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By CloudDiver
Hi, I'm Luke, age 39 in San Diego. I've been wanting to fly since I was a wee lad, finally making this sport a part of my life.

I have a week long course I am penciled in for and I should be H2 by the 2nd week of Oct 2018.

I am US Navy Vet, a life long boater (more into sail than power over the last 5 years), a former NORBA Mt Bike Racer, Rock Climber, Kit Boarder, and Motorcycle Racer (Daytona SuperSport, road). I've had a lot of adventures but I still haven't satisfied that itch to fly. Since I started Sailing instead of power boating I've been fascinated by the power of the wind so it has made me focus on more sustainable and eco-friendly sports. I love motorcycles and will never stop enjoying the sport, but right now I'm a little sick of oil, exhaust, gas, and $400 race tires that only last one race!

I've already attended the San Diego Chapter of USHPA meeting last week and will make my memberships official post-training and H2 cert (maybe before, I guess the instructor might sign me up). I've been lurking on the forum to learn as much as possible.

I wanted to explain my handle so no one thinks I am a crazy, irresponsible hot-shot, LOL. CloudDiver has been my eBay handle since 2001. The tallest mountain from my home range of the Adirondacks in upstate NY is Mt. Marcy, but the Native American name is Tahawus (Mohawk), which translates as Cloud Splitter. Cloudsplitter was my hotmail email address since 1996, but that was too many letters for an ebay handle so I shortened it to CloudDiver. I have used that handle on other forums for motorcycle racers, Chopper Builders log, and Sailing forums. Lots of people ask me "Are you a pilot?" and I had to say 'No, its just a screen name". Pretty soon I should be able to say 'Yes'!

Looking forward to meeting and flying with other pilots in Southern California, and as much as I like to travel I will probably meet more of you at you home sites. Cheers!

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By red

Welcome to our sandbox! Once you settle in, pick yourself a wingman, and soon you'll be flying with Group One. :wink:

Talk with everybody, here and out in the field. This community campfire LIKES questions from the new pilots. With enough input here, you'll get things straight quickly. So, pull up a seat, warm up near the fire, and drinks are in the big cooler by the green tent. 8)

Welcome to the sky! The adventure begins . . .
By dbhyslop
I'm guessing you're the same CloudDiver from the Catalina 22 forum. I don't think I've ever posted there but read it extensively when I bought mine a few years ago and remember your name. Welcome to hang gliding!
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By CloudDiver
dbhyslop wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:06 pm
I'm guessing you're the same CloudDiver from the Catalina 22 forum. I don't think I've ever posted there but read it extensively when I bought mine a few years ago and remember your name. Welcome to hang gliding!
Yup, Thats me! And my boat is still having some interior work, but its basically fully ready to sail. I've been renting Capri 22's on occasion to get out on the water. Haven't pulled the trigger on an annual mooring ball in Mission Bay, on the fence if I will just trailer launch or keep it on the water.
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By CloudDiver
red wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:00 pm

Welcome to our sandbox! Once you settle in, pick yourself a wingman, and soon you'll be flying with Group One. :wink:

Talk with everybody, here and out in the field. This community campfire LIKES questions from the new pilots. With enough input here, you'll get things straight quickly. So, pull up a seat, warm up near the fire, and drinks are in the big cooler by the green tent. 8)

Welcome to the sky! The adventure begins . . .
Thanks Red! Our Bike Racing community is much the same. We get people out on the track with good instruction to be safe, have fun, and not crash (much, lol). As skills progress we have our camp fire (BBQ in the pits) on track-day weekends and swap tips and tactics. Its fun to see new riders step up in skills and speed then eventually get on the track for amateur races... & proceed directly to whup their butts, LOL.
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By CloudDiver
Just a quick update... I've been flying with Dan Dewesse @ Andy Jackson Airpark. We were supposed to do a week long course but the weather did not cooperate. I got 2 afternoons worth of runs off the training hill, a couple of good trips and smooth landings, but certainly a handful of Ground Loops and turtled it once.

I'm really not liking the Condor training glider because its so awkward to handle and I am a lighter pilot. I guess the best way to describe it is that its like holding your arms out to your sides for so long until they go numb and then expecting to know what your roll attitude is by feel. Plus, it seems like the Condor takes awhile to respond to controls so I end up over correcting when trying to straighten up my flight path.

Well, I met a lot of great people in the LZ over the weekend and everyone had encouraging words. I'll just keep my eyes forward and it should be a little more intuitive to fly the Condor with practice... after a few more straight flights down the bunny hill I can start floating a more appropriate sized single surface wing. I'll miss the Condor (sarc)

So heading back up to San Bernadino this weekend, hopefully the wind speed and direction will be nominal in the LZ for more productive training days.
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By Lucky_Chevy
Welcome and thanks for posting. I'm also a sailor and former motorcycle racer.

Enjoy your training. It will be over before you know it. I believe hang gliding is all about muscle memory and good judgement. You already know how addicting it can be.

Fly safe,

By Roadrunner71
Cloud Diver:

I just thought that I would let you know how bad the addiction of Flying can be. Heck maybe you have already realized that yourself. For I do. I have been flying Hang-Gliders since the winter of 1991. By the Winter if 1991 I mean our Winter here in the US. I began my flying while I was down in New Zealand in the Months of December and January. Well I say onto you Cloud-Diver, if you are not hooked yet. . . STOP! Get out of Flying now. While you still have a chance to Stop flying. For once the Hook is set. Getting away from flying is almost impossible.
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By CloudDiver
Hey Everyone watching this thread, thanks for your replies and encouragement.

Here is an update on how the training went this past weekend;

Friday October 5th I went back up to Andy Jackson Air Park around lunch time. By the late afternoon the winds on the training hill were just right and Dan set up me and another student with smaller wings. I was so relieved not to fly the HUGE 330 Condor again!!!! This time it was the lime green 225 Condor. SO MUCH easier to handle and respond to course corrections. We got a bunch of runs in during the last 2 hours of daylight and I progressed my launches farther up the hill. I only had one "oops", but otherwise made some nice glides and landings. It was a HUGE confidence booster to be in control of the wing and not be tossed around like a rag doll if I made a mistake.

Saturday October 6th was a BUSY day... LOTS of flying pretty much non-stop. The wind was slack on the training hill in the morning so we set up the Condor 330 again. I was DREADING this, but it wasn't my first Rodeo doing something that made me uncomfortable and trusting that the Instructor knows what is best. In slack wind the Condor is actually really fun, I was able to glide from the top of the training hill almost effortlessly all the way to the bottom. Slight course corrections weren't always needed but when I did they actually worked, LOL! On one good run I was able to glide over the entire training hill and land the glider in the grass of the LZ (Dan said that was some kind of record). Dan was pretty pleased with my progress and so was I, I'm glad I was able to work out my poor initial impression of the big ol Condor.

Saturday Afternoon we set up Falcons for me & Scott (the other student), I flew a 170 and he had a 195 to work on landings. By this time we had cycles of light variable wind coming up the training hill that went slightly cross on occasion. Watching all the wind socks we waited to pick the right cycle and worked on strong launches and landing flares. I won't say I didn't screw up a few of these, but I got way more good landings than bad and managed a few fair saves from wonky round-outs. My worst was probably launching on a poor cycle where the wind went slack almost immediately as I took my first big step, the lack of lift had me come down only 2/3 down the hill and ground loop to the right. Lesson learned, wait for the right air. Otherwise, I really had fun and got the wing going at a good clip making nice landings, still trying to make it to the grass to see if I could beat what I did with the big Condor.

That afternoon session went from about 1230 to 1530 and we made tons of runs on the hill, I didn't count (maybe I should have?). With another student coming for hill training at about 1600 Dan decided to have Tim run the Training Hill and we packed up the Falcon Tandem to fly the approach from Crestline. We missed the window by probably about 30 minutes, it was 1630 I think and the cloud base had already covered the launch so we had to turn back down the mountain and launch from Marshall. The tandem flight was great and it helped relieve some anxiety I had about navigating the approach. Dan wasn't worried about lift at all, just showing me the base course and the approach so the flight was probably about 15 minutes as I imagine the descent rate of tandem flight is pretty rapid compared to a Solo pilot. It was easy to see the LZ and numerous visual Nav features so I was pretty happy to experience the approach from the flying perspective rather than trying to mentally picture it from overhead maps and the view from the LZ. My only gripe, and what makes me nervous about the next tandem where Dan wants me to fly the entire approach, is that its INCREDIBLY difficult for me to bank and round-out the turns on the Tandem. I'm a light-weight pilot at 150 lbs, it was really tough to yank that big tandem glider in either direction given its huge surface area along with Dan's 6 ft 3" frame and roughly 215 lbs... He did have to help me turn. I'm not worried about turning the Falcon 170 on a Solo flight, that shouldn't be an issue, but when I have to show Dan that I can navigate the approach on the next check ride (probably 2 more tandems), I hope I can get the big tandem wing in the right direction fast enough to keep course. I'm also a little anxious about the descent rate and judging when to start final to make a smooth approach on the grass in the LZ, the last thing I want to do is drag toes down the training hill again!
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By CloudDiver
So I stayed Saturday night and Dan had been planning to have me do another Tandem check ride, however the wind direction decided to shift to Northerlies for the entire day and into the week so flying was no-go. Right now it looks like I'll be back at hopefully this coming Friday while the weekend itself looks 50/50. We'll have to see how the forecast develops this week.

I'm not really keeping score in terms of how many 'lessons' or total flights I have (was I supposed to?), I'm pretty much just listening to what Dan says we do next. So it appears now that I will do at least 1 if not 2 more Tandem check rides and then after that I should Solo #1. If I said I wasn't at all nervous you know I'd be lying. What I can say is that each stage of Dan's instruction has been confidence boosting so the anxiety about what I don't know becomes less of an issue as I learn more. Dan is a great Instructor and incredible dude in general, I'm fairly certain I don't have to explain that to anyone who has ever met him. So I'm hopeful that after the Tandem check rides I'll feel pretty good about making the approach to the LZ and picking the right line. What surprises even myself is that I had no hesitation or butterflies when Dan and I launched of Marshall on that first Tandem flight, I guess its just pretty re-assuring having him there and in control of the wing. That said, I hope I'm able to have the same calm and determination when I do it Solo. Until then I'm going to nurse my shin splints from dragging toes down the training hill one too many times and finish reading the book, try to keep myself mentally in the game for the next flight.
By blindrodie
Good on Ya Cloud diver! "Slack" wires- "nil" wind! :twisted:

Keep us in the loop...

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By klh
Hi Luke,

We met at the LZ on the 5th. Glad to hear it's going well and you're 'discovering' flight secrets in the usual progression.

You should indeed keep track of all your training hill flights and tandems. There are ratings thresholds that require a certain number of flights and every one of those training hill flights counts. Also valuable to go back and read your training hill logs from time to time as you progress.

The thing to remember steering the tandem glider as PIC lighter than copilot is to start your inputs early and hold them long enough for the glider to respond. It's just slower. Muscling it is not the way to go. Dance with the wing.

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By Windlord
klh wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:06 pm
He solo'd from Marshall last weekend, made the LZ with no grass stains or (visible) leaking fluids.
Dang! The leaky fluid syndrome, I hate when that happens. :oops:
Congrats on the solo. :thumbsup:
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By CloudDiver
Hey everyone... sorry I haven't updated in a bit.

I did write out everything in a flight log I made on excel. I'll share that file with everyone if the template is of interest.

So this past weekend I did Solos #2 & 3. Here's a quick video of my 3rd flight, around 1730 on 27 October, 2018.

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