d. Free Distribution by Mail

Editor, and Managing Editor: Publisher: United States Hang

15d1. Outside County as Stated on Form 3541: 0 avg./issue pre-

Gliding and Paragliding Association, Inc., PO Box 1330, Colorado

ceding 12 months; 0 for July 2013.

Springs CO 80901-1330. Editor & Managing Editor: Nicholas

15d2. In-County as stated on Form 3541: 0 avg./issue preceding

Greece, PO Box 83, Jackson, WY 83001

12 months; 0 for July 2013.

10. Owner: United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding

15d3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 492 avg./issue

Association, Inc., 1685 West Uintah, Colorado Springs, El Paso

preceding 12 months; 511 for July 2013.

County, Colorado 80904-2969.

15d4. Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 175 avg./issue preced-

11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders

ing 12 months; 160 for July 2013.

Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds,

15e. Total Free Distribution: 667 avg./issue preceding 12 months;

Mortgages, or Other Securities: None.

671 for July 2013.

12. Tax Status. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of

15f. Total Distribution: 9297 avg./issue preceding 12 months;

this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax

9349 for July 2013.

purposes: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months.

15g. Copies not Distributed: 358 avg./issue preceding 12 months;

13. Publication Title: Hang Gliding & Paragliding

34 for July 2013.

14. Issue Date for Circulation Data below: July 2013

15h. Total: 9655 avg./issue preceding 12 months; 9383 for July

15. Extent and Nature of Circulation


15a. Total Number of Copies: 9655 Average No. Copies Each

15i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 92.83% avg./

Issue During Preceding 12 months; 9383 No. copies of Single

issue preceding 12 months; 92.82% for July 2013.

Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date.

16. Publication of Statement of Ownership will be printed in the

15b. Paid and/or Requested Circulation.

October 2013 issue of this publication. 17. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. Martin Palmaz, Executive Director, August 15, 2013




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Combining our latest technology with everything we have learned in 25 years of designing, testing and building paragliders, the Atlas sets the benchmark in its balance of safety, handling and performance. Suitable for beginning to intermediate pilots. In terms of comfort, ease-of-use and safety, Atlas sits at the lower end of the EN B class. Yet the climb and glide performance in challenging conditions is ideal for long XC flights and has to be experienced to be believed.

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Hang Gliding & Paragliding Vol43/Iss10 Oct 2013  
Hang Gliding & Paragliding Vol43/Iss10 Oct 2013  

Official USHPA Magazine