First Flight on My Vision 18 8-03

Well I took my new glider (it's called a Vision 18) out on Sat, the winds
were just right for flying and I had no kids all day so I had no excuse. You
might have seen pictures (or video) of my old rainbow glider but this new
one is quite a bit different, a lot better performance, flies further with
less wind, but turns differently also. So I set it up there on the beach and
wanted to just take a little run with it and see how it handled, so I hooked
in and started running down the beach, but was lifted off the ground much
sooner than I expected and then went much further than expected (I didn't
want to turn it at this low altitude) so I almost went into the ocean. I sat
there for a sec thinking about what I almost just did :-(((((((((((((. I
decided to wait till the winds picked up and were stronger, and to walk down
to a higher dune so I could take off with some altitude. 30 min later I was
up at the top of the dune ready to launch (second flight ever in this
glider), I ran again and was off the ground and going up, up up. Did a turn
to stay in the lift and kept going up. Before I knew it I was 100 feet above
the dunes flying back and forth in my new glider. WAY COOL. Figured out the
new way to turn it and just had a blast for about 45 min, then the wind
started getting stronger and stronger and I had a pinched nerve in my left
shoulder that was starting to REALLY bug me so I figured I better head back.
Flew all the way back to my car (a 20 min walk carrying your glider if you
don't, but that was a first for me to :-D. (this new glider rocks).
I see my dream of flying off Mt. Tam coming true VERY soon....

Mt. Tam 10-5-04

Well I finally did it, after years of dreaming about flying off Mt. Tam,
yesterday my dream came true.
When I was about 9 years old our family came out to California on a little
vacation and I was amazed at the people flying hang gliders off the top of
Mt. Tam. from that day on I had a dream.
So today I arrived up at the top around 11:00am to find no other pilots and
fog closing the view to our landing zone, frustrated (but not to much
because I had the longest flight I have ever flow, 2.5 hours, the day before
at Fort Funston (my first time flying there also)) I sat there
watching the fog roll in and get thicker and was now about
12:00 noon and I gave up, said ok it's not happening, I'll go down to Reggae in the
Park. Got in my car and started driving down, but then I saw a car coming up
with a hang glider on the top of it. I pulled over, turned around and
followed them back to the launch. It was a tandem instructor (Eric) and some
people wanting to take some tandem flights. After talking to Eric he
informed me that the fog sometimes gets pushed back around this time so we
should just sit and wait....we did and it did :-)) about 12:30pm it was
clearing and we could see the landing zone again. Excited we setup our
gliders, by now another tandem instructor (Gorden) had arrived to do more
tandems. After showing me the site and the normal flight path, the landing
zone and where not to fly, they both took their clients and launched
leaving me all alone again on the top, but now READY TO FLY :-)))
I set up my camera (the best I could), ate some breakfast to calm my
nerves..or more like excitement, hooked into my glider and took off. I
couldn't believe I was doing it, started cracking up laughing, than just had
to take it all in and enjoy myself flying with the hawks, watching them go
up as I came down....It was a quick flight, only about 10-12 minutes, quite the
contrast to the day before, but still a dream come true. I was a little high
over the beach but made the landing just fine....I hadn't really thought
about getting back to my car all the way up at the top, so I just folded up my glider and
put it off to the side and started hitch-hiking and eventually got a ride from
a nice couple from Napa. A fun flight, very quick but completed a dream I've had for some time.

First Flight on My Sport 167 3-04

Knowing this glider had much better performance than the vision I arrived at Ed Levin early so I could take some practice flights off the 50. After setting up and getting up the little hill (reminded me of the old days of carrying our gliders to the 300 foot hill) I leveled the wings, cleared and ran. It kept the angle of attack and I was off the ground, then back on again running. The extra performance gives it a much better glide so I got to play with the ground effect and glide a bit. Another 3 launches and a few small turns and I felt confident enough with the glider to head up to the top. A ride was going up so I was able to jump in as the conditions were looking perfect. At the top there were already a group of paragliders setting up and some others had just launched. They were able to stay up so I started getting excited and got setup. Some other hang glider pilots had beat me to the punch and were taking off. I went and watch and the pretty much stayed up and flew around launch for a bit before heading towards the 1200. I was excited and ready, made my way over to launch with my glider and felt the wind. It was still perfect, coming straight in and up the hill. The glider just sat there flying above me, I barley had to do anything but a few small adjustments. I watch the cycles come up and launched in the beginning of what seemed like a good one. Slight turn to the right and was going up as I headed away from the hill. Seemed like ridge lift and not a thermal so I stayed close and kept going up. Did a 180 turn and heading back toward launch, still going up, about 100 above launch. I kept going along the ridge and I kept rising, avoiding the slow paragliders and circling in the strong lift. Before I know it I’m about 400 feet above launch and can see the white capped mountains in the distance, the lake over the back and paragliders coming up under me, so I have to move and start to sink. I fly around for a bit before heading out and doing a few passes over the 1200. I made my way over to the 600 foot hill and did a few 360’s in the lift and passing thermals. I decide to start heading toward the 300 foot hill and on my way I get a nice bump, I held it for a bit and felt how big it was before I started my turn,

Kept the bank angle and went around, did three circles and was back up at above the 600 hill again. I did this three time in three different thermals, I didn’t want to get behind the 600 to far so I would come out of them as they went over the back and make my way back toward the 300 hill. I finally get out in front of the 300 and start my approach. All went well, nice glide, the glider did oscillate so I had to slow it down a bit but then it was nice and smooth with a nice flare.



Lake McClure 5-1/2-04

  There I was driving up to the lake, it's 6:30am Sat and I'm eating my bowl of O's as I drive. Nice drive out of the bay area and up there by 9:45-10. I met Mike right off as he was doing some yard work around his house. After he showed me the launch (you can almost see it from his front yard) he told me where I could meet Harold, who I knew was going to fly that day. Awhile later he showed up and we were off to the famous Lake McClure Landing ZONE oooohhhh....(you must realize I have heard the stories and read some first had experiences about nasty landings here)....So it had me a bit worried or cautious I should say. Arriving at the LZ I could see how the trees on both sides could cause rotors and I noticed the sloping final leg to a short up hill portion where the spot was. Didn't look as bad as I thought it would be....After waiting a while, for the conditions to improve and for more pilots, we decided to head on up to the launch (nasty drive up and you better have a high 4x4) not something I would want to take my Outback over...Conditions looked good on top so we all set up and were ready to go pretty quick. Still a bit nervous about the LZ I was in no hurry to launch. After a few pilots launched and went up I thought I had better get off the hill before conditions got worse. So following the advise of the locals I went right and headed for the rock pile looking for bumps and lift. Didn't really find much (or went right through it) and started sinking out, so I went out away from the mountain, flew around looking for any thermals or lift but really found nothing. I figured I would head to the LZ with lots of extra altitude so I could come in with some extra speed as advised. Well I came in a bit faster then necessary and started oscillating a bit so I let out and slowed a bit, better and more control, all the way down to the spot with a little flare. Not bad for the first flight I thought but still frustrated it was so short, about 15 min. Later in the day (it's saturday) some more people were going back up for a glass off flight so I hopped in and was able to get in another flight. Again this flight was a short one and I believe what was going on is that LZ was on my mind the whole flight :-(( not thinking about what I was doing as much as what I was GOING to do (when I got to the LZ), so again another short flight. Still not bad for a first day and I landed just fine, my main worry with all the stories. Off to my camp site (thanks for the tip Mike, as I found a sweet spot). I was up late thinking about my flights and what I was doing (wrong) and how I could improve on them. Mainly stop worrying about that LZ and know it's not a problem (when done right). Well I was up early Sunday and over to the trailer park around 9:30am. Not to many people out and about so I headed over to the LZ hopping anyone going to the launch would stop by the LZ on the way up. Well the first group that stopped by were full and I didn't get a ride, then I say the second group drive right by and not even stop and the LZ, shoot I though I was stuck but soon after here comes one of the trucks back to the LZ. They heard I was back there and turned around for me, thank goodness.....

The conditions seemed about the same as the day before, but my mind set was a bit different. Don't worry about that LZ and fly the glider, light touch and aware of whats going on more. After watching almost every pilot launch (I was the second to last one off) and some of them go up (Harold got to 5k that day) and some go down after 10 min I decided I better do it if I'm going to. So I launched and went right, same as the day before, but this time I was going up. Still going up by the time I got over to the rocks, did a turn and came back towards launch, still going up in ridge lift, about 100 ft over launch as I wend by it. The last pilot was about to launch so I came out away from the ridge to make room and was out of the ridge lift. So I new it was time to find some thermals, loosened up my grip and paid massive amounts of attention to what my wing was telling me. It was pretty bumpy at times and smooth at others. I found a few thermals and did a few 360's in them climbing up 100-300 a few times....after about 30 min of this I was down around 500 over the road when I hit a nice big thermal. I wanted this one so kept adjusting my circles and my angle of attack as I circled (and my drift) and I was able to stay in it :-))). It took me right back up to launch and 400 above it. From there I found many of them some week and some booming, it was awesome to finally be in a nice strong thermal and feel it tugging on my hang strap pulling me up :-)), I would fall out of them and float around looking to get back in, finding them sometimes and finding others other times. Way fun but I couldn't seem to get above 800 over launch. Still I was stoked to be above launch and thermaling. I came down and landed with plenty of speed for control, just not to much, after about 55 min of fun flying :-)))

Indian Valley 5-30/31-04

I just want to send out a special thanks to all the land owners and pilots that made this fly-in a blast. I had my longest flight (5 hours) and was up to 10k twice :-))

Here is how it went for me.......
...Convinced the weekend before that this was a great site and fun place to fly, I was up at 5:55am saturday morning (5-29) loading my glider and camping equipment. Made it up to Mike and Jain's by around 7:40, met up with some other pilots, Fitz and Igor and another Mike and Bob O. figured out our rides and I was back on the road around 9am going north east. Me and Bob made it to the place by around 12:00 noon, just in time to catch Ernie and friends going up to the west side launch (hard rock?). We wanted to go up with them but I still needed to walk and check out the LZ, and the others were going to meet us so we waited.....We all met and checked out the LZ, the conditions looked pretty good also, but for the east side launch (burns), so we all headed up there. It was perfect, straight up the hill at about 15, so we started setting up asap. While we were setting up we were noticing how the conditions were changing a bit and it was shifting to the north more. Me and a different Bob were set up and ready, and about to suit up, then while we were standing there watching the conditions it hit us...

We kind of saw it coming with the little swirls of dust around our feet getting bigger and bigger. It was not like we watch it come up the hill or across from the side, it just started right where we all were and started growing. I was pretty close to my glider and got to it in seconds, others were not so lucky. Realize we are all standing down by the launch with our gliders kind of lined up behind us so the first person got to theirs quick but it was harder to get back to other gliders. The devil seemed like it started a few feet to the right of launch and then went left over launch and around me, I hung onto my downtubes, then the nose wires not knowing what direction it would blow next, and then it went up to the top of the setup hill and then back down towards the launch. Now all the gliders are facing it and it starts flipping them as it comes back down toward launch. I look under my trailing edge to see one upside down and heading for Bob O. who is still in back of his trying to hold it down not wanting to let up to go to the front. Then his flips over while yet another one is flipping on top of him again. Trying to see more of whats going on I look around and see all kinda of things flying around in the air 300 feet plus, including a long atos glider bag. As the devil came back down toward launch, Fitz was on the front of his atos and lucky Dean (I think) jumped on the back of it and they were able to hold it down as the wings flapped like a tied down bird. Before we knew what hit us it was gone leaving a path of destruction and bags in a 2000 foot circle. We all kinda looked around, made sure nobody was hurt and inspected the gliders. Mine was fine thank goodness, so was the other Bobs', we were the only two completely setup but it seemed to still be the luck of the draw. After talking about it we all agreed that we learned a few lessons; stay close to your glider, or be able to get to it in seconds, worry about your stuff first, then try to help others (people were helping others while their gliders were flipping), tie it down or keep weight on it always, but I think the most important is being able to get to (the nose of) YOUR glider fast.

So after that the wind totally shifted and started coming in from north east over the back, we were right where the two convergence met (at the wrong time) so no flying that day (or the rest of the weekend for at least one). Of course as soon as it was gone all the pilots in the valley were there at launch so at least we were not the only ones that thought it was a good day. Broke out the beers and back to camp. A cold night it was but I was up ready to go around 8:30....Of course we didn't get to the LZ till 11:30ish and to launch by 12:40ish. Conditions were perfect, we all set up and were ready by the time other pilots started showing up. I launched right after Bob O. He waited for quite some time but picked the perfect cycle that got at least three of us up around 1:34pm, went up right away and kept going up. My camera must have moved after I launched because I was not able to take any in-flight pictures that day. Oh man what a flight though, I would find thermals and go up, fall out of them and go find them again and keep going on up. I think a big difference between the two flyable days was when you lost the thermal on saturday you found another one pretty quick, where as on sunday when you lost one you almost always found sink right away. But I just kept finding them and going right back up. I would start to get cold around 8500 but wouldn't let that stop me, at one point I was in a thermal and noticed I was at 9987, worked it the best I could and got to 9991, nine feet from 10,000. I was happy being that I haven't been above 3600 till then so I would just play around, doing stalls and wingovers and getting to know my glider. Around 8000 I heard a rumbling and knew it was the train. After looking around I found it about 20 miles up wind coming toward the Valley. I flew around for hours and came out over the valley with plenty of altitude finding lift everywhere. I played around above the LZ for around an hour and then saw the train coming so I set a course to meet it, well it stopped so I had to change course and head up wind, cool a challenge and I went for it. Slowly I made it out over the train, started counting cars and acting like it was my little toy train before whipping around and going back to the LZ. I had a nice landing right in the swampy LZ but I didn't get my camera wet ;-)).

The next day I really wanted pictures so I mounted it to my downtube, started the movie mode and had a great launch (see 1 2 3 @ Indian Valley in the My Movies section) then went up and did a couple 360's to show the area. Switched it to picture mode, and didn't turn off the display :-((, and clicked away. Another great flight lasting for 1 hour and 40 min. and I was able to get up to 9300 in all that sink. I kept looking for thermals (and at times sharing them with a mil pilot who I didn't know (Bruno?) but felt fine flying with as we both were well aware of the others location at all times) until I was so low I had to use the bailout LZ but that was not a problem, and I had some help from the other Bob who had all ready landed showing me the wind direction.......Back to the main LZ and loaded up for the ride home.

Much thanks to Mike and Jain for driving so much and to Bob O for all your tips and for waiting on launch for that right cycle...;-))


I had some fun flights and a not so great landing this weekend up at IV with Eric H, Fred and his bro Dave and a few others....Couldn't get it together for my first flight friday and sank out after 20 mins to tweetens(sp?). With horses in part of the field (where there would have been less rotor) I opted to land middle field ish and still bounced all over before slamming in hard bending my down tubes, scraping a knee (time for pads in the mtns) and swinging through but not hitting anything. Frustrated I was back up later boating all over the ridge in glass-off conditions for a few hours. Saturday was nice but a bit stronger thermals (hotter), we had to wait for low cycles to launch, and then be ready to get tossed ;-). We didn't get off till 4:30 ish but another fun flight up to around 8500 with lift all over again, shot some more photos and clips, then came down after 3 hours to an ok ran out downwind landing, I ran hard :-( can you say FULL flare time, still working on that. Sunday was about the same, maybe even stronger so after checking out Bobby's LZ we decided not to wait it out and get the long drive over with...

Flying a U2 8-2-04

After coming back and deleting the bad pics to make room for more, Mark asked if I wanted to fly his (well Rob's) U2 (160), how could I not. A little of my background, I had my first few flights on a dream then attained my super lancer in 1990 (still have it,) flat plastic battens (like a Raven) then I went to the vision 18 in 2003 (like a mark 4) and now I'm on a sport 167 for the last 8 months. So the 20 year old sport is the highest performance glider I've flown :-( until yesterday :-))). After getting the low down on what happens, lighter pitch control, harder to roll etc etc, we set the VG similar to what the sport would feel like and I was off (got it on video, see movies). The wind was straight in at about 18-20. Flew around for awhile getting the feel and used to the difference. The control frame seemed smaller then I'm used to and I felt closer to the sail. I've never used the comfort/speed bar either. It felt nice in the turns, able to push with my wrist straight in the turn, this could come in handy on some xc flights. I didn't like (or just was not used to) the feeling of not having my hand all the way around the base tube, but I guess some have round areas if one wishes, but at the same time it was nice to rest my arms on the flatter area in the center so yeah both would be best I think ;-)) So on goes the VG, a little at a time and back and forth I go faster and faster, it's just like we talked about, more bumps and holding a bit longer and we are all peachy. I felt like I could go anywhere and get back no problem now. A few months ago I flew my sport in those same conditions and had to come down after 40 min of pulling in to stay in one place (or go down, but not really forward :-(. I could now zoom all over with ease and almost no bar pressure with that VG 3/4 or more. I flew faster yesterday than I ever have (airspeed anyway). It was the true meaning of a flex wing (for me anyway), to be able to adjust that wings properties and feel the immediate difference (no response ;-) was something else, I was thinking I was a rigid and wanting control surfaces. I let it go to trim and it would just sit there, I'd wait for it to dump and turn or something but it would just sit there like hanging from a string, even pushing out a bit it wouldn't do much, other than not listen. I noticed Mark down there getting his bag ready and the sun about to set, figured I better give it back, so I started practicing turning and controlling it from the downtubes. Landing was no prob, might have slipped a little but easily corrected and a nice landing, right wing tip came up a bit but wasn't a problem. I have nothing bad to say about this glider and would trade my sport for this wing any day.... can't wait to fly it again :-)))))))))))))))))))

Speed Gliding 9-17/19-04

After thinking about it all week I decided to get to the park early enough to enter into the contest. It took me a bit longer than I thought it would but pilots were still in the LZ scrambling to get up the hill when I arrived at Ed Levin around 7:30am. The energy got me going and I asked if I could still enter, "sure sign the paper work, pay and lets go..." Before I knew it I was on my way up the hill to SPEED GLIDE, come down as fast as I could, something I've never tried or even thought about doing, it's always stay in the air as long as I can, milk it, scratch, whatever it take to stay in the air and now I'm about to do just the opposite. What was I doing I thought, looking around at all the glider and their nice shinny smooth tops, while here I was in my 15+ year old sport that I knew from flying didn't like to go too fast and made my arms real sore when flying in hard winds....Ok so we are lined up on launch, and of course they put us slower inexperienced pilots first. I'm the second one to launch off the hill as soon as the first pilot cleared the LZ. I have a nice hard run and a good launch off the hill in VERY light conditions. I zip up and set up for the first gate, start pulling in on the bar, and can tell it's going to be a long hard pull to get down with any speed :-((. I'm out on the straight away and do my 360 turn, not to much alt to spare so I let out the bar and get to rest for a bit, make the second turn point   and head over to the third, back to pulling as hard as I can (and still not going as fast as I want) and I'm over the 600 launch. With a nice turn I'm around the gates and on my way to the 300 hill with too much alt. I was able to do a slipping turn over the 300 launch and but was still a little high over the last turn point. Pulled in as hard as I could and made it down to the final gate, brought one hand up to my downtube a little early so I didn't stay prone coming through the final gate but I made it down in my PR of 2 min 54 sec. I was only able to take that one flight, I had my kids on sat and sunday it rained on us :-((. Be sure to check the photos in my gallery (11).

My New Wing (WW XC-155)....10-04

After flying that U2 and having VG envy for a couple months I now own (am paying off) a Wills Wing XC155, it has a white top, blue leading edge and green under surface. I've had a few flights at the fort on it all ready, one in lighter conditions, one in hard northy conditions, and my last one in nice westerly conditions. On that light day I was the lowest I've ever been at the for and was looking for landing spots on the beach but some how :-)))))) I was able to scratch back on up. That hard northy was not all that fun, trying to get back to the fort from westlake took all I had to RELAX and that ship was still going all over. I would put the VG on more than try, than take it off but I just could not relax, and it was only the third time flying it. I did make it back but the bush rotor was the last thing on my mind and you can guess where I landed...hit hard but all ok and was just happy to be on the ground. Now this last flight I had on it (sat 11-6-04) was pretty cool. Again it started out as a bit light but still straight in. Gordon took off first and tested the air for us, came back down and said it's nice, so up I went. It did feel a bit light but I was still able to boat around no problem. We both headed over to the bowl, he turned back and I kept on, not sure why but I felt I could make it. I was lower than ever before (again) by the time I was at westlake, but made it and was climbing back up along the high cliffs, looking back I saw Gordon coming to join me. I must have flown around for about 3 hours. Every time I felt something was wrong or it was flying weird I would remember to just relax and sure enough all the sudden it would fly like I wanted it to. I started to head back to the fort and started getting low so I turned back, something else I have never done, and gained some extra alt then tried again with a little more VG and no problem :-))).....Loving my new glider.

Tollhouse 1-1/2-05

I was at Tollhouse 12:30pm on the 1st, made it up to the launch in the slick mud (see my video on my tollhouse page), Dave launched first and was making his way up above so off I went (see video), didn't check my zipper pull string, and now had my foot caught in it, it wouldn't come out after a few tries, so I had to come upright, reach down and untangle it, sucked for a first flight at a new site. After I found the lift and did a few small passes in it, I didn't feel I could get my glider to 360 the way I wanted (close to the mtn) so I just flew around flying it like a big ridge, trying to stay out of the sink. Got up a few hundred above launch, then went out and landed.....

So Sunday the 2nd was the day we were going to play with the new tow set up. It called for rain but that wasn’t going to stop us, it only drizzled for about 5 min. After explaining the setup to me and checking it all out I was still a bit unsure it would work, would it get me high enough to turn back, would I get a gust off the cart, if so what would I do, if I released soon after I started rolling where would I go, was the ground too bumpy, would I, what if, on and on I thought.….So we ran out the line, hooked up the van and I just sat on the cart to start. Problem number one, no break on the cart to tension the line, holding back with my foot we take up some of the slack, then go, I’m off rolling down the small slope no prob. Seems to be fine and like I would come off the cart with my glider no problem….we try it again and again it seems to be fine, the whole time small crosswind gust trickle through, ONE of my main concerns at the time. So I get my glider on the cart, set and ready, give the signal and we go, but the slack is not quite all out so it’s not smooth and way to slow, still slow, I’m now rolling down the slope heading for the van as it comes toward me, he can’t get up enough speed to get me off (his wheels were spinning in the dirt). With no break on the cart I just keep rolling until I stop (he turned)… Re-evaluating = the tension has to be on the line from the start and faster get go. It now starts that drizzle for 5 min so I pack up my glider 80% of the way and we get out the ATV (again, we tried one run on it before)…..This time I keep the break on the ATV after I say go (he said he spun his wheels at the start of this tow) then I release and I’m off rolling down. We try it again with me holding the break but releasing it right as we take off, this seems to work good but we need more weight in the back of the van for better traction. We do it again and I’m convinced it will get me in the air. Re-setup my glider get back on the cart and we are ready. With our radios we have our timing down, I say go (toss it aside), he counts to 5 (on the radio) and then hits it. I’m rolling down, faster, faster, barley off the cart NEED MORE SPEED, he tries to go faster, spinning tires but does go a bit faster, I’m going up, but not as fast as I would have liked, just about out of rope, BUT I WANT MORE to be sure I’ll clear the trees, NO TIME TO THINK, pulled and started turning, I was lower than I liked but made a nice shallow turn and came in for a nice downwind landing. So what I learned----wet ground does not help, nor do street tires in grass that’s a bit wet, even with 400lbs added to the back of the van. A wing puts much more resistance on the line than one might think….I’ll go back and try it again with maybe a lighter glider (my sport) dry ground and better tires (and we’ll keep the 400lbs for ins)….

6Th and Market in San Fran.... :-(

Well it happened to me, my car was broken into and my bag with some hang gliding equipment, my cameras, a couple jackets and a pair of pants were all taken from SF. Don’t think parking on well lit streets or covering with dirty jackets mean anything. It happened between 4 and 12:00 Saturday night (26th). When I got to my car and noticed I ran around the area looking for any clues or signs, anything or somebody…nothing. Frustrated and pissed as all hell at myself we went back to my friend’s house for the night around 1:00am. I taped up where my window was, set my alarm for 7am and went to sleep. Jumped up at 7 and went right back down to the area (I wasn’t going to give up that easy). After driving around for a few minutes I went over to where the homeless/drug happy gangs were and started asking where people would sell “stuff”. After a number of tries someone actually told me…”down at 6th and Market at the Carl’s Jr., but you better hurry, stuff goes fast”. With that I jumped back in my glass filled seat and got down there. I wasn’t going to park close to the place incase they saw my car and ran…..but I didn’t care at this point and parked right next to the Carl’s Jr. I open my door and there on the ground by the trash is one of my hats that were in my bag. Dang, I’m too late I thought but I’ll just go inside to check this place out. I open the door and there are people selling things on tables out of hang bags, tools and such…..I walk around and look at a few things and go out front to the main selling area. Someone would walk up with a bag and set it on the ground, people would come over and crowd around and start buying stuff. Still no sign of any of mine though, so I walk back over to my car, but looking inside I see something the color of my bridle and chute spindle. I run in and sure enough there it is with my ppt system, camera mount, one of my 2way radios and some other little things. I promptly take it ALL from him. He says how much are you going to pay me? Take a F…… hike, this is my stuff….well I just paid $30 for it all…..I could care less, show me who you paid and I’ll beat your $30 out of his head…..Then this character led me around a few blocks looking for ? who was probably standing right next to him. Eventually we came back to Carl’s Jr. to wait for the guy. He never showed back up and I felt a little bit bad for this guy, although I know he didn’t pay $30 for what he had, I bought him a cheese burger. I sat there for about three hours and sure enough I’m looking out the window and there is my bag on someone else’s shoulder. I ran out there and grabbed it, he had a fit and started yelling for his buddy. I said call your f…….. buddy because I’ll kick his f…….. ass to. Who ever he was calling ignored him. I looked in MY bag and all his stuff was in it with a few of my ties, bar mits and little things. By this time a whole crowd came and gathered around us while I’m calling this guy ever name in kingdom come. Then the nuns come over and start telling me I shouldn’t be so attached to these things and I should just go pray to god. I said maybe these things are my god and these are what I use to pray……so I asked her are you attached to your clothes, your personal things? Why don’t I take them from you and tell you to go pray and see how you feel…..I was pissed and they just came at me at the wrong time, all the crack heads and feens were saying “man you should be nice to the ladies and show some respect” I told them to f….. off and show me some respect and give me back my stuff and quit doing this shit. Well I took all my stuff and put it in the bag, dumped this second guys stuff on the first guy and went back to waiting. It was hard to watch person after person come to that area with another bag and have a crowd gather around and start the frenzy. I must have stayed there for another hour or two before I couldn’t stand it and had to leave.

6th and Market but don’t go there and do what I did unless you know how to protect you self (from someone who all ready doesn’t care too much about life).

Some things that I could not get back…..

Hang Gliding Wheels (air stream, pneumatic, mount on base tube)(in my pictures)

Breadbox vaio with PVC mount. (in my pictures)

XC lightweight glider bag and batten/tip bags

7x10 Binoculars

130# Braided Dacron, my weak links L

2 Jackets, 1 pants, 2 sweatshirts

Sharp 4.0 mp digital camera with 256sd card.(used to take all my pictures)

Toshiba 4.0 mp digital camera with 128sd card w/ remote

1 gig, 256, 64 and 32 sd cards :-(

Lee Helmet w/ folding chin (in my pictures)

Camel pack

YASEU VX-150 2Meter Ham Radio

My 1st Mt. Diablo Flight....11/24/05

6:30 am I was up and stirring just thinking about it, loaded up, messed around and finally got on the road by 8ish. I drove nice and slow knowing I would get to our meeting place way before 10:30. Once I started getting close I remembered there was a launch south-ish that I would go past and I was an hour early so I made a detour and went over to check out Macedo Ranch LZ. I had never seen to much info on this LZ, not sure what I was looking at, I figured out/guessed how I would land there and shot some pictures...sure enough it was the correct approach. There really is not many choices/options at this LZ, it’s kind of small. So then I’m back on the road to our meeting place (safeway parking lot) only to get there 40 min early. So off to another LZ, Michell Canyon this time...The one I’ve seen pictures and read a little about. Sure enough it looks nice and easy with a slight up-hill slope starting at about mid LZ. I check out and make note of fences and power lines, bushes and trees (and hills) that could cause rotors/problems and head back to safeway after taking a few more pictures. They are there and we jump in their truck and head over to check out two more LZ. First Lime (lime ridge), it seems ok and doable, with a few options for wind direction. We notice some new little baby trees have been planted right in the wrong place, they will probably get eaten or stepped on by...cows I would guess. Jumped back in the truck and headed over to the next LZ, Blakes. This one seems ok to but it’s a bit tight like Macedo Ranch, still doable if need be though. Back to Safeway for another pilot and our gliders and we are heading up. We pull over to check out the 1000-footer LZ. This one looks pretty nice and it’s insight of Juniper launch. It has a nice down slope going to a nice up-hill climb, a bit like McClure, with threes on one side and the road/hill on the other. Up to the launches we go...Juniper seems like it might be good so we look at it first. It’s the nicest of the launches (I haven’t seen them all though, but told it was), a nice grassy slope that slowly falls away. The wind is trickling in with a nice direction but the tower launch might be good too with the direction it was so we decided to go check it out. The RDS/Tower launch was looking fine also  We decide this is it and set up. There is a grass fire off in the distance up wind but the smoke doesn’t seem to be a problem and we can see the LZ fine. After going over all the basics and what to do and not to do we decide who goes before me and who goes after, then we are off. I clear and run my ass off with that nose angle down, out over the wind sock and bushes I go and I’m doing it, yee haa, then remember to pull on my VG and start yanking. I finally notice my camera has tilted down and is pointing down so I fix it to. I’m not quite getting the glide I hoped for so I head a bit further out from the spine for more alt. I snap a few pictures off to the left and try to shoot a couple back and Mt. Diablo. It’s a nice a smooth flight, only one or two little bumps but nothing I would try to work. I get out over Michell LZ with plenty of alt so just do some 360s and play around a bit feeling the air. It gets a bit bumpy at one point and my eyes start to sting a tiny bit from the smoke. I’m about 350 agl so I just get it lined up and bring it on in nice and hot and point it up the slope at the last minute for a sweet landing and a whoop for joy!! Thanks Diablo Team, I’ll be back.


THE COYOTE HOWL 2006 - by Diev Hart

I'm packed up and to bed by 11:50pm….up at 4:33am and on the road by about 5:05am on Sat 5-20-06. Knowing I'm behind schedule I high tale it out of the bay area and get up to McClure LZ by around 7:30-8…Shannon was the only one around at the time, so after talking to him for a bit I drive on over to the small airstrip just north of Coulterville. While I'm on this little drive from the LZ I'm looking for places to bail out and land…..nothing, the only place I can see that would work is right in front of me….on the road ?. Pulling up to the farm gate I'm greeted by about 15 dogs, almost all black labs. Getting up to the house I see the owners lounging in their easy chairs, they direct me to the gates to get out to the runway. After a small drive past a couple pastures, more bail out spots, I pull up to the south end of the runway. I turn left and drive down the dirt strip, this first half of the runway seems a bit more open with less trees to the east side. There are trees along the west side the entire length with a few gaps, and then one nice fat oak on the other side about in the middle. The strip has some small slopes to it but they are shallow and shouldn't be a problem. It does slowly slope up to the north. I see Paul and Greg just setting up and almost ready to go for a flight….We talk for a bit about the place and how it looks, our options and what we think would be the best/safest way to proceed. With the nice little breezes out of the south-east I decide to foot launch going south-east (ish) along the strip. They take off and go for a little flight. I take note of the amount of dust they kick up and what happens to them after lift off…..all seems fine…so I get going on my setup. About an hour later I'm hooked up to the line and ready to go. We wait for a nice cycle, start the camera on my keel, give the signal and we are off. (after watching the video I see I didn't get the glider up and the hang straps tight before the signal (note to self)). It took a few steps to get flying but then I was up and down to the basetube and flying. I told Paul that I wanted to just circle up here above the airstrip because I didn't see too many bail outs so I wanted to use the strip until I could make the McClure LZ. After we got about 500AGL I felt fine and was ready to go but we climbed up to around 1200 before going over as planed. There were not to many thermals on the way, but when I got to the hill I felt a few and even got off the tow when I was bumped by a good one, not to climb though, I was just ready to get off. I wanted to drop down into the speed gliding so I plugged in my radio and got the low down. They said they would keep an eye on me and I could come on down when there was an opening. So I put the radio (wire) away and played for a bit to get lower to launch. After I watched someone do the course I setup my approach and came in over the launch. I had all my glider bags stuffed into my harness making it even harder to get my head down in my older harness, so I eventually gave up and pulled in, bending my knees at some point to at least get my feet up. I never really got down low enough and came over the finish line with 60 plus feet under me. I let off some VG, unzipped and did a quick 360 to come down the chute and land just past the spot.
I was able to find a ride back over to the airstrip (thanks Mark) and even get in another flight. The conditions were hotter/harder being latter in the day. We had to wait for a cycle from the correct directions to launch. I still dropped right after I was air born to about 15 inches off the deck and was ready bounce on my wheels, but was able to keep it off and get up. Again we wanted to circle above the strip to use it as my bail out, we turned as soon as we could to avoid the hot spot at the end of the strip and started circling up. It was tuff and many time I looked at my release and the bail out LZ. A few time we hit some hard ups and just both went up with it, other time I knew I was going to get hit up then down by watching the tug. By the time I made it out over and a little north of the McClure LZ my arms were getting tired. Satisfied with my location I released and looked around. Not finding much I put on some more VG and went back over to the hill. There seemed to be nice hard thermals spread out to the left of launch and to the right and even out front over the tower and by the LZ. I was used to how hard they were from my tow so I didn't let them push me around too much and actually had some great rides. A few times I was circling up so fast I was thinking I might hit someone above me, just know there was someone right up there I just hoped they were going up as fast as I, or at least saw me. We were crowed a few times so one had to be comfortable sharing for sure. I was neat to play in the thermals with other pilots, trying to keep them right across from me, all the different types of gliders, including a rigid made this a challenge. A few time I was up looking down on 5 or 6 gliders circling up below me. That is when I bit my lip for not having my point and shoot camera on my downtube, I didn't bring one on this flight at all ? After riding the elevators for around 2 hours I had enough and was ready to come down and relax with an uneventful landing. After relaxing for awhile I went back over to the airstrip to the tug pilots to do some trike riding. We launched the three trikes and got some altitude before going back over to the lake. I was in the small trike, with not a lot of power (50hp compared to 80+) so it would get hot if I climbed to much. I stayed high a while Paul and Greg went down to play by the LZ and the lake. I really should have killed the engine and just landed there as a hang glider and saw the slide show. Instead we went back broke it all down, packed it up and got back to the LZ right after the slideshow ? Sunday morning I was up around 6:30, the wind woke me, not able to get back to sleep I headed over to the LZ. The weather had turned for the worst and we had too much wind for the speed gliding. Hoping the conditions would improve some of us waited around. The wind was coming in nice from the south and the south launch seemed perfect, it the rain would stay away. The Rainman was up on the south launch clearing so a few of us hopefuls went on up to see what we could do. Sprinkles were falling when we got up there, although the launch looked good and the wind was coming right up the south face. We decided to hang around and see what the weather decided to do. I got down to the rock outcropping on the right and put up another wind streamer and another on the bottom of launch on the way back up. Well the rain started picking up so we called it a day and went on back down the hill before all the prizes were gone. I received one for the first aerotow speed gliding entry, Thanks Sky Riders for another great Howl…

Tollhouse 5-5/6-07

With our trip to the Owens canceled, Heather. Ben D. and I went up to Tollhouse for the weekend. Knowing I haven’t even circled in a thermal in over a year I decide to bring my good old sport (167) just in case I can’t figure out my new-to-me Lightspeed 4. As it turns out it’s a good thing I did. We got up there Friday night around 10pm and I got to bed around 11:30ish. Paul was there at about 8am Sat, we sat a bit and caught up, then I was off to ride the ATV (and wake the others if they were not up..they were)….After waiting for a couple other car loads of pilots, we all got up the hill a bit early and started setting up. We helped all the other pilots launch and most were going up before me and Ben launched. Of course Ben went up so I figured it must be good. I launched and went to the left a bit….found a little lift and did a few turns, a circle or two then went back over towards launch….eventually I found another and circled a few times again before falling out….before too long I was lower than I liked and headed over toward the LZ. The wind was shifting all over and by the time I was on final it had switched and put me going down wind…..I watch my flare window come and go, then the nose drop, whacked the nose and touched my left wing tip but all was ok. (unlike a few gliders before me)
The conditions were still good and some were going up for another try, I had my sport so I said why not and left the Lightspeed in the shade. With a nice quick setup we still had the second half of the day. I didn’t want to fly with any equipment this time (vario or gps), that beeping usually bugs me, or gets me to focus on it in a bad way. (I had it turned on the first flight on my Lightspeed, then I turned it off half way through the flight.) So I launch the sport with nothing but my water and go right up with the rest of the people still in the air. I love this glider and can toss it around in thermals like it’s nothing. It had been a good year plus, but I was right back in it on THIS glider. I was able to stick with them and not get spat out over the falls (only happened a couple times). Eventually everybody was on the ground and I had the whole site to myself. After playing for a good 2.5 hours I decided to come down and save my arms for the next day (and see if any beer was left). I was stoked to be a thermaling fool again, and on top of that Ben had started breaking down my other glider.
Sunday I was not quite as sore as I expected, we were up nice an early again and going up the hill by 10:45ish and ready to launch around 11:30. Joe and his flacon had stayed behind to enjoy the day also, I would say he did, going where ever he wanted all day and still landing after me.. This time I put my vario and gps on my DT and left the beeping off (out of sight out of mind right). Things seemed to work out a lot better on this flight. I also told myself to leave the VG off and toss it around a bit more. I did and it helped (but so did the warm-up/refresher flight the day before). After I got the hang of it a bit I was able to really play with my bank angles and pitch while circling, but being my first real thermaling flight I was still playing it safe. I did get low four different times and went for the LZ only to have a last minute save and climb back up. I didn’t venture to far (like Ben who took off to Dunlap) but it was only my first thermal flight on the glider. Almost 3.5 hours  + 2.5 Sat on the sport + .5 on the Lightspeed Sat….
I’m loving my Lightspeed more every flight (even my sink out down wind landing flight, I was able to pull it off with this glider and still not hurt it).




Copyright - Diev Hart 2005