Dad goes tandem at Woodside Aug 24

My Dad has always wanted to go paragliding so I got him a flight today!
Dad is excited to finally go paragliding!
Tandem pilot extraordinaire Al Thielmann took Dad while I did a solo flight alongside.  It was high pressure and prone to getting windy, so we made sure to do the flight while it was still thermic but not yet blown out and unpleasant to fly in.
Al and Dad got the launch perfect.
About 25 minutes and Dad had a fantastic time with Al.  We got above launch quite easily and over to the south knoll before heading out to land.  We landed just as it started to get bumpy as I believe the later tandems and students had to bail on flying.

Happy smiles all around!

Mt. St. Benedict Aug 23

After yesterday's awesome flying we had even more pilots wanting to fly Benedict today :)  Unfortunately it was a bit more stable and high pressure, but I went out since Danny Virtue (the LZ owner) had invited Al and some of his friends to fly and land at his home during a stuntshow he was putting on for some children.

I didn't launch until quite late as I did some shuttle driving, and it was a bit strong on launch but still doable.  Lots of pilots were in the air and I shortly joined them.  I didn't fly for long since I had had a nice flight the day before, and Danny had asked us to land at his place by a certain time.  However the communications got a bit mixed up since by the time we landed at the appointed time, the kids had all gone home :)  But we were able to put on a show for the remaining stunt folks.

Mr. Virtue's property had lots of bears roaming around...we saw 3 while we were there.  It was fun to watch Danny's horses chase a bear after it wandered too close to them; the herd sent it back into the forest!

Mt. St. Benedict on a smokey day

Possible new Mt. St. Benedict lower launch.
The forecasts were looking quite good for Mt. St. Benedict so a big group (14 or so) of pilots headed up to fly!

Possible new lower launch.
The road to the new cutblocks has been buffed right up and it's now 2-wheel driveable (high clearance, although 4-wheel drive would be better) to these cutblocks.  Two of them show promise as a lower Mt. St. Benedict launch, which would allow us to fly there sooner in the season (when the upper launch is still snowed-in) and also save on wear-n-tear on trucks driving up.  Some work needs to be done, but when we were there at noon it was already on and it's an easy glide to the Virtue LZ.

Once past the new cutblocks the road is rougher with cross-ditches, but easily driveable all the way to the upper launch.  New black carpet also covers launch to keep the bushes and twig out of your glider, and it's also possible for hang gliders to launch now (Pedro brought his HG up).

New carpet and our first (?) hang glider at upper launch!
We could see smoke from the US forest fires coming up from the south into the Fraser Valley, but we were still in the clear.  We heard reports from Bridal that Woodside looked smoked in, although other reports said Woodside was just fine in the smoke.

Looking north at Stave Lake, Roby Reid, and the Judge.
There was plenty of lift and busting airspace was once again an issue as the climbs were going well beyond 1981m.  Andrew, Peter, and Al went to Blinch Lake and back, while Gary flew to Dewdney and back.  I had an airport pickup later that evening so I didn't want to land out and have a long retrieve (which normally wouldn't be too bad due to the loads of quads etc that were cruising the backroads this weekend) so I stuck to the main valley.

Watching the forest fire smoke approach from the US and the Fraser Valley
The smoke was coming down the valley and shading things out at the Dewdney end so I crossed the valley to the Mission side to play around over there.  Not much lift (I actually wasn't expecting any, given the lack of clouds) but I was able to stay up for a bit and eventually landed at the school while most others landed at the Virtue LZ.

The smoke is starting to obscure the tops of the Sylvester peaks.
I think that was the biggest crowd of pilots we've ever had at Benedict, and possible the first hang glider flight off the upper launch (??).  Up until now the last part was hike-in only, but now that the road is opened up for all 4-wheel drive vehicles we may see some more flying there!

Still clear air to the north!

Midnight Dome, Dawson City

I'm here in Dawson City to visit some family, and was told there was a flying site right over the town.  There sure is!

The Dome has a fantastic paved road up to the lookout/launch, and space to lay out multiple gliders on a rocky/gravel slope.  Similarly, there is a manicured grass LZ right by the river next to the main street and the tourist parking.  For the right person and the right season, it would be the ideal tandem operation!

The Midnight Dome with Dawson City at the foot.  LZ is the green strip of grass along the river.
Sadly the wind direction while I was there wasn't ideal for this was strong east wind while the launch takes SE-SW, with a separate NW launch about a 5-minute walk down the slope.  Nevertheless I was able to take off in a crosswind ESE cycle along with a few other pilots visiting from Whitehorse and enjoy the scrubbed thermals over the antennas.

It wasn't a long flight due to the east wind and the nearby OD but the surrounding area is quite beautiful with the convergence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers right at the edge of town.  XC is certainly possible from here and has been done quite a bit.  On the right day (I believe May 18 is the magic day, according to the locals) you can get past 14,000' and fly XC as far as you dare with the limited LZs.

If you are heading up to Dawson City make sure to take your glider!

Bridal Falls August 9

Did the Elk-Ludwig run since I hadn't done that in a long time.  The wind was very light and coming from weird Elk it was east, while at Ludwig it was north!  In between it was light west or east, depending on which spur you were at and your altitude.

I considered top-landing at upper Bridal but it was too lifty and I had to land early for my ride back with Peter.

A rather average August day, not much XC in the FV this time of year, but nice to get out and enjoy the sun and the mountains!