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.
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.
Freedom Flight Park Blog
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