Hang Gliding & Paraglliding Vol44/Iss11 Nov2014

Page 1

NOVEMBER 2014 Volume 44 Issue 11 $6.95



sion ’s pas d m a e t st an . Our t R&D orld’s lighte h ig fl t free the w tweigh h features h g li f de o whic a deca our range, zone.com n a h t o f f more e growth o isit www.fly o n io t v h a t , culmin ueled re info is the flying has f ory. For mo t n e ture ateg quipm light e ntain adven t in every c a r lt u en nd ou light a big-m equipm Ozone ivouac and aragliding ep l-b for vo erformanc p t Photo: Oliver Laugero highes





ON THE COVER, Launching

off Chelan Butte to join the gaggle overhead | photo by Bill Hockensmith. MEANWHILE, High over the Chelan flats | photo by Mike Bomstad.



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 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 footlaunched 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.




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 editor@ushpa.aero 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 editor@ushpa.aero, as may letters to the editor. Please be concise and try to address a single topic in your letter. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. If you have an idea for an article you may discuss your topic with the editor either by email or telephone. Contact: Editor, Hang Gliding & Paragliding magazine, editor@ushpa.aero, (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.

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 advertising@ushpa.aero.

POSTMASTER Send change of address to: 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

COPYRIGHT Copyright (c) 2014 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.

Martin Palmaz, Publisher executivedirector@ushpa.aero Nick Greece, Editor editor@ushpa.aero Greg Gillam, Art Director art.director@ushpa.aero C.J. Sturtevant, Copy Editor copy@ushpa.aero Beth Van Eaton, Advertising advertising@ushpa.aero Staff Writers Christina Ammon, Dennis Pagen, C.J. Sturtevant Ryan Voight Staff Photographers John Heiney, Jeff Shapiro

















28 Furious Flatland Flying Frenzy


Election Statements

2014 US Paragliding Nationals


Cool Runnings Americans Invade Acro Show

by James Johnstone

by Annette Oneil 24

Broken Wings A Tumble in the Big Mountains

36 Dare to Dream Breaking Records

by Jeff Shapiro 44

Young Pilots Growing Up Under Wing

by Greg Knudson

by Griffin Hockstetter 52

HG401: Advanced Tips & Techniques Cycle!

48 The Sport-class Phenomenon Part 2

by C.J. Sturtevant

by Ryan Voight 54

Thinking Outside the Blocks Part XI: Flashback Elucidations

by Dennis Pagen

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.” - E.A. Bucchianer


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




he November issue is full of firsts: big air, world records, epic Nationals, young pilots taking their first leaps, and tumbles. New experiences make flying adventures resonate deeply, and as our patterns in flight become routinized we tend to explore new avenues. Depending on our personalities we go in various directions—from flying King Mountain, Idaho, in the middle of the summer, to competing in the sport class at growing competitions geared for pilots more focused on safety than performance. The amazing part is that during one hour of participating at either of these events, on the opposite side of the spectrum, one can have a myriad of new experiences. This is what keeps us coming back year after year—consummate growth! We start with regional directors’ statements for the upcoming USHPA election. Please note that these have not been edited at all, and are meant to reflect the candidate in their own words as they submitted them. As with any election it is critical that voters turn up, so hopefully you can take a minute to enter in a yes vote for your candidate of choice. Next up is a report from Annette O’Neil on the Sonchaux aerobatic show; she covers a US team that has gone overseas to an international aerobatic contest and made a splash. Jeff Shapiro is back with his epic tale of big air and surviving a cascade of events that would have taken weaker men from our midst. The cautionary tale, “Broken Wings,” will shock and inspire you simultaneously. James Johnstone reports from the US

Nationals in Chelan, Washington, a locale that provided the arena for one of the best competitions in the world in 2014. With record-setting tasks and seven days of racing, it created epic memories for all who attended. Greg Knudson and Felix Wolk teamed up to tackle world-record dreams in the Kerio Valley in Kenya. Greg meticulously planned and nabbed the speed over an outand-return course of 185 miles. Griffin Hochstetter submitted a piece detailing the trials, tribulations, and exaltations of being a young pilot in the USHPA. Citing H-5 Ryan Voight and H-3 Matt Hickerson as examples, Griffin shows that for the right young participant, the sky can be a truly welcoming playground. C.J. Sturtevant’s second installment of the Sport-class Phenomenon continues the saga of a new breed of recreational competitors who are finding more joy than ever in racing king-posted gliders. Dennis Pagen and Ryan Voight are back once again with their continuing education series. These two contributors are definitely on the forefront of working through the magazine to help current pilots take their flying to new levels. Hopefully, their curriculum is working and you found yourself at cloudbase with a smile, and a small nod of thanks to the master class Dennis and Ryan submit every month!

left Flying in Iceland! Photo by Anthony Green.




I enjoyed John Mayer’s letter in

Mcc Aviation is pleased to announce

Airmail of the August issue. It was also great that he shared his letter from Francis Rogallo with us. John says that he is an old dude at 76 years, well then I’m a really old dude at 79 years and I hold USHPA member number 7. The part of his letter that really hit home with me was where he gives his one final observation, which I quote: “If you have flown and enjoyed the thrill, as I have, you will never stand on the top of a hill feeling the incoming breeze and not want to lift off, even when you are as old as I am.” Wow, and here I thought I was unique! Yeah, John, it continues to work that way even when you reach 79! I did get a very brief opportunity to do that again at the Cape Kiwanda 40th anniversary meet in 2012 when I got a very short flight (way too short) off the dune in my old Eipper Flexi Floater (wish I still had my Wills SST). We may not fly through the air like birds anymore. I once had a raven circling in the thermal below me (like your redtail hawk), and we were calling to each other (in raven calls). But we old dudes do still have the memories as you so profoundly described. I recently stood on top of Mazourka Peak, and, by God, I sure felt like I could just step off into that Owens Valley lift! Ah, but I was on a motorcycle, and they don’t work lift very well. - Frank Colver, USHPA 07

the release of its new reversible rucksack harness, the Vice Versa, designed with hike-and-fly enthusiasts in mind. Its light-weight design (3.25kg in Medium) is also rugged enough to endure use as a daily flyer as well. It features full dorsal airbag protection with pre-inflation on launch, an under-the-seat integrated reserve container, lightweight aluminum buckles especially designed not to jam in icy or sandy conditions, and it is built to Swiss standards. the Vice Versa has plenty of room

KEEN footwear, in conjunction with

to carry all your essential gear, from

the Cloudbase Foundation and free-

water, extra clothes and helmet, to

flight pilots worldwide, have created

glider. An integrated plastic back

one-of-a-kind backpacks and shoul-

plate offers extra back support while

der bags out of recycled paragliders.

hiking, extra comfort while flying,

These stylish pieces are functional,

and it protects your gear from sweat

and each one is unique. 100 per-

during strenuous hikes. The Vice

cent of proceeds go to Cloudbase

Versa is available in all sizes (S-XL) in

Foundation from the sale of these

the United States through Pikes Peak

packs from the USHPA web store!

Paragliding. MSRP: $900. Contact:

gliders, but the construction is the same on each one. The inside of the bags are lined with Cordura and burly YKK zippers are used in two places to give access to the main compartments. The bag weighs 1.3lbs, is 23L in volume, 12.5” wide x 18.5” height x 5” deep. To see sample photos, go to http://www.ushpa.aero/store.asp.


Mcc claims that as a rucksack,


They are all made from different



Pikes Peak Paragliding at www. pikespeakparagliding.com.

Get your 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: http://www.cardpartner.com/app/ushpa 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. cardpartner.com 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.



2015 Election Statements

Region 1 | Rich Hass First, I want to say thanks to everyone for your support these past eight years, while I’ve served as your regional director on the board. The support is appreciated and definitely makes the work as your regional director worthwhile. USHPA is a volunteer-driven organization and I’ve enjoyed working with literally hundreds of members from around the country who contribute and pitch in to make things happen. For the past four years, I’ve served as president of USHPA. The president and officers on the executive committee are elected annually by the board of directors to manage the affairs of USHPA between board meetings and provide leadership in following the path laid out by the board when it meets twice each year. My goals as a regional director for the next two years include several objectives. We need to make sure USHPA and our pilot-member voices are heard when the FAA addresses a number of pending regulatory issues regarding the



skies we share. Simply put, the FAA should prioritize the safety and right-ofway of manned aircraft over unmanned drones. This concept seems simple enough, but we face significant challenges from those who stand to profit by launching aircraft that literally can’t see where they are going. As the proposed regulations get released in the near term, USHPA will have an opportunity to influence the outcome. We need to be diligent in protecting our rights as pilots. Aside from airspace challenges, USHPA can and should play an important role in working with chapters to develop new flying sites and protect the ones we have. USHPA and USHPA chapters have worked hard to develop site-specific safety programs in response to nearly losing our insurance program. We’ve been able to renew our coverage but premiums continue to grow at an unsustainable rate. We need to find more effective ways to reduce our claims exposure, which leads to higher premiums. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple and easy fix. USHPA is very close to introducing a new and completely updated accident review and investigation process. This process has literally taken years for a team of volunteers and USHPA staffers to complete but when it is fully operational, I believe the membership will benefit from better access to accident information. The objective is to reduce accidents by sharing the lessons learned. If you have questions about USHPA policies or wonder why USHPA is

doing something (or not), please let me know. If you have ideas for projects USHPA should embrace, let me know that, too. Also, let me know if there’s a project you’d like to support as a USHPA volunteer. Once again, thanks for the support. I hope I’ve earned your vote.

Region 2 | Jugdeep Aggarwal I have been fortunate to be regional director for the past two years. During this time I have served on numerous committees, including Site Development & Retention, Chapter Support and the Competition committees. One of my main aims as regional director is to ensure site preservation. In the past two years, I have been involved in forming a new chapter to manage Hat Creek after the existing club suddenly disbanded. Working with the forestry service, this chapter is drafting up a long-term management plan to ensure site preservation into the future. Other ongoing projects including

bringing a G-Machine into the Bay Area, to help train pilots in safety at high G loads, and opening up other sites within easy access of the Bay Area. In addition to my duties as regional director I have been running the Northern California Cross-country League and the recently formed Northern California Sprint League. Both of these leagues aim to reduce pilot attrition by giving pilots an informal training platform along with developing camaraderie with like-minded pilots, whilst flying tasks along defined courses. I am committed to pilot training, safety and site preservation as regional director.

Region 3 | Pete Michelmore Aloha, My name is Pete “Reaper” Michelmore, USHPA #63957. I am running for Region 3 director for a number of reasons. The first reason is the fact I have been a member of USHPA since 1993 and I have been flying paragliders since the late ‘80s. Over the years I realized

that USHPA, with all the good people in the organization, was struggling to keep up our numbers, regulate sites, and arrange for our insurance to secure new and old flying sites. I have been teaching paragliding since the early ‘90s and I have adopted a philosophy of always helping others fly safely, and reach their goals (even if they’re 200 km away). I am a P-5 Master rated pilot with other ratings and special skills: FL M1 M2 TFL VA CL FSL HA RLF RS TUR X-C Appointments: ADV INST, EXAM, MINI ADMIN,MINI INSTR, ST ADMIN,TAND ADMIN, TAND INST I also hold a volunteer position of Region 3 Safety. Two years ago I was named Instructor of the Year for all my volunteering at the Rat Race for the past 10 years, and at the US Nationals for hucking and plucking those who needed my help. I have made it my mission to help any and all pilots that need it or not. Everyone always comes home on my watch. I would like to volunteer as a regional director to expand my assistance at the national level, maybe help USHPA streamline some of their efforts to better serve the flying community. Maybe this will include helping pilots through different programs that USHPA operates and is currently working on. I did sit in on the fall USHPA meetings in Colorado a few years back, and I was very impressed with the level of enthusiasm, knowledge and wisdom

Region 3

Region 2

Region 2

Eric Hinrichs

Robert Booth

Dan DeWeese

Withdrawn from

Withdrawn from

Withdrawn from

Election – 9/17/2014

Election – 8/20/2014

Election – 9/16/14

Martin Palmaz, Executive Director executivedirector@ushpa.aero Beth Van Eaton Operations Manager & Advertising office@ushpa.aero Eric Mead, System Administrator tech@ushpa.aero Ashley Miller, Membership Coordinator membership@ushpa.aero Julie Spiegler, Program Manager programs@ushpa.aero

USHPA OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Rich Hass, President president@ushpa.aero Ken Grubbs, Vice President vicepresident@ushpa.aero Bill Bolosky, Secretary secretary@ushpa.aero Mark Forbes, Treasurer treasurer@ushpa.aero

REGION 1: Rich Hass, Mark Forbes. REGION 2: Jugdeep Aggarwal, Josh Cohn, Jon James. REGION 3: Corey Caffrey, Dan DeWeese, Alan Crouse. REGION 4: Bill Belcourt, Ken Grubbs. REGION 5: Josh Pierce. REGION 6: David Glover. REGION 7: Paul Olson. REGION 8: Michael Holmes. REGION 9: Felipe Amunategui, Larry Dennis. REGION 10: Bruce Weaver, Steve Kroop, Matt Taber. REGION 11: David Glover. REGION 12: Paul Voight. DIRECTORS AT LARGE: Ryan Voight, 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 info@ushpa.aero. 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.



of the directors in attendance. I have wanted to be a part of the organization ever since I attended those meetings. I want to make a difference to our organization and to the pilots I know and love. Vote for me and I promise I will huck and pluck you and get you home safely...

Region 3 | Bob Kuczewski My name is Bob Kuczewski, and I am running for regional director because I want to return control of USHPA to the pilots. Let me start by saying that I was very happy that Dan DeWeese was elected in 2012. I had great hopes that he would use his directorship to bring about the reforms that we need in USHPA. And over these past two years I contacted Dan many times urging him to work on those reforms. I urged Dan to stand up for open voting by the USHPA board. I urged Dan to support all of our chapters fairly. I urged Dan to be a pilot’s advocate for members in his region. Sadly, Dan has failed every time. At first I attributed Dan’s reluctance to his desire to get himself “established” with the other board members. I was OK with that. During my own directorship, I had “charged ahead” and it certainly offended the USHPA “establishment.” So if Dan had a better approach, I was happy to see him try it. But two years have passed and Dan has accomplished even less than I did regarding the many



reforms needed at USHPA. USHPA is supposed to be our national pilots’ club. Does it feel like it’s your club? Does USHPA have a forum where you can voice your opinions and share your ideas with other members at a national level? Why not? Does USHPA provide a venue where you can openly question your directors and expect a response? Why not? Does USHPA even let you know how your own directors vote? Why not? The answer is that USHPA has become an “insiders club.” There’s a core group of directors (like Rich Hass and Mark Forbes) who run the organization. They herd the other directors like so many “sheeple.” They use a combination of parliamentary procedure and good old peer pressure to keep the other directors in line. And if that fails, they dip into USHPA’s “goody bag” to offer up things like committee chairmanships and awards. It’s a broken system. It would be nice if Dan’s “go along to get along” style had borne fruit for our members, but it hasn’t. Going along with USHPA’s insiders just produces more of the same. If you want a director who’s not afraid to challenge the USHPA establishment, then mark your ballot for Bob Kuczewski. If I am elected, I want it to be a clear mandate for open voting, fair support of chapters, and fair support of members. Please cast your ballot accordingly. For more information on my other positions (National Pilots Forum, Fair Processes, HG/PG Committees, Open EC Meetings, Open Board Meetings, etc.), please contact me by phone or by email or visit: http://ushawks.org/USHPA2014 Thanks for your time, Bob Kuczewski H4/P4, Aeronautical Engineer, Private Pilot, Former USHPA Director Phone: 858-204-7499 Email: bob@ushawks.org

Region 4 | Bill Belcourt Hello, Region 4. I’ve been flying since 1989 and living in Utah since 1991. In the last 25 years, I have witnessed a lot of positive change and growth of our sport and the organization, and have made many great friends because of it. For many years I have been actively involved with USHPA on the Competition committee and am currently the president of a 501c non-profit that raises money for the US paragliding team and the US X-Alps team. I do my best to volunteer my time and knowledge at national competitions and local events. Currently, I work in the outdoor industry and find the challenges facing that industry (in regards to access, regulation, and liability) to be similar to our own and that I can provide some valuable insight for our future. For these reasons, I believe I have a pretty good grasp on the issues facing USHPA and the region in the years ahead and would make a good regional director. I would be deeply honored to have this opportunity to represent you. Best, Bill Belcourt

Regions 5/13 | No Election Regions 6/11 | No Election


Light Soaring Trike


Light Soaring Trike

Region 7 | Paul Olson I truly appreciate this opportunity to reapply for the Region 7 directorship. My qualifications include business experience with two successful entrepreneurial start-ups and many years in the academic environment. I have been blessed for the last four years with a lifestyle that allows me to be involved in hang gliding full time, with winters in Arizona and summer in good old Wisconsin. My main focus would be to bring positive attention to the sport and cultivate its growth through marketing, training and one-on-one conversations around the campfire with a cold brew in my hand. I believe in informal leadership, shared visions and a healthy sense of urgency (our membership isn’t getting any younger). The Region 7 area’s growth potential is huge. The Whitewater Hang Gliding Club, in which I have been a member since its beginning, over 20 years ago, is smack dab in the middle of over 10,000,000 people (Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee) within 1.5 hours’ of driving time. With my graphic arts background, I assist the club with brochures and actively participate in social media for the WWHGC club and my hang gliding school. The club sometimes gets over 1000 views on a Facebook post. What does the future of hang gliding (and paragliding) look like? We are already seeing it at Twin Oaks Airport, where our club is based, just north of

Climb to cloudbase shut down engine and soar!

HANG GLIDERS  ULTRALIGHT TRIKES & WINGS ultrikes@northwing.com 509.682.4359

You are invited to Fly a Sailplane Today (FAST). Purchase a voucher (only $139.00) from The Soaring Society of America, Inc. and redeem it at a gliderport near you. You receive: • 30 minutes ground lesson • 30 minute flight lesson • An instructional book • A glider pilot logbook • Introductory 3 month membership in The Soaring Society of America, Inc. • A copy of Soaring Magazine So, Fly a Sailplane Today!

www.ssa.org Phone: 575-392-1177

Whitewater. Every year we see improvements to the grounds and every season we see an increase in flying-related activities. You can’t do much better than to have an on-site tug pilot/owner. Our club members have a wide variety of skill sets including welding, carpentry, landscaping, engineering—the list goes on. And combined with a shared vision of making things better, it’s a winning formula. Looking even further into the future (actually the future is already here): How about having live webcast video from tandems so friends and relatives can watch the action on a monitor below? Or a live video stream on our website? The bigger the impression we can give to “in-and-out” Discovery Tandems and new students, the better chance they will tell their friends about their experience, and that is the best and least expensive form of advertising. I would like to think that other hang gliding sites are moving forward with their own plans, maybe even new operations are in the planning stages. As a club member and director, I would be interested in assisting in any way I can. Hang Gliding Career, #54416 - Started lessons in 1989 with Brad Kushner at Raven Sky Sports in my mid 30s - Became the second pilot in the US to purchase a Mosquito powered harness in 1998 - Started Scooter Tow Hang Gliding School in 2007 - Became a BFI in 2011, T-3 Spring 2012 - Quit the “golden handcuffs” day job in June 2011 and went full-time with Scooter Tow Hang Gliding School - Started teaching over the winter at Sonora Wings Hang Gliding in Phoenix, Arizona, in December 2011



Region 8 | Michael Holmes My son introduced me to Malcolm Jones and I took my first flight at Wallaby Ranch. I was hooked. I continued learning to fly at Morningside Flight Park with Jeff Nicolay and some great instructors. I’m currently an H-4 / P-2, and the president of the Vermont Hang Gliding Association. I’ve been the regional director for the past few years and would like to continue representing Region 8.

Region 9 | Dan Tomlinson My name is Dan Tomlinson. I am running for the position of regional director for USHPA Region 9. I am running because I believe that I can make a significant contribution to the sports of HG/PG. It is my goal to produce more pilots, establish more sites, and create more flight opportunities for all of us. I’ll work with the USHPA’s committees

to accomplish these objectives. I intend to produce more pilots by asking the flight schools and instructors for their advice on getting more students through their schools and into the air. I’ll establish more sites by working though our sister organization, the Foundation for Free Flight (FFF) to produce more sites. The FFF has been instrumental in assisting local chapters in opening and retaining flying sites across the country. The following links contain a couple of wonderful videos of our Pulpit launch and our Edith’s Gap site. Both of these videos are germane to my objectives and past accomplishments in support of the sport. https://vimeo.com/101877004 https://vimeo.com/99454078 The Pulpit launch pad was made possible by a significant contribution by the Foundation for Free Flight. It made paragliding possible at this site for the first time. Prior to that the two ramps were only suitable for HGs. Now the HG pilots have their choice of three different launch options. The Edith’s Gap site lies on USFS land and has been recently reopened after more than a decade of neglect. I initiated and maintained the twoyear conversation with the USFS that resulted in its reopening through the combined efforts of the USFS and the members of our local chapter. Come fly with us. You can find us at CHGPA.org. We have a chapter full of members who will gladly introduce you to our sites and get you in the air. Oh, and if you are in Region 9 please take a few moments to get online and vote for me. Thanks, Dan Tomlinson



Region 9 | Felipe Amunategui Dear Region 9 members:, Once again I am asking you to elect me for another term. This last term has been the most challenging one of over one decade of service on the board. There are many complex issues facing us that threaten our ability to self-regulate and to provide insurance. I ask for your vote once more to continue advancing the mission of the USHPA along with dedicated volunteers like Paul Voight, Steve Kroop, and many others. Over the last decade I have served as treasurer, twice as vice president, and I currently chair the Towing committee, a position I held once before. I have attended all board meetings since 2001 except for one, and I strive to be as responsive as I can to regional members. Also during this term, I have had the privilege of working with the Accident Investigation committee. We are developing a confidential, webbased incident and accident reporting system. This system will ensure the confidentiality of the information, and it will make accident reporting easier and systematic. One of the biggest personal challenges during the last term came from two separate regional incidents that resulted in disciplinary actions. I hope to never face this challenge again. Fortunately these incidents were resolved appropriately and without lasting adversity. During my tenure

with the TrikeBuggy!

No more falling down! Easy no-wind launches! Join the wheeled revolution!


as your director I have responded to all concerns brought my attention with serious consideration and professionalism. However, leadership sometimes requires taking unpopular positions in the service of the greater good. But I do hope to never face issues like this again. For the first time in over 10 years of service there is someone running against me. The person interested in becoming your director was elected once and attended only half of the scheduled meetings before leaving his seat on the board. This person is motivated by a narrow set of interests, and these interests do not reflect the concerns and issues of members across Region 9. With this set of complex issues here and on the horizon, I ask for your vote once more so that I can serve the region and the organization along with my very esteemed co-director, Dr. Dan, for one more term. Safe Landings, L. Felipe Amunategui Director, Region 9

the overall health of hang gliding and paragliding in the US. Because of my association with Flytec USA I regularly speak to and exchange emails with many Region 10 members, as well as members from all over the US. Those members who have come in contact with me know that I am readily accessible by phone and email. I have a long history of working closely with and assisting the USHPA office staff, executive director and president. I have not missed a single BOD meeting since I attended my first BOD meeting in 1995. In short, I am dedicated to the USHPA and the survival and long-term health of hang gliding and paragliding in the U.S. and would like to continue to represent Region 10.

Region 12 | Paul Voight

Region 10 | Steve Kroop I have been on the USHPA Board of Directors since 2003 and have served on various USHPA committees since 1995. I am a member of the Safety & Training, Tandem and Competition committees, all of which address issues that are important to Region 10 and



Hello Region 12, My name is Paul Voight. For those of you who don’t know me—I’m your current regional director. In case someone runs against me, I’ll campaign for why you should vote for me. First off, I’d go to the board meetings regardless of being a director, just to make sure nothing “unnecessary” gets voted in. (And I like to take trips!) I enjoy being on the board, and looking out for the pilots in my region, and their best interests.

There are a number of directors from all over the country who, like myself, have been at it awhile, and we therefore have some continuity from meeting to meeting. We also have some exciting new blood on the board. I enjoy working with these folks, and would like to continue. My “stats” are: Master HG pilot, and advanced PG pilot. Certified instructor in both. Instructor program administrator for both, and chairman of the USHPA Tandem committee. I also chair the Financial Re-distribution committee. I own and manage Fly High Hang Gliding, Inc.—a hang-gliding school and retail shop—since 1985, and I look forward to retiring a wealthy man from this pursuit...eventually. My main objective in going to board meetings is to minimize the making of unnecessary new rules, regulations and rating requirements beyond what is necessary to keep everyone safe and the organization solvent. Along with several other fine board members/friends, we do our best to make sure the board doesn’t waste time fixing things that aren’t broken. And that’s about all I can think of for now. Perhaps you might vote for me. In conclusion, my long-standing election offer: Vote for me, and I’ll buy you a beer. (sometime…) - Paul Voight



Cool Runnings

The American Invasion of the Sonchaux Acro Show by




photos by

L u c O t re m ent

“Some people can’t believe it. USA—we’ve got an acro team!”


group of us crowd a little hotel room over Villeneuve’s Lake Geneva harbor, turning heads across the street with our caterwauling. For those unfamiliar with the 1993 film dramatizing Jamaica’s bid for bobsledding gold in the 1998 winter Olympics, our chanting makes no sense at all. But if the stunned locals outside knew what we’re singing—and why this little crew is here—they just might start singing along. I’m with Max Marien, Bryan Rice and Adam Fischbach. They are three of the four founding members, along with Mateo Manzari, of the United States’ single acro paragliding team: HapiAcro, based in sunny California. There is a handful of other high-level American competitors in the discipline, including Nova Dasalla, who represents the remainder of Sonchaux’s anemic American delegation. But when it comes to a dyed-in-the-wool American team, HapiAcro is it. The States has a distinct lack of wide-open water under suitable launch areas, or even towable, showable lakes. The country’s draconian state and national park rules also help keep the sport sidelined, in much the same way that BASE jumping has been shoved out of America’s tallest, safest cliffs. The HapiAcro team pilot Max Marien, with his trademark tumble of blonde curls in a thick ponytail, and his shy, sly grin, has motivated the team to hop the pond. He’s an easygoing guy with a profound sweetness about him. He’s also here to win this thing. In some ways, Max is no stranger to acro showmanship. In 2012, he broke the record for infinity tumbles in a self-organized flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, hucking a whopping 374

tumbles—exploding the previous record of 287—before coastal breezes pushed him out to sea and forced him to fly out the 2500 remaining feet to make it to shore. (It wasn’t long before Horatio Llorens broke that record, but Red Bull had to fund the Spaniard’s oxygenassisted helicopter ascent to 19,700 feet in order for him to do so.) Max has been flying since he was 12, but this turn at Sonchaux is the first time he’s actually participated in a competition. It’s the first time he’s landed on a raft, the first time he’s performed for a big crowd; in fact, it’s the first time he’s seen this many acro pilots in one place. It’s the first time I’ve seen this many acro pilots congregated, too. I’m here to be, essentially, a performing dolphin that is sharing the sky with Max and his top-level skinny-winged brethren, but snug in my BASE rig. I’m one of several BASE jumpers who has been invited to entertain the crowd between rounds by dropping from paragliders and helicopters and nearby cliffs, sometimes in wingsuits and sometimes without. The Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team is also here, as well as a handful of speed-flying and hang gliding hotshots. Hang on to your hats and glasses, folks. This is going to be a high-flying week.


he next morning, we wake up under a stacked deck of clouds. As we slowly trickle in to gather under the athletes’ tent for coffee and Nutella-slathered bread, I make my way over to chat with Nicola Chiffelle about the agenda for the day. Nicola used to fly in the show; now, he organizes athletes. But he’s been around since the beginning, and the roots of the Sonchaux Acro Show stretch back for a few interesting years. LEFT Fans sit lake-side to enjoy the show. In 2007 and 2008, there was an entirely different acro show here in



Villaneuve. It was the Red-Bullsponsored “Vertigo Swiss Riviera” that was part of the Paragliding World Cup circuit. It was also pretty dull to watch, and it was in trouble. After the 2008 show, Red Bull pulled their sponsorship, leaving the show bankrupt and adrift. “The show was too commercial,” Nicola explains. “We had to make some serious changes. We’re here for fun.” After a ground-up rebuild by Nicola and his production team, the show was reborn in 2009. It had a new name— “The Sonchaux Acro Show”—and a brand-new format. Conspicuously absent were the official World Cup rules; also, the field became exclusively invitational. In place of the World Cup rulebook, the team launched a brand-new format called the “battle system.” In a “battle,” two pilots fly at the same time, next to each other in the sky. The Sonchaux field consists of 16 of the world’s best pilots, split into four groups of four pilots each. In



each of these groups, all four pilots “battle” against each other. The battle determines the best two in each group, leaving eight pilots to battle down to four, then to two, and then to the final winner. Each round kicks off with a compulsory sequence; the rest of the program, however, is utterly freestyle. Each pilot then lands on his or her very own raft, and the match winner is announced immediately. The format is infinitely more captivating for the spectators than the old-school World Cup, with its singlefile march of 40 pilots and its long wait for results. The pilots love it, too; the prize money is quite a bit better. One other big acro show is held in Switzerland, but Sonchaux remains the most-visited aerobatics paragliding event in the world, and it looks like it. This show is a well-funded machine. You can’t help but notice the many amenities and special effects when you’re strolling the grounds: the enormous screen broadcasting the well-called

shots; the fighter-jet demo; the architectural bar pavilion; the customized landing rafts; the small army of rescue and shuttle boats; the fully-kitted-out stage where bands perform from sundown to party’s end. The Swiss helicopter my demo team is jumping from could break a smaller budget all on its own. These are just the obvious expenses; the list of detailed line items must stretch on for days. Nicola remarks, “Half of the money comes from the government of Canton de Vaud and Villeneuve, which just celebrated its 800th anniversary, by the way. The other half is from sponsors.” He gestures towards the thronging bar tent and laughs. “And beer. A lot of this is sponsored by beer.” “We try to innovate every year,” says Nicola. “We try to find new demos. And we try to invent new ways of presenting the show to the public.” ABOVE Landing on the raft means you don't

have to repack the reserve.

Well, that’s putting it lightly. As I look around, it strikes me that the Sonchaux team has singlehandedly reinvented the art of the paragliding show. Let’s start, literally, at the top. The scene on launch is a major part of the experience of paragliding, and letting the audience in on the drama unfolding an hour’s drive up the hill is no small feat. Sonchaux solved the problem. How? Live cameras on launch. Bam. As we watch from below, those cameras are capturing the launch tension, sure, but they’re actually doing far more than that. When I glance over at the monitor, one household-name acro pilot has another in a sloppy half-Nelson, while a stripeshirted referee joins the dogpile in a luchador mask. The launch team behind them is doubled over with laughter. So are several onlookers around me. It’s not just launch that’s being filmed, of course. It’s everything. There are live cameras everywhere: in the crowd, zoomed-in on the landing rafts, and even on my head as I hop out of a helicopter to “rodeo” a wingsuit out over

the harbor. The cameras bring the crowd into unprecedented intimacy with the competitors, the process, the demonstrations and the sweetly Swiss-French environment we’re all playing in. Nicola leads me, clutching my coffee, into the heart of it all: a small video trailer, tucked away in a thicket of colorful vendor tents. The little room, constantly buzzing with staff, bursts with a nest of cables that hugs a desk full of monitors, battery chargers, lenses, control panels and cameras. The show’s director perches in the midst of it, deftly switching between live feeds at a multitude of positions around the comp. A small mountain of smoke cans sits in the corner next to him, waiting to take flight. Nicola clears a foot of space on the desk to help me strap one of the live camera rigs to my helmet. After the thoughtful application of duct tape, rubber bands, paragliding line and crossed fingers, I’m ready to hop into a helicopter and show these nice folks a good time.


ery few people in the crowd have seen someone riding on top of a diving, carving wingsuit. Today, thanks to the contraption Nicola has duct-taped to my helmet, they get to watch it close-up and live. By the time the shuttle boat has plucked me from the landing raft and paraded me in front of the screaming lakeside crowd, Lake Geneva has shoved the clouds behind the jagged Swiss skyline. I pack and race to see how Max is doing in the scores. It turns out he’s doing very, very well. He just knocked (a very gracious) Horatio Llorens out of the competition—not bad for a first-time competitor. When I exclaim about it, Max grins and shrugs. “I’ve been flying for a long time around Torrey Pines, since the beginning. I was 10 years old when I started hanging out with my dad at the Gliderport, and I did my first tandems at 11.” He laughs. “My dad wanted to



get me into paragliding, but I really wanted to hang glide; I thought it looked so much cooler. Torrey is a bad place for it, though, so I reluctantly went with paragliding instead.” Max did his first SIV when he was 13. He took up acro in earnest at 15. “I was getting out of school at, like, 2:30, so I could go to Torrey or one of the other sites. It all happened super organically. I just learned from people.

I didn’t learn from the Internet. I was never a big fan of that.” In lieu of YouTube, Marien learned from some of the foundational names in American acro: Brad Gunnuscio, Enleau O’Connor, Gabe Jebb and Chris Santacroce. “Santa helped me perfect my wingovers; Hundlow helped me with my first tumble entries. I think if I’d used the Internet more as a tool, it would have

been faster. I’d have had an idea about what it’s supposed to look like; how you’re supposed to do it. I mean, I was just going out and thinking…let’s try this, let’s try that. It helped me progress stronger and get much better, but it was very, very slow. It was learning by trial and error.” I ask him if there’s anything he’s still working on. “Not really. I just did my first twisted tumble today. It was kinda crazy. But I got some advice from Raul and Félix Rodriguez, and just went for it.” He smiles widely. “It worked out OK.” Yeah. He nailed it.


t the end of the day, we gather at a café. Max and his partner/manager, Karina Gomez, are smiling but exhausted. They’ve had a long day, and

ABOVE The evenings are full of DJ music and

revelry. LEFT The glider catchers on the raft pull the canopy in if the pilot sticks it.






high performance with stable, responsive handling VG Sail Control · Mylar Full Race Sail available H3+ · for Intermediate and higher skill levels


Flight Helmets Bar Mitts & Gloves  All-Weather Glider Bags  Lightweight XC Glider Bags  Heated

1st place, 2013 King Mountain Championships · Sports Class 1st place, 2012 Chelan XC Classic · Kingpost Class 2nd place, 2012 Spain Championships · Kingpost Class


there are many long days yet to come— not just in this competition, but in Max’s ever-unfolding career. Max is going to stay in Europe for a month after Sonchaux. He’ll be going to Annecy and then teaching SIV and training in the Turkish acro classic of Ölüdeniz. His teammate Adam Fischbach will join him for much of that, training with him and shooting footage for an upcoming documentary project. “I’d definitely like to come back to Europe more often, to compete and fly,” Max explains. “It’s a big challenge to balance my life as an athlete, between working at Torrey as an instructor and taking the time off that I need to train in the places I need to train. I already take a lot of time off. And this time of the year, summer, is when it’s hardest to get away from the business. “I’ve heard about a place in Oregon, with a gondola—I’m going to check it out later, maybe in the spring. It seems like the only way you can practice in America is towing. The logistics are dif-

ficult. We have to go to Lake Berryessa. We used to go to Lake Isabella, but with the drought, the lake is pretty much gone. When I go back to the States from here, I really don’t know. I have one site around San Diego that I’m thinking about pioneering.” That site is about 2000 feet vertical, and it’s not far from where he’s based. Great, right? Then he starts trotting out the issues. The launch is Blossom Valley, but it requires a hefty thermalup of about 600, 700 feet and a valley crossing. It’s easy on a normal wing, but on an acro wing it’s a very different story. “You have to have the right day,” Max explains, “But that mountain itself is always flyable.” Oh, and there are huge high-tension power lines that run across the base of the hill. I grimace, more than a little bit, and Max nods. “The tough thing about the States is that we really don’t have the same opportunities as they do in Europe. We don’t have great flying sites

over water.” He muses for a moment. “I can think of all the flying sites that I’ve been to in the States, and none of them are that great for what I do.” The wine keeps pouring. Teammate Bryan Rice muses that the next great acro pilot might be an American kid—in Kansas, maybe—and it’s Hapi’s job to find that kid, inspire that kid and teach that kid to fly. I ask Max what he’d say if he met him or her, and he smiles in his typical sideways manner. “Keep it safe. Don’t push it too hard, if you’re not in a safe environment. If you want to learn acro, it has to be done the right way.” As Max and Karina trundle off for a well-deserved rest, we chant at their retreating figures. “Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Come on, Max, It’s acro time!” Cool runnings, indeed.



W i n n g s e k o r B

A Tumble in the Big Mountains by


never thought I might lose my life while flying a hang glider. My first thought after realizing my wing was broken involved a sincere disappointment at not being able to “win the day,” in part from being stunned like a bird that ran into a window, but also, admittedly, from the competitive drive that enabled this mistake. My second thought followed quickly as reality hit me: Wow, this is serious! With snow pelting my face, my senses slowly returned after the tumble abruptly ended, while the sound of my variometer woke me like a rude alarm clock in the early hours of a cold morning. My reality? I was under a broken glider, at 15,500’, directly over a ragged mountain range, ascending 800-1000 feet per minute toward a massive storm cloud, as it hungrily fed itself with available atmosphere. This was indeed serious. Once again, I’d come to compete in the annual King Mountain “Big Air” championships. Chris Giardina’s death at this competition the year before, the result of a powerful microburst, was still a fresh wound reminding us all of where we were. This particular day, the atmosphere was unstable, and the cumulus clouds formed quickly with domed, dark bottoms, signifying their strength and energy. This kind of development that early in the morning meant one thing was sure—a full-value day. I was nervous. I was excited. King is as notorious in the mountain flying culture as the Eiger is to generations of climbers who have stood below its north face. King Mountain and its surrounding court are ominous, beautiful beyond belief, perfectly suited for crosscountry hang gliding and utterly unforgiving of mistakes. Its high-desert environment lends to the perfect proportions of atmospheric ingredients required to cook up massive thermals and an exceptionally high cloudbase. The use of oxygen is common and the use of sound judgment, mandatory. There are very few places on earth where the power of the sun can rip you 20,000 feet into the sky and allow gliding flight over OPPOSITE Big clouds forming over the Big Lost mountains.




such alarming and stunning terrain. Over the years, King has gained a reputation among hard-core mountain pilots as one of the biggest-air sites in the world, and it was a place I’d learned to love and respect. The goal of this competition was to fly as far as possible each day. Realizing that conditions were strong and the chance of overdevelopment high, a bit of anxiety drove my desire to fly as quickly as possible up the range. Flying over the tallest mountains early was, intuitively, in my best interest. I’ve always believed that a skilled pilot carefully balances intuitive and linear thought, and my ethos for the day was guided both by analyzing the sky and paying close attention to the violence of the turbulence, which increased the volume of the little voice in my head. This day however, I felt dialed, on top of my game. I was ready for what was ahead, ready to rage, ready to try to win. Sometimes, ego has a funny way of impersonating confidence. Alone and approaching Borah Peak, the tallest mountain in Idaho, I observed that towering cumulus clouds had grown into a massive thunderstorm during the 40 minutes since launch. The speed of development was startling. I had seen my friend, Paris Williams, minutes earlier and was confused, wondering where he’d gone. Approximately 2000’ below cloudbase, I foolishly reasoned, half from experience, half optimism, that if I flew as fast as I could, I would fly out from under this cloud before being sucked up into its abyss. I checked my parachute handle and committed. By the sound in my ears and the position of the bar in my hands, I knew I should be flying around 55mph. My GPS read a ground speed of 3mph. I wondered if it was forward or backward? Halfway across… it happened. Like a violently rolling truck at highway speed, a powerful downdraft came from above, and, in an instant, the basetube to which I held on with a climber’s grip was ripped out of my hands. The glider blew down at such speed that it slammed into my back and

pinned me, weightless, to the bottom surface of the sail. I was genuinely surprised at how far away the basetube— moments ago in my hands—was. The air was completely silent. I was a leaf in a micro burst, falling with immense speed in relation to the earth but completely stalled in my currently occupied air mass. After a long drop, during which time my stomach was in my mouth, my glider slowly did a complete front flip. But as soon as the bottom surface presented to the ground thousands of feet below, it hit a wall of resistant air and instantly ejected back into the realm of gravity, slamming down onto the 1” webbing that connected me to my wing. In one instant, time returned from eternity to perceivable chronology and, without my thinking about what was happening, the basetube was back in my hands and the glider was flying. I heard the distinct words “wholly f@#$%^ shit,” followed by a nervous laugh, before realizing that the poor bastard yelling was me. Taking stock of my situation, I started with a transmission on the radio: “Hey guys, I’m at 15.5, close to Borah, and I just tumbled. Might be coming down under canopy so please keep an eye out for me.” Sensing things were not right, I looked over to my left. Wires that were supposed to be tight to support my left wing were sagging low with no tension. I looked up behind my back and

saw the reason. The left upright of my control frame had been folded past 90 degrees from the rigid back plate on my harness slamming into it. The geometry was asymmetrical and, now, the glider would only continue to fly if two things remained intact. The wing’s carbon crossbar was carrying a load normally supported by a very strong side wire. If this broke or the damaged upright severed completely, I figured the glider would turn into a spinning mess of wreckage. I continued to take stock of the damage. The aluminum upright was folded. Across the inside radius was a span-wide crack, but luckily the outside of the aluminum was holding. While I remained pulled in, flying with excess speed, the nose wires remained equalized and the glider flew straight. I again radioed to my teammates what had happened, trying to stay composed. I knew they could do nothing for me but it was comforting somehow to connect with other voices. Strangely, it was not until then that I noticed the beeping of the variometer. F@#k, I’m going up. “Hey, guys, I’m still going up fast, and if I fly through turbulence, she’s gonna break up. I might be in trouble here.” I knew I was in trouble when ice started to form on my arms. Being snowed on from below, the gray, ominous cloudbase quickly approached above my wing. Flying as fast as I dared, I felt like a salmon swimming upstream toward the mouth of a



bear. Thankfully, I seemed to be making headway toward the edge of the cloud and wondered…should I throw my parachute? Just then, a bolt of lightning connected to the ground off to my right…no sound. Three possible scenarios quickly raced through my mind. One, I would throw my reserve and it would open, blowing me at 50+mph back under the storm and, most likely, over the back of a 12,000’ mountain range and into a massive rotor that could down an airplane. Two, I would throw it and it would open, blowing me 50+mph into the steep, rocky slopes of the Lost River range, which also didn’t sound appealing or, three, my parachute wouldn’t open. None of those options sounded better than what I was doing, so I opted to keep flying for my life. I was unsure whether I would clear the edge of the cloud before going into the white room. Talking out loud and trying to keep ice from accumulating on my face, my world was interrupted by the most intense sensation I’ve ever experienced, to this day. It was like being hit in the soul by a sledgehammer. I don’t think I was actually struck by the bolt but the sound and bright flash was almost an out-of-body experience. For the week following, I had a green line burned into my vision. “Goddammit!” I disappeared into a milky white, like jumping into a hole where the bottom is unknown. It was the only point when panic crept in, alleviated only when I started to see the world appear through the fog in bits and pieces before blasting out the side of the towering anvil. I looked down, saw Mackey reservoir almost 13,000 feet below and started to grasp at a plan. I’ve discovered the most important states of mind to have while dealing with an event like this are composure and hope. Think it through and hold your mud. I allowed thoughts of my family to creep in, but mostly just tried to work the problem. “If I land in front of the reservoir, there should be the least amount of mechanical turbulence close to the ground, and I’ll, just maybe, I’ll be able to land this bitch.” It’s funny how talking out loud, as if to convince yourself, is somehow comforting—like a friend by your side. To get to the sage flats surrounding the reservoir far below, I had to turn, and the glider had to stay together. Stay together, baby! I was over the middle of the valley now and in strong sink and turbulence. Every time the glider banged through rough pockets of entraining air, I yelled at the top of my lungs to somehow release some of the stress that the previous 45 minutes had produced. Long ago, the intensity of sensory overload had worn off, and the part of my brain that operates exactly as it does in normal life, as opposed to the dreamlike



state that occurs during an accident, had taken hold again. Clearly, I had to test the system and capabilities of my aircraft. This was the only way to see what I had to work with. I started to slow down. The triangle that is essentially my steering wheel is fixed between high-strength wires that attach to the front and back of the glider. Because the upright is essentially shorter on the left, the wires on that side were no longer equalized. Slowing down caused the control frame to feel unattached to the wing, and I found myself in an unintentional spiraling dive. It took all of my strength to mantle toward the high wing, using both hands on the right upright to pull enough of my weight to the side of the glider to level the wings. OK, better not do that again. Occasional encouragement from my teammates and reports of the conditions on the ground from Andy, our hero driver, kept me fighting. After almost an hour and 45 minutes, I was starting to feel physically exhausted but mentally, unwilling to give any less. “Not over till it’s over, goddammit.” Closer and closer, the ground became enticing, like climbing to a summit during one last run-out pitch. I knew after I was lower than 400’, I would no longer have the option to safely deploy my reserve parachute. Should I throw it? If the upright breaks now, I’ll lose, for sure. Maybe I should throw it, surrendering to hope for the

best. The thought of getting dragged across the desert in the 35mph wind on the ground didn’t sound appealing; the “what if ’s” of such an act felt a lot like giving in after so much work. I decided to commit to landing the broken wing. Because the only way to fly the glider reasonably straight was to fly it fast, I realized the high winds were going to help me survive. I could stay pulled in on final, flying upwind with the high airspeed I needed to keep the nose wires equalized and the glider in control, while maintaining very low ground speed, allowing touchdown to be a low-impact affair… hopefully. When my feet touched the ground, I looked up while lying on the cool fabric of the sail, the strong smell of sage from broken limbs in the air, mesmerized by the clouds developing and quickly drifting. They looked so far away. I felt the wind on my skin, heard the sound of thermals and felt the heat of the sun on my face. I relaxed and laughed from the bottom of my stomach. Everything around me, the world, the wind…it was all as it was when I launched… all the same. The world was as it had been for millennia. Nothing had changed, nothing at all. But, I would never be the same. What I learned that day has changed me forever. Not just my behavior but also who I am. On the ride back to the park that afternoon, I remember questioning whether or not I

would continue to fly. The deep “look in the mirror” had me ask myself the hard questions: Who am I? Why do I fly? Do I really need it… want it… in my life? What was I honestly flying for? Was it identity? Was it to push myself? In other words, was it that I liked the idea of BEING a hang glider pilot, or was it that I actually loved the art I had dedicated so much of my life to? The answers came with surprising ease. I am human and I make mistakes. I felt deep in my being that flying, specifically human-powered or non-motorized flight, called to me in a way that I couldn’t explain nor needed to. I knew that it fulfilled me as a person in a way that made the choice to be happy an easy one and allowed me to give the best of myself to the people I cared about most. Essentially, flying was my bliss and added pure joy to my life. If I were to quit, it would be because of fear and doubt, and if those reasons were good enough, well…. I might as well quit life. Anything worth anything in life involves risk and insecurities. I would continue flying and accept my choices with open arms, open eyes and an open heart…and a tight grip on the base tube. Although fairly traumatic, this experience, almost 10 years ago, helped show me what is trivial and what is important in my life and, for that, I will always be thankful.



Furious Flatland

Chelan, Washington


ompeting in paragliding competitions can be a mixed bag, to say the least. You can travel halfway around the world only to sit on launch in the pouring rain (a disappointment two-times US National Champion Dave Bridges once eloquently described to me as akin to “ripping up $100 bills while standing in the shower”), you can be asked to fly in conditions at a site you have never flown before that you would not sensibly fly in at home, and, worst of all, you can fly in the occasional ill-advised competition marred by constant reserve tosses, injuries, and even fatalities. Most pilots who continue to compete in paragliding competitions have a way of forgetting about such ordeals, however, and the selective memory of a seasoned competition pilot only recalls those glorious days when the combination of location, conditions, and the company of a hundred or more other skilled pilots result in the kind of flights you will value for the rest of your life. But every now and then, a competition comes along that actually showcases how great paraglider racing can be and, in the process, redefines what is and should be possible. For North American paragliding, the 2014 US Paragliding Nationals in Chelan, Washington—a competition consisting of seven tasks flown in seven days, with a task length average of over 100 km and, most impressively, without a single major accident or incident—will be remembered as exactly that kind of milestone event by all those fortunate pilots who attended. Not that there was much of an indication of the kind of a week we were about to have during the practice days, which,

in a reversal of most competitions I have flown in, served up the weakest conditions. Nor did the long-range weather forecast hint at how good things would be, with strong winds predicted for the middle of the week. And, at the pilots’ meeting the night before the competition started, most pilots wouldn’t have predicted we would fly more than four tasks during the ensuing week, when three good tasks is the average for most paragliding competitions and sites. But Chelan Butte isn’t a typical site, a fact that would become more and more obvious as the week wore on, and it became clear that these 2014 US Nationals had no intention of being a typical or average competition. Having been the site for numerous national and international hang gliding and paragliding competitions over the years, the Chelan area is rightfully famous for its flatland flying. But what you learn first about flying “the Butte” is that the crux of the day occurs during the first two thermals—the thermal off launch, and the first thermal on “the flats” that lie on the side of the Colombia River opposite the Chelan Butte at approximately the same altitude as the top of the Butte. This meant (in practical terms) that first you had to endure the often crowded thermal off launch (often the roughest of the day), patiently get as high as you possibly could, and then glide, along with some daring group, across the Columbia River Gorge onto the flats, where you suddenly found yourself precariously close to the ground. This transition from above the Butte onto the flats has been known to fool the best of pilots, and the conditions during the Nationals were not particularly strong (for Chelan), meaning that virtually every group that crossed over seemed to drop a pilot or two on the rim, their day over

Flying Frenzy

2014 US Paragliding Nationals by


LEFT Nick Greece over goal on the first day | photo by Josh Cohn.



recording their first 100-mile (160km) flight. Task 6: 92.5km out-and-return. 40+ in goal. Task 7: 103km. A unique and entertaining crossshaped task flown for the first time in the USA. 32 pilots in goal. Average task length: 110 km. Task validity: 100%!

Impressions from the Racing:

before the race had even started. Those who did manage to find lift would soon find themselves joined by 50 or more friends, resulting in the pre-start’s gaggle—most of the starts were out on the flats some miles from Chelan Butte—resembling a multi-colored cloud of Monarch butterflies, as 100-odd pilots hovered outside the start cylinder waiting for the invisible flag to fall and the racing to begin.

A Brief Recap of the Racing: Task 1: 105km race-to-goal. 41 pilots in goal. The best looking day of the week, at least for clouds. One competitor kept flying past goal and went nearly all the way to Idaho. Task 2: 102.4km triangle. 57 pilots in goal, many who had never flown a 100km triangle before. Task 3: 102.9km race-to-goal. Task stopped due to smoke from forest fires. Task 4: 65.4km. The only day of the week that looked unflyable due to wind early on; the organizers did an excellent job of getting in a late task. Task 5: 200.5km. The longest task in North American paragliding history and the longest ever completed in the world. This task was flown on a day with perhaps the weakest conditions of the competition! 38 pilots in goal, with many pilots



1. The dominance of the new Ozone Enzo 2. Definitely the glider to beat, six of the top 10 pilots were on the Enzo 2. 2. The continued dominance of the Old School. Despite inspired performances by Matt Senior, Brad Gunnuscio, Michal Hammel, and Jared Anderson, the top three US pilots would in the end be three of its most experienced international pilots; Eric Reed (3rd), Josh Cohn (2nd) and the new US National Champion, Nick Greece. Impressively, all three American pilots beat the French pilot Charles Cazaux, in 4th place, who was the #2-ranked pilot in the world in 2013. 3. The caliber of the pilots competing. With 111 competitors from 16 countries, this US Nationals was an international affair, and the standard of racing was high. Long gone are the days where if you made goal every day you won the competition. Now you have to make goal every day just to have a chance. 4. The competitiveness of the Sport class. Despite the impressive performance of the Enzo 2, the Sport class was an equal revelation, with over 30 competitors on Ozone Delta 2s and Gin Carreras mixing it up with the competition gliders, and Dmitri Soloview, the eventual Sport-class champion, finishing in an impressive 20th place overall on an Ozone Delta 2. If there is ever to be a true One-Design Championship, as has been suggested numerous times (and tried by the PWC in the early 2000s), it would seem like this latest class of EN B and C gliders are made for the task, with a truly impressive

combination of safety and performance. 5. The growth of the Women’s class. With a record 14 women pilots competing in this US Nationals, it would seem that more and more women pilots are finally joining the competition ranks. In the end, Nicole McLearn was crowned US Women’s Champion, while all pilots present were impressed by the French-Japanese pilot Seiko Fukuoka, who finished 19th overall on her Ozone R 12. (USHPA rules state that open-class glider can fly, but will not be counted in the final results). 6. Controversy. No competition is complete without

a little controversy, and this was amply supplied by the introduction of “the cone rule,” as it quickly became known. Designed to increase pilot safety by negating the use of the speedbar close to the ground on the way into goal, the basic idea was that as soon as you recorded a four-to-one glide into goal, you had reached the finish line. This meant that instead of racing into goal as most competitors were used to doing, you now had to climb as high as possible on what would be final glide. This rule change left a lot of competitors dazed and confused, especially after being told at the pilot briefing

OPPOSITE Pete "Reaper" Michelmore runs to kick dust in a dust devil on launch.. ABOVE Beebe Bridge campground en route to the soccer field LZ in Chelan | photo by Josh Cohn.

that the new rule would not be used. Consequently, there was a lot of grumbling when pilots learned they had been beaten by someone who was higher but clearly behind them. Inconsistencies between pilots’ instruments led to the threat of protests, and despite its obvious advance towards safety, the new rule was dropped for the final race. It will be interesting to see how successful the introduction of this new rule will be internationally.

In the end … These 2014 US Nationals will be remembered as one of the most competitive, most fun, and safest competitions in the short history of North American paragliding, and Nick Greece is a worthy United States Champion. Much credit needs to be given to the efforts of first-time organizer Kimberly Phinney of White Owl Paragliding and her dedicated team of volunteers, drivers, and score keepers (Bill Hughes and Dave Wheeler), who worked very long hours during this arduous competition. Also, the choice of former Women’s World Hang Gliding Champion and long-time paraglider pilot Kari Castle as the meet director was an



inspired one. American paragliding can only hope that Kari will consider carrying on in this new facet of her illustrious flying career, since she displayed the right combination of humor, professionalism, and sheer experience that make for a top-notch meet director. Kudos must also be given to the task committee (Josh Cohn, Hayden Glatte, and Bill Hughes) and the weather committee (Hayden Glatte, Dave Norwood, Rick Ray) for having the skill and imagination to call a full week of epic tasks.

Afterword: One of the reasons this article has been so difficult to write is that a few days after the end of the competition, and after a two-week period that had seen over a thousand foot-launches off Chelan Butte with virtually no incidents, the popular and respected pilot David “Preacher” Norwood died upon impact, after taking a large collapse off one of those very same launches, at what was practically his home site. Although I cannot claim to have known Preacher well, I, like many others, had been impressed by his obvious love of flying. He had presented weather conditions to the competitors each

day at both the Chelan Nationals and the Woodrat competition in Oregon before it, and the day before his death, we had bounced up to launch together in the back of a pick-up truck at Baldy Mountain (his true home site) as he enthusiastically filled me in on the promise of the day. Having just completed one of the safest paragliding nationals in US history, and enthusiastically wanting to be able to declare that paragliding could be entering a new golden age, Preacher’s death seems all the more unreal somehow, a cruel ending to a fabulous fairy tale that makes no sense at all. And reminds me yet again, of Helen Keller’s words: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” RIP, Preacher.

OPPOSITE Josh Cohn on glide during the longest task ever completed in the world | photo by Nick Greece. TOP Goal in St. John. ABOVE Pete Michelmore, one of the best comp volunteers ever, on retrieve with some Hawaiian flying monkeys | photo by Bill Hockensmith.



Lookout Mountain, Tennessee Adam Bain



Dare to DREAM by

G reg kn u dson


year ago, after breaking a world record for speed over an out-and-return course of 100 kilometers (62 miles), friends threatened to run out and buy the Guinness Book of World Records. Disappointment followed when I’d explain that my achievement would never be found in a book next to the guy with the 32-foot-long fingernails. Mention the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), and you’ll be confronted with blank stares (though this sometimes happens when I mention the word paragliding, too). Nevertheless, since 1905, the FAI has been responsible for officially recording all milestones of aerospace achievement—some 16,000 of them. And though my humble effort pales in comparison to Charles Lindbergh’s or Yuri Gagarin’s, it is still a source of immense satisfaction to know our names share the same ledger, and that I, too, have contributed in some small way to pushing back the frontiers of what is possible. Why then, when we think about competition, are FAI records the last thing to come to mind? Have we been so conditioned to equate the term “world record” with the near impossible that we tend to dismiss it as beyond the scope of ordinary humans like ourselves? In our sport, you don’t have to be the bionic man, or woman, to break a world record; and unlike Felix Baumgartner, you don’t have to step off a balloon-platform 24 miles above earth, either. Yes, some amazing records have been set, especially in the distance categories. But what if I were to tell you there are still records out there begging to be broken, mine included? Indeed, there are even some official records that have never been set at all, especially in the continental category.

Choose your record So what do you have to do to break or set an FAI record? To begin with, be prepared to negotiate a gauntlet of bureaucracy. Every year, quite a few claims are invalidated simply because some detail (and there are a lot of them) of the FAI’s strict parameters was not adhered to. The point I can’t emphasise enough is that preparation plays an immense role not only in successfully breaking a record, but also, and just as importantly, in getting it validated. Begin by becoming familiar with the Sporting Code on the FAI website (www.fai.org). Read the general section, giving special attention to section 7D (Records and Badges). Therein, you will LEFT Felix Woelk snaps a few shots to warm up for the record attempt.



find a list of all the different types of records, along with their definitions: • Straight distance • Straight distance to a declared goal • Declared out-and-return distance • Free out-and-return distance • Distance around a declared triangular course • Free distance around a triangular course • Free distance using up to 3 turn points • Speed around triangular courses of 25, 50, 100, 150, and all multiples of 100 km • Speed over out-and-return courses of 100 and all multiples of 100 km • Gain of height I’ll not go into the specifics of each here. In short, there are both distance and speed records. Other than gain of height, the FAI doesn’t recognize altitude as a category for our sport (sorry, Eva). Most of these records can be classified as either open or to a declared goal. In the latter case, an official task declaration must be filled out beforehand and the planned coordinates entered into your GPS.

Select your category Each of these records is represented at the national, continental, and world levels. The various categories include general, female, and multiplace (tandem). National records are validated by each country’s national aero club, NAC; the FAI validates continental and world records. In most cases, in order to beat a record you’ll need to improve the previous performance by one percent. Of course, in cases where there is no previous record, all that is necessary is to complete the task. If you’re not clear about any of this (and it can be rather confusing), write to Igor Eržen (igorerzen@gmail.com). He’s in charge of records for CIVL, the FAI’s branch of our sport. Igor is very helpful, but if he gets stumped, you can also apply directly to the FAI’s record department online.

Prepare yourself If all this is beginning to sound rather tedious, you’ll be pleased to know that once the bureaucracy has been addressed, the excitement begins. I’m not being melodramatic when I say that the quest to break an FAI record can be one of the most motivating, challenging, nail-bitingly intense, and deeply rewarding experiences of your flying career. It

ABOVE Greg Knudson getting the retrieve vehicle dialed. OPPOSITE Greg Knudson—determined.



begins with the spark of a question (can I?), ignites into the kindling of a dream (I believe I can), and before you know it, it’s consuming most of your thoughts and much of your spare time. At the moment when all of your ambitions approach re-

ality, and you recognize that what you have worked so hard for is truly within your grasp, all I can say is, few emotions burn with greater incandescence. In preparation for my last world-record attempt—speed over an out-and return course of 200 kilometers (124 miles)— set in the Kerio Valley in Kenya in January—I worked out religiously for months beforehand, losing 15 pounds in order to be in the best possible physical condition and weight range for my glider, one which, of course, I had painstakingly chosen specifically for this task: Ozone’s Enzo 2, which at the time was only available in size M. I spent hours and hours studying weather patterns and analyzing tracks of the Kerio Valley on XContest, as well as scrutinizing Google Earth in the greatest possible detail, before deciding upon the precise coordinates, not only for the task, but for where I would need to be, and at what time, were I to succeed. I even spent hours meditating, trying to cultivate my powers of concentration and condition myself mentally for the task. So motivated was I by this challenge, that not a moment of it seemed like work or sacrifice—in fact, quite the contrary (though I can’t claim my wife shares this view).

Be creative With the above in mind, while browsing the current records on the FAI website, try to be innovative and envision the pos-



sibilities. Try to see opportunities that perhaps others have missed. It is here that the spirit of record-breaking is born and where you must summon the same powers of imagination and vision that have inspired every pilot who ever pushed the possibilities of flight, from Lilienthal to Fosset. You may even discover your old familiar home site is a perfect location for attempting one or the other record. In January, five pilots in New Zealand—Groves, Hamilton, Hystek, Middendorf, and Muir—submitted concurrent claims for a straight distance to a declared goal. Since no previABOVE Greg flying his Enzo 2 into the history books.



ous claim existed, a new continental record for Oceania was thus conceived. The total distance was just 71.83 km. How cool is that? Or perhaps, while messing around with Google Earth, you stumble upon a site no one has ever considered before. Oliver Guenay recently drew my attention to an escarpment in North Africa that is well over 125 miles long. In a nanosecond, the first thing that went through my mind was the unclaimed world record, speed over an out-and-return course of 300 kilometers (185 miles). The fact is, we haven’t begun to

Recent record claims 31 December 2013 | World Record

28 January | World Record

Speed over a triangular course of

Speed over an out-and-return course

300 km (HG): 48.3km/h

of 100 km (HG): 90.41km/h

From Burgsdorf, Namibia

Jonny Durand (AU)

Jochen Zeyer (DE)

Nullabor National Park, Australia


Moyes Litespeed RX 3.5

31 December 2013 | World Record

30 January | South American Record

Distance over a triangular course

Free distance using up to three turn

(HG): 406 km

points (PG female): 161 km

From Burgsdorf, Namibia

Claudia Otilia Guimares Ribeiro (BR)

Jochen Zeyer (DE)

From Santa Teresinha, Brazil


Sol Synergy 5

19 January | World Record

31 January | Oceania Record

Speed over an out-and-return course

Distance to a declared goal: 71.83 km

of 200 km (PG): 36.22km/h

Five pilots flew together from Mt

From Nyeru, Kenya

Murchison in New Zealand to set

Greg Knudson (LU)

this previously unclaimed record.

Ozone R11

Peter Groves (NZ), Nova Mentor 3; Grey Hamilton (NZ), Ozone Delta;

20 January | World Record

Phil Hystek (AU), Gin Carrera; Grant

Speed over an out-and-return course

Middendorf (NZ), Gin Boomerang;

of 100 km (PG tandem): 33.17km/h

Rueben Muir (NZ), Gin Carrera.

From Nyeru, Kenya Hunter Marrian (GB)/Felix Wolk (DE)


28 January | World Record Speed over an out-and-return course of 300 km (HG): 71.28km/h Jonny Durand (AU) Nullabor National Park, Australia Moyes Litespeed RX 3.5

exploit the possibilities. In a recent conversation with David Prentice, who held the world straight distance record for one day—until Will Gadd took it from him with a 263-mile flight— he’s convinced, “Zapata, Texas, is just waiting for someone to raise the bar!” Indeed, since then, I understand Nick Greece, Luc Armant, and Russell Ogden were recently in Texas trying to do just that. Dare to dream!

The big day On the big day, as you sort through your gear, you’re going to need three things: an FAI sporting license, an official observer, and a GPS unit that can append an electronic signature (known as a G-record) to an IGC flight log (by the way, IGC stands for International Gliding Commission and is itself an

FAI creation). Not to be confused with an IPPI card, your NAC is generally responsible for issuing FAI sporting licences. Before it can do so, it must itself be an active member of the FAI (some countries aren’t). Without an FAI sporting license, it’s still possible to break an FAI record (Gagarin never had one), but I’ll wager yours will have to be the first paraglider in space before they decide to validate it. Here again, apply to the FAI if you need help. With regard to official observers: Although the FAI’s requirements are surprisingly uncomplicated (one must be familiar with section 7D; be independent and not be perceived to have a conflict of interests), it’s not uncommon for a NAC to have additional requirements of its own. That said, it’s been my



experience that if armed with a reasonable solution, and if contacted early enough, both the FAI and the relevant NACs are eager to help. With regard to your IGC-file-recording vario/ GPS: Yours would not be the first broken heart to discover the bloody thing malfunctioned. Bring two!

After the flight Remember, just because you’ve completed your task, your work is not yet done. The flight-checking part can be just as nerve-wracking and demanding. After my gruelling ordeal in Kenya in January, as we proceeded to double-check the points I had chosen using the FAI’s online distance calculator to make certain they were correct, we accidentally entered the wrong coordinates. For several excruciating minutes, I nearly hyperventilated as we kept coming up with a figure that was a miserable three meters short of what it should have been. Be thorough! And don’t forget: Your preliminary claim must be sent to the FAI by your NAC within seven days!

Go break a record In conclusion, FAI record flying has many advantages over other types of competition. You, the pilot, get to decide where, when, and even which type of task to fly. Unlike online contests, your score isn’t zeroed at the beginning of each flying season, and you don’t have to enter six flights to be at the top ABOVE Greg dials it in over the plains near the Kerio Valley. LEFT, TOP The tandem record crew, and Greg Knudson after their success. BOTTOM It takes a team to smash a record!



of the list either: just one. If you’re not into playing chicken with 150 testosteronepumped-adrenaline-surged pilots in a start cylinder, fly alone, or fly with a select group of your best bro’s. Compete against them, or share the glory by submitting multiple, identical claims. The choice is yours. Tired of traveling thousands of miles to an event where you fly three out of 12 days, or don’t fly at all because your incredible, very expensive, brand-new wing was outlawed a day before the comp (or two tasks into it)? Welcome to the world of FAI record flying! Not only is it possible to submit a claim from anywhere in the world, you also can fly whatever glider you choose—from training-hill blimp to an AIR Atos VR. See you at launch somewhere on planet Earth! Originally from California, Greg Knudson lives and works in Europe as a cargo airline pilot. He flies paragliders under the Luxembourg flag. He holds two world records for speed, both set in the Kerio Valley, Kenya, and is currently planning to attempt two more world records in Namibia, in January, 2015.



Young Pilots by


eing young. Most of you reading this either remember or currently understand that being young isn’t always easy. Yes, our parents feed us and pay our phone bills and take care of all the other things that qualify us to be called dependents on tax forms; but they can only teach us so much about navigating day-to-day life, inter-



g r iffin Hoc hstette r acting with other people, and developing our own identities. I believe I was very fortunate in having a father who was able to share with me and teach me something that’s valuable to my life—hang gliding. I began training at Morningside Flight Park when I was nine and continued until I was 12, when I stopped for a while.

The following year I resumed training at Mountain Wings Flight School in Ellenville and took my first mountain launch at the age of 14. After that, my father and I flew as much as possible in every location where I could go. Currently, I am an instructor at Mountain Wings and fly every day I can. Yet I still have time to reflect on what I have learned thus far, and how I visualize the sport of hang gliding. I have broken down these reflections into different categories that might make my random onslaught of thoughts clearer. Hopefully, the reader will be able to catch a glimpse of the world of free flight from at least one young person’s perspective.

The Microscope I call the greatest disadvantage of being a young pilot “The Microscope.” The microscope is a feeling all pilots experience both when they are new and when they are the best, but it’s taken to a different level for young people because of concern for their welfare. When people are worried about your safety, or doubt your decisionmaking abilities, they tend to pay closer attention to what you do and the way you comport yourself in certain situations. When I am on launch, I often find two to three people under each wing giving me advice, when all I desire is a quiet space to remain in the focused state I had reached before hooking in. And while I appreciate their concern and know it is coming from a place of caring, I am eager to be viewed as someone with confidence in the eyes of other, older, and better pilots. When one is young, the “microscope” can cause a fastacting domino effect on one’s decision-making. It begins when someone you respect has doubts in your ability, almost instantly causing you to have doubts, which can lead to a less-than-optimum mindset and a blown launch. A blown launch is (luckily) something I have never experienced, but

the intense pressure caused by many eyes looking critically upon me is common. No young pilot will be able to trust his/her judgment and decision making if he/she feels no one else does. To sum up the microscope: We young pilots are grateful for advice and caring scrutiny, but instead of saying, “I blew launch here two years ago and broke my legs,” perhaps it’s better to pat us on the back before launch and offer, “You got this, dude! Just be careful!”

Judgment Coming to a conclusion or making decisions is not always easy, and without a solid knowledge of oneself, it can be even more difficult. In aviation, we continually make decisions, and all of them need to be made with care and thought. Of course, we can focus on a few that stand above the others in importance, like the decision to launch. As a young pilot, I often fell victim to two launch scenarios. The first was trepidation to go, driven by horror stories of mid-day flying, which forced me to sit and watch older pilots launch while I waited until the day was winding down. The other was a classic example of a bad attitude and lack of careful thought, in which I would launch way too early and sink out, only to come back up and get my butt kicked by mid-day conditions (not necessarily scary but still rough), and then be too tired to catch the good stuff. At this time I turned to my mentors, those pilots whom I respected and ones who would take time to give me advice. I distinctly remember a suggestion Lindsey Chew, a man I have a massive amount of respect for, gave me on launch. He told me that when deciding if I wanted to launch in a set of conditions, I should first ask myself if I want to land in the same conditions, then ask myself if I want to fly in these conditions, and, finally, ask myself if I want to launch in them. This stuck

ABOVE Matt Hickerson at Henson Gap | photo by Chlöe Dietrich. ABOVE Ryan Voight hanging out, sometime before his first flight | photo by Paul Voight.



with me and has become a part of my pre-launch routine. These little bits of good advice and practices can help a young pilot develop good decision-making skills. It is always more productive to create a smart pilot than to annoy one to the point of his making bad choices.

Categorized Another concern common to young pilots is the feeling of being judged by age rather than flying ability. We are often placed in the category of daredevils who are, in the minds of older pilots, overconfident. Yes, we are young and in some ways oblivious to potential danger. Yes, we can be jokesters and attention seekers. Yes, we can make bad decisions. But

everyone else can, too. It is important to recognize moments that all of us (both young and old) share while standing on launch preparing to run, when we are completely focused on what we are doing. Young pilots realize that understanding aviation and the responsibility that comes with it is an important step in not being thrown by others into a category of bad pilots. We want to be viewed in the same way you view pilots who have been flying for 37 years.

Advice As mentioned, we young pilots do receive a lot of advice from our more accomplished elders, wanted or unwanted. Only two days ago, for example, Ryan Voight talked me out

ABOVE The author launching his Super Sport 143, circa 2001. OPPOSITE Ryan Voight’s first flight, July 1, 1989 (four years old) | photo by Paul Voight.



of going straight to a topless from my Sport 2, suggesting that I spend time instead on the U2, in order to acquire the judgment and more precise flying abilities to succeed in a topless. Although at the time I was blinded by the appeal of the topless and didn’t want the advice, it only took me a few hours to realize I would be a better, safer pilot if I spent time on the next-step glider, just as Ryan had suggested. One of the most amazing parts of being a young pilot is the free advice you can get at any time when you ask for it. Living at a flight park, I frequently (every five minutes) ask questions of some amazing pilots like Dave Hopkins and Greg Black and always receive complete and thoughtful answers. We all know that pilots love to tell you what they think, but it has always felt to me that older pilots give more complete and considerate answers to young pilots than to the more experienced ones.

Respect One more condition of being young pilots frustrates us—a feeling of not being respected in the community when we’re talking about flying. It can be very difficult to convince other people, even new pilots, that we know what we are talking about, or to command their respect and have them truly listen to us. I believe, and I know I am not alone in this mindset, that it is this lack of respect and acknowledgement that drives us to reach for the stars. It is almost as if we feel we have something to prove to the world. I also believe this attitude can be the downfall of a young pilot, for it can lead to our pushing the limits of what we can do and what our gliders can do to the breaking point, and the breaking point in aviation can quickly mean death. Is there a way to rid us of this feeling? In reality, most likely not. Older pilots will always feel that younger pilots have no idea what they are doing, and young pilots will probably always feel as if they are not being heard or respected. But we can try to listen a little better, acknowledge a good point when a younger pilot makes one, and try our best to keep the younger generation “in the loop” when it comes to our great community. It is the feeling of friendship and belonging that

keeps us happy and safe.

Flying Flying, as we all know, is a truly special experience. For the young, it can also be a driving and motivating force. Watching more experienced pilots drives us to be better, and motivates us to fly as much as possible in order to acquire the skills and finesse they have. We all fly with a goal in mind, be it either to have fun or to reach the top of the stack, but it has always seemed to me that younger pilots have larger, more farreaching goals. For example, I (17) personally aspire to be a champion world’s pilot, and my friend Matt (21) wants to be a champion speed-gliding pilot. I also know that Ryan Voight, from a very young age, wanted to be the best aerobatic pilot and still does. Look where is he now. They say youth is the greatest gift of life, and I believe this is true. It gives us the time we need to become what we dream of, and it gives us a lack of preconceived ideas and fears which would otherwise hold us back. It also allows us to see through the politics, which might exist around certain sites and certain types of flying, and it enables us to appreciate flying on the most intimate level, as a pure and wonderful experience.


ou’ve made it through my random thoughts and the thoughts of many others. Give me one more minute to wrap this up. Being young is amazing. Flying is amazing. When you put the two together, you get something truly special. Now factor in all the more experienced pilots, the new pilots, the sky-god pilots, and the rest of the best and you get our larger hang gliding community. This tightly knit group of people is rare in the modern world, something we must treasure and protect. As young pilots, we, too, desire that this type of community never change, and we hope that the older pilots within it help us with this task by sharing with us their knowledge and listening to ours. Just remember, the next time you see a younger pilot, that they, too, are nervous, and they, too, want to fly safe. So give them a pat on the back and tell them: “Be safe, and kick some butt!”




n last month’s magazine I introduced a group of hang glider pilots who consider themselves recreational XC competitors. No, there’s no contradiction in those terms—we’re talking about the sport-class pilots, who fly the USHPA sanctioned comps on kingposted gliders, and who relish the learning experiences and the camaraderie more than the numbers on the score sheets (although, they admit, flying a personal best or making it to goal or placing well for the day can be a heady experience). Just after last summer’s ECC I asked several of the sport-class competitors to describe their favorite XC flight, whether competing or free-flying. You read Cliff Rice’s tale in last month’s “The One” column, and you’ll find Cory Barnwell’s at the end of this issue. Here are several more stories that will take experienced XC pilots back to their “first time” and, perhaps, inspire XC wannabes to take that initial, scary step towards leaving the known LZ behind. Not surprisingly, these fledgling XC pilots have a wide gamut of criteria for identifying a flight as “favorite.” Dana Harris had no trouble picking his. “Easy!” he exclaims, and elaborates: “On Day 1 at the ECC, the first time I ever turned downwind and left the area I went 10 km for 14th place—out of 14 pilots. Each successive day I advanced at least one spot in the ranking, but I couldn’t seem to make goal—it was one-and-done for me with the thermals. I realized I had to fly with others to learn what I was doing wrong. Finally on Day 6 they called the first long task, 50 km. A bunch of us sporties flew together, climbed out together in the start circle and then took turns leaving the thermal first and marking the next. I had my first low save on that flight— I was down to 700 feet, unzipped and ready to start my pat-

tern when I spotted circling birds at the far end of the field. I headed over and whoosh! Up and out to 4500 feet! All of a sudden I had a bunch of my fellow sporties underneath me, as I had marked one of the better thermals of the day. I accepted that I needed to take smaller bites of the apple, taking every thermal I found and maxing out the altitude each time. It was slow but it worked, and six sport-class pilots got to goal. Awesome! It was such a feeling of accomplishment to finally make goal—we did it together, and we didn’t need the open-class guys to show us the way.” Richard Milla also lists that ECC Day 6 flight as his favorite. “I flew 73.6 km, from Ridgely, Maryland to somewhere in Delaware, in just over three hours. That was my first time to goal in a hang glider—I actually reached goal, at about 50 km out, with about 2500’ AGL. I was in lift so I decided to continue flying. The start of the open-class task was same as the sport task that day, and I had programmed the open task into my instrument, so I just continued on the open-class courseline. This was just a really fun flight, with a lot of climbs being with one or two other people, alternating between me showing other people where it was and vice versa. Great views, due to the flat terrain—I was able to watch the fleet launch over the airfield while I was climbing up. Towards the end, I was just overtaken by the eventual sport-class winner, Felix Castenau, but we essentially glided in to land together—very fun, lots of waving and shouting at the fun of it all.” Knut Ryerson couldn’t choose between Day 1 and Day 3 at the ECC. On both days, he says, he flew “low, high, low and high and was always able to find lift in the last minute. On Day 3 I made it to goal having to fight forever low, during

ABOVE Sport-class pilot Alejandro Gonzales on tow at MacMahon-Wrinkle Airport during the 2014 Big Spring Nationals | photos by Ryann Quinn.



The Sport-class PHENOMENON

Part 2: It's the Journey, Not the Destination by

1/3 of the flight. It was extremely rewarding and felt fantastic to fight it out and be able to stay up and finish to goal.” Knut’s ranking both these days as “favorites” are clear indication that for him, as for many of these sport-class competitors, it’s what happens along the way that makes the day stand out. Jonny Thompson puts at the top of his list “my first arrival at goal, on my first day, at Big Spring.” But rather than describing the scene at goal, he recalls with wonder some of the details of getting there: “Climbs to 10,000 feet, getting cold in August in the middle of west Texas.” Unique, unexpected experiences are often the rewards of venturing XC in a hang glider! Hugh McElrath rates his final flight of this year’s ECC as his current favorite. “I only had to dig myself out of one hole, then cruised down the course line from cloud to cloud between 3000’ and 5000’ with considerable confidence that I would find lift under each one. With the clear air, I could see ships in Delaware Bay off my left wing, and the Chesapeake Bay on my right. Of course, it’s nice that I won the day and took second in sport class—once you find out you have a shot at being competitive, then you can take some satisfaction in that aspect—but that flight would be memorable without the competition.”

C .J. S T UR TE VA N T For Michelle Haag, her favorite flight “tends to be my latest personal best, and right now that’s the last flight of the 2014 ECC, which is both my longest (2.5 hours) and farthest (40.6 km) flight, and my lowest save on an XC flight. I wound up alone and I worked really hard for the entire flight—I left the start circle around 4200’ and I was in sink on and around the course line until I got down around 800’. I was unzipped, visor up and had my approach planned out, when I got a beep on my vario. Since I was already comfortable with my landing options, I was able to focus enough to stay with that broken lift, and I worked it slowly, slowly, up to 1000’, then 2000’. It got stronger and more organized as I got higher, and I was able to eventually make it up over 5000’. By this point I was completely alone, in a blue hole with clouds just out of reach, so as I continued on course, stopping for every little beep so I wouldn’t get low again. “I stayed above about 2500’ until I got to the sea of trees I’d have to cross in order to make goal. I found a thermal, but just couldn’t seem to stay with it, so I flew as far down the course line as I dared and then turned back for a good landing in a nice-looking field. I got picked up and driven to goal (which was a drop zone for skydivers) and while the guys were packing up their gear I signed up for a skydiving



tandem. What a great way to end the week!” Richard Elder also marks that last flight at the ECC as his favorite. It was his longest in both time and distance, but more significantly, “I was able to piece together all the information and experience from the previous days to be able to make goal. I had a couple of low saves, learned the value of patience and persistence, found good lines on glide, and my decision-making was good. I initially flew in the gaggle but was second-guessing my decisions and felt like I was chasing from behind so I struck out on my own and worked it out for myself. I made mistakes, hung out in thermals too long, drifting downwind on the course line. I could have flown faster when at altitude—I arrived high at goal. But, watching the distance-to-goal count down on my flight computer, monitoring my speed and altitude, scanning ahead for the goal field and spotting it, realizing that I was actually going to make it (a huge 53 km!) that I’d done that myself, for myself was just magical. Accomplishment, relief, excitement, fatigue, adventure, discomfort, setting a goal and making it, adversity, risk, comedy (finding a thermal because of the smell of chicken poo at 2000’—the lift must be upwind in that direction!), success, show-boating (goal was a parachute school, and there must have been an element of burning it in to land to show the jump students the error of their ways). It is worthy of a play by Shakespeare!”

In contrast, until he went to the Sport-class World Championships last summer, Stephan Mentler’s favorite XC flight was one of his shortest. “The holy grail of XC flights at Kitty Hawk,” he explains, “is making the relatively short flight from the Currituck County Airport to the dunes. It involves, among other things, a large water crossing. To my knowledge it has only been completed twice in the KHK’s history. I went for it and flew as far as the Wright Memorial Bridge (about 20 miles) but I didn’t feel that I had the altitude to safely cross the water and could not find a climb. So I flew back north and landed several miles away from the Weeping Radish where I and several others from the airport had a great lunch.” But he recently sent me this update: “My new most memorable cross-country flight took place in Annecy, France, two days before the beginning of the Sport-class World Hang Gliding Championships. I was planning on taking a quick flight ahead of the practice day, as it had been some time since I had flown in the mountains. The Spanish national champion, Pedro Garcia, was at launch and kindly oriented the US pilots to the area around Lake Annecy and provided some key local knowledge. Forty-five minutes later I was in the air. Twenty minutes after that, I was cruising at 9000’ MSL and flew the ‘tour du lac,’ a popular cross-country trek and rite-of-passage for local and

ABOVE Davis Straub and Belinda Boulter checking out the sport-class launch lineup at Big Spring | photo by Ryann Quinn. OPPOSITE TOP Brian Morris double-checking his instruments. BOTTOM Jeff Bohl towing up. Photos by Belinda Boulter.



visiting pilots alike. After several hours in the air, I landed at the LZ in Doussard, replete with an outdoor cafe that served beer, burgers, and coffee.” Judging from these two accounts, Stephan’s post-flight dining experiences are integral aspects of his favorite-flight memories! Pat Halfhill says he doesn’t keep a logbook so he’s not sure exactly when he flew his favorite flight—probably last year— but the details are perfectly clear in his memory. “It wasn’t my longest or highest flight,” he recalls. “It was the realization of what I had been working toward for the last few years. I had gotten up at the north end of a ridge while Pete (Lehmann) had gotten up a few miles south and had gone over the back. We had lost radio communication (he flies fast!) and I was on my own. Twenty-plus miles into the flight he raised me on the radio to report that he had landed near Winchester, Virginia, 20 miles away. I was able to find Winchester on my GPS, put the town in as a waypoint, and navigate to it and land at an airport nearby.” Bi-wingual pilot Dave Williams has “so many memories of so many flights, it’s hard to pick a favorite. One that has stuck with me for the longest time was in Bulgaria, on final glide after already covering around 40 km. I could see a large column of birds circling in front of me, managed to get under them around 100 feet from the field, hook in with their thermal and climb up amongst them—a hundred or more turkey vultures wingtip to wingtip with me, them eyeing me, me eyeing them. I remained

locked with them for around five minutes, so close to such huge birds before they dissipated. I climbed on up and got another 15 km that day—oh, yeah, that was on a paraglider!” Each one of these pilot’s favorite flight is memorable not only because of the distance flown or the goal achieved, but also because of the personal satisfaction of putting together all the pieces and making the right judgment calls and taking advantage of unexpected opportunities that led to accomplishing or experiencing something truly amazing. If you have strong launch and landing skills, but haven’t yet brought your dreams of flying XC to fruition, sport-class may be just the ticket for you. Check the USHPA calendar for next season’s comps, get on board, and see where it takes you—these satisfied pilots attest that the rewards you’ll reap are as much in the journey as in the destination.

HG 401: Advanced Techniques & Concepts ABOVE Hang waiting in Ellenville, N.Y. | photo by Ryan Voight.




by Ryan Voight


ometimes, it doesn’t really matter when we launch…we’re going to the moon. Sometimes, we’re lucky… even bordering on spoiled rotten! But this article is for all those other times. Aside from actually making the choice to fly or not, choosing your launch cycle is possibly the most critical decision to make in having a great flight. Get it right, and you can punch off right into a thermal, twist up on a tip and say goodbye to the ground for several hours. Time it wrong, and you’re in the LZ faster than you can comprehend how you got there. And, trust me, we’ve ALL been there! We’ll start with the easiest way to get a great cycle—bust out your stopwatch. As random as nature tends to be, a good, soarable day very often is composed of consistently spaced thermal cycles. I think it has to do with a buildup of warm air reaching a maximum level, at which time it “releases.” (Picture a trickle of water collecting droplets that slowly accumulate until they drip off an object.) Of course, thermal cycles can’t be timed to the second, but you might be able to determine if they are three, five, or ten-plus minutes apart. You can also time how long the cycles last to get an idea of how big the thermals are. This works best on days with light wind, as too much wind doesn’t let the thermals build-and-release nicely. But if there’s enough wind to disturb the thermal cycling, there might be some ridge lift that can help you hang out until a thermal comes along. However, those days aren’t what we’re talking about here. Days with “light and variable” winds offer another gift of information, if you know what to look for. A thermal consists of rising air, right? Well, when that air rises, air from all sides rushes in to replace the lifting air. So while standing on launch, one of the greatest—albeit counter-intuitive—cues to look for is when what little wind there is actually stops or blows down.

When this happens, your streamers are pointing right at the approaching thermal, and if it weren’t blowing down, it’d be fairly easy to launch right into it. But since it IS blowing down, a bit of patience is required. By all means, get ready, because as the tailwind begins to die off, the thermal is probably arriving. The stronger the thermal, the more the wind will build and build as the thermal comes up and over you. Which brings us to the last, and probably most important, thing to know when picking a great thermal cycle: Don’t miss it! This is the single most common soaring error I see people making. As that thermal approaches, the wind will begin to pick up. Look toward your thermal, off in the distance well beyond/below launch and look for tall grass or anything with leaves. Hopefully, they’re moving? As long as it’s not blowing down, GO NOW! Yeah, you’re going to have to run hard, and yeah, if you wait a little longer, it will almost certainly blow in better. But you need to intercept your thermal when it’s still IN FRONT of launch, leaving you room to turn in it and time to climb above launch so you can drift with it. If you wait any longer, second-guessing your cycle or wanting more wind to launch into, well, most of the time you’ve already missed it. Thinking about the air that rushes in to replace the lifting air makes sense, because it blows in great AT THE TAIL END of a thermal cycle—because that thermal is now behind launch and “sucking” air up the launch. Combining these tactics takes a bit a practice, and, sadly, we all will still have some days of watching our friends soar while we pack up in the LZ. I know that feeling all too well, and I hope what I’ve shared here can help you sky out more often. Time your cycle, then spot your thermal coming, and, finally, capitalize on the exact moment to launch. See you at cloudbase (hopefully)!


Thinking Outside the Blocks Part XI: Flashback Elucidations NOTE: Many of the articles in this series focus on hang gliding, but this one is pertinent and important for paraglider pilots as well.


ur topic this month is vertigo or disorientation. We are calling it a flashback because we have covered some of this material some years ago. Recent incidences reminded me that we all need occasional updating of our awareness package, and there are always new pilots coming into our sports who probably haven’t been exposed to the lessons we have learned.

VERTIGO Vertigo is simply a disorientation brought on by a conflict among our balance sensors. Vertigo is often accompanied by nausea and dizziness and in its extreme form can cause a pilot to totally wig out and be essentially immobilized, if not unconscious. Unfortunately, this extreme form of vertigo can and does happen to hang glider and paraglider pilots (as well as pilots of airplanes, sailplanes, ultralights, etc.). Extreme vertigo is rare, but has happened often enough that we must be aware of its cause and defenses. Despite its rareness, I have witnessed three hang glider pilots and five paraglider pilots lose control due to vertigo with generally severe consequences. The last was a paraglider pilot who spiraled in from quite high near Annecy, France, by the La Forclaz landing area. He was lucky— he only went to the hospital.



by Dennis Pagen

KEEPING YOUR BALANCE Our brains have a big job to do running our systems, controlling our motion (and emotions) and keeping us upright, or at least aware of where upright is. In order for the brain to determine how we are oriented, it needs constant inputs if we are moving. There are four major sources of these orientation inputs: 1. The first and most important input comes from our eyes. The sense of vision in relation to the horizon tells our brain our positioning, while the motion of objects around us tells it how we are moving. When vision is taken away—as in total dark or total whiteout—the other orientation mechanisms must pick up the slack. No doubt we have all had a moment or two of disorientation in total dark or total whiteout. 2. The second orientation system is the inner ear’s semi-circular canals. Probably most readers are familiar with this anatomical feature. We have three canals arranged at 90 degrees to one another, so together they can sense turning motion of our head in all axes (pitch, roll and yaw as well as any combination of these). The way it works is this: Inside the canals is a fluid and tiny hairs lining the canal. When our head moves, the fluid motion is delayed due to inertia, and pushes against the hairs attached to the moving canal body. The fluid action is similar to water in a pan that you are carrying. If you turn a corner, the water piles up on the outside of the turn. It should be noted that if the turn is continuous, the fluid catches up with the

canal that contains it and then no longer sends a turning signal to the brain. This factor has implications, which we shall see later. 3. The next sensor is also in the inner ear and it is called the utricle. This organ is essentially a box with a fluid and hairs like the canals. The semi-circular canals sense rotational motion, while the utricle senses linear motion (forward and back or side to side) and acceleration. It’s the utricle that starts whining when the elevator drops or the roller coaster takes its first precipitous plunge. 4. The final orientation sensor is the proprioceptors. These sensors are certain neck muscles that tell the brain how the head is oriented. If you lean forward, muscles behind the neck contract to hold the head up; if you lean sideways, the proprioceptor on the opposite side react to hold the head. The brain detects these contractions and uses the signals to make position assumptions.

WHAT GOES RIGHT The brain takes all the input from these four elements to assess how we are hanging…and moving. We humans evolved to sit or stand upright and move in a linear manner or rotate relatively slowly. As long as we are limited to such motion, unless we have a pathological condition, we encounter no orientation problems. That’s not entirely true, of course, because many suffer from motion sickness, be it in a car, boat or plane. Since all the orientation data gets crunched in the

brain, it is no surprise that motion sickness can have a psychological factor. For example, I can read in the back of a car (or airplane) with impunity, but I have been morbidly sick on a fishing boat and sailboats on the high seas. But the good news is, for the most part you can train your brain for maintaining orientation as long as you go about it gradually, with care.

WHAT GOES WRONG Mainly, what goes wrong with our orientation systems is a conflict among the various elements. The conflict can be a mild skirmish that is soon resolved, or it can go on to be a protracted war. One example of the former is when you are in a car or train and you see a nearby car or train move out of the corner of your eye. It may seem like you are going backwards and you may feel a bit of “whoa, what’s happening?” This mild disorientation is soon resolved. Disorientation of the second sort— long-term or severe—can have more serious consequences. In its mildest form, it can make us nauseous and this malaise can last for hours. The first time I went XC over the back, was also the

first time I got to cloudbase. It was 1978, and what did I know? I was concentrating on my position and ground track and the term “cloud suck” didn’t exist. I was suddenly sucked into the cloud and whited out by surprise. I put my tail between my legs and pulled in to dive. Fortunately, the lift wasn’t too hefty and I descended. But as soon as the clouds got wispy and the ground partially appeared, I got instant severe nausea. The problem was, I was flying one direction, the clouds were drifting in another and the ground drift still another (I was flying crosswind). My untutored brain couldn’t handle the data so it decided to wig out and dish out nausea. Perhaps nausea is the brain’s message to get the tail out of there. Unfortunately, when we are in a car, boat or aircraft, we can’t always do this. My nausea didn’t cause me to lose control, but it did cause me to immediately go to land. The interesting thing here is that the nausea came on as quickly as a finger snap, and it lasted for hours. No fun at all. From this experience, I am convinced that disorientation, vertigo and total loss of control if not consciousness can also occur at the snap of the fingers. So it is

in our vital interest to see how this can occur in flight and see how we can avoid vertigo.

THE INTERNAL WAR When you start a turn in your paraglider or hang glider, your body rotates. If you coordinate the turn your body experiences a G-force pointing perpendicular to the angle of bank (see figure 1). If you are at a 45-degree coordinated bank, it feels like down is 45 degrees to actual down. This factor in itself can be disconcerting and can cause disorientation in some people. I once had a hang glider student who learned very well in the early stages, but once she got high enough to begin turns, she lost all sense of orientation. She never could get over it and eventually gave up. She was learning semi-prone. Now I realize I could have given her alternatives, such as flying seated (this was long before paragliding was a gleam in anyone’s eye) and practicing tight turns while leaning forward on a bicycle. Most of us are not affected by a simple turn. However, as bank angles get steeper and G-forces as well as rate-ofturn increase, things get more compli-

cated. After about 20 seconds of steady turning, the fluid in the utricle and the semi-circular canals settles down and no longer tells your brain that you are rotating. But your vision and muscles are saying, “It ain’t necessarily so—in fact we’re still in a turn.” It’s two against two, and the brain may not judge wisely, resulting in confusion and vertigo. There’s even more to it: We humans experience a process termed eye flicking. When we turn continuously, our eyes naturally tend to focus on one point. So the eyes move from one side to the other as we rotate. Once the eyes reach the limit to one side, they quickly flick all the way to the other side and acquire a new focus point. They then track this point until they are at the side limit and again flick all the way back to a new point. This eye-flicking process continues for as long as the fluid in the inner ear tells the brain we are rotating—about 20 seconds. Then, the eyes stop flicking and the whole moving scene around us becomes a blur. This is the point where those who tend to lose orientation lose it most often.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS There are a number of factors that make us more or less prone to vertigo. One is probably genetics. Some people may have different brain wiring or inner-ear organs that either increase or reduce their susceptibility to vertigo. Another factor is your past experience. Gymnasts with their long practice with tumbles, flips and twists have done a lot of brain training, so are probably less susceptible to brain confusion. But, of course, they never rotate in one axis for 20 seconds. So probably the best-prepared pilots are those who misspent their youth going ’round and ’round in a clothes dryer. Reduced hydration can also play a role in orientation, because lowered fluids in the body can thicken the inner ear fluids and thus change their reaction



and input to the brain. Older people often develop balance problems, but it is unclear if this phenomenon is due to dehydration, since their thirst sense becomes unreliable. Increased G-forces are also a factor leading to vertigo. Perhaps increased Gs tell the brain you are moving upward, but in a tight 360 or spiral you are actually moving down in a circle. We’ll revisit this matter below.

PRACTICE MAKES RESISTANT The biggest factor affecting your susceptibility to vertigo is your experience and practice, both long-term and recent. The fact is, you can train your brain to resist vertigo. Aerobatic pilots do this, and we all have done it at some point when we learn to do multiple 360s in thermals. Incidentally, in the early days of hang gliding—mid ‘70s—there were pilots who crashed trying their first 360. We now recommend doing first 360s away from the hill with plenty of altitude. We also recommend that new pilots add only one 360 at a time until they can do continuous 360s longer than 20 seconds. Back then I witnessed two pilots auger in doing multiple 360s. Both pilots limped away with sore bodies, and both told me they didn’t know which way was up at some point. Both were immobilized and unable to make the simple control to level their wings. Most of us get constant practice with 360s, either in thermals or above our landing fields. But tighter 360s or spirals (diving 360s) pull more Gs and should be practiced carefully by adding one turn at a time to the total. I advocate learning to do spiral dives in all my hang gliding cross-country courses because

pilots ranging farther afield can get into situations where they need to descend rapidly (cloud suck, airspace issues, threatening weather). I find that when I haven’t been doing spirals for some time I may feel a little itch of vertigo after about four high-speed, high-G diving turns. After a little practice I find I can spiral an unlimited amount. Practice will assure you have your wits about you when you need all the wits you can get. Here’s something to try: Find someplace private so there are no calls to the loony bin and spin yourself while standing, just like you did as a kid. I tried this every day for a week and found: First, I could only do about six 360s before I felt dizzy. Secondly, this dizziness lasted about 15 seconds once I stopped turning. Thirdly, after a few days I could spin more rapidly or with more turns before I got dizzy. I never could spin for 20 seconds to see what happened. Maybe I’ll keep training.

HANG GLIDING EFFECTS Our two aviation sports have different relations to vertigo, since we fly in different positions. For hang gliding, part of the problem is the prone position. We haven’t evolved to turn continuously, and we especially haven’t evolved to do it prone. This position can present a challenge to certain susceptible pilots. Hang glider pilots have another confusion factor in the fact that we can see our inside wing moving along the ground when we do a steep turn. This visual input may not correspond to what our brain expects and may further muddy the water. We recommend to new pilots to look

There are a number of factors that make us more or less prone to vertigo. One is probably genetics.

at their inside (lowered) wing when they are turning to avoid vertigo effects. One of the quickest ways to invite the unwanted guest, vertigo, is to quickly look to the outside of your turn. Of course, when thermaling in traffic it is important to look around nearly constantly, so all pilots should prepare themselves for thermaling with others by training their brain. To do this training, while in a thermal by yourself (or simply doing 360s high) slowly look a bit towards the outside of your turn, then look back at the inside wing. Gradually increase how much and how fast you rotate your head until you can look all the way to the outside, up and down and inside out at will, with rapid head movements and at all bank angles with impunity. Then you are prepared to thermal with others. A spiral (steep diving turn) on a hang glider is quite easy to do, control and stop (most hang gliders will pitch up out of a spiral after only a few turns). You have to force the glider to continue turning, but before that point you can experience vertigo, so that is another matter. The high Gs and rapid rotation in a spiral are the main problems. This is the situation where I can induce the beginnings of vertigo—it starts with slight dizziness. But with spirals you are heading pretty much in the direction your body is pointing. A spin is quite hard to do on a hang glider, but with a little effort and perhaps tuning they can be done. Spins are special because they are not coordinated and the rotation occurs about an axis that is not aligned with your body. In fact, the inside wing may be going backwards, an added confusing visual effect. Years ago when I used to do spins I found that about two rotations were enough for comfort (I never did them often). As mentioned, I have witnessed three hang glider pilots wigging out and circling all the way to the ground with

no control response. Fortunately they all walked away, but I will note that all quit the sport not long after the experience. These were all in the early days, and I expect a greater awareness of the problem and less attitude of going for it are the reasons. Almost every pilot learns in a school that provides guidance with the gradual approach to turning.

PARAGLIDER EFFECTS Paragliders are a bit different in relation to vertigo in that we generally don’t have the wing in our vision unless by choice. We can focus on a horizon point without the wing motion confusing our senses. In addition, the sitting position is one in which our brain has lots of practice orienting. However, the long pendulum (distance between pilot and wing) means that tight turns and spirals result in the pilot experiencing some sideways motion as the whole system rotates. This more complex motion can invite vertigo. Some aerobatic maneuvers have the pilot moving nearly backwards, so they have to be learned carefully (over water with guidance). Paragliders have a good degree of pendulum stability, which helps keep the glider level when the pilot loses visual contact with the ground in a cloud. However, once a serious turn starts I believe paraglider pilots are more susceptible to the wig-out factor because they can be thrown around more. Hang gliders tend to yaw around and most are a bit roll unstable, so they are more likely to initiate turning and thus disorientation as the pilot feels varied accelerations while the eyes say “nothing is happening.” The best way to prevent cloud related vertigo is to “ just say no” to entering the enticing but potentially dangerous billows. In paragliding, there are still accidents whereby the pilot turned continuously to the ground. I have witnessed five of them and all but one died or went

to the hospital. A paraglider system with the pilot swinging in a turn may result in a harder impact than with a hang glider. At any rate, paraglider pilots are warned about spiral turns, but I don’t believe most are told about the vertigo effects, the real reason spirals can be dangerous. I have heard it said that the gliders will get locked into a spiral that you can’t get out of. I think it’s the pilot that gets locked in, not the glider. I note that I have seen plenty of aerobatic pilots perform continuous spiral turns on their paragliders (of course, most of these are aerobatic designs).

YEARNING TO COPE In case you think we’re especially susceptible to vertigo, it should be noted that airplane pilots who are not trained in instrument flight have a high mortality rate when entering a cloud or getting caught after dark (John Kennedy, Jr. is an example of the latter). The life span of an airplane pilot entering clouds is measured in minutes and they tend to come out of the bottom of the cloud in what is known as a “death spiral,” wigged out and unable to respond to anything: temporary catatonia that never ends well. In sum, the first defense against vertigo/disorientation/weirding out is understanding the causes and principles. The next step is gradual practice at any maneuver. Add each turn (whether normal or spiral) one at a time. Also start with shallow maneuvers before doing them steeply. Build up your tolerance to vertigo in the air and you will be a safer pilot with more options at your disposal. It isn’t nice to find you are getting vertiginous when you have to spiral down for safety reasons. Vertigo is a form of hallucination—you see or feel something that ain’t there. But hopefully this flashback elucidation will prevent such hallucinations.









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

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 11 12 12

Patrick Malone Robert English Karen Mccain Kelsey Schweickert Eric Mead Wolfgang Von Weiler Toben Green Allen Thoe Larry Heidler Sr Jared Wilson Tim Thompson Mark Leemon Zachary Johnson Lyla Fischer Joseph Stearn Justin Evey Ron Karr Richard Karr Torren Joshua Cox Branden Gary Karel Beetge Andrew Krock E John Delmonte


Kurtis Carter Eric Hinrichs David Yount Robert Booth Patrick Denevan George Hamilton Patrick Denevan Rob Mckenzie Rob Mckenzie Christopher (kit) Martin Josh Laufer Doyle Johnson Doyle Johnson Greg Black Josh Laufer Randy Grove Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christophe Thevenot Joe Greblo Rick Brown Bart Weghorst

H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3 H-3


H-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-3 H-3

12 12 12 12 12 12 2 2 3 3 5 6 7 8 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 2 2

Thiyagarajan Meenakshisundaram NY Gary Virtue NY Barbara Rosep NY Jeffrey Dunn NY Thomas Badgwell NJ Mark Roldan NY Raymond Wooner CA Gene Tsai CA Allen Thoe CA Larry Heidler Sr CA Patrick Corcoran WY Christof Bidoggia George Aris Michalopoulos IL Scott Trueblood CT David Kin PA Ron Karr KY Richard Karr KY Torren Joshua Cox OH Collin Preston NC Alan Friday NC Arthur Benson GA Kevin Quinn NC Brett Wallace FL Jon Cook TN Chris Klinvex TN Terry Wayne Wester AL Bill Schurtz TX Andrew Krock NY Alexis Da Silva NY E John Delmonte NY Robert Ellison NY Jeffrey Dunn NY Thomas Badgwell NJ Travis Golden CA Polina Vinogradova CA

Rick Brown Greg Black Greg Black Bryon Estes Christian Thoreson Greg Black George Hamilton Eric Hinrichs Rob Mckenzie Rob Mckenzie Christopher (kit) Martin Christian Thoreson Peter Berney Greg Black Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Josh Laufer Josh Laufer Christopher (kit) Martin Jennifer Copple Jennifer Copple Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christopher (kit) Martin Christian Thoreson Rick Brown Greg Black Bart Weghorst Greg Black Bryon Estes Christian Thoreson Barry Levine John Simpson

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 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




2 2 2 2 2 2 3 5 6 6 10 10 10 10

Adam Cath Mark Kuehn Steven Ernst Alex Brozdounoff Stewart Chen Ryan Gillespie Brandon Peterson Tim Weaver Michael Watt Christof Bidoggia David Tillinghast Sergey Demin Aaron Stanford Kelly Keener


John Simpson Eric Hinrichs Harold Johnson Eric Hinrichs John Simpson John Simpson Andrew Beem Larry Jorgensen Fred Ballard Christian Thoreson Christian Thoreson Clifton Bryan Christian Thoreson Christian Thoreson




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

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2

Richard Ninh WA Richard Stewart OR Aaron Spitz OR Lynn Gullickson OR David Smith WA Jay Goering WA Nathan Skains AK Monica Lily Ann Ignacio CA

Steven Wilson Kevin Lee Wallace Anderson Kelly Kellar Maren Ludwig Ross Jacobson Frank Sihler Jeffrey Greenbaum

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

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 8 9 9 9 9 9

Jesus Aguilar Maitrik Patel Raymond Tran Chuong Do Paulo Miguel Cacione Zapparoli John Dobbins Olivier Teixeira Mark Ferrell Mike Lee Christopher Finn Peter Becker Van Bui Gene Maruyama Paton Wongviboonsin Tim Haviland Josh Anderson Jed Naisbitt John Lafferty Mark Bramwell Allison Beggs Chad Jakubowski Aaron Schreiber Carl Ellinghaus Lei Man Chon Jesse Hutchinson Artem Filipenko Tom Jenkins Jaymie Cook Archana Bhandari Sandi Carroll E.j. Shiflet

Jeffrey Greenbaum Jesse Meyer Mitchell Neary Chien (charlie) Dinh Jeffrey Greenbaum Kevin Hintze Jesse Meyer Chien (charlie) Dinh Fred Morris Jesse Meyer Stephen Nowak Stephen Nowak Gabriel Jebb Danielle Kinch Danielle Kinch Jonathan Jefferies Kevin Hintze Kevin Hintze Michele Mccullough Gregory Kelley David Thulin David Thulin Rob Sporrer Yuen Wai Kit Andy Macrae Jeffrey Greenbaum Max Marien Granger Banks Wallace Anderson Rob Sporrer Rob Sporrer



9 10 10 11 11 11 12 12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 9 9 9 9 10

Andrew Kerber Blake Deal Iii Abel Trimino Jason Tilley Brad Morton Melissa Morton Shashin Fitter Ernesto Gonzalez Richard Ninh Richard Stewart James Dukes Adam Forth Josh Norris Steve Burnett Zack Hansen Peter Lowney Richard Charles Jay Goering Sara Davis James Smith Nathan Skains Monica Lily Ann Ignacio Samuel Glasser Omar Del Valle Becky Remmel Parsa Dormiani Daniel Nunes Cameron Cannings James Kinney John Dobbins Jonathan Lau Peter Becker Eric Souther Van Bui Blake Robinson Marco Roman Charles (chuck) Gordon Doug Lidiak Josh Anderson Michael Kuenning Jed Naisbitt John Lafferty Ryan Johnson Mark Bramwell Olin Bingham Chad Jakubowski Aaron Schreiber Mark Lamartina Jr Carl Ellinghaus Jeremy Lavarenne Richard Sundin, Jr Samvit Bhardwaj Jesse Hutchinson Andrew Doyle Tom Jenkins Sandi Carroll E.j. Shiflet Yekaterina Shineleva Abel Trimino


Terry Bono Jeffrey Greenbaum Stephen Nowak Hadley Robinson Patrick Johnson Patrick Johnson Terry Bono Michele Mccullough Steven Wilson Kevin Lee Maren Ludwig Jake Schlapfer Brad Hill Steve Roti Kelly Kellar Steven Amy Steven Amy Ross Jacobson Denise Reed Denise Reed Frank Sihler Jeffrey Greenbaum Wallace Anderson Jason Shapiro Jesse Meyer James Burgess Jesse Meyer Jason Shapiro Jeffrey Greenbaum Kevin Hintze Chris Santacroce Stephen Nowak Danielle Kinch Stephen Nowak Jon Malmberg Danielle Kinch David (dexter) Binder Gregory Kelley Jonathan Jefferies Etienne Pienaar Kevin Hintze Kevin Hintze Etienne Pienaar Michele Mccullough Joshua Winstead David Thulin David Thulin Marc Radloff Rob Sporrer William Laurence William Fifer William Fifer Andy Macrae Benoit Bruneau Danielle Kinch Rob Sporrer Rob Sporrer Terry Bono Stephen Nowak

3 NEWto WSuappyorst your Sport just follow the links at RTG RGN NAME

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

11 11 11 11 11 12 12 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 12 12 12 1 3 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 8 8 12 12



Lindsay Strahle TX Garrett Boyer TX Gregory Boyer TX Brad Morton TX Melissa Morton TX James Hammer NJ Ernesto Gonzalez NY Coty Mayo AK Collie Davidson OR Steve Davidson OR Johnathan Ross AK Michael Shumate CA Mark Zinkel CA David Hogan CA Josh Chapel CA Lauren Langry CA Philip Chamberlain CA Jeffrey Grove CO Forrest Jones CO Charles Moore CO John King CO Feng Xie UT Michael Duthrie UT Jason Gerrard UT Josh Anderson UT Flynn Moffitt WY Joseph Glinka WY Andreas Von Blottnitz Nicole Francine Holmes Donna Parssinen Mariusz Piechowski CT Jeremy Nickerson MA Michael Ward GA Cristian Melniciuc GA Ionut Melnicivc GA Sean Arbuckle FL Mark Fernandez FL Joshua Goldstein TX Cathleen Oconnell NJ Walter Roncada NY Malcolm Vargas NJ Bjoern Hoppe NJ James Tucker WA Mike Branger CA Philip Gillett HI Keenan Ryan UT Patrick Thornberry WY Mike Crothers WY David Platt WY Chris Brady WY Christo Johnson ID Thomas Milko Marc Radloff MO Azizan Bin Mohamed Noor Camilo Gomez Ibarra Garcia Eduardo Garza NH Daniel Chisholm MA William Becker NY Luis Castano NY

Patrick Johnson Andy Macrae Andy Macrae Patrick Johnson Patrick Johnson Terry Bono Michele Mccullough Jake Schlapfer Kevin Hintze Kevin Hintze Kevin Hintze Wallace Anderson Jason Shapiro Rob Sporrer Stephen Nowak Gabriel Jebb Gabriel Jebb William Laurence David Thulin Gregory Kelley Granger Banks Mark Rich Mark Rich Chris Santacroce Jonathan Jefferies David Robinson David Robinson Rob Sporrer Miguel Gutierrez Davidson Da Silva Benoit Bruneau Jonathan Atwood Luis Rosenkjer Luis Rosenkjer Luis Rosenkjer Chris Santacroce Ken Hudonjorgensen Ken Hudonjorgensen Benoit Bruneau Terry Bono Terry Bono Terry Bono Stephen Mayer Gabriel Jebb Scott Harris Jonathan Jefferies David Thulin Scott Harris Kelly Davis Josh Riggs David Robinson Paulo (alex) Miranda Jaro Krupa Peter Humes James Reich John Gallagher John Gallagher John Gallagher Terry Bono

Shwag OUT With new print-on-demand products.

Bone UP With the best books and DVDs available, shipped from Amazon.com.

SMILE : ) Start ALL of your Amazon.com shopping at USHPA.aero/STORE.

Buy ANYTHING ELSE at smile.Amazon.com (even a rubber chicken) and Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of your purchase to USHPA!






clinics & tours


can be submitted online at http://www.ushpa.aero/email _ events.asp. A minimum 3-month lead time is required on all submissions and tentative events will not be published. For more details on submissions, as well as complete information on the events listed, see our Calendar of Events at www.ushpa.aero 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 80901-1330. 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) 632-6417 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), reused 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.



NOVEMBER 1-3, 7-9 & 14-16 > Sebring, Florida. Boat tow to 3000 ft. and gain priceless knowledge and experience under your wing at one of the best SIV locations in the world. Advanced instructor/guide David Prentice with over 20 years experience guides each pilot as their own pace from the most basic to the advanced maneuvers over white sand beaches and crystal clear water just minutes from downtown Sebring. More info: earthcog@yahoo.com, or 505-720-5436. NOVEMBER 3 - DECEMBER 1 > Iquique,

Chile.With the most consistent thermals on earth, we guarantee you will fly everyday! After 16 years of leading trips, wining competitions, and working as a local guide/tandem pilot, Luis Rosenkjer and Todd Weigand offer the most professional guiding service available in Iquique. With 20 year of combined guiding experience in Iquique, nobody can lead new pilots to this region with the expertise that these gentlemen provide. Beginner to advanced instruction available with everyone progressing at an extraordinary rate! More XC offered during the last segment. Last year a few clients completed our classic 115 km flight back to the hotel! Join Luis & Todd so you can improve your flying skills, break your personal records, and enjoy the best of Iquique! www.paraglidingtrips.com

NOVEMBER 5-19 > Fly Atacama Desert Paragliding Adventure. We take you to South America to fly over the driest desert in the world - The Atacama. It is our seventh consecutive trip to what many pilots consider to be the best place to fly on the planet and more consistent than any other flying location. Iquique, Chile offers pilots of all levels plenty of XC miles and endless thermaling days. Year after year our guests beat their personal distance and air time records. With us you get to fly with Jarek Wieczorek - multilingual paragliding guide, XC specialist and site pioneer with unsuppressed knowledge of the desert. Our topnotch logistics, stunning locations, in-depth local knowledge, deluxe off-road trucks, and gorgeous beachfront accommodation will make your flying experience in Chile unforgettable. Contact: jarek@antofaya.com / (303) 800 6340. More Info: http://www.antofaya.com NOVEMBER 8-10 > Santa Barbara, CA. In-

structor 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 handson experience as possible before the clinic. More information: Rob Sporrer, 805-968-0980, rob@ paraglide.com, or www.paragliding.com.

NOVEMBER 11-12 > Santa Barbara, CA. Tan-

dem 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@paraglide.com, or www.paragliding.com.

NOVEMBER 12-14 & 17-19 > SIV Clinic. Ye-

lapa, Mexico. SIV/Maneuvers flight camp 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 Instructor of the Year, will be teaching the courses. As Brad says, "Yelapa is by far the best place to do an SIV clinic...." Contact Brad at brad@paraglideutah. com or (801) 707-0508 and Les in Yelapa at: 011 52 1 322 142 5804. More Info: http://www.paraglideyelapa.com

NOVEMBER 15 - APRIL 1 > Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Hang gliding and paragliding tours. Think about your winter flying. Are you going to join FlyMexico for some fun and airtime? Weeklong packages Sunday to Sunday and we can tailor things for bronze, gold, or platinum levels. Big quiver of hang gliders, best fleet for transportation, most reliable drivers, and most knowledgeable guides. Come fly Mexico with FlyMexico. More info: www.flymexico.com, jeff@flymexico. com, or 800-861-7198. November 30 - january 18 > Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Fly south this winter! Come fly the world-class air of El Penon in Valle de Bravo. Improve your thermal and XC skills. Advanced instructor/guide David Prentice with over 20 years experience has been guiding in Valle for 15 years. World-class lodging and logistics, airport transfer, local transportation, in-air guidance and XC retrievals included. We fly twice a day every day. More info: earthcog@yahoo.com, or 505-7205436. DECEMBER 1-3> Phetchabun, Thailand. This

3-day clinic is open to basic and advanced paragliding instructor candidates and those needing recertification. Phu Thap Boek is the best flying site in exotic, far-east, Thailand. For more information: www.paraglidetandem.net, or pchumes@gmail.com.

DECEMBER 5-7> Phetchabun, Thailand. Tandem paragliding clinic with Pete Humes and Matty Allen. This 3-day clinic is for P-4 pilots who want to learn tandem flight. We’ll be flying Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun, the highest and best flying site in exotic Southeast Asia. For more information: Pete at pchumes@gmail.com, or www. paraglidetandem.net.

JANUARY 11-17> Phetchabun, Thailand.

Mountain flying/thermal clinic with Pete Humes. This 7-day clinic is for P-2 pilots who want to learn mountain/thermal skills. Also P-4 pilots who want to set new XC records. We’ll be flying Phu Thap Boek, Phetchabun, the highest and best flying site in exotic Southeast Asia. For more information contact Pete at www.paraglidetandem. net, or pchumes@gmail.com

JAN 1 - FEB 8, FEB 8-16, FEB 21 MAR 1 & MAR 1-9> Roldanillo, Colombia. Eagle Paragliding is running 4 tours over 4 weeks. We guarantee unforgettable flying in Roldanillo, Colombia. Read about our Colombia Tours in the August 2014 issue of the USHPA magazine. The Paragliding World Championships will be held before our tours at this world-class site. The tours are for pilots of all levels. We offer coaching on thermaling, XC flying, tandem XC flying, and race-to-goal tasks for those interested. We have been offering tours for over a decade all over the world. The number of high-caliber staff members supporting pilots at Eagle clinics and tours is unprecedented. Let Rob Sporrer, Brad Gunnuscio, and our highly qualified staff of instructors support you in achieving your goals for the week. Visit www.paragliding.com, or contact us at rob@ paraglide.com, 805-968-0980, and www.http:// eagleparagliding.com/?q=node/27.

january 18-28 > Governador Valadares, Brazil. One of the best known South American World Class flying sites. All your flying needs provided by Adventure Sports Tours. Master rated advanced instructors make your trip worthwhile. Whatever your goals from novice to comp. GV is a fun, flying friendly town with all the conveniences. Close to the Mt Ibituruna site of world championships as well as epic days of local and x-c flying. Tour includes; pick up at GV airport, hotel accommodations, rides to launch and retrieval, local guiding. In addition we will help with travel planning such as Brazilian Visas, best airline prices as well as local accommodations to suit your individual lifestyles. Contact Ray at skybirdwings@hotmail.com, 775-883-7070, or www. skybirdwings.net JAN18-25&FeB1-8>Tapalpa, Mexico Fly Week Parasoft has been guiding pilots to Mexico in January since 1990. In 2002 we discovered worldclass Tapalpa, with four other sites close by. With big launch and landing areas this is the best in Mexico! Tapalpa is a 2500’ vertical drive-up site located one hour from the Guadalajara airport. To prepare for the 2004 World Cup competition, a restaurant and bar were added. Our trips include six days of flying. We see these as both a fun flying vacation and a learning experience. To guide our clients well, we limit group size to four clients and offer tandem flights to improve flying skills. More info: granger@parasoftparagliding. com,303-494-2820, or http://parasoftparagliding.com/mexico-flying/.

January 20 - february 15 > Valle del Cauca, Colombia. 7 to 14 days “Vol-Tel” tours while flying the epic sites of the Valle del Cauca, Colombia. World-class lodging and logistics. Roldanillo, La Union, Anserma Nuevo and beyond. Improve thermal and XC skills with inair radio guidance from advanced instructor/ guide David Prentice with over 20 years experience. Airport pick-up, local transportation, lodging included. More info: earthcog@yahoo.com, or 505-720-5436.


january 20 - february 15 > Valle del Cauca, Colombia. 7-14 day tours, south to north and back south again. This is a vehicle- and hotel-supported vol-biv style tour. Pilots will fly daily from one of the epic sites along the Valle de Cauca landing at the next site with nice accommodations and XC retrievals. Advanced instructor/guide David Prentice with over 20 years experience will guide pilots along this crossing of the Valle del Cauca. Great XC conditions and breathtaking views make this tour worthy of your vacation time. More info: earthcog@yahoo.com, or 505-720-5436. February 2-20 > 02/06-02/20. Medellin,

Colombia. 2015 Colombia Top Pilots Paragliding Tour. Colombia Dream! We will paraglide in SEVEN wonderful sites around Medellin, Cali and Bogota including Sopetran, Jerico, Damasco, Anserma Nuevo, Roldanillo, Piedechinche and Sopa. We will stay in fincas or traditional farms. Breakfast and ground transportation included. $2,000 two weeks. For more information contact Sofia Puerta Webber at sepuerta@yahoo.com.

CLASSIFIED FLEX WINGS A GREAT SELECTION OF HG&PG GLIDERS (ss, ds, pg) -HARNESSES (trainer, cocoon, pod) -PARACHUTES (hg&pg) -WHEELS (new & used). Phone for latest inventory 262-473-8800, www. hanggliding.com

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. comflycenterofgraity@gmail.com, 315-2561522




SCHOOLS & INSTRUCTORS ALABAMA LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - The best facilities, largest inventory, camping, swimming, volleyball, more. Wide range of accommodations. hanglide.com, 877-HANGLIDE, 877-426-4543, hanglide.com.



AK Paramotor - Paragliding & Paramotor

School. Year-round: USHPA+USPPA certification. Novice, Refresher, Training, Equipment. Frank Sihler 907-841-7468 www.USAparagliding.com

CALIFORNIA PARAGLIDING - Year-round excellent instruction, Southern California & Baja. Powered paragliding, clinics, tours, tandem, towing. Ken Baier 760-213-0063, airjunkies.com.



the best year round flying in the nation. Awardwinning instruction, excellent mountain and ridge sites. www.flysantabarbara.com, 805-968-0980 FLY ABOVE ALL - Year-round instruction in beautiful Santa Barbara! USHPA Novice through Advanced certification. Thermaling to competition training. Visit www.flyaboveall.com 805-965-3733.

Mission Soaring Center LLC - Largest

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.

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@hang-gliding.com, Mission Soaring Center LLC, leading the way since 1973. www. hang-gliding.com

World famous historic TORREY PINES

GLIDERPORT: Incredible Flying – food – fun. Come enjoy coastal San Diego flying yearround! We offer USHPA-certified instruction for all ratings, as well as tandem, instructor, and SIV clinics and local flat land towing. Call us for details on our domestic and international clinics and tours or join us in our 4x4 12-passenger tour van for 15 other flying sites opportunities in SoCal and Baja California. We have expanded product lines including Ozone, Skywalk, Sup Air, Independence, Woody Valley, Sky, Gradient, Niviuk, Paratech, Plussmax helmets, Crispi boots, Gopro, Flytech, Flymaster and a lot more. Come test our new mini wings from Ozone. We have a huge selection of Demos on site. Our full service shop offers reserve repacks, annual glider inspections, repairs and more. We also carry an extensive new and used inventory of certified gliders and harnesses. Check us out at flytorrey. com, facebook.com/flytpg, info@flytorrey.com, or call us at (858) 452 9858.

WINDSPORTS - Don’t risk bad weather, bad

instruction or dangerous training hills. 350 flyable days each year. Learn foot-launch flying skills safely and quickly. Train with professional CFI’s at 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. 818-3672430, www.windsports.com.

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 863-8050440, www.thefloridaridge.com. GRAYBIRD AIRSPORTS — Paraglider & hang

glider towing & training, Dragonfly aerotow training, XC, thermaling, instruction, equipment. Dunnellon Airport 352-245-8263, email fly@ graybirdairsports.com, www.graybirdairsports. com.


mountain training center to Orlando. Two training hills, novice mountain launch, aerotowing, great accommodations. hanglide.com, 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. miamihanggliding.com.



WALLABY RANCH – The original Aerotow flight park. Best tandem instruction worldwide,7-days a week , 6 tugs, and equipment rental. Call:1-800WALLABY wallaby.com 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. hanglide.com, 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, paraglidehawaii.com.

ILLINOIS Twin Oaks Hang Gliding Center Whitewater, WI - Bunny hill, scooter towing and aero towing. Training and Discovery Tandems. Ric - WisconsinHangGliding.com. Paul ScooterTow.net. Danny - 608-469-5949

IOWA Twin Oaks Hang Gliding Center Whitewater, WI - Bunny hill, scooter towing and aero towing. Training and Discovery Tandems. Ric - WisconsinHangGliding.com. Paul ScooterTow.net. Danny - 608-469-5949




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 410-6342775, 24038 Race Track Rd, Ridgely, MD 21660, www.aerosports.net, hangglide@aerosports.net.

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, Cloud9sa@aol.com, www.DFSCinc. org.



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

MINNESOTA Twin Oaks Hang Gliding Center Whitewater, WI - Bunny hill, scooter towing and aero towing. Training and Discovery Tandems. Ric - WisconsinHangGliding.com. Paul ScooterTow.net. Danny - 608-469-5949

NEW HAMPSHIRE Morningside - A Kitty Hawk Kites flight park. The north east's premier hang gliding and paragliding training center. Teaching since 1974. Hang gliding foot launch and tandem aerowtow training. Paragliding foot launch and tandem training. Powered Paragliding instruction. Dealer for all major manufacturers. Charlestown, NH. Also visit our North Carolina location, Kitty Hawk Kites Flight School. (603) 542-4416, www. flymorningside.com

NEW YORK AAA Mountain Wings Inc - New location at

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

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! www.flyhighhg.com, 845-7443317.


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. cooperstownhanggliding.com 315-867-8011

NORTH CAROLINA Kitty Hawk Kites - The largest hang gliding

school in the world! Celebrating our 40th year! Teaching since 1974. Learn to hang glide and paraglide on the east coast's largest sand dune. Year round instruction, foot launch and tandem aerotow. Powered Paragliding instruction. Dealer for all major manufacturers. Fly at the beach! Learn to fly where the Wright Brothers flew! Located on the historic Outer Banks, NC. Also visit our New Hampshire location, Morningside Flight Park. (252) 441-2426, 1-877-FLY-THIS, www.kittyhawk.com



PUERTO RICO FLY PUERTO RICO WITH TEAM SPIRIT HG! Flying tours, rentals, tandems, HG and PG classes, H-2 and P-2 intensive Novice courses, full sales. 787-850-0508, tshg@coqui.net.

TENNESSEE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FLIGHT PARK - Just outside Chattanooga. Become a complete pilot -foot launch, aerotow, mountain launch, ridge soar, thermal soar. hanglide.com, 1-877-HANGLIDE, 877-426-4543.

TEXAS FlyTexas / Jeff Hunt - training pilots in

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

UTAH CLOUD 9 PARAGLIDING - Come visit us and check

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.

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. 804-2414324 , www.blueskyhg.com





Whitewater, WI - Bunny hill, scooter towing and aero towing. Training and Discovery Tandems. Ric - WisconsinHangGliding.com. Paul - ScooterTow. net. Danny - 608-469-5949 Twin





SPECIALTY WHEELS for airfoil basetubes, round

COSTA RICA - Grampa Ninja's Paragliders' B&B.

basetubes, or tandem landing gear.(262)4738800, www.hanggliding.com.


Rooms, and/or guide service and transportation. Lessons available from USHPA certified instructors. USA: 908-454-3242. Costa Rica: (Country code, 011) House: 506-2200-4824, Cell: 506-8950-8676, or Kathy @ 506-8918-0355 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. www.flymexico.com 1-800-861-7198 USA

Spring, Summer, Fall - Woodrat Mountain, OR. Hostel / Camping / Rooms below launch. Heated pool, hottub, internet. Shuttle/guide service. ravencyte@hotmail.com, 541 951-6606 or Facebook-Raven's Landing

EXOTIC THAILAND, Phetchabun, Paragliding Instructors Certification Clinic, 12/01-03 for P-3 pilots and above. Most awesome flying site in THAILAND 5,200'ASL launch! Very inexpensive! More info: pchumes@gmail.com, www. paraglidetandem.net


EXOTIC THAILAND, Phetchabun, Tandem Certification Clinic, for P-4 pilots looking for T-2 & T-3 ratings. Most awesome flying site in THAILAND! 5,200'ASL launch! 12/8-10. More info: pchumes@gmail.com, www.paraglidetandem.net.

HALL WIND METER – Simple. Reliable. Accurate.

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.

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.

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

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

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

2015 DARS 2015 2015 CALEN

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, ssa.org.


ciation ing Asso Paraglid & g in d g Gli ates Han g Association United St g & Paraglidin in id Gl g an H United States

have arrived



ONLY $20

get yours aREt


Jarret Hobart near Brace Mountain, NY | photo by James Bradley



The 1

by Cory Barnwell

We know there was a day when it all worked for you. When your training clicked, the conditions were perfect, the stars aligned, and you soared to new heights (real or imagined). Send in your tale of “The 1” flight you'll never forget, and we'll print it right here. You'll be entered into the annual drawing for a USHPA soft shell jacket!


he last task of the 2014 East Coast Championship at Highland Aerosports was a 53-kilometer downwind run. I was flying my 11-meter Pulse with my good friend, Richard, who was flying a Sport 2 155. Richard and I had learned to hang glide together at Lookout Mountain Flight Park, and we had been looking forward to flying together in this competition. Before the launch window, Richard and I discussed the best way to fly the task. Although we could see cumulus clouds down the course line, there were none for several miles. We asked open-class pilots Greg Dinauer and Davis Straub for their thoughts on how to fly XC on this blue day. They both suggested that team flying is the best way to maximize your chances when it’s blue, so Richard and I resolved to stick together as much as possible to increase our odds of reaching goal. Richard and I were on the radio together, practicing the things that the open-class pilots had told us about flying as a team. On glides we would spread out and call each other when one of us found lift. We could see those cumulus clouds, but we would need at least a few thermals to reach them. But team flying really worked for us—every time we would go on glide one of us would find the next thermal and radio to the other. After about 10 or 15 miles, we were working some lift between 3000 and 4000 feet when we looked down the course line and saw two gliders climbing ahead. They both had kingposts— more sport-class pilots! After reaching



the top of our climb and establishing that the other pilots were still climbing, we headed over to join them—it was Dana and Soraya—in their thermal. It was such a cool feeling to be flying miles away from the nearest flight park and suddenly meet up with other pilots seemingly out of nowhere. Now we were a team of four and, eventually, we made it out of the blue hole and were all working a thermal upwind of a large area of trees. I was practicing looking down the course line while climbing, trying to figure out the most likely place to find the next thermal. I spotted a small wispy cloud forming, breaking up, and reforming farther along the course line. Once I reached the top of the climb I radioed Richard, who was still climbing, and told him that I was going to head on. I lost quite a bit of altitude on that glide but, sure enough, there was a thermal right under where that little cloud was again forming. As I worked the climb I radioed Richard, who had topped out the previous thermal, and he, Dana and Soraya headed over. It was such an awesome feeling for me to be able to confidently lead out by myself and find lift right where I thought it would be! After a few more thermals I was almost ready to go on final glide, but Richard was low. As I climbed, I watched the numbers on my GPS as it calculated the L/D I would need to get to goal. When it said I needed a 9-to-1 glide I left Richard (sorry, buddy!) and headed down the course line, watching those numbers the whole time. As I glided downwind the numbers slowly

started creeping upwards, and I looked down course and aimed for a cloud that seemed promising. When the GPS read 10-to-1, I knew I would need one more climb to make it. Thoughts filled my head of landing just inches from goal, and I could feel my chest start to tighten as I listened to the sink alarm on my vario. I needed a climb, as soon as possible. I desperately headed for the closest cloud, and as I got closer I spotted Dana circling underneath it. Oh, joy and rapture! It took all my selfdiscipline to maintain best-glide speed and not stuff the bar and dive straight for the climbing glider. I came in underneath Dana, found 300 fpm, and stayed with it until my GPS said 7-to-1 to goal. I glided into goal with 1000 feet to spare, hooting and hollering and laughing. I could see Dana and several other gliders already there. After I landed, we all shared congratulations and stories of how we did it. But one thing was still bothering me; I radioed to Richard to see how he was doing, expecting the worst. I was so excited when he replied that he was at 4000 feet and had goal within easy glide! When he landed (a perfect no-stepper), we were all smiles and laughs. Our entire team of four made goal—the perfect ending to this awesome day. And that is my favorite flight ever. It’s extra special to me because I shared it with my friends, and I was able to put into practice several things that I had been taught—and, of course, because I made goal!

PlusMax Full-Face and Convertible Helmets

Sigma-9 Compact Power Designed for the experienced and ambitious cross country pilot who values sporty and lively handling.

Yeti 40 & 35 Light-Weight Reserves

A low end C, SIGMA 9 follows on seamlessly from the EPSILON 7, yet with remarkable improvements: • Lower aspect ratio and less weight

Oudie 2 Naviter All-In-One

• More performance and precision • Better takeoff behavior • Lower packed volume – less weight to carry (under 5kg 25 size) • Better handling • Better extreme flight behaviour.

Fly it. Believe it. Call Super Fly today for your test flight.

801. 255 . 9595 w w w. superflyinc .com info@superflyinc.com

North America’s Largest Full-Service Paragliding Equipment and Services Provider Since 1998

From your first soaring flight to becoming a world champion, success depends on thermalling well.

That is why we pressure chamber test and calibrate every instrument to yield the most sensitive, responsive and precise vario possible. Cutting edge technology, precision and superior service for over 30 years.



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.