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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taylor Farm 11/19/11

Busy day at Taylor Farm. John M had seven students, several of them first timers. A couple of his more experienced had pretty good flights and look close to graduation. Carlos brought his bag, and spent the day kiting in the field, with a couple of flights late in the day. Peter, who had not flown in two years, came out with Janice and her 1 year old Newfie/Bernad, Bear. Matthew and Karen brought both plumbing and bags, prepared for any eventuality of wind.

From 11 to mid afternoon, the forecast 8-10 mph winds were more like 10-15 at the top of the hill. It was a bit more mellow down in the field. Matthew, Karen and I were launching from 1/3 down the hill to be in more benign winds. Peter, being more hardy, was launching from the top, albeit with careful timing. By 4:00 it finally mellowed out, and Matthew, Karen, and Carlos all got some bag flights in.

I made three flights, all with reasonable launch runs, the final one with a fully acceptable landing. Also, proved to myself I need to get more exercise.

Sunset across the field was lovely, as we were finishing packing out our gear.

Karen & Matthew, Janice & Peter, Carlos and I finished the day with dinner at Amy's Cafe down by the river. Great little spot. Several of us discovered Fred Red Ale, from a local Fredericksbug brewery - fine tasty beer, in a generous 22 ounce bottle. We all recommend Amy's, and plan to return.

Great day for everyone. Even John's first day students got in a couple of short low flights.






Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bad Launch, Broken Glider

Blew my launch. Based on witness accounts and how the glider acted, I pushed out very slightly as I left the cliff, initiating a stall. The right wing lifted, turing me toward the trees to the left.Then it appears I was not aggressive enough in pulling in for speed, because I gained no control as I swung to the right; the left turn continued unabated.
I ended up in the trees immediately below launch. able to stand on a rock ledge.
Crew came down immediately to get me unhooked, fold up the glider, and carry it up to the top for me.
Only very minor injuries: bruised and scraped left shoulder and right forearm. Known glider damage includes both downtubes and at least one segment of leading edge.

Many thanks to everyone who helped out- all of the pilots there and even a couple of wuffos.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flying at Highland Aerosports on July 10

Saturday I drove to Blue Sky at Richmond, to find the truck runway waterlogged - no flying happening.
Sunday, I joined over a dozen pilots at Highland Aerosports in Ridgely, tempted by outstanding thermal forecasts.
The day was reasonable, but not stellar as we had all hoped. Much of the afternoon the sky was flat, with few thermals working for us. I flew twice, a couple of sleds: 13 1/2 minutes and 12 1/2 minutes. Solid tow on one flight, like I was on rails. A bit more lively tow the second time; was working harder to stay in position. Landings were good. On the first I flared a bit too early so my no-stepper was a feet/knees crumple/down, safe and not too noisy. The second was a very satisfying no stepper.

Lots of friends on hand: Carlos W., Joe G., Steve K., Valerie R., Jon B., Matthew G., Karen C., John S., Christian T., Ward O.. Met Travis from Philly. Fun day, and good to be in the sky again.

Shortly after releasing from tow, here is a view of the north edge of the town of Ridgely from over the field.



This gives pretty good view of the field. Note all the gliders in the set up lane next to the main landing area.



Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Non-Flying Holiday Weekend

With big plans for the holiday weekend at Hyner View, I loaded both gliders onto the truck Thursday evening after work. However, an injured dog kept me around the house all weekend. Just in case the dog got better, I left the truck loaded and ready to run off. Well, it rained Saturday night. Time to sun dry the gliders in the back yard on Sunday. Thus, the opportunity to get a picture of my Wills WIng U2 160 and the Pacific Airwave Pulse 19 side by side.



If you look closely you can see the big black plastic tube hanging under the eave of the shed; it is the U2's home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Return to the Sky!

May 21st, the Day of the Rapture and Judgement, I travelled to the High Land, to be nearer unto the sky. ThIs day was more than a year since I last tried to reach the heavens!

And there was I called up into the heavens, just as it was foretold. Rising from the ground with the aid of the First Man and his Engine of Hope (like unto a flying dragon, it was!), i was carried to nearly a half mile above the unsaved, those Left Behind. But the First Man then signaled that I must make my own way for further ascension. I would have to ride the winds, and in my ride, I would be judged whether worthy enough to continue upward into glory. Alas, while I struggled hard, it seems I was judged not yet worthy. I fell slowly earthward, to rejoin those Left Behind. I could not, on my own, even reach that level to which the First Man had lifted me. In the space of seventeen minutes, I found myself once more about to be walking among the Left Behind. As I sped across the good green grass, passing the Flag of Many Directions, I spanned the grass from the hard road to the edge of hard road. Lest I fall upon the hardness of the road, just before I reached that road, I pushed my hands skyward in Praise, and settled gently to my feet in the last part of the good, green grass.

But I was not yet ready to accept this judgement upon my life's performance! Once more I tied myself to the Engine of Hope, and implored the FIrst Man to take me skyward a second time. He did not object, and again took me to most nearly a half mile above the green earth. Again, I saw his signal that I must make my own way into the heavens from there. I struggled, but in slow steps found myself only 2,000 feet (a sign of the Millennium, for sure!) above the trees and swamp. Here, my prayers were answered, and the wind lifted me upward, upward, at 400 feet per minute! But as I reveled in this uplifting joy, it seems my circles were not true, for at only 2800 feet above the trees and swamp, I fell from grace, and once more slowly descended, gliding earthward. As I approached the green field, I decided I must follow down the wind, consider my own base life, then undertake the final leg of my personal journey of hope for this day. This time, at the moment of 27 minutes of travel, I again raised my hands up unto the sky, and settled gently onto my feet in the center of the Good Green Grass field. For this act, I was praised by many, as it pleased them in my performance.

Yes, this day, I was Left Behind by several of the saved ones: Dave P, John S, Heather S, Tom McG, Steve K, Matthew G, Karen G, and Carlos W, Jon, Amy, Valerie, and others. But, this is not my last attempt. Be assured I will work hard to join them and others in the heavens again as the sun shines upon our earth!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blossom Kite Festival 2011

As of 2011, the Smithsonian Kite Festival has become the Blossom Kite Festival, part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The Capital Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association has been displaying gliders and talking up our sport for at least 15 years that I know of.

We realize that the effort doesn't really recruit many (any?) new students for the sport. However, it is a lot of fun to put a positive PR effort out in front of a huge crowd. We even let kids hang under a glider - more photo ops than you can imagine. Look for kids under the glider on Facebook, Flickr, or whereever.

Chis T and Matt I get the booth set up before the crowds arrive



Showing off my glider.



Gary D talks up the sport with festival visitors



Mark C and Chris T explaining hang gliding and paragliding at the booth









Matt I and Chris T ready at the gliders waiting for the crowds



Paraglider kiting on the practice field


Kites in the sky over the CHGPA Booth at teh end of the day


Flickr pics from the festival, including a few of our booth.

Here are a couple of past festivals I took part in.

2008
2007

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Taylor Farm February 6

What a great day on the training hill! Arrived at Taylor Farm about 1:30 to see Mark C setting up, Bob P breaking down, Matt I surveying the slope, and John M running two students through the paces on the flats at the bottom of the hill. Matthew and Karen arrived shortly after I did. A neighbor came by to watch, and Mrs. Taylor came out into the backyard to visit.

I have been flying Taylor Farm for about 15 years, and had never met Mrs. Taylor before today. What a lovely lady! She told us of an artist friend in Fredericksburg, who she has encouraged to come paint a scene of gliders on the hill. Last week she hosted the local Boy Scout District Camporee, with 600 tents and multitudinous Scouts on the farm; her artist friend has painted a view of the campers in place. She described it as a Grandma Moses style painting.

News flash: Taylor Farm no longer has cows! Mrs. Taylor had her son take them all to auction. That ought to make spot landing practice better next spring and summer.

Back to flying: Winds were light, but all over the place. Temperature was sweet - most of us were in (long) shirtsleeves all afternoon. None of that Smithsburg snow for us! We would wait for cycles in the right direction, and then all hurry off the hill. Matt, Matthew and Karen were all flying their bags, while the rest of us had our plumbing out and in use. Bob had arrived at 11:00 a.m., and after four flights, declared victory and headed home, departing as I was finishing set up on the Pulse.

I managed four flights on the Pulse. Not great flights, but safe and I was in the air. Others had from five to seven flights. Matthew bummed the U2 from Mark for a couple of biwingual flights late in the day. John M even got in six or seven between student flights. Students Dan (yes, another one!) and Joe seemed to be enjoying the day, Joe flying from 1/3 up the hill and Dan from the top.

As sunset approached, the wind picked up and went solidly catabatic, denying John the last flight of the day. Sunset over the distant trees, red sun sinking behind them was beautiful.

Matthew, Mark, Karen, and I stopped at Hard Times Cafe on US 1 in Fredericksburg for dinner. Our arrival brought the customer count to 6, so we almost outnumbered the staff! I guess any place not a sports bar is gonna be dead on game night. We enjoyed chili, fish, poppers, beer, and wine, and declared the day a resounding success.