Another year has flown by and I can’t believe that it’s already time to wrap up 2018
It looks like I was able to get an hour long out and return flight in Jan. But that is pretty common for Cowboy Up Hang Gliding. There is usually pretty consistent hang gliding going on all year long.
2018 was tough, to say the least, but I learned a lot about myself as a pilot. Without a doubt my biggest learning experience was my crash in Refugio. What an eye opener! Since the accident I have been giving myself plenty of margin and it has taken a lot of the stress out of my flying.
Lets, see what are some of the highlights. I won the 2018 xcontest.com USA competition for the Sports class. The United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association sent me an awesome medal and a super cool jacket! I really love the jacket! I had a big flight that I was unable to upload the data and it held back my score but I still won!
That brings me to another highlight of 2018, REFUGIO!!! I had some amazing flights and made some great memories! What I am most proud about was my rebound after the crash. I was able to get back on the saddle and make some EPIC flights! The crown jewel would be my first “Test” flight on the all new Moyes Gecko 170 and flying 140 miles for 8 hours! What a trip! Hanging out with Jonny Durand, getting the pep talks and learning all about Jonnys’ past was friggen awesome! I learned a lot!
The other main highlight of 2018 was getting my Tandem Instructors rating! Wow, it really is awesome to take someone up and see their eyes fill with Hang Gliding stoke! Yewww!!! The training to become a Tandem Instructor for Aerotow was rigorous. I really felt a LOT of weight being added to my shoulders every time I flew. It changes the way I fly and it is in a good way. Here is to many more tandems in 2019!!!
Probably the COOLEST flight of 2018 was my Mothers Day Flight where I flew 120+ miles on the exact same day (Mothers Day) one year before. I took a slightly different path but I was familiar with most of the area! So much fun!!! I managed to fly even further than 2017! For mothers day 2019, you bet your bottom dollar, I’m going for a three-peat!
Anyways, I have been running this site for a few years now. I rarely get any comments, email, or feedback. So, I think that I am going to close this chapter of my life, writing about hang gliding. More than likely I will not renew the website thermalcowboy.com and save the $200 dollars.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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!!!
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.
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!
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…
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.
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
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
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.
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.