Monday, January 18, 2010


I received requests for more video from the 1996 Morningside Glide Angle Contest after my post yesterday on landings.  Here are some launches from the second day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Since the days are short and the nights long, I've been digitizing my old analog videos.  I came across a video I took in the late 1990s August 1996 during an annual Glide Angle Contest at Morningside Flight Park.  Well known pilots from around the United States and Canada used to come and see how far they could glide from the 250 foot (76m) launch.  It was always a fun event, even for non-pilots.  It was an aerial version of a horse or tractor pull; everyone could tell who was winning.

Manufacturers sent their top pilots to squeeze every bit of distance from their gliders.  Some pilots complained that the distances were not a true measure of a glider's glide angle (ratio).  Of course they were right, but they missed the point.  The real draw was the pilot skill.  Putting the maximum amount of energy into the launch.  Managing the most efficient turn around the pylon at mid-course.  Dropping into ground effect at the right time.  And of course, safely landing at the absolute last moment.

I learned much from watching and competing in those meets.  For example, I'm still surprised when I talk with pilots that freak-out when they discover they can't unzip before landing.  It's really not a big deal in many cases.  Land on your belly or land standing up in your harness.  I watched people regularly do that trying to get a better score.  Eventually I tried the techniques myself and still use them to this day.

I created two videos.  The first contains the raw material.  It includes flights from many pilots that inspired me during my early years such as Ken Brown, Curly Dunn, Rob Kells, Dennis Pagen, Tim Donovan, Paul Voight, and others.  The second video contains just the landings.  It highlights different variations and provides a range of typical landings.  The first video is too long to post on YouTube, so for now here is the shorter video containing just the landings.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Season

The days are getting longer since we've past the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere so its time to start thinking about the next flying season!  I've starting piecing together my competition schedule and will fit my usual winter XC and competition lectures between the snowstorms and spring.

The first meet of the season for me will be the 2nd Annual Rob Kells Memorial at the Florida Ridge, in La Belle, Florida, from April 17th to the 23rd.

The next meet, the 2010 Flytec Race and Rally, starts immediately afterwards at La Belle and runs from April 25th to May 1st.

Although I have not registered yet, I plan to compete at the 2010 East Coast Championship, at Highland Aerosports in Ridgely, Maryland, June 6th through 12th.