Monday, June 7, 2010
So, the first National Hanggliding and Paragliding Day was held over Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday May 29th. According to USHPA (United States Hanggliding and Paragliding Assosication), the date was perfect because it marks the beginning the of the flying season for the US.
Well, I'm not sure this time of year means the same for us on the Central Coast of California, as it does for other free flight sites around the US. I know there are plenty of spots that normally can only fly during the summer, and early fall months. We are VERY lucky here though, we can fly ALL year!! In fact, this is actually our low season relatively speaking, many of our sites are fogged in, and the mountains rarely work this time of year. That's not to say we don't get plenty of flying still, it's just not a BIG season opener this time of year.
With that being said, it's understandable why not many local pilots were really excited about celebrating the first ever national day for our sport. Especially with a forecast that suggested getting other things done would be a better use of time.
The core group still went for it! Jack Gristanti and I were set up to fly at Cayucos on May 29th, while some visiting paraglider pilots decided not to fly (good choice since they were fairly new pilots). Adam Dobbs joined us on top with his Hangglider. There were HUGE white caps forming on the water from the NW, while the winds at the top of the hill were still lightly offshore. There were more bugs swarming around at the top then I have ever seen there, and red clouds of lady bugs swirling around. They must have been attracted to Adam's hangglider bag, because several ladybug couples (and some threesomes, as pictured) were celebrating spring time. At least there was entertainment while we were parawaiting.
The flag at the top was showing a light NE wind, and I felt gusts coming from the SE, so I launched off the back, and swoop turned downwind to the beach. I arrived at the beach, about 10ft over, then hit the strong convergence and immediately shot up 100ft. With the size of the white caps, I felt it was appropriate to escape the block quickly and land. Jack launched shortly after me with a similar flight, and luckily didnt' get stuck up in the blockvergence. Adam launched his hangglider later, and surfed the block for a bit, but soon it was even too strong for him and he landed before it picked up any more.
SOOOOoooo, the flying wasn't great, but we HAD to represent our local club SLOSA (San Luis Obispo Soaring Association)and get in the air on the first National Hanggliding and Paragliding day, just for the history of it. Stoked to say both Hang and Paragliders were represented:)