Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jim Rice is shown here telling all the volunteers about the game plan tomorrow. All the details & responsibilities were gone over. The biggest concern for the pilots in the group, is Safety. After 20 + sledders, who can tell what effect it's going to have on the entire crew. There are alot of volunteers, that has never seen a hang glider up close. They are going to be setting up & breaking down the gliders for him, then he's going to perform the preflight. We will all be watching each other Closely as the day progresses.

The volunteers enjoying supper during the meeting.

Getting things lined out for in the morning at 6:01am, for the first launch. If the weather/winds/rain cooperate. I wish him all the luck in his endeavor.
Will post more tomorrow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Jim Rice called and cancelled saturday's Flights for Charities event. So, no 39 mountain flight attempts in a single day, because of the weather. The winds are going to be 10 to 15 WSW. On a NW facing site, the direction isn't good at all. Plus, if you're trying to get that many sledders, it would be faster & safer if there was no wind at all. It don't need to be honkin' on top to attempt this. He won't have time to be standing around waiting on a cycle. At this stage, we will be discussing it at the LZ party tomorrow night. All the volunteers will be meeting over the course of the night. He will be shooting for June 1st, Sunday to make this historical event happen. From what I see tho', being an amateur weather forecaster, it's not going to happen on Sunday either. I predict rain, and lots of wind. But, that's still 30 hours aways, and what do I know?
Will know more tomorrow, and will keep everyone posted as I know it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A couple more shots & thoughts about the TTT Mayhem this last weekend.

Where would our sport be without the 4 legged supporters??

I was really lucky with this shot, and didn't even know it at the time that I took it. Notice that I was able to get another pilot launching at the time that I took this.

I can remember a time, that if it was soarable~ I was launching. However, there was alot of people on saturday that thought the conditions wasn't quite right. For a while, the wind did kick up to 25 with a good gust factor, and it was crossing a bit. In the above shot, you see alot of pilots, and wuffo's enjoying watching a few gliders in the air. The Lee team are the best wind dummies that anyone could have.

In the below shot,,, you see hang waiting again, with a tandem overhead. I was chomping at the bits! Maybe because I'm so airhorny that I can't stand it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There was great conditions at sunset. There is alot to be said for the end of the day, after a great flight, the conversations between pilots/friends that you have shared the air with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is Ollie's write-up about the meet.

Hi All,
Thought I should update everyone on the Mayhem contests and flying.

Saturday had some wind and challenging thermal conditions. It was ridge soarable, but pretty cross from the NNE. A task was called to the blue water tower on top of the mountain about 10 miles to the southwest. C's were to go there, then had a goal at Dr Dales about 2 1/2 miles back into the wind. Bs were to go to the water tower and return to Henson's LZ. As were to got to the water tower, upwind and into the valley to the Galloway airport as second turnpoint, the back to Henson's LZ. Eric had the longest flight getting a bit back from Galloway, but John Sumner won the day with a goal flight for Cs to Dr Dale's grass strip.

Saturday we enjoyed some great food provided by the TTT locals. Some of enjoyed some fine libations as well. The rest of the weekend was flyable but not great for competition. The weather proved challenging Sunday with only James Stinnett getting out 7 miles on a fantastically over called task. Steve Lee flew 40 miles, but alas, wasn't in the competition. The weather was even more iffy Monday and no task was called. A few piltots hung around to free fly, but big clouds loomed and the winds were pretty cross. I sure had a great time hanging out and enjoying the treat Henson's Gap site and all the fun people at Mayhem.

Streamer drop was won by Jeff Bozart of Atlanta with a drop of 110' from the pie plate. In second was Tom Pruitt at 200'.

The spot landing was won by David Johnson with a landing of 6 feet from the pie plate. Second was Chris Christoferson with a landing at 9 feet.

The Mini Meet was a great example of what our handicapping system can do to level the playing field. First place was won by C pilot John Sumner on his U2. John is from Florida and flys Wallaby. He did very well on the first day and his lead held. Second place was won by A pilot Eric Donaldson on his Talon. Third place belonged to A+ pilot James Stinnett on the Phantom.

The spot and streamer drop winners walked away with cash prises. The Mini Meet winners won fabulous hand carved hardwood trophies that are among the nicest hang gliding awards I've seen. TTT Awards Committee Chairman Eric Donaldson created them and was lucky enough to win one too! Thanks for all who came out to have fun with the Tree Toppers. See ya on the hill!


This was the view of part of the set up area at the Tennessee Tree Toppers Mayhem. It was a 3 day fun event for all levels of pilots. I was only able to attend for the first day, and I wasn't able to fly in it, as my elbow is still giving me fits. It is getting better, and I will be back in the air soon.
I took alot of pictures that should be avalible on the TTT website, as soon as I get them the disk. I posted some of them for your enjoyment. The good, bad, and the ugly ones this time. I will let you judge which is which.

This was the first flight for the TTT Mayhem on Saturday. If it looks a little different, that's because it always is for Chris Starbuck. His wire & keel crew just rolled him off the ramp for his launch. This guy is always amazing to watch, and to be around. Once he gets out of his wheel chair, he gets some help from his friends, and soars for hours. Real inspiration to behold what he does.
Dick Heckman always lends a hand, everytime that we have meets. His presence is always a welcome site. Nice to have the USHPA represented at our functions. Even at a nice low-key, fun meet like this one! He regularly makes it to the Alabama sites(Gurley), Lookout Mountain Flight park, and around the Tennessee Tree Toppers sites. He is shown here helping James Stinnett get to the ramp. That Phantom is one sleek, fast, high performing wing ! (I am not jealous, honest !)

What is the value of an experienced wire person? What is the price of having enough wind in your face to get you out of trouble when you need it? What's the price of flying away from the mountain afterwards and soaring for a couple of hours in sweet bouyant air with alot of your friends, instead of being in the trees? Priceless
What happens when you ignore the ground signals for wind(katabatic),downwind,and downhill? Nothing bent or broken, just a narley sound echoing down the valley :^}
After the last pilot landed today at the meet, I was able to make it to Lookout's Saturday nights party. Rick's band was playing, the kegs were tapped, and a nice bonfire was blazing. The food was gone(it was after 10pm when I arrived), but everyone was having a great time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Is A Veteran?
A 'Veteran' -- whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve --is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check madepayable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, andincluding his life.'That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.

A salute to all of our Men and Women in uniforms, for the holiday weekend & everyday.
Semper Fi!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I wanted to send out a Thank You for your prayers this week, concerning my elbow. From everything that the Dr. said last week, I was going to have to have surgery to fix it. Something about the cartilage being torn,etc... However, after x-rays, and an MRI,,, he looked at them today and said there's nothing wrong with it except one of the ligaments that I(some medical term) had done to it. He gave me a steroid shot in the elbow, told me that I would be really sore, and that in a couple of days it would be good as new. Praise the Lord. I should be back in the air this weekend, just in time for the TTT Mayhem. What a blast it's going to be. Now we just need to pray for some good winds, about 10-15 right in our face. Either NW or SE, I'm not picky, ha ha! Enjoy the shots below from tonight. Thanks again.

Here is my new garden that I planted today, along with a great sunset. I've planted okra, broccoli, squash, bell peppers, jalapeno, eggplant, sweet banana peppers, and watermelon. Tomatoes, onions, honey dew, and pumpkins to follow shortly. My Dad taught us at a very young age about gardening. I just love a good gardening. Which is better? the planting, cultivating, fertilizing, watering, OR picking, cooking, and eating them? pfft... No brainer there.
Was a really beautiful sunset this evening. However, these are going to be some different kind of pictures for your viewing pleasure. How is your curiosity? The below pictures has some objects in them that I can not explain. Wendy and I was out watching the sunset, and watering the new plants in the garden when I took the first one, and asked her if she saw a star anywhere. Nope. So I took another one, and the bright light had moved or so I thought. The two were gone, and there was another in a different spot. I don't want to say they are UFOs, but I can't explain them.
Nothing in the above shot.
There are two on the left side of this picture. You can also see the progression of the contrail thru the cloud and see that it's about the same shot.

One at the top of the picture. I can't explain it, and I didn't touch them up & put them there. Maybe I should call the X-Files??? ha ha

Thanks again for all the Prayers, and thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Besides being a great artist, Claire is also a great pilot and willing to give alot of her time for the Hang gliding community. Check out below what she is doing for us now.
Thanks Claire.


Former World Team member Claire Vassort will be offering an intermediate/advanced level seminar every last Sunday of the month until October 2008. This series of classes is centered around safety and flying efficiency. Pilots of all skill levels are welcomed to participate. Each class will have a theme and include a presentation by Claire and will be followed by a question/answer session. The clinics will take place at the LZ Clubhouse at 10AM.
The Clinics are FREE!
Class Schedule:
May 25, 2008: Basic Rules of Safety – How to have fun while keeping yourself Safe
June 29, 2008: Launching, Landing in and Landing Out – How to Keep your Techniques Well-Practiced
July 27, 2008: Weather-Related Topics – Sniffing and Working the Thermals, Weather Safety
August 31, 2008: Training – Every-Flight Exercises to Improve your Fly ing
September 27, 2008: Ladies’ Weekend – Learn How Well a Lady Can Fly
NOTE: This class will take place on a Saturday because of the Women’s Fly -in on that weekend.
October 26, 2008: Wrapping up the Season – How to maintain your Skills During the Winter. We will also share our best flying stories of the season.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Couple of posters for consideration ~~~ :^}

But which one is it??? All according how you look at things I suppose.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A fellow birdwannabe is doing something to help alot of people. Please head to his website and read about his worthy cause. If he can pull this off, even if he can't get everyone of them, I will be proud to be a part of it. Hope that you can also.

What is Flights for Charities?

Flights for Charities is a fundraiser during which Jim Rice will celebrate his 39th birthday and his love of hang gliding by attempting to complete 39 mountain flights in a single day to raise funds for Fisher House™ Foundation. Flights for Charities follows on the heels of the very successful Jumps for Charities fundraiser held in May 2006, during which Jim completed 37 skydives in a single day (in celebration of his 37th birthday) to raise over $4,000.00 for Angel Flight Southeast.

Jim is a Space Station flight controller with NASA. He currently works out of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Payload Operations Center in Huntsville, AL, where he commands and controls the experiment-related hardware on-board the Space Station.
Jim chose to hold this event as a way of showing support for the men and women of our armed forces that are valiantly and selflessly serving our country. Jim has a cousin who is currently serving a second tour of duty in Iraq.
Flights for Charities will be held at Lookout Mountain Flight Park in Trenton, GA, on May 31, 2008. First flight is scheduled for daybreak (6:01 a.m.).
About Fisher House™ Foundation

Fellow pilots,
We are now less than three weeks away from Flights for Charities!! The Ground Support Team is building nicely – thank you to all who have signed up to date. We have a LONG way to go, though.
It has come to my attention that many of you have expressed interest to others in the community in participating on the ground team, but you have not signed up yet on the website.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not wait to sign up on the website if you are planning on participating on the ground team!! It is absolutely imperative that I know well in advance of the 31st whether or not the ground team will be sufficiently staffed.
So, if you will be able to participate on the Ground Support Team, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go to the Ground Support Team website as soon as possible and sign up!!
Thank you!!
-- Jim Rice

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Scott ! Our resident bi-wingual pilot is shown here at his birthday cake. Great guy, artist, and a good friend. It was also a nice flyday ! 4 days to my Dr. appointment. Please, prayer request,,,,,I really dont need to have surgery for ohhhsooo many reasons right now. Prayer works ! Thank you.
Mountain Creek Harley-Davidson and the Dalton H.O.G. chapter had a big show today at the dealership. Lot a righteous people, and awesome bikes. Shown below is the lady that took 2 trophies for the sports class, and in my opinion, the most important award. The people's choice.

What an awesome bike. What is really impressive----the paint is stock. Of course, the rest of it,,,,, isn't.

This particular bike had the best paint that I've ever seen on anything. Car, bike, boat, or anything else that I have ever seen. The images had so much depth to them, it was unreal !

This bike, and owner, has been featured in many magazines. It took 2 trophies today also. One for dyna-glide,and one for Antique class. It has been named - "The Elvis", because it is identical to the one that Elvis had, so many years ago. Righteous bike !

Thursday, May 08, 2008

There was a great sunset on top of the mountain tonight, after the rain.
My garden will look different next week, honest ! Hopefully, after the horses contributions, I will have some veggies this year.
I may enter this one in the Dade county calendar contest this year. Maybe I will win again(1 of 12), and get it placed for one of the months again.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ollie Gregory has been on the mend since his "unscheduled landing" last year. He now has a new rigid-wing, and back in the saddle again. Anyone that know him, knows just how good of a pilot, and guy that he is. Below is his email to the TTTmail about his maiden voyage yesterday. He hasn't flown since June of last year, and he comes out with a 32.5 miler...... class act !

"Had a good flight to get me back in the game! Bout 25 or 30 gliders were set up at Henson's with some of the FL folks and Gary Thompson from Knoxville and lots of other people. We even had a couple of pilots from King Mtn. Heather and Adrian who are passing through on what sounds like a summer of flying.

After a few pilots launched and almost got up, Steve Lee and Kathy launched. Steve got up easily, but Kathy was a little behind him on launch so she didn't get a shot at what Steve used. She gave it quite a try, but ended up in the LZ. I was busy trying to get everything into my new harness and figure out how to set up a VR so I wasn't ready till after 3PM. Turned out that was a good thing. My buddy David Giles lauched first when a female pilot showed us where the lift was. He got up quickly. I got off the ramp with what felt like a good launch a few minutes later, but he was too high to relate to. My buddy James Stinnet on the Phantom followed me off and we got up pretty well.

I think we got about 2500 over and were orbiting around in light stuff with Gary Thompson on is Litespeed. I wanted to see what the Pale Glider would do so I took off toward the south, big wheels and all. Dave, James and Gary soon followed. It was a pretty long glide between thermals and I made the mistake if leaving light lift over the edge of the plateau to fly toward Dave and James climbing over the east side of the Valley. I got below them and had to be low man for a while as we worked down the valley toward Dr Dales.

It was around there that Gary got low and ended up landing at Dr Dales strip. We flew on for a long glide again. I missed the ticket on the next climb and got to watch as Dave and James climbed away from me. They ended up one thermal ahead as I had to search and be patient to get up well again. Finally I got to 5000 msl and started after them. They were searching and climbing about 2 miles north of Inman's point while I was gliding at them. I found a little lift and shifted a short ways toward the good side and had the climb of the day for us. They were several thousand over my head and a little further on course, but this thermal was averaging 500fpm and was very easy to work and center. I caught them in this thermal, but to tell the truth, they were loitering for some time trying to let me make up for the bad climb.

Together we headed across the TN gorge and toward Lookout Valley. We'd topped out about 6200 msl or more, so it was pretty easy with the tail wind to cross the lake and gorge areas. I hit a lot of sink to the north of interstate 24 and just west of Lookout Valley. I let the bar come back with flaps dropped and boy does the Pale Glider GO! I didn't have any waypoints at all in my 6030, so I wasn't sure how well we were doing, but Dave said we had it and James said we had Lookout launch by a little. James and I stopped to turn a few times over interstates 24 and 59 junction area. We had plenty, so we ran toward Lookout launch. Terry Presley was up near Lookout launch and was the only wing we could see in the sky. Terry had been flying all over the place. I rocked way up to see how the harness and wing liked landing positons and flew by the ramp. Got down easily and set up a conservative approach. I tried to run out the landing, but dropped the bar. Glad I had the big wheels.

32.5 miles on my first one since last June. Sure felt good. Sure was fun flying with my buddies. Gotta work next weekend, but will see ya on the hill the following weekend and at Mayhem. Ollie "

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dan Shell took this great picture of the first sunset from the ramp completed. Email is below.
The Wallaby Crew pulled into Hensons Friday night and right now, Saturday evening just past sundown, the Ramp Revamp project is done!!! They heaved ho in a mighty way for the better part of the day, got those last thirteen deck boards installed, chopped the wild ends, ground all the edges smooth, all in plenty of time for Roger and Adrian to entertain us with powered zagi antics (and a couple of interesting retrievals) before sunset.The ramp looks great and, as Roger says, "The best thing about the way it looks is, it's done!"

The Great Alabama Duck Race kicked off today, in Gadsden, Alabama. All the proceeds went to help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Alabama. The good organization serves over 3,000 children in Northeast Alabama. A worth cause, to be sure, to adopt a duck to help them out.
Shown here was the release of the rubber ducks. There were approx. 12,000 of these little guys participating in the race for cash and great prizes. Each duck was numbered an had some lucky person hoping to win the Grand Prize of $10,000 cash.

The release--
A waterfall of rubber ducks----:^}

This is where the fun begins. All the little guys are in the water, and at the starting gate.
How do you get 12,000 rubber ducks to head on down course, you might ask. As you can see below, they have help. These water cowboys on their seadoos herded them all the way down the Coosa river from the starting point at this bridge on Broad street, to the bridge at I-759. These guys were amazing to watch them work as a team, moving these little guys.
About 500 yards from the finish line, they moved the pod into a(sort of) straight line, to line them up with the pillons of the bridge.
The best, elite, and the fastest start showing their stuff the closer that they get. There was even a couple people calling it like they were at the car races. Yeah, it was funny to watch some of the people, as much as the ducks.
We have a winner. The $10,000.00 rubber duckie ! You can see the News & camera crew on hand for the finish.

Disclamer--no rubber duckie was hurt in this the making of this post, or the race. Keep smiling!