Now imagine what would have happened to this poor soul if my iconoclastic tendencies were carried out en masse in Brazil. Even though it’s probably a photoshop artifact, given the amount of paragliding in the area, I wonder how many times this happens.

Hat Tip: Rafael Chargel

Another great weekend at Hyner. Here are a few videos that were shot.

This one shows Lukas’ first tandem flight.

Hyner 4th of July, 2008 from Jim Carroll on Vimeo.

Here are a few more put together by others:

Hang Gliding at Hyner View, July 4th Weekend from DanTuck on Vimeo.

And one from our Russian visitors staying in camp “Moscow.”

This post was last updated on Feb 22, at 9:15 AM EST: see the bottom of the post.

A note to those who’ve found themselves here by clicking on a link in Christian, Catholic, or Orthodox blog and are wondering if they ended up in the wrong place … well that’s a judgment call, but in the meantime I call your attention to the blog’s title. If nothing else, it has been accurate on the whole these days. … And this post will be no exception (for most, anway).

I’ve been flying a hang glider for over 15 years now (and boy are my arms tired). I’m a particularly conservative pilot (which rounds out my theology and politics. Now if only I could get my investment strategy into the same category) despite my Calvinism (for those who got here through one of the aforementioned blogs – see, maybe you are in the right place), and THIS kind of thing is simply … suicidal!

Paragliders near a thunderstorm

This was taken from a paraglider during what appears to be a competition. Click on the picture to be brought to the series of thirteen photos. I count at least eleven gliders closer to the thunderstorm than the one this picture was taken from. When I first saw this I was sure it was fake. Now, looking at the entire album (again, click on the picture), I’m not so sure.

Skirting storms in a hang glider is bad enough, but a paraglider flies slower and is (I would think) more susceptible to being sucked up into the storm (it happens). We try to get high when we fly (literally – not euphemistically) but no one wants to find themselves at 25,000 feet (it’s happened). The gust front generated near one of these is enough to precipitate a required landing at 40 MPH … while going backward (it’s happened).

A few years ago I made a trip with a few friends to Sandia in New Mexico where we spent a bit of time grounded due to the thunderstorms. This link is to the story I wrote back in ’04 about the trip along with a bunch of pictures.

“The Three Stooges Flying Sandia”

Update Feb 22, 9:07 AM: Apparently a PG pilot got sucked up to 32,000 feet the day after these pictures were taken. I can’t say I’m all that surprised. I don’t know if he survived or not but I seriously doubt it.

Update Feb 22, 9:15 AM: I just found this story on the event: “Paraglider pilot survives horror storm ascent.” The article’s title portrays an optimistic assesment of the events. Yes, a PG pilot survived (the top ranked female PG pilot in the world). And another was killed in the same event. I chose the title for this post because it was the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the pictures. I now consider it an unfortunate selection.

Static Tow

The following makes a REALLY bad combination:

1) $25 Hang Glider

2) A rope

3) A snowmobile

4) Frozen ground

Well I finally finished the photo page for my recent hang gliding trip out west. This year’s trip was to Jackson Wyoming via Dinosaur CO and the page includes a series of videos. Take a look:

Well another 4th came and went. I got in the flying practice I mentioned in my last post down at Ridgely. Six tows with good approaches and landings. But I missed July 4th at Hyner and as so often happens when I miss a good weekend up there, I’m regretting it. Here is a fantastic short video that someone took this weekend to let those of us that missed the weekend know what we missed. It really captures the magic of the place well. Turn the sound on and take a look:

Hyner, July 4th, 2006, short video.

I’ve been thinking about my next post. I’m not sure what exactly to write about. It’s not for lack of topics (e.g. I think the editors of the NY Times and the LA Times ought to be brought up on treason charges even though I’ve been a conservative opponent of the war from the beginning).

Dinosaur CO

In any case it’s been too long since I’ve gotten some good air time so tomorrow I’ll be off to Highland Aerosports in Ridgley MD (the site of this year’s East Coast Championship) for some practice towing and approaching in preparation for an upcoming trip out west. (See some great pictures from my previous trip out west here). The plan is for flying in Utah (Salt Lake City area), Colorado (Dinosaur), Idaho (King Mountain), and Jackson Hole Wyoming. They are apparently closing down the mountain tram at Jackson Hole after this season so this will be the last opportunity to fly from the peaks there.

Click on any of the pictures to zoom in.

Lukas Fishing

Memorial day at Hyner was great, as usual. Lukas’ new favorite past-time is fishing and Danny and he spent some time doing that. Unfortunately they only caught a frog, and that with their hands.

In the anthropomorphic spirit of some recent and very creative posts about flying at Hyner:

Joshua preparing for
his first tandem flight

On Saturday Hyner rewarded the faithful with plenty of great soaring. And this to the dismay of that adulterous contingent; those that spurned her early beckoning for the calls of another. She confirmed the proscription on such infidelity; it’s been said before: “never leave a soarable site.” :-).

Hang check
Joshua’s launch

On Sunday, still bearing the wounds of prior betrayal, she determined to frustrate the concupiscence of the unfaithful, providing only a tease for those that expected more. However, after the appropriate nuptial preparations, and though she spent her time sulking in a silent soliloquy, she allowed an aerial virgin to consummat his relationship with a short and unforgettable descent.

Ashley’s landing

On Monday, with the departure of some of the unfaithful (as well as some of the faithful), Hyner was in a forgiving mood and from her aerial bounty, gave many their hearts desire without prejudice for prior actions. And in her ecstasy gave birth to yet another nascent pilot in Ashley.


Well, it certainly doesn’t have the eloquence of Bob’s posts, but … :-)

Once again a great weekend of flying, friends, camping, firelight, port, prunes, and wildlife. I’m looking forward to the next round.

Additional Links:

  • Complete Memorial Day ’06 Hyner photo album
  • Labor Day ’05 writeup – “How to crash a hang glider”
  • Hyner Labor Day ’05 photo album
  • Click on any of the pictures for full size.

    Looking east

    Sunday was my first time in the mountains since the fall. The call was for winds from the north so we congregated at the Sac (one of our “local” flying sites only 2 1/2 hours away from me).


    It wasn’t a gimmie; about half those that showed up took more than one try (and some of us took more than two) – but those that stuck around (sorry Bacil) were rewarded for their faithfulness (or doggedness as the case may be). Thankfully the trailer was in working order because it got a lot of use.

    Sac Launch

    My first sled ride wasn’t so humiliating. Three of us landed at the same time so I could easily blame it on the conditions. My second failure to stay up, however, left me without excuse. It was one of those days – I compounded bad decision after bad decision – from a weak launch to constantly being behind the conditions by turning to late or moving too far from the ridge. Within a few short minutes I was in the landing field talking to Tom who had landed after his multi-hour 4700′ above launch flight.

    Bob out front

    I started breaking down and thinking about heading home when Joe pulled up with my van and the trailer on it saying “Come on, aren’t you going up again?” I quickly put the partially broken down glider back

    Keith Landing

    together and threw it on the trailer. In a few minutes I was back in the air only this time I managed to stick with it until I got above.

    I got to about 2500 over (I forgot my altimeter so this is a complete guess) somewhere east of launch early on. For a while I thought I was in the air alone until I saw Keith and Bob still up. After taking pictures from the air of Keith landing and Bob flying I got a few shots looking back at launch.


    Unfortunately my poor judgment followed me into this flight and I found myself in a bad spot while on approach. Facing the wrong direction and at nearly treetop level, I was at the downwind end of the field and facing into the east corner. I had enough reflex to get myself out of the situation with a quick high bank turn (captured in the pic by Karen) that got my speed up and set me in the right direction for landing; but that makes a poor substitute for good judgment.

    Nine pilots (or so)

    In the picture to the left, from left to right, is Bob, Keith, myself, Joe, Pat, and Tom. Karen is taking the picture (see the picture on the right) and Doug and Bacil were already on the road. It’s too bad Jacks was closed – it could have been a repeat of the last time I brought my camera. :-)

    And now that you’ve read through that – here is a link to all of the pictures that I took on Sunday, along with a few of Karen’s, and without the commentary.

    I meant to get this out sooner. The weekend was October 22nd and 23rd. I had wanted to write more about the weekend but never got around to it. I decided to finish this post up and get it out before it fades from memory completely.

    With too much work and not enough time to do it, I took a couple of days off to chaperone a trip to Potter county PA for Joshua’s (at 11, he’s my oldest) school, The American Academy. One of the teachers at the school has about 350 acres there and periodically invites students up on chaperoned trips. My side of the phone conversation went something like:

    “you’re looking for a chaperone for a trip to Potter county to stay at a house on 350 acres?”

    “is that 350 open acres or wooded?”

    “is that open acreage kind of flat?”

    “is there an area with low cut grass or unplowed field?”

    “is the area clear of obstacles like tree lines?”

           — and of course —

    “can I bring a hang glider with a motorized harness?”

    It was a short flight with about 10 kids and a couple of adults as spectators, but for about 10 minutes Joshua was the center of attention as he was peppered with questions from all of the other kids that watched me take off in my “Fred Flinstone” ultralight. Conditions were actually really nice. I managed to turn the engine off after a climb to only about 1000 feet because of how solid the thermal I had caught was.

    For a former video of one of my launches, take a look here.

    Joshua and I had a great time with the rest of the weekend hiking, playing laser tag, and target shooting. Joshua even got to fire a 12 gauge … once … where he received first hand experience of Newton’s Third Law and an accompanying bruise on his shoulder.

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