Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I posted this link a couple of months ago, and felt that it was time for a little positive input. There has been a little too much influx of negativity here lately for me, and I hope & pray that we are in for a stress free finish to spring & a great beginning to summer.
100% of donations go to feed stray, abandoned, and abused animals on the below site. It would be great if you could click it everyday ! ! ! Thanks, and keep your chin up( it helps hide your double-chin, if you have one):^}>


Monday, April 28, 2008

Frank Davis, a Hang 3 pilot. dies here at Lookout Mountain. He was a good man, and always had a smile, and a kind word. He will be missed by all that knew him. The story, and video link to watch the story by Channel 9 is below. This photo was taken of him and his wife, Sue, a couple of years ago at our Halloween party.

A 64-year-old Douglasville, Georgia man dies after his hang glider goes down Saturday on Lookout Mountain.
Pastor John Smith of the Piney Grove Baptist Church in Trenton said Frank Davis "had two passions in life, skiing and hang gliding. Hang gliding was number one."
Enjoying that number-one passion is how Davis ended his 64-year-life. About 5:30 Saturday afternoon the car salesman from Douglasville Georgia was flying over the top of Lookout Mountain when his hang glider took a sudden turn, according to Dade County Sheriff's Department Major Jackie Womack.
Fellow pilots who were there say it appears Davis had a heart attack while he was aloft and tried to land as quickly as possible, but lost control in his steep decent and hit a tree. Major Womack said Davis was flown to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga but later died from neck and head injuries.
"Just one of those things where you could just never anticipate. He was a really healthy guy, just happy-go-lucky. I guess we're all just in shock, nobody could believe it," Pastor Smith said.
Davis and his wife Susan loved Lookout Mountain and hang gliding so much, they were thinking about moving from Douglasville to a more permanent home near the flight park landing strip in Trenton, according to several hang gliders we spoke with.
Lookout Mountain Flight Park owner Matt Tabor said Davis bought a condo near the landing strip. In the last couple years they came up from the metro Atlanta area every other weekend to share flying and being with their new friends.
"That's what he wanted to do when he retired. They wanted to retire here, live here and hang glide anytime he could instead of doing it every other weekend," Pastor Davis said.
The Davis' also made Piney Grove Baptist Church their new home-away-from-home, meeting new friends and becoming active in Pastor Smith's congregation.
Pastor Smith recalled "most visitors at their first time at a church, they generally sit in the back and they certainly didn't sit in the back. Not Frank and Susan. They came right up to the front, second row right in front of the pulpit from that point on, that's where they always sat."
Funeral arrangements were being made Monday by Davis' family in Douglasville

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The USHGF, The Foundation for Hang gliding, and Paragliding,inc., was at Lookout Mountain Flight Park today, for their annual business meeting. All but two of the members were on hand to work all day on different projects and ideas. I will be adding a link the their website soon. Until then, the link is: http://www.ushgf.org/index.htm . They really help a lot of different people, in a lot of different areas, in the flying communities. Please check out their site. I have read about a lot of different sites that wouldn't be around today, if it wasn't for this charitable organization.

Bottom row: Mark Forbes, Russ Locke, Connie Locke, Doug Sharpe. Standing: Riss Estes, Matt Tabor, and Randy Leggett. Not shown: Bill Bolosky, and Steve Onstad.

Their Focus is:
Site Preservation-
Site development, improvement, and preservation
Education -
Grants for pilot training and education, promotion and development of hang gliding and paragliding to the general public.
Competition Assistance Grants

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today was a fly day for all levels of pilots. In the heat of the day,,,it was Rodeo air,which I love, and a little later, it calmed down enough for all that wanted, or could, to have a nice evening glass off. Colin stated that he got in the middle of one of those honkin' thermals and it spit him out at 6,600. I'm not sure if that was MSL or AGL? He wasn't dressed appropriately for it, which ever.
I got a flight report from Dub in Huntsville. He stated that 9 pilots flew there today. He flew for about 3 hours, and the top of the lift was at 3,300 over the mountain. Keel Mtn. is 960 agl. He has been flying for over 20 years, and is a great pilot. However, as he put it, he was retaught a old lesson today. He had gotten too far away from the LZ, pulled string, and got target fixated on "having" to land in the primary LZ, even though there were landing areas everywhere on the way back. He made it to the LZ without enough altitude to get back into the wind and had to do a cross-downwind landing. We aren't as young as we once were, but he gave it the ole' college try! He ran hard and fast, but the topless glider got ahead of him and he had a minor whack. Nothing broken, nothing bent, and he was able to walk away from it. It could have been ugly, to put it mildly. I wrote this as a reminder to all of us of an important lesson we learned in the beginning, whether we are in the "fish bowl" or on a great XC flight, never get target fixed on anything or any idea. Always be open to all of the possibilities, and options.
John Stokes's sister was able to take her first tandem flight for a spectacular sunset flight. After the sun went down, I went down to the breakdown area to see if anyone needed a body ride back up top, and was rewarded when I find out that Ricker was cooking for the tug pilots, tandem pilots, and anyone else that happened to be hungry. He had even cooked some of his crawfish bisque, and it was every bit as good as I had heard others talk about. Good stuff.
Even tho' I couldn't fly today, I took my new race harness down to the gazebo to hang in it, and try to get a good feel for it. My elbow is still hurting like a beast. I can't even do 1 push-up on my right arm right now. So, I will have it looked at this next week, to see if more harness physical therapy can be done on it, or I had better leave it alone. I am loosing way too much airtime, and I'm really hurting to get back in the air asap.
The link below is another great place to thank our men & women for the things that they are doing for us.

The Gratitude Sign

Ever wonder how to say thank you when you see a military person in uniform?
See a simple way to do it from across a room or as you are passing by.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today, I had a Hang Gliding simulator set up for anyone & everyone to enjoy. I think that I had about 75 kids and 2 adults to play. It was a long, hot, and very tiring day. Why did I do it, besides to promote our sport? Look at the pictures below.
This is my first attempt at being a tandem pilot, don't think this really counts.

I wonder if they will start dreaming of flying, like the rest of us??

Scott's a bi-wingual pilot here at Lookout mountain. He's also a fantastic airbrush artist. His art is only surpassed by his ability to fly ! ! !! He had his trailer set up today, also. Every time that I looked over his & Lia's way,,,there was always a long line of folks. People know quality !

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Dade county Chamber of Commerce has it's annual banquet tonight. You're never going to believe who the guest speaker was? John Wain. ( I heard the laughing all the way over here).
He was about as good as last years guest speaker. He is originally from Boston. With that being said, you can imagine he had a tough time pulling the accent off. He was a very personable fellow, and very likable. He is a former Marine, so I tip my hat to him for making this a career.
He also did other impressions, and was quite good at those.

The below picture is of the man voted to be "The Teacher of the Year". His name is Bill Emmett.
A lot of past students, and colleagues spoke about him. To me, this is one of the biggest honors. To me,, there is no more important job than a teacher. Apparently, he is a splendid one !

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another amazing flight for the "Stan, the Man" Roberts. Him and Dave did some spectacular flying in the Sequatchie Valley last year. Can't wait to fly with him ! This is what he wrote to the TTTmail. Visit his website for more great adventures.

I flew on 4-14-08 From Ellenville, NY to the beach at Sea Isle City, NJ.
See Oz:http://ozreport.%20com/1208269294
And I'll put the OLC; Online Contest link to the flight in the Links section, calledApril 14th, 2008 177 miles XC
How's everyone?
Now I have to make a new web page on my site: http://www.stanjroberts.com/ I still have to make a web page from last year in TN... Oh boy... I need some rainy days to do that.
I CANNOT wait to fly with ya all down there again soon.
On the Same day, 4-14-08, Dave Hopkins was team flying with me and went 168 miles.
I got one more amazing thermal to set me up to fly to the New Jersey shore; Ellenville, NY to Sea Isle City, NJ. Oh, and I'll put a Google earth .KML file link to this record flight
All the best
Stan Roberts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is a thank you post from Candy, Bob's wife. There are some people that aren't on the local mailing lists, and I felt this might reach a few that might not get this important message, otherwise.
We asked Dan Barker to put all the pictures on the website, and they are now uploaded to his site. The link to it is in the right column on here that says---Lots of pictures. Click that link, and at the top of the page is listed,,,,Bob's Wake. I think that there are a couple of Barry's pictures on it also. We hope that you enjoy them.

"It was so nice to see the number of people who came to Bob’s memorial. It was a sad occasion to gather, but the love and support from all of you was so wonderful. I want to thank everyone for being there, and those who were there in their hearts.

Bob had an incredible life, and I am happy that we were able to celebrate it in this manner. The hang gliding community truly knows how to honor their own.

I have a lot of special thanks that I want to extend. They are in no special order. After Bob’s death, I was basically brain dead. So many people came to my rescue. Some I didn’t even know about until later. I can’t begin to express how much this meant to me. For a couple days, I didn’t even realize I didn’t have my family here. It felt like I did. All of you have become my family.

Kim O’Neil. Kim was my brain for weeks. She gave me a place to stay, comforted me, took care of all the details, made me lists, made me eat, drove me everywhere, made phone calls for me, made me laugh, and when I was ready, made me start doing my own follow-up. One of the qualities of a good friend is that they kick you in the ass when you need to get moving on your own. Kim spent hours doing the PowerPoint presentation that was showing on the screen. Thank you so much for being there, Kim.

LMFP and Matt Tabor. Matt provided the tandem flight, pilot and tug. Matt and Bob go way back. I truly appreciate this, Matt. Thanks to Shawn (the ground crew), Mike L. for the flight to 5000’ to get “cloud dust” on Bob for the last time, and Dave Miller for taking them all up there. I couldn’t have chosen a better team for Bob. Thanks to you all.

Roddy and Rex. Roddy provided the computer and ran the presentation of pictures. Rex brought the big screen TV. I watched Bob’s family and friends watching. It was absolutely beautiful on the TV. I wasn’t expecting something so alive and full of memories.

Barry B. Thanks for the pictures you gave to Kim for the presentation. Especially the Georgia delegation dancing on the picnic table at Wallaby on New Years a couple years ago!

Cameron. What can I say? Cameron contacted the National Guard for a military honor guard. He set it all up. The flag ceremony was almost more than we could handle. Bob was a Viet Nam veteran. When they played Taps, the first two notes were so long and slow. I don’t think there was a dry eye there. Cameron, I’m so glad you arranged this. It added so much dignity to the memorial. Bob deserved this. I have this and so much more to thank you for, including the keg you and Jean provided. You were such a good friend to Bob. Thank you for all you’ve done, and I’m so sorry for all I put you through.

Linda and Terry. Again…what can I say? You are the best neighbors in the world. You know what you did. I can never express how thankful I am. Terry & Linda protected my house and cat. This is the least of what they did. There are no words that can say how thankful I am for you both.

Ann E. Thank you for bringing the flags. It went so well with the military honor guard there.

The Ladies of the Kitchen. Thanks so much to Melissa, Nancy, Wendy, Debbie, Lia, Dale and Doris. What would we do without our volunteers? They worked behind the scenes.

Ray. Thanks for the CD and pictures on your blog. They were wonderful! You do such an excellent job. You did again.

Bill and Jane C. Thank you so much for the pictures and dessert. Bill and Bob used to come down to Lookout during the 70s, when Bob first started flying.

Susan F. Susan provided desserts for the Memorial. Thank you so much, Susan. I truly believe desserts should be eaten before the meal… so you have room for them.

Rick Sr. Thank you for coordinating Taps at the appropriate time. Also, for acting as the Marine Staff Sergeant again. Rick walked up to the poor bugler standing at attention in the sun for so long with his black uniform. He said, “At ease soldier” and told him to take a break.

Liz. I totally appreciate that you offered your rental property for Bob’s family to stay in. They absolutely loved it! This really helped me out so much. You probably don’t realize how much. (Also for the hiking trip invitations to me and my family).

Doris. Thank you, Doris for being there for everyone all the time. We all truly appreciate you, your organizational skills, your caring.

I would also like to thank Dade County Sheriff Patrick Cannon for his kindness and consideration during a trying time."


Sunday, April 13, 2008

When it's not a fly day, what do most pilots do????? Work, party, or honeydew lists. I was able to have some funn today.
Terry & Linda Presley had a small birthday party for a brother from Louisiana, and other family members today. The wind was honking, and it was blown out, but it was a gorgeous day. Now, before you scroll down, try to figure out what could possibly go in the cans shown above? I got a big kick out of it, and I even knew what we were having to eat !

We were treated to some of the most succulent boiled crawfish that I have ever put my lips on!
175 pounds of it, masterfully cooked, and served steaming hot. There was corn on the cob, sausage, onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and medium to large crawfish. All of this was cooked in some crawfish boil seasoned water, which the recipe is only know by only the best "Coon A**" cooks that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The crawfish boil seasoning ball probably weighed 10 pound, and included everything from garlic to lemons to oranges. I have tried a couple of times to describe just how wonderful this meal was , however, I have erased it every time that I have tried. Mission: impossible. There was about 30-34 people present today, and about 100+ pounds of the crawfish was eaten. Now I'm not a math major, nor a english one niether, but that divides to be about,,,,, a lot of food was eaten by everyone. Some of us ate more than others.
They cooked 3 different batches about this size. Oh, and there was a smaller pan(about 1/2 this size),that was cooking at the same time. This is what it looked like when it's ready to take out & put in the coolers. The first batch was cooked to season the water and it was mild. The second--bam--they kicked it up a notch and made it A LOT spicier than the first. I made the mistake of eating one of the mushroom & OMG. Now the last batch was,,,to quote John David,,, it was Right! In layman terms-----it was frackn' spicy & NO one ate the mushrooms, not even them, ha ha!
This was just one of the eatin' stations around the place today.
Terry is shown here getting another refill on his tray. When I told you that the 3td batch was hot, let me reiterate on that a little further. Everyone got their own towel( not napkin), for there hands/fingers, had more than one purpose,,,they were also for wiping your fingers, forehead,mouth,nose,scalp,,,etc...... but, man, it was some good groceries, I guaranteeee!
Today was a birthday party for another friend & pilot,,Paul Merchant. Happy birthday !

Friday, April 11, 2008

New update for today,from Steve Lee

S and H arrived early with four more 12' radials and installed them between the main radials to eliminate any flex in the boards. The frame is completed and extremely strong. Thank you S and H steel erectors.The center section of the ramp is already decked with 18' boards. The wings and windows need to be completed asap/tomorrow. You can come early or when the rain quits and get those boards layed.
See ya'll tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One of our members spent a week at Wallaby, and did this great write up. Keith Atkins is a good writer, and has been featured in the magazine a couple of times for his great stories. I can't wait to go myself, if every I can take that much time off,argggg

Wallaby ranch is paradise and like disney world for hang glider pilots: beautiful setting and relaxing amenities, catering to your every desire, terrific and helpful staff (malcom, laurie, caroline, heather, paul, mick, carlos and all the rest), swimming pool, hot tub, covered decks, volley ball court, kiddie play areas, ping pong, radio controlled toys, 2 kegs on perpetual tap (!), porch swings and hammocks under the live oaks and vines, indoor fire pit, comfortable dining area, 2 gourmet meals every day for only $5.00 (!), camping and cabins, showers and toilets, huge lz's, 5 tow planes and excellent tow pilots, safety is the watch word followed by fun and hospitality, pro shop with numerous rentals available, cool t-shirts and art, the honor system for paying your tab, making new friends, all the activity, a party with band and margaritas, great flights and bodacious lift, wills wing demo days, over 600 tows in one week(!), circus tent, catered bbq dinner, wills wing slide shows and videos, great talks by wills senior and rob kells, and more. needless to say, i didn't want to leave... wallaby ranch is now on my annual vacation list. alan and his boys were in disney world which they dubbed "disney line". they came over to wallaby twice. the boys took tandem flights on their second day and pronounced hang gliding at wallaby is "way cooler than disney world!" alan did not fly this time but wants to plan a trip there for next year. i'm in.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Steve's update:
The April BOD meeting is this weekend, 4-12-08 at 10:00 eastern.
The BOD will decide a final cut-off date for donations recieved to the re-vamp the ramp project.
This is a historical event and you still have time to participate in this most worthy cause.
There will be a bronze plaque with all donators names embedded into the rock at the finest hang gliding launch in the world.

Another note from Dan Shell,,, we will also be trying to get one of the wings lumbered also, newsletters folded and stamped, etc...... lot of stuff going on. Come on out and help, if at all possible.

This is the original ramp at Henson's Gap. Back in the very early '70s, Ron Gleason took this shot. Considering what we have now,,,, this one was very primative, and dangerous from a nose wire guys perspective. Which Ron also had a bad experience with, and lived to walk away from it. However, he got the nickname of "Ramp inspector", while clinging for his life to the trusses underneath until they were able to pull him back on top of the ramp. Later, after glider inspection, he flew an evening glass-off.(probably had to clean his shorts out too!)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Steve and Kathy Lee enjoying a well deserved meal. After all the joking around with Kathy, if it be known, she was the hardest working woman on site during this project........
It sure looked nice in the setting sun.
Even Budwiezer the dog sounded his approval,,,actually he was barking at the buzzards that tormented us all afternoon. You can't work on the ramp properly, without some soaring locals around !

I put this song on today in memory of my friend Bob.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Steve wrote this for the weekends work parties.

The decking party did a fantastic installation job over the weekend. S and H arrived at 8:00 this morning and were impressed with the clubs progress and abilities. They completed the final adjustments to the left wing and added the remaining structural supports. S and H will bend (4) more radial supports to go between the main radials which had too much span, allowing some flex in the boards. They will return in about a week to install them. The ramp is ready for flight and we didn't miss any good days. Whew!

Eric Donaldson & Jeff Nibler are shown here installing the last board on the flat part of the radial ramp, with James Anderson, Ollie Gregory, and Mike Nash enjoying the view. As you can see, Sunday was a much better/ prettier day for working, than on Saturday.
Nate Newkirk tightening the last nut of the day.
What a thing of beauty.

Kathy Lee has been replaced by the young lady below. This little lady has more wit, humor, and character than alot of adults. And to quote the late Steve Irwin, " And what a little beauty". However, I don't think she is strong enough to throw anything over the edge of the bluff. Private joke there, :^}
About 30 minutes after the radial's flat part had been finished, Eric Donaldson had the privilege of being the first one to launch any part of the new ramp. Both wings have yet to have the lumber installed on it, however, it was still the first one.
Less than 3 minutes later, Nate Newkirk followed close behind Eric. Both had great launches.

This is never an easy thing to do. When a friend, and fellow Hang glider pilot, passes away the whole community suffers because of it. Sometimes it's harder than others. I took this picture at a Toys 4 Tots party a while ago. Happier days, to be sure. Bob is shown here with Candy, his wife.
A lot of people showed up for the wake, shown here before the ceremony.

Candy receives the folded flag here, while they played taps.
Stacy, shown in the above picture, takes off on a tandem during the ceremony.
Family and friends gathered outside to watch Stacy take her Father's remains on his last aerotow to 5,000'.
Stacy releasing her Father's ashes to the winds over Lookout Valley.(click on pic for a better view)
As Stacy & Mike Labado start coming in to land on the cone, as Bob always liked to do, I caught this shot,,,and thought it fitting to share.

After the service, I headed to Henson's to help finish the wood installation on the radial part of the ramp, so that we will have something to launch off when the winds are right. I will post pictures, and a write up about it tomorrow. For tonight,,,,,I'm spent. Please say a prayer for Candy, and Bob's family & friends. There are some hurting people around here, right now

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This was the write up for today's work party, submitted by Keith Atkins, and pictures below by myself.

hey gang,
today was damp and cool, but the volunteer workers got a lot done. Mike Nash wielded the mighty steel punch all day after working yesterday and driving all night to get here in time to help us all out. He was dragging when he left for the day, but promised to be back early in the morning to finish the job. With the workers hustling above and below the steel structure, it looked like a swarm of industrious ants getting the job done.
Ricker Goldsborough set up his mobile cooker and prepared a gourmet lunch including smoked bbq sausage, chicken and beef fajitas, salsa, roasted corn, and more. kathy lee brought 2 huge cakes; one strawberry shortcake and the other one chocolate. jeff wilson brought a keg of homebrewed microbeer on ice and it flowed on into the evening...all delicious, food, dessert, and brew.
I'd estimate that more than half of the holes have been punched and about half of the decking has been secured on the main central portion of the ramp. man oh man, that radial steel looks fantastic and like a work of art; the decking looks great, too!Here's a list of who showed up to work on the best hang gliding ramp > in the world: james anderson, jeff wilson, ollie gregory, steve lee, kathy lee, david kissick, mike nash, bill colvin, chris smith, ricker goldsborough, mark poling, tom prouhet,eric donaldson, colin hodsdon, clark harlow, nate newkirk,& keith atkins.
We hope to see more volunteers tomorrow...come on down!

Mike Nash on hole punch.

Clark Harlow manning the drill.

Behind every good man(men)see below......... Over the years, I have been able to catch Kathy Lee in some great moments for my camera. This is another one of them, to go along with the above caption. What a Great Lady. Glad she has a good sense of humor, huh?!

Ricker is feeding the masses some really good chow. James,,,at the front of the line???? say it ain't so,,,,,hahaha. More later.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New update from Steve:

The weather man's forecast plus the early morning rain equalled a no show for S and H steel erectors. The day turned beautiful so I did alot of final detailing, cleaning and double checking. I clamped 2x4 boards across the width of the radial and was happy to see a perfect fit. This is the finest hang gliding launch in America and probably the world. S and H should return early tomorrow morning. This weekend is all systems go for the official TTT decking party. Don't miss the good food, good friends and possibly good flying. We will have the ramp launchable on Saturday by 2:00 eastern so bring your wing. Chef Ricker and micro-brewest Tip Rogers will add to the excitement. Come Friday night and camp or come Saturday morning around 8:00 eastern. See ya'll this weekend.