Sharlene’s family wanted to give her a surprise present for her 65th birthday so her daughter Shalom arranged the covert operation through the Freedom Flight Park. Paragliding is on Sharlene’s bucket list so the plan was to take her for a tandem flight to celebrate her day. The family had a bulletproof excuse as to why she would need to wear good shoes, pants and bring a light jacket and get in the car for a drive towards Mabel Lake…as they were going mushroom hunting, something the family does do on a regular basis. Sharlene had no clue what was going on until they pulled into the flight park and needless to say she was a bit overwhelmed, but excited.
The weather was quite good for a fall day and Sharlene and her pilot Dave were able to thermal up above launch to get a nice view of Silverstar Ski Resort. They flew down Lumby Ridge and finished their 45 minute flight by skirting over parts of Lumby before landing safely at the Freedom Flight Park. As a birthday bonus, Randy climbed into the cockpit of his red ultralight bi-plane and put on a bit of an aerobatic show in the blue sky.
Happy Birthday Sharlene!
Helen, who is also known as Granny and is a regular at the Freedom Flight Park, went for her first paragliding flight with Claudio. Granny's had 4 hang gliding tandems this summer but they were all short flights. This time she had an hour in the air, flew up near cloudbase, took the controls for a bit and even did some acro! They started with some small wingovers and a spiral but after that she was good to go with a deeper spiral. You can see the video here.
Way to go Granny!
While vacationing for their first time in the Okanagan, Anna and Farzad decided to stop by the Freedom Flight Park to have their first tastes of free flying. Being avid kite surfers they had good knowledge of meteorology and thermal activity. Farzad performed a textbook takeoff as a paragliding passenger, running into the air like Wile E. Coyote! Anna flew with Terry on a hang glider in the clear blue skies with a perfect landing on the airstrip. Smiles were in abundance both in the air and afterwards on the ground!
Tyler signed up for the beginner paragliding course for the second half of his vacation away from his techie job in Regina. After some ground school and kiting on flat ground at the Freedom Flight Park he was quickly taken up for a few tandem flights to get his first taste of the air. Soon he was being towed up to 300 hundred feet. Tyler excelled quickly with skills and was able to get not one, but two high flights from Cooper’s Launch before he had to return to the prairies. Hope to see you next year to continue on with your novice course Tyler!
Dutchwoman Linda, who first visited the Freedom Flight Park back in June, returned to spend the month of August working on her flying skills. She was joined by Ken, a commercial airline pilot based in California who even used to fly F-18 fighter jets but now he wanted a taste of one of the most raw and basic types of flying: hang gliding. They were soon joined by Marius who has become a regular fixture at the park and has now decided to get into the flying action. All three pilots have excelled in the month of August with both Ken and Linda completing their novice ratings and Marius won’t be too far behind. Congrats guys!
Two extended families comprising of 18 people from Belgium were holidaying in Canada for two weeks. They visited Toronto, Calgary, the Rockies and then found themselves in the Okanagan looking for adventure, and they found us! Twelve members of the group came to fly at the Freedom Flight Park. Four of the ladies took trike rides with Randy, a couple of guys flew a tandem hang glider with Terry and Don and Dave flew 3 people each on their paragliders. The weather fully cooperated and everyone had fantastic flights. Enjoy the rest of your time in Canada guys!
After almost a month with numerous days of running down the training hill, being towed up in the air and three trike flights, Simone finally had her first high flight off of Cooper’s and needless to say she was thrilled! Congratulations Simone on completing your beginner hang glider rating.
A new batch of hang gliding students enrolled for lessons at the Freedom Flight School. Linda from the Netherlands had previously spent about 20 days on training hills in Europe but was itching for her first high flight while Simone from Victoria, BC had never encountered a hang glider before. Our very own paragliding instructor Dave Underwood decided to join in on the fun and hoped to finish the hang gliding lessons he took in Ontario 20 years ago in his quest to become “bi-wingual”. The first morning instructor Terry had all 3 students practice with the massive Wills Wing Condor training wing on the small training hill. The next morning was a repeat followed by some towing in the evening. Linda was rewarded with her first high flight on the third morning and Dave had his first flight the next day after a trike flight with Randy to get a feel for flying the wing. Simone is progressing very quickly with her lessons and will soon follow suit.
The Freedom Flight School had to take a brief hiatus as the 2015 Canadian National Hang Gliding Championships were hosted at the Freedom Flight Park from June 28th-July 4th. Twenty-seven pilots from all around the world, including countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Austria, U.S.A. and of course Canada took to the skies over the week long competition. Some world class pilots experienced soaring the Okanagan Valley for their first time and were not disappointed. Five out of seven days had valid tasks and pilots made goal on four out of the five days. The meet happened to coincide with Canada Day and the United States' Independence Day so there was much to celebrate about.
For more details, check out the Lumby Air Force blog.
But the school and tandem flights are now back into full swing...so come on out and fly!
The 10th Annual Lumby Air Races began on Sunday. The friendly competition runs until Saturday, in conjunction with the Lumby Days, the yearly fair that occurs in town. Both hang gliding and paragliding pilots are participating in the meet which focuses on 10, 25 and 50 kilometer triangles, with the fastest time taking the prize. Numerous pilots flew on the opening day but no one was able to close a triangle. We had a few really windy days but yesterday was an epic day with a few pilots completing both a 10 and a 25 kilometer triangle in the same flight and numerous pilots skyed out at 10,000 feet.
Today's yet another windy day but we have a few more days of competition still to go before climaxing with the big party at the Freedom Flight Park on Saturday night.
Good luck to all of the competitors!
Freedom Flight Park Blog
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