Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Strong Randolph Day in Early April


Flying the new Wills Wing Sport 3

The forecast looked too strong for Randolph initially, but Kevin talked me in to driving out despite the possibility of being blown out. Cal and Dave made us a foursome. Early April can definitely be iffy flying anywhere in Utah, especially Randolph. The snowpack can hinder access. We have had a marginal year snow wise, so there was no problem driving up to launch. 

Cal launched first in his new single surface Falcon. He immediately climbed out to a grand over and was parked facing southwest, which indicated the upper wind was a lot more strong and cross than it appeared on launch.  I followed cal and soon Dave and Kevin joined us. Even though the thermals were exceptionally strong, no one got above 9500 asl (2000 ft above launch). When you have strong upper winds, the drift in a thermal can take you too far over the back. That makes it difficult to penetrate back to the windward side of the mountain. The wind in the LZ was consistently strong and gusty, which provided some entertaining landings and breakdowns. However it turned out to be a great spring opener.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Just Reminiscing 

From 2006 through 2017,  I worked for Park City Mountain Resort. The first two years I was a full time Ski patroller. The rest of the years I was a member of the volunteer ski patrol at PCMR, working Saturdays. So many great memories from those days. From 2011 on,  I worked the upper mountain rotation exclusively. The mountain is divided into two sections. The lower mountain, which is primarily novice and intermediate terrain and the upper mountain where you'll find the majority of runs are intermediate through expert terrain. The upper mountain rotation requires teams to perform avalanche control and general snow safely work. This includes handling explosives, and utilizing the many skill sets needed to maintain the safety of the ski area, especially during storm cycles. 

All ski patrollers are required to be trained and certified as OEC (outdoor emergency care) technicians, or have other required medical certificates. Though the majority of skier related accidents occur in the lower mountain area, the accidents that happen in the upper mountain tend to be more serious requiring complicated extrication at times. Most teams at PCMR consisted of four patrollers, of which one is the designated team leader. The team leaders job was to direct the activities of the day and be the glue that bonds the team. I was fortunate to be the team leader four years during this period, with the same  amazing crew the whole time. 

Great times, great memories!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lovely Evening With Friends 

Randolph in November is a bit rare. The forecast was right on, and I love it when that happens. Daylight is so short this time of the year, but there was plenty enough sunshine to give us an hour and a half of supper smooth ridge lift before the sun started setting. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

My New Wing

I just got my new Wills Wing Sport 3. I was actually one of the last persons to order a glider from WW before they closed their doors in California forever. The owners retired and sold the biz to an individual who will be reorganizing and opening a new WW facility in Mexico.

Anyway........glad I was able to get one of these sweet gliders! This photo was taken in August by a fellow pilot at The Crawfords in Randolph, Utah.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Thanks for the smoke Oregon and California!

 It seems like smokey summers are becoming a thing. Thanks to the forest fires in the west, summer months are now plagued with smoke filled skies. With covid and other word wide disasters, it's like the end of life as we know it. 

Sunday July 25th, I met a dozen or so hang glider pilots (and one paraglider) at Randolph. The smoke was forecast so it wasn't a surprise to be greeted by thick, visually obstructive gunk! As smokey as it was it turned out to be quite a nice soaring day. I was able to stay airborne over two hours with altitude gains up to 13,000 asl. Thats 5500 over launch. 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Casa Grande

Last week Julie and I headed down to sunny Casa Grande, New Mexico. It's 20 miles south of Phoenix and has a great aero tow operation for hang gliders. Sonora Wings is an awesome facility with two Dragonfly tow planes and an amazing staff of tow pilots and instructors. 

I was able to fly two days and log seven flights. The weather was absolutely gorgeous but the soaring was kinda marginal. Both days I flew there was a super low inversion (800' was the top the second day), which puts a damper on things. On my last flight the thermals were breaking through the inversion and I was able to climb above my tow altitude. Nonetheless,  it was great to get out and do some flying and escape the cold for a few days.

Saturday night we met up with my cousin Ed and his wife Vale for dinner. We ate at a great little restaurant in Scottsdale called Alma Scottsdale. They serve a very upscale southwest cuisine. With their spacious outdoor patio, tasty drinks and food, it was the perfect place for the evening. 

Monday, February 01, 2021

Do people change? Can people change? Will people ever change?

We have all pondered these questions regarding our spouses, family, friends, politicians  - members of the human race. Most of us have introspectively considered these questions regarding our own personal shortcomings and weaknesses.  I think it's fair to say the majority of us  have a tendency to think if we can make certain changes in society, the world will be a better place. This line of thinking could be applied to friendships, marriages and political systems. You name it. The possibilities are endless, right?

Over the holidays I was chatting with my younger sister Sandy about the differences we have politically. I used the word paradigm to describe the concept of viewing an object from different perspectives. A very simple illustration would be viewing a cube that has all of its sides painted different colors. Depending on your position you might see a red top and a blue side. Another person viewing the cube from a different angle may see a red top and a green side. Although both viewers are looking at the same object, their interpretation of the cube is different as a result of their perspective. What you know about a certain individual will result in an opinion and attitude toward that person.  Yet another viewer may have a completely different opinion based on a different knowledge set.

Imagine yourself as the cube. Your imperfections, faults and flaws are mixed together with your strengths, talents and positive aspects. I may have a very positive attitude toward you based on my general assessment coupled with what I know about you, but my opinion will be based solely on my limited knowledge or paradigm. Another individual may know something dark or may have knowledge of something negative in your past. Their image of you may be formed by negative information alone.

How we perceive a situation also has much to do with our own personal lens.  When I was in high school, I found a copy of The Book of Mormon on a bookshelf in my home. When I confronted my father (an evangelical preacher) about the book, I was told, "you shouldn't even be looking at that book, it's heresy." According to my upbringing and as a result of that event, I subconsciously formed a negative attitude toward Mormons. I personally don't believe the same way Mormons do, but it wasn't until later in life while living in Salt Lake I realized most Mormons are just normal human beings. Your environment growing up may have a profound affect regarding the way you judge other people. 

Failures and disappointments tend to make us more hesitant and cautious. It's easy to see that the misfortune and personal defeats in our lives make us more prone to see things in a negative way.  Conversely, a person with a positive background will have a less obstructed view. It's our lens. 

Purposely adjusting your view to see someone or some thing in a different light doesn't mean you are necessarily changing. Change is subtle, and for most of us change typically happens over a long period of time. However, understanding can illuminate instantly, like a light bulb being turned on.  You can observe a situation from a neutral standpoint without becoming emotionally involved and without feeling like you're compromising your own constitution.  You can welcome those ah ha moments without feeling threatened. The time and energy we expend attempting to change other people might be better spent at changing our perspective. As a result our outlook becomes more open. When we learn and understand the differences in each other we can grow, and as a result we can replace our negative and clouded view with a clear and honest interpretation.