Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why I Fly - Crestline - 09-25-09

Sled rides at scenic sites like Big Sur or Yosemite are the topping or the cherry, but days like last Friday are the cake... they are the reason I hang glide.

I love Septembers... the heat from summer is still pushing against the sky, but, occasionally, as the jet stream plays around, we get some pushback against the marine layer... allowing us to fly without an inversion layer. The muck and gunk gets pushed out to sea and before it comes back in, and just after the Santa Anas fade, we get high.

Why I fly - Hang Gliding - Crestline 09-25-09 from knumbknuts on Vimeo.


This is a year for getting dialed into my U2 and Rotor Vulto harness. I am not going to take significant risks, go XC, etc. I want to fly well, launching aggressively and landing with good technique, until it is second nature. I am reminding myself that guys like Owen have flown a decade longer than I or guys like David fly twice as often... and both are better natural pilots. I need to fly my own flights, take my own trajectory.

On 9/25/09, I got to stretch my legs and get a little confidence built in terms of going places, without taking much of a chance. I never got worse than 7:1 from LZ, yet I flew a 16 mile out and back one direction and a 18 mile out and back in the opposite direction. Flychart gave me credit for a 33 mile triangle. I hit 13,000 MSL and was, at one point, over 2 miles above the ground... as I watched cars crawl up I-215.

Turning slow circles 10K above the ground, with airliners on approach to Ontario well below me, almost endless views in each direction, and very cold hands on a hot summer day, I could only be thankful for such an amazing sport. I will say it again: I just don't understand why more people don't fly hang gliders.


Photo of my landing on 9/25/09 by Dave Aldrich

4 comments:

MJG said...

Wow, amazing video man. We fly powered planes through there all the time and I've never seen hang gliders at our elevations before. Hope that means that they weren't out and not that I just didn't see them.

Guess I'll be more careful on my cross-country flights when crossing over the ridgeline between the 15 and Big Bear...

olehere said...

Fantastic video - that tracking adds so much. You hit the same thermal area a couple of times, what is that area called and is it a so called "house thermal"? Or did it happen to be there that day for your use?

Can you recommend one of your videos that show me where Andy Jackson is compared to where you are launching at Crestline? It looks like their is a reservoir near the flight park. I used to work in Fontana and went to Big Bear all the time, guess I was in hanglide nirvana, at least according to you guys.

Super videos, you and Dave keep it up.

Best regards,
Hang II Olehere

Knumb said...

MJG, thanks. We get buzzed by private aircraft (and airliners) who rarely react as if they see us. We keep our heads on a swivel and get out of the ways as best we can. There's a hang glider on the sectional where we fly.

Olehere, check this page for the locations of the launches/LZs: http://www.hanggliding.org/wiki/Andy_Jackson . Yes, house thermals are thermals that are predictably in the same place.

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