The Toggle Monkeys Chapter of USHPA strives to:
- Be ambassadors for the sport of Free Flight Paragliding in the greater St. Louis area by conducting safe flight operations
- Grow the sport by encouraging and mentoring new pilots
- Explore, open and manage new flying sites in the area.
A Quick Disclaimer
The Toggle Monkeys no longer manage or operate towing devices as a recreational club. STL Paragliding, LLC, the local instructors, conducts all towing operations in the area. The Toggle Monkeys Club is not associated or affiliated with the above individuals or companies.
How We Got Started...
For historical purposes only:
The Toggle Monkeys are a motley crew of folks from throughout the Midwest. In early 2014 Marc Radloff began training his first student, Chris Caywood. Little did he know that he would revive a legacy of free flight that was started 30 years ago along the River Bluffs at Valmeyer, Ill. by a savory group of hang glider pilots. As Marc continued to train students and grow the community, pilots came out of the woodwork to rediscover their love for flight.
United by our passion for flight, the gift of a small community, and a blessed lack of politics, the Monkeys fly almost every weekend it’s flyable. On a good weekend, we'll have 10+ pilots from 5 states gather in Southwest Illinois to chase the local record, enjoy a beautiful glass-off, and usually party late into the night.
We fly around Southwest Illinois, and a spot or two in rural Missouri. Surrounded largely by farm fields (translate: LZs abound!), and bordered on one side by a 300’ bluff and on the other by the Mississippi river, we believe the XC potential in our area has just begun to be discovered.
Though the flying is great, the friendships are even better. And even if we don’t have the best flying in the country, we’d like to think we have the best hospitality. As it turns out, St. Louis is a perfect stopover if you’re on a cross-country road trip. We’d love to host you and introduce you to our sites and our characters. If you think you might be passing through, reach out here and we’ll see about giving you a proper Toggle Monkey welcome.
So where’d the name come from? Marc, a former skydiver, trained many-a-jumper in the brave new world of free flight. Apparently these freefall fanatics had a terrible habit of man-handling the risers and jerking the toggles. In a moment of sheer exasperation, Marc yelled, “You’re all just a bunch of Toggle Monkeys!” And history of sorts was born.