Education and good-natured embarrassment

[ Amused Mood: Amused ]
Two recent events that relate to hang gliding, but that were entirely indoors and didn’t actually involve the use of a glider.

February 27 was Tom L.’s annual “pay it forward” seminar, this year focused on beginning XC pilots. Last year I went to his Competition seminar, which was fascinating, although much of the information was about stuff that isn’t really relevant to what I expect to be doing (e.g. scoring of race-to-goal events). This year he invited a dozen of us who have so far made modest XC flights at most (Ross being an exception, I think), and provided us with a lot of information to help our upcoming ventures away from the mountain be productive and safe. There were a lot of topics, but most of the discussion fell into the categories of finding lift, landing out, or efficient gliding. A fun part was when he put up big pictures taken from the air on his TV, and we all gathered around and discussed where we would go if it were time to land. I found the seminar very useful, but also intimidating — XC flying is not something to be taken lightly, and there’s a lot of learning that yet needs to be done outdoors.

back row: ARt G., Jeff C., me, Matt M., Pat M., the illustrious Tom L.
seated: Stacy P., Ross L., Amy R., Randy B.

March 6 was the annual VHGA awards banquet. I had some commitments that delayed my arrival, but I got there in time for dinner and the actual ceremony (missed out on a bunch of the socializing). I was surprised and somewhat embarrassed to receive the first award of the night, “second” place in the XC contest in the category for pilots who have not yet done a 25 mile flight. This requires a bit of explanation. The VHGA contest rules count distance from launch to landing, without turnpoints, so a 200 mile triangle would count as nothing, and ditto for a lighthouse run at Wellfleet, even though the turnpoints are 15 miles apart. This isn’t a complaint, it’s just what the rules are. Sometimes people don’t submit their flights, and back in January when the scores were being tallied, it came to my attention that nobody in the under-25-mile category had submitted anything. I knew there were some flights out there, so as a joke I sent in my best flight, then sent out emails to a few people I knew of who had done better and said that if they didn’t end in their data, I’d win with my pathetic score. There were three pilots who had made Ascutney-Morningside runs, and we got them in there, which should have made me 4th place. But they were given a tie for 1st, and mine was called 2nd. My flight was only 1.9 miles, just to the normal LZ at Ascutney, and off the top of my head I knew of at least one better flight (ARt had flown 8 miles or so at the Trail) that didn’t get submitted. So, a XC award for a flight of less than 2 miles, pretty pathetic (I even had Morningside on glide that day, but had to pass because of time constraints). I’ll have to make up for that this year.

The other award I was expecting, and when Rodger made the announcement, he said I was really the only nominee. That was the “Most Innovative Landing” award for my reserve ride last July. Not something I ever wanted to earn, but it is a dubious honor that some very respectable people have gotten in the past.

In less fortunate news, my buddy ARt got hurt the day after the dinner. I couldn’t go flying that day because I needed to move a bunch of furniture, but it sounds like it was pretty good at Morningside. ARt had a bad landing, though, and broke his arm. Rats. Heal well, ARt, and I’m looking forward to flying with you again as soon as you’re ready.


About cleversky

Hang glider pilot in New England since 2004. Also an avid orienteer, and an embedded systems firmware engineer. And some other outdoor stuff.
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