Category: Lifestyle

The youngest person to fly from Telluride, Colorado.  September 16, 1988.

Launch is over 12,000 ft above sea level, and we climbed to almost 17,000 ft- the landing zone is around 9,000 ft.  Check out the tandem on a double surface glider (Wills Wing Sport I think?).  Dad still nailed the landing, of course. #respect #thanksdad! #experienceofalifetime #noonebeforeorsince #rememberitalways



Deer Valley Pow Turns

A fun Throwback Thursday video:

My first year working at Deer Valley, I was a videographer (NOT! a ski instructor).

Best compliment/insult I got that year?  “You ski like a really good PATROLLER.  It’s all wrong, but you look great doing it”

After becoming an instructor and pursuing certification… that comment is all the more funny, because I see exactly what they mean!

Just goes to show- there’s plenty of fun to be had even if your technique isn’t great… that’s one of my favorite things about skiing!  As I became more and more focused on technique, a lot of the fun got lost… but now that I’m out of the biz, and only ski a couple times each year… damn I have a lot of fun again!



TBT: Backcountry Pow Turns

Short video Des took of me, from the Alta parking lot if I remember correctly… skiing the ridge (backcountry) that faces West at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Circa 2008 or so?

There’s something really special about hiking (touring) up a rugged mountain line, especially doing it alone.  Yea yea, I know touring alone is dangerous and yada yada… but the special thing is where your mind goes, alone and in that setting.

There’s also something very, very memorable for this New York boy, ripping top-to-bottom first track fresh… Skiing in-bounds was never quite as sweet after this.  And with this run, came the realization I could ski all sorts of unique places around the Wasatch! (Laziness and a strong self-preservation instinct shut down most of the lines I eyed over the years in Utah)



Freeing Scotty T

Today I released Scotty’s ashes from a couple thousand feet over where he loved to fly.  It was a beautiful day to be out and up in the air, he would have been so excited to fly today.  It was pretty surreal flying “with” him… and it was hard to let him go, too…

But I think he’d be really happy to know we did this for him… Fly forever my friend!

RV



The Ultimate TBT: “Destiny”

I made this video back in 2005… It’s hard to believe TEN years have passed since then!

This is actual home video of me as a little… with a childhood like this, how could I grow up to be anything BUT a hang glider pilot?!  It’s all I’ve ever known or wanted…

When I made this video ten years ago- I heard the song first, and instantly knew the video I had to make.  I was away at school, and had to wait for a trip home to grab all the home video.  Then I needed some more current stuff, so my girlfriend at the time spent a day filming during a “wonder wind” at Ellenville (I married that girl, by the way!).

If you’ve been hang gliding a while you’ve maybe seen this already… but being that it’s ten years old now, maybe some of you haven’t.  I hope you enjoy…

As I re-watch it myself, it inspires me to keep chasing my dreams and passions- that the reward is always worth the work.  I hope it can have an equally meaningful input for you all as well 🙂



Contest Entry and HG Publicity

If you follow me here on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or stalk me from the bushes (must be cold this time of year) you already know I do a bit of aerial photography and videography using a small quadcopter.

Well the company that makes the quad and gimbal I use, DJI, is running a contest where users of their products tell the story of how we’re applying the technology in our personal or business lives.  I suspect it’s a strategic and very smart move that they’ll covertly use in lobbying law-makers to make “drones” as loosely regulated as possible, but maybe that’s just the conspiracy-theorist in me…

Anyway, I shared my story- how a “flying camera” has let me capture some pretty inspirational images and videos of hang gliding, which I think really convey what it’s like to get up there and fly.
You can read my entry here: http://event.dji.com/dji-stories/content/what-it-feels-fly

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The FAA’s Proposed UAS “Drone” Laws are Available for Public Comment

Link to the complete set of proposed laws, and where you can comment:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-0150-0017

Summary of proposed laws:

Operational Limitations • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
• Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer.
• At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
• Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
• Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset, local time).
• Must yield right-of-way to other aircraft, manned or unmanned.
• May use visual observer (VO) but not required.
• First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
• Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
• Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.
• Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
• No operations are allowed in Class A (18,000 feet & above) airspace.
• Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission.
• Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without ATC permission
• No person may act as an operator or VO for more than one unmanned aircraft operation at one time.
• No operations from a moving vehicle or aircraft, except from a watercraft on the water.
• No careless or reckless operations.
• Requires preflight inspection by the operator.
• A person may not operate a small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know of any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of a small UAS.
• Proposes a microUAS category that would allow operations in Class G airspace, over people not involved in the operation, and would require airman to self-certify that they are familiar with the aeronautical knowledge testing areas.
Operator Certification and Responsibilities • Pilots of a small UAS would be considered “operators”.
• Operators would be required to:
○ Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
○ Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
○ Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).
○ Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
○ Be at least 17 years old.
○ Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
○ Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage.
○ Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.
Aircraft Requirements • FAA airworthiness certification not required. However, operator must maintain a small UAS in condition for safe operation and prior to flight must inspect the UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation. Aircraft Registration required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft).
• Aircraft markings required (same requirements that apply to all other aircraft). If aircraft is too small to display markings in standard size, then the aircraft simply needs to display markings in the largest practicable manner.
Model Aircraft • Proposed rule would not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95.
• The proposed rule would codify the FAA’s enforcement authority in part 101 by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering the safety of the NAS.

 

I think the important parts are that this DOES open a practical and feasible avenue for people to operate a UAS (“drone” is a stupid, ominous name so everyone stop saying it!) commercially… something even I have seen could be a great boost to the US Economy, with many new creative job and career opportunities created.

I also think it’s VERY important, to anyone that flies *ANYTHING* else, that these proposed laws make certain things unmistakably clear.
1. UAS can only be operated via line-of-sight (you need to see the damn thing, can’t fly it miles away using ONLY a live video feed… although live video feed CAN still be used while flying LOS).
2. UAS must operate under 500 ft unless proper authorization is obtained (doesn’t prevent some bone head from taking out small or large aircraft, but it makes doing something likely to produce that result illegal… what more can you do?!)
3. Cleary defines that ALL UAS must yield right-of-way to all other manned and unmanned aircraft.  This includes hang gliders and paragliders!  Does this mean you’re any less likely to get hit by a bozo’s Christmas present?  NO.  But at least it clearly makes the Bozo in the wrong, legally.  Again, what more can be done?!)

 

All in all I find these proposed rules agreeable- both as someone who often occupies the NAS (National Airspace System), AND as someone who really enjoys aerial photography and is hopeful to pursue such commercially some day…

Well played Washington, well played… Now, when will these actually go into effect?!  AND… when will that FAA UAS Operator Exam be ready?!  Sign me up!



Winter Play

Having worked through physical therapy for my shoulder, and being fully cleared by my doctor… I’m officially a healed, rehabilitated, physically able-bodied person again!  And despite record cold and getting trounced with snow, I’ve been doing by best to get out and fly when I can.

Here are a couple recent shots from doing some winter flying in my Falcon 4 and my new (used) harness

DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRO  (more…)



Shoulder Health, Part I

I’ve been involved in a dangerous activity for a long time, but it’s only caught up with me in a few instances. In 1998 I broke my right wrist, in 1999 I sprained and dislocated my left shoulder, and in 2003 I broke my left ankle… all playing hockey.

No, it wasn’t flying, and maybe that’s not what you expected me to say? I’m pretty surprised about it, too… but I’ve had a combination of excellent instructors and a few very important instances of good fortune, so the only injuries I’ve had to overcome were from other things.

One of those injuries- the dislocated shoulder- has plagued me ever since; Over 15 years now, literally half my life. (more…)



Sunrise

One nice thing about these short winter days… it’s a lot easier to get up to watch the sun rise!  Inspirational.

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