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

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Dribble

Just some random posts. For starters, Saturday turned out to be another sled run day at Inspo. It seemed like it might have been a great flying day, considering the forecast, but sometimes you just don't get what's advertised! Flying is mostly fun, no matter how long the flight - of course longer is better.

One kinda crazy, kinda cool thing happened on the way back home from flying on Thursday. When I got out of my truck to unload Greg's glider on to his truck after driving home 45 miles from Inspo, I looked up at my glider with shock and amazement. I completely forgot to tie down my glider. It rode the whole way back to Park City with absolutely no tie downs!!

A few moire pics from the NY trip.

I was very tempted to make up a there I was story that would go along with this pic. I actually took this shot myself (at the Museum of Natural History in NY)

Melissa my Daughter.


Friday, August 22, 2008

I spent Thursday on launch at Inspo, waiting for the wind to calm down and straighten out. After a week of following Jeff O'Brien's blog covering his efforts in Lakeview, and hearing about Steve Rathbun's 110 mile flight from Heber on Tuesday, I was eager for a good flight. Fellow pilot Greg and I set up in strong southerly winds hoping as the day progressed, better conditions would manifest. The wind did calm a bit, as I was able to launch around 6:30pm. I ended up with an extended sled run and Greg chose to save it for another day. Jeff's latest blog helped remind me of the uncountable awesome experiences I have had flying hang gliders. Every experience, even the not so great flights, add to the sum of my hang gliding career. It's been a rich, and continues to be, as Jeff put it - magic! Even the short seemingly insignificant flights.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Julie and I split for NYC last week for an extended weekend to visit family. We usually go every year. This year we went to a few spots we have never visited, one, the Statue of liberty.

An exact copper replica of her majesty's face. (found in the museum).

The Gal herself.

Some impressive architectural reliefs, mostly cast concrete, found in and around Brooklyn.

Me sitting on a bench in Harlem.

My famous movie maker daughter Melissa.

Doctor Julie with Melissa.

The flight home included a sunset that lasted over two hours, thanks to the real fast jet flying west. Weird!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Big Day at the Short Divide (for some)

Set up area at the Short Divide - pic courtesy of Matt

Friday turned out to be a big miler for Cody and Matt. I had a great flight, but ended up on the short end of the stick mileage wise for the day. The crew convened at the Short Divide around 12:30pm on Friday. Cody, Matt, Greg and I were set up soon after arriving at launch, as the south winds were picking up. On the way up, we were worried the high winds in the Salt Lake area would manifest in Plymouth. The winds stayed below 25 mph as the last pilot (me) got off the hill. Cody and Matt launched 30 minutes or so before Greg and I were in the air. As I launched, Cody reported climbing up through 13 grand and that he and Matt were turning down wind. They were on their way! Soon I was in the air and high enough to consider going over the back and on route. I was just below 13,000asl as I drifed over the back in strong lift. Greg had been feeling out of it before launching and ended up landing in the bailout LZ 20 minutes after take off. An hour and a half after launching, I was setting up to land north of Preston, Idaho, just around 30 miles out. I had an uneventful landing in a steady, smooth 20 mph wind.

Matt and Cody were crossing into the Grace Valley as I landed. Cody ended up with a 70+ mile flight. Matt went on to complete his longest (84 miles) and highest flight (17,000asl+) - without O2 or a vario!! We ended up with a time consuming retrieve, as Cody landed out in a remote valley. Stinker!

On route - pic courtesy of Matt

All in all it was a great day of flying. check out Matt's flight details on his blog -