Lindsay and Chris in goal three out of four tasks at the 2018 Chelan US Open of Paragliding.
Initial pilot's meeting. 130 pilots registered.
The queue to launch
Lindsay after Task 2: Thanks for watching from afar and the good vibes. Do you click the Xc demon link you can see a doarama of all pilots. Yesterday i flew a deep mountain line and you can see on the log it went farther to the West than all the fast guys who flew straight down course line - prob cost me 30 min, which would have had me at first girl in goal if I’d flown straight. It’s fun to see how different people flew the same route. Check Lester’s track too - he flew way out to the east and still made goal a bit after me on a b wing.
One of he big decisions yesterday early in the task was when to cross the river - early from high terrain and ride the flats up, or later from low terrain (harder to get high). After that you for high again, crossed again, and then had to decide which route to take up to goal. Prentice took deeper terrain after crossing and boomed out - I went with a group farther to the east over some shallow terrain and got stuck - had to scrape treetops for 20 -30 min until a few of us got lucky. I was ahead of Prentice by a good margin until then. After that you can see the decision I mentioned above - and the fastest pilots flew straight there. I went left mostly to follow other markers - I keep getting caught between groups. And we hit this mini- convergence - picked a thermal up from an obvious west facing slope that was baking and took it to convergence zone - flew straight for a long time in 500fpm up without turning. Then turned east to take a cloud to 12k (only cloud of the day) in 1000 Fpm lift and had a 25 k glide to goal with no turning. Will send my track in a minute.
Lindsay after Task 3 - Tough day! Super fun across the first part of the flats- several climbs to 1200fpm meant we could fly fast - full bar most of transitions just to keep up. Then the headwind over irrigated fields was a death blow. Paraglider graveyard. Some wondered if we had followed the high terrain north of the fields off course Line - maybe it would have wrapped around tongoal. Also had some SIV
Top women: 1st - Patricia Garcia De Letona, 2nd - Bianca Heinrich, 3rd - Lindsay Matush
Open class winners: 1st - Donizete Lemos, 2nd - Nick Greece, 3rd - Brad Gunnuscio
photo by Aaron Colby Price
Lindsay Matush: Still coming down off a great weekend at the Fredonia, Kansas Memorial day fun and mentorship comp. Spotty weather got us down for a couple of days but Monday delivered with a 170km flight for the books. Thanks Marc Radloff and Britton Shaw for organizing and Aaron Colby Price for being such a great flying compadre and the pics. Spent most of the day running cloudstreets across the Flint Hills of Kansas. At 5:15 I thought I was on final glide, when I picked up a little thermal being triggered by a tractor in a big brown field. The thermal quickly turned into 6.5 m/s climb (strongest of the day) and I was back at 7200' to eek out another 100 miler. Flatland magic! Thanks to all who made the weekend so much fun.
Click on the picture below to see the Doarama simulation of the Memorial Day flights from Fredonia Airport.
Chris Lee: I attended an SIV clinic with David "Cuervo" Prentice at Lake Jackson in South Florida. Also in the class were fellow Toggle Monkeys Jim and Lindsay Matush. We were limited to three flights each due to weather and some mechanical issues. But we made the most of it. Over my two flights on Saturday, the curriculum included: 9 stalls, 3 spins, 4 asyms and 2 frontals.
Chris Lee: Spent a couple weeks working in S. Florida and had a chance to fly the sand dunes with local pilot Kelton Kenney. It really is as easy as stepping off flat ground and you're airborne! Conditions were perfect for the site, no need for speed bar but strong enough to get two-three times over the height of the sand dunes.
Cloud streets over launch at Neverland on Monday. Photo by Neil Sirrine.
Chris Lee: Fourth flight with the new Triple Seven Queen 2 MS. Perfect forecast on tap at South Florida's world-renown XC tow site, Neverland, near LaBelle. Wind in the mid-teens early, then slacking off late with 3m/s thermal updrafts and cloud base at 3600' and rising.
I launched first and went through lift at 1200' but decided to stay on the line and push upwind so I would have a better chance of staying around launch while waiting for my partner, Kelton Kenney, to get airborne.
We hooked up by the channel and proceeded across the Triangle of Doom with good altitude.
Kelton hit big sink just after the Triangle but dug himself out working a treeline bordering a sunny field. Once he got high again, we mostly stayed at cloudbase skirting the west, sunny, side of the cloud street and jumping from one close cloud to the next.
Near the DeSoto Correctional Institute, I pushed straight through under a big cloud and got hammered, losing half my height to 2000’ before finding some light, maintaining lift in the shade. Kelton stayed at cloudbase and skirted around the sink hole as I tried to hang on. Eventually I transitioned to the sunny side of the cloud where lift got much better just as Kelton went around a horizontal peninsula of the cloud and out into open sky. He found nothing but sink in the blue hole and eventually sank out in an orchard.
I got back to cloud base and continued patiently on, encountering a solar farm just a bit downwind where there was lots of lift with different groups of birds taking a few turns in each thermal before going on glide, transitioning the area with hardly a flap.
Lift areas got wider and smoother, but not as strong, around the fourth hour and it became a balance of circling in light climbs vs pushing further on course. The winds had slacked to single-digits so the only way to make progress was to go on glide.
Cloud streets started dissipating until there was just one line within reach. It was a lifty line so I was able to travel a good distance on it, just stopping for a few turns occasionally. Further west a rain shower was dumping at the end of the cloud street and the last thermal drift was pulling towards the storm so I had to leave it and start looking for an easily accessible road to land by.
Personal best duration of 5:04 hrs and distance of 124.5 km / 77 miles.
Chris Lee: I traveled to Valle de Bravo in Mexico to join David Prentice's tour for the second time in Dec. 2017. Got 25 hours of airtime in 7 days. Here's a video of some highlights from the flying trip.
Today I set off for my first experience with real mountain launches. I’m driving for Dunlap, TN to visit the Tennessee Tree Toppers home site. After driving seven hours and getting caught up on my Cloudbase Mayhem podcasts, I arrive hungry and ready to explore. A quick google search brought me to the nights fun! Burger at Buffalo D’s and Karaoke!
The next morning Marc made some South African Tea and we talked about our plan. The weather was crap and flying was pretty much out of the question.
We drove to meet Brian in Rising Fawn, GA that morning. He has an establishment of Tiny Houses southwest of Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding’s launch. Most of the day was spent just hanging out and contemplating the launch ability of his site. The winds were all wrong for the day so, again, no flying.
We woke to better conditions, and Marc was focused! Today was the day to launch this site for the very first time! He knew it. The winds were light and occasionally blowing in. Because the site was under construction, there really wasn’t a great place to lay out the wing. After much discussion we all agreed that the best spot was the back of the property. This meant that Marc needed to inflate in dead/ tail winds run between two tiny houses and continue another 35 yards to the run off.
On the first attempt…
Tripped up by a mound of tree shavings.
Attempt 2…Success!!! First launch of Brian’s Live a Little Launch!!!
The day seemed to improve, although not much.
I attempted an inflation, but got hung up in the debris. After parawaiting for 30-40min I packed it up, and went with the group to explore the cliff below launch.
Overnight snow covered the area, but the forecast looked like a winner. Marc and I packed it up and drove north the the Whitwell launch. We arrived about 9:20 and scoped out the place.
The winds were on the stronger side for me, and the gusts were strong and without warning. Marc reached out to the group for a detailed forecast, and Richard came through for us in a big way! Thank you Richard. The plan was to wait it out. More tea and rock hard biscuits…waiting, waiting, and then it was on!
Wind speed dropped and gusts were building much more predictably as well as lessening in strength.
Around 12:00 I brought out my gear and kited. I felt good about the conditions so I brought up my wing in a reverse configuration and set off! Whooo Hoooo! What a rush!
The thermals were very sharp and unconsolidated. I didn’t do the best job at staying in the lift band making for a very short 9:24 flight. The goal was to launch a mountain site, and I had done it. All smiles from me, regardless of air time.
A quick retrieve and we were back on top. Marc was up.
Marc had a great flight and made the air look amazing and effortless. Climbing way over launch, out into the valley, and all over the local sky, he decided to make a top landing approach. Thankfully he bailed on the top landing due to the turbulence encountered at the ridge.
Conditions were still on, so I stepped up again. This time I needed to execute a forward. After towing for 98% of my flights, I knew I could nail the forward.
I chose the cycle much better on this attempt, and was rewarded with a higher position off of launch. Thermals were now more consolidated and manageable for my skill level. I used the time to explore pushing further into the lift, sometimes only to find I had flown right through it. After 20min or so Marc launched to join me. We both flew around the site until the conditions started to become somewhat katabatic. I logged approximately 40min of free flight and although there were no clouds, I was on cloud 9!
I learned a lot from this trip. I met several new people and although there wasn’t much flying I had a great experience. Thank you Marc, and Brian for making this a memorable weekend!
Soaring the sand dunes in Jupiter, Fla. Winds were about 30 deg cross but the speed was just right, 12mph. I got a couple passes in before getting greedy thinking I could stay in the lift band on the downwind leg. Ended up putting the wing in the brambles and spending the next 2 hours extricating it. No damage, a couple more passes along the dune (no more downwind turns) and a couple hours of kiting as the winds rotated further off-axis.
All in all a good time. Unfortunately, this was the only day in my two-week stay where the winds were coming in off the ocean.
Richard McDermott: While in Southern California I thought to myself that Albert Hammond lied when he wrote the song "It Never Rains in Southern California", but after listening to the song the next line gets it exactly right! "It pours." Not a problem for super host Patrick Joyce! While it rained all day Friday Patrick, Chris, Grace and I spent the day parawaiting by bowling, playing pool, playing Camel Cup (it's a real game, look it up!), and ended the day with a little Texas Hold'em. Saturday arrived and we loaded up Patrick's trusty Toyota Tacoma with camping gear and paragliders and headed out to chase some wind. Some hours and many miles later we found ourselves in the very friendly confines of the Crestline Soaring Society (San Bernardino) flight club. The clouds parted just long enough for us to get an extended sledder from Marshall launch 2300 ft above the bright green LZ below. Grace had the flight of the day! She made a right off launch and found lift! Second to launch and last to land! We set up camp excited by the forecast for Sunday which called for South winds that would be perfect for a big day!
We awoke to a dismal rain and low overcast clouds. We had been betrayed by the forecast! Undaunted, Patrick rallied the troops and off we went to chase some coastal wind just North of LA at a site called Bates. When we arrived at approximately noon the locals were already setting up and some were in the air! We quickly setup with Patrick launching first, followed by Chris, then Grace. The small ridge was crowded and the conditions were light making it difficult to maintain, so each of them landed on the beach and quickly started the hike back to launch. After waiting a few minutes I tried my luck on the ridge and was fortunate to join two other pilots working the ridge. After making what seemed like 100 passes I was finally able to gain a comfortable height above the ridge. High enough in fact to cross the gap back to launch for a top landing! After we all launched a second time and landed on the beach we ran into some locals that suggested we head to Round Mountain.
Trying to beat yet another front we began the hike up Round Mountain. Our two new friends had made it to the top (along with Grace and Patrick) and were all laid out and ready to launch when we heard a loud speaker from below "You are trespassing on private property! Turn around immediately and return to your vehicles." As it turned out the police were very polite and friendly but that is the way the trip ended for this Monkey. I returned to the campground, spent a great evening under an awning in the rain around the fire enjoying the company of great friends!
Thank you to the Crestline Soaring Society, Patrick, Chris, and Grace! Love the Monkeys!
We are a group of paragliding pilots based in the St. Louis area.