Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Cody Cup

The winner of this years coveted Cody Cup (with wife Julie).

Friday night the gang met at Outback Steakhouse in Layton for the first official Cody Cup awards presentation and dinner. Ok, it's just the four of us I know, but we still had fun this summer flying XC and competing for the treasured Cup. The concept of the Cup began last summer when Cody came up with the idea of a low profile comp just among friends. Cody got the Cup last year, which was a used coffee mug. This years trophy was a cool thermal mug with a custom silk screened logo with the winners flight details on the mug. I was the recipient this year, as my 96 mile flight from Heber won the comp.

Matt and Keri. Matt had a nice 86 mile flight from the short divide.

Greg and Jennifer. Greg had several mentionable XC flights including the fly to Cody's house for a BBQ.

Cody and Dorothy. On my 96 miler, Cody was just behind me the whole flight. He landed less than fifteen miles short of where I landed.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Kind of an interesting morning. When I arrived at the South Side this morning a very peculiar cloud capped the west end. Once on top, I noticed a fog bank followed the low lying area from Provo Lake to the point. The cloud bank was less than a half mile wide, and as it approached the hill it snaked it's way over the top. As the sun rose the fog quickly burned off. The morning turned out to be quite nice.

A Salt Lake Tribune reporter came out and took a few shots of the R.C. gliders as well as an in air shot of me. It's possible there might be a story about the point in the Tribune tomorrow morning. Notice the Red Tail Hawk at the left of the pic.

Photo courtesy of Steve Griffin - Salt Lake Tribune

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nothing going lately that's blog worthy. My sail finally came back from repair, but I'm afraid the next week holds only bad flying weather. Time to dig in to the old stash.
I ran across this pic of Jeff O'Brien that I took this summer at the South Side.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A South Side Junk Session

Saturday on the South Side. Moderate wind, hangs, bags and other flying things made for a congested morning. John Lindbergh effortlessly cruised above the calamity below, as though he was on a different layer of the lift band.

Meanwhile, I squeaked in a few flights when the crowded skies lightened up. (The following photos were taken by Val Stevens)

As I attempted a slider, my lack of expertise and a odd bit of turbulence spoiled my morning. The following - a broken downtube. Rats!

Monday, November 03, 2008

In The Beginning

I came across some ancient photos. Some I don't remember ever seeing until recently. It's hard to believe how fast life whirls by.

This photo captures one of my first flights on a hang glider. A 40' hill beside I-240 in Oklahoma City. Notice the unique take off form.

Great composition. My two young girls playing on a rock with me in the background. Crestline, CA. Photo - Susan Hibbard

Gotta love that LA smog. Another Crestine pic. Circa - 1980. Photo - Susan Hibbard.

1981 Southern Cal regional's.

Lake Elsinore, CA. Circa - 1980

Monday, October 20, 2008

More Willard Pics

Greg sent over these great pics of our adventure on Saturday.

Set-up area is a bit sparse, but it works.

Looking straight down launch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mighty Willard

The gang met up with Crazy Mike in North Ogden Saturday morning. We began what would turn out to be my longest LZ to launch drive ever! It took us over two hours to finally reach the top of Willard Peak from where the cars were parked in the LZ. I must add, the scenery was spectacular on the drive up. Even though the road was at times rocky, it wasn't a bad drive, thanks to Cody's awesome truck. Thanks to Cody's wife Dorothy, the truck made it back to the LZ in one piece. The launch was a pretty straight ahead slope launch, and with the wind coming straight in at a consistent 15 to 18 mph, everyone was quick to get off the hill and into the air. Willard is approximately 9800 asl and about 5000 agl. The view looking out toward the Great Salt Lake and distant mountains to the west is one of the most incredible sights.

No camera, so I downloaded these Google images of the peak.

I was in the air first, and one by one Greg, Cody and Mike followed. The air was somewhat textured at launch, most likely due to the massive rock spires that dominate the topography out front. However, once you move a half mile south, there's a linear ridge that runs about a mile and provides a fun and somewhat smooth ride. Greg and Cody ventured out of the main ridge area and struggled a bit to get back into the working lift. After an hour or so in the air, they landed in no wind conditions. Mike landed bit earlier due to glider problems. After two hours of touring the mountain I headed out toward the LZ, and after burning off four grand of altitude, I landed in the calm, evening air. Not my best landing, but overall, a great flight.

Thanks to Mike for the guided tour.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bones

My glider, reduced to bare bones! Its that time of the year. A sail off inspection of the frame revealed only a few questionable wear spots. See if you can find the spots of concern.

The sail actually had wear and tear significant enough to warrant a trip to the factory for repair. The most significant area of wear is at the tips. The glider was manufactured in 2002. When I got my Talon in 2006, it had been stored in a garage for several years. It's been a sweet glider, I'm hoping she has at least one more season in her .

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Drummer. Where do I begin. It started four years ago when we began construction of the house in Summit park. Drummer lived just down the steep hill from our building project. I made the mistake of throwing Drummer the tennis ball he brought up to the job site, just one time, that's all it took to make a lifetime friend.

Drummer is a really big lab, and very rambunctious. He's a dog that knows what he wants and will relentlessly pester with deafening barks until you cave. He's been coming up to the house with religious fervor several times a week with a ball, stick, whatever, since that day.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Saturday 10.4.08

Just outside the back door. Well maybe not just out the back door, but close enough. Actually the trailhead is about 300 yards from the house. The trail is steep and winds it's way through tall pines and aspens and up a few thousand feet to Summit Park Peak. Today the colors are vibrant and the little bit of rain we have had seems to intensify the hues.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Colors and Clouds

I went to Inspo today. The colors are just about peaked. There were scattered storm cells around that later popped and crackled. The cells seemed to stay back behind launch. About 15 bags showed up and I got inspired to get ready. Most all the bags got up. It was kinda scary because the cells began to fully develop with spread out, lightning and all. I launched after the spread-out shut things down, but I figured a little would be better than nothing. I ended up with 25 minutes or so and landed just as the storms began dropping verga on the front side.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Utah's Flying Club

I rarely go to the UHGPGA club meetings (the Utah hang gliding, para-gliding club), primarily because I haven't been flying the Point too much lately and the Point of the Mountain seems to be the club's main area of interest. However, I was somewhat motivated to go Thursday because of a prompt I received via email from John R. There has been a lot of discussion regarding the basic use of the big green sodded area at the newly remodeled North Side, and I was under the impression a critical discussion - vote was on the agenda for the night regarding landing protocols etc.. I even arrived early so I could pay my delinquent club dues. I think I would fly at the Point more if the landing zones were safer and free from student pilots kiting their bags. I was impressed by the first discussion of the night regarding the South Side of the Point. Steve Mayer brought a plan forward that is supposed to help alleviate some of the congestion and confusion due to the high numbers of pilots and broad range of pilot skills that are represented at the Point. It seemed to be a well thought out concept. I was further impressed by Steve's effort to endear the hangs that were present. I thought Steve went out of his way.

But I was looking forward to a discussion that would at least begin to put some sort of logic in place for the North Side's landing procedures for both the bags and hangs. I was under the impression that all this money spent to create a fabulous flight park would yield more than just a two acre sodded play pen for the bags to kite in. Oh well, should we have expected more? Yes, we should expect more. We should expect the leaders of "the club" to respect and have a like interest for both bags and hangs. No matter the difference in numbers between the bags and hangs, it should be a safe flying site for both rather than a $700,000+ practice area for the multitude of para-glider instructors. We should expect a well thought out plan to be a part of this new public flying site. Instead we were told by our regional USHPA Representative - "let's just get out there and see how things work out". Isn't that what we have been doing? Isn't that the problem?

So for the rest of the meeting we were rushed from one subject to the next. It seemed as though our illustrious leader was on a mission to minimize and roll over any idea put forward. Is it just me? I don't know, but I must say it sure seems like there was a concerted effort to minimize the issues and "see ya later".

I remember a flight I had a few years back at the North Side. It was a scratchy evening and I was bobbing in and out of traffic low on the primary ridge. I realized I would be landing at the bottom soon, as each pass I fell below the ridge lower and lower. There was a big Suburban parked right smack in the middle of the lower LZ loading up bags. Several times as I passed overhead I yelled at the SUV, "landing", "hey, MOVE YOUR VEHICLE!". The only response was the driver looking up yelling back obscenities and with both hands giving me the finger. He continued to take his time, and just as I was setting up for a sketchy landing between the edge of the berm and his SUV, he peeled out in cloud of dust. Hangs and bags - kinda sad.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jeff the Jet

The gang converged on the South Side Saturday morning. A total of seven hangs unfolded their wings and flew. It was a strong morning with half the pilots packing up when the wind picked up. Jeff, Greg, Dave, and myself stayed later. Some of us landed just as the wind picked up close to 35mph. We were breaking down in back of the berm in nukin' conditions. Here's a spoofed vid of some of the mornings action. (The names of the Innocent have been altered).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Cause For Inspiration

Last Friday Greg and I flew Inspo. I put a little Video together that turned out kinda funny. Gregs landing was actually nice! I just added some effects for meanness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Heaven's Gold Collection

After two years its finally done! This is my fourth recording project (my last was released in 2000), a CD that contains inspirational songs that have been written over the last two decades. It's been a long time coming. All of the compositions were penned by yours truly, some of them collaborations with various writers. Soon my website should be on line. If you are interested, you can find this CD and others at - live around the end of this month!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Towers to Barbecue

Last year about this time Cody and Dorothy put on a barbecue at their place in Logan. The only catch was you had to fly in from the Brigham City towers launch. Not very many made it to Cody's house - they allowed those who did not make it by air to join in the festivities. It turned out to be great night of food and socializing.

This year Cody and Dorothy again opened up their house for a fly-in / barbecue. The pilots, Matt, Cody, Greg and me met in Sardine Canyon where the road to the towers launch begins. Cody's neighbor Randy was kind enough to drive us up this most heinous road. We were welcomed at the top by a smooth 12 to 15 mph southwesterly breeze, which is perfect for the Towers. Cody was off first followed by Greg, Matt and me. We all soared around in the buoyant air for twenty minutes or so, before finding solid thermals. It wasn't long, we all were coring jagged little bullets. After a while, the thermals seemed to consolidate and get a bit easier to work. Cody flew out front and found a nice fatty coming off the rocks below a secondary ridge. As Cody thermalled up I joined in on the fun, and it wasn't long until we were smellin' barbecue! At around 11 grand (about 4000 ft above launch) we cut loose and headed down wind and on course for Cody's house. Greg and Matt were scratching around at launch, but soon they both climbed out high enough to turn east and over the back. Cody and I flew together and ended up high over his house. We found a thermal and took it up a thousand feet or so, drifting toward the range to the east of his house. We boated around for a while then landed in a nice barley field adjacent to the festivities. Greg was having a hard time with his radio - batteries - but later on the ground he told us he finally left the ridge with under 9000 asl managing to glide over with no problem, landing safely before Cody and I. Matt fought for over an hour on Pisgha Ridge just east of launch, but was unable to get high enough for the glide to the party. Matt landed safely in a dry lake bed. We all convened at Cody's for fun and food and lingered well after dark.



Matt's nice launch

The LZ

Our support team

Greg's support team - Jennifer

Sunday, August 31, 2008

8.30.08 XC!

When I woke up on Saturday morning to a constant stream of calls from fellow pilots, I slowly became hopeful for a good XC day. One thing was consistent amongst all the talk, it was going to be a Heber day. Cody and Dorothy drove down from Logan with Matt, and met Greg and me in Park City. I called Steve Rathbun only to discover he and his driver were already at launch. Everyone was finally on launch and setting up around 12:30 pm.

Once everyone was airborne, it was apparent the day wasn't going to be a disappointment. Around the launch area the thermals were rowdy to say the least, but once you were a thousand or so above, the climbs were strong and predictable.

Matt, Greg and Steve were out ahead of Cody and me. By the time I caught up over Coalville, Greg and Steve were low and contemplating an imminent landing. Matt ventured up Chalk Creek (Go to Matt's blog for more detail at and ended up landing close to a gas plant to the east of Porcupine Mt. for a 36.8 mile flight.

Our driver Dorothy. It wouldn't work without her!!

Matt with his new U2

After Greg and Steve landed 22 miles from launch, I pushed toward the north end of Coalville where the beginning of a cloud street was setting up. I ran upwind slightly to position myself under a newly forming cumulus. Cody was bringing up the tail, and as I was climbing out it looked as though Cody would join Steve and Greg. Cody was unzipped and getting ready to land when he flew into a forming core. He ended up working the broken lift until it turned into a boomer that took him high and back on course. Meanwhile, I had topped out under the cloud at 18,000 and change and was heading toward Evanston. The lift was consistent, so I followed I-80 ending up at Evanston at 16 grand. I got my highest gain there topping out at 18,504 asl. Cody was in hot pursuit remaining ten miles or so behind. From Evanston I took the typical route over the windmills to the east and on to highway 189, where I turned more northerly following Oyster ridge to Kemmerer, WY. for a 95.6 mile flight. Cody landed just a few miles behind for a 71 mile flight. When I was a few miles south of Kemmerer, I looked NE, where last year Jeff O'Brien's route continued from there over some really desolate terrain. Jeff ended up with the new state record last year, 220 miles! It would have been nice to have Jeff or Steve along for the flight. Their expertise on this complex route would have been priceless.



Steve's driver Chickadee


All the pilots were quickly retrieved, thanks to Dorothy and Chickadee. Most of us ended up in Evanston at Don Pedro's. Can't beat a day like that!

Me on launch