Tag Archives: flying

Sierra Safari

2 Sep


 An excellent piece on why we fly. Hike and fly was what I was doing when I was injured.

Stop the bus, I’m getting off here

27 Apr

Here’s a video clip filmed by my friend Mike Waddington while flying a passenger, Scott Watwood, on his tandem paraglider at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Easter Sunday.   I was following Mike from a short distance behind and got a different perspective on the whole event (and will pull together a video showing that story).    Scott must not have liked Mike’s flying style, for he decided to get off the bus early!


Long version:

Short version:


Speed-gliding at Panorama

18 Apr


The Easter Fly-in came early this year, because Easter comes late – so late, in fact, that the Panorama ski hill will have closed by then.  So we had the fly-in (a huge thank you to Max Fanderl and Penny Powers for that!) on the last weekend that the resort was open to the public: April 9th and 10th.  Never has the hill closed with so much snow coverage on it, but that timing decision was set last fall, long before the management learned they were having the best snow year in a decade.  


It was a good weekend, with Saturday providing the most consistent flying conditions seen in many years.  Pilots were able to fly all day long, logging multiple flights (up to 7 in some cases, while I myself logged 5). Normally the wind comes up in the afternoon, ending the flying, but that didn’t happen this year.  No one was able to climb out above the peak on Saturday (that happened on Friday, with Frank Kernick getting out the Lakeside Inn on the beach at Lake Windermere), but there were a few thermal bubbles to be worked – on my fourth flight on my new Nova Mentor 2, I managed to hang in one spot for what seemed like a very long ten minutes. 


Sunday, the winds were forecast to pick up strongly by noon. A few pilots made one paragliding flight, but Mike Waddington and I grabbed our speed wings and were able to get in three flights.  By the third flight, the wind had definitely picked up to 25 km/h aloft, but our heavily loaded little wings had no problem dealing with that wind. We had a great time blasting down the sky above the ski hill, trying to follow each other and stay low (but not too low) to the terrain (on request of the management). Here’s a collage of our flights that day, with Mike flying a Sky Country Descent 15, and me flying a Little Cloud Spiruline 18:


Swansea Hook XC

5 Feb

A short little cross-country flight on my Niviuk Hook paraglider from Mt. Swansea last July: 

A friend captured my launch off the summit of Mt. Swansea at Invermere, BC,  just before 14:00 on July 9th, 2010.  The air was a bit more dynamic than I expected, and I over-controlled a bit on the first correction after inflation. Fortunately I got it a bit more stabled out before lifting off.  I climbed out in a thermal to 2700m ASL, then tried to fly upwind to the north. After a couple of tries I made it to No.1, the next peak north, but it was a struggle.  Trying to get to No. 2, I started to get low, so I gave up and headed out downwind over the golf course to get under a low, circling glider.  I got in that thermal and climbed from 1500m to 3000m (nice view of Assiniboine to the ENE), then pointed straight down the middle of the valley following Highway 93.  Just past a low rocky knoll with a radio tower on it, near Lyttle Lake, I squeezed out a top-up to 2500m and went on glide toward Fairmont Hot Springs.  Heading toward the airfield, I called in my approach on my aircraft handheld and made a left-hand circuit to a grassy touch-down beside the mid-point of Runway 33.   



The subsequent exchange with the aircraft manager sitting in the shade in the sweltering heat went something like this: 

“Where’d you come from?”

– “I just landed on [runway] 33”. 

“I didn’t hear anything.  Where’s your aircraft”

– “Right here (pointing at my large bag)”.  

Long silence, raised eyebrow. 

– “It’s a paraglider.  And I’m a licensed pilot.” (So relax already). 


The 3-D GPS tracklog of the flight is on paraglidingforum.com. 


Seconds after launch:


Looking north toward peak No.1  (lower right)  and No. 2 and No. 3 (middle):


Mt. Assiniboine rises above all in the distance to the ENE:


Heading south, with the Fairmont airport way in the distance:


Getting low… I might have to land in one of those fields ahead of me:


Thanks to this rocky hill and knoll for triggering a thermal for me:


Ahh, that’s better, now I have a chance of making it to Fairmont:


Happy boy!


“Fairmont traffic, this is hang glider Sierra Alpha Mike, 1 mile to the north at 5.0 (thousand feet), inbound for landing, any conflicting (traffic) please advise.”