topic: triangle (29 articles)
Krys' Drogue Incident 8-15-21
New and untested chute
bridle|drogue|Greg Dinauer|Krzysztof "Krys/Kris" Grzyb|Larry Bunner|Moyes RX 3.5|triangle|Whitewater
Larry Bunner reports:
On 8-15-21 Krys Grzyb and Greg Dinauer set an 83km triangle task from Twin Oaks airport in Whitewater, WI east to East Troy, northwest to McDermott airport and then southwest back to Twin Oaks. Greg aborted the task early and flew back to the airport. Krys was doing well getting over 5200’agl on nine climbs. He tagged the first two turn-points and was headed back to the airport.
To this point he had been in the air for 2hr 15min of which over 1½ hours was above 4200’. The winds were 5-9mph from the southeast. Sustained climbs over 1000’ were averaging about 350fpm with one climb averaging 770fpm. He found a thermal just past the last turnpoint 18km out and climbed 300 feet to ~4400’. He needed about a 12:1 glide to get back with a crossing tail wind. He confidently left the last climb knowing he could make it and even if he hit increased sink, he would hit a thermal soon enough.
He went on a long glide sinking over 300fpm and was soon down below 1000’. He selected a narrow field of grass along a farm for his LZ. Approaching from the southeast at 500’ he unzipped the drogue pouch and began extracting it from the pocket. His intent was to deploy it near the ground but the drogue slipped away and accidentally deployed.
Immediately the glider turned right and his sink rate increased to 600+fpm. He pulled in on the control bar, the glider began to pitch down and the sink rate increased to over 900fpm (peak). Thinking the drogue malfunctioned, he reached back to grab the bridle but couldn’t find it. He instantly began to correct for the turning dive. With extreme effort the glider rounded out pointing downwind and just above the corn. The glider, slowed somewhat by the corn, whacked in hard but the glider and Kris were miraculously unharmed. Pretty shaken, he called to the airport to get a retrieve; Greg and Chico showed up quickly to help get the equipment out of the corn.
Krys has used a drogue chute for many years. This particular drogue was developed to train runners to improve their speed. It has one long bridle that runs back to the chute shroud lines. These lines are short relative to the length of the bridle. He used this type of chute for several years with the drogue deploying aft of the keel. This spring he purchased a new drogue from a different manufacturer and replaced his old worn one. He did not compare bridle lengths before installation. Up to this flight the new drogue had not been tested/deployed. After landing, Kris discovered that the keel had penetrated between the shroud lines and the drogue was affixed/centered around the keel.
The bridle length was a couple inches shorter than his previous drogue. When the drogue accidentally deployed, the position of the drogue effectively provided a lifting surface on the end of the keel. When the control bar was pulled in to increase sink rate, the forces on the aft end of the keel decreased the nose angle further thus progressively increasing the sink rate (to the point the nose was pointed at the ground). It took close to all of Krys’ strength to push the bar out far enough to overcome the resistance to level out the glider before entering the tall corn.
In the moment, he focused entirely on recovering the glider turn and descent and felt there wasn’t enough time or altitude to throw his main parachute. His Moyes RX 3.5 sprogs were at the factory settings. Corrective actions that Krys has taken or intends to take include: shorten bridle to prevent keel interaction, add an extra line to one of the shrouds and the harness loop to give access to the pilot to deflate the drogue, and adding a drogue release so the drogue can be cut loose from the pilot.
Swift World Record Attempt
100 km triangle
Armand Acchione|record|Robin Hamilton|Swift|triangle|video
"Robin Hamilton" «Robin2808» writes:
Over 10 years ago I went out and set a half dozen or so world records in the Swift as much to be out there as placeholders and encourage others to have a go at beating them. This year Armand Acchione up near Toronto, Canada, beat my 100km triangle speed record with an average speed of 59km/h. So it was time to rest my flex wing muscle memory, take my Swift out of mothballs, and try to get the record back.
After more than 5 years, I somehow remembered how to rig the carbon-kevlar babe and set out a 100km triangle speed run task from my home site Wharton, down on the Texas gulf coast. Conditions seemed favorable with forecast light winds, 400-600fpm average lift and 5,500-6,000ft TOL. The previous day had seen some fairly moist unstable air with scattered cu-nimbs in the western part of the area that was some remnant wrap round moisture from Hurricane Ida after its passage through Louisiana off to the east. It is so strange to see moist tropical air streaming from the north in our area.
It was only the trike pilot Sir Richard (Thorpe) and myself out at the strip so we executed a wing down launch, followed by a fairly uneventful tow up to around 2,500'. From there I climbed to base at around 4,800', tagged the start just after 3pm and let the flaps off, gliding at 90km/h over Highway 59 to the southwest towards El Campo and the first turnpoint, some 34km away. The day initially looked great – big active clouds, good spacing, fast top-up climbs to a cruise altitude of 3,500'-4,000'.
I tagged the first turnpoint at a world record pace of over 65km/h for the first leg. Turning north towards the second turnpoint, the sky looked pretty blue and I took a detour to the east of course line to connect with the next cloud and good climb up to over 5,000' but still some 25km from the second turnpoint. Realizing I couldn’t keep taking detours and stay on pace, I bravely headed out into the blue directly towards the turnpoint. 25km of absolute quiet, smooth, dead air.
Looking down and around me I could see all the stock ponds filled to the brim and many of the fields flooded, glistening in the sunlight. Another Texas water park. We’ve seen too many here this summer. I should have checked the precipitation totals for previous day’s cu-nimbs before confirming the task. I would have seen healthy 3+ inches in many spots.
I over flew the second turnpoint by another 5 km in the hope of connecting with some skinny clouds that seemed to be triggering over a tree line bordering the appropriately named north/south running Sandy Creek. At 600ft above the ground, the vario came back to life and I started scraping in 100-150fpm blobs to try to get back up again. That seemed to go on forever but I had the company of many hawks and buzzards so it was fun floating along (and remembering how to do that in the Swift).
By now this was no longer a race, rather it was a recovery effort to try to get back to the cozy dry hangar at Wharton and avoid de-rigging the glider out in the water park. After over 20 minutes of fun with the feathery guys I was back up to around 4,600ft and ready for the return leg back towards the airport, some 40km and over the damned blue wet zone again. It was also slightly upwind as there was now a 12-16km/h (pseudo sea breeze?) blowing from the south.
The return leg through the blue area was just as quiet as the earlier traverse with the trigger for the light 100-150fpm low save thermal (at 600ft agl again) being metal farm silos after about a 20km glide. And yes, more buzzards. Slowly climbed out to 4,800ft and with 24km out from the airport and the pesky headwind I was probably right on the glide numbers. Meanwhile, I did have some cloud help that way, that I thought I could use if needed. Turned out the glide held up enough to where I ran at 140km/h for the last 6km and got there with plenty height to land on the grass strip outside the hangar.
No new record (next time, Armand), but a real fun day reconnecting with flying the Swift. It is such a nice balanced airplane to fly. Memorable was both the low saves, where I was as focused on finding a good dry landing field as any belief in thermaling back up from so low. But both times I just knocked the nose round into the weak lift, pulled flap and bunched my weight in the back of the cockpit and just watched the glider slow down and climb so smoothly. It seemed I couldn’t get it to stall. It only wanted to climb.
Thanks to Richard for the flawless tow and being ready to come out and rescue me from the prairie if needed. I will definitely get more Swift flying during the rest of the season and into the fall. Not going to wait 5 years again.
Jochen's interview on his record flight
50km FAI triangle speed record
triangle|record|speed record|Jochen Zeischka|FAI|Icaro 2000 Laminar 14
300 Kilometer triangle on a paraglider
Much further than previous
"FAI - Record officer" «record» writes:
FAI has ratified the following Class O (Hang Gliding and Paragliding) World records:
Sub-class : O-3 / Paragliders
Type of record : Speed over a triangular course of 300 km
Course/location : Saint-Hilaire - Chalencon - Estrop - Saint-Hilaire (France)
Performance : 28.6 km/h
Pilot : Maxime Pinot (France)
Aircraft : Enzo 3 / Ozone
Date : 23.04.2021
Previous record : no record set yet
Sub-class : O-3 / Paragliders
Type of record : Distance over a triangular course
Course/location : Saint-Hilaire - Chalencon - Estrop - Saint-Hilaire (France)
Performance : 308,9 km
Pilot : Maxime Pinot (France)
Aircraft : Enzo 3 / Ozone
Date : 23.04.2021
Previous record : 237.1 km (10.08.2003 - Pierre Bouilloux, France)
Fastest Competition Speed?
Task 3 at the Monte Cucco Piero Alberini International Trophy 2021
Filippo Oppici|Marco Laurenzi|Monte Cucco Piero Alberini International Trophy 2021|Steve Pearson|triangle
|1||0.0 km||400 m|
|2 Ss||2.3 km||15000 m|
|3||36.8 km||5000 m|
|4||56.8 km||3000 m|
|5||91.4 km||5000 m|
|6||113.3 km||2000 m|
|7 Es||119.4 km||1000 m|
|8||120.0 km||400 m|
The task is almost an out and return from the start of the speed section (SS) to the end of the speed section (ES). The leg distances shown in the chart above are the optimized distances, those displayed on the map.
Three pilots had average task speeds of over 59 km/h (36.7 mph) in the speed section.
The optimized task distance between the SS and the ES is 116.939 km.
Steve Pearson asks the question, is this the highest task speed attained in a competition in Europe for a triangle or out and return task over 100 km?
5 topics in this article: Filippo Oppici, Marco Laurenzi, Monte Cucco Piero Alberini International Trophy 2021, Steve Pearson, triangle
Monte Cucco Piero Alberini International Trophy 2021 (33 batch topics): Andrea Franchi, Andrea Fusi, Christian Ciech, Corinna Schwiegershausen, Daniele Piana, Davide Guiducci, David Gregoire, Denis Giovannetti, Fabien Zadora, Fabio Caresi, Filippo Oppici, Francesco Marsella, Frantisek Kostal, Gorio Mandozzi, Joerg Bajewski, Karl Reichegger, Katia Bruni, Konrad Baumgartner, Lorenzo Grandis, Lukas Vojacek, Manfred Vaupel, Manuel Revelli, Marco Laurenzi, Mario Alonzi, Pawel Cedro, Petr Cejka, Roberto Nichele, Roland Woehrle, Serge Mainente, Stefano Vecchia, Tullio Gervasoni, Valentino Bau, Vanni Accattoli
50 km Triangle Speed Record
Jochen Zeischka writes:
Happy to announce that I flew a declared 50 km triangle at 59.61 km/h. A world record claim will follow.
Encampment in Cotulla, Texas
Not a great weather outlook for record flights to the north
Cotulla, Texas|Gregg Ludwig|record|triangle
Light southeast winds today. A triangle task was called.
Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Calm wind becoming north northeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming east 5 to 8 mph in the morning.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 92. Light east southeast wind becoming south southeast 5 to 9 mph in the morning.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. South southeast wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Today in Cotulla the winds were predicted to be light from the surface to the top of the lift. We set two aggressive tasks for the ten pilots to choose from. The first was a 100 mile triangle to the NW then east to Pearsall and back to Cotulla. The second was a 100km record attempt. Nine of us went for the 100 miler and Robin went for the 100km attempt. None of us made it but the flying was fun and we were all safe.
Gregg Ludwig sends:
White Water 250 km FAI Triangle
More good conditions in the Midwest
James-Donald "Don" "Plummet" Carslaw|Krzysztof "Krys/Kris" Grzyb|Larry Bunner|triangle|Wills Wing T3
Larry Bunner writes:
The extraordinarily epic weather continued this week in the upper Midwest with multiple soaring days. On Wednesday high cloudbase (9000’) and light winds warranted a long triangle task. I awoke early to confirm the weather was holding and selected two 250km tasks one of which I extended to 300km in the event the climb rates were exceptionally strong. On my way to Whitewater, WI our longstanding aerotow park that friend Danny Lange operates, I fired off a text to Kris Grzyb about the weather. He responded that he was leaving work to come up and fly.
The top of the lift was predicted to be over 5000’ at 10:00 so the plan was to be ready to takeoff when the cumulus clouds started popping. Kris arrived and we selected a 250km FAI triangle around the city of Madison in a clockwise direction to ensure any high clouds that may arrive from the west later in the day wouldn’t shut the conditions down.
Airspace would be an issue should we have any drift however there was plenty of room on this task to divert should we need to. Danny pulled me and my Wills Wing T3 Team 144 up at 11:11 through a lot of sink before finding lift under a nice cloud to the north. The climb was strong at 430fpm to 7500’, unbelievable for so early in the day. Clouds were lined up to the west toward Lake Koshkonong however the lift near the lake was broken. Better clouds to the northwest resulted in good climbs, one with Kris to over 8200’ right at the edge of a nice street.
The day was shaping up well however the street didn’t work very well for me as I flew under multiple clouds missing the lift and plummeted to 800’ above the ground. A lucky climb over a a farmer on his tractor plowing his field took me to 8000’ at an average climb rate of 424fpm. Whew back in the game again however Kris was long gone.
I continued to plow west under four clouds without a decent climb before managing to get back above 7000’ again at the first turnpoint. It took a long time to get there and I began to doubt whether the task could be finished however the clouds to the northeast looked powerful with dark flat bottoms indicating strong lift. The next climb was to cloudbase at 8700’ and I hit 8 in a row topping out near base in each thermal with the best average climb at 702fpm and top altitude over 9200’. And with that I was at the second turnpoint of Gilbert in just over 2 hours.
On this leg I was beginning to feel fatigued so gorped down a Clif Shot Espresso energy gel, chased it with some water and within minutes the tenseness in my lower back was gone.
Radio problems kept Kris and I separated most of the flight. I could hear him sporadically (and he, me) however the communications were garbled with a lot of static; not really discernible. It was tough to leave the line of clouds that led to Gilbert however the last leg of the flight was 78km back to Whitewater to the southeast. Unfortunately there was big blue hole on the course line with the only reachable clouds to the south.
It turns out both of us took this path. Flying toward the Madison Airport was a bit daunting as we were staring right down the barrel of the main runway. Thankfully no air traffic was on our flight path. I climbed from 3600’ to 6200’, took a look at the airspace on the 6030 map page and knew the only legal path was to head east. This was a good decision as I topped out at 8500’ and headed southeast where Kris was thermaling under the next cloud. Our contact was only temporary as he left up high and I took another path. We never saw each other again.
The climbs were now suppressed as the day was getting long; 250fpm was the new norm and the lift was super smooth. The cumulus clouds were dissipating rapidly so the visual clues of lift were farther apart and less prominent. South of US Rte 94 I found a thermal in the blue and settled in for a long climb. I relaxed and concentrated on maximizing my climb eventually leaving at 7400’, 20 miles from goal needing a 16:1 glide ratio to make it in.
Heading southeast on a long glide into the blue I was maintaining my numbers but wasn’t confident they would last. Off to the east near Jefferson there were the remnants of the last clouds in the sky so changed direction to get one last climb. Ever so faint wisps of cloud were forming before the clouds in front of me where I eventually found lift, starting at 100fpm and slowly ramping up over the next 15 minutes to 450fpm. I left at 7000’ now needing a 10:1 glide with the 6030 showing that I would arrive at 2000’. Woohoo, I was going to make it.
The final glide was surreal as I flew over familiar territory noting the landmarks beneath with the airport slowly rising in the distance. The roller coaster of emotions from the day were now peaking after the low 800’ save early in the flight to the 1000+fpm peak climb on the second leg to this, the thrill of flying my longest triangle. I was totally stoked. There isn’t anything much better than to set an aggressive goal that is on the edge of being achievable and then going out and making it happen. I touched down at the airport after flying for 7hrs and 56 minutes and over 250km (150 miles). Kris arrived ahead of me and was already celebrating with a fine Polish beer. What an incredible day!
New Swift World Speed Record
Davis Straub|record|Swift|triangle|Wallaby Ranch|World Speed Record
Armand Acchione|Davis Straub|record|Swift|triangle|Wallaby Ranch|World Speed Record
«FAI - Record officer» sends:
Type of record : Speed over a triangular course of 25 km
Course/location : Brussels, Ontario (Canada)
Performance : 63 km/h
Pilot : Armand Acchione (Canada)
Aircraft : Swift Light / Aeriane
Date : 30.05.2021
Current record : 50,40 km/h (20.05.2001 - Davis Straub, USA)
As you can see he broke my Class 2 (not Class 5) world record set on an ATOS hang glider, which was set at Wallaby Ranch in 2001. You are required to come back as a height not much lower than the one you left with.
Armand <<xcswift>> writes:
I had my flight on May 30th. My first attempt around the triangle was a little slow. I tried a second time. I managed to get strong lift just after exiting the start circle gaining a thousand meters with a climb rate over 600 ft a minute.
Only one thermal was needed to complete this small course. My arrival altitude at the finish was 197 m above my start altitude. On this day, other hang glider pilots in the area reported great climb rates and Cloud base about 8,000 ft.
The Midwest is the Best
Larry and Kzry
dust devil|Krzysztof "Krys/Kris" Grzyb|Larry Bunner|PG|triangle|XC
Larry Bunner «Larry Bunner» writes:
This week in the Midwest we have had just epic flying conditions; actually the best I have ever experienced.
On Tuesday, post frontal conditions provided decent northerly winds (up to 19mph) a solid lapse rate but cool temps (58°F) on the surface and less than 25°F at cloudbase (about 8000'). My brother Rob and I were the only ones to venture to Whitewater, Wisconsin where Danny Lange was waiting to give us a tow. The winds were expected to tail off throughout the day and were blowing a steady 10+ when I launched at 11:40 and pinned off in 400fpm to 5000'.
The second climb was better to 5600'. I was gliding south to Highway 43 when I saw dust devils on the ground already. Clouds were prevalent and lined up in nice long streets in a slight southwesterly direction. I chose to push a little east to ensure I would clear Rockford airspace even if I got low. Not to worry though as the next climb averaged 500fpm to 6700'.
I stayed high for the next two hours thermaling to between 5000' and 7800' with two notable climbs averaging over 900fpm. The best climb was 998fpm which I gained 1200' in three turns.
As I approached the Illinois River I could see high cirrus off to the south. Winds shifted to northeast and the climbs decreased notably with cloudbase now at 6500'.
I began to worry about retrieve as I wanted to get back at a decent time to fly again on Wednesday. The plan was for Rob to fly local and then come and retrieve me. It wasn't a solid plan though because the winds were strong enough up high that I thought he might not be able to stay at Whitewater.
I continued to the SSW under the milky skies getting reasonably good climbs and having no real problems. Approaching Peoria, IL airspace I decided to spiral down from 4500' and landed in Metamora at 248km.
I walked the glider out of the field and called Rob. He said the winds in Whitewater never died off so he decided to go on chase and was only 20 minutes away. Woohoo! he picked me up and we were in my hometown of Byron, IL at 7:40. We checked the weather before retiring and noted climbs to 10000' and L&V winds.
On Wednesday, we headed out early to meet Kris Grzyb ready for a big triangle. Kris is the best cross country pilot in the area and my good buddy. He already planned out a 204km triangle that I scrambled to get into my instrument. The forecast remained the same and the plan was to fly SE to McHenry IL then WNW to Brodhead, WI and back to Whitewater I mentioned that conditions to the SE didn't look as good but the plan was set. He got the jump on me launching at 11:17 and was gone. We didn't see each other the entire flight. I followed at 11:51.
Conditions were again outstanding with average climbs as high as 765fpm and cloudbase over 9800'. Early on I changed my plan to abandon the task and fly the clouds as the route to the SE had sparse clouds. I flew a southerly line under an excellent cloud street and turned west ~10 km south of Harvard, IL while Kris tagged the first turnpoint and did the same. I had another good line of clouds to the west and zoomed from cloud to cloud staying high.
Northwest of Rockford the clouds began to expand outward and I flew through several small climbs searching for the stronger lift I had been getting. The size of the clouds made zeroing in on the lift more difficult and just short of Durand, IL at 3500' under a big cloud I was getting antsy. Twenty five minutes later I was over 9200' and headed north.
A beautiful powerful looking street was laid out in front of me. All I had to do was connect the dots. Four thermals over 9000' and I was in line to run further north up toward Madison and then come back SE to goal. Clouds looked good toward goal directly as well. Fatigue from the nine hours I had been in the air the last two days won out and I headed back to Whitewater arriving high and struggling to get down.
In the mean time, Kris made the second turnpoint and reached goal before me however continued on north to Jefferson before returning to the airport. My flight was over 190 km and 5½ hours. Kris crushed it with a 243 km FAI triangle and 7 hours. What a day! Many soared at Whitewater this day, Rob managed 3½ hours and topped out over 9000' four times. We all left our gliders set up as Thursday was going to be epic as well.
Krzysztof Grzyb's flight: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:grzybk/12.5.2021/16:17
On Thursday, we were all back for more. Conditions were to be light west wind with cloudbase at 11200'. We chose a 250 km triangle around Madison, WI. Kris got off first again and I was not far behind launching at 12:07. Danny pulled me into a thermal right over the training hill on the airport, did one 360 and waved me off.
I climbed straight up at 450 fpm to 8300'. The climbs weren't as strong however the lift was higher. The further northwest we went the winds picked up out of the southwest and the clouds began expanding out again. I had one climb to 10,497' which is the highest I have ever been in the Midwest.
Unfortunately the clouds continued to thicken and eventually shaded out most of the ground. I ended up landing in Arlington north of Madison. Kris continued on toward the second turnpoint but eventually turned back toward Whitewater under the ever thickening skies landing south of Fitchburg. I only managed 2:50 in the air and 90km and Kris went for 173km.
Krzysztof Grzyb's flight: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:grzybk/13.5.2021/16:47
Rob had another good flight topping out over 10200' on a lengthy flight. The week was over for me as the conditions in Whitewater for Friday were to cloud over early. Kris however had one more vacation day and decided to chase the good conditions to the east.
On Friday, he headed to Napannee, IN to tow with the paragliders. He reports: this time the wind speed was a little stronger between 7000'-9500' than all models show. The average lift speed was slower than days before and significant sink between thermals. Much nicer flying was under huge rolled Cumulus Clouds (less head wind) but damn nasty cold.
Funny thing was when the owner of the house where I landed and two buddies showed up, they came with 1 shot gun and 2 other guns instead of with three beers for thirsty pilot. Thanks to driver John Enrietti for all day companion.
Kris ended up with 153 km and another 6½ hours totaling over 18 hours and 575 km for his three days.
Krzysztof Grzyb's flight: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:grzybk/14.5.2021/17:00
Due to my decision to return to Whitewater instead of following the street like Kris did I ended up with 528 km for my three days.
The month started off with excellent conditions on April 4th
For seven days (the 4th through the 10th) there were the best flying conditions that we'd had all year. I flew five of the seven days (as we exhausted ourselves) and had over twenty hours of flying, getting big out and return tasks, and going about 620 km.
The Paradise Airsports Nationals and the Wilotree Park Nationals started one after the other on April 11th and continued through the 25th (two weeks). The weather was certainly not the best, to say the least. I had nine flights got almost twenty hours in the two week period and flew 420 km.
During the Paradise Airsport Nationals, only one day was any where near as good as any of the four best days from the previous week.
During the Wilotree Park nationals, again only one day was any where near as good as any of the four best days from the previous week.
In the four days since the competition the skies have been filled with cu's, and we've had better conditions than almost all of the days during the competition. On Thursday starting after 2PM, John Simon and Mick Howard flew the Quest/Turn33/Lake Panasoffkee/Quest triangle.
The competitors flying the two weeks of the competitions experienced the worse weather of the month.
Amazing Grace in the Age of Covid
Amazing Grace in the Age of Covid
Covid|COVID|Jamie Shelden|John Bilsky|Mike Holl|Paul Allen|Paul Voight|Rob Kells|Ryan Voight|sailplane|triangle
Steve Houser <<shouser>> writes:
For every season there is a purpose under heaven. So it tells us in Ecclesiastes. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ron Kittredge was not a religious man, though he had no objection to those who are. His spiritual nature, though, was hardly suppressed, manifested as it was in his enthusiastic embrace of nature in any way it could be experienced. Foremost in that expression of passionate energy was his love for hang gliding. He loved also to hike, to ski, to fish, scuba dive, paddle, and motorcycle. He preferred a campfire or a good book (Larry McMurtry or Mark Twain) to a television. Knowing the wildflowers, trees, plants and animals, and how they were interwoven, was important to him. He enjoyed mowing the grass and fields on his property where he had built his second home and raised his two children, Anna and Steen, with his wife Katharine. Chopping wood was a common part of his fitness routine.
But those all frequently had to wait their turn when the wind was blowing out of the northwest. That’s when you would likely find him at Harris Hill in upstate New York, just outside of Elmira. It was his favorite flying site. And it was there, on a hot and L/V day, July 25, 2020, that family, friends, and fellow pilots gathered to honor his memory and to celebrate the gift that his life was to so many of them. On that day, still in mourning, we chose to laugh and to dance.
I started hang gliding in 1974 and I met Ron in 1984 when he first began lessons under local instruction. His progress was smooth and steady…and fast. I spent a lot of time with him in the training days, passing on what knowledge I could. It did not take long for him to absorb all that I and other mentoring pilots had to offer before he became an even more reliable source for mentoring newer pilots than we had ever been. Our regional director, Paul Voight, remembers him this way. “Ron and I were friends for almost 4 decades…albeit we didn’t actually see each other for long lapses sometimes, due to proximity. Ron was a fantastic, enthusiastic pilot, and a really good mentor to newer pilots. He had a trustworthy demeanor and a knowledge base to back it up. I remember him missing flying time on several occasions, paying attention to inquisitive new pilots’ questions and helping them with glider tuning. The pilot community will surely miss him on the hill.” There are at least a dozen pilots in upstate NY who could have penned a similar message about Ron. He had flown nearly every site in the state, from Ellenville westward to Binghamton, Syracuse, Elmira and Rochester. Sites in Pennsylvania and New England were also included in the hundreds of hours of airtime logged by him. Ron emphasized safety in his approach to the sport. None of his fellow pilots could recall a single serious accident or incident in all his years of flying. There was no broken or bent metal in his storage shed.
Ron died on June 18. In February he had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Chemo was attempted but failed. Other treatment modalities were explored but none were viable. He remained relatively active up until the last couple of weeks, taking daily excursions for coffee and exploring the surrounding state forests and parks with his wife Kathy. At his memorial, Kathy commented that in those final days he had taken them on some seriously treacherous mountain roads and trails and in so doing, had even turned “getting coffee” into an extreme sport.
Planning a funeral in the time of covid seemed an unlikely possibility. Funeral homes at the time were limiting services to 8-10 people. Kathy knew that that would not satisfy the large number of family, friends, customers and recreational pals that Ron had amassed over the years. She asked instead for help in having a day of memory at Harris Hill. That hatched the plan, with sensitivity to covid related concerns, that came to fruition on that sunny Saturday. In the meantime, word went out among the flying community about his passing, and the regrets, expressions of sadness and loss, condolences and kindnesses began pouring in. A fund was established to purchase a memorial bench and the contributions quickly mounted to well above what would be needed. It will sit to the side of launch facing the inviting view that every pilot gets to experience when standing in takeoff at Harris Hill.
In some ways we were fortunate. Free Spirit Flight Hang Gliding club owns the 5-acre set up and launch area at Harris. In recent months there have been far too many families and friends nationwide who have not had the opportunity to say farewell to a loved one in a meaningful manner. We were able to create a proper and safe social distancing environment in which to gather and express our thoughts and feelings about a valued husband, father, pilot and friend.
Canopies were set up in the tree shaded western end of the property. Masks, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer were available at a sanitizing station located between the tables holding a picture board and other mementos of Ron’s life and the table for the guest book commentaries. Attendees respectfully maintained social distancing as they took turns at each of the tables. People brought their own chairs and picnic lunches and parking was no problem at all for the 70 plus who attended, half of whom were active or former hang glider pilots. Harris Hill has hosted a national fly-in and other flying related activities, but this was the largest crowd the site had ever seen.
Club President Jim Kolynich’s assembled WW Falcon was the backdrop to each speaker as stories of the phases of his life were told. His wife, his sister Julie Smith, and his daughter Anna recounted his family life. There was his childhood friend and best man at this wedding. Coworkers and partners from his successful career as a contractor reported on the quality of his work and his concern for his customers and their appreciation for and loyalty to him. I spoke on behalf of the flying community. It was clear from each of the testimonials/eulogies that Ron had left a meaningful impression in every arena of his life. While I was speaking, hang glider/sailplane pilot Jamie McGuire, having towed up from the Harris Hill glider port east of our launch, buzzed overhead, tipping a wing in tribute. His timing couldn’t have been better.
Pilots then stepped into launch and took turns releasing some of his ashes into the gentle updraft as part of their personal goodbyes. His daughter then spread some onto the hillside. All the while a friend of Kathy’s sang Amazing Grace. Not a dry eye in the place.
As if the sky Gods themselves had been waiting patiently for the ceremonies to end, the windsock began to flutter, and light cycles began to drift into launch. And so, to make the day even more perfect, family and friends who had never seen what Ron so loved to do, got treated to over a dozen launches and short soaring flights of hang and para gliders. With that, the mood shifted to one of joy and gratitude, that we could come together and say goodbye and love on one another and be more a part of what Ron loved to do. He would have liked that.
When I left Harris at around 5:30PM, many attendees were staying to visit and catch a glimpse of any further flying that would occur. On the hour-long drive home, my thoughts drifted not only to Ron but to the good fortune we in upstate New York have had in not only the development of some quality flying sites, but to the quality of pilots we have produced. I thought of Ed Jowett, Ron’s near constant flying companion over the past decade and a half. How he will miss his friend! I thought of how much Ed contributed to making Ron’s memorial happen. There are names the flying community will not recognize or remember, the guys who got landowner permission to use their property, that wielded saws and blades to cut out launch slots and maintain them, that discovered early on the hazards of 360’s too close to the treetops. Some have passed on. I thought of Dave Black and of Bob Murphy, and Mike Holl, early pioneers who are no longer with us. I thought of Rob Kells and Dick Reynolds and the energy they infused into the upstate flying community. I thought of Jay Gianforte and his contribution to harness design and improvement, not to mention his flying skills. There is Linda Salamone from the Rochester area, a one-time national women’s champion and competition pilot. I could never forget Paul Allen, now of the Idaho flying community, who also fledged in upstate New York. Dan Walter showed many of us the altitude and cross-country potential of our sites. Still does. Jack Slocum did over 175 miles from Hammondsport to north of Philadelphia. They were also the ones who showed up for the work parties and made sure the sites were maintained and safe for the newcomers and the rest of us.
The loss of instruction over last several years has stalled the growth of the sport in upstate NY, but there is still some new blood to carry on the passion and helpful tradition of pilots like Ron. I think of Ryan Voight out of Ellenville, of Dave Koehn in the Catskills, of John Bilsky in northern Pa. Rochester Area Flyers continues to make efforts to produce new pilots and teaching continues at Susquehanna Flight Park outside of Cooperstown.
So, while the numbers may have dwindled, the passion hasn’t, nor the willingness to help and encourage those who are new to the sport, much as we saw from Ron. Some of us have contributed more than others but we have all shared the spiritual experience of being truly in the moment that hang gliding brings. Ron was the best of us, ever reminding us to be better people, not simply better pilots.
The week after Ron’s memorial, Dave Koehn enjoyed a 52-mile triangle out and return flight from Mt. Utsayantha, an amazing feat in our neck of the woods. Paul Allen once told me he thought a 25 miler in the northeast was like a 50-60 miler out west. He would know. He’s done both. Dave emailed me privately after the flight and said, “on my way [flying] back from Grand Gorge, I thought about Ron, so in a way, it wasn’t just me up there.” How better to honor the best of us.
Out and Return to the Fantasy of Flight
Out and Return to the Fantasy of Flight
A cross wind task
Fantasy of Flight|Larry Bunner|PG|triangle|Wilotree Park
A strong cross wind turns an out and return into a triangle by creating very well defined cloud streets.
After two days of "strong" east winds we decided that the winds were going to be light enough to launch going to the east and to fly south and then back north. This was the morning updated forecast:
Will there be cu's? After two days of high cu's and a similar wind (now with a slight bit of south) you would think so. The NWS and HRRR 3 say there is 20% cloud cover.
Sunny, with a high near 79. East wind 5 to 10 mph.
Hourly in the afternoon: East surface wind 8 mph, 20% cloud cover.
East surface wind at 1 PM: 8 mph, 2000' 10 mph, 4,000' 10 mph
TOL at 1 PM: 6,400'
Updraft Velocity at 1 PM: 640 fpm
CB at 1 PM: 0'
B/S at 1 PM: 8.7
Skew-T says maybe cu's.
TOL at 2 PM: 6,900'
Seems that the winds are a little too strong for around the Green Swamp (maybe tomorrow) so a cross wind task instead? I'll ask pilots what they want to do.
Quest 3 km
Fantsy 1 km
Quest 400 m
I was second to launch after Larry Bunner at 12:18 PM. The wind was 15 mph out of the east southeast. The lift started right from the start as we climbed out at 850 fpm. Pinning off in light lift I then headed downwind to get under Larry and climbed to 4,100'.
Larry headed southeast and I followed from below a little to his north side and found 700 fpm under the copious cu's. It was absolutely smooth and I had no idea I was climbing so fast at first. Larry was a kilometer to me south quickly getting smaller.
I climbed to cloud base at 5,000' and followed Larry to one side from a thousand feet over him. I marked the next two thermals and kept an eye on Larry to make sure that he was following. His radio was on the wrong frequency so I couldn't give him any help other than showing him the lift.
I climbed in the fourth thermal up the front face above cloud base and waited for Larry. I really wanted to fly together and get close enough so that we could signal each other visually. Unfortunately Larry got to base and headed south without passing close by so I didn't see him as I flew in and out of the mists. Finally I headed south and saw him circling at my altitude just ahead at the next cu. I was disappointed that he didn't wait for me there like I had waited for him at each of the previous thermals. We wouldn't be flying together after all.
Heading south 8 km past 474/33 I came in under Larry and then moved a bit east in sink while Larry moved a bit west and found 700-800 fpm. I found 500 fpm from 2,600' and climbed to over 5,100' drifting west at 9 mph. I was on my own.
The thermals averaged between 400 and 600 fpm and I climbed to over 5,000' just south of Dean Still. The wind was 5 mph out of the east northeast. The cu's were streeted east to west. The run from Dean Still to Fantasy of Flight looked not too inviting with only a few cus' ahead.
I didn't find any lift on the 9 km glide to just 1 km downwind of Fantasy. There was a cu to the east of Fantasy but lakes between me and it and I was down to 2,100' and headed for the nearest dark cu on the downwind side over land (and houses).
A dark cloud street formed right over Fantasy heading west. I was under it and searching all around finding light lift and finally finding 300 fpm to 5,000' in a 12 mph east southeast wind. I used the cloud street to get upwind and make 7.5 km to the turnpoint and then to the east southeast edge of the cloud street. I wanted to get upwind of the course line after being way down wind of it attempting to get myself back in the game.
I headed north cross wind, cross the sink area between cloud streets toward the next black-looking cloud. I had been finding lift on the south upwind sunny side of the clouds. I searched around and drifted downwind until down to 1,600' I finally found it along with a few buzzards getting back to cloud base at 5,000'. The wind was still 12 mph out of the east southeast, totally cross as we expected.
I headed due north to Dean Still to get under the closest cloud that I thought that I could connect with. I didn't feel that I could make it to the north east to get under the further cloud. I climbed at 200 fpm from 3,400' to 4,300' before I ventured directly upwind over a forested area hoping to make it high enough to feel comfortable when I got to the cloud to the east northeast.
I made it and climbed at over 400 fpm to 5,700'. This extra altitude was a great gift as I was going over areas that were off the main road and where I didn't really want to land. I headed north northeast to cu's 4 km southeast of 474/33. There I found 350 fpm to 5,800'. I wasn't that far from the Seminole Glider Port. It looked like I could make it back to Wilotree Park despite the cross wind.
I found a few light thermals north of Seminole that I hung on to just to make sure that I could make it back with plenty of altitude. The cu's were still looking very dark and I was not having a problem getting under them. It was easy to make it in.
Only Larry and I ventured out today although lots of people flew. Looks like at least two more days of east winds that are light enough for cross wind tasks. I'm sure more pilots will join us.
Round the Green Swamp in February
Round the Green Swamp in February
This global warming thing is working out
Green Swamp|Larry Bunner|triangle|Wilotree Park
Green Swamp|John Simon|Larry Bunner|triangle|Wilotree Park
Green Swamp|John Simon|Larry Bunner|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
Green Swamp|John Simon|Larry Bunner|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
The morning update forecast for Friday
A Green Swamp Day
Larry Bunner writes:
Slight inversion at 11:00 that stops lift at 2400'. Inversion breaks by noon
with TOL at 5300'. When we see clouds we should go even if it is at 11:30. The
winds at noon per skew T are ESE at 4kts at the surface going to zero above
1:00 SE at 3kts going more south at 3 kts up high tol 5700'
2:00 SE at 4kts southerly up high at 4kts tol 6000'
3:00 SSE 4-6knts tol 6000'
4:00 SSE 7-9knts 6200' so perhaps we go clockwise around the swamp
5:00 SSE 7-11knts 5800'
NAM12 and RAP show convergence on the west side of the swamp slowly migrating east with good clouds over the entire area
Looks like swamp day to me.
Sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Hourly in the afternoon: South southeast surface wind 5-6 mph here at Wilotree Park.
Southeast surface wind at 1 PM: 3 mph, 2000' southeast 4 mph, 4,000' 3 mph south southeast
TOL at 1 PM: 5,700'
Updraft Velocity at 1 PM: 620 fpm
TOL at noon: 5,100'
Updraft Velocity at noon: 540 fpm
4000' winds at 4 PM at Dade City: south 7 mph
Quest 3 km
T98471 3 km
T7598 7 km
This is our clockwise around the Swamp task back to Wilotree Park.
Larry Bunner was watching the cu's forming and had been looking forward to launching at noon, which he did when there were enough cu's forming nearby. Most pilots were waiting for stronger conditions and a later launch. I waited for 50 minutes and then had Jim Prahl haul me to the south to 2,900' where I connected with some cu's and climbed at 300 fpm to 4,700'.
The sky was not full of cu's but they were around. The wind was out of the southeast at 4 to 6 mph. I headed toward Larry who was just north of the Seminole Glider port. I got there at 1,600' while Larry was above me at 3,000' and climbing.
The lift was broken and it was a struggle at less than 200 fpm to get only up to 2,800'. Heading south southeast and down to 1,400' it was again a struggle to only get back to 2,800' again at 200 fpm. The lift was broken up. Larry was further south and doing much better. Everyone else was now launching after 1 PM.
Heading further south it was not going well. Down to 600' AGL I finally found some scraps of lift and held on looking for better landing areas. There was an 8 mph wind out of the east southeast.
I kept hanging on and searching for better nearby and going over the trees but with a landing field to the south. The lift kept improving and being more consistent. I drifted back a few kilometers but finally climbed to 4,500' and saw Pedro Garcia, John Simon, and Robin Hamilton to my west a couple of kilometers at my elevation.
Heading to the south side of the Green Swamp gliding into a 9 mph south head wind I hooked up with Pedro and John and we climbed to 4,900'. Pedro had to turn around and go back to Wilotree Park because he had tandems to do.
It was a short glide to the next cu and we climbed to 5,900'. Robin Hamilton had come in underneath us.
The next glide was 11 kilometers to the southeast corner of the Green Swamp, the last place where you need to get high before cross over the swamp to the first turnpoint. John found something just below and behind me and we were able to climb to 4,800' with a 6 mph southwest wind pushing us back a little.
Down to 2,100' just near the turnpoint I climbed back up as John found better lift to the north and topped out at 5,200' with a 7 mph south wind pushing us up the course line to the second turnpoint.
With that nice tail wind it was extremely easy to head north. I quickly caught back up with John and climbed to 6,000' at 400 fpm. Robin was just behind us.
There were some good looking clouds in the 7 kilometer radius turnpoint further north and I took them to 5,100'. We could hear from Larry that he had been struggling at the turnpoint and not getting up, but as we got close he finally was able to climb up. The wind was 8 mph out of the southwest, a tail wind to get us home.
We would normally head straight east across the Green Swamp toward Wilotree Park but we were at less than 4,000' on the western edge. With the wind direction and the cloud spacing we heading east northeast toward open landing fields and highway 50, as well as the inviting cu's. I was able to climb to 5,200' under them.
After that thermal the lift was weak along highway 50. The wind was out of the southwest at 9 mph, but I could continue to the east northeast. Coming over the huge nursery north of highway 50 and Mascotte, I just settled into ubiquitous 70 fpm and climbed to 3,900'which gave me an easy 9 km cross wind glide to Wilotree.
Larry, John, Robin, and I made it around. Others abandoned and returned to the flight park. Pedro had to go to work. A few landed out. A busy day at Paradise Airsports.
Tomorrow the winds are stronger out of the south southeast and we may have to fly a downwind task.
Four days of good flying
Four days of good flying
Now it looks like a week of rain
Florida|John Simon|PG|triangle|Wilotree Park
Florida|John Simon|PG|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
Florida|John Simon|PG|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
Pedro Garcia, Robin Hamilton, John Simon, Mick Howard and I (along with Maria when she wasn't working) got a bunch of Florida style flying in this last week. I missed Thursday having a colonoscopy date.
With temperatures in the lower eighties and the skies filled with cumulus clouds we had great opportunities for close course triangles and out and returns. On our last day on Friday we chose the always popular route to the northwest to Center Hill then to the northeast to the Turnpike and highway 33 and back to Wilotree Park. A total of 51 kilometers.
The forecast for the day pointed out the strength of the south wind:
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. South southwest wind around 5 mph.
Hourly in the afternoon: South southwest surface wind 6 mph. Cloud cover 64% rising to 75% at 4 PM.
South southwest surface wind at 1 PM: 9 mph, 2000' south southwest winds at 12 mph.
TOL at 1 PM: 5,100'
Updraft Velocity at 1 PM: 520 fpm
CB at 1 PM: 4,300'
Cloud cover 30%
100% cloud cover at 4 PM
With strong lift and a high cloud base we figured we had a chance coming back against a 12 mph head wind.
I was off first at 1:15 PM trying to get an earlier start given the forecast for 100% cloud cover at 4 PM. No need to wait until 2 PM.
I didn't get any lift on tow so I stayed on until 2,600' AGL and then found lift further away from the the park and climbed to 3,600' at 260 fpm on average. Mick was pulled up after me and was not too far below before I headed out as the mists became evident.
With an eleven mph southeast tail wind it was easy to get to the next cu's off to the northwest in the direction of Center Hill. With Mick using me to spot the thermals we were quickly at Center Hill having found lift averaging between 100 fpm and 300 fpm. There were plenty of cu's to help guide the way.
Turning to the northeast at Center Hill meant that the wind was now cross and the lift not so great still I made it to the Turnpike and highway 33 turnpoint with a couple of thermals. Mick got a little confused and first went toward the wrong intersection before heading further east toward highway 33. John and Robin were behind us.
Turning south at the Turnpike mean heading into the wind which was now due south at 9 mph. I found lift at 1,900' two kilometers to the south but ending up back over the turnpoint at 3,700' climbing at 236 fpm.
There were cu's to the south down highway 33, but they were fewer, further apart and didn't look as good as on the first leg., but it was still early at 2:30 PM. I was glad that we took an earlier start than we had on previous days.
The lift was weak and the wind was strong, just what we didn't need. I saw John coming in below me heading for the Turnpike as I headed south for the second time. Robin seemed to be further back.
Down to 1,300' just north of the Grass Roots airfield I found 150 fpm. Ahead of me there were very few cu's at all and the blue hole went on for a long stretch.
I climbed to 2,300' then spotted Robin turning a kilometer back north of me so jumped downwind to join him. Unfortunately I was only able to gain a hundred more feet before that lift petered out. Heading south toward Grass Roots there was no lift to be found and I landed on their nicely manicured grass runway.
John and Mick landed further back to the north, Robin landed on the forbidden farm a couple of kilometers further south, which did not make his day (he had not been informed).
We didn't get as high as forecasted and the lift that we found wasn't as strong as predicted, so we really couldn't make it back against the head wind which was 13 mph above 2,000'.
January Flying at Wilotree Park
January Flying at Wilotree Park
We flew on Tuesday
John Simon|PG|triangle|Wilotree Park
John Simon|PG|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
John Simon|PG|Robin Hamilton|triangle|Wilotree Park
Robin Hamilton and Rich Reinauer showed up from Texas very early Tuesday morning. John Simon was already here. Add Mick Howard, Pedro Garcia (who had to go to the airport) and I and we had a crew willing to take on a short (34 km) triangle task. Here was my forecast:
After a somewhat windy MLK day with the high pressure now centered south of New Orleans, which is the perfect place for southeast winds up through Texas:
With the high pressure also over us the winds die down here over night. Looks like it's going to be 6 mph out of the east on Tuesday (NWS). Maybe as low as 2 mph at 1 PM (RAP forecast).
Sunny, with a high near 69. Calm wind becoming east northeast around 5 mph.
Light winds up at top of "usable" lift also with RAP saying 3 mph and HRRR 3 saying 7.mph all basically east. (RAP and HRRR 3 both show very light east winds at 4,000' at 1 PM.)
460 fpm lift at 1 PM (HRRR 3). Looks good through 4 PM. (All other models show higher updraft velocities.)
TOL 3,600' at 1 PM climbing to 4,300' at 4 PM (HRRR 3, but pretty consistent through out all the models).
No lift at 5 PM, of course.
No cu's (Both Skew-T and the models show no cu's).
Maybe a two hour task from 2 PM to 4 PM. Launching starting at 1 PM.
Quest 1 km
Livoak 1 km
Baylk 1 km
Quest 400 m
A shorter task, but maybe a warm up for longer ones starting on Wednesday, also, no cu's so more difficult.
The rest of the week looks great with temperatures in the 70's (up to 80 on Monday) and light winds.
Kasey pulled me up a few minutes before 2 PM. I was waiting for the TOL is rise up a bit. I was the first of our cohort to get going.
Despite the fact that she took me to 2,500' I don't find any lift until I was down to below 1,200'. With a northeast flow one does not find lift to the northeast of Wilotree Park due to winds coming off the lakes in that direction. Of course, tug pilots normally pull you up upwind, but that is not the ticket here on northeast wind days.
I turned around after I remembered this and caught lift west of Wilotree Park climbing to 2,600' over Osborn field. John radioed that he was about to launch and as I headed back toward Wilotree to the east having topped out, I was soon down to below 1,000' at the western edge of Wilotree. Four minutes of hanging there in net zero lift finally allowed for an average 200 fpm climb to 3,200' with John, Robin, and Rich coming in under me as I drifted west at 6 mph and waited for them to climb up to the TOL with me.
We headed out, despite not being especially high, toward the south east and the first turnpoint a mere 14 km away. The lift continued to improve even as we headed into a light headwind. I was able to climb to 3,600'just west of Pine Island.
The wind was coming from the south east over the lake around Pine Island so I headed in that direction to get past the lake. I found light lift and continued flying straight as it was weak. John and Robin were behind me to the south and stopped to turn in some weak lift behind me. I didn't bother going back toward them as the land out in front looked like it would produce.
It didn't and as John and Robin slowly climbed out I was forced to land in a huge field later to be joined by Rich. A couple of neighbors came by and one of them helped us break down the gliders. They said come back any time.
John didn't catch the next thermal and landed near Rich and I a bit further up the first leg. We never heard from Mick. Robin was able to make it around the course.
Big Washington Triangles
Hicks in the sticks
Martin «Martin» writes:
Some of us “Hicks out in the Sticks” have had a short run of some amazing flying up here in Washington’s Columbia basin. Strange combination of Canadian smoke and perfect soaring conditions created the opportunity over a two day period to fly some amazing triangles.
On July 8th, Flying my trusty ATOS “VRT-Minus” I successfully completed a 295 km FAI Triangle. From our tow site near Mansfield I did a very deep run down to Lind Washington, back up near Davenport and after close to 8 hours in the air managed to scrape my way back to the tow site (smoke to the west was shutting down the lift) :
Happy to make it home:
The Next day, my turn to run the tow rig. I towed up my child protégée from Spokane, Mike Bomstad (on a ATOS VR) and my lovely wife (flying her ATOS VQ).
Mike, smoked a very fast time around an even larger 311km FAI triangle back to the tow site:
Mia, who ran into a bit trouble on course, had to dig out a hole and settle for 176 km FAI triangle ending back at the tow site:
Mike and Mia, happy with a cold Becks from the cooler at the end of the day, taking down at goal:
I now think Mike's triangle is the largest triangle ever flown by a hang glider in North America. Definitely both of our triangles were the largest triangles ever flown in Washington State!
Cheers from the dust, dirt and smoke of central Washington!
Martin, Mia and Mike.
Big triangle in Laragne
ATOS record a week ago before the bad weather
It's 21h05 and I've flown 291 km FAI triangle in 8h40mn : this is also the biggest FAI triangle flown by a hang glider in France beating also Gil's record of 286 km.
For the last 3 years since I've had my ATOS, I've been motivated to beat the Laragne site record set by Gil Souviron of 275 km FAI in 2007. I've got as near as 266 km and Gil told me : "Just fly a little further north and a little further south and you'll get it !" (but some days it's just not that easy !)
I'm on holiday this week and it's a good flying week. The 15th I made 226 km in 8h05 in quite difficult conditions and low cloud base in the south of my circuit. The next day is a rest day to be ready for thursday the 17th, the forecast is looking very good with cumulus clouds, light winds at 3000 m and high cloud base.
I take off at 12.20, as the first pilot off, a swiss ATOS pilot, shows us it's not very good yet. My first turnpoint is to the west, but it's not working so well this early so I only go 23 km instead of 30 km as I had hoped, before heading NNE. I soon get under the nearest clouds and make good progress. West of the Pic de Bure I meet up with Mart, we climb in strong lift to 3400m.
Thanks to Serge.
Big triangle in Namibia
Swift goes far, the furthest?
First 1,000 point flights in Australia – The Narromine Cup
Former hang glider pilot Allan Barnes
Adam Wooley|Allan Barnes|Australia|Pepe Gresa|triangle|XC
Last Sunday, four 1,000 point flights out of Narromine in New South Wales, Australia, topped the worldwide OLC scores. Allan Barnes had the biggest flight. He has been trying for 1,000km FAI triangles for many years and now succeeded. This flight is currently listed No.3 in the worldwide OLC champion scores.
“Here at Narromine we have every year a competition called the Narromine Cup, without formal tasks but concentrating on long distance flying and personal best flights. Sunday was a practice day for this competition.“ Allan’s beforehand declared task only just worked out.
“The forecast told me where to go, but the conditions did not start as early as expected and I had a long 2 hours below 1000m. The clouds started late, so it was very difficult to find climbs. After 2 hours into the flight I almost landed - dropped all my water and was less than 200m above ground when I found a weak thermal and managed to recover.”
Remember Allan's friend Adam Wooley who found himself stopping over on an Australian golf course?
Allan first headed southwards finding climbs over 10kt (5m/s) but then encountered some bad fracturing of thermals and broken clouds. The area around his first turnpoint was “very remote, with some good landing fields but maybe 20km to walk to the nearest building. I got down to just over 1000m and it felt very low as the cloudbase was now over 3000m.”
Running up the scrub line to his second turnpoint felt much better. Allan’s XC speed achieved just reached 100km/h but he still had about 400km to fly, not being confident.
On the 3rd leg there was a lot of overcast and spreadout which made him fly down again over some very bad countryside. After a slow climb out, he figured that continuing on track was impossible: ”A huge area without clouds and clearly no convection.” The only option was to fly north, 45 degrees off track and away from Narromine, to the last cloud within reach.
“I got there with enough height to find the climb, and finally reached the cloud base. From there the best way to go seemed to be on my original task line, but I still believed that the only possibility was an outlanding.” He then had a surprisingly good run to the final turnpoint where the difficulties started again.
Using weak thermals, Allan finally made his way back home: “A very difficult day for 1000km, it was only just possible with the LS8.
A big mix of emotions - frustration early on, exhilaration in the best part of the day, and great disappointment when I decided to abandon - followed by a growing sense that it might all still be possible if things worked out. I won't forget this day, that's for sure!”
The Spanish pilot Pepe Gresa took a different route. His triangle is ~80km shorter than Allan’s. But Pepe averaged at 25km/h more than the local pilot. The Spaniard enjoyed the “incredible” Sunday Down Under. Have a great rest of the week at Narromine!
Big paraglider triangles in the Alps
Tuesday was a big day
Click here. Then choose April 19th.
An example here.
Thanks to Jari.
200 km FAI triangle - airspace violations?
Oops, not so good after all
The red sections below show where the pilot was in airspace.
Going to Hell
Getting a drink with your buddies
Yesterday I landed in Gregory coming back on my 50 km FAI triangle attempt. In town there was a little green street sign that pointed toward Hell. Hell must have not been too far away. Turns out it was a few miles to the east. I could have easily flown over Hell.
Today I took off on my bicycle and after a while decided to ride to Hell and back. The Highway to Hell was busy, busy, busy. When I got to Hell I didn't know what in the Hell to do, so I turned around and came back. The road out of Gregory, the town nearest to Hell, is Church Street.
Big Triangle at Highland Aerosports
Larry Bunner goes big in Maryland
Dr. Jack|Highland Aerosports|Larry Bunner|sailplane|triangle|weather
Larry Bunner writes:
When you can’t fly, the second best activity is to read about others flying exploits. While all my friends were down in Big Spring I was here in Pennsylvania living vicariously through the Oz Report, and a number of blogs (“Skyout” and “Life, Work and Hang Gliding” being two of my favorites). It is somewhat painful to only hear about the flying though.
The weekend of August 12th was looking favorable for the eastern shore. A weak cold front had moved through to remove the moisture from the air on Friday and the forecast looked good for both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning weather reports showed a low in the mid 50’s (good sign) and a high in the mid 80’s in the afternoon. After a quick scan of the blipmaps, I threw the VR on the roof (gently), kissed my wife goodbye and headed down the road toward Highland Aerosports on the Delmarva peninsula east of the Chesapeake Bay.
My experience at this site is limited, however the couple of times I have flown there were very good. The area reminds me of Illinois and Wisconsin, flat and wide open with few obstacles in the way short of the Atlantic and the Chesapeake. Dr. Jack was forecasting light northerly winds and 6000’ top of lift with few clouds. I sensed we would have lightly scattered clouds and possible convergence along the shore.
The drive is quite long (2 ½ hours) so I had plenty of time to visualize the task for the day. The 98 mile triangle flown in Big Spring earlier in the week motivated me to try for a long one here. The conditions appeared right, the only detriments were that I didn’t have any waypoints downloaded in my 5030 and my knowledge of the roads and towns is limited and oh yeah I didn’t have a driver; just a few minor distractions.
Pulling into the airport around 1130, a few cu’s were popping off in the distance toward the east coast. Several gliders were set up and the tandem operation was in full swing with a group of girls getting first rides. They really enjoyed the flights as their yahooing could be heard from 1000’ below. Bruce drove by and questioned where I was headed today, someone else asked if I was going for a 100 mile triangle. I mentioned to Sonny that it looked like convergence to the east, he stated that there weren’t any lines visible from the air just a few cu’s. It looked like the eastern part of the state would be good.
I linked up with Dave Proctor as I set up and we agreed to head north to perhaps do an out and return. I launched around 1230 and slowly climbed out west of the runway. While I was looking for some better lift, a pilot on a Falcon climbed right through me. I sure made his day!
Eventually I found the core and rode it on up to cloud base at around 5000’. Dave got off tow in a good thermal and soon we were headed upwind to the north. The climbs were between 400 and 600 fpm to about 5200’. We stayed together for the first four thermals and then got separated at about the 10 mile mark when I pushed on through some lesser climbs looking for the good stuff.
Ric (Niehaus?) radioed from the Massey airport stating that he was flying a Tempest (mini sailplane?). I never saw or heard from him again. Bubbling along above 3000’, I spotted a hawk climbing fast and soon cored 800 fpm back over 5000’. This was the strongest climb of the day. Dave decided to turn around at ~13 mile mark as the clouds were thinning out. I was 17 miles out and ready to do the same however a good line of clouds appeared to the NNE and I still had a vision of scooting to the east to get to the convergence line.
Twenty eight miles out just south of Middletown, the cloud line stopped so I turned back to retrace my steps. To this point, the going was easy connecting one cloud to the next. Out over the Blackbird State Forest another cloud was forming that started a line toward the SSE for many miles. At 2700’ I hit a solid climb and topped out at 5300’. This put me within reach of the line and for the next hour I spent most of the time cruising at 5500’ heading down a good street.
Thirty miles later I went on a long glide from just south of Dover down Highway 13 to Harrington failing to hit any decent lift under good looking clouds. My pace slowed considerably as I had to take a slow climb from down low. Finally I decided it was getting late and I needed to head back.
I really didn’t want to land out and figured the conditions were deteriorating so I left Greenwood (along highway 13) and worked a line of dissipating clouds toward Highland. I got stuck for a period of time and had to dig out again and eventually hit a smooth 500 fpm baby’s butt smooth column of hot air that took me to 6100’ (highest all day).
I left one last climb in duplicate conditions and glided over the airport with plenty of altitude. It took over 30 minutes to get down as the whole area was lifting off. I ended up with a solid landing in no wind in my flip flops (forgot my shoes in my hurry to get on the road) for a 5 hour 15 minute flight. Total distance for the triangle was 90.5 miles. The flying was a blast but I do need to get better prepared for the next one.
Thanks to everyone at Highland Aerosports for providing the means to get into the air. It sure has made my transition from the flying in the Midwest to the East an easy one.
Bogong Cup|book|CIVL|competition|cost|death|doping|drugs|drug testing|environment|FAI|Flip Koetsier|Gordon Rigg|government|history|JC Brown|movie|paraglider|Red Bull|Stéphane Malbos|Steve Uzochukwu|triangle|USHGA|Vos Savant
Let me remind my European readers of the saying of a great American Patriot, Patrick Henry, "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death." The story of Patrick Henry is something all American school children learn.
And what I see here is that we have a great cultural and political divide. There are those Americans (and others) who believe in the value of civil liberties, on one side, and those Europeans who are willing to do about anything to continue to take their government's money on the other side.
One American paraglider pilot writes:
I ain't no druggie, despite living in the "Emerald Triangle", but I'm with you 100%. Sometimes, you just have to stand up for rationality and 'Just Say No' to the ever-increasing nosy government, and the stupidity of some regulations. If there was a drug that would enhance paragliding performance, I'd take it, OK? But as near as I can tell, there ain't - though Red Bull may come close sometimes… ;-)
An American hang glider pilot and lawyer writes:
I couldn't agree with you more on this issue. I don't have time to argue it out with every European on the CIVL list though. I think that as Americans, we tend to value our civil liberties more than those from many other countries. I guess they don't mind having to prove their innocence. I find it rather offensive to say the least.
JC Brown, former USHGA competition chairman, writes:
You and I are in complete agreement on the drug testing issue. Here's a cool little movie of The Renegades in action: http://www.gleitsegel.info/renegades%20stubai.wmv
A European hang glider pilot writes:
If you show up in such an environment, such as the one that exists in Europe today, saying "not in our sport", "we refuse to be tested" they first laugh at you (based on their experience in other sports) and then they really think that you have to hide something.
Remember that this is not my argument. My argument is not that there is no drug use, but only that there are no banned drugs that enhance hang gliding performance. That there is no pressure on pilots to use drugs in order to be competitive, and therefore there is no reason to test for drugs in competition pilots (oh, other than the government money, of course).
Steve Uzochukwu <email@example.com> writes:
If you want world wide support in this you will need to know how other associations are funded. If opting out of the drug testing would lose the UK association its Sports Council funding then we would not do it.
Of course, now that I know the score, I do not expect any support for my Anti-Drug Testing position outside the US hang gliding community (and Australian, and a few others without government support). I do not expect the British pilots to give up their government support.
Of course, the USHGA will never fund drug testing in any way, shape, or form. The argument I have heard in the background is Steve's argument above, that we will just do these things on paper to get the government's support, and then not fund it.
The best compromise might be not to opt out of testing but simply to be unable to fund it. In the absence of any benefactor with thousands of Pounds, Euros, or Dollars lip service would be paid but nothing would be done.
Well, it's being funded by the government in Holland and other countries now. Once this is all in place in the FAI and CIVL it is a very short step to actually enforcing it, say in 2005 or 2006. Or say when the US wants to try once again to have a CIVL sanctioned worlds.
Steve also points out the great cultural differences between Europe and the US and Australia; I acknowledge those differences, and point out that this will likely mean a split up of the associations. The USHGA will in no way back this drug testing proposal.
Steve further writes:
Noel is advocating a very careful and detailed look at the issues and a wary way of proceeding.
Yes, I am quite aware of what Noel is advocating. To me this is the same as saying, well, the devil ain't such a bad guy, perhaps we should listen more carefully to just what he is offering for our souls.
I really appreciated getting the message from Flip Koetsier «f.koetsier» the team leader of the Dutch team, especially as many of his team members are here in Australia at the Bogong Cup and I have had a chance to speak with them about this issue.
Reading your arguments about the out of contest testing for doping, I think that you are going too far with your attempts to convince us to drop all associations with WADA.
(No need to worry about that Flip, as I can see that it is quite hopeless. I have no illusions that I will convince anyone but perhaps a few of those without government support.)
You already mentioned the system here in Holland and it seems to me that you spoke with some of the Dutch team members in Australia. It is correct that our team members are being checked for doping since some years now and yes, it is also correct that we don't have to pay for that. In fact, we get some funds from our government and our national Olympic committee to run our team and join some big competitions and not cooperating with the out of competition testing for doping might jeopardize these funds. So for me as team leader of the Dutch team it is simple, we cooperate with the testing.
(Yet again we have the acknowledgement that this is really all about the money. It really doesn't matter which side has the sounder arguments, just who has the bigger stick. Apparently the European governments are very concerned about these crazy wild hang glider pilot doing drugs, so that they are opting to bring the hammer down.)
In fact, we have to. I hope you can understand that. And yes, we suck at the government tit and we like it.
(Well, there you have it. I wonder just exactly what kind of drugs that the government is mixing in with the milk coming out of that tit. Perhaps something to calm the nerves, and quiet any opposition. Oh, did I mention, that Flip actually works for the government?)
Stéphane Malbos «vol.passion» writes:
Drug taking is a reality, in all levels of society and sports. Hang gliding and paragliding are not free from it. Pilots in France have been officially suspended by our federation following drug test.
(I have never argued that there is no drug taking in hang gliding and paragliding. I have only argued that there are no banned performance enhancing drugs for hang gliding and paragliding and that there is no pressure to take drugs in order to be competitive. So did you suspend these guys for taking too many Red Bulls, or smoking a little dope? How noble of the FFVL.)
Sportsmen and women are supposed to be example for the society, and so exempt of any drugs (even caffeine).
(Even caffeine?! I don't know why I even try to make an argument, when those who oppose my position make it so well for me. You'll notice that many different people have different agendas when it comes to Doping. Stephane is not happy about Red Bulls and Cappuccinos. He apparently feels that hang glider pilots should not engage in proscribed behavior, like even that first cup of coffee. This is even too much for WADA.)
Drug testing is a reality in most countries. It is funded by the governments through WADA (out of competition) or directly (in France anyway). In France, in-competition drug testing is requested, organized and paid for by the government. It doesn't cost anything to the pilots or their federation (except of course the % of our income tax that funds this particular program). The federation has to be a witness at any in-competition drug testing, and that's it. I don't know how it works in other countries.
(I do. There is no government funding for this. There will be an attempt to extract it from our pockets. It ain't going to happen, folks. You can tear up your organization by following this stupid path if you want, but we aren't going to go along with it.)
My good friend Gordon Rigg, in his typical display of British humor writes:
Do you ever re-read what you have written and see how sensible you are sounding? Is there some substance effecting you emotionally in some way!?
(See how insidious this is? Make an argument against drug testing and you get labeled as a drug taker. In the US our history shows that if you support programs on the left (like European socialism) you get labeled a Communist. Same argument here. Don't want to name your fellow travelers as members of the party for reasons of principle and freedom of association, get fired from your job and sent to prison.)
We must jump through quite a few hoops and leap some hurdles to obtain meagre funding for our paragliding and hang gliding teams who represent Britain. Our association also gains financial support that benefits all the pilots not just the competition ones. The association also gains credibility as representing an official sport when negotiating with other organisations such as CAA by being part of the sporting establishment. All this would be threatened if we participated in a written "we don't care what drugs" policy (it would also be threatened if our pilots competed in an unofficial non FAI approved world champs too!)
(Again, the real argument comes to the fore. The government is telling us what to do and therefore we are going to do it. I have no argument against that.)
This is why we have no choice but to have the necessary minimal involvement in the drugs testing policies that prevail. Mostly this will hopefully remain as just the necessary paragraphs in the rule book that never have to be implemented.
(Sure, that's what we all hope for. But I have seen how FAI/CIVL works. One day its a category I rule, the next day it applies to category 2. Sure, just put it on paper and hope it goes away. I wish you all a lot of luck.)
In the meantime steer clear of those nasal sprays that contain "speed" in the USA, but not Europe, or so the Olympic folks believe!
(There are many gotcha's. Here's one from Tony Estrada:
Marilyn Vos Savant, a popular columnist for the widely read weekly Parade provides convincing statistical evidence that drug testing, even at a 99 percent accuracy level, can ultimately do no better than a coin flip in determining whether or not someone is really a drug user (Marilyn Vos Savant, "Ask Marilyn: Tests for AIDS and Drugs: How Accurate Are They? Parade, 3/28/93, p. 24).
Vos Savant goes into great depth as to why, once an individual has tested positive, the odds that he or she is actually a drug user are only 50-50. Even with the most sophisticated methods, a great margin for error exists. This is a result mainly of analytic sensitivity (the rate of positive test results in people who are actually users) and analytic specificity (the rate of negative test results in people who are actually not users). These factors are biochemical, not statistical, hence laboratory error, although a possibility, is not the primary concern.
http://www.moonmac.com/ftp/Non_Disclosure.pdf (see page two))
Finally Gordon writes:
Oh and yes, there are a lot of "tits" in our government - but surely more in yours!)
None available to us Gordon. Just to members of the coalition of the willing. :-)
Discuss drug testing at the Oz Report forum
Big FAI triangle attempt just short
David Glover|FAI|record|triangle|US Nationals
David Glover|FAI|record|Robin Hamilton|triangle|US Nationals
David Glover|FAI|record|Robin Hamilton|triangle|US Nationals
On Sunday the day after the US Nationals, Robin Hamilton, who had been flying a Moyes Litespeed in the competition, pulled out his Swift and attempted to set a new world record distance for a Class 2 FAI triangle. The current record is held by Marcus Guber-Hoffman at about 250 km (155 miles) in an AIR ATOS (as I recall – don’t have internet access at the moment – you can check at www.fai.org). Class 5 world records are also Class 2 world records, unless surpassed by Swifts in Class 2.
On Sunday there was a thick layer of cirrus and as we drove from Big Spring to Dallas we didn’t notice but a few cu’s. David Glover said that there weren’t any cu’s in the Big Spring area.
When I spoke with Robin just before the flight at half past noon he said he was going to try for about 260 or 270 kilometers, so when David called with the news that Robin had flown 275 kilometers, I thought that he had set the new record. Turns out he tried for a 300 kilometer triangle and just missed it, going on final glide from 8,000’ MSL (5,500’ AGL) and not hitting a bump.
The day was by far the worse that we had seen at Big Spring, and still Robin was able to go 275 kilometers (171 miles).
Discuss world records at OzReport.com/forum/phpBB2
WRE – Flytec vario winner
Alex Ploner|Andre Wolf|Bo Hagewood|David Glover|FAI|Flychart|Flytec|George Ferris|Jim Lamb|Mike Barber|paraglider|Pete Lehmann|record|software|Steve Kroop|triangle|Will Gadd|World Record Encampment 2002
David Glover «dhglover» writes:
The longest flight ever on a hang glider, paraglider and distance to goal - all used the Flytec vario. It was very nice of Steve Kroop of FlytecUSA to add this contest to his already generous support of the event. Over 150 people entered from all over the world.
I was waiting to get confirmation from George Ferris of the longest rigid flight this year.
Mike Barber 438 miles - longest ever Will Gadd 262 miles - longest ever George Ferris 225 miles - George's longest ever
Total Miles 925
This year’s tally of other great flights (almost all in the first week): New distance to goal record 321 miles Pete Lehmann and Mike Barber. 399 mile flight by Andre Wolf. Paragliding record broken 3 times (Dave Prentice, Marcello of Brazil Prieto and Will). Fastest speed ever around a 100km almost FAI triangle (or any triangle size, including Swifts) - Alex Ploner. Fastest speed around 100km FAI triangle - Bo Hagewood. Fastest out and return for CBRW - Jim Lamb.
The winner is: 927 miles - Andre Guindon of Canada (unless someone can prove they guessed closer)
He gets a Flytec 4020 Professional - that comes standard with Flychart CD software, PC cable, Manual, 2 year warranty and bright pink bag.
We will do it again next year!
WRE - Wednesday
camera|Hans Bausenwein|Mike Barber|paraglider|Pete Lehmann|speed record|triangle|weaklink|World Record Encampment 2002
The forecast was again for light winds with cu’s forming after noon. This pattern was predicted to stay around for a few days, so we continued to think of possible triangle. At first Bo wanted to go for the 380 km triangle, but it didn’t seem like it was possible to do such a long task starting after 1 PM.
Alex wanted to do a 200 km triangle as the existing record was not that fast - 43.44 km/h. Attila’s flex wing speed for the 200 km/h looked vulnerable also. Gary was going to try for the 300 km triangle speed record in the SparrowHawk.
Bo was the first pilot off at around 2 PM and other pilots dribbled out to the runway as the cu’s which started as whiff’s to the east and south (over the paraglider paddock) at 12:12 built into a sky full of puffy clouds.
Mike Barber broke a weaklink at about 300 feet and ever so slowly circled up. Quite a bit later he had to come back and get new film as his camera had popped open. He was going to try to break Bo’s new 100 km record.
Finally after trying a few starts Mike landed back at the airport. Alex made it to the first turnpoint but decided to fly back to the airport. Gary went into a thunderstorm and decided to land at Hebronville. Bo gave up the attempt as did Pete Lehmann. Hans Bausenwein landed five miles short of the second turnpoint on his paraglider 100 km triangle record attempt.
WRE – new unofficial world record
Bo Hagewood|CIVL Plenary 2003|Jim Lamb|Pete Lehmann|Robin Hamilton|Stewart Midwinter|Tomas Suchanek|triangle|world record|World Record Encampment 2002
Today Jim Lamb (AIR ATOS-C) set a new unofficial world record for class 5 (as soon as CIVL separates class 5 world records from class 2 – presumably at the next CIVL Plenary in February 2003), for the 100 km out and return of 34.36 kmh (21.35 mph). This tops the old (1999) record for Stewart Midwinter flying a Swift and set at Golden, BC – presumably running along the mountain tops of the Rockies. It doesn’t eclipse Robin Hamilton’s Swift record of 48.9 kmh set at Hearne last year, which would be the Class 2 record.
Jim launched at about 2:15 PM from the Zapata County Airport and flew south to a bridge south of Falcon Lake on highway 83. There were spotty cu’s in the area, but as Jim reached the bridge the sea breeze from the east and south reached him. Coming back from the bridge he didn’t hit lift for four miles until he was down to 500 feet.
After getting back up and until that time he was between 4,000’ and 9,800’ AGL (the ground is 400’ AGL here). The sky had turned blue for his return flight.
He flew 111.1 km in 3 hours and 14 minutes.
Bo Hagewood and Pete Lehmann both attempted a 380 kilometer triangle task. This would surpass Tomas Suchanek’s 357 km (220 mile) triangle set in 2000. Bo got to within 35 miles of Zapata on his return leg. There was a good east breeze today which made for a difficult triangle task.