Monday, May 5, 2008

Flying with the Eagles


CLICK FOR LARGER PHOTO

The weekend of May 3-4 I headed to Santa Barbara to attend a Paragliding Competition Clinic put on by Rob Sporrer at Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara. Josh Cohn & Dean Stratton, both US Nat'l Champions, were the instructors. I didn't really know what to expect from a clinic of this type, but I hoped to get some info that would help me get consistent finishes.

Josh & Dean are not only great pilots. They also are great guys who are generous with their time & knowledge. The class consisted of 5 pilots. Most had not competed in any comps so the GPS and navigating the course were the emphasis. The first day we covered some of the basics and called a task at Marshall (San Bernardino). We continued to talk during the 2.5 hour drive to the site. I'd never flown at Marshall before and looked forward to the new site.

When we arrived at launch it felt a bit brisk but lower on the launch it felt reasonable between thermic cycles so Josh launched first to check conditions. He reported back that things were OK so I suited up & was soon climbing to 6000'. The course was around 25km with a 3pm start time. I managed a good start & flew around the course. The conditions were great & some of the climbs were the best I've seen since last Summer. My flight is HERE. More photos of the group are HERE.

I learned a lot and spent time talking & flying with guys that have skills I hope to someday develop. The grin you see on my face in the photo above says it all - Thanks to Josh Cohn for the pics.

A good couple of days.

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