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By appleboy
#105711
Are there any groups or instructors who could help me get off the ground in Alaska?

I'm in Anchorage and I have seen a few hang gliders, but didn't get a chance to talk to them... I was backpacking when they flew overhead with several hundred feet of elevation.

I am also looking for a beginner wing and am not sure where to start my search...any suggestions? I would prefer to keep it as inexpensive as possible.
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By Lobido
#105719
Welcome, Appleboy! I lived in Fairbanks many years ago. Dunno any Alaskan flyers, but as to equipment, a Falcon is always a good beginner glider. I'll hope others can help you in your quest.
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By Lobido
#105726
I have flown with a light trainer harness and a full on pod, so I would suspect it is safe, weightwise, although it would need to be carefully situated to make certain it doesn't interfere with any aspect of your flight. My guess is you would really want to modify a harness with additional pockets for whatever you want to fly with, to avoid the possibility of having an issue while flying just because you wanted to carry cargo. What are you planning on carrying? That may move responses in an appropriate direction.
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By wilburleft
#105737
hey apple,

i've heard of folks hang gliding at Hatcher Pass. I think it's mostly paragliding in AK because of dificult access to launch and limited landing options. I took a tandem pg ride at Alyeska intending to take lessons so i could hike and fly but never did it. At Alyeska they ride the tram to the top in the summer. If you had a short pack glider like a Falcon 3 they might let you carry it up but I think the soaring is limited at Alyeska so it probably wouldn't be worth it for just a sled run. If you can find a mtn with a road to the top, a clear launch area, and decent landing fields below you might be in luck. But check out Hatcher Pass.
By CRV
#105753
Appleboy...

Check your PM...just sent you a contact you can check out for flying in Alaska... :thumbsup:
By Tom
#105772
The flying is actually pretty good at Alyeska in the summer. Around solstice time there is an annual fly-in, and if the weather's right people can get thermal flights of several hours in addition to "sled rides" (short glides from top to bottom) all day long. Unfortunately it is primarily (if not completely) paragliding. The launch and landing areas are big and would be fine for hang gliding, though, so the main thing you need to do (besides learning how to fly) is overcome the logistical challenge of getting the glider up the tram.
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By FBickford
#106224
There are a few hang glider pilots I've heard of in AK. Most of my family is there.

Where were you when they flew over? (hang gliders or para gliders?)

I remember seeing a guy with an enclosed trailer driving around Anchorage and Palmer with instruction advertisments for Hang Gliding some years ago.

Fred
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By appleboy
#106233
I was in the Talkeetnas both times I saw hang gliders.
By Skysailor1
#158056
Hello, I see some pictures and comments on hanggliding Alaska, Here is some old history and hope you enjoy it. I have pictures from the old days and may try and post them soon. Ok. I see a picture video of Eagle Summit ,north of Fairbanks just above the artic circle from 2006. Sure know that spot well and it brings back some old memories. This site was discovered by myself , Butch Wade, who used to be one of the owners of Klean Fun Kites in Anchorage and was the person that taught me to fly in May of 75. I was living in Fairbanks at the time. In the first week of Aug 1975 we traveled in my Chevy pickup and my Seagull III up the long dirt road to Eagle Summit. Butch and I, and our friend Barry, drove to the base of the summit and made the short hike to the top. Our friend Barry took the pictures of the takeoffs and the flights and we landed down the valley on the road to Circle Hotsprings. Butch took the first flight in my seated glider and I took the second. According to Butch and a number of other pilots , we were the first hangglider pilots to fly above the Artic Circle and we were the first to fly Eagle Summit. We flew several more times that day in early August 75 before calling it a day and camping at the camping area. The camping area is behind the summit and after a couple of more trips before winter we returned in June 76 and discovered the ridge behind Eagle summit which became the early records of soaring in Alaska. Gene Makaastad had the soaring record of 4 hours that yr until his untimely crash and death later in Aug of 76. I do not know what the soaring record is now for Alaska. Gene was a member of the Skysailors club like so many of us were in the good old days. He is buried at the foot of the mountain near Fire lake where he and Jeff Bennet were flying . Jeff was seriously injured during that same day , both being caught in a rotor as they flew the mountain at Fire Lake near Palmer, together in their separate gliders. In 1976 after we discovered the site behind Eagle Summit at the camping area, and we realized the real prime flying site was this ridge just south of Eagle Summit and next to the camping area run by the state. It was still wild and wooly in those days. Not only because the gliders were just being produced and many were still prototypes to say the least and this was before the parachutes. I remember a young lady that worked for the state highway system that we had met up there was later severly mauled near there by a black bear. So we kept our watch our for bears and always liked to camp at the camping area and then fly all day and head to the Circle Hots Springs up the road for a welcomed soak in the huge Olympic style pool that was about 106 degrees and the bar. I used to drink in those days and everyone that went there would sign their name on the wall of the bar or on the post. Our signatures are hopefully still there. It had thousands and thousands of names even back then. We would return to the camping area and after some rest , and sober up sometimes we would fly most of the day. I learned quickly that if you tried to fly for long periods of time you would be so tired and out of adrenaline that you couldnt fly the rest of the day. Remember that Eagle summit is above the Artic Circle and in Aug it really never gets dark. So you basically had nearly 24 hours of daylightto fly. When the light winds hit the ridge the up air was fantastic and would sometimes hold for the better part of the day . I found myself more comfortable with 30 minute to 1 hour flights ridgesoaring the very long ridge. At the end of the ridge is what we called the "Salad Bowl" because it was more carved out and a little steeper. I remember the day that I caught the first Wave ever flown in Alaska in early July 76. I had just read an article that was in my Hanglider Magazine and I think I still have that issue. I still have about 10 Groundskimmer issues, a couple of Hangliding and 1 Wings issue left. It described how the Wave was formed from a distant mountain and the possiblities of extreme violent up air. Myself , Ed Kavelik, Kent Hudson who were also part owners of the Klean Fun Kites and Skysailor members, were all flying the ridge at about 300 to 500 ft above it trying to milk the ridge,"crabbing" for the up air and the soaring it gave. We were yelling at each other and flying close to each other sometime dropping down to ridge high but always getting back up some more. I had another kite made by Sun, and it was a Sun III Swallowtail and was using it that day, seated position which I flew mostly but also had a UP prone harness that I flew some also. I was way down at the Salad Bowl and all of a sudden my kites yaw string went crazy flapping and extreme upair started creaking my leading edges, and sails. It was definetly scarey and got your attention. My climb was rapidly up. I tried to pull the bar in to penetrate and get out of it but no go. Up Up Up until I was now well above the ridge at 1500 ft or more and still climbing . Everyone was yelling at me and I realized I was no longer in control of the ridge soaring band. I eventually started to notice alittle less turbulance and pushed forward , pulling in on the control bar toward Eagle Summit which was the mountain that was producing the rare Wave phenomina. I went along ways out into the valley almost to the road at Eagle Summits base and decided that I really needed to try and get back to the ridge before I would have that terrible walk out the bottoms. (Been there done that too) I turned a 180 and got back to the ridge where I was now only about 300to400 fr above the Salad bowl and turned her back into the light wind. I had lost the Wave and considerable altitude. I was now back in the ridge soar band and back to an altitude of our small group. It was maybe a 20 minute experience. Everyone was yelling and hollering ,,,,it was pretty cool. I did not encounter another wave again that day but would always suggest to watch that area for the most incredible hang gliding situation .....the Wave . Well anyway to let you know alittle more , the very first festival was July 4, 1975 at Hatchers Pass in the Talkeetnas Mtns on the way to Willow. It was called the Midnight Suds in the Sun Hangliding festival and pilots from all over the States came. Over 90 pilots showed up and gliders were everwhere. We had a live band playing down at the bottom and the 700ft takeoff with the road next to it was very busy with pilots taking off one right after the others and being picked up down the valley and trucked back up for more flights. If you are going thru the pass and just on the right there is a peak we called "Nixon head " because the profile looked like Richard Nixon. A large group of us climbed from the road with our kites and took off at midnight in the twilight of the Alaska summer and spiraled down to the tundra and the band area below, to the cheering of the crowds. It was one sweet time . There was a girl named Andrea Newcomb in our club and I think she broke here wrist in a accident there that weekend. We had another near fatal accident when a fixed wing Icarus II took off and he had immediate problems from the 700ft takeoff. He went nearly straight in and hit the tundra and received life threatening injuries. Butch Wade had a radio telephone that was there for emergency and it still took more than an hour or so to get an Air Force helicopter there . I remember the red smoke that marked the down pilot but they got him to the hospital and after many months of mending numerous broken bones he did recover. I cant remember his name as he was from the lower 48 I think. The next day some vehicles went south down the Little Susitna river and waited for the attempts to fly from the Pass down to the small parking lot at the Restaurant some 9 miles down the valley toward Palmer I think. Some of us made it and some didnt' but there were vehicles all along the road to help get those that came up short. It was one incredible weekend. I still have all the pics so maybe I can post some so that you folks dont think , I am just pulling your chain and it didnt happen. I still miss that alot. God Bless, Just thought some would like to hear some of the early days of hanggliding , even way up in Alaska. God Bless, Skysailor1
By Skysailor1
#158063
ok,,,here are a few pictures of the first flights from Eagle summit Early Aug 75
Attachments
2st flight from above Arctic cirlce 1975 August.jpg
2st flight from above Arctic cirlce 1975 August.jpg (96.7 KiB) Viewed 11727 times
2st flight from above Arctic cirlce 1975 August.jpg
2st flight from above Arctic cirlce 1975 August.jpg (96.7 KiB) Viewed 11727 times
By Skysailor1
#158064
Butch Wade wire assiting me on the Second flight from Eagle Summit 1975 Seagull III
Attachments
Bill Sheka wire assist at Eagle Summitt sun burst Aug 1975.jpg
Bill Sheka wire assist at Eagle Summitt sun burst Aug 1975.jpg (66.47 KiB) Viewed 11722 times
By Skysailor1
#158065
this one is 1976 and the Ridge behind Eagle Summit and the "Salad Bowl" in my Sun III Swallowtail
Attachments
Hang Glise Bill Sheka Soaring Eagle summitt 1977 July.jpg
Hang Glise Bill Sheka Soaring Eagle summitt 1977 July.jpg (72.49 KiB) Viewed 11715 times
By Skysailor1
#158066
Ridge soaring toward the "Salad Bowl"
Attachments
Butch Wade and Bill Sheka soaring Eagle summitt 2.jpg
Butch Wade and Bill Sheka soaring Eagle summitt 2.jpg (95.99 KiB) Viewed 11709 times
By Skysailor1
#158067
Klean Fun Kites in Anchorage and Butch Wade
Attachments
Klean Fun Kites and Butch Wade Anchorage 1975.jpg
Klean Fun Kites and Butch Wade Anchorage 1975.jpg (106.44 KiB) Viewed 11706 times
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By QuienesSuPa
#158069
Skysailor1,
Awesome, wish I could buy you a beer for that one. Sounds like an incredible journey. I can relate on a smaller scale since Villa Grove (A remote and epic flying site in Colorado) has 2 hot springs that you can fly to and warm up the bones. One of the best things EVER! If they only had a bar!

Take care and thanks for sharin!
BJ
By Skysailor1
#158070
Over head shot from the 700 ft takeoff at Hatchers Pass, July , 1975
Attachments
Bill Sheka Overhead shot at Hatchers Pass July75.jpg
Bill Sheka Overhead shot at Hatchers Pass July75.jpg (73.15 KiB) Viewed 11699 times
By Skysailor1
#158071
Hatchers Pass and me in my Seagull III
Attachments
Hang glide Bill Sheka Seagull 3 Hatchers pass 2.jpg
Hang glide Bill Sheka Seagull 3 Hatchers pass 2.jpg (101.25 KiB) Viewed 11697 times
By Skysailor1
#158072
Takeoff at Hatchers Pass the 700 ft hill July 3rd 1975
Attachments
Hang glide Bill Sheka Seagull 3 Hatchers pass 75 takeoff.jpg
Hang glide Bill Sheka Seagull 3 Hatchers pass 75 takeoff.jpg (126.35 KiB) Viewed 11694 times

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