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Mon May 23, 2011 8:00 pm

[  Mood: Cool ]
[ Playing Currently: Playing  ]
So it's been a long time, I have been lurking around from time to time, and it's nice to see most of the old guys are still hanging around and some lurking too.

I still live in Florida, and have been flying contrary to popular belief, although not the 300+ hours I was flying the first years of my love for the sport.

I do want to share a great experience though. This is a learning experience that I recommend to any HG pilot wanting to really step out of the comfort zone and learn to be the best HG Pilot they can be. A few weeks ago I participated in the Rob Kells Memorial Competition @ Florida Ridge Flight Park or as it's called now Florida Ridge Airsports Park.

This was the 3rd annual RKC and My first ever! It was fun, and intimidating but no one made me feel that way only I did myself. All the Open Class Pilots were cool and approachable (as long as you had beer in hand, I had blender and Tequila so was pretty popular specially on 5 de mayo), no but seriously what a great thing to add to my plethora of experience this comp: How to use the instruments properly to how to determine which approach to take to making goal.

Day one: Was a bit rough around the edges, the wind was pretty strong and the clouds where breaking up pretty quickly, I made a choice not to fly that day, but to examine my competition in the SPORT CLASS. I was going to be flying my WW U2 which I adore and was brought to life by Rob Kells himself not to mention he rose it like the fiery Phoenix after my accident a few years ago. No One made goal that day

Day two: Was not much better but a bit more friendly on the thermals so I went up close to last and flew 22KM, 28KM short of goal and after a nice landing in a ditch (dry at the time, looked nice from above), got one wing lifted up on me while attempting to get out of the glider and was to slow to control the nose wires, I jumped on the base tube but the wind was to drastic and turtled the glider me still attached, as I was speaking to myself first praying that I could gain weight instantly to keep it from going and then when it went prayed to be lighter not to damage the wing as I was thrown into it. I put my hand out and as I touched the keel so it went "PLUNK-KRIKIT" and the horrible truth that i just broke my keel was evident. punch Unhook, pissed off I broke her down and a pickup driver was happening just as I was done, great timing. 2ND PLACE for that day. But two guys made Goal. One didn't have instruments so in reality I was 3rd but shhhhhh...I won't tell.

Day Three: I had to brake out Batman my Black and Yellow Freedom 170 to continue my participation, and the bad news was that I wouldn't be given any handicap because I started in a U2 and the software can make changes in mid competition. cuss So now I was flying in tough conditions in a single surface with no points help, just what i like!!! I was close to last again and this time flew 30+km landed right at the Airport there. And was 3rd Place again for the day. Note everyone that did better simply had a better glide ratio then did I on that Single Surface 170.

Day Four: I had trouble moving downwind, the thermals were really tough to manage, and the transition from cloud to cloud was killing me in that freedom. I could have been more patient though but mind you it took me 1.76hrs to get to the same place I went Day 1 in 32min, I was hellified hard work. I was 3rd again for that day. Landed across the street from the ditch that flipped my U2. An FPL (power crew guy) came over after I landed "I was watching you, you were coming down pretty fast.", I was like yeah thanks.... "Did you plan that?", I was like no I was planing on landing 30KM way from this place... He could tell I was a bit pissed off.

Day Five was not a good day for me... My head wasn't in it and after a Relight, and a broken primary I decided it wasn't for me that day... Fine though cause I was there for when the Open Class guys made a Diamond Task and came back to the LZ a 115KM task which was 3/4 easy and fast and the last 1/4 brutal! Only about 10 made it back! (50 guys in)

Day Six: Was called, it was just ugly and truth be said everyone was exhausted.

Day Seven: The task was to go over the swamp north to a strip about 38km. The air was buoyant and the thermals where mine...BUT... BUUUUUUT... I was on that Freedom and the swap just looked to not friendly! had I been in my U2??? Another story would have been told, with those thermals I would have been patient, and then final glided right to goal. Alas, what could have beens, all but 2 Sport pilots came back to the LZ those last three days dropped me from 3rd place to 7th place. But hey, for my first Comp, for doing it in crappy air, and doing it in a single surface glider??? At least I did better then 3 other guys with much better gear! I brought it and I had a ball.

I had fun with Jonny Durand, Jeff Shapiro, Zak Majors, Dustin Martin, the lovely Davis... and so many more!!! I learned that flying for fun is a whole lot different the flying against others, but mostly I learned that next time I'm launching with the Alpha pilots, cause if I was to follow them I would have made Goal every time!!! LOL...




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So there I was about to... DIE!!! Really...

Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:39 am

[  Mood: Scared ]
[ Working on clean up duty. Currently: Working on clean up duty. ]
It's official...

The scariest but most stimulating day I've had in HG was yesterday on the dunes in Florida.

Let just say that I'm done with flying the shallow dunes of somewhere in mid-Florida.

Due to erosion, and lack of maintenance the once large beaches of Florida have turned in so 50ft wide strips really NOT fit for HG pilots trying to learn the difficult task of dune/condo soaring.

Totally a different set of rules then you have on a mountain and entirely nothing like towing. Dune flying is like the X in X-treme HG, yes there are places that it becomes more forgiving but Florida's deteriorating coast line is NOT one of them at least not the places I've been to.

I have had a few good time there but looking back all the flight and landings I've had have been luckily simple and non-eventful. They have been from the lift band and from locations where the launch could only at worst land you in sea grapes or mangroves... BUT,

Yesterday I went to a newer location I watched for a while as the 15-20 knot winds blew in and the other pilot flew about and tested the lift. of course when it was my time to fly the wind let down a bit due to a OD situation off shore, but as expected the winds picked up one it head north...

I suited up, in my buddies knee hanger, and waited for the proper cycle to roll in and provide the right energy to get me out of the hole (shadow) I was standing in (see this location had no access to the dune section, so the static tow was much more important in getting the wing into the lift band). It too about 10 minutes of patience but it came in and I gestured "Go" and I was up...

The tow was nice and smooth strait up into the Lift, and I was ready to go! "Wait, the release did, work, tug number 2, nope, tug number 3, finally", "Oh, s***... I'm turning left (the wind was South-East so left was North and down wind)" I Force the right but the left tip was stalling, so the only thing I could do was fly the damn thing and continue to the downwind side... Speed came up fast and I assessed the landing possibilities in a heightened adrenaline induced time lapse mode! I'm over the water right now (NOT GOOD), Turning into the wind would most certainly stall me into the 8-10 foot area of the beach and surely test my Special Ops training (Not an Option), Continue a slip and correct over the beach, all of the sudden I see all the people that have managed to appear on the beach to admire the sun going down (right where I need to land to not die, never fails)!!! So, landing into people is DEFINITELY NOT an option. Now the only thing to do with the speed that I have and the hight dwindling as fast as it is was to dive this thing into the shallow part of the beach right in to only open area... so here I go... Lawn Dart this thing and hope I chose properly! Well, as luck would have it the nose hit the water and the prevailing wind flipped the wing upside down and the king post impaled and saved me from having to do evasive action to release from the wing. I was calm and was clear on all that was happening, I felt the king post, I kept my relative location inside the 'A frame of the down tubes and base tube, I wanted to make sure I was able to reach the straps or unlatch myself.

I did the later... and then had the guys help me carry the wing out of the ocean.

Minor damage, 2 battens and keel misshaped, all 3 where minor and fixed.

Cleanup is just like a boat, you have to use this on the aluminum and stainless and the sail uses sail cleansers just like a sail boat. James Tindle of Miami HG showed me how to clean it up. It's worked for him for 30 years guess he knows what he is talking about.

As for soaring... I'm still going to do it... just not on the shallow beaches and in busy times...


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Pictures of HG on Jupiter Fl

Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:09 am

[  Mood: In Love ]

So this is my new love! Video is next!!! EDIT Video is here finally! the real deal

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Condo Soaring Juno/Jupiter (FL)

Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:53 pm

[  Mood: Cool ]


SO I woke up today and took my German Shepherd for a 2 mile jog/run when I got the call! "Soc, it's going to be blowing in E/SE from 15-20!" So I packed up my stuff and head for the beach. What I had with me:
Harness (light knee hanger)
Camera and HD Vid (To be cool like DbyD)
Freedom 170
and Ummm... High Quality Thirst Quenching liquid in a can.

Setting up was a bit different, you put on the crossbar turn the darn thing over spread the wings and tension it immediately...

then it's the usual, tip wands, battens, nose cone...

Jeff James from Miami Hanggliding/Florida Ridge took me to teach me the little things that make a safe dune soarer or condo soarer...

SO how it went down?

I walked up to the ridge made of sea grapes, and mangroves, and sand of course. It was difficult to walk int that stuff and I was churning all the information that JJ had just feed me about how-to and when-to, and don't-do... The most important being to not allow myself to get turned around and behind the lift band behind the ridge.

The first flight was just a taste of what was to come I strapped on the static tow line JJ wanted to make sure I got high enough cause my weight and being on a 170 square glider worried him. I launched and it went 2minutes, I really just wanted to get the landing down on that 40ft stretch of beach... I landed at the water line and all was good.

The first real flight was 28 minutes, and so exciting I couldn't believe I was doing it... the glider responded well and could pick up speed really fast, the energy retention was nice to get me from out of the lift band to it and in trim the glider just hovered like a helicopter! I went back and forth on the sea grapes and got close to the pedestrians, but didn't feel comfortable enough to head to the condos, not quite yet I thought... next flight.

The landing was cross wind and something along the lines of those videos from point of the mountain. I went back and forth loosing altitude till I could simply face the wing into the wind and flare to a halt...

I tried a no line launch and it was AWESOME, to just run of a 10ft ridge and go like a chicken hawk was all to much for my little heart!!!!

Oh and I did loose control once... I am glad cause i was thinking this type of flying was way too easy! Then on my last flight I got turned and went right into the grape and over onto my wings back!!! surrender

So with a bit of humility I realized that in this sport "No Lallygagging" is the key to this type of flying... the second you loose concentration you end up side down or worse...

I'll post the pics and the video by EOD tomorrow... thanks for reading!

Where can you do this in Florida? between Juno and Jupiter, the condos and right on the beach and the ridges are nice...

Is it legal? Well, as long as you don't buzz the life guard stands you are cool, if the cops show, just don't land till they leave! They will, they are on a schedule...

What are the best gliders to have? Well this is where it gets personal. Most say a nice buoyant glider but in the same breath they say it needs to penetrate too? SO, if your glider meets the requirements then you are good. Locals use North Wing T2 (tandem), Freedom (170), Pulse, Horizon ET, and I heard even a Sport 2 but he ended up in a pile sometime ago, no one knows for sure if it was pilot lack of experience of glider was to High Performance for this type of flying...

Equipment? I used knee hanger harness cause I wanted the least amount of weight, I already have all need around my body. Helmet full face, and the wing...

that's that...


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So I said Id never do it... BUT!

Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:00 pm

[  Mood: Amused ]
[ Working Currently: Working  ]
So I get to the beach for what is supposed to be a great day for Condo Soaring and the wind never shoots up above 8-10mph...

I sit around and finally well... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

I'm a diehard HGr through and through but if I hadn't strapped this on? I would have had a shitty day... so thanks to a few biwingal guys I was trained and ready to go in 20min.

I wouldn't do this anywhere else though!!! a few feet from the sand and surf and that's all my collapsible heart can take!!! surrender

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I miss the Monkey King!

Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:10 pm

[  Mood: Sleepy ]

So mister Lobido has left Florida Ridge, and head back to Disney!

I am a bit melancholy because, well I like hanging with the guy. A class act for sure and i just didn't have my head on right on this stay to really make his visit to this park as nice as i would have liked, but I enjoyed his presence non-the-less...

I didn't get to fly with him because of gale force winds today, but I did offer that if he stayed till after 4:30 that he would have a chance at flying a high performance SS glider, he turned it down to make sure he was ready for his departure on Friday from Orlando, an hour drive north of this park.

I miss the guy, and right now I am pretty much buzzing on his world famous RUM...!

Yeah I am so what? No law against drinking and typing is there?

I miss you buddy! You are a great and funny guy... I finally flew that black bird today! the winds dropped enough to get out of the LZ and feel what the future has in store for me! The launch was rough but the landing? Ohhhh... so wonderfully hot! It was a work of art!

And you missed Dan do a wind Whack after a decent fly in on my glider! Dan I owe you a whack on your U2!

Anyone with over 100plus hours needs to get a U2!!! Really can be fast, but can be docile too!!!

Wow... WOOOOOW....Wowowowow....

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Florida Flying

Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:16 am

[  Mood: Neutral ]
[ Watching Currently: Watching  ]
So it looks like next week will be flight intensive, starting out at LMFP and then a decent drive down to Florida for Wallaby. HeavyPilot and I will be making the trip because he needs to fly ahh !!!! I need to just be around and fly with my friends and get energized again, so I can make this year a stellar year and stay focused on the up-coming road trip across the states with Heavy and a few stragglers on the way. Rad even said he'd head down to Utah with us, and head to a few of the Cali sites too once we reached NV (more info on this in the months to come).

It there are any LMFP pilots that are cool enough (Crazy), to hang with me and Heavy on a trip to the west, NOTE: any wierd-"O" peple will be left on the side of the road, so no need to apply if you are suspect of sketch...

punch ROFL punch

Well, the plan is Florida next week and fly during the good window and party at the parks during the off hours...

Come on down the weather is great!!!

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So I've been MIA or AWOL either way... But I'm Baaaaack!

Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:14 pm

[  Mood: Cool ]
[ Watching All of you.... Currently: Watching All of you.... ]
So I got my butt handed to me in Elsinore, what else can I say but simply, I plan on moving there soon, REAL SOON! Then she will be my BEE-OTCH!

The past 2 weeks have been pretty tough on me and all but to check a few PMs and have a look at your experiences I didn't really have the time to post anything... but I have pictures now, and will be posting them from the Vegas/Elsinore trip on Dec 15-24th

I've been sporting my shirt with pride, thanks to RAD who graciously provided me with one the day of my arrival and acceptance into the infamous e-team! Man if I had known that it takes a 28mph lawn dart experience to joint that group I may have stayed my butt in Vegas! At least Carol (my Black Jack Dealer), was much more predictable and cute!!!

Ok, I'll be posting the pics on the forum in a few minutes, have to format the size to the specs...
Rolling Eyes

PS: I missed you all tremendously...

PSS: I did fly when I got back home, and I was a bit apprehensive, Cali, really rocked my world and I quickly attained an appreciation for the ground...

PSSS: My landings were as expected punch

PSSSS: Although RAD would have you think I WHACKED in Elsinore, it wasn't a whack... It was more of a carrier landing, with out the carrier, or the wire... surrender

PSSSSS: Pics are on the Save Elsinore Thread.... Smile

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From Vegas to Lake Elsinore: Elsinore Popped my Cherry!!!

Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:30 am

[ Playing About to gamble.... Currently: Playing About to gamble.... ]
So as many of you know KK, GT, Rad, and the E-Team showed up to meet and greet!

It was blowing from the N-NE at 12-20 and the day was a crisp 50 degrees. We showed up somewhere around 11am having left Vegas at 6:45...

Once there we shot some pictures and I was awarded a wonderful shirt from Rad, it read! Wow... I wonder where he got that from!!! Everyone's going to want one for themselves... Mr. Green

We packed up a few vehicles and head for the launch a lil' bit up the hill (All the Pictures and Vids will be up tomorrow)...

We got up to launch and set up what may have been 11-12 gliders, later 4 PGr's showed up too. And a dude in full motorcycle garb to find out how he can learn to do this sport. Sherb-Air gave him the scoop...

I was helped to the launch by Dave a Tandem guy that seems to have good knowledge of the sport (later he had a nice tandem with a local penthouse model, but that's a story for later date thumbsup )

I went off following RadWhacker, and had a decent launch, would have liked a bit more explosiveness but all in all the vids shows a good launch.

I flew for a wonderful 1:20min, and hit 3860 ft according to 5030 flytec, and had a total speed on approach of 55mph...

Now let's talk about approach at the Elsinore LZ!!!!

Folks let me tell you that it's NO Picnic. When setting up I recalled Rad's words that I didn't want to head down the field because it leads for a loooooong landing due to the sloping nature of that LZ, so I should try to either Cross-Wind land or land in the head wind that is cross to the field, which it was when I decided I was tired and wanted down.

I followed along this really small ridge, behind these trees toward the field at about 8-900 ft, and began doing a few S-turns and such to loose altitude, I got bumped around a bit probably from the rotors coming from those same small ridges I mentioned, I set up downwind with good speed and then final was a good slipping turn into the direction of a small posted streamer next to a huge tree where the e-teamers park. I came in hot and realized I was going to over shoot the steamer and corrected the glider to face a slight up-hill clearing toward that ridge I mentioned, why? cause I got scared at the not so uphill ridge right in front, I thought with my speed and having over shot the streamer I may have enough energy to hit the side of the ridge, soooo...
In my attempt to avoid the obstacle I favored what I thought was an option and it bit me in the arse. I must have missed my flare window while worrying about correcting line, and didn't stay dialed in to the Airborne, and well as you can imagine i flew it right into the ground!!!! it was like getting caught in a spider web, or a wire on a aircraft carrier... I came in hard and BOTH down tubes went CRACK! Ripped them both in half... and ate the ground with my face (Don't tell me EVER about not using a full face helmet). I did an inventory of digits, and jaw bone, then checked my face for blood! Whew... I was alright! I was freaken pissed, but alright, then I heard Rad "Doc? you alright?" I mumbled "yeah..."

He laughed and said this LZ eats Gliders... They took a phone picture of the wreck...

My onboard camera on the control bar had just died a few minutes earlier, the Keal Cam froze too, Hmmm I'm sure I'm going to get hell on that one from the E-Team!!!

I am alright, a few bruises, a hurt wrist, a damaged ego, and my heart hurts... But My buddy Ron gets two new down tubes for a glider that really kinda needed them anyway, and I learned 3 things!

1) I should have flown there in clam first to get the approach down

2) I should have watched a few of the guys do some landings to see how they survived (even GT, although he managed a WAAAAAAAACK too).

3) I should only fly familiar gliders.

I'm going to miss these guys that I just met today!

Bill, Wayne, John, KK, GT, the rest escape me right now but the soreness is creeping up...

Ah well...

Elsinore popped my Cherry! Like the whore I am...

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Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:30 pm

[  Mood: Distorted ]
[ Working Not to hard though Currently: Working Not to hard though ]
Vegas! How can I say it, well, imagine this...

I can barely speak in my own voice, I seem to have developed a coarseness to the tone of my voice. My organization has planned out my stay for me, and it ends today at 1:00pm. Good thing cause I don't think I can take anymore of "SIN CITY" wrapped around Work!

My days ended at 7:00pm since the Saturday I arrived. My arrival was definitely eventful, with over 18hours of travel and waiting from Florida to Nevada. Once arriving at the airport in Vegas the computers were down at the rental car center so instantly we were transported to the 1978 method of renting a car. At the Bellagio, Finally I decided to get my stuff ready for the 5 hours I would have of sleep before I had to show for the Kickoff, BUT, the stars had other plans for me... Since I sat in airports in rough weather for most of the trip SO DID MY LUGGAGE! Everything was soaked! I called down to the front desk and the substandard service I was given by the front staff and every staff I've talked to since really doesn't afford any kudos for the town I looked forward to visiting for sooooooo many years.

Oh well I took care of my problems myself the way I am accustomed to, no surprise (Short of all of you, my HG friends and family, people in services tend to disappoint me often)!

I made the Kickoff and soon after called The Radwhacker and let him know I was alive and in his town!

Rad called me to let me know that today (Sunday), he and some friends would be heading for a flat lake bed outside Vegas about 20 miles and that if I could I should join him... I quickly began to position my long flight as reason to escape the Kickoff and meet my conspiring buddy...

About 3ish I finally made it out to him and he was taking another great guy (Ron?), up in a 154 Airborne Wing, the same one I would fly later that afternoon.

The medium for flight was in the flavor of a truck tow, a very nice new experience for me! Unlike the aero-tow many of us do here, this was similar in that you are still on a dolly. The release is a contraption that hooks to your side loops on the harness and then has a mechanism with a small line pull to release once up. The first 150 feet are the roughest, after that it is like tea and crumpet's at home on a lounge chair! I kidd you not, I can see why regular aero-tow scares the crap out of many people. The initial left is familiar the differebnce is that you have to keep the nose down for that first 100ft. after that the bar pressure disappears and you are like on a ski behind a boat (minus the wake). I had tow situations on this tow:
1) the first time I couldn't get the release to work when I pulled the line, so I reached down and undid it the way I was briefed on the ground by Rad.
2) the second I actually broke the line and couldn't reach the release cause my glider turned around on me while I was trying to get to the rig for the release, so I did a sharp maneuver in attempt to break the weak-link (it worked, whew).

The second flight was nice altitude and it was COLD but I loved it and I was stoked to be in a beautiful place with someone I've learned to (here I get mushy), love via

My first landing was usual Doc style, hot and on point, EXCEPT (note: higher altitude, cold dry = much faster longer glide!!!), Rolling Eyes when I did my ground effect and felt what was a flare window really wasn't and I had to run it out, unfortunately I don't know many people that can run at 15-18 miles an hour and although I did a decent attempt "Whaaaaaaaaack", OK officially that was my 2nd one in my coveted HG career. Quickly I had to have more, and went up again to a nice approach and a High-Stepping landing. A nice round of applause from the E-Team and friends, and we began to break down.

The Rad and I with friends and family head to a close by restaurant, and "What do you know", it's all you can eat pasta night and it even comes with salad (had to get me some of that), Oh... and BEER!!!!!!

Lots of stories, nice crowd, wonderful friends, and "Miller Time".

The vid's will be posted on the thread, here are some pictures

Posted By: DocSoc    9 Comments    (Post your comment)
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Mon May 14, 2007 1:09 pm
Miami Beach
Hang Gliding



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