Monday, December 28, 2009

Cuv's Flight Tracks from the Alps

Rob "Stinky" Covington finally got around to downloading the GPS tracks from our 2 previous trips to the Alps over the weekend. You can find them posted here:

The last flight on 8/20 at First is a really good map to the house thermals at this great site. We are headed back to the Jungfrau region again this summer because the flying was so consistent. Here's an album of my photos from our August trip.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Soaring at Torrey

Weather was much better today. We had a great day of soaring at Torrey Pines then headed to OB to watch the late game and have dinner.

It was great to run in to motorhead Ron who was taking a break from grad school in Miami and visiting his old stomping grounds.

Photos here.

I've got meeting out here tomorrow and Jeff is off to Seattle.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Glamis Again....

Scooter, Skyking and I are in San Diego for the weekend (Scooter and I had west coast business and we needed Skyking to carry our bags). Its not flyable today at Torrey so we headed to Glamis to ride quads on the dunes. Awesome time as usual, but hauling ass up 400ft dunes can wear you out.

Here's some video from Scooters helmet cam.

and I posted a few shots to Flicker here.

(Don't worry, Skyking was fine after this little "mishap")

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Video from Switzerland

Sorry for the lack of posts, but we were too busy flying out butts off! Here is another video of a flight from First, over the town of Grindelwald. This site was great! Lots of space to layout and take off and good thermals with predictable triggers. Heres the video - be sure to hit the HD button so you can see it in HD.

I'll be posting some photos later this week and maybe another video or two.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday Flying - Grindelwald & First

Today we flew off the backside of Mannlichen, an extended sled ride to the LZ in Grund. From there we took a quick train ride to Grindelwald and a short hike (uphill, as always) to the bahn to First.

First rocks! South facing, lots of room, nice grass launch and thermal triggers everywhere. We all had good flights and got very high. The goal was to get really high and jump over the back and land in Interlaken. The strong west wind made the difficult. Jeff and I had no chance and landed back at Grund. Rob was skyking and got plenty high but took pity on us and landed at Grund too.

We hung out at the bar on the bahnhoff a bit too long ("just one more beer") and missed the last train over the top of Mannlichen so we hand to take the long route - 2 hrs home. Another great day and the Joungfrou region is the place to be for paragliding.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday - Flying!

Had some great flying today. We started the day off at the top of Mannlichen and flew from their down the valley toward Murren.

Here's a video with some of the flight from my helmet cam:

We landed at the Stechelberg Bahn that takes you up to the village of Murren. For our second flight, we took the bahn to Murren and launched above the town. Here's Cuv enjoying a post flight beer while checking his crackberry.

Here's the village of Wengen as seen from the valley floor.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday - Wengen

We made it to Wengen and its even more beautiful that advertised. Quiet village, set half way up the Mannlichen. The only way here is via cog-wheel rail train and there are no cars in the village except for a few electric service vehicles.

From here we can take the bahn to the top of Mannlichen, and either fly down the back to Grund to get to First or take the lift down the back. The train leaves from here and continues up the mountain to Kliene Schiedegg, where you can then take another train up the the Jungfraujoch. More to come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Switzerland Here We Come!

Not really sure the Swiss are prepared for Team MCDN but we will land in Zurich on Friday. A quick 3 hr train ride down to Interlaken and then take the cog up to the village of Wengen, our base for 10 days.

Got the reserves repacked, radios charged & all the gear is ready. Now if I could just find my PSP and the charger for the video camera, I'll be all set. Keep an eye out here, as I'm gonna try to blog daily, but if the flying is good that might not happen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Flying Trip Set

After much deliberation, Team MCDN has finally settled on the destination for this summer's flying trip. We knew we wanted to go back to the Alps so the debate centered on a return to Austria or breaking new ground in Switzerland. In the end the idea of flying new sites, the abundance of places to explore and cheap airfare all lead us to pick Switzerland, specifically the Interlocken area.

We will renting an apartment in the mountain village of Wengen in the shadow of the Jungfrau and the Eiger. SkyKing Boser won't be making it so we MIGHT have room for one more if you think you can put up with Ric Flair and the 2 Rob's for a week.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hourly Cost of Flying a PPG

So this question came up again on one of the PPG lists - what does it cost per hour to fly a PPG? It’s really a subjective question but lets take a look.

When it first came up a few years ago I cranked a spreadsheet and plugged in all the data I had, made lots of assumptions and came up with around 40 bucks an hour. After dusting off the old spreadsheet and updating it based on another 5 years experience, I tweaked the model a bit and based it on a six year time frame.

First, lets talk about the assumptions that go into this model. The first assumption is around training. My original model factored in training costs. Since this is a one-time event, I have excluded it from this model. (Although I highly recommend the pursuit of on-going training and advanced clinics.)

The second assumption is around hours of flying. The average PPG pilot flies somewhere between 40-100 hours per year. I realize there are some air hogs about, but in just about every poll conducted by the USPPA that I have seen, the averge Joe Pilot is somewhere just south of 100 hours per year.

The other assumption is around equipment maintenance and useful equipment life. I have factored in regular glider inspections and reserve repacks, and one glider replacement over a 5-6 year period. Most gliders have a 300-400 hour useful life and most pilots get the itch for a new glider every other year or so. Given the 100 hours a year assumption, the useful life of a glider and knowing how much we all love new equipment, I think 1 new glider every 300 hours or 3 years is fair. Most PPG motors have a recommended TBO of 300 hours along with regular maintenance of certain parts. I have assumed that the motor would need an overhaul at 300 hours and would be replaced or upgraded after 6 years for the purpose of this model.

The Model:

Here's the Microsoft Excel version if you want to tweek it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Another Round at Torrey

Was in San Diego for business and brought the gear too. Thompson was headed to Seattle and Covington to San Jose so we met up for another round at Torrey Pines. Gorgeous weather and great flying Friday and Saturday. We actually packed up Saturday afternoon thinking it was going to continue to cross from the South. After a late lunch we were driving threw downtown La Jolla and saw gliders high in the air. We high-tailed it back and had an awesome afternoon session until dark. Thompson and I took a red-eye home Saturday night but Covington stayed and said Sunday was epic as well.

Matt Easterly snapped the following photos of us flying late Saturday.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

High Hopes Fund Raiser

A good friend of mine just started a program for developmentally delayed childern in Elberta Alabama called High Hopes. The program will be operated at St. Benedicts School in Elberta, AL and is aimed at helping childern with Autism, developmentally delayed (DD), pervasively developmentally delayed (PDD), otherwise health impaired (OHI), or emotionally conflicted (EC) disorders .

They are having a fund raiser June 5-7th at Pirates Cove in Josephine. I encourage anyone in the area to attend! More info here:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Torrey Soaring

So the rain let up and Scooter and I got an awesome day of soaring in at Torrey today. The Buick Open golf tournament was going on and Scooter spend the whole afternoon doing wing overs by the 4th green trying to get on TV. Anyone see him?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Glamis Dunes

So it was raining in San Diego so Scooter and I headed east to the Glamis Dunes National Recreation Area, between El Centro, CA & Yuma, AZ. We rented quads and had a blast on the sand dunes. Highly recommended

Here's some photos from the trip: