Archive for April, 2012


Sunday, April 29th, 2012

The management at Quest air has welcomed the ECPC to Sheets field as a remote tow location.

The weather would have been flyable there today but we could not get everything in place to run a task for today and tomorrow does not look good at either location with the strong winds forecast and 40% chance of showers.

Pilot Update: Based on the weather outlook we will not travel the three hours to Quest to chase a task that has a high probability of stoppage due the weather.

Pilots will meet at the Florida ridge at 10:00 for a pilot briefing.

We will continue to monitor the weather and give burnt sacrifices in hopes of changing things, Anyone found to be responsible for bringing this weather with them will be the next offering.

more news coming soon.

David Prentice

ECPC, day one,task one 32.7 kms

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

We called a task downwind to the junction of hwy 78 and 31. with a Tp in La Belle, then goal at the junction of 78 and 31. then the rain started to fall and we shortly cancelled the task.

The weather is not looking good for the next several days, so we are on to other things like hacking a hole in the roof of my van so the tracking head of my new SDI paragliding tow rig can fit thru the roof.

More projects will be finished tomorrow if the weather continues like this.

Stay tuned.

Spring Fling 2012, Day 6,Task 4 53.5 kms

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

We decided to take it easy on the Spring Flingers for the last task so we called a 53.5 km task.

With a 5km exit cyl and a 10k TP at top of the triangle of doom, then a control point 3km along hwy 74 and goal at the junction of hwy 74 and hwy 31, 21 miles south of Arcadia.

We had a great tow session with most pilots sticking with one tow, we also had two tow locations going and pilots were sticking on both sides. The clouds finally came in and that helped pilots see the lift and get out on course.

We had 7 pilots in goal with Israel Osbando winning the day, followed by Andrey K and then Tom Mis.

Over all results are 1. Vlasta Puczok 2629 2.Thomas Mistretta 2500 3.Andrey Kuznetsov 2279

Which makes a perfect trifecta for Gradient, Tom M and Andrey K  were flying the Avax XC3 and Vlasta was on the outdated  Avax XC2

The most improved award goes to Victor Leshtaev, this is his third year here at Spring Fling and today he got away for his first XC flight from the tow paddock. Many pilots had personal bests and some had multiple personal bests, and that is what the Spring Fling is all about.

It’s the spring training camp for XC paraglider pilots and it’s been growing every year sonce we started 6 years ago, each year we have new faces and each year many return for this week of magic air,good friends and some knowledge sharing.

Hope you can join us next year.

Tomorrow we take a break and get things in order to start the ECPC on Sunday.

Stay tuned, the Big Guns are comin to town!

David Prentice.

Spring Fling 2012, day 5, task 3, 84.4 km crosswind

Friday, April 27th, 2012

We called the primary task with a 5km exit cyl at the tow paddock and then a 5 km tp at the north end of the triangle of doom, then a control point at the Hwy 27 and US 70, and a end of speed section 5k from  US27nd and a 3 km goal cyl. start at 12:45.

We had cross winds from the east and did a 30 min sling session sticking many pilots in good lift over the trees but then it turned south, so we moved everyone to the east side where we have a clean south tow road and there we had tailwind and crosswind from the east. Slowly we towed pilots up in the cycles and most of them stuck, we again had several gaggles formed over head.

Earlier in the morning at the task comm meeting one of the pilots said “since it is going to be a challenging blue day again, it will be important for pilots to follow Cuervo’s advice” “follow the birds”. ” so we should follow Cuervo” I got the clearence to fly.

Once the tow line had dwindled down i got ready to launch and after a good 20 min cycle where no one stuck i was not sure i would be able to get out but after a 600 ft tow from Nathan Beane i cored out to 4,400 in 600 fpm lift. Love it! I had Bertus and Les Bauman above me and i climbed thru them and led otu front for the next thermal directed Les to search to my east and he found it. We skyed out and than again i led out the next time Bertus found it down low and we waited for him to bring it up and we got back to 3,000 ft before gliding for the 1st TP, we got low and had to run downwind over hwy 29 getting lift we drifted west and later had to fight crosswind to stay near 27 for the TP2 control point. WE got great lift north of Palmdale and had some clouds in front of us but an east wind came off Okeechobee and shut down the lift dirting a bunch of pilots me included. My gaggle buddies landed near-by.

Tom Mistreta made goal, Vlasta P was short and so was Andrey K. That’s a Gradient trifecta.

Weather looks good again for tomorrow!


Should be another 1,000 pt day.

we were expecting S SE windflow, but once pilots got on course a stronger east component made it more of a challenge from the the get-go. The earlier pilots had the best shot, as the east wind came in later. Tom Mistreta was the only pilot to make goal. Andrey K, and Vlasta P were short a few kms.

There was a large group that landed just south of of lake Placid, Lee Boone,Don Bayliss,myself,KLes Bauman Merz, many pilots made it past the Triangle of doom and only one had to hike out.

Spring Fling 2012, day four,task 2. 59 km to lake Placid.

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Again today we had conflicting wind forecasts, i did my usual Noaa thing and saw the was more then one report that called for south winds even turning sw, but most reports showed east and even some ne flow up higher.

each day at the Spring Fling i have a task committee meeting with three or four new pilots giving them the chance to see what goes into setting a days task, we look at the weather and then plan two tasks based on our waypoint list and the weather. they set two tasks one going west and one going nw.

I had the pilot briefing at 11:00 and durign the briefing i saw two good south cycles roll thru, so at the end of the briefing i added a third task to the list.

We got to the tow paddock and winds were straight out of the south at 5-10, as pilots unloaded i told them  were calling my third task 59 km to lake Placid. Again today we had a easy time sticking pilots, Paul Zarniky of Planet PPG was operating my tow rig while i observed him for his tow tech rating and the first three pilots we towed stuck, then we had a lull and no one stuck for 30 min then slowly in small gaggles they sky’d out a nd disappeared form view.

The early guys hit the dirt and got retrieved for a second flight, and made goal later after towing up again.

WE stuck 25 pilots some with two or three tows in less then 3 hrs with three tow rigs.

There were 12 pilots in goal at 59 kms, with some excitment as Merz flew downwind at goal L.Z. draping his glider on some power lines while he tumbled head over heels. no harm no foul.

Day one saw DJ Duerr win with 505 pts. followed closely by Michael Brooks and third went to Vlasta the Chech pilot.

Day two scores coming soon.

The rest of the comp looks to hold good weather.

Stay tuned, toad slingers!

Spring Fling 2012 day 3: task 1

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The winds started out strong and the forecasts were conflicting and the jet stream seemed to still be overhead.

We gathered the pilots at 10:30 and had a 49 km task to the SE as the NW winds were too strong thus forcing pilots to fly over some un-retrievable areas but we called about the only option we had.

Start at 5k from Tow paddock indiv starts. TP1 was at Hwy 833 with a 5k cyl and then a end of Speed 3k from Hwy 832 and a 1 km goal cyl.

The winds started to back off just as we got ready to unleash the masses, amazingly conditions improved and i actually stuck 8 pilots in a row getting some tows to 1,800 ft agl. there was a steady stream opf gliders thermalling away from launch and most everybody got away. We closed launch at 4:30 and then i headed on retrieve and found 6 pilots in goal.

Lots of happy faces at check in this evening.

Top of lift was at 4,000 ft  and lift was not so strong.

More details tomorrow.


Spring Fling 2012 day 2

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Today we had the task comm meet and we came up with a 59 km task downwind to Belle Glade on the south shore of lake Okeechobee. We had a 5km exit cyl at the tow paddock and then TP 1 10 k cyl around HWY80N

a no fly zone of 2km around the airglades sky diving operation, TP2 was a 5km cyl around HWY846 and we had goal in Belle glade with a 5 k ESS and a 1km goal cyl.

The forecast was for 25 knots at 3,000 ft and as we called the pilots briefing it became obvious that we would not be able to fly and we cancelled the task without leaving the pilots meeting.

i gave a short lecture on strong wind flying techniques and Hadley Robinson gave a GPS lesson which included a triangle course of cones which pilots could use to test their GPS route navigation skills.

Nathan Beane gave a high wind kiting lesson which included some amazingly long backwards flights.

Pilots mingled for a couple of hours and then headed out to enjoy other south Florida adventures.

The weather looks to improve by tomorrow with NW winds at 8-12. and will slowly clock around back to SE by Friday.

More Toad slingin action soon.


Right now the winds are cranking west @ 25 and the clouds are drying up fast.

Spring Fling 2012 day 1

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This large front that just passed thru which left us with cranking winds, the Hg’s went airborne and were going backwards at 2,000 ft.

The strong winds allowed to get a full day of registration and lectures.

We held the pilots briefing at 12:00 and then took a two hour lunch break

I hosted a XC- lecture from 3 till 5 and then Hadley gave a brief GPS talk.

Today looks to be blown out again with winds aloft at 3,000 ft of 20 knts from the west, but the rest of the week is looking good just that we have to deal with two days of the north winds which forces us out over alico land where we can’t drive for retrievals. But the winds look to be light.

It was a very cold night last night, after two days of rain showers and t-storms.

right now we are 23 pilots registered, which is the largest number yet.

Stay tuned for more Spring Fling action.

Spring Fling 2012!

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The 2012 Spring Fling got off to a bang! literally at 3.a.m. with one of the most wicked lightning storms i have ever seen down here. I was in my tent and had multiple strikes within 100 yds, when you see the flash and hear the crack at almost the same moment you know it’s close. it rained so hard that my brand new tent could not withstand the  deluge and it seemed like i installed a water mister in my ceiling.

Today’s weather looks blown out as predicted since three days ago. which is just fine it gives us one whole day to get everything in order with out any rush or stress.

Registration will happen from 9 this morning to 11, then the pilot briefing followed by my XC lecture/ theory session. We will break for a late lunch and return for another classroom session in the afternoon.

The weather looks to improve for Monday thru the rest of the week, although we have seen this before so we know that it will take a full day to dry things out. this moisture is welcomed as south Florida is nearly 5 inches behind in annual rainfall. Conditions will be very nice once it does dry out.

Stay tuned for more Spring Fling action.

David Prentice.

Finally!!! broke the 100 mile mark.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I’ve been flying my paraglider in Florida for 12 yrs and my first paraglider flight was 60 miles, the state record at the time. I set it again at 85 miles and then 92.8 miles back in 2006. So it’s been a long time coming.

From my first flight here, i knew 100 miles was so attainable but i missed a few good days and dirted early the day Andy M set thecurretn record of 115 miles.

Yesterday i made 111 miles in 6 hrs, it was a slow day with max lift at 600 fpm and cloudbase at 6,000 ft.

i had several low saves and in total shade i thought many times i was done for. but each time i was able to save it out and get back high.

In the end i had a hard decision to make as the good cloud street was to the east but drifting toward Orlando, or push cross wind to the west for another cloud street. It was just too far to go west so i went with the clouds st to my east and eventually it led me to the SE side of Disney World. there is airspace there so i had to put her down. 111 miles in 6 hrs. 4 miles short of Andy’s 115 mark.

Still very happy with the flight and now i know that 150 to 200 miles is attainable here.

More epic flights coming soon,

Spring Fling starts in three days.