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This forum is dedicated to discussions on how to grow the sport of hang gliding. We will take a methodical approach to collect data and come up with implementable ideas on how to increase our numbers. This includes effective marketing, lead generation, site access issues, improving regulations, lack of instructors, lack of sites, etc

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User avatar
By flybop
#396000
One of my favorite sites is in Butte, Montana. A cool aspect of the East Ridge is that you park on one side of the continental divide and carry your wing up and over the divide. (It's not a long carry.)

Butte is known for its huge copper mine, being the home town of Rob O'neill, the Seal member who took out Bin laden and its pork chop sandwiches. What many do not know however is that Butte is the home of Evel Knievel.

Every summer there is a three day event, Evel Knievel Days. This draws a huge crowd from the region. Recently I ran into one of the top promoters and he was very interested in incorporating a demo flight of hang gliders into the program.

There is enough interest in the local pilots to pull this off. However, I want to do what we can to make this as interesting to the average visitor as possible. Launch overlooks town and is about 2600 agl. The LZ is on the edge of town, part of a park. There are some events planned for the Park on Friday and Saturday. So, there will be a "crowd" already there.

What the other pilots and I are thinking about is having us do a spot landing contest. I am considering some smoke generators, but need to do research on them. Mainly the fire safety concerns. We plan on having a wing set up with a pilot to answer questions, maybe hand out literature.

This could be a great chance to give hang gliding some positive pr. So, I would appreciate any and all ideas, advice and suggestions that will help to make this as interesting to the general public as we can. Thanks for any help here!

This is a sledder from the East Ridge from my first year of flying.

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By highhuber
#396006
flybop wrote:One of my favorite sites is in Butte, Montana. A cool aspect of the East Ridge is that you park on one side of the continental divide and carry your wing up and over the divide. (It's not a long carry.)

Butte is known for its huge copper mine, being the home town of Rob O'neill, the Seal member who took out Bin laden and its pork chop sandwiches. What many do not know however is that Butte is the home of Evel Knievel.

Every summer there is a three day event, Evel Knievel Days. This draws a huge crowd from the region. Recently I ran into one of the top promoters and he was very interested in incorporating a demo flight of hang gliders into the program.

There is enough interest in the local pilots to pull this off. However, I want to do what we can to make this as interesting to the average visitor as possible. Launch overlooks town and is about 2600 agl. The LZ is on the edge of town, part of a park. There are some events planned for the Park on Friday and Saturday. So, there will be a "crowd" already there.

What the other pilots and I are thinking about is having us do a spot landing contest. I am considering some smoke generators, but need to do research on them. Mainly the fire safety concerns. We plan on having a wing set up with a pilot to answer questions, maybe hand out literature.

This could be a great chance to give hang gliding some positive pr. So, I would appreciate any and all ideas, advice and suggestions that will help to make this as interesting to the general public as we can. Thanks for any help here!

This is a sledder from the East Ridge from my first year of flying.

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Don, That's a great plan. I have always wanted to fly ( Our Lady of The Rockies ) ridge. The launch looks like a place for good concentration and technique.though.

As far as making the day more accessible to new people, having a couple of knee hanger harnesses available and allowing people to hook in and hang in the glider is good PR. Prop up the keel with something solid to simulate being in flight and have some knowledgeable people there answering questions about flying.

You might contact USHPA and see if they have anything to handout or give away also. Getting someone to do some loops with smoke would be a big hit also but I'm not sure who to ask on that account. John Heiny, Jeff Shapiro? He's in Missoula.

When are the Evil K days scheduled for next year. A bunch of us are coming to King for the eclipse in Aug. on the 21st and some may be there earlier in July. I wouldn't mind coming to Butte and flying this site. It's only 160 air miles from King Mt

Scot.
User avatar
By flybop
#396008
Hey Scott. I'll let the Missoula guys talk to Jeff about this. It would be great to have him do some smokin' loops before we do the LZ carnage.

I'll contact USHPA about some printed materials. To the best of my knowledge the dates are July 21st thru the 23rd. I also like the idea of the knee hanger. There is an old training tripod around that may be fixable as well.

The east ridge is a visually imposing launch. The ink was barely dry on my H2 when I did my first flight there. The set up and then moving to launch is a real b****. But,when it's all said and done, it's a great site!

Does anyone have info about the smoke generators?
User avatar
By klh
#396010
That could be some great PR!

Evel K. style jumpsuits are definitely a must. Cape & cane optional.
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User avatar
By flybop
#396012
Thanks for the link on the smoke grenade Tom. It looks like rigging these things up won't be much of an issue.Just need to do some research into the the fire safety aspect.
User avatar
By mtpilot
#396015
The East Ridge is my local site and I usually get in a dozen or so flights a year.
The park lz has become more restricted due to development, dog fences, ect.
There has also been fencing at the NCAT. It is a thermic switchy place to
land mid day. Visiting pilots often overshoot. The politics in Butte are not good.
I live here and I have adopted an out of sight out of mind set. Hang gliding is
best observed from the statue. It's a great site but for many reasons not a good
choice for a fly in.
User avatar
By flybop
#396017
Hey Larry. Was hoping you'd jump in.We are not trying to turn this into a fly in. Just a few of us doing a sledder into the park. There is going to be a crowd there, in the park, Fri and Sat morning. I told the organizers that for safety reasons we want to be off the hill before 11 am.

The snow is off the Hog Back. May go for a south side sledder soon.
User avatar
By Lucky_Chevy
#396022
Raising the visibility of the sport is good if it leaves a favorable impression.

It's imperative that non of the spectators are placed at risk. It would be too easy from someone to get hit by a landing pilot while wandering too close to the LZ.

Encouraging aerobatics pushes the boundaries of pilot skill and equipment and raises the likelihood of an accident. Even spot landing contests can rack up a pile of bent down tubes.

In my opinion, the spectators would be more impressed by how calm and peaceful flying can be and by consistently good landings.
User avatar
By mtpilot
#396023
Ok Don, it sounds like you have thought it through with the AM sledders. Your
approach in the video looked great, exactly where I aim for. There have been
undesirable changes to the park and I am always fighting for our interests. Let
me know if I can help with the locals.
User avatar
By flybop
#396024
The organizers will have people there to keep spectators out of the LZ. Think big guys who ride Harleys. I plan on having a pilot in the LZ as well.

As for aerobatics: No one is going to fly outside of their comfort and safety zone. If the western Montana guys get a qualified aerobatic pilot to show up, that would be great. The LZ itself can be a spot landing. Landing there is largely how I earned my RLF sign-off.

SAFETY was from the first conversation, and will remain, the primary focus here.
By maaglide
#396027
I agree about making sure the impression is good, in particular the landings which, when "going for the spot" are often inelegant to say the least. I dont know but suspect that one of the attractions of PGing is the slow, smooth landings. So I would emphasize to the pilots to make sure the landings are controlled first and foremost and not wack due to forcing the spot! Aerobatics from a qualified pilot would be a great addition, and your other ideas are also good. Maybe the aero pilot would also have a tandem rating and could give the mayor or local media person a tandem (if the site is appropriate)? Good luck!
User avatar
By flybop
#396028
As mtpilot mentioned, the local politics have been a bit of a battle for us. One of our guys has been very deeply involved with getting matching funds for the Park improvement,I believe it is a county park. Things got rocky, but have since been smoothed out. The flying community actually owns the land where the launch is. This is good, but it has presented some problems as well.

Some of you guys have brought up a good point about LZ carnage that could result from a spot landing contest. The last thing I want is an injury or bent aluminum. I'd much rather see all of us land safely in front of a bunch of spectators.
User avatar
By TomGalvin
#396029
flybop wrote: Some of you guys have brought up a good point about LZ carnage that could result from a spot landing contest.
As an alternative to spot landings, bean bag drops on a bulls-eye enroute to the LZ can be fun too.
User avatar
By flybop
#396031
TomGalvin wrote:
flybop wrote: Some of you guys have brought up a good point about LZ carnage that could result from a spot landing contest.
As an alternative to spot landings, bean bag drops on a bulls-eye enroute to the LZ can be fun too.
I like that idea. But, there are FAR's about dropping items from an aircraft, especially near a crowd.

Years ago a guy I learned to fly with almost lost a career in the Air Force after his friends dropped tennis balls out of the plane he was flying. Something to look into.
User avatar
By Paul H
#396033
The applicable FAR allows dropping objects as long as they don't create a hazard to persons or property.
User avatar
By TomGalvin
#396035
A Hackysack sized bean bag with a streamer tail lands relatively softly. It was part of the fun meet at Ellenville in years past.
User avatar
By flybop
#396040
TomGalvin wrote:A Hackysack sized bean bag with a streamer tail lands relatively softly. It was part of the fun meet at Ellenville in years past.
I like that idea. I'll pass it along to the rest of the guys. Thanks, this is the kind of input I was looking for.

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