Saturday, June 30, 2007

Some of the crowd this evening at our annual July 4Th party. Menu for the night: hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings, some fantabulous desserts, and 2 kegs of beer. Some folks would say that beer is it's own food group, some would say it makes for a great dessert, and then some of us would say~~ hope they enjoyed it, ha ha. Some times it is better watching them, than watching TV, but that's just me, he he. I know,,,I'm sick. However, I am getting better One Day at a Time !
We also had the "Just Reeves Band" playing for us tonight. What a very special time that we had. It had rained enough here this week, that we were able to have a bon-fire (like we really needed it), and have the ambiance of it during the festivities.

With it getting dark at 9:05 in the evenings now days, students get to enjoy a lot of evening glass off tows. Those get them one step closer to the big prize--- a solo mountain flight.
I think this is one of my better shots. I got really lucky catching this one ! Especially, since my battery in the camera died 2 shots later. A couple of very special friends live VERY close to where this looks like it hit. If you click the pic, you will be able to see their porch light on the ridge. I hope Terry & Linda have lights, TV, etc.... when they get home.
This is kind of a different shot. It was very fast, and very dark. One of the tandem pilots was coming in from the last flight of the day, and came just close enough to the bon-fire for me to catch enough light for this shot. You can see part of the fire, and part of the glider. I thought it was kind of cool.
A couple of really classy Ladies at the party this evening, and my friend and neighbor Rick, Sr.
I hope that Mary Jo, Sandy, and Linda like their shot. However, I have as of yet to meet a woman that likes her picture. There's always a first-----it could happen, ha ha!
I hope everyone has a safe, funn, and memorable July 4Th. Please remember our service people that are still in harms way so that we may enjoy nights like this. And, always remember
Land of the Free~~ Because of the Brave !

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bald Eagles off the endangered list

(CNN) -- The bald eagle, America's national symbol, is flying high after spending three decades in recovery. On Thursday, the government took the eagle off the Endangered Species Act's "threatened" list.
"The eagle has returned," Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne told government officials, wildlife conservationists and journalists at a ceremony held on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.
"Today is an opportunity to celebrate and draw inspiration," Kempthorne added

This is great news ! Here is the link to read the rest of the story:

A few years ago, while flying Whitwell during the team challenge, I had the priviledge to thermal with one of the magnificant creatures. I was wayyyy out classed. I was only able to stay with it for a couple of 360s however, I will never forget it. We weren't that close, however I was able to see it's eyes, and see how it would move it's head, adjust it's wings, etc.....
For that brief moment in time, there was NO difference between us. We were kindred spirits, and like birds of a feather. It's a lot of those type of moments that keeps me reaching for the clouds. The sky is NOT the limit. Guess I'm just a birdwannabe !

Monday, June 25, 2007

While working today in North Carolina, a bad storm brewed up. The gust front had winds over 50+mph and some small hail. I thought for sure there was going to be a tornado just anytime!

I pulled into my driveway to enjoy this spectacular sight ! I call this one, Heavens Gate. I will probably enter it into this years Dade County calendar contest. Maybe.....

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Team Challenge is coming up in a few months. There was an article that Ollie wrote for the OZ report. Click the link below to have all the information.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I have had a couple of friends & family members asking me about the sunsets from where I live now. Here's this evenings shot. There isn't a bad sunset, unless you can't see the sun, haha!

Ollie is home now, and back to doing his fantabulous job of meterology forecasting for us ! Thanks Ollie, and I pray for a speedy recovery !

The link below is pretty amazing, especially for someone as "young at heart" as he is !

World Multiple Kite Flying Champion
Stay for the landings

Great News ~ ~ ~ Ollie is OUTTA THERE ! I wonder, is Jackie is going to give him a little bell to ring when he needs something? haha just kidding. Very happy that he's heading home ! I can't imagine he will be in the house long enough to get cabin fever tho'! Nope, not him. He is already writting up the forecasts again, woohoo !

New Email :
"I'm being discharged so the new adventure starts at the house. Walking just fine on crutches and not much pain. Uvula still in the way, but is shrinking and not as red hot.
Ya'll step up and help the new hang two pilots get started at Henson's. I'll post the forecast and everything.
Can't wait to get out there again.
Ollie "

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ollie's wife has made a short slide show for all of us to enjoy. There has been a lot of talk about Ollie's engorged Uvula. Seems he didn't have enough problems when he came in. So, the anesthetist ran a tube down his throat and really messed his mouth/throat up. I have never seen anything like this, and can't even imagine the discomf0rt associated with it !

This was her( Ollie's wife--Jackie) post about the situation:

I know I've made a lot of jokes about Ollie's uvula. I shouldn't have,because it is very serious. He had a bad fever last night, and the uvula was getting bigger by the minute. They think that the nurse anesthetist sucked it up in the vacuum when he was being extubated after surgery.Of course, given that he had that open fracture, AND was getting IVAncef (which clearly wasn't touching his infected uvula) we had to wonder about those nasty antibiotic resistant microbes which are raging in the hospitals these days.
We got irritated when the ENT blew it off. They weren't wanting to get involved in the sordid messturbation of Ollie's seriously engorged uvula. To make the very long uvula story shorter (size does matter),Ollie got some Amoxicillin and decadron sometimes after midnight this morning. His fever roared a bit more in the wee hours, but I guess it"broke" as they say, because this AM Ollie's uvula is quite flaccid,which is no less disturbing to the poor thing than the uvular priapismthat he has been suffering with the last 48 hours. Now the uvula is quite long and thin. We suspect that this may be permanent unless he gets surgical intevention.I'll keep you updated. For now, you can view this movie called"Engorged Uvula"
which was finished just last night.
I will now start on my next feature, a sequel called "Flaccid Uvula".
Thank you, Kathy, for your concern.
I pray this never happens in your family.

Latest Email from Ollie--

I'm improving steadily n will probably go home today or tomorrow, Had a fever last night which I assume is from my poor old uvula. It seems to be traumatized and got infected. My anesthesiologist must have played games with it and the suction tube. Jackie has made a video slide show that she'll post on youtube to my shame and embarrassment. It is pretty funny.

Monday, June 18, 2007

These next paragraphs are from Ollie in the hospital bed. I'm sure alot of his friends are worried about him, and would like to know how he's doing. It's always better to hear it from the proverbial, Horse's mouth, instead of 3td/4th/5th parties versions. Here is the lastest news, straight from him.

"Hi yall. I busted my knee up pretty bad. I sure appreciate all the effort from my rescue crew. you guys were awsome. just to let ya know how tough it was. my left kneecap was torn off on the lower side n my leg was locked at bout ninty degrees. big ugly gapping wound u could see the inside of my joint since the kneecap was setting bout five inches higher than usual. carl said it was narly gettig up to me from the dirt road. rocks n briars n logs n super steep.carl n eric got me situated on my harness. lunch is served. more later."

Next Email:
"Rest of the story. I was gonna brag on my rescue team. It was a brilliant rescue. I was banged up pretty bad and my knee was locked at 90 degrees. Carl suggested we us my moyes matrix harness as a skid/ stretcher and slide me down the mountain. I had a tie down strap in the harness and we had the biner.

At first it was just Carl and Eric. Before too long, Terry and James joined in the efforts to get me down. I was all the way on the ground so it didn't take too long to get situated. Man they worked their asses off skidding me down the mountain. I really appreciate it. I can't imagine how it could have gone any better with a full rescue crew.

Thanks guys! I'm gonna be in a straight leg brace for two months, then some rehab if it goes well, so doubt I'll be back on the hills for a few months. Thanks for all the words encouragement."

"Had a nice visit from Bill and Susie Sparks. Got to walk around some with the walker and things are getting easier. Got my laptop too. I feel pretty good ths afternoon. I'll see you all soon.
I love this sport and my flying buddies.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yesterday was a spectacular day. You could really choose the conditions that you wanted to fly in. Whether it was in the heat of the day with rodeo air, or later in the day with less rock'n'roll and still fly in some good ridge lift. I had a lot of work to do at the house, so the earlier flight wasn't really an option,, so I settled for later in the day. There was still some nice thermals to challenge, and tease us to see just how high we could get. 2 1/2 hours before dark, I was still able to work a couple of snaky thermals to a little over 1,200 over the mountain. Carl told me that in the heat of the day, he was able to get about 7,000 over, however, that still wasn't to base. A couple other pilots told me that earlier is was really rowdy and gnarly. Wish I could have played in it, but I was happy to take my 2 hours as I got them. At least I was able to take off and fly for a while. I have never enjoyed a glider more than I do this new Sport 2. The launching and landing characteristics of it are incredible. There was many times yesterday in the ridge lift as light as it was, I would have been on the deck in my old K-4, however, I stayed pretty high in the stack most of the time with full VG. I have yet had a need for the wheels that I have on the base tube, however, they will come in handy when I tow.
On a more somber note, Ollie Gregory, Pilot and all around Great guy, stalled his rigid today off of Whitwell. He blasted his knee terribly, and had to have surgery this evening. Jackie, his wife, said he was going to be immobile for a long time, but he was in great spirits. Thanks went out to Carl, Terry Presley, Wayne, and Eric Donaldson for their assistance getting him off the front of the mountain. Goes to show, Bad things happen to good people. He is tops in my book, and I will be saying a major Prayer for him this evening. Hope you will do the same.
Thanks & Gentle summer breezes !

Friday, June 15, 2007

This is for all the smart Hang Glider pilots out there, or anyone really. How good is your vocabulary? This will test you for sure !

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How do you keep the grunge out of your camelbacks?
How do you get it out once it is set up in there?
This is a couple of the questions that is being passed around on the TTT forum. Just thought I would share some responses to that, if anyone else has ever wondered what other people do. Please feel free to post a comment if you like.
This is what I do:
First thing I do is, Plop Plop, fizz fizz. 2 alka selsers, while it bubbling I run some of that bubbling crude thru the tube, and let it perculate, then drain. Next, I put a small amount of bleach and fill with water, mix, and run a small amount thru the tube. Then I lay it down in the sink for about an hour to cook. Afterwards, I run all that mix thru the tube. Once that is gone, I fill with water, and slosh it around good, and run thru tube. I do that twice, then fill with water and throw it in the fridge.
The only time I go thru this much trouble, is when I forget about it in the back of the vehicle, or/and at the end of the year at which time I drain and put it up, AFTER I have let it dry out.
Some people even like brushing the tube.
Anyone else have technics that they use?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Eric Donaldson goes 85.8 and Greg Heckman in the mighty S2 goes 86.9 off Whitwell to west of I-65 near Pulaski TN.
Wayne Walker,(driver extrodinar'), rolled in to pick up Eric before he was in the bag! They didn't have radios! Greg is only 9.8 miles to the south on the same road. They will be scooped up and on the way home in 30 minutes. Wayne is psychic!
This was the teaser write up from todays flying in the Sequatchie Valley. With all the great conditions that we have been having, I am very surprised there hasn't been some comp pilots come to take advantage of it. I was thinking of one in particular,,, Mark P. from Arkansas. He just loves to come and claim state records, and with the records being under 110 miles for Henson's, Whitwell, and my home site in Alabama-- Keel Mtn. in Gurley (outside of Huntsville), I would think those would be some easy points for someone. JMHO.
I can just imagine this years Team Challenge at the Tennessee Tree Toppers, what a great meet we are going to have. And, if I was a betting man, I would bet there are some new distance records going to be set, if the weather holds like it is now. But gesshhh, we need the rain. My garden dont like city water, hahaha!
Gentle breezes, mixed with 10mph pushing you downwind !

Saturday, June 09, 2007


She looks a lot better now, dont you think??
Rides better since I had it made into a Lowboy also.
When it isnt flyable, and I'm not having to work, either on the job or the house, maybe I will to spend a little time enjoying it!! Like this evening in the LZ at the weekly cookout! Lots of flying going on here today. Not a spot to even set up on launch. I should have gone to Henson's, and flown back to the LZ here! ! ! ! ! I'm sure someone did, haha!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Can you say----- Gust Front? This was my first chance to see a storm moving thru the valley since we have moved up top of Lookout Mtn., what fun ! Glad I wasn't watching this from the air.

And what a lovely sunset also.

This was from the day that I picked up the bike, and was heading home for the first time, since she was fixed up. OH Joy, Joy ! I will post a better picture of it in a day or two. It's good to be able to share my pictures again with my family and friends. I have missed posting them.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting lately, however, the draught should be close to being over. I haven't been doing much of anything but working on the new place. It has been up to my eyeballs, but it's only up to my, mmm, knees now, haha.
I wrote this poem some time ago, and it was published somewhere, in some magazine, however.... I didn't pay the money they wanted, so it may not have been.

Precious Time

I am lifted by the wind to heights amidst the sky.
I place myself in unison with the clouds, soaring with the eagles.
The sun dances across my face as if to say,
" Your not alone here."
I fly among the clouds as a child at play.
With the earth far below my feet, the fast pace life
beneath me does not exist in this world.
Just the warm air over my wings, and the steady rhythm
of the wind as my kite contently sings to me.
Then and there, I find my Peace,
For the is where:
The Lord and I touch the sky.

Ray Helman