Monthly Archives: February 2009

Some Photos

We were lucky to have Mauricio, a professional photographer, train with us last summer. He took some beautiful shots. Here are some that I love.
Tom hagerJesse Left to right: Instructor Tom Hager, Jesse Cayce
ronLauren Left to right: Instructor and Trike Pilot Ron Knight, Instructor Lauren Wall
Jeff BozarthKid Dave Left to right: Jeff Bozarth, Tug Pilot Kid Dave
Pablo on FinalPablo in the Plane Left to right: Pablo as hang glider pilot, Pablo as tug pilot

The Past Week at Lookout

Oh the weather was beautiful Sunday! The forecast called for strong southwest, but it was a gentle northwest wind from noon until 6:00 pm. Many of the locals were able to rush out and get some 63 degree February Ridge Soaring. It was great.

Thursday also brought some excellent flying weather. Ridge soaring and thermals until about 4:00 pm.

Special kudos to Bobby Stubbs. He is a Brunswick Georgia gentleman who travels out here to train, and has recently cleared and made some mountain flights. He always takes the time to go to the hills and he helps the other students set up and break down their gliders and he drives the four wheeler for them. He has had seven mountain flights. On Thursday morning at 10:00 am, I launched him in a five mph headwind. His instructions, as a newbie, were to head straight to the landing zone and complete a box pattern or two until he was three treetops high and start the downwind leg of his approach.

He tried following instructions, but he only lost about 300 feet between the ramp and the lz. Then he started his box pattern and was going up! He kept a perfect box pattern for 15 minutes. Its darn rare to soar a thermal at 10:00 am around here. What a great way to start a morning.

Friday morning brought a great morning on the small hill. We had no more than 1 mph of wind until noon. The three students we had made great progress. Rick and Eileen Frazier are two of the new students; and they have a great attitude. Eileen is 62 years old and weighs 108 pounds. It didnt stop her from knocking out six training flights. Its fairly impressive that she can do that many flights with a glider that weighs over half of her body weight. Rick and a student named Justin Willhite each had over a dozen flights in the great air. They both wanted to fly more but I had to stop them as they had an evening class Friday night and another morning class Saturday. I think they both slept well that night.

Today, Sunday, turned out to be another great day. Thomas Wolfe was having some bad weather luck. Hes a new pilot with only three mountain flights. Thomas only has one day off a week and every Sunday he comes up to fly, and lately the weather has not been on his side. That all changed. Last time I saw Thomas he was about to take his fifth mountain flight of the day. It was nice to see him with such a big smile on his face. Congrats Thomas! See you next Sunday.

It looks like spring weather is here. The grass is turning green and the frogs are chirping on the training hills.

Valle de Bravo – Day Three Update


Lunch, coming right up.
This post will have to be brief as it is late and tomorrow is another busy day for our group. This morning Liz, Rodney and Stacy headed out early to see the Monarch butterflies. The rest of us hung out around Valle taking it easy. Hey, we’re on vacation! As planned we all met up for lunch at Jovan’s. Jovan’s is a big open air restaurant on the road to El Penon launch. It is easily recognized by the large blue tarp roof. You basically go back into their kitchen, inspect what they have and order. It’s always good and a great spot to relax a little before flying. Tough life, huh?

But what about the flying? Today was probably our best day in the air yet. We didn’t start flying until about 3:00. Conditions were smoothest yet, with many of the thermals nice and big. We’re not getting that high, today several of us got to about 2100′ over launch, which is great, but let’s face it we’re greedy and want more. Let’s recap the highlights.

Jeffo and Jaime assisting Rodney.
Liz downgraded from an Eagle to a Falcon and had her best flight yet. She stole a thermal from me like she was taking candy from a baby. David Teuscher sat the day out with a bad back so Don flew the Sport 2 175 and had a fun flight. Stacy stole the small Sport 2 from Ralph forcing him to fly one of the small Eagles. Rodney continues to impress us flying a Falcon with no instruments and hanging with the rest of us. Hank continues to dominate the air in a Pulse 10 Meter with the longest flight again. I felt a little bad taking the only Sport 2 155 on day one because I knew Hank would like to fly it. Now I don’t feel so bad, hey Hank, I’m keeping it! As for me, I finally figured out where Las Pinetas is, got 2100′ over and flew over to El Penon for the first time. When I came back from El Penon, I found Don flying around in the foothills. We tried to pimp off each other, but finally had to head to the Piano. Coming out, we ended up flying in formation which was fun, but we let it go a little too long and our approach options were not so great. I ended up turning very low. Luckily, the headwind kicked in and helped me get level in time to try a weak landing run and flare, but it didn’t save me from a small whack. Don flew over me and also had to pay some dues with his own small whack. To be fair to Don and me, Stacy started it all with a small whack earlier. Stacy is such a show off she had to add in a bloody nose.

Another view of El Penon del Diablo.
This one from the Piano landing area.
Stacy kid’s showed up in force today. Esther, Liz and Mustang had to help with distribution and crowd control. After returning to Valle, we all had a communal dinner of chicken and potatoes at Jeffo’s clubhouse. I think most of us really like our new schedule. It gives us time to do things in the morning and fly when conditions are better for most of us. The only downside is we end up getting back to Valle kind of late. Can’t have everything I guess. That’s all for tonight.

Valle de Bravo – Round Two

A second group of Lookout pilots are currently back in Valle de Bravo, Mexico for a week of flying. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about Valle (See Denny Pistoll’s post). Once you go though, you want to share the experience. I came down for the first time in January and am already back for round two! Now that a few technical hurdles have been conquered, I plan to post at least a little something each night.

Our group consists of Gordon Cayce, Rodney Farrar, Liz Fortanier, Ralph Miller, Stacy and Don Murdoch, Hank Phillips and his friend Esther and Susan and David Teuscher. Ralph and Hank reside in Lexington, KY, but are known to frequent the sky above Lookout. Rodney is an old friend of Ralph’s who lives in Littleton, CO. For the history buffs in the crowd, Rodney and Ralph are founding members of the Bluegrass Buzzards.

Day One
El Penon del Diablo from launch
Another beautiful day in Valle. El Penon del Diablo seen from launch. Nice cumies!
Photo: Susan Teuscher.

By Sunday evening we had all arrived and settled in. On Monday, we left for El Penon around 10:30. On the first day, we typically start with a tour of the landing area at the lake. After going up to launch, the van will take pilots on their first trip to tour the “Piano” landing area. I accompanied David, Liz and Rodney to walk the Piano.

Back on launch, flying got started around 2:00. Conditions were strong and somewhat turbulent. Everyone had good flights. Flights of the day honors go to all the first timers, but top honors should be shared by Hank and Rodney. Hank just wouldn’t come down, flying for three hours+. Rodney took a quick trip to a small hill to brush up on his launches and landings, then returned to launch and proceeded to soar also.
Liz launching
Liz Fortanier launches. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

I will accept the “Piano Boy” honors for the day, being the first to land. I’m surprised to find only two boys in the field to tear down my glider. In January, I was swamped by kids wanting to help. Today, the first words out of their mouths was, “Stacy?”. Stacy and Don are on their sixth trip here. Stacy always brings clothes and toys for the kids who hang out in the Piano. Apparently word had gotten out that she was coming back. Now that they know she’s here, we expect bigger crowds tomorrow. Once the gliders and gear are stowed, it’s back to Valle so we can eat, sleep and get up to do it all over again tomorrow!

Day Two
Today we decided to go out to El Penon a little later as many of us wanted to fly a little later hoping for smoother conditions. This also allowed us to stop for lunch at a favorite roadside retaurant, El Jovan, on the way. After a tasty repast of quesadillas and rice, I was pleasantly surprised to recognize Matheiu Berube. Matheiu came to Lookout last spring with Catherine Gagnon from Quebec and stayed for two months. Catherine, of course, ended up stealing Steve Bernier away from Lookout. Matheiu reports Steve and Catherine are doing well. He went skiing with them earlier this winter in Canada. Matheiu drove to Valle from Quebec with his glider and is staying in a house friends rented for the season.

The crew on launchThe crew at launch. Left to right. Front row: Gordon, Ralph, Rodney. Middle row: Matheiu, Stacy, Don, Esther, Liz, Hank, Susan, David, Jaime. Back row: Jeffo, Mustang. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

One big difference between this trip and my first is the lack of paragliders. The world championships were held here a week ago and I guess most of them just cleared out. There are a few in the air with us, but no where near the numbers in January. We pretty much have the place to ourselves. Today Ralph and Frank led the way with most of us opting to wait for later conditions. I didn’t launch until at least 4:00. Conditions were strong, but for most of us, smoother. Personally, I was more relaxed in the air. Though it’s only day two, I feel I’m flying like day four of the last trip. Kudos go again to Hank and I guess David. Both had great flights. Ralph Miller has been talking XC strategy non-stop. Today he launched first, got up quickly and went over the back quickly. He encountered strong sink all the way to the landing area called las Pinetas, but still came in with a grand of altitude.

Today in the Piano it’s obvious that word has spread of Stacy’s return. Way more kids at the Piano. Stacy has mentioned she might take the day off tomorrow and stay in Valle. I’m concerned that if she’s not there, the mob might turn ugly. Stacy knows many of the kids by name from coming down for so many years. The kids obviously love her and I think she gets a bigger kick out of them than the flying.

Stacy's kids
Stacy’s kids. Photo: Susan Teuscher.

Tomorrow’s plans call for a group going early to the butterflies, a rendezvous with the rest of us for lunch at El Jovan, then back to El Penon. Mas manyana!

Last Chance to Save Big!

OK, this is it. The $100 off Learn to Fly Lesson Package Sale aka New Year, New You is getting a final extension until February 15th. This is your last chance to save $100 on a VIP, Eagle, or Mountain lesson package. Don’t miss out. Call us today, purchase a package, then decide when to come fly with us.

Spring will be here soon. The best place to experience it is in the air. Invest in yourself, you won’t regret it!

Best of Lift!