Archive for January, 2009

Mexico update, 09

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

I just finished the two week tour with the Swiss pilots and had just returned to Valle from Tapalpa when we got the sad news that a Swiss pilot had been killed in the world championships during task 6.

We had a great trip overall flying 9 different sites in 13 days, Molinalco,El Penon,La Torre,Zitacuaro,Escalera,Tapalpa east,Tapalpa west,San Marcos and Colima. All that flying did’nt allow any time for blogging so that explains the lack of skyblogs.

All the pilots had many nice flights and a few personal bests.

I flew Stephan tandem from La Ceja launch up to San Marcos.

The last evening we flew the new launch site in Tapalpa which allows for a evening flight in west wind, Marcos had a bad launch and his glider was stuck at the top of a 16 ft high cactus, and i was helping to get it down. I was getting the last line on the right side off of the cactus, so i had climbed up on the rock wall, and as i stepped back the rock under my foot fell loose of the wall and i started to fall, being several feet up i thought i might have a bad fall on my back or head, so i jumped backwards to get my feet under me before impact, but as i fell down i got my left foot stuck in the gliders lines and all my weight came down on my foot and tweeked it to the right,  then my right foot reached the ground, but i was off balance and so fell backwards downhill onto my back. I could’nt bare weight on my left foot and i’m using crutches now to get around. My foot did not swell much so i’m mostly sure it is not broken. 

Worlds comp will restart tomorrow after a rest day today, i’m suppossed to fly tandem with a camera we will see if i can launch one legged.

More soon,



Valle, Jan 19,20,21,22.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Well needless to say i have been very busy these past few days helping out the Swiss group.

Conditions have not been very good at all, after the big storm that dumped rain a north wind set up that has persisted far longer than normal. Each morning the clouds form in strange places, very low as well. You can visable see the clouds drifting from the north and they apear shredded. To the south of launch  the LLano and Piedra blanca site have awesome cu’s overhead, while the convergence is stark blue with no clouds at all till near 12:30 and they are shreded.

I flew Hans Jorge tandem and we had a nice flight although a bit rough it was not as bad as the day before. After getting to cloudbase over launch for the second time at 2,000 ft agl and headed over the back, we got to SAn francisco and slowly climed out but after a couple of minutes i got impatient and went downwind to another pilot who was climbing out but his thermal ended and then we had to glide back to our original thermal but it was gone too. We struggled around for 20 minutes, and we were about to land 250 ft when we got a burble and slowly climbed up into stronger lift which got us high enough to hit the trash thermal, where we we got strong lift that got us to base, after a short white room session we headed for town via convergence but hit a strong head wind with sink over Casa viejas so we glided back to Jovans.

More soon.



Sat, Jan 17th, 09.

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon the skies filled with clouds and dumped rain, unlike i have ever seen in Valle and even the locals said that this was highly unusual and even during the rainy season it does not rain that hard here. There were a few good sessions of thunder and lightening strikes could been seen around town. 

It was however flyable and many pilots made the flight back to Valle before the rain came.

Today started out blue with the ground saturated with water, so we knew the clouds would be here at some point and by 11:00 they were forming in the convergence. Cloudbase was low as expected at 10,000 ft msl.

I launched at 11:50 and climbed my way thru the gaggle over launch, once i was at 1,400 fvt over i head out front toward Penon and had a super bouyant line over here and got good lift in front of the rock face but i just stayed on glide and turned the corner for the wall, i got into the wall area a bit low but found smooth lift that slowly got better and eventually took me back to 9,000 ft, i flew toward the crazy thermal mesa and found another strong core there which got me to 10,000 ft at cloud base i drifted north toward Capulin and a cloud that was forming there, the lift under the cloud was weak but it got me back to cloudbase and then i glided to the stairs under a lower dark cloud that was bouyant but not going up. I just stayed on glide and arrived in to Valle with enough altitude to glide over the town square and back to the l.z.

There were two reserves thrown today, before i even launched. First one threw high and had several minutes to enjoiy the view and some pilots said he had enough time to get out his camera and take some pics of his ride down. He landed in a tree on the house thermal spine.

Then about 15 minutes later someone flying a boomsport witha pod harness threw his reserve over the spine south of launch, he drifted over the back with his glider in serious downplane and he was not doing a good job of managing his glider to get his reserve over head.

I thought it was a smooth day, and it did not apear that either incident was mid-air related.

I’m off to Molinalco for two days, I’ll be helping a group of Swiss pilots on a two week trip across Mexico.



Valle, Jan 15th 09

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Well i decided to take a day off and chase a few trout around the local streams. I made a good decision as the day started out very cloudy and it only got thicker and then by about 2:00 it started to rain and it rained harder then i have ever seen it rain here in Valle.

I was out on the stream behind La Torre and i got soaked as it dumped for about an hour.  I did have two bites and i saw a few trout, which was always the question we had is there really trout in the local streams. Yes indeed!

Pilots did fly El Penon and some of them even got high enough to go x-c.

so while it did rain it was not a non-flying day which on average happens one day during the flying season of Nov-Feb. Today the sky is super cloudy again and the winds have already started to blow.

The sat map of Mexico shows a huge storm that stretches from nearly Canada all the way south to here and it appears massive, although the weekend forecast shows temps warming to the high 70’s and 10% chance of rain, yesterday they called for 10% as well.



Valle de Bravo, Jan 14th. 2009

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Yesterday I took Juan for a tandem flight  to help him get a better sense of how to thermal, he only has about 95 flights and has been having a hard time to get high over launch.

We took off at around 11:45 and slowly climbed over launch as there was some high cirrus shading the sun light, once we topped out i decided to head for the penon, we had a bouyant glide over past the penon and we arrived to the wall low at tree top height,  but we found lift and again slowly climbed back up to 9,000 ft msl. once we got above the wall the thermal got better and at 480 fpm on the avg’r. we topped out at 10,000 ft. WE headed over the back to Capulin and we had big sink all the way there and it looked as if we might be in for a short flight, as a pilot who was just ahead of us already landed. WE got to the south side of the Capulin and there we found a burble that was slowly climbing but a much better option then landing out there. It was hard to track the core as it shifted several times on us but eventually as we got above the top of Capulin the thermal produced some nice 500fpm lift that took us back to 9,500 and from there the adventure began as we headed for a flat bottom dark cloud and soon was rocketing to cloudbase in the convergence between Sacamacate and La Casa, There we joined Maria Bono and we all headed toward the butterflies as a sweet cloud street formed  over the low ridge from Jovans to Los Saucos. We glided just under cloudbase the whole way out to Los Saucos and there over the church we hit some 600fpm lift and was back at base in no time.

I decided to turn around and use the cloud street to get back to Jovans, we had a great line back as we climbed up inside a cloud without turning. Then as we got back over Jovans another glider showed us some nice lift and we took that back to cloudbase, then we glided for some sunshine by Sacamacate because all the ground over La Casa and San Agustin was shaded out for at least 30 mins. Once we got to the sunshine we found some 900fpm lift straight to base and then we made the glide over the stairs, we climbed on a straight glide and had to do some cloud advoidance flying before we headed over Valle with a few thousand feet to spare.

After a tour over town to get some aerial photos of our new pad we got here in town, i Took Juan over the lake for some seriously huge wingovers and an uneventful landing lake side.



We had two hours in the air and Juan was stoked!

PCD (post comp depression)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Many pilots will experience a mental funk just days after having a great week of flying and after feeling it a few times i discovered what it was, and termed it (PCD)

Post comp depression is a mental funk that sets in after a great week of comp flying, why you ask?

Well i think it is because for a week straight each morning you get yourself amped up to race your paraglider, you accecpt the fact that you will take bigger risks.

Also i think we get PCD, because for a week you are surrounded by your friends and fellow comp pilots and then all of a sudden it’s back to regular life, no more task to be completed.

The sudden drop in mental intensity, adrenaline etc.

I noticed it lasts for a few days.

Currently the skies are cloudy here in Valle, mostly high cirrus that it shutting out the sun’s heat.

yesterday it was mostly cloudy with awesome cu’s, i was busy fixing the van all day but many pilots said that it was hard to stay out of the clouds as they formed by 8:30 a.m.and were towering by 9:00. it almost looked like it would rain by late afternoon.


Monarca 09, task 6 71kms.

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Todays task was set with a 5km exit cyl around launch with TP1:Divisa,TP2: Los Saucos,TP3:Iglesia,TP4:La Pena, and goal was at the lake for a total of 71kms.

I had a good start as i was high and in front when the 12:30 start rolled around. The death gaggle was about the worst we had seen for the entire comp as 100 pilots hovered around over the crazy thermal mesa for 35 minutes, it was madness with multiple cores and pilots turning tight cores in three areas and another group of pilots going around the outside of each one of those cores and then other pilots going around the outside of a larger area. It is really amazing that there are not more mid air collisions.

On the glide to Maguey i was not able to stay with the lead group and when we got into the ridge we hit big sink so i kept gliding low over the ridge and eventually got a good climb about 2 km past Maguey, i got back to 9,000 ft i found more lift along the way to Divisa and then at Divisa i got flushed betwen a large rock and sometrees over into the west face and then i hit a boomer 5.5 on the avg’r that allowed me to get high and tag the TP then return to strong lift. This move helped me catch quite a few pilots and then on the way back to Maguey i stayed on glide untill i hit strong lift and that boosted me again as i caught up with another gaggle. We were high just upwind of Maguey looking at our glide to Cerro Gordo and the lead gaggle was looking low there so i led out of the group striaght over the mesa, i had two others following behind and along the way we found very bouyant air, we glided all the way over to the stairs but along the way i hit a burble that was trashy but got me enough altitude to glide into escaleria over the top and while i worked this burble several gliders around me all hit the dirt, the one glider that was gliding next to me was scratching the trees for lift and about to land when my burble was gone and i glided for the stairs and i got there below the top but in the good spot and hit a boomer 600 fpm up and was on my way out, the first clouds of the day were forming to our east and once i was high i just stayed under the clouds and followed the convergence, which allowed us to get to 4,200 agl, then the glide into Los Saucos was easy and even the final glide to Iglesia,La Pena was easy for my gaggle of 5 as we hit the convergence over the stairs and had a bouyant line over Iglesia. I think i was about 18th for the day.

I did have an interesting glide from the stairs to Iglesia as my gps batteries died and i had to get out my backup gps and change the batteries out while flying my glider in the convergence, extreme multi-tasking, i got the batteries in and powered up at 1.4 kms from the iglesia TP

There was one incident today Eric Reed threw his reserve on the way to goal from the La Pena TP he was within the 1km end speed section, but at 700 meters had a large deflation and hucked, he landed in someone’s backyard, he appears to be fine.

Final results:

1: Yassen/Bulg

2:Stephen Wyess/Swiss

3:Brad G/USA

 Jack Brown was 7th and Eric Reed finished 9th.

i was 15th going into the last task and in the end i moved up one place to 14th overall one place ahead of Greg Blondeau who won the last task and is the current european champion.

I am happy with my performance, as i am flying the small glider against much bigger pilots who have an obvious advantage in wing span which translates into better glide at speed.

I used a strategy of flying with the second gaggle and then making good decisions that help catch me up later in the course, but this does not work when there is not challenging leg of the course or challenging conditions. AS was the case on the day when no one made goal i had my best finish 8th.

More soon,


Monarca 2009, task 4 85 kms

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Today the task committe over called the task as not a single pilot made goal.

They called a 85 km task with a 5km cyl around the launch and TP1 at Divisadero then TP2 at LLano TP3 was Jovans and TP4 Igelsia and goal was at the lakeside L.Z.

At the pilot briefing the meet director called the weather report and that they expected a high cloudbase. 30 minutes till the start the death gaggle was still over launch at 500 ft. it was a tough day and we made the rn to divisadero mostly below the top of the ridge.

It was on the glide over to LLano where things got interesting as i led a small group over diente as the lead galle flew back over to the crazy thermal mesa and then fought crosswind to head for LLano and we glided striaght there geting nice lift twice along the way. We merged with the lead gaggle 7 kms from the LLano TP and i took the lead for the next glide and i was second into the TP and then climbed out and quickily headed back toward launch Jaime M and i had the lead and as we glided he was asking me which was we should go and i pointed out where i thought the next thermal was going to be and after 5 minutes gliding we hit the thermal and i was right where i thought it would be. We climbed high and left the others behind, as we crossed the canyon south of launch we got drilled and as we got over to the fields south of the launch area i was getting really low, i had to fly over a set of high tension powerlines and i cleared them by 30ft with no landing options below i flew over to a small ridge and was about to land, i had unzipped from my pod when i hit a burble and slowly over 10 minutes i groveled my way out of that hole, until some birds joined me and then things went off.  I climbed back high enough to glide back over to launch where some evening flyers showed me a good thermal which gave me an advantage over the others who glided into launch while i was making the low save. Bill Hughes was there and we glided for Sacamacate and did’nt hit anything until we were on the face of sacamacate and it was a bug fart and was only big enough for one, Bill stayed on glide and i turned a few times getting high enough to glide for the trash thermal and as i got there it hit a burble but it was not big enough to turn in so i stayed on glide and landed .6 from Jovans.

About 20 minutes later the others appeared over the top of Sacamacate and they found a lucky burble over the trash thermal and slowly climbed out but not high, they got the TP at Jovans and glided west but goal was closing in 15 minutes so there was no way anyone would make goal.

I think i was 7th for the day, i started the day out in 15th but after that day i should move up in the points nicely.

Two more days to go!


Monarca 09, task 3

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Today they called a contrived task with a 2km start around the piano l.z.  TP1 Piano l.z. TP2 was Diente, then back to launch for TP3. TP4 was at maguey, then back over to El Penon for TP5 TP6 was at San Ramon. TP7 was La Casa and goal was in San Ramon again. for a total of 65 kms.

I had the lead at the start being higher and in front of everyone, but i forgot it was a 2km cyl instead of day one’s 1km cyl. i firgured it out when i was .5 km in the cyl. at scoring i saw i was 9 seconds early. but i went back out and started agiain just gave up all my lead and altitude, so i was again chasing the pack all day.

I was able to be fairly quick as went took a bitchin line from Diente straight back to launch without turning off courseline at all like most of the leaders did going back thru the wall area.

I also caught up at Maguey by driving thru thr TP and getting a good climb upwind of it, then i saw a glider in the valley climbing strong and i went there and found 800 fpm lift back to 10,500 msl and then i had a glide all the way back to Penon finding strong lift there and then i flew over the magic elbow straight in between Sacamacate and San Agustin and we found good lift there but the best move i made was glideding to San Ramon via the south and higher terrian and that gave me a height advantage which allowed me to glide back along my same line all the way to La Casa with only a few turns. then it was a easy final glide into goal.

Day 1 27th

day 2 22nd

day three, going in i was 16th overall and today i think i was 15 to 18? i did the course in 2 hrs 8 min.

It was a trashy day with no clouds and a thick inversion overhead, at least two reserves were thrown today.

Three days to go!


Monarca 09, task 2

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

It was a 69 km task with a 3km entry start at Maguey and the TP1 at Maguey

TP2 at diente,TP3 divisdero,TP4 mesa dolores TP5 la casa

goal was San Ramon.

I was the first pilot on course at the start but the big guys sped past me in a hurry, but on the way to diente i got stuffed at espinoso, i was able tyo get back to base and then i was alot faster.

caught a boomer 2,000fpm up after divisidero and then blazed thru the end of the course.

i finished in the top ten or so. many who were ahead of me in the points did not make it to goal should be a good shake up in the points.

day three starting now, off for my huevos rancheros!