Hang Dreaming: When we can’t fly

Learning to fly in San Diego has many advantages. For one, nearly every weekend of the year is flyable, somewhere within an hour and a half drive (come visit us *hint* *hint*). Included in the site list are Lake Elsinore and Mount Laguna, two epic thermal and convergence sites in the summer, and in the winter great ridge soaring sites. But wait, there’s more…within two hours we have Crestline/Marshall, one of the best sites in the country (so I’m told). Basically, I am a spoiled bird.

However, occasionally we all have to miss a few days of flying. For me that is next week. Tonight I head off to Georgia for the week. Contrary to my previous post, I sadly will miss flying Super Bowl Sunday. I hear there is great flying in Georgia (who knows, maybe I’ll be back in a few months), but I will—also sadly—be far removed from any site or glider.

Now in the grand scheme of things, we are very lucky to do what we do. We’ve been gifted with health and wellness, enough prosperity and free-time, living at a time where modern hang gliders exist, and the mental ability to control them. I am truly humbled to have this opportunity, and any absence away from flying merely proves to me more how privileged I am, but also how much flying means to me.

What will I do–flying related–in the meantime?

Well I am taking my 6030 manual. Will I actually read it? Maybe. Am I a dork? Probably. So far I’ve learned more using the vario in the air than on the ground.

Hopefully find time to run and bike, ya know, to make sure I’m in tip top shape for flying. And after all this is a vacation.

I also need to, seriously, think about my goals and dreams for the year. A 50 mile flight would be great, but as I almost did that last year may not stretch my aim enough…granted this is not the sport to push too hard. Maybe a comp or two. Adding 75 or more hours to my logbook would be great too.

Time to board…

Support Our 2014 World Championships Teams

Please consider supporting our U.S. hang gliding teams heading to the 2014 World Hang Gliding Championships in Annecy France held from June 21st to July 5th.

To Support each team:

2014 U.S. Women’s Team
Buy an awesome commemorative T-Shirt for $25 shipped.

For more information and to purchase click this!

Update (Jan 30 2014)
Other ways to support the Women’s Team can be found at the link below. One option to consider is donating when you renew your USHPA membership.

2014 U.S. National Sport Class Team
Fund raising has begun for the first ever U.S. National Sport Class Hang Gliding Team. Because of a generous contribution from Steve Kroop at Flytec and support from Kraig Coomber at Moyes U.S.A. anyone who donates $25 (or more) will be entered in a raffleThe raffle drawing will take April 1st.

Click Here to Donate, or keep reading for more information.

Prizes include:

  • Flytec sweatshirt
  • Moyes Speed Sleeves
  • Flytec Sonic
  • Grand Prize: Flytec 6030
  • Other items anticipated

All proceeds will be used to help all members of the U.S. National Sport Class Team pay for costs associated with competing in the very first FAI Sport Class Hang Gliding World Championship, in Annecy France.

Of special note, my friend Jonny Thompson will compete on the U.S. Sport Class Team. He is a world class person as well as a world class pilot and it would give me great pleasure to see him afforded this opportunity and then kick ass in Annecy.

This is your chance to help the team and maybe win a Flytec 6030 for $25.

To support the U.S. Sport Class Team and be entered in the raffle, a PayPal link is provided below:

Donate to the U.S. National Sport Class Team

Thank you! Thank you!

Prepping for Cross-Country Season

This is it. The first year where I am ready to cross-country from the very beginning. In 2012, my first year flying, every flight was a new first. First flight above launch. First hour flight. First two hour flight. First landing in what we call the postage stamp. Later in the year came first flight above 10,000 feet. What more could a fledgling want in her first year? Well, San Diego kept giving.

XC Season in San Diego @ Mt. Laguna

Late September back in 2012, my power purple Northwing EZY and I went on a trip. On an amazing climb to 11,500+ feet, with a friend and his T2C on my wing, we went on glide for new territories. Correction. He went on glide. I mainly just sank like a somewhat aerodynamic rock. I pulled in for best glide–or what I guessed was best glide–and aimed for the next LZ. Now from the highest I had ever been, I felt like I could go anywhere. I could smell the salty air from the coast, see Catalina island, and peer far east into the desert–Arizona must be out there somewhere. But my single-surface glider had other plans. Seeing the T2C pulling away and nearly disappear above me I immediately gained appreciation for double-surface wings (oh I can’t wait for the triple surface wing!). Having passed the point of no return, I watched intently as the LZ seemed to move up in front of me.

Pushing onward I had no choice. Certainly on a big air day there must be another thermal around here. But where? The moments slowed. Wondering if I would ever near the LZ I began to look for alternatives. Not that I was super low, but on my first flight away from the local pattern I wanted a full report on my options. Now, Butch Peachy tells me, there are more thermals than LZs. Too bad I had not yet met him. He was right though (don’t tell him I said that). Just as I seriously began to wonder whether I could make the LZ, my vario began to chirp. Up. Up. Up until I knew the LZ was mine. As if to add an exclamation point, over the field another thermal rocketed me back up to 9,000! For a few moments I considered whether I could continue on. Tired, and unsure where exactly to go I found sink and floated down. 11 miles from launch, my first cross-country was complete.

Of course, what is a cross-country flight without a long retrieve, packed between gear and guys in a dusty old SUV? Perhaps it was midnight before I half-asleep/half-reliving every circle of my flight opened the door to my home and flared into my bed.

2014 – The Year of the XC
Skipping ahead to today, with an upgraded glider (Sport 2, check), instruments that rival a Cessna 150’s cockpit (Flytec 6030 and Garmin 76S in a cool pod, check), an amateur radio license (call sign, check), and hopefully a slick new harness on order soon (my current harness has so many lines it might as well be called the Flying Spaghetti Monster), I cannot wait for San Diego to once again breath life into the air. This year is the year to hone my skills and soar beyond new horizons.

Butch also tells me he counts Super Bowl Sunday as the kickoff to cross-country season. And he would know. So let me be the first to say, screw football, let’s go fly!

The Ranchita Yeti says, “Y’all fly back soon!”

Two Happy Years

December 30, 2013 marked two years since my first high altitude mountain flight. Since that short, but oh so memorable flight I have flown over 100 hours, nearly 150 flights from 15 different sites, flown as high as 14,000 feet, as far as 35 miles, and continue to cherish each and every moment slipping the surly bonds of earth. I have met and become friends with amazing pilots. What a wonderful community we have!

And so I begin this site to detail my future years of flying enjoyment. I look forward to every moment, making new friends, new firsts, breaking personal records, meeting personal goals. Follow me on my journey in the sky.

What will 2014 bring? Let’s see.