Monthly Archives: July 2008

Reminder of Claire’s Clinic

Claire Vassort’s monthy clinic is Sunday July 27th at 10am in the LZ Clubhouse. This month’s topic is Watching the Weather. Please plan to attend. These clinics are invaluable to all pilots regardless of their skill level. Last month’s Launching and Landing clinic was excellent. Students and pilots, a free clinic taught bytwo of the world’s best pilots is an amazing opportunity not to be missed.

New Pilots

These photos are from the past week. Congratulations Yuki, Steve and Ryan. I know I’m missing some photos, so if anyone has photos of new students or activities in general (especially from the LZ since I’m always up top) please send them to
YukiRyan Left to right: Yuki’s smile before her first flight, Ryan’s ready to go
Steve WickizerSteve's Launch Left to right: Steve Wickizer before launch, Steve’s first launch
Jim Seatonwatching the day Left to right: Jim’s first launch on his Pulse, When should we go?

Lucas Flies 50 Miles

Just recently I had a personal best for xc distance. I managed to fly about 51 miles and land next to Weiss Lake, just inside the Alabama border. Unfortunately, I got the wrong waypoint in my GPS and so went on a slightly different course line than the others that went xc that day as well. I launched after a couple people and immediately was going up, so much so that I couldn’t do a complete 360 to turn in the thermal since I was too close to the ridge so I did some S turns to stay in the lift and once over ridge height I was able to thermal up to about 3,000′ over launch height and drifting Southeast over the back. Once I was up I noticed others who recently launch struggle low, so I decided to stay in what I was in to see how everyone else progressed. Eric Graper drifted back passed me after he had pushed out in the valley so I followed him further back behind the mountain (high enough that I wasn’t going to get stuck behind the mountain!). We were making our way up to cloudbase when Jeff Nibler appeared from around a cloud to join us and Jeff and Eric went on glide while I stayed to see how they did. I had yet to make up my mind if I wanted to go xc that day and I decided once I saw them go on glide and start turning. They had made some distance between me and by the time I had caught up to where they had been turning, they were already off again. Not wanting to fly by myself I decided to leave thermals earlier than I would so I could catch up to them, which I eventually did close to Menlow, but was only 900′ over launch height while they were high above. Since I had caught up to them I decided to take my time to make sure I get high again, even if I lose them again (which I did, but was more because I had the wrong waypoint). So I back tracked back to one of the ridges hoping something was going off there and I found my best climb of the day (700 fpm) which took me up to cloudbase (7,400′). And I continued on glide. I was eventually faced with nothing but trees on my course line (since I had the wrong waypoint) so I decided to see if I could make a field way out in the distance, but half way there I decided it wasn’t going to happen, which is why I am glad I had already picked out a bail out field if that were to happen. I landed in a patch of grass next to a field so I wouldn’t mess up their crops and reveled in my personal record flight. For me the highlights were being able to catch up to Jeff and Eric, albeit I was very low and they were high, getting to cloudbase several times, seeing new scenery like the valley’s and smaller mountains and hills south of Lookout, and also dialing into my glider better – it was only my fourth flight on my new wing! Jeff and Eric managed personal bests as well – Jeff in the 50′s and Eric at 88 miles. Greg Heckman went the furthest at somewhere just over 100 miles. It was a great day to go xc and most importantly I am happy with the decisions I made throughout the flight to keep it fun and safe. Here is a short video with the footage I captured from that flight. Subscribe to my youtube account to get updates when I post new vids! : Lucas

Fourth of July Party Photos

We had a great time celebrating our nation’s independence. We had a great meal (thank you Doris and company), kegs (thank you LMFP), and a DJ (thank you Theresa). Here’s some photos. Pay particular attention to the fireworks photo. That’s Scott’s van in the middle of the mayhem.
AngelaScott Under Attack Left to right: Angela Galbreath, Firework Fun
Dancing FoolsKelli and Jesse Left to right: Is that Gordon dancing?, Kelli and Jesse (son of Gordon)
The Eberle'sKid Dave and Eric Left to right: Christy and Brian Eberle, Some Towboys
Motley CrewRandy and Carla Left to right: The Usual Suspects, Carla and Randy Zaefla
Courtney and PeteMaggie, Ann and Barry Left to right: Courtney and Uber Peter, Maggie, Aunt Annie and Barry

The First Flights Just Keep on Coming

Now that the summer training schedule is in full swing, the first mountain flights are really piling up. We try to get photos of each one, but it’s pretty tough sometimes. Our focus is always getting the novice off the ramp, so photo ops sometimes fall by the wayside. If you have your own photos of your first mountain flight, please send them to us at

We have had a few notable first flights recently. Our Louisiana friend, James Seaton has had five or six flights in the last week. It took James about three trips here to get it done. Good work, James!

We also had Ron and AJ Calhoon visit us from Pennsylvania for a week or so. This father and son team had to extend their stay a couple of days to make it off the mountain. Oh, did I mention AJ is ONLY THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!? AJ and Ron were both able to get two launches before heading home. Job well done!

Let me think, who have I forgotten? Hey, how about Dan’s friend Mike Morath? And let’s not forget Yuki Indacochea, wife of our ace tug pilot/mechanic Pablo Indacochea!

As I said, we’ve been busy. So, keep your eyes to the sky and be ready for even more new pilots in the near future.

Thirteen year old AJ Calhoon makes his first mountain launch.

James Seaton commits aviation.