Friday, April 23, 2010

Early start to fly XC in the Valley

Since we are back in Canada, we had a lot of good weather and great flights. Beginning of April I had several flights to cloud-base (+3000m). The thermals where big and easy to fly but my hands got cold very fast and I had no intension to go XC.
Now last Wednesday (April 21st) we had up to 27 Celsius at our yard and great flying conditions. Jeff, Dominic and I got ready around 1:00 pm to head up Mt. Swansea. The thermals came already through and we launched right away. The first 15 minutes in the air where a bit choppy with a SE wind drift, but soon I could get high enough to head north. It was a blue-thermal day which made things a bit more challenging but the conditions got better by the hour. I planned to fly to Golden and back, but once I got to Harrogate (about 4:30 pm), my ground speed slowed down to 10-15 km/h as the wind from the north got stronger, so I decided to turn around and fly back home. On the way back at Spillimachine I got up to at 4000m (with a small cloud) where I had a great view of the snow covered Rockies to the east and the Glaciers at the Purcell's in the west.
Flying home from there was easy going and I got back to our house with plenty of height. I could have flown at least to Fairmont Hot Springs of even to Canal Flats which would have resulted in a 165 km plus flight. But after 5 hours and 125 km in the bag it was much nicer to land right at my backyard watching my kids play and Penny getting ready to head up for an evening flight. After I packed up and we where just about to head up the mountain again, the North wind got to strong on the ground and we ended up drinking a "Landing Beer" with friends.

You can see the flight details at

Here are a couple pictures of the flight
just about 4000m looking south from Spillimachine

Same location looking north

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Fly-in Meet at Panorama

Photo by Stewart Midwinter

We think this year was the 13th Easter Fly-in meet. Our main goal was to come back from Europe early enough to keep on running this great event. Our prep-time was kind of short, but we still had 28 pilots show up, who came along with their families and friends. The main reason why we started this event was to have fun with family and friends. This is not just an idea I have now because I have 2 little kids (Katia 5 years old and Erik 4 years old), it already started 13 or 14 years ago. We don't often see a lot of family and friends come along on flying trips, as hanging out at launch or at the landing site soon gets boring for them. But at Panorama, the resort is ideal for everyone. If the family or friends aren't skiing, they can also go shopping, go to the spa, or swim in the great outdoor pool (and watch the paragliders from there) The best part of it all for the pilots is that there is virtually no "Para-Waiting". If the winds aren't right at the moment, we go for a run, check out the landing, and go back up to try again.

Because of all this, we saw more families and partners out this year. Bob and Natalie Gardener were here with 4 generations of their family (I think about 12 people) to celebrate Easter and having fun.

Here is a quick update of the event:
Friday we got one flight in the morning before the conditions got too strong for flying. Friday night we did an x-alps presentation and showed the RedBull 2009 x-Alps movie.
Saturday we set up in the morning. and all went to the launch with our wings, but it turned very quickly into a very windy day. So "Para-Waiting" turned into a ski-day and some of us had races top to bottom with our packs. Jeff Grieve was the outright winner!. Saturday night we had a great dinner at RK Heli-plex. The rest of the night we spent at the T-Bar, and of course had our traditional "Boat Races" (thanks to Frank, sponsoring most of the beer), but it resulted to some headaches the next day.
Sunday was a blue sky day and we started as early as 9:30 am to fly. The conditions were so good that we could sky-out around noon. Stewart Midwinter and Raul could not resist the lift and decided to fly out to the Lakeside Pup in Invermere, while we were still doing target landings at the resort. After we wrapped up the meet at Lustie's patio aropund 1:00 pm several of us headed up the mountain again and 5 other pilots flew out and landed at the Lakeside Pub. Some pilots decided not to fly as it seemed to easy as Raul flew 2 times to Invermere that day (I am a bit sarcastic here). The flight out was amazing, not too easy as it started to cloud in a bit. The clouds where not big and the cloud base didn't seem too high, but we could still get high. A few of the clouds were even dumping snow. It took a while to get enough height over the top ridge. Once you got up, there was tons of lift and some of us flew between 12.000 and 13.000 feet. It was spectacular when you flew into the Windermere valley over the valley clouds. I flew right over to Mt. Swansea and ended up in snow and decided to fly back to the Lakeside Pub.
What a great weekend.
Thanks again to all the volunteers, Panorama Resort for all their amazing support and donation of such fantastic prizes, and to everyone who come. Thanks also to Glenn Derouin (, Trevor Florence ( and Kootenay Coffee for their donation of prizes.
The winner this year was Glen Comfort, 2nd Glenn Derouin, and in 3rd place was Scott Watwood.