I was a Live Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Dulles Annex, Udvar-Hazy Center,
March 25, 2006

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year - First Training Day

The first Saturday of the new year offered a perfect forecast for the Taylor Farm training hill, with light southwest winds, moderate overcast, and temperatures expected just shy of 50F. Dan T and I headed south late morning, expecting to find only John M with his class going on. We arrived about 12:30 to see hang gliders being assembled and paragliders on launch. Juan had been there since 10:00 with three bagwing students.
John's students Dan 1, Valerie, and Dan 2 were finishing the glider set up. John flew one Falcon to the bottom, and began flat run practice with Valerie and the Dans. While Dan T and I set up the Pulse, student Mark arrived and set up his Falcon.
Juan pointed out John M's cross wind HG launch technique to his students. Juan's PG students then showed good launches in the benign light wind with a slight left cross.
All of the HG students showed good flights with good control. Dan 1 has an impressively strong launch run, and obviously has progressed well over a number of lessons. Mark was also flying from the top of the hill all afternoon and doing very well. This was Valerie's second foot launch lesson, although she has logged 38 solo aerotow flights. She is getting her sea legs (hill legs?) pretty well. Dan 2 was out for his very first day under a glider. Clearly John thinks he shows promise, because Dan 2 was launching from 1/3 up the hill by mid-afternoon. Congrats!
Dan T and I took our time carrying up the hill after each flight, so while the paying students all got 8 to 10 flights, we each flew three times. We were both happy with our launches and landings. John M commented specifically on Dan T's good light wind launches.
On the way home, Dan, Valerie, and I stopped off in Falmouth at Amy's on the River, where we helped bartender Robin cheer for the Redskins, and sampled the local brewery Blue & Gray's stout on tap. Good brew, tasty appetizers, and friendly homey place - we plan to return. Oh, treat them nice; Robin told us Amy's has become a favorite stop for local law enforcement and politicians.