Category Archives: Hang Gliding Arkansas

Looking back at 2017

What a year it has been! 2017 has flown by and it has been… probably the best year I’ve ever had! I have been up since 5am going through my logs and rehashing all the flights and adventures. There are so many!!! I’m going to try and recap… so grab a cup of coffee, or tea…here we go.

January 2017

Logbook entry:  1/14/17  Had a HUGE climb with a 7-8 up averager, hit some 1200’fpm core.  Almost got sucked up into the cloud…Drifted downwind with L.J. went XC for 12miles to Egypt, Tx.

Logbook entry: 1/30/17 AWESOME blue day soaring.  30mile XC!  5200′ top…great no step landing.

JAN. Totals: 5.2 Hours, 42XC miles, 2 XC flights, 6 flights total

February 2017

Logbook entry: 2/12/17 Great XC, 5000′ cloudbase, 27 miles, made it to a goal that was declared.  Had no wind landing, missed the flare.  Slid in on my knees.  Had to swallow my pride.

February Ingo and and I went on an EPIC 3 day weekend trip to New Mexico to fly the Guadalupe Mountains.  Talk about being out in the middle of no where!!!  Such a great time with great people, Ben and Nate ,… thanks for talking me into this one!  Camping, flying, totally disconnecting from the world!  Had so much fun!

Here is the full video from NEW MEXICO

Also, I tried my hand at doing some Jonathan Dietch style live hang gliding narration.  Uhhh-yeah…it’s a lot harder than it seems!

FEB Totals : 4.6 Hours, XC 27 miles, 1 XC flight, 5 flights total

MARCH 2017

Another massive road trip!  This time CALIFORNIA !!!  A huge shout out to Kale for making the trip possible!  You are the man!  Kale and I had been keeping tabs on possible HG trips for almost a

year and we decided to pull the trigger on driving to Cali for a weeks worth of Hang Gliding….TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

On that trip to California, we were so lucky!  We got 5 days in a row of flying!  I got to meet, FLY, and hang out with one of my heros Jonathan Dietch!  We scored on really beautiful conditions!  Little did we know that later on that year much of the land we flew over was going to be ravaged by wildfires.  Flew Crestline, Regionals, Lake Elsinore, Sylmar!!!

Logbook entry : 3/15/17 Awesome 2 1/2 hour flight at Sylmar, EPIC, Video, PERFECT no step landing.  Dinner with JD and rest of the Sylmar crew!  Stoked!

MAR Totals :  11.6 Hours, 1 XC mile, 4 new sites, 6 flights total

 

APRIL 2017

April was really tough.  The conditions were damp and cloudbases were low in South Texas.  Never the less I went XC as much as I could.  A huge THANKS goes out to my drivers JASON and Chris.  I had a streak of three 30km XC flights in three days in a row!  But then finally towards the end of April it dried out and we had an EPIC blue day with a good lapse rate.  Mak and I went XC and I set my Personal Best .

Logbook Entry : 4/27/17  3hours 58min. BLUUUE Day, XC w/Makbule, made it to Gloster Aerodrome, 62km, PB, Video…flared a bit early with too much VG, zoomed up and landed hard  bruised my right foot heel.

APR Totals : 4.3 hours, 59.2 XC miles, 4 XC flights, 10 flights total

 

MAY 2017 :  GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!

Mothers day weekend, new harness, no driver, no problem….

Logbook Entry:  200km XC, SOLO, AWESOME FLIGHT, Mag article, PB, STOKED!!!!!!!  Now, I GO FOR 200miles!!!!!

This flight really was a game changer for me.  I had been flying all these 20, 30, mile XCs then BANG!!! I broke 100miles… 123miles to be exact!  Such a trip!  It was then I realized that I could do it!  I knew all I had to do was just keep going for it, and it was going to happen!  also set a flight duration Personal Best 6hours 50mins.   I sent my thermalcowboy write up to the USHPA Magazine and they published me!!!  I was so STOKED, shoot, I’m still STOKED!!!

MAY Totals : 12.1 Hours, 162.8 XC miles, 2 XC flights, 3 flights total.

 

JUNE 2017 

My first time to compete.  I was an H3 in the Sport class and I was intimidated at first…then I found my stride and made GOAL 3 times!  Honestly, I really loved the competition scene, it was a lot of fun and good rivalry!  In Hang Gliding I have finally found a sport where I can compete!  Sadly, I just don’t have the means to make it to all the competitions throughout the year, it’s expensive!  So, I have to set a new goal if I am going to be able to participate in all the HG comps.  I need to become financially independent, that is my new Goal…then I should be able to go to all the comps. 

JUN Totals : 14.1 Hours, 226.4 miles, 9 XC Flights, 2 new sites, 13 total flights.

 

JULY 2017

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS!!!

Ingo and I went up to the Buffalo Mountain Fly In and had a blast camping out and flying!  We also drove up to Arkansas to fly at Magazine!  Great times!!!

Right before Refugio, Mick and I went out for a triangle Task!

Journal Entry: 7/14/17 A fun yet scary out and return, triangle, had to dodge storms, low saves, RAIN, Lowest save, Lucky to make it back to the Airport!!!  Was happy to be back on the ground too!

REFUGIO!!!

What an EPIC,  I MEAN EPIC TRIP!!!!

I can’t thank the people who made Refugio possible enough!

Jeff Kanard, Gregg Ludwig, Mick Howard, Robin Hamilton, Mark Moore  those people right there….THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!

Of course, my HUGE flight from Refugio wouldn’t have ever been possible without the great training I received from Bart and Tiki at Cowboy Up Hang Gliding!!!  Thanks to all the other pilots who took me under their wing!  You know who you are…

JUL Totals : 36.7 hours, 505.2 XC miles, 7 XC flights, 2 new flights, 13 flights total.

 

AUGUST 2017

After the massive flights out of Refugio, I came out of it a changed pilot.  I had expended a ton of energy going XC and I hit several new Personal Bests.

Logbook Entry: 8/13/17Short flight, couldn’t connect with it, didn’t want to go XC.

8/19/17  Out and return East Bernard-Wharton, almost made it back 58K.

I guess I was looking at the weather and not feeling the XC in me to go for it.  I critique myself, was I lazy now that I had flown 185 miles?  Was I stuck in thinking that “if it wasn’t a 100 mile day, I’m not going XC?”  In reality, I don’t think it was that, honestly…I had been burning my retrieve driving candle on both ends….  I still need a dedicated retrieve driver.

Nevertheless, I made another dash out to California to check off a couple more flying sites off the list!!!  Also, it was my first time to San Francisco!

AUG Totals: 9 Hours, 36.6 XCmiles, 1 XC flight, 2 new sites, 7 flights total.

 

SEPTEMBER 2017 

Hurricane Harvey

I did manage to get in a few flights after all the water had backed off!  What a nightmare….I was BLESSED to not be affected in a major way by the flood, some of the others in the HHPA community were not so lucky.  🙁

SEP Totals: 3.5 Hours, 3 flights

 

OCTOBER 2017

XC BOHL!!!  The XC Bohl was a huge success this year!  We managed to raise $3000 dollars for the Boys and Girls Club of Wharton who were hit really hard by the floods of Hurricane Harvey.   Also, I got to hang out with some more of my heros, Zac Majors came down again for the XCBohl.  Zac is one of the coolest, if not THE coolest, most laid back, approachable Pro-Hang Glider pilots out there.   AND…, I got to meet, fly, and hang out with Wolfgang Siess and Dustin Martin!!!!  The California gang from Wills Wing, David Aldrich, Alfredo Grey, y’all are all my heros.  Thanks so much for coming down!  It means a lot to all of us down here in H-Town!

 

OCT Totals: 8 Hours, 80 XC miles, 3 XC flights, 5 flights total

 

NOVEMBER 2017

BUFFALO AND PANORAMA EXTRAVAGANZA!!!I hope that we continue to make this trip up to Buffalo for Thanks giving what a great time!!!   Thanks so much to Gregg Chastain for taking us in for a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving dinner!!!!

 

NOVEMBER Totals : 7.4 hours, 1 new site, 5 flights total.

 

DECEMBER 2017

I haven’t been able to fly that much in December….

DEC Totals: 1.5 hours, 2 flights total.

 

Looking back…WOW!!!  I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to top 2017, what an amazing and humbling year!  Here’s to 2017 what an EPIC year you’ve been.

2017:

Hours flown 118

Cross Country Miles Flown: 1,140.4

Cross Country Flights : 28

New Sites Flown : 12

Total Number of Flights : ~80

 

 

 

Buffalo Mountain Fly-In 2017 (Part 2)

So, where was I, oh yeah, the BMF fly-in.  The first couple of days we had some sled runs and even more rain in the evenings.  Come to think of it, we had rain every night!  But thankfully, on the third day, we finally got some really good conditions.  The wind was coming in beautifully and we had paragliders launching like crazy.  I was the first hang glider to launch and one of the last to land.  There were clouds rolling in and the thermals were great!  Everyone was topping out at cloudbase and quite a few people went upwind XC.  This was the best I have ever gotten at Buffalo and everyone was soaring to their hearts content.  Finally after almost 4 hours of soaring, Jennifer comes on the radio and lets us all know that there was a storm coming in from the North.  What a surprise, more rain!

Anyways, it was the night of the BBQ party at Ron’s house down in the LZ.  Man!  It was great food, drinks, and music!  Then, yep, you guessed it, a storm comes in, and it’s pouring rain again.  Everyone, takes off as the rain was intensifying.

The next day, the wind was coming in a bit stronger, but not too strong for the PGs.  Then as the day went on the PGs had to land as it was getting too windy.  I had a crumby launch but managed to get a 2 hour and 30minute soaring flight with 20mph wind up at altitude.  I was having a lot of fun, buzzing the launch, doing wing overs, buzzing launch again, getting really high.  It was great!

But that morning Ingo and I had enough of camping in the mud and rain.  We were ready for a bed and a shower!  So we broke camp that morning, flew, and came back up to the top and packed up our tents and headed out for new territory, new to us at least.  We had heard great stories about Magazine Mountain in Arkansas.  So we headed out that evening and made it to a small motel near the launch after a couple of hours driving.

The next morning we woke up energized after sleeping in beds with air conditioning and taking showers.  I felt like a million bucks.

We headed straight to Magazine Mountain to find ourselves socked in, clouds were low.

So we spent the morning making steamers and setting them up around the launch ramp.  Patiently we waited and waited for the clouds to lift off.  Finally, at a little past noon, we could finally see the valley 2000′ below us!

Despite being really excited, we had a major system working its way toward us that morning on the other side of the valley.  So we waited a bit longer for the conditions to get better, which they did!

The setup area and launch at Magazine is perfect.  The wind was coming in a little bit cross with cycles, then it would straighten out.  I launched first and had a sled run.  I didn’t think to turn right away and get next to the ridge.  I thought I would be able to thermal out in the valley.  No, it was all sink.  I had an OK landing in what we thought was the main LZ.  Ingo on the other hand had a great ridge soaring flight and got high over the lodge situated on the side of the mountain!

Luckily, before we launched a really cool motorcycle guy, Chris, asked if we needed a ride.  We said that we would send him the coordinates.  Unfortunately, we had some missed communications and we had to wait quite a while to get back up the mountain to get our car.  So I hung out in the LZ and moved the gear closer to the road.

It was a really beautiful patch of land!  This pair of horses came up to see what I was doing.  They were curious and friendly!  Too bad I didn’t have and apple or a carrot to share with them.

The weather outlook for the rest of our trip was pretty dismal.  West winds for the rest of the week.  So with the weather looking poor, we decided to call it a trip and head back home to Houston.

See you next time BMF Fly-In!

for the next article I have a great story to write about, Landing at a late 4th of July/Birthday party out in Needville, TX!!!  Stay tuned!