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By miraclepieco
Well, it's happened again, this time to a paraglider.

A mixed group of Hang and Para pilots flew Elsinore and went XC. One of the paras got low and "a concerned citizen" (ie old fuddy-duddy with a cell phone and no life who desperately wants to somehow be the center of attention) called 9-1-1. This non-story was reported in the Elsinore press as "Paraglider Blown Off Course," like it was a 747 going down in a cow pasture. The lazy press simply regurgitated hearsay from some uninformed "witnesses" and never spoke to the PG'er himself. In fact the PGer got back up and flew to his pre-arranged destination. He then had the courage to call the press to task on their lazy-ass reporting by publicly disputing the facts. Here's the story:

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 26, 2013: A paraglider got more than he bargained for Saturday when high winds carried him four miles off course from the Ortega Mountains and forced him to land at a Lake Elsinore all terrain vehicle area, a sheriff's corporal said.

Witnesses on Interstate 15 alerted dispatchers at 2:06 p.m. about the paraglider who appeared to be coming in too low. Eastern winds blew the paraglider toward the ATV area where he landed without injury, Riverside County sheriff's Cpl. Joshua Morales said.

The paraglider whose name was not immediately available intended to land at the base of the Ortega Mountains when he was blown off course, Morales said.

UPDATE OCT. 28, 2013: A Lake Elsinore paraglider pilot is disputing the facts of the story below from City News Service that was posted Oct. 26, 2013 on Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch.

According to Michael "Everyday Mike" Estrada, he was with the group of hang glider and paraglider pilots who all launched together from the Ortega mountains above Lake Elsinore Saturday afternoon. Three hang glider and five paraglider pilots were in the group that included Estrada, he said.

Prior to the launch, three of the paraglider pilots agreed they were going "cross country" to a residence off Lemon Street in Wildomar; the rest of the group would pilot to a designated 56-acre landing area near SR-74 and Grand Avenue, according to Estrada.

Of the three who were headed to Wildomar, one paraglider pilot landed in an empty field near The Diamond Stadium, another near the Lemon Street destination, and one other landed in an open area just off Franklin Street, east of the 15 Freeway, in Lake Elsinore, Estrada explained.

One of the paraglider pilots did fly low over the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, but did not touch down there, he continued.

Saturday afternoon Estrada said winds were coming out of the south, not out of the east as reported by City News Service. He also said high winds were not a factor Saturday afternoon when the launch occurred around 2 p.m.

According to archived weather data for that date, winds were blowing out of the west/northwest at 3 mph with top winds reaching 14 mph and gusts up to 21 mph.

Estrada explained that if winds had been non-conducive, "we would not have launched."

Nothing was amiss Saturday, he added. No one was hurt in the incident and everyone made it safely to their destinations, he said.

Estrada also maintained that no one in the group ended up in the Lake Elsinore Skylark Field Airport drop zone. The facility is used for skydiving.

Comments + Leave a Comment
michael estrada October 28, 2013 at 01:07 PM
This is obviously a mistake. The story states that the pilot was blown by Eastrly winds to this ATV area from the Ortega mountains. The ATV area is East of the Ortegas. How can you be blown four miles East into an Easterly wind? Apparently no law enforcemnet talked to the pilot. They would have found that the pilot wasn't 'blown off course'. but was heading to a friends house. There were three paragliders involved. One did get low in that area and 'a concerned citizen' called 911. That pilot was able to catch a thermal and climb out of the area and then land near his house. His wife went to pick up the 2nd and third pilots. The 2nd pilot landed safely at the ATV area. This type of unconfirmed reporting is not good for the community in general and the sport specifically. Please report responsibley. The sherrif that responded did not talk to the pilot. He only talked to a dirt bike rider in the area to get the info he reported. Which was not even close to what happened. Please try to do better!
Last edited by miraclepieco on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Khalesh
hopefully the democra... I mean the concerned citizen felt better after his 911 call.
By Paraglider Collapse
While driving I became sleepy and, as we are advised to do, pulled over at a turnout to take a quick nap. I awoke surrounded by ambulances, fire trucks with lights flashing and emergency personnel banging on my window. They had received a 9-1-1 call from a "concerned citizen" that a driver was slumped over the wheel with a heart attack. The caller had never stopped to check on me, just called 9-1-1 first.
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By remmoore
I can't tell you how many times I've had police/fire/ambulance staff called for my outlandings. My personal "record" is six various departmental vehicles parked next to the field where I landed.

I think free-flight aviation freaks people out. They just don't know what they're seeing, and if its OK. Even the folks who approach me after landing (and didn't call 911) have trouble even asking a reasonable question. The last cop who came out was completely unsure about what to do with me - if anything. After asking a few vague questions aimed at seeing if I would supply damning information he could use in some way, he told me to have a nice day and left.

Mostly, emergency staff are clearly just having a good time - asking me about the joys of flight. Sometimes, they would like to pin something on me but can't seem to come up with anything and are mildly frustrated - I was once even threatened with arrest. Occasionally, they leave disappointed that they didn't find me injured in some way that would require their services.

I think the 911 system get a lot of misuse - and not just for us. Folks have been trained to call anytime they think there's even a possibility of a problem. Silly, but true.

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By kjj3dan
Of course,the opposite can occur also .A guy was found "sleeping" in his car off the road near the hospital in town when someone finally notified authorites .He had been seen by passerbys who take a shortcut through the field there but thought he was just sleeping.He had been dead for three days!
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By kukailimoku
Now that brought back a funny memory...

I made a low save over a nicely-warmed parking lot near a little league game way back in the day and managed to climb out and head downwind to the LZ a couple miles away.

One of the local pilots who was a police officer informed me the next weekend of the TWO 911 calls that the department had received. Since everyone knew he was a pilot (and it was a mighty small town), he'd been asked about it.

Turns out a parent at the game had called to report me "spinning out of control" and "about to crash a broken glider". Seems he called back 10 minutes later to say, "never mind...I guess he fixed it".

Good thing I had my wrenches and my duct tape.
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By piano_man
Back in the day,

I lived on the North Shore of Oahu near Sharks Cove, swam just about every day. We go spear fish in summer, surf & body surf in winter, etc. So one time I'm swimming offshore maybe 1/4 mile and singing at the top of my lungs (while doing the elem. back stroke) trying to reach some Pavaratti high notes.

When I came up on the beach near Ke Iki rd, about 20 min. later, 2 firemen were there asked if I was O.K. and said that there was a 911 call stating someone was yelling for help. (':shock:') I said I didn't know anything about it. After that, I concentrated on piano playing and not singing.
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By dayhead
A couple/few months ago I launched Crestline and then flew East along the ridge a few miles, where I saw Kenny "Whack" Westfall's truck in the parking lot of the old Cliffhanger restaurant, where he has been doing the remodeling.

It was blowing in real nice and lift was plentiful. Kenny was waving at me to get down low so he could take some photos. In order to get down I performed some 'wangs', but the lift was so good I could only get down to about 150' over the parking lot.

Kenny kept waving to get me lower, but I yelled out "I can't get down!"

Like, what a bummer, huh?

Well, some lady in her car or maybe sitting out on her deck nearby heard me say I couldn't get down, and having observed my wangs she called 911.

She told the dispatcher that a hang glider was in distress, that he was flying "erratically" and screaming that he couldn't get down.

Anyway I didn't know about this, and after a few minutes I went on Eastward to Running Springs. I stayed down East too long and was only halfway back when the lift died out. Soon realizing I couldn't make it back to the LZ, I headed Southeast to a bailout LZ just south of the Ranger Station on Hiway 330.

On the way the Sheriff's helicopter circled around me, and when I stopped to thermal a bit over a low hill he started talking to me with his PA system. I couldn't understand him but I did hear "land" and something about pointing into the wind.

After I had refueled with about 300' of gain I continued to my bailout, made a perfect approach and just made it past the bushes to land on my wheels on the turnout.

I un-hooked and waved at the copter and he left, then a Hiway Patrol car stopped by.

He kept asking me if I was alright, I kept telling him I was fine as could be, but he kept asking if I was OK .

That was puzzling, and I didn't find out about the 911 call until my flyin' bud Kory came to get me and told me all about it. Turns out that cops had gone to our launches and the LZ asking if anyone was missing.

"Watch what you say, they'll be calling you erratical..."
User avatar
By miraclepieco
kukailimoku wrote: Turns out a parent at the game had called to report me "spinning out of control" and "about to crash a broken glider".
I once had a very successful pioneering flight at a small coastal town. The next weekend I returned, hoping for more. While "hang waiting" I had a conversation with the local tourist information volunteer. Not knowing I was the pilot who'd flown the previous weekend, he proceeded to tell me in lavish detail how, just last weekend, a hang glider with "two broken legs" had "gone down in the ocean." Yeah, that was me upright on final to a perfect beach landing.

How many hundreds of tourists did he tell that same story to?
User avatar
By TjW
On the brighter side, we did have a local stop by the Andy Jackson LZ to tell us that he had seen a paraglider drop out of sight into Devil's Canyon.
He wanted us to know where he'd seen him in case someone turned up missing.
Seemed like a reasonable response for a wuffo.

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