Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday Flyin - May 30

View of Chattanooga and TN River Gorge from Sequatchie Valley

Flew all day - 9:30am: tandem flight to get my T1 rating.
afternoon: 2 flights at Hensons, then sled run at LMFP.

Only got to the end of the ridge on 2nd Hensons flight, landed with Eric. Had fun, the sledder was cool doing wingovers and landing near the spot.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good Flyin Finally

It's weird to come home after flying 31 hours in 10 days and then not fly at all.

But finally the weather has turned and the ridge turned on today.

Flew 3 hours, went to the 'point' twice and also to the training hills, flew maybe 50 miles along the ridge. Very fun.

Photo is from earlier this week. The pilot is Mike Terwilliger.

Tomorrow, headed to Henson's with a crew of people. Not sure what the goal will be. Ollie's talking about a 105 mile out and back. I just got the idea to go to Lookout and then keep going. We'll see what happens. Sunday should be a similar story - weather is looking good.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Landings Video

Nice little video by Jim Steele.

I've been working on the documentary about every day since the comps were over and am almost finished and think I've found someone to score it (music). Should be done in another two weeks.

I'll also be getting out maybe two or three more videos from footage from the comps - hotel soaring, interviews with some pro's, and anything else I didn't use in the doc.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

US Rankings - Cloud Study

See the US rankings after the Florida meets here.

I'm now 21st in the US after attending 3 competitions. Hope to improve upon that over the next few years. Anybody want to sponsor me? :)

Here is a friends blog who will be traveling around the world for the next year to study clouds. She received a Watson Fellowship to do so.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Video update

Here are stills from some of the video to come - the pilot is Jeff Shapiro.

I haven't been able to work on much video besides the documentary video and I won't be able to until I finish it. That's because any video I use in the documentary I cannot use in anything else.

SO I want to keep all my footage open to my documentary and then use everything else for extra videos for youtube. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TTT Article

Just finished an article for the TTT Newsletter coming out next month:

At the end of this month I will find out about the Taxslayer and EPA video contests.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Accident Video

Watch the pilot's right arm in the front view. The tow bridle was not properly aligned and caught his parachute release and pulled his right arm off of the downtube.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Well, despite the 31.5 hours and 577 miles I flew during the two comps, I couldn't pass up the one good day out of the next week or so.

I headed to Whitwell, a SE site, and flew with about 11 other people. I went 11 miles out and back on the ridge so I could get home at a reasonable time so I can work on all the video I took at the comps.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back to Work . . .

The Jeffs, Dustin, Jonny, and Bobby Bailey flying in formation the last day of the Flytec Rally

Back to work for me . . .

Maybe if I win another video contest I could do more flying and less working.

I caught the same video below from another angle that will be showing up in a video of mine soon. I have a lot of footage to go through but will be spitting out videos soon enough. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Last day - Bald Eagle Encounter

Start circle - how many gliders can you see?

Today was the last day, a 140km out and back task. A handful made it and a few more were just short, including Zippy, who's hitching a ride with us. He came in second overall, Glen Volk won the meet. Ollie won the rigids.

I was flying with the top dogs for a few climbs, then I got pretty low and they left me then it was a battle into a cross/head wind. I came about 8 miles short of the waypoint, not sure what I came in overall.

The start was fun with everyone together. Jonny did a loop right in front of me while we were all waiting for the first start. Then shortly after that a mature bald eagle flew directly at me and at the last minute flared its wings out to stop itself and swing its talons forward just to show me what he/she's got! Then it dove off below me. It was one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed/been a participant of. It was a reminder to me that we aren't meant to be up there, which is a part of hang gliding's appeal to me.

Can you find the bald eagle in this picture? It's the same one that tried to attack me. (if you can't find it, hint at the bottom of the post)

The Flytec Rally was an awesome meet - I can't believe we made it so far into Georgia and only thunderstorms turned us around. Jamie says they'll have it next year except it will be similar to what Jonny described they do in Australia as a 'mystery tour,' where instead of a planned route, like this year was, that we would just fly to wherever the weather would be favorable.

Now, I have hours of footage to sort through and come up with some fun videos, so stayed tuned for those. Bobby Bailey also mentioned he would send me some footage he has too from the tug's perspective.

Jeff Shapiro with full moon

hint to find bald eagle: look in the middle left of photo

Friday, May 8, 2009


Set myself up to follow Jonny Durand today, with a perfect start time, it was working out great, starting at cloud base at 6,400', the first day I was in a situation to follow a great pilot. Went on glide and went straight into the ground, with Jonny.

Definitely not in the top ten after today. Tomorrow is the last day. Looking forward to going home.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One state forward, one state back

We drove back 4 hours to Quest today to finish the comp. It didn't look good moving forward, lots of rain.

Ollie says tomorrow looks like the best forecast he has ever seen. So we should expect a task to match the conditions tomorrow.

I think the only reason I've been placing high (in 10th now overall) is because these haven't been race days, but trying to survive days. With the better weather, it will be more racing the next two days, and I hope to learn something because I'm not that good at racing.

The three tugs all flew in together late this afternoon. Bobby Bailey spun and I got a few pictures of him above.

I'm still waiting to hear back about the EPA public service announcement video and the videos I did, see my youtube page here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 4 - Flytec Race and Rally

Picking up Ollie

Pilots Meeting

Went about 30 something miles of the 70. A lot of people didn't make it out of the 9 mile start circle today - pretty hard day. No one made goal.

I was 7th for the day and am now in 10th overall - the two best placings I've had for a day and overall.

I started out with Davis, two rigids (Ollie and James), one of the Brazilians, and Kevin Carter. We all got spread out trying to stay up in the start circle. Ollie and I ended up together working along low and getting pushed off course line because of the crosswind.

I don't know the full story but Linda broke her arm today. I hope she is doing well.

The first pic from yesterday is what the sky looked like when I decided to land (forgot to caption that yesterday).

Day 3 update - Day 4 todayl

I think I came in 14th or so for yesterday, went about 70 miles and chose to land from about 4,000'. Russell was in a sail plane and came through that helped us out a bit, then he was gone pretty fast - made me jealous of my little wing ('sail-envy'?).

Today started overcast, there are still high clouds but not as bad. Pilot meeting now . . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 2 - No one makes goal

Tom Lanning and Eric Donaldson - we all three landed in the same field at almost the same exact time.


Yesterday was a tough day, with the last 20 miles into a headwind from the seabreeze and high clouds shutting a lot of the lift down.

No one made goal, see results here. I came in 8th yesterday! The highest I've ever placed for a day. I also got some good footage of thermaling with some guys. That's why I don't have any great pics for this post - and I don't have time to upload the video, but will use it in the next video I make.

Today is supposed to be 140 mile task, the longest of the meet, but the goal has 60% thunderstorms for today and the task would be in a crosswind. It will be interesting to see what the task committee decides, because it also doesn't look like it will get better any time soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 1 - Flytec Race and Rally

There are gliders in this picture, click on it for a bigger version

Sunrise this morning - wish I didn't have to setup my glider again!

Day one results here.

I had a fun, but ultimately disappointing day yesterday.

It started out great, I was even in front of the rigids by a couple miles, and we had all taken the same start time. I managed my lead for maybe 50 miles or so and they caught up to me, which I knew they would, but I was still going pretty fast (for me at least).

I ended up landing 11 miles short of the 128 mile task. Just one more thermal short, pretty frustrating, but I can't really complain since I went 117 miles, and beat my longest distance by one mile, and I was going faster than I have before.

Looking forward to today for another chance to make goal.

Documentary update: I'm getting a bunch of footage and have done interviews with Dustin Martin, Andre Wolf, and Jonny Durand. I think it will come together well. Once I get home I'll have time to work on all that so stay tuned for some videos here in a couple weeks.

Something funny here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Florida Ridge Over - Flytec Rally to begin

Dustin, Andre, and Jonny, went 1, 2, 3 for the overall results.

I came in 20th, despite coming in goal 3/4 days. I guess that shows how important speed is. Someone would easily beat me if they only made goal one day, but were fast.

I think I'll be pushing a little harder for the Rally to see if I can go faster.

Total for this meet: 4 days of flying, 13.5 hours, and 292 miles.

Today is check-in/pilots meeting for the Rally, tomorrow it starts!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Last Day of Florida Ridge Comp

Getting in launch line today
Didn't make goal today - went 60 of the 101 miles. It was tough, for me, there was really high clouds that I think made it harder. But there were still some cummies popping way off in the distance that when I finally reached the edge of them, they were dying and I was low at 2,000.

I'm looking forward to the rest day tomorrow, before the Flytec Rally where we'll fly to my front yard (LZ at lookout). I hope it will happen, I haven't had time to check the weather.

I think 10 people made goal today, everyone is hanging around the florida ridge eating and drinking, waiting on the results. I don't know where I placed yesterday because Davis printed out the results without a lot of people scores, and he hasn't updated them. We'll see.

I'm just glad I have had safe launches and landings this whole comp.

Ollie made goal, maybe first, Eric landed short as well as James. We were lucky to have a nice landowner let us back in his field to pick up James' glider otherwise it would have been over a mile hike out (picture of car above). We lost Stump, he decided to head home and skip the Rally.

Got another bird analogy for today: there was one thermal I just started turning in and bird came in from the left maybe 15 feet away from me and below (pretty close). It was like he was the school bully who cuts in the lunch line and looks over their shoulder to see if you make a fuss. Anyways, the bird flew in fast right in front of me and hung there for a minute while it looked over its shoulder (wing) at me.