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Death and Taxes

Well, everyone I know who paraglides has hurt themselves. I hurt myself more than most I know.

P2 Log

I'm not very good about keeping a log. I've probably lost at least half of my flights... The big year and a half gap between 2005 and 2007 was due to my breaking my back and fracturing my skull in Baja. But on the bright side, this didn't disuade me from getting back into flying.


Pacifica Lemmings launch. 1 hour flight. My first P2 flight. 1000 feet over launch.


S-turns, good landing. 1 hour flight.


Friday Flew off walker. Very southy wind. Hard to launch. Got up a bit over launch, but the wind was really settling down.I managed to scratch the cliff a bit, but couldn't stay up. Landed in the lowlands at the base of the cliff. Strong sink back there.


Sat flew 10 minutes, sled ride, 1000 foot, 0.80 miles forward launch, no wind.


The Dunes first flight 1 hour. 150 feet over launch (by GPS) South wind, smooth ridge soaring. practiced tight turn. Top landed with big ears

second flight 5 minutes. 100 feet. A few turns. Lost lift and top landed.

Third flight 45 minutes. 200 feet over launch. Strong lift. Did two touch and goes. Hit big sink below ridge. Thought I was going to beach land, but I caught a huge lift over a scoop.


Soared for an hour at the dumps. I did one touch and go. The wind was too strong for me. I couldn't penetrate very far. I did a couple of touch-and-goes. Eventually, I tried to fly back to tomcat, but I got caught in some huge lift over the jungle. Usually I get sink there. I started going up the cliff. I pulled double big ears and speedbar. My wing was as small as I have ever seen it. I didn't want to get to the top, so I turn parallel to the cliff and touched down on a knoll. I pulled my C lines to bring the wing down.


I flew twice. total time was about 30 minutes. The first time I forgot my speedbar. The wind was strong and I had a lot of lift and some blow-back. It was hard to stay out in front without speedbar. I got a bit nervous because I got reletively high and far back. I experimented with big-ears and saw that I was able to descend without any problem, so I stayed in the air a while. I was able to manually pull speedbar a bit, but not as much as I would have been able to do with my feet. Eventuially I figured I should land and hook up my speedbar just to be safe. I was able to land without big-ears. I hooked up my speedbar and took off again. It was strange air. It was very hard to penetrate, but once I got in the air it wasn't too hard to stay out in front. I couldn't get as much altitude, but near the edge of the cliff the lift was very strong and fast. Once I got back behind the cliff edge and I was not able to get forward again, but as I got further back the lift died very suddenly and I was forced to land a bit hard in a rotor.

The trick this day was to launch and penetrate and to stay out in front of the cliff.

It was good kiting and launch practice. I wish there was a way to engage speed-bar on launch. All the fast air was concentrate on the very edge of the cliff. Once you got past that it was very gentle and nice.


Wednesday flew the dunes for 15 minutes. Flew too far back and hit some nasty rotor. I kept it under control and managed a decent landing, but not on spot. Took a few minutes to clear my lines from the bushes. Walked back and took off again for about 5 minutes. The wind was getting light and gusty. I made about 4 passes before I had enough altitude to attempt a landing. I headed back over land going downwind. I was planning a u-turn. I lost lift immediately and sank quickly. I didn't have time to turn or flare. I crashed going down a hill going down wind. Hard impact. Just before impact I pulled up my legs. The harness padding caught most of the force. I pitched forward; bounced; and landed on my back with my head pointing downhill. Two days later my calf is still a bit tight and my right rib hurts.


Last Satuday. Flew Slide Mountain. About a 30 minute rid. Caught a little bit of bumpy thermals. Made it to level with launch. Mostly a sled ride. I think this was about 3000 feet total decent. 100 degree heat. Launch was at 8200 feet. LZ was at 5200 feet.


July 31st. Potato Hill. Took off from launch. Worked a few thermals to get about 500 feet over launch. Then hit some sort of sheer and got super lift in every direction. Was getting blown back a bit. I couldn't penetrate or descend with speed bar, so I decided to come down with big ears. I kept them on a bit too long and got too far below the lift zone. The west wind was still a bit strong so I couldn't penetrate far. I ended up landing about a mile from my goal. I had been up still pretty high. I figured I could have made it on glide if there had been no head-wind, but as it was I figured I wouldn't make it with the headwind and there was a ridge between me and the LZ with few alternate landing spots. I decided to stay where I was and look for an LZ while I was still high rahter than they to get closer to the original LZ. I flew around a while to look for a good alternate near the road. I picked a nice open field. As I came down I tried to visualize the best route to hike to the road. The air got very bumpy near the ground, but I landed well.

Mistakes made this day: I flew mid-day in high-altitude, near-dessert air. One of our radios failed, so we decided to fly without them. Craig (the wind dummy) had a sled ride, so I figured my ride would be the same. Bad assumption in this kind of air. Also, because I assumed I would be at the LZ in 15 minutes I didn't bring any water. I drank 1/2 liter just before I took off then left the rest with Anne. Easily the most dangerous part of my flight was the hike out with no water in 100+ degree heat.


I flew for about 45 minutes at The Dunes. Lift was decent and smooth. It was a little on the light side. Towards the end the air got even lighter... after a while I turned low and ended up under the ridge. I was able to scratch back up. I figured it was time to land, but I stayed in the air trying to get a bit more air time. About five minutes later I turned and ended up low again. This time I wasn't able to scratch back up and I ended up landing on the beach. I landed near the stairs to get an easy hike back up... Kenny dove me out and was waiting for me at the road. We kept in contact with a couple of new radios I bought. I was happy that they seemed to work from the road through the dunes and down to the beach.


Flew today for 30 minutes at the Dumps. Take off was hard as the wind was very southy. I had a few false starts. Then the wind died down for an hour. It picked up and I was able to take-off. In the air the lift was very strong. Eventually I came down because it got too strong. I made a great landing at Tom-cat. I had to big-ear it in to make the spot.


Baja first day 1.5 hour flight then 15 minute sled ride. Second day -- San Antonio Del Mar 30 minutes, with top landing. Third day 15 minute sled ride. Third day broken back, cracked skull


O'connor's maneuvers clinic. Two days, 4 tows. B-line stalls, asymmetrics, wing-overs, spin appreciation turns.


1 hour total flight

My left toe was still quiet painful from a motorcycle spill two weeks before. I couldn't kite worth shit. It must have taken me 30 minutes just to get in the ground. I took off from Walker and turned right. I flew for about 15 minutes. The wind started to pick up and the lift was very strong. I started to get blown back. I landed near Tomcat.

Later I went to the Dunes. As I was trying to kite and jammed my left toe and heard it crack. I was still able to take off. I flew in medium lift for 45 minutes. I top landed and nearly did a face plant. It took me a while to get my wing packed up. I decided to take a few weeks off to give my toe a chance to heal properly.


I flew for 1 hour. I took off after Arnel and Anne (tandem) from from Walker launch. Turned right. Soared the middle ridge of cliffs. Did approaches on walker for half an hour. I did some nice tight, steep banked turns.

P1 Flight Training

I learned from Jeff Greenbaum in San Francisco.

I don't know of any other instructors in the Peninsula/San Francisco Bay Area. I know there are a few others.

Order of Skills

P1 -- Basic Training

ground handling

basic launches

mountain trips

ridge soaring

blow back

P2 -- Now you're a pilot

Basic Maneuvers

Advanced Maneuvers

ground handling overcome vertigo ground handling Mountain flying ground handling SIV ground handling

O'Connor's Flight School

You need this class. Even basic maneuvers made me more confident and at ease with my wing. You become familiar with wing behavior that can seem scary at first, but is normal and safe.

Even if you just take this class once you will be a better pilot, but I can almost guarantee that after the first class you will want to sign up for more practice.

notes for the next clinic

  1. Bring more water. 1 Liter wasn't enough for the day.

I got thirsty toward the end. Next time I will bring at least 2 Liters.

  1. Don't forget sun-block.
  2. Bring a better lunch.
  3. Skip one flight and take a nap.