Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
My new camera mount worked out well with my heavier Nikon camera. I was a bit nervous about hanging 3lbs 6 feet off the nose, but with the counter-balance it flew nicely. I even managed to keep the camera off the ground on landing :). I set the timer to shoot every 30 seconds and came up with a few shots that I liked.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I have had a great time since Halloween. The holidays were nice and we even had 4 to 5 inches of snow falling on Christmas Day. 2011 has been kind so far and except for the cold, I couldn't ask for any more. I have been getting flights off the mountain lately but it seems it's just to keep the rust off. No good thermals and cold fingers take some of the fun out for me these days. I did get my new WW Covert harness and that has kept the flying excitment up a bit. I'll get some pics up soon.
I recently took all of my footage of landings and compiled them into a video that I posted on you-tube. Check it out below.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Once I got up and started over the back, the day looked like it was turning on to be great with clouds everywhere. I found another climb over the Chickamauga Battlefield and reached base again but then had a tough decision to make. There were no clouds along my planned route but there was a decent street going straight over the Chattanooga airport. To stay legal I would have to stay above 4,700 ft. MSL to miss the airspace restrictions. Also going this way there were little options to land if things didn't work out. After some consideration, I went for it; you only live once!
The cloud street turned out to be working pretty well as I crossed over staying between 4,800 and 6,500ft. It was surreal watching a couple of ASA jets coming in to land under me. After reaching the end of this street I glided out into the blue hoping I was staying in a good line. Upon reaching the mall I was getting low and nervous with very few options to land. I scoped out the big parking lots at Home Depot and Lowes from 1,000ft but knew this would test my skill. I considered heading over to the new Volkswagon Plant but it didn't look real inviting. Looking ahead I saw a small patch of grass in front of the US Express trucking place off of I-75. I figured obstacles there would be more predictable so pushed forward. As I studied the power lines and slope of the terrain I grew more and more nervous knowing that this would need to be performed perfectly. Finally, at 700 ft I stumbled into some light lift and started cranking it up. Wow, was I relieved!
I took this thermal back up to 5,500ft and headed out past the city limits and into the area that I grew up around. Cruising comfortably now I took time to just soak it all up. I flew over my high school. Then I noticed some of the hiking and biking trails that I spent hours on. I followed these and flew right over my old house and many memories flooded my mind. This part of the flight was simply awesome. Everywhere I looked I recognized something and it would remind me of some part of my childhood.
I saw the lake up ahead and knew I had my Papaw's house on glide easy. As I arrived overhead I still had 2,500 ft so I started big lazy circles watching the yard for movement. This brought back memories as well. When I was 16 I would rent a Cessna and fly around solo building time for my private license. This usually included going over there house and messing with the throttle to get them to come out. As soon as they came out in the yard and waved I would rock my wings and go on my way.
After circling for about 10 minutes with nobody coming out, I decided it was time to land. Housing development in Ooltewah has exploded so landing options weren't as great as I had thought. Still, I found a nice golf course just a half mile from Papaw's front yard and brought it in straight down one of the fairways for a soft landing. After getting over to his house and eating my Memaw's good cooking I took a quick shower and waited for Scott to show up with my truck. Thanks for picking me up man, definitely a huge favor. Scott is one COOOL dude!!!!
Anyway, I wish I had a camera with me on the trip. It was the best seat in the house on a nice scenic tour over the area I have spent most of the last 31 years. Chattanooga is a beautiful place, especially from the air.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Come out and join us next year!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
After some advice from Jeff O'brien, I set my alarm for 4:30am and woke up to steady south winds and set up my glider. I launched in the smooth pre-dawn air and flew around watching the sun-rise over Salt Lake city. The wind picked up a little so the paragliders didn't show up and I had the ridge to myself most of the time. This place is an aerial playground. You can definitely let the monkey play a little. After packing up we left for California. We are planning on getting to the coast tomorrow and visiting Fort Funston for a hop. Then we are heading down to Big Sur in hopes that the fog doesn't come in. Finally, we are scheduled to fly Yosemite this weekend. Obviously I am very excited about that one. So I have left a lot of the great details out including near golfball sized hail that hit us in Golden, CO after my flight, the tornado that developed 3/4 mile behind launch at Dinosaur (I have video I can upload later), and the batten that I broke on my wing. (Thank you Wills Wing for overnighting me a new one!!) I hope to share some of these things on other posts. Scott and I are using our cameras and I hope to put together a video of the trip on the way home so stay tuned. In the mean time, here is a small sample of the adventure. Check out the short clip below.
Friday, June 4, 2010
While growing up, I spent many weekends out at the gliderport while he towed. These are fond memories of fishing in the pond, helping move gliders around, flying my rc plane, and occationally climbing up to cloudbase in a sailplane with him getting a few pointers on how to stay in the thermal. That is when my eyes starting studying the sky and is why I continue to chase clouds today. Thank you Papaw for this wonderful passion!
Recently he gave me a new Funtana 125 rc plane to build and fly. I slapped a Saito 150 on the front which gave it unlimited vertical performance. I only have about 10 or 15 flights on it but I am loving it. I decided to put the GoPro camera on it and built a nice mount to fit over the tail looking forward getting almost the entire plane in view. But, that was going to need a huge amount of weight on the nose for balance so I decided to mount it on the canopy instead. It turned out OK. While doing spins the oil from the exhaust came up and around the wing which caused the camera lense to get fuzzy. Still, I think it's fun to watch. Check out the video below!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I think my favorite and best day was day 5. It was about a 75 mile task to the north to land at an airport. Inside the start circle I joined a gaggle of maybe 25-30 gliders and made it to the top for a good position to start. I continued to stay with this group for a while until they eventually pulled ahead one glide or so. A half hour later I noticed them up ahead circling but not gaining too quickly so I went to the east to look for lift over a small town. This turned out to be a great decision as I climbed fast and was able to catch up with the lead gaggle arriving 500ft over them.
This bird (osprey?) snagged a fish right out of the pond at Quest and took it up into the tree to have its lunch. That's the fish under it's left foot.
This was the day for big gaggle flying. Every time we stopped to turn, it was crowded and my neck became stiff for all the straining to see where they were. Towards the end of the flight I was on glide and about 12km from goal with only two gliders in front of me. With the airport in sight we just needed one more thermal. Everyone stopped to turn in a light one but I got impatient. I thought that there had to be a better one so I went off to find it. Soon I found myself landing at an intersection in a neighborhood just before a stop-sign and I watched the other patient pilots fly right over me and into goal. I had landed a couple miles short. Even though I didn't make it, this was an incredibly fun flight that I won't forget.
So, I made it back home and back to family, work, and play. I've been busy working all last week but it's good cause the weather hasn't been that great for flying. We went and picked out a new bat for Isaiah and have been working on his hitting. So far his team is undefeated. GO SUNDEVILS!!!! Life is good.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
After a while I noticed that half of the gliders on the ground had stopped towing and others in the air were going in to land. I wondered if they were calling the day so decided to go back to the field. My landing was fine in the turbulence but I watched some interesting landings happen after. Finally the task was cancelled at 1:59pm. So a debate decided that most/half of the pilots wanted to stay here at Quest instead of driving north into Georgia. I wanted to go to GA since I am hoping we will be able to fly to Tennessee this week. Thursday should be blowing SE so maybe that will be possible.
I shoved my glider under a tree and set camp back up. Afterwards I mostly sat around the pond and the rope swing. Later I cruised around with my camera and found Ollie playing with his new bow and I gave it a shot. Turns out I am kind of a natural.
I love this place and have had a good time even though we aren't flying enough. But, I hope we can get to a new place today. After all this is a Rally isn't it?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
So it turned out to be a relaxing day out by the pond in the tree stand. Authentic Mexican food for lunch made for a great change from the daily peanut butter and banana sandwich. Looks like today will be much lighter winds so a task of 87km is called. After that we will head to Moultrie, GA for tommorrow.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The thermals I found near the swamp/lake kept drifting over and I had to leave early every time since I was not comfortable in the spotty lift. This eventually put me down just past a small town. I made it about halfway to goal.
Sure was fun getting back into the air again here in Florida. After Dale picked me and Lucas up, we drove up to Quest to sit through the storms that were approaching. Pizza and downloads were followed by a game of poker. Believe it or not, I won the the game at around 1:30am. After that I went to my tent to find that the rain had made a lake inside. So I put my sleeping bag in the hangar and tried to sleep there until the mosquitos ran me out. Then I went to Lucas's car and laid the seat back. Needless to say I have not slept well. Now the weather has cleared and they say we are going to fly today.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Lucas, Dale and I left for the Flytec Rally Race on Friday. We decided to take Lucas's little Honda Fit and after a few hours of building we had created a nice strong rack. This took longer than expected though and we left 4 hours later than we had hoped. Anyway, we made it to Ocala, FL and got a hotel. The next morning we finished the drive in about 4.5 hours. Now here we are at the beautiful Florida Ridge ready to do some hang gliding.It is a big turn out this year with maybe 50 competing pilots. Wills Wing has shown up in force as I look around and see many pilots setting up their new T2C's - what a beautiful glider.
Today looks a bit windy and base maybe not so high so we'll see if they call a task. I think we will try and go to Quest so that we can get behind this fast moving front. This is gonna be a fun week!