The Freedom Flight Park hosted the second ever FAI Paragliding Accuracy Competition this past weekend. Official FAI judges flew up from Colombia for the event and pilots came from near and far to compete. The weather was a bit temperamental including some snow on launch on Sunday afternoon but between a combination of launching from both local sites, Coopers and Saddle, and winch towing from our 2000' runway, we were able to complete a few training runs and four rounds which made valid FAI competition.
Congratulations to our winners:
1) Daniel Vallejo
2) Jimmy Giroux
3) Dave Underwood
4) Eddy Riviere
Female winner: Jackie Butcher
The Freedom Flight Park would like to thank the organizers, the judges, the volunteers, the participants and the spectators. It was a super fun weekend and will likely be an annual event at the Freedom Flight Park.
You can read a bit more about the competition on CBC's site here:
Ben from the Ottawa area has been at the Freedom Flight Park working on his instructor apprenticeship for the last week or so. He is definitely cut from the right cloth to be a fabulous paragliding teacher/mentor. One student, Kyle from Edmonton, graduated with his novice rating (P2) on Ben's last day here and Ben also obtained his P4 advanced rating.
A Celebration of Life was held for Helen Blake, also known as "Granny" at the Freedom Flight Park on Sunday, July 7th which would have been her 75th birthday. Granny was a regular at the flight park and her "INCOMING!" call when a pilot was coming in to land was infamous so she was known as the "Air Traffic Controller". Granny flew tandem on the motorized trike and had numerous tandems on a hang glider and paraglider so she knew what it was all about. Search "Acro Granny" on YouTube and you'll find her!
About 75 people showed up for the ceremony, dinner and music. Two bands, the local Mabel Lickers and Daring Greatly from Calgary, put on a great show in the evening...a good time was had by all.
We will miss you Granny, you were one of a kind.
The Lumby Air Races wrapped up last week. The event was super fun with pilots from BC and Alberta competing. There was a strong west wind on a few days which did not help with trying to complete 10 km triangles around the valley but some nice soaring flights were had from Saddle Mountain. Triangles were completed by both paraglider and hang glider pilots on a few different days. The week culminated on Saturday night with a big potluck dinner, the award ceremonies and some music jamming in the hangar and around the campfire.
Congratulations to our winners:
1) Rick Hines
2) Dave Underwood
3) Pedro Pedersen
1) Don Herres
2) Kevin Ault
3) Robert Pugsley
Paragliding Spot Landing Winner
Thank you to all competitors for coming out. Thanks to the volunteers and our sponsors: The Regional District of North Okanagan, Lumby Days & the Super A grocery store in Lumby.
See you next year!
The Lumby Air Force
The 14th annual Lumby Air Races started on Sunday, July 2nd and continue on to Saturday, July 8th. A number of local and out of town pilots have joined in the friendly competition which features racing around the Lumby valley trying to see how many 10 km triangles can be done. There has been some challenging strong west winds on some of the days but flights are still being had. Here are a couple of beautiful sunset pics from Saddle Mountain.
Ryan from Edmonton arrived on Good Friday and began his paragliding lessons the next day. Eleven days later, with 2 bad weather days in the middle, Ryan is now a P2 Novice pilot. Ryan has set a few records at the Freedom Flight School such as:
The Freedom Flight School hosted a Hang Glider Instructor's course last week. The four day intensive course consisted of 2 instructors re-certifying and 3 new students. The course was led by Randy Rauck, the owner of the Freedom Flight Park, who has now obtained his senior instructor rating. Randy was supervised by the "Grandfather of Hang Gliding in Canada", the legendary Michael Robertson who came out from High Perspectives in Ontario. This man has been flying since 1968 and has 30,000+ flights under his belt. His wisdom and energy for this sport is unparalleled. At 76 years old, he's still flying high in the sky! We were also fortunate that Ken de Russy from Washington state came up for the event. Ken was an active pilot and instructor back in the 70s and is a walking Wikipedia of hang gliding facts and stories from back in the day.
It was a super successful course with smiles all around. Thanks Michael, Ken and Randy!
The Freedom Flight School is back in action. Due to a light snow pack this winter, we've been able to get flying earlier than usual. Already 4 students have begun their paragliding journey with a few more starting soon. Here are a few pics of the action.
From Steve, who graduated from the Freedom Flight School last September:
I had not my longest air time flight today, but it was my best ever. I landed 20 km from launch and it only took me 1:08. I was very efficient in my thermaling. I read where they were and climbed each one only once, as high as they would take me then moved forward right away to find the next. I hit cloud base twice today, it was the first time ever getting to cloud base. It was absolutely amazing, I was laughing and giggling with excitement. So beautiful. I could hardly believe I was there. I didn’t even try to take pictures I just wanted to enjoy it! Once I left the mountain and headed out to the flat valley I just looked for the small clouds building and went under them. I could feel the temperature change from when I went from the sinking air to the rising air that was feeding the clouds. Today was the day I always dreamed of and got to feel how it is to really fly and be at one with the sky.
Nice work Steve!
On behalf of everyone at the Freedom Flight School, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
It was a fantastic flying season in 2018 and we look forward to more in 2019! Thank you to all pilots, students, tandem passengers and drivers for making it a memorable season.
See you next year!
Freedom Flight Park Blog
Come back often for updates and/or use the RSS Feed button below for notifications.