Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Real!!!!!!!!!!

I wasn't going to believe it until the check came . . . and it did!



I just want to thank everyone again who took the time to vote for me! This has been an awesome and very encouraging process. It just shows that if you have an idea and continue to pursue it despite setbacks, you will succeed.

The setbacks, for me, were all the contests I didn't win, I've entered a lot! Here the one's I did not win: Full Throttle, Klondike, XGames, Sandisk, Post-it Notes, Trackstick, Nesquik, Schick, Microsoft Sync, and PUMA. That's 10 different videos that each took a considerable amount of time, some more than others, that all ended without anything to show for it. So to win this one means a lot to me, so thanks again to everyone!

The kid in me was screaming to get out and I obliged yesterday. After days of mulling it over and doing my research on the different brands and products I bought a Samsung LCD HDTV and a Playstation 3. Last night we watched Apacolypto on Blu-ray and it was awesome! We had seen the movie before and its a pretty gruesome movie, but it looked even more gruesome in HD on that tv. Things stood out before that we hadn't noticed as much. We also rocked out our Guitar Hero game that is going to be awesome.

Friday, December 26, 2008

XGames Failed!

Oh well, they chose two sledding videos and a pogo stick video for the three finalists of the XGames contest. I think its weird they chose two sledding videos. Maybe it's good to lose sometimes, makes winning even better:



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Funny Sketch 2

This isn't as offensive as the last one, anyone else think this stuff is funny?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Funny Sketch

This is one of the funnier SNL sketches I've seen them do in a while, maybe its just my humor -

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Photoshop Boredom



Angela and I in American Gothic, I think I look like Jerry Seinfeld or something, I did a bunch of other ones too, this is probably the worst.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feel free to laugh at me:

It's an outtake or blooper video so it's a bit random. Enjoy!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

I WON!



Thanks for everyone's support! Everyone at Lookout, the Treetoppers, Ozreport, Hanggliding.org folks, all my friends and family really pulled for me on this one! Thank you! You all are the one's that voted for it and I couldn't have done it without everyone's support.

This is like an early wedding present for us - some of this money will definitely be going towards our honeymoon! It's also such a relief for it to be done too, I actually lost sleep over this contest several nights, it took me a while to go to bed last night.

I actually found out last night only because I can check my email on my phone (don't have internet at the house) and saw from an email that 'JackieB' made a comment on my post last night, so thanks for commenting you are how I found out I won! We had been driving around Trenton trying to find a wireless signal, but Krystal turns off their router or something when they close so we couldn't get on to see.

I also pick up my Matrix harness today, I got new leg loops sewn in that have separate buckles, instead of connecting through the waist one. I hope to test it out today if this incessant rain should choose to stop for a few hours this afternoon.

Tonight I am going to try to edit together a little video, so come back here tomorrow to see if I posted it on youtube, or go to my youtube channel and subscribe and my new videos will automatically show up on your youtube home page: http://www.youtube.com/user/alta8bird

Thanks again for everyone's support. I may post where some of this money is going so check back in and see, but for now I may just get $1 bills and roll around in it like Scrooge McDuck. But unlike him I do plan to donate some of the money. Oh and next stop: the XGames! I find out on the 26th if I made the finals of that contest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tonight!

I'll be up tonight to see if I've won!
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

It should be up tonight, they say the 18th (tomorrow), and they've posted the other results around midnight on the day of, so hopefully we'll find out tonight.

Now that I got my youtube background done, they are changing the layout, so now I have to remake it! (see post below)

I hope to make a video of just outtakes from all the ones I've done, subscribe to my videos so you can see when I post it and laugh at me:
http://www.youtube.com/user/alta8bird

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blender


Left: looking from windtip towards nose, can see washout in the tip
Right: leading edge, I only made half the wing, that nub in front is the nose


I began using a free program called Blender (blender.org) to model my hang glider to learn how to use the program. I only made half the wing so then I could double it and flip it over so both sides are symmetrical.

I hope to slowly learn this program to create a hang gliding video game, special effects in videos, or create an animated cartoon. I may just get frustrated with such a complicated program and give up, but we'll see . . .

I made a new background for my youtube page. Go there (http://www.youtube.com/user/alta8bird) and check it out and SUBSCRIBE to my videos! That helps motivate me to keep making them if I know a lot of people are watching.

I also made a new camera mount that is going to get some sweet shots - will post them if I can fly one of these rainy days this week. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, December 12, 2008

- I Can See You! - Massive Rain -

Google Analytics is an awesome free service Google provides and it just helped me yesterday with the contest:

I got an email from a person helping run the contest and they noticed people were going to their contest page from my blog and so they wanted to know how many people view my blog to get an idea how well their viral advertising worked, and presto! I generated a report from Google Analytics, one of which I can see where all the people are that are viewing it, and if they're new or returning. (Click on the image to see it better) This one is only for one month, and I can click on individual countries and states to see it better and scroll over cities to see the number (a bigger circle = more views from that city). So maybe I got some brownie points there with the contest.

I also got a youtube message from my tie competitor and he was nice and mentioned that he asked the contest people if him and I would find out before the 18th and they said no, so it was nice of him to send me that message.

I got home from some training in Atlanta and the LZ is flooded and creek road is totally flooded from the little bridge all the way to the gravel entrance on the south end of the field (behind me in the picture). I meant to bring that picture to post too, but forgot it. Will post it sometime . . .

Thanks again for everyone's support in the Excedrin Contest, next up - the XGames!
http://www.youtube.com/RollIntoTheXGames
My video is posted here on my blog a few posts down, check it out! Don't forget to subscribe to my youtube account too!
http://www.youtube.com/user/alta8bird

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dec. 18th

One more week! I stayed up tonight thinking they'd post the winner because there was nothing in their official rules that said otherwise, but now I guess its Dec 18th, so more waiting . . .

Thanks for everyone's support! I feel like I've just ran a marathon with everyone cheering me the whole way - Thanks to everyone, I'll post here again when something happens

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mudslinging Last Day!

Today is the last day to vote!
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

I will find out tonight if I won $15,000!

I am worried about the power of the frat boy and his friends, they've already been slinging mud on my comments for the video, which I choose to leave up. I noticed some people put 'yawn' or 'zzzzzzzz' as a comment for his video and he deletes them, afraid of a little criticism. Also, you can read on his channel comments him saying he's glad I won the 2nd round and in the finals because he thought the yo-yo guy would have been harder competition! He also has been thumbing down all the positive comments people have made on my video. He's pulling out all the tricks - so help me out and vote one last time today!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Final Stretch


Starting today, Monday, through Wednesday is the last round of voting.
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

I was telling Angela, as corny as it sounds, even if I lose I feel like I've won because I have had great support from everyone I talk to. I am up against a guy who ties neckties kind of fast, I think a lot of people could do what he does, but I am not getting my hopes up and trying to stay realistic about my chances. I'm obviously biased, but neck ties or hang gliding kind of seems like a no brainer, but you never know.

My brother also brought me back to reality by saying that it's really a contest for $10,000 with taxes, especially with the Lipton contest $5,000, I should be saving a third of the money to pay taxes - ouch! It's still a lot of money though! And with the wedding and honeymoon coming up it would definitely help there.

Edit - Forgot to mention that this weekend was the treetopper christmas party - good time had by everyone with excellent turkeys from Ricker and many side dishes from Jeff Nibler, there was a keg and a warm fire outside. Keith Atkins got the well deserved Treetopper of the Year award and I among a couple other new guys were voted in on the Treetopper Board of Directors - www.treetoppers.org

Friday, December 5, 2008

MADE FINALS ! ! ! !


Woot! ! ! Now my competitor is to be chosen: either a guy who ties neckties or a guy who loads a projector with film. Thanks for everyone's votes!

Final voting is MONDAY, TUESDAY, and WEDNESDAY.

http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

What would you all do with $15,000? (Make comments below)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last Day and XGames Video

Today is the last day to vote in the semifinals:
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

Below is my new video in a new contest for the XGames! I highly reccomend you not watching it on my blog, instead go to the video on youtube and watching it in 'high quality' by hitting the link above the number of views. Youtube butchered the quality of the video, so that's why I say go there and not watch it here on my blog (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EKDYXFVTas)

It's in the following contest: http://www.youtube.com/RollIntoTheXGames
I think this contest will be the best exposure for hang gliding out of all the contests I've been in so far because if I won they would play the video at the XGames! There won't be any voting until they pick the 3 finalists on Dec. 26th so for right now you could also rate my video high, 5 stars, when you go watch it on youtube to make it look good so they pick it for a finalist.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Round 2, Day 2

Thanks for everyone's support! Davis at the Oz Report put up a post yesterday, everyone at HG.org are always up for voting, the Treetoppers are also all over it and everyone here at Lookout. I even bug people through emails and facebook to vote for me and they're always enthusiastic.

Got an email from the Full Throttle ($10,000) contest I was in, and it doesn't look good. They replied to my email saying they're verifying the winner, which isn't me I guess since they never contacted me, oh well, I think this Excedrin contest is going to be the one!

Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ROUND 2 STARTS!

Today Round 2 starts and I'm up against a professional yo-yoer.

Go to: http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels to VOTE

You can vote for me ONCE a day for the next three days, and if I beat this guy you can vote for me again after the next round is done (3 more days) to help me be the winner!

Thanks for everyone's help!

Last night there was a little get together at the club house for Steve and Catherine who will be moving back to Canada after stopping through at Kitty Hawk. Next weekend is the Treetoppers Christmas party too. Other than that it is beginning to be pretty quite around the flight park. I might be moving out of my Aeros Viper harness and into a Moyes Matrix if I can get it to fit right, any thoughts? I'm going to get Chris Smith to help me out, he's got ads on the Oz Report for the sewing and work he does.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tomorrow - Tuesday

Tomorrow Round 2 starts!
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day







What am I thankful for? FOR YOUR VOTES!



I will be up against the yo yo guy in the next round which should start in 4 or 5 days from now. I'll post when it starts back up. Then there are 3 more days of voting for me, 3 days off, and then 3 days to determine the winner (if I'm one of the two left to vote on after this next round).
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels


Flew for about an hour two days ago, went to the point again. Didn't have to turn once, there or back, very strong ridge lift (3 pictures above). I think 8 or so people flew total.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Round One is Done!

I made it to the next round in the Excedrine contest! If you go there today and vote it shows my video thumbnail moved up in the bracket! Thanks to everyone's support and effort on this, thanks to Davis for posting it on the Oz report!

Make comments to this post and tell me what YOU would do with $15,000! I think I already have some ideas, but want to hear yours.

There might be a glitch with their website though, because you can still vote for mine today against the next two videos, when it should just be the next two videos you can vote for, until the first round is done and then mine should be back up for voting against whoever win. I sent a message to the excedrine youtube account to ask, so we'll see what they say. I'll post updates as they come. Thanks for everyone's help!
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

Friday, November 21, 2008

Excedrine Finals - Two more days

So the way it looks is you can only vote for me or the other guy for this round (when you hit next video, ours are the only two available). So today and tomorrow's voting is going to determine if I make the next round, then it looks like there are 3 more head-to-head votings of the other videos, times 3 days each equals 9 days. So if I make the next round voting for me will start again on Dec. 2nd.
http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

Yesterday was a good flying day, went to the point and got some good pictures, it had been a while since I made it down there. Was surprised to get the best climb of the day right there because I'm usually grovelling low by the time I get there. It was about 400fpm and took it to about 4,400'.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

$15,000

Thanks to everyone's votes I made the finals so now your votes really count!

I will be paired against one other video in 3 rounds of head-to-head voting until the winner is determined.

Each round lasts 3 days long, and the next round should start right at the end of the of last one.

Go to: http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels

Click the 'VOTE' tab and hit the thumbs up for me! You can VOTE ONCE A DAY!

Today and the next two days I am being voted against some guy playing the guitar!

Thanks for your support!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's at the end of the Rainbow?



Turns out its a landing zone and my front yard!

Didn't make the finals in the Sandisk contest I saw today. Oh well, hopefully I will have better luck with the Excedrin contest which the finals will start in two days. It's pretty chilly here, I ridge soared on Sunday for a little bit before I got too cold. I'm looking forward to experimenting with new approaches sometime when it's calm. That day my downwind was low and slightly fast over the cabins and did a low turn back towards my house for final and landed maybe 20 or 30' from the gravel road in front of my house. It was pretty fun, I did the whole thing at half vg, but I'd like to get more speed on my downwind with full vg . . .

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall Colors


The leaves have begun to fall, but this is what the sunset looked like just a week or two ago, I didn't mess with it in photoshop or anything.

The finalists for the contests I'm in are announced:
I hope I'm at least a finalist in one of them. That Full Throttle contest still has not updated their webpage! They said they would notify the winner on or about Nov. 1st! Just tell me I didn't win already, its tough playing the waiting game on $10,000!

I found what is at the end of rainbows yesterday, I'll share that picture soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vote For Me ! ! !


Feel free to email friends and family this:

It's a little after midnight and voting just started to pick the finalists for the Excedrin Contest. Go to: http://www.youtube.com/excedrinexpressgels and click the VOTE tab, search for me 'alta8bird' and check the thumbs up icon next to the video! Voting ends this Sunday the 16th, then if I make it to the top 8, there are 4 rounds of head-to-head voting.

Check back here or on the youtube page to see if I make it to the top 8 because when my round comes up, there are only 3 days to vote for each round. One vote per person per day is allowed and you don't need a youtube account to vote! Thanks for your help!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

SanDisk Contest

Okay here's the deal, this video had to be one continuous shot, with no editing afterwards, so I decided to film a landing just to throw my hat in the contest. Voting hasn't started on this or the Excedrin one, but it helps if you make them look good by rating it 5 stars and making comments. Also below you'll see the infamous Sport 2 song written by Ollie and sung by Tara.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Wingover practice

Got home from work yesterday and got towed up twice for some wingover practice. I am not pitching before roll, but I think that's because I'm afraid I'll do what Steve was telling me happened to him. His first time doing wingovers with full vg he accidentally looped it because after the pitch he wasn't used to the stiffness of full vg so he couldn't roll after pitch and looped it!

I've never gone full on my glider and the manual says there's no reason to, and from what everyone else says is the same - 3/4 is the most you want to go, so that is what I consider full.

Once I get really comfortable with how stiff it is to roll, maybe I can start pitching first better. Eric said he looped it for the first time yesterday! I didn't get to talk to him much about it, there were tandems he had to do and I wanted to practice before the sun set.

I'm trying to get a picture up and will later when I get this technomological crap to start working.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend Flying





Yesterday I was invited to fly at a really nice site only 20 miles from Lookout. Those in the pictures are David Giles, Ollie Gregory, James Stinnett, and Greg Heckman. Ollie and Dave made it back to Lookout, but James, Heckman, and I went so lucky. We ended up being drivers. I was able to stay up for 20 minutes or so but couldn't do much with it. (I think you can click the pictures for bigger versions).

Also, the other day, Eric was trying the hanging camera below his control frame and the cord snapped on him and his camera tumbled into the trees. He was ridge soaring at the time so it gave us a good idea of where to look and he eventually found it! It was totaled but he got the SD card out of it.

I'm waiting to hear from the Full Throttle contest, the 'official rules' say they'll contact on or around Nov.1 the winner. Last contest it took them a while past the date they said, so either that's true again, or I'm not the winner. They haven't updated their page yet either. I'll also find out if I'm in the Excedrin youtube contest finals on the 12th.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Comp Dreaming

After going to the Competition Committee meeting I am ready for some comps already! I was planning on East Coast and Big Spring, but Big Spring will interfere with our wedding/honeymoon, so I am crossing my fingers for a meet in Florida to come about.
There's been some interesting discussion about Nationals on HG.org here:
http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=9079&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=100

Check out the poll I've started and vote how you think Nationals should work! Since only a few people look at this site the poll might not be statistically powerful . . . but who cares what crotchety old stats professors would think about it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Excedrin Contest

Hi all-

I just uploaded a new video to youtube for another video contest. The deal with this one is they will pick the top 8 out of all the entries to go on to the voting round. So until then, check it out and rate it high so it looks good and I get into the top 8!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nZfJjRrEb4

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Update -

It was an exciting weekend starting with Friday's USHPA Competition Committee meeting.

I entered into a new world of hang gliding where there seems to be much history of ill feelings towards others within the competition community which is unfortunate and puts a bad taste in my mouth as a new comp pilot. Unfortunately, this history seems to affect the attitude and judgment of those involved to where they can not view the situation objectively and the comp pilots are the ones that suffer. I'm glad I went and I learned a lot, but it's not what I had expected. I would write more but I'm afraid a post like that would just perpetuate the negative impact the internet may have contributed to the current situation.

Saturday I flew for about 2 hours, got 2,400' over launch and had a good time. I was heading to the point when I heard fireworks, then I noticed little orange disks flying off the bluff. It wasn't fireworks, but someone shooting skeet off of the bluff that I was only 200' over! I turned around because I didn't want to get shot on the way back if I was lower. Living in North Georgia keeps you on your toes! Many people flew that day, once I landed at 6pm, there were still about a dozen gliders in the air. That night was the Halloween party and an experienced tandem guy, Mike Labato, won as a one-night stand. All of the pictures Ray took are at: http://photos.visioncomm.net/index.cfm?Lib=37

I've finished a video that I will post for a video contest soon, maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

USHPA Board Meeting

Last night there was a little get together before the meetings started, it seemed well attended by all the USHPA people and there were Treetoppers there to greet them with a goody bag of treetopper shwag.

I'm going to go to the competition committee meeting today and be a cheerleader for Big Spring and a multi-meet nationals.

Looks like some NW wind is coming our way, so it should be flyable soon, it will give me a chance to work on some videos . . . stay tuned for those!
I figured out how to mount a camera on the wingtip pretty darn easily, thanks to Moyes' zipper by the tip wand-leading edge junction: (check out the bird in lower left)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Team Challenge Launches

Here are some of the launches from Team Challenge that Keith Atkins filmed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A little blown out



Today was a little blown out. I tried posting a video, but blogger is screwing up and I can't post one. I was able to fly but it was really crappy on the ridge especially in comparison to last night's nice smooth wonder wind.
Anybody else think this is the coolest groom's cake they've every seen? The middle one was banana bread and the bricks were a different kind of cake.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yesterday's flight

Got about an hour yesterday, thanks to Marc Fink for showing me where lift was, I think he was too low to get it and he landed, but thanks to him, I knew where to go. I climbed out to about 2,000' over launch looking at all the gliders in the lz I thought I would be the only one to get up, but I noticed a glider about 800' higher than me! It was Greg Heckman of course. I launched at about 4:00 from the Bandit so I'm sure Greg launched much earlier. I only had about one more climb and got to 3,000' over launch to cloudbase. My zipper got stuck when I was pulling it up and on my attempt to unstick it by unzipping it, the actual zipper came unloosed from one side. So I gave up trying to stay up since i was having to hold my legs up. Anyone know how to get humpty back together again? It's like unzipping a sleeping bag all the way, but then not being able to start at the end. Somehow I have to just jam one side of teeth through that little slot on the zipper. Check out my Team Challenge video, and come next year!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Team Challenge Video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ticket to a Litespeed

This is how I got my Litespeed S - Thanks Lipton!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Final Day


The winning team - Thermal Underwear. Yesterday's inversion at about 5,600'.


The morning after the last day everyone is packing up and heading out for their long or short drives home. It was a very successful meet and lived up to its name of Team Challenge and reputation of being the best place to learn xc with a bunch of other people and have a great time!

I learned a lot from Mike Barber, Jim Lamb, Dennis Pagen, Terry Presley, Kevin Carter, and all the other great pilots around here. This meet is priceless and I urge any H2 to go out and get their H3 by next year so they can attend this meet. I even had Dennis Pagen measuring my sprogs yesterday!

Yesterday was a tough day for some but I was able to scratch low and got up with a handful of other pilots, and more were able to climb out later on too. I think all the rigids ran the course, I don't think any C's made goal, and I know at least 2 B's made their goal. Our B's and C sunk out and so Eric and I made the first lap to the C goal and back and our other team members still had some time before they'd be ready to setup again. So we headed off again to complete our task with a second lap. We used the clouds down the ridge to get us perpendicular to the waypoint and then ran across the valley to get the waypoint and hit a little climb in the valley on the way back. I really need to get a final glide feature on a vario, because I didn't really know if I could make it back to the lz or not so I took one last climb and made it back. My luck of hitting a climb didn't happen for Eric who left a climb lower than me and that was probably the difference, he said, that he came up a mile short of goal.

I never saw the scores for yesterday and I haven't seen them posted around, but I can say that my team won! Team Ohio came in second after overtaking the E team in the middle of the week. I didn't know if we could pull it out, but I think we managed to win by maybe two hundred or more points. Of course, everyone here will say that's not what it's about, and I agree, but it is nice to win once in a while. The best thing to take away was all the experience and seminars that will hopefully keep us lower air time pilots from having to take the time to figure this out for ourselves. Instead, we are able to come to a meet like this and take advantage of all the great pilots who have so much more experience than us. I look forward to next year!
I'll try to edit together a video soon!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Penultimate Day - Toughest Conditions yet


The leader of the Air Hogs, Mark Stump, circa 19??, on his Fledgling (spelling?)

Yesterday was the toughest day yet for the competition, the weather was overcalled and only two C pilots were able to make goal out of all the pilots. My team pushed and launched at 3pm while no one had yet to launch with the strategy to spread out in hopes of finding some lift. The sail plane that had just past by was not encouraging as it sunk away, but it was already 3pm and we thought if we sunk out and it got good we could always relight.

I launched first and radioed back to my team to not follow me, for Eric it was too late, but our C pilot was able to take my advice and he tried something different and was able to find a climb and he was one of the two that made goal!

Last night Mike Barber went over some landing footage taken this week and talked about landing, which he said 9/10 times if someone is having a problem its because they are pushing out and not up on their flare. I've tried to include a video but I think this connection is too slow to do it. But I will make a video for youtube once I have the time after the meet is over. Today is the last day and the scores are getting pretty close. If our C hadn't made goal we would be a few points from second place. The E team dropped off, only scoring 46 points yesterday compared to the 240 points the top three teams scored yesterday. So now Team Ohio has moved up to second place and are only 160 points behind us (making goal is worth 100). Team Scores:

1 - 2,149 - Thermal Underwear
2 - 1,980 - Team Ohio
3 - 1,706 - E Team
4 - 1,461 - Pale Gliders
5 - 1,433 - B'Low Me Again
6 - 1,419 - Comp Concepts
7 - 1,419 - Team Colorado
8 - 1,011 - Leftovers
9 - 980 - Mountaineers
10 - 871 - Air Hogs

Today is going to be an out and back type of task. The C's are just out, to the same goal as yesterday, the B's are out and back here to Henson's, and the A's have to go out and back to the C goal twice. The weather is called fairly similar to yesterday, but hopefully it is more accurate today. There may be some nice cumies today whereas yesterday was called for none. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 5 - A Blue Day

Jim Lamb imparting some of his knowledge on lesser experienced pilots.
Jeff Bozarth laumching.


Today was a later day, as usual for this NW facing site. My team was able to launch around 3 after about 20 other gliders. The day was called to be a good, albeit blue, day with the inversion rising to 6,500'-7,000', which is good for this site and 500 avg fpm climbs. Early on it didn't seem to be that way. I was able to launch in a strong cycle and get up fairly quickly. Terry Presley substituted for Eric on our team who had to go work in Nashville, and hadn't slept in 36 hours so may or may not be back tomorrow to fly for our team. But Terry was able to get in front of the other teams before they mover over in front of the rest of our team, where we were second to last in line.


So I was able to get up and meet Terry who had been boating around waiting for us to launch. Our C pilot was able to get up and Terry worked down just to work with him and help him climb back up. It was an excellent example of what this meet was about, if you could hear what was going on the radio - nothing beats having a former World team member core down to help you climb out and talk you through it on the radio! I know our C appreciated it, and made it to their goal! Terry was then able to scratch low from helping our C pilot, Bill from FL, and continued on to the A goal and back to land at the C goal (which was the lz of the A task as well). I stayed back with one of our B pilots who was struggling and tried to help him as best I could and spiraled down from 6,500' to about 3,000' to try and help him out. It was a bit more challenging to help someone - I have a lot of respect for the clinics Mike Barber has done for people for so long when he flies with them and tries to coach them. It is much tougher than it sounds, and probably more frustrating too.


Needless to say the B pilot I was trying to help sunk out, and I had spiraled down several times to help him but to no avail. By the time he was landing out, I was also struggling so I floated on down to the C goal where a keg was eventually brought to the delight of all. The selfish part of myself (usually too much of myself) was frustrated that I had spent my time trying to help someone when I could have made my goal. But the altruistic-self reminded me that is what this meet is about, besides, Terry was able to help a pilot and make his goal!


One of the scariest things I saw was a mid-air collision. I have talked with both pilots and neither of them knew they hit each other and maybe no one would have never known. I was less than a hundred feet over them and barely caught the incident. Luckily they both were turning right which was what was called by the task comittee. I was busy making sure I was hitting anyone when I looked down just at the right time to see the lower pilots wing left wing tip tap the right wing tip of the barely higher pilot and they just 'boinked' and kind of bounced off each other. It was barely a touch but it was there. I know there were some other close calls too, but overall another safe day. Tipp Rogers had one of the best launches of the day despite him having one leg and he was off after two hops off the ramp, it was amazing to watch.


At the end of the day, it sounds like only maybe two or three A pilots made their goal, possibly no B pilots and several C pilots made it. Tomorrow I will post the new scores.


There is also the topic of a new scoring system that was brought up this morning because there is the concern that the C pilots are not being scored as heavily as they should be since this is what the meet concentrates on - helping C pilots learn how to go xc and so they should get the most points, which would reflect the most involvement and teaching from the A pilots on their team. So the scores may change so that the C's are more heavily weighted, which makes sense to me. There is also the discussion to have a different format or teams for those who want to go to bigger comps after this one. Which I would have enjoyed last year to prepare me for East Coast and Big Spring. That should be a big draw for those intermediate pilots next year who are looking to attend those bigger meets.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 4 - Blown Out and New Scores

Last night was a great karaoke dinner with several people embarrassing themselves pretty well. Ollie had several songs and the Air Hogs had a good one too. Yesterday's task was a fun time for everyone with many people making goal. The Henson LZ (B and C goal) was packed at the end of the day. Early on (2:30) it was a bit scracthy but the ridge was beginning to work. By the end of the day when I was landing, and many others, it was a struggle to come down, there was lift everywhere. Cloudbase was at 6,500' and I got there once. The E team caught up to use even more in the scores (see below) despite 3 of our team members taking sled runs early to get the extra points. Ollie, and his mothership, was able to escort all his C's to their goal down the ridge. All day the ridge looked like Atlanta rush hour traffic since all the tasks crossed the same area at least once and at most 4 times! Everyone was flying with everyone else, it was good fun.

We also just completed a launching clinic with Dennis Pagen and watching every single competitors launch on video. It was great because most everyone did not know the subtleties of their launch techniques. The grapevine grip was the most purported method. Later we'll have a landing clinic with all the footage that has been taken so far. Jim Lamb (A-I-R USA) is giving a talk right now on technical soaring, talking about polars, and other complicated things.

Today has been called, but some are free flying for fun. Tomorrow looks like a great day, and my team better step it up if we don't want to loose first place, but if the E Team keeps doing what they've done, we'll be in second after tomorrow.


Team Scores as of 10/1/08

1 - 807 - Thermal Underwear

2 - 798 - E Team

3 - 624 - Team Ohio

4 - 601 - Mountaineers

5 - 541 - Team Colorado

6 - 523 - Comp Concepts

7 - 519 - The Pale Gliders

8 - 465 - B'Low Me Again

9 - 400 - Air Hogs

10 - 345 - The Leftovers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 3 - Team Scores and Today's Task

Keith Atkins photo of several people climbing in front of launch.

Here are the current standings and team names and members. There may be some errors since teams with 6 only lcan count five per day so I may have missed a pilot or two. E-team had a great day yesterday with Stan Roberts one of the few A pilots making goal and he assisted one of his other pilots to give him a multiplier on his score so they've jumped up in the standings from 4th to 2nd from the first day to the second. From here on out I'll just list the team' scores, but use this as a reference to see who is on what team. Today is suppossed to be ridge soarable and with not many C pilots having made goal they have decided a goal for them just down the ridge to hopefully get more people to taste the sweetness of making goal. B's and A's are also staying close to the ridge because the karaoke dinner is tonight that we don't want to have long retrieves to miss it. Last night Mike Barber gave an excellent talk on soaring - his keyword in flying is 'now' and the 'race is in the climb and the race is in the line.'


1 - Thermal Underwear - 428.25

~Keith Smith - B

~Bill Baker - C

~Bob Belshan - B

~Lucas Ridley - A

~Eric Donaldson - A


2 - E Team - 376.35

~Terry Presley - A+

~Stan Roberts - A

~James Donovan - C

~Dave Hopkins - A+

~Lindsey Chew - B

~Gavin Riley - C (injured and out now - he hit a tree the first day, but he is okay and I think his glider took most of the damage. The way he described it is that he just didn't see this tree because it had no branches or leaves, but I don't know all the details)


3 - Team Ohio - 296.9

~Jim Lamb - A+

~Mark Thogmartin - C

~Craig Hassen - B

~Terry Mull - C

~Christopher Thale - C


4 - B'Low Me Again - 265.3

~Edward Jowett - C

~Dennis Pagen - A+

~Stephen Krichten - A

~Donald Campasino - C

~Jesse Fulkersin - B


5 - Comp Concepts - 253.4

~Peter Kane - B

~Kevin Carter - A+

~William Estes - C

~Bryon Estes - B

~Jeff Nibler - B


6 - Arkansas Air Hogs - 232.7

~Mark Stump - A+

~Barron Mekinley - A

~Walter Jordon - B

~Butch Pritchett - B

~Steve Prater - C


7 - The Pale Gliders - 220.4

~Oliver Gregory - A+

~Ricker Goldsborough - C

~Collin Hodsdon - C

~Larry Snyder - A+

~Jake Mitchell - C

~Jeff Bozarth - C


8 - Mountaineers - 220

~Patrick Brooks - A

~Will Jenkins - A

~Pat Halfill - A

~John Mcallister - A

~Jim Rowan - A


9 - Team Colorado - 197.2

~Jeff Laughrey - A

~John Wilber - B

~Fred Kaemerer - B

~Shawn Banks - B

~Rick Maddy - C


10 - The Leftovers - 130.5

~Bruce Engen - A+

~Jonathan Small - C

~Roger Tubbs - C

~Kinsley Sykes - B

~Kevin Sheridan - C

Monday, September 29, 2008

Team Challenge - Day 1 and 2

Ollie Gregory on launch today.



The Team Challenge has started off great!
10 Teams have converged at the Tree Toppers site at Henson's Gap for a fantastic meet! There are teams from Ohio, Arkansas, Colorado, New York, and pilots from all over: Louisiana, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and many locals helping out. There are awesome volunteers helping even before the event started getting Henson's looking great and tonight for example, the Lee's are cooking an excellent dinner of corn and chicken. Other's help by either being 'wind technicians,' wire crew, drivers, the pro lecturers (Dennis Pagen, Mark Stump, Kevin Carter, Mike Barber), cooks, videographers (Keith Atkins), and much more. This meet has gone off well and everyone is enthusiastic to learn and fly together safely.
Yesterday was a tough day with only a handful of pilots making goal. Dennis Pagen's talk later that night about scratching had a lot of application for earlier that day.
Today was even tougher with even fewer pilots making goal. I can only speak to what I've heard about so far but our team has managed to do well and are in first as the "Thermal Underwear," with the Arkansas "Air Hogs" about 80 points behind us (we have about 240 points from yesterday). Behing the Air Hogs it is a close race with many people not being able to go xc.
Today's and yesterday's task were the same, except today the A pilots were a bit further. The C pilots goal was about 8 miles down the ridge, the B pilots 13 miles, and the A's 17 yesterday and 25 miles today.
It was fantastic to be able to fly with a team and use our radios to aid each other. For example, Eric Donaldson on our team helped our C pilot, Bill from Florida, make it to his goal by flying to him and guiding him there with me and one of our B pilots all in sight of each other. It's time to eat so I need to go get some before it's gone. I am already looking forward to next year!
Tomorrow a front may be coming through so we'll see what happens . . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

New youtube group

I just created a hang gliding youtube group and you can join by going to:
www.youtube.com/group/hangliding

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Help!

Okay, I need some help. I have been in this Full Throttle Contest for a little while and I was on top, the only video with 5 stars until some nerds ganged up on me to vote about 30,000 times one star for my video. I know only have two stars. I am just trying to get at least one of those back.

You can go to: https://cocacola.eprize.net/gofullthrottle/index.tbapp?page=gallery
and vote as many times as you want, you just have to click Search and it will refresh the page and you can vote again. I'm not asking to vote anyone else's down - just mine 5 stars. I'm on the second page now. Thanks

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What I do

If you're curious what I do for work, this is an example of what I've been working on:

http://atlas.utc.edu/crm

Monday, September 1, 2008

Another Video Contest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqxbaHE2Ntw

This is the link to my video in the Post-It Note youtube contest. We'll see if I'm in the finals in a week or so . . .

It will help me if you rate the video high (with the stars below the video) - makes the video look good :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Big Spring Video



Despite some techinical difficulties last night, I satyed up till about 2am making this video. The music is from Gov.t Mule.

Youtube has a 'higher quality' option that you can click if you go to the actual youtube page to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd6tfSG2Tjc
It's right below where it says how many views the video has.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Glover's Big Spring Video

Here is the compilation David Glover (Meet Head) put together:
http://gallery.me.com/gloverdavid#100008

I looked through my stuff last night, and while I don't have a ton of stuff, there are a couple cool clips from Big Spring. I'll try to throw everything together tonight and post it tomorrow (Tuesday).

There has been some good flying being done since I've been gone. I can't wait to foot launch again, but I think it is going to be a little while. It looks easterly for a while. Maybe tow this afternoon?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wrap up

Big Springs is over and I'm already missing it. Mostly because I had to go straight to work and drive to Charleston 12 hours after we got back to go to a conference.

Eric had a great last day and some how the results got messed up and don't show it but he was one of the few who made it in to goal that last day. They may have gotten the wrong track log from his GPS because he didn't delete the one from the day before, but he told them that when he pinned in. If it had been any other day than the last day it would have been more likely to have been fixed. James had an incredible meet making goal every day and making the 214 mile day, but came in second behind Cambell Bowen. It was a close meet for those two.

I hope to get a video up on yotube by next week, which I'll post here too, of all the footage I took. I will also try and post updates and pictures from other flying exploits, hopefully the Team Challenge competition coming up the first week of September too!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Last Day -Big Springs

This morning was the spot landing competition and it was pretty interesting. Only about 10 pilots stepped up for it, and Eric came in 3rd! It was already honking around 20 mph this morning. O'Brien came in first. Below is the video of Eric getting third - I am going to make a video for youtube in a week or two of everything I got from this trip, but I didn't get much footage.

It sounds like its some zig zag task today, with a headwind last leg, sounds tough. It will be a 56 mile goal.

Ollie, Stump, and I aren't going to fly today. Eric and James will fly. If Eric flies and gets 125 points he'll tie with me, which I'm sure he will and more so he'll beat me for the total comp.

That's okay with me because I've accomplished much more than I thought I would at this meet: two 100-miler days, got goal twice, and finished in the top 10 yesterday (10th). But today is shaping up to be similar to the day when we chose not to fly because it was too strong (tug's on the ground were almost getting tossed).

I'm just glad to come home unhurt, and my glider in one piece. Yesterday, a glider got tossed by a dust devil on their landing and threw a wing into the ground hard enough to break the carbon fiber leading edge. The pilot was safe. The tug pilot that crashed earlier in the week is now out of the hospital and walking around fine.

video

Day Seven - Media




This second image is a close up of the first image so you can see all the gliders that are taking the first start time. It was cool to see that many all turn and go on glide at the same time.

video

The scores just came out (midnight) and I think I made the top 10 for today! Woohoo!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day Seven - Big Springs

It was a long day! I landed at about 6:50pm and launched around 2:10pm I got about 19 miles short of the 133 mile goal today. Stump and James made goal, Eric almost got the first turn point at about 68 miles and Ollie landed out somewhere too. I had some radio problems so I had to keep unplugging my helmet from the push-to-talk and reconnect when I need to update James, our driver so I didn't know where everyone was most of the day. Once I heard that Eric was 10 miles behind me, but he had launched behind me.

Today was as close as I've come to being tumbled. I hit the edge of a 1,100 fpm climb and wow that scared the crap out of me. My nose tucked and I was free falling, diving straight down, but there was no wind noise - that's how much sink there was! Luckily I had pulled off my VG because it had already been pretty rough so I recovered better than I would have it was on. Needless to say I left that thermal and made it to the 2:45 start time. I will post a picture later of the 10 or so gliders I saw in front and above me also taking the 2:45 start time all together. It was a cool sight to see so many gliders close together going on glide.

I struggled with two other pilots for a while and watch another person sink out, so I knew today would be a tough day. I just kept trying to get high enough to cross parts of the land that looked nasty and would be a long, thorny hike out.

I had several low saves, one I was about 800 feet off the ground and caught something that allowed me to drift to the turnpoint, 68 miles out. From there on out it was me and one other glider, I think John Hesch. We were taking slower climbs and it was a good exercise in patience since earlier in the day I was going 1,100 fpm up and now, late in the day, I was having to settle for 250 fpm up and milk it with very shallow turns.

I think I ended up going just a little farther than John when we took different paths at around 6:15pm and I just lucked out and hit a 350 fpm climb that took me almost back up to cloudbase (which the clouds were getting very sparse) and when I looked over at him maybe a half mile away, he was about 2,000 feet below me even though we had left the last climb at the same altitude together.

Now we're trying to get back to 'pin in' before its too late. I will get a picture or two up later tonight. Tomorrow is the spot landing competition at 9:30am. I don't think I'll do it since we'd have to wake up at like 7:30 to get there, set up, an be in line to tow at 9:30. I may just go to film everyone else, it should be an exciting part of the comp. Apparently, tomorrow won't be as long of a task because its the last day, but it should be a stronger day than today, since it rained yesterday. Feel free to post comments or ask questions under each post there is a place to do that.

Morning Seven cont.

130 mile task today! Same course line as the 109 mile day just further, but today may be more crosswind. It's going to be a long day . . .

Morning Seven

This is a picture of the instrument mount I made so that I could put my GPS on with my vario. It's been working great! I just found the hardest kind of plastic thing at the grocery store, cut out a piece of it, drilled a hole for the vario mount (the big black circle thing at the bottom of it) and then I can just tape the GPS to it. The bed was probably a bad choice to take a picture of it on because it looks like a magic eye or something now.

There's speculation that today is going to be a long task since its the second to last day and the last day is usually not really long since people have to start leaving. James threw out the idea of another 200 miler, but I'm thinking closer to the mid 100's, we'll see in a couple hours, but if it is long it might be late before I post anything.


The other picture was on the front page of the local newspaper a day or two ago.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day Six - Big Springs


I decided not to fly today - I am just too tired! The many hours of flying and the stressful environment of competition flying is taking a toll. Luckily for me, during the pilot's meeting this morning it began overdeveloping to the North and eventually rained at the airport so that today was called. So I enjoyed some more free ice cream!

Here's a video of the pilot's meeting going on while overdeveloping is going on outside that Davis didn't see until after the meeting was over. They postponed everything 2 hours, but called the day was it started raining.


video

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day Five - cont.

The picture from the "Day Five" post, the one below this one, embodies what the day was like for the early if not most of the day.

A 105 mile task was called that looked to be pretty difficult with high clouds coming in that dampened down the conditions. Many people relit, including Eric launched three times before he stuck. Ollie decided not to fly, Stump got about 4 miles out. I launched late and drifted with the little lift I had, but it was enough to be over a big gaggle (see picture). I went on glide with another glider and had a tough time getting up and I had to work upwind to hit a 600fpm, one of the best climbs of the day. Despite the high clouds there were some low cumies and some blue areas far out.

how many gliders can you see?
The quality on this blog doesn't help, but there's actually 9!

I stayed low around some big wind towers until I hit another climb that took me to cloudbase. Despite the big gaggle early, I only flew with about one other person with the most of the day. After getting back to cloud base I headed over to the biggest road to try and get up before a big scrubby area as far as the eye could see.

James said him and the flexi's that eventually made it to goal had some trouble in this area and, like me and Eric, wanted to get high to be able to cross it. James said they hit 500fpm to get over that area, that we didn't hit once we got there. I was low, maybe 1,500' over the ground and tried to work upwind, knowing that whatever I hit would drift me back over that area and the further I hit it upwind the higher I would be once it drifted me over that area. Eric was higher than me when he got there so he went for it. I never hit anything and landed on the headwind glide. Eric landed in one of the few bare spots in that no-man-land area. I went about 30 miles and Eric went about 40 miles. video

Day Five


More later . . .

Day Four - Picture/Video


The two gliders off of my right wing were Dustin (higher), who's in first, and Kraig (below clouds on right), who's in 4th overall - I thought it was going to be a break through day when I was able to fly with these guys early on and I was going fast, then I just got shut down.

Here's a guy landing in the field Eric landed in:


video

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day Four - Big Springs

It was a tough day to say the least. The task was a 78 mile triangle task with two cross wind legs and a 22+ mile headwind leg. I have never fought so hard! The first leg I timed really well staying upwind so that my last climb into the turnpoint took me straight downwind into the turnpoint. I met Dustin there again, I had started with him and new it would be an excellent day if I could stick with him. However, the next leg was a head wind AND there were two big blue holes right on course line. I went wide of the first blue hole, but decided to just go through the middle of the next one since I had hit lift in blue areas yesterday - that was the bad decision for the day.

I basically went on glide from 10,000 (maxed out at 11,500' today) till I hit the ground. I hit some 200-250 fpm lift that drifted me back so far that by the time I had made it back to where I had started turning, I was lower than I was when I started turning in it! Basically I would have been better off not turning in it and going on glide hoping to find something stronger, which I never did. I saw something big coming through on the ground and it was riping up the trees on the ground so I headed up wind of whatever that beast was. Last I looked at my GPS I was only going 7mph groundspeed so I knew it would be an interesting landing.

When I came into the field I tried to start running because the glider was still flying but my feet weren't touching the ground enough yet to really do anything, my nose was too high, my right wing barely lifted and I could see what was going to happen, It threw me left and I knew I was going to whack, but as it was spinning left into the ground to whack, it threw me over, doing a front flip landing on my glider upside down. Everything is fine, I only hit my quad on the downtube enough to bruise, but the glider is fine.

As we speak Eric is at 8,000 ft and 10 miles from goal, but it's already past 7pm and he's trying to work back into a crosswind - hope he makes it.

It sounds like Ollie had a rough landing out like I did and I think Mark and James made it back to goal.

It was a fun flight and I learned a lot! It would have taken 50+ flights at Lookout to learn as much as I did in this one flight. I was lulled into some false confidence by the fact I was able to fly with Dustin Martin for a short amount of time (although we were about tied at the first turnpoint!), and I made an impatient decision to fly into the blue hole because I was just mentally worn down from flying into the headwind for so long. I also learned to keep my nose down in as rowdy conditions as I landed in and maybe I wouldn't have turtled, a wind sock would have helped too, I think I was just barely angled wrong into the wind to make that happen.

I'm glad to live and learn from this flight. Tomorrow looks like rain with the hurricane coming in
, so maybe a rest day tomorrow. I will post a couple of pictures later.

Edit: Now Eric is calling saying he thinks he'll land 6 miles short, so we will pick him up soon.

Here is the photo of the crashed tug from yesterday. He was apparently practicing approaches and caught the fence, he punctured a lung, broke a rib and an arm, but is okay:

Day Three - Big Springs

Today all the Treetoppers made goal again! ! !

It was a 109.6 mile task today with a turn point 68 miles out that then put us into a cross wind for the rest of the way to goal so we would avoid airspace near Lubbock, TX. James Stinnett did make the 214 mile goal yesterday, the only rigid to do so, but today Ollie came in first for the rigids. He broke his ptt somehow so we didn't hear from him the whole flight. James and Mark seemed to be talking to each other and helping each other out.

Eric got up to 12,700' today and I stayed lower trying to catch up to him! I got low twice, but was able to get back up. I thought I was going to black out from the G's of one thermal I hit on glide. I honestly don't think I have done that many G's in a wingover before! The best climbs were around 700 fpm, but it was pretty rough getting in and out of them, especially if you were below 5,000'.

After the turnpoint it was pretty weak and sparse lift, and I was worried about making it. I landed around 6:10pm with a lot of other pilots at goal. The video below shows me racing into goal (the airport below), which I came in very high, but I made it and that's I cared about today. Jeff O'Brian was first into goal today for the flexi's.

video

We got word that one of the tow pilots crashed after everyone was towed up and broke his arm. Not much other information on that right now. I actually pinned off at 1,500' over because it was so rough today.

Ollie thinks it may be blown out tomorrow with maybe some rain Wednesday, both maybe a product of he hurricane headed our way.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day Two - Big Springs

video




The picture on the left is explained below. The video above shows a landing of a relite into the airport LZ which also shows a little bit of how strong the winds were.

Todays task was the longest ever called in a competition - ever. 214 miles! And I bet some people will make it too. Eric, Ollie, Stump and I were some of several pilots who chose not to fly today because the conditions were so strong. A tug almost got flipped over while it was on the ground! So that was a big indication that it might be too strong for me. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the first tow to see how it went, and the weak link broke fairly quickly. Despite that, people slowly began to start a launch line and most people launched today. James Stinnett did decide to fly and we all helped him into a cart and he got off safely, I guess we'll here if he made it when he gets home at 3am.

There were no clouds today though and some people had to relight. Where we were towing from was very close to the hangars (see picture below and notice everyone intently watching to get a clue to the conditions) and so if you locked out to the right on tow you were headed for the hangars. Yesterday we were further back on the runway so that was not an issue.

The GPS photo in the top left is from Eric's flight yesterday. He made goal and landed at the airport everyone else did, but his GPS didn't agree with him. If you look at the dotted line that comes close the the circle labeled 'Brown' it shows how close he came to the goal circle. He was supposed to fly inside the circle at some point, but since he was looking down at the airport and landed there, he assumed he had made it. In the end, he came 20 feet away from it! So he lost a lot of points there, and he says he'll never make that mistake again! Dustin Martin told him not to worry, he'll probably do that a dozen more times.

I am glad we decided not to fly today: we're safe, it will be a good rest day and we enjoyed some free Blue Bell ice cream in the pilots lounge, and Eric took a nap. He's apparently going to get me back some how for posting this picture, but it's worth it.