The Freedom Flight School just reached a significant milestone...we have graduated 150 P2 Novice students in this, our 9th season of operating a paragliding school at the Freedom Flight Park. It was slow at first with only 18 graduates in the first 4 years but our pace has picked up significantly with 42 graduates last year alone!
Congratulations Maison on being our 150th graduate!
Dave, our chief paragliding instructor, usually spends a few months near the end of winter helping Revelstoke Paragliding with some tandems off of the ski hill. Today there were no tandems booked but a couple of recently graduated P2 pilots along with a Kiwi pilot who got her Canadian certification through our school...so it was "Ladies' Paraskiing Day" at Revy!
All three ladies nailed their launches on both of their flights. It was the first time for all them to launch with skis on and they loved it.
Well done Julie, Laura and Kate!
Another year, another flying season. 2022 was a super year at the Freedom Flight Park!
We began in mid April and never stopped for 6 months. In May, we welcomed the Amazing Race Canada for their filming of the episode "I'm a Human Kite", which aired in August and can be found here. Our exposure on the show definitely had an impact as we flew more tandem paragliding flights than ever before.
There was a constant stream of eager students and we broke our record for the number of graduated P2 novice paragliding students in a season with a total of 41! Thank you to all of those students who chose the Freedom Flight School to earn their wings.
We look forward to what 2023 will bring... Come and join us in the sky!
The Freedom Flight Park was lucky enough to have CTV's Amazing Race Canada film the contestants of the show perform a "Road Block" back in May. Seven teams were left in the show at the time of this episode. The racers showed up on a Friday night to sign up for their flights the following morning.
Unfortunately the weather was not ideal and we could not launch from our main launch since the wind was blowing the wrong way. Instead, seven tandem pilots launched with their racer from Saddle Mountain, a rocky, steep and not so friendly launch on the other side of the valley but the skilled pilots pulled it off and there were a lot of smiling faces on the contestants.
The show just aired and you can check out the action here: https://www.ctv.ca/shows/the-amazing-race-canada/im-a-human-kite-s8e5.
Our first P2 graduates of 2022 happen to be twin brothers! Originally from Venezuela, Diego now lives in Montreal and Daniel in Toronto. They flew out from their respective cities for 12 days in hopes of obtaining both their P1 and P2 certifications...and they did it! Both even had a bonus flight or two.
The happy and positive energy of these brothers was infectious around the flight park and they made a lot of friends in their short visit to Lumby.
Great job guys and we look forward to seeing you back in the skies above the Freedom Flight Park in the near future!
From April 8-10th, senior instructor Randy Rauck held a 3 day hang glider instructor recertification course. There were 4 instructors recertifying and 2 new hang gliding instructors working on the certification. Due to inclement weather, the majority of the course was in the classroom which included a few presentations by all participants. There was a great sharing of knowledge and camaraderie.
Thanks for holding the course Randy!
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!
Freedom Flight Park Blog
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