2014 in review

Well, I flew a lot of days, but not so many hours or miles.

This is actually a PR for the most days I’ve flown in a year, at 20 (the previous best being 19 in 2007), but only 3rd place for airtime (about 3.5 hours short of the 2011 figure). Having access to the nearby Tanner-Hiller helped me get out more often, although I didn’t manage to stick there very well; my longest tow flight was 45 minutes, and I had only three others that broke 30. Once fall arrived, flying didn’t fit my schedule very well — other than the Tennessee Sledfest Team Challenge, I got just one tow flight and one footlaunch after Labor Day.

I got a new U2 this year, and I’ve got just shy of 13 hours on it so far. I’m very comfortable with it when flying, landing is better than the Ultrasport, and launching is no worse than my other wings (maybe that’s not saying much). I’ve still got some work to do before I’m really competent on tow. I did set a new PR for longest flight (timewise) with it, though. And my second-longest XC distance, though that’s really not saying much.

Tennessee was an educational experience, in the sense that I learned that I’m not interested in competition. I kind of knew this, but figured that the Team Challenge would be less like a comp than a real comp. Maybe it was, but it was still a concentrated dose of the aspects of hang gliding that I like the least, and I’ve satisfied my curiosity. I did get to fly in a couple of new places (including the very famous Henson’s launch), and met a few luminaries like Mike Barber, Dennis Pagen, and Jamie Shelden (and I don’t mean to slight the others I met who I didn’t name).

I didn’t manage to get my Mark IV out or fly at the beach all year. I probably should have ducked work on one of the late fall easterly days, but we had a lot on the schedule and it didn’t seem wise. My long awaited return to Talcott was nice, and I was glad to get a chance to use my new glider schlepping cart, which worked very well. Mt. Tom is still on the to-do list. I also flew with my Garmin 76S GPS a few times, which I hadn’t done before, though I’m pretty sure I never looked at it while I was flying.

The stats:

Months flown: 9 (Mar – Nov)
Flying days: 20
Days when I showed up with my gear but didn’t fly: 2 that I can recall
Flights: 25 (14 foot-launch, 11 aerotow; 8 soaring, 7 extended sledders, 10 sledders)
Sites flown: 9 (Ellenville, Mohawk Trail, Tanner-Hiller, Ascutney, Greylock, West Rutland, Whitwell, Henson’s Gap, Talcott)
New sites: 3 (Tanner-Hiller, Whitwell, Henson’s Gap)
Gliders flown: 3 (Ultrasport 147, Falcon 2 170, U2 145)
Longest flight (time): 4:54 (July 26, West Rutland)
Longest flight (XC distance): 7.3 km (October 2, Whitwell to Wagner’s)
Total flight time: 19:09
Max altitude: 5065 feet (June 8, Tanner-Hiller, from a tow to 3670 feet)
Bent downtubes: 1
Injuries: 1 (bloody nose landing in a turbulent windy field)

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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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