Friday, December 05, 2014

Dune Skimming

Yet another day when the conditions were not good for rookie paragliding at Wellfleet on Cape Cod.  It was marginally soarable for hang gliders so I gave it a go with my hang glider (Falcon).

I turned downwind, instead of the safer upwind, along the ridge since it usually provides better lift.  I flew as close as I dare and slowly gained only to be thwarted by a detour around old vertical pipes exposed by erosion.  I continued zooming along downwind until the ridge dropped below my height and I was finally able to get established on top of the ridge.

I was having a good time until I made risky move during a lull.  In just a few minutes I was back on the ground watching Max and Vitaly flying overhead.  Sigh.

Enjoy the video.

Flights: 1, Duration: 0:45

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Day at the Beach with Tom & Tom

I drove to Cape Cod hoping for a soaring flight in my new paraglider.  However the wind was too strong for a rookie like me.  Luckily, I brought along a hang glider!  I setup, launched, and bounced around the dunes for about an hour.

A fellow rookie paragliding student, Tom Peghiny, was also grounded by the wind.  Tom is also a hang-gliding ace, so I had no problem offering him a flight on my glider.  We squeezed him into my harness and shoved him into the air.

I patched together a short video of our flights, including a couple shots Tom got of seals swimming along the shore.

Flights: 1, Duration: 0:60

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Summer's End

The trees on Mount Greylock were turning, the cummies were popping, the wind was lightly blowing in, and the spectators were excited.  However I was a little melancholy since I knew it might be the last mountain flight of the year.

The video does a better job of capturing the aerial action.

Flights: 1, Duration: 3:10

Monday, September 15, 2014

Checkout Flight

I needed to check out some tuning changes I made to my glider so I waited until the air was smooth and the sun was sinking towards the western horizon.  I had a relaxing and scenic tow behind Eric and even found light lift to play with on the way down.

I set up my landing approach so I would pass mid-way between two wind indicators at the northern end of the field.

Here are a few clips from the flight,

Flights: 1, Duration: 0:27

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

May I Have Another, Please?

Yep, another day at Mount Greylock.  Soarable.  Uncrowded.  I guess someone has to do it.  ;-)

Flew over Greylock for awhile, then over the valley, and then over Ragged before landing at the driving range.

Flights: 1, Duration: 2:52

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Better Than Working

The morning sky, blanketed with a sheet of thick cirrus, prompted pilots on Mount Greylock to complain about the expected lack of lift.  But as a friend said "its better than working".  How true.

Even with the milky sky and weak autumn sun it was soarable.  A small group of us took advantage of our good fortune and soaked up what mother nature was providing.

Peter Judge

The high clouds moved on and we were treated to trips to base.

Mount Greylock

Adams (lower right) and North Adams (left)


My video camera run out of power before the sky did, but here is a sample of what the afternoon offered.

Flights: 1, Duration: 2:39

Monday, September 01, 2014

Aerial Playground

I've been lucky enough to fly hang gliders in many places; sometimes racing across the countryside with a hoard of friends, sometimes helping new pilots find their wings, and sometimes just chill'n at cloudbase watching the world unfold below me.  I had a flight today that stirred memories of my first soaring flights when just staying in the air was magical.  I didn't see any new terrain, didn't set any personal bests, experience any "special air", or even experience anything new.  On the contrary, it felt old and familiar, like relaxing in the backyard on a peaceful summer afternoon with friends.

It was special to be back in the old aerial playground again.

Here is a video sample of the flight.  (I included the complete landing sequence to shows how a complete approach can be flown on the uprights avoiding the complicated transferring of hands from the base bar while close to the ground.)

Update: Max wrote about his flight that day on his blog SkyMax.

Flights: 1, Duration: 3:47

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I took a break from paragliding lessons and made the short trip to Tanner-Hiller airport and Hang Glide New England in central Massachusetts.

A fun group showed up to soak-in the last days of summer.  The early birds had satisfying flights but the later group was having trouble staying airborne in spite of the great looking sky.

I followed Rhett in the green tug down the runway and into the air.

I soaked in the green all around me knowing that in a month it would red and yellow; and after that brown, grey, and then white.

I enjoy the tow behind Rhett and this was no exception.  We climbed under a welcoming sky with the Quabbin Reservoir as the backdrop.

It was soon time to release and find my own climb.

Thanks to the tall tow, I was circling in spotty lift soon after.  I jumped from cloud to cloud like a kid skipping through puddles.

It was all so easy until it wasn't.  I missed a couple climbs and then had to make a long glide back to the field.  I arrived as Rhett was bringing another pilot to the playground.

I dabbled around in broken lift but eventually wandered back to the field for the expected landing.

Luckily, I stumbled into a climb right over the runway and slowly climbed and drifted away to the southwest.

The thermal faded before I reached base.  I flew around the field looking for my next salvation but either it wasn't there or it was hiding quite well.

Rhett waited, ready to go, while I flew in over him to land mid-field.  I quickly jogged off the field and they took as I walked back to the staging area.

Summer is too short in these parts and I was glad to squeeze in another day before the stable cool air of autumn rolled in.

Flights: 1, Duration: 1:11