Category Archives: Hang Gliding California

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

 

 

 

Road Trip to Northern California (Part 2)

Janica gave me the inside scoop on Mt. Tam.

After a few days of flying my brains out at Fort Funston, I was ready to move on.  The flying at the Fort is mind bending.  You have this constant breeze coming in with the lift band and you can just work on doing everything.   My mind was melting with every run down the ridge.  Such a beautiful spot, such a treasure to the hang gliding world!

I had mentioned that I would love to fly at Mt. Tamalpais which is located just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Marin county is really nice!  You have the cool weather and less crowds.  I mean, it’s pretty crowded, but not as bad as San Fran.  Thankfully, Janica set me up with David Beerman and I got a great site intro at Mt. Tam.  David explained to me that he had been flying there for decades and he explained how the winds set up and showed me the LZ.  He showed me the house thermals and luckily enough I was able to get a great flight and connect with some thermals!

It is such a beautiful spot!  The flight was just icing on the cake!  Anyways, after flying my butt off for 4 days in a row, it was time to change the pace and get some sight seeing done.

The ferry ride back to Sausalito. The fog was rolling fast over the mountians but stayed above us.

I had always wanted to go to San Francisco since I was a little kid.  Probably the show Full House and Rice-a-Roni were the two main things that made me wish I was living in San Francisco.  Along with the 49ers (Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young), Alcatraz, Dirty Hairy, Bullet,….ect.  So we made some epic bicycle rides to explore the area.  We rode from Sausalito across the GGB, toured Fort Point, Crissy Airfield, and rode downwind all the way to the Fishermans Wharf.  We kept on riding and went all the way down to the Bay Bridge.  Then rode back up to the docks and took a ferry back to Sausalito!

The next day, we uber’d into San Fran and hiked up and down all the hills.  I got to swing from the back of a cable car!  Dream come true!  Went to Chinatown and had some AWESOME Shrimp Dim Sum Dumplings!!!  Union square, all over the place!  We were hiking for 4 hours and met up with one of my wifes’ cousins and had some tasty diner at Flores Mexican. 

Spent another day riding bikes all the way around Tiburon.  Spent a day in Napa Valley, sipping wine and olive oil.  Spent some time in Santa Cruz, got to see Steamer Lane which is an epic surf spot there at the point.  So many surfers out there, made me wish that I had brought my board and my wetsuit.

Then we headed to Yosemite!  Not without stopping in Watsonville to score some un-freaking-believably good Olallieberry Pie at a local farm.  OMG that pie was the BOMB!!!  Anyways we thought Yogi and Booboo might like some too so we took it with us to Yosemite.

I wasn’t prepared for what was in store for us in Yosemite!  Simply put, it’s like being in Heaven, or Valhalla, its SUBLIME!!! 

Breathtaking beauty everywhere!  But on the down side…there was so many people!  I didn’t realize that this was the most popular National Park in the Country.  There were traffic jams, horns from angry drivers, car alarms, loud music, shuttle buses.  There was a spring break vibe, party like atmosphere.  You couldn’t meditate and just listen to nature, someone was blaring Despacito or something.

Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, … WOW!!!  Unfortunately, during this trip I learned that you simply can’t go camping in California.  All the camping spots are booked years in advance!  I found this incredible, how there is such a backlog for people trying to camp.

The next day, we decided to go on a little hike, a REAL hike!  We wanted to see the Yosemite Falls up close.  So we hiked up to the lower falls, which is really more like a stroll with a nice side walk.  Then we decided to go up to the upper falls.  Holy guacamole, the trail going up was tough!  We kept on hiking for 3 hours and we made the summit of Yosemite Falls!!!  What a great view!  But the going down, Uuuughghhhh, going back down was just as bad as hiking up!  In all it took us 6 hours for the whole hike.

I was wasted!  My legs trembled with every step I took.  When I finally got to the car and took off my boots and what a relief to let the air hit my feet!  Ohhh the blisters!  My feet were meant for sandals not Red Wing boots!  Anyways, it was time for us to head home.  I thought it would be more fun to take the scenic route so went out through 102 and through the Tioga Pass out towards Mono Lake and Mammoth Lakes.  Then south to Bishop through the Owens Valley, another famous hang gliding destination.  Wow, the view through the prairies and the mountain pass. EPIC!!!

Next time we go up here we are camping on the back side!  Way more pretty and a lot less people!

Photos don’t do it justice.  I’m no Ansel Adams though…

There were dozens of places that we wanted to stop and enjoy but we had to keep moving on!  Until next year, when I am a H-4, I’ll be back to fly Yosemite!!!