2021 was definitely a challenging year around the world with Covid-19 still causing all sorts of troubles, forest fires raging across BC followed by bad flooding in the fall. But at the Freedom Flight Park we always try to make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in.
The flying season in Lumby was a great one and there were many smiling faces from both students, tandem passengers, solo pilots and even the instructors!
We set another record for the number of paragliding students obtaining their P2 certification at 34, which was up from 28 in 2020 and 21 in 2019! Students came to the flight park from coast to coast, from Vancouver Island all the way to Labrador. We would like to thank all of you for choosing the Freedom Flight Park to obtain your wings.
Some of our 2021 Graduates
Our chief paragliding instructor, Dave Underwood, received the "Instructor of the Year" award from the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC). He is one of almost 100 instructors in Canada and was humbled by the award. Congrats Dave!
Coopers Launch, our main takeoff spot in the Lumby Valley, received a huge makeover with the installation of heavy duty astro-turf. It is now one of the best launches in Canada. We would like to thank local pilot Matt Paley for his incredible vision and project management and also to all of the volunteers who helped with the labour intensive installation.
It was quite a season...and we look forward to seeing all of the graduating, local and visiting pilots along with some new faces eager to soar in the sky in 2022!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! After last year's hiatus due to Covid, the Freedom Flight Park held it's annual potluck dinner and bomb drop/spot landing competition. If you are not familiar with the bomb drop, we take small paper bags and fill them with flour, loosely tape them up and while flying in your paraglider, hang glider or ultralight, attempt to drop them on a target. Upon hitting the ground the bag explodes and the flour provides a bit of an explosion.
We had a great turn out and a wonderful dinner followed by the presentation of the awards. Congratulations to our newly graduated paragliding student Maggie G. for winning first place in the bomb drop and to Daniel V. for winning the spot landing competition.
A relatively new tradition is the presentation of the coveted Incoming Award. Inspired by Granny, a flight park personality who passed away a few years ago, the award recognizes a pilot who contributes to the flight park through their volunteering efforts, enthusiasm to fly. The award itself is an amazing piece of bead work that Granny spent hours creating. Due to Covid, we did not have a recipient last year.
This year the Incoming award was presented to an integral member of the Freedom Flight Park Community, Bryan Saulnier. Having flown hang gliders for about 20 years, Bryan recently became "bi-wingual" by learning to paraglide. You would think that since he's been free flying for so long, paragliding would be boring but no, he was one of the most excited and enthusiastic students in the last year. Additionally, he works tirelessly at making the flight park a better place from minor maintenance to landscaping to improving launch. He put in more hours and effort than anyone on our new astro-turfed launch. Congratulations Bryan! Granny would be proud.
The Freedom Flight Park is pleased to announce that our very own Dave Underwood has won the "Michael Robertson Instructor of the Year" award from the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association of Canada!
Dave has now been instructing for 7 seasons at the flight park and the number of graduates from paragliding has grown steadily year after year from 1 graduate in 2015 to 28 P2 pilots last year. Dave also instructs hang gliding and is one of only eight instructors in Canada who teach both sports and the only current one in BC.
Here's a little clip about why we fly created by Shaw TV.
We can't wait to get flying again this upcoming season...come join us!
2020 has definitely been an "interesting" year to say the least. Thanks to Covid, we were a little slow to start but things sure picked up. Perhaps after being cooped up at home, people wanted to get outside and enjoy nature to its fullest.
We are fortunate to have had a super season in the end with many P2 graduates, 28 to be exact which is up from 21 last year. The administrator at the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC) mentioned that we may have had the most paragliding graduates in all of Canada this year! A real surprise was the number of female students. A recent newsletter from HPAC stated that of the current 1100 members in the associations, the male to female ratio was 9 to 1. However there were 11 women who completed our P2 course this year out of 28 (almost 40%). Way to go ladies!!!
We would like to thank everyone who made this a memorable and fun season at the Freedom Flight Park this year, even during these difficult times. We look forward to what next year will bring and hope to see many of you in the skies above Lumby!
Congratulations to the Freedom Flight Park owner Randy Rauck for recently winning the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association of Canada's Solid Ground Award!
The Solid Ground Award was conceived to honour and salute the landowners, or policy makers whose contributions and support have insured the continuation and advancement of our sport in Canada through contributions related to flying sites
The Solid Ground Award is awarded on an annual basis to an individual, landowner, organization or official who has contributed in an outstanding way to the sports of hang gliding and/or paragliding in Canada.
Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had a fabulous 2019 and here's to the year to come.
Thanks so much for everyone who came to the Freedom Flight Park to fly, whether as a student, a tandem passenger or a solo pilot. It is thanks to you that we have such a thriving flying community.
So let's make sure we all fly plenty...in Twenty-Twenty!
See you in the spring!
On Saturday, October 12th, the Freedom Flight Park hosted its annual "Thanksgiving Bomb Drop and Spot Landing Potluck Fiesta"! It's the last official flying event of the season and although we had overcast skies, the conditions were perfect for the task at hand. The "Flour Bomb Drop" consists of attempting to drop a bomb (a brown bag with baking flour in it) onto our newly made target from the 2019 National Spot Landing competition (see the last blog entry). Once pilots had dropped their ordinance, they then attempted to spot land on a designated target.
Congratulations to the following winners:
During the awards ceremony, it was announced that there was a new annual award known as the "Incoming Award". Inspired by Granny, a flight park personality who passed away last year, the award recognizes a new pilot who contributes to the flight park through their volunteering efforts, enthusiasm to fly and being a welcome addition to the flying community. The award itself is an amazing piece of bead work that Granny spent hours creating. The inaugural winner is Steve Warshawski, a paragliding pilot who graduated back in May. Steve spent many hours working on improving Cooper's launch and helping out around the park. Congratulations Steve!!
Thanks to all pilots and friends who came out for the event. Have a good winter and see you next year!
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.
Freedom Flight Park Blog
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