Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hang Gliding Yosemite... what a privilege!

Yosemite - 2009 from knumbknuts on Vimeo.

Yosemite is an amazing place to hang glide. The views cannot be beaten in the US... flying by Yosemite Falls was my personal favorite. While it would be amazing to fly there and soar, I can understand the early morning limitation... I could see that place getting pretty wild mid-day.

It's quite an ego boost to have the tourists watch you launch or to have a little kid run up to you and tell you he saw you flying in front of the falls. The rest of the day, driving around, I couldn't help but reminisce and be a little proud of the morning flight... some of that ego is on display in this flick.

There's a lot of monkey business involved with flying there. Take a driver! Getting back up to your vehicle can be done by booking the 10 AM Yosemite Lodge to Glacier Point tour, but the day I took it the driver took 2 hours to get up there (loved the sound of his own voice, he did... ugh). Definitely, the fly - then - hit the river plan is a good one. Yosemite West condos are a good place to stay, though a bit small and you've got to vent the heat out of them pretty efficiently on hot days.

Got my keel bending landing in this video... time to get back to basics. I've been working so hard to get my hang 4 to fly Yosemite that I feel like I'm at the end of a chapter and there's a little bit of a vacuum in terms of flying focus.

That's probably good timing. Now that I have reached my goal of flying Yosemite, I need to throttle back on the flying and pay more attention to my business, which has suffered under my addiction, my family, who have been patient, and my pocketbook, which has taken too many hits from busted up equipment. When I do fly, I am just going to focus on the fundamentals of launching, landing, and flying my u2 with good form. I've had 4 instances where I've had to get my glider repaired to some extent and that's 4 too many. I'll probably fly a new site or two in San Diego, but I'm not going to step too far out until I go a year with consistently strong launches and consistently excellent landings.

My self assessment of my skills as a pilot is: I do well once I get something down, but I have a tendency to vapor lock or use below average headwork when I am in situation that is new or daunting. I really need to address that, since such situations will always be coming down the Pike. In this case, the adrenaline was pumping coming into Leidig Meadows and I cracked a great flare off, but i didn't use my head in terms of my footwork.

It's been quite a ride... to think 3 years ago hang gliding scared the bejeesus outta me. Now, I've flown over the site where I saw my first HG launch (and first bailout landing and first medivac LOL), I've flown over my favorite campground / view (Big Sur), and I've zipped past the face of Yosemite Falls.

To say again what I've said before, I can't believe fewer than 10,000 Americans do this sport. I feel I'm in on a secret or something.