"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ace Goes Solo

I've seen the way Ace has been eyeing my hang glider and chewing on my battens lately. I know what he is thinking. But, I just can't get over the fact that he would clip into my glider at 0.09 pounds per square foot so I put my foot down and take him tandem in my "27" instead.
After a pretty darn good landing I tell him ... it's time ... your going solo. He looks a little nervous, but I suppose that's natural.
I have to admit, I'm a little concerned my self as he can't touch the rudder pedals ... the airbrake lever ... the flap lever ... the gear lever; he won't be able to use the radio as he can't talk yet and the "27" isn't really a trainer. Nah ... just normal jitters I guess as I signal his takeoff roll.
Ace brings her home after a 2.1 hour flight in cold air over the foothills.
Although flying solo isn't a common milestone in too many baby books that I've read, I think it's an important mark for a five month old.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yosemite Weekend

Ace signed up as the Yosemite Hang Gliding Monitor for this extended weekend in late August. Ace is up bright and early (almost), waiting to sign in pilots at Glacier Point.
He allowed me to wire a few of them off, on the first day.
The Motor Fire in El Portal caused a logistical headache for some of our flying gang. But, as I enjoy a nice solo hike, through a several year old burn on the first day, I am reminded of the necessity of fire, as new life begins to flourish in the wilderness.
I make my way up to a European styled ski hut at Ostrander Lake, a 12.5 mile round trip.
This beautiful, high alpine hanging basket lake is well worth a big day hike.
We decide Hang Gliding, hiking and luxury don't have to be mutually exclusive, so we book a room at the Wawona Hotel. This Nineteenth Century hotel has beautiful lawns, a golf course, swimming pool, live piano player and fine Victorian Styling. It seems to move at a slower pace of life without phones or television and transports us back in time.
Cocktails and appetizers are served on the verandas. Ace contemplates whether to get a Pinot Noir or full bodied Merlot with his Cheese and Chutney dish as the waiter approaches.
Saturday brought NIL winds and humidity to the 7200' elevation at Glacier Point Launch. One is certainly encouraged to tie his shoes onto his Hang-4 feet well.
The moisture in the air made Gerry, Ace and I really enjoy the afternoon sky above the Sierra Crest which is in the background.
We all went for a hike to Taft Point. Teri, Ace and I hanging out at the edge.
Sunday it is the Giant Sequoias for the afternoon family adventure.
And finally a mellow Monday morning for the quintessential Yosemite Hang Gliding photo.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Running Deep Up The Mendos

With a fresh BFR in my pocket and low pressure overhead this mid-August day looks pretty good, so I jump on tow in "JH" and head for the Mountains.

I release on the Western side of Goat ridge and head North as I look East towards Lett's Lake.
It's the middle of summer and some patches of snow still hang on to Snow Mountain.
With St. John and Sheet Iron well in the blue I keep under a line of wonderful clouds and head North, deep down the middle of the Mendos.
It's a little overdeveloped, I'm deep and far from the safety of the valley, so I make sure to stay high as I over fly Black Butte.
With wonderful clouds marking the way, I dial in Round Valley Airport to my glide computer, which lies just beyond the ridge.
I spin it up over Anthony Peak, but it's looking even more O.D.'d to the North. I'm not low, but not high either and although I'm glad to have Round Valley in easy glide, landing in Covelo would make for a long and expensive day.
So I turn around and head South, this time on the Western side of the development line. I get hit by hail and continue on to a nice thermal just North of Hull Mountain.
I overfly Hull, look down on the peak and Timberline Launch, but am disappointed to find no hang gliders in the air.
So I stay high over potential entrapment land, leave the clouds behind and head into the blue to find where all the hang gliders are. Looking down on St. John with three of the many hang gliders flying St. John today.
Unfortunately the good lift is ten miles West of St. John so I grab a few pictures and continue South in the blue, by Indian Valley Reservoir.
Back to Williams Soaring where I touch down after four hours and well over a hundred thirty miles, marking my best day this season, deep up the Mendos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I had to go to Murphy's little shack on the shores of Lake Almanor for my summer vacation.
Bummer, house by the water, friends, ect. Oh well, I suppose I'll climb out into the Sierra blue on my hang glider while I'm there.
Because every moment can't be spent hang gliding I'm forced to find other activities. I guess I'll grab my trusty waterski spotter, Ace.
Hitting the wake board on this Northern California mountain lake.
While Ace is concentrating on his flagging responsibilities, Mom is pretending to have fun.
Time to head up the mountain and grab my glider.
The only, two for the price of one, wire crew I could find.
Off again above the Mountains of Indian Valley.
Well, besides waterskiing, sailing, hot tubbing and hanging out with friends by the lake, I manage a couple of flights. Just the norm, easy glass off conditions, circling with a Bald Eagle, landing right at a normal everyday Luau with live music, leis, food, drinks and free beer before heading back to an outdoor sunset dinner with friends. Just the usual suffering.