Skydog Sports

Cloud 9 Michigan, 2010

Stories and Photos

Tracy Tillman and Lisa Colletti - Owners of Cloud 9 Flight Park


The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 October 15, 2010

The forecast for Saturday was good so I gathered my equipment and zoomed off to Cloud 9 and arrived late for me which was 12:30 and when I arrived there were about seven gliders set up already so I scurried getting my glider set up and was ready to go about 1:30. While setting up I had noticed what I thought were thermals drifting though and the low winds were about 8 miles per hour and the thermal highs were like 15 mph. When I had gathered my harness and glider I rolled out to the take-off at the east side of the field for a west wind take-off and shortly after the other pilots were heading over there too. Within a few minutes Tracy came over and got me hooked up and I was soon airborne. The tow was fairly rowdy so I expected that there were good thermals and Tracy circled in one and waved me off at 2,500 feet and I followed that one up about a mile west of Cloud 9 field to 3,800 feet and followed it back to the east and over the landing field. By this time I was down to about 1,200 feet and searching. Finally I found another thermal and took it up while watching Mark Dugan being towed to where Tracy let me off. Soon Mark joined me and we circled together for about twenty minutes while Mark Bolt appeared to be struggling below at about 1,000 feet. We were finding lift just to the west of the large pond next to Tracy and Lisa's sailplane strip and I used this area often to regain altitude. Mark Dugan drifted farther back to the west and eventually landed at the sailplane port. Chris Bratsis flew with me for a while enjoying the lift. After an hour I was not able to find enough lift to maintain altitude and before I got to low in front of the pond (1,200 feet), I raced back to the Cloud 9 field and touched down on the spot. I took my glider back to the take-off and after talking Chris into going again I was in the air again and finding lighter lift and maintained for 35 minutes this flight and I did not make the spot this time but I sure did try so that I could gain the most spot landings for 2010. Presently Lisa, Bernie and myself are tied. Jim Dedes, Brian Deimling, Lisa Colletti, Mack, Reon and Trevor along with a couple of new members took flights on this great day. Charlie with a large Nikon camera took some great photos and I am hoping that Charlie will send me a few of them.


Mack and Charlie


Reon Watches Trevor Set Up


Ready To Go


Waiting For Thermals or a Wind Check Pilot


Brian is Eager



The Following Sixteen Photos Taken By Charles Rogers

The Line Up


Mack Lipe

Bob Grant




Jim Dedes

Chris Bratsis


Bob Grant


Lisa Colletti

Trvor Gildersleeve





Bob Grant


Brian Deimling






Dan Walker


The GreenPoint Report by Chris Bratsis Click Here


The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9 October 10, 2010

Hey Bob!
    Seems like you've had some good flying days lately! The last few weeks around here
have been sparse. A Few guys have been out during the included.
Sorry I missed you. Last Saturday actually turned out to be a good day. It was the first time out in
5 weeks for me. I've been battling with vertigo for the last week so I was a bit apprehensive
as how flying would go. With the day looking less than stellar the whole crew crawled out
of their holes to come flying. There were Mark Dugan, Floyd Cadwell, Brian Deimling, Pat Winther, Larry Ball
Jim Dedes, Lance Bhein and Mack & Reon. Sorry, Mack & Reon have no last names...what's up with that?
Not to mention our great hosts and commiters of aviation Tracy Tillman & Lisa Colletti.
This was a great weather weekend for October. Temps in the upper 70's but no clouds to speak of with light
winds out of the south east. First off at around 2:30 were Lisa, Floyd Jim then Lance & Larry. Then shortly followed
by Dugan & Brian & Pat Winther. Then I launched around 3:20 followed by Reon & Mack. Tracy dragged me
through a number of thermals on the way up and finally had to wave me off in the same thermal we were circling in.
You think he was trying to tell me something??? Since there were no clouds there was no cloud base but the top of lift
was about 3200 ft. Although you know those "Other" guys always get higher than me! Most of the flight we were
bouncing around 2500 to 2700ft. I don't think I ever stopped turning in thermals the entire flight. I was great fun flying
with Dugan & Floyd. Also I was thermaling with Reon who was on his maiden thermal flight. I think he had an
hour flight. The bad thing was he landed before me and left for home before I landed so we didn't get to celebrate
his first thermal flight. We did share the sky with all the mentioned pilots and had a great time. I ended up with 1hour & 50 minutes.
Some of the others has 2.5 to 3 hours of flight time. All in all was a fun day of aviation which turned into an evening of microbrew
swapping. So hopefully there will be a few more days of flying left in this season. I'm sure we will be chasing the sky
till it gets too cold.
Hope to see you soon!



Photos Below the Stories

Cloud 9 September 29, 2010

September was a slow month for soaring but the 29th promised to be a good day so Patrick O'Donnell and Giles Roussel got together and we drove from London, Canada to Cloud 9 in Michigan. We arrived shortly after noon and Tracy told me that the lift would be to 5,000 feet so we set up and got ready to fly. Mark Dugan, Jim Dedes and Brian showed up for the first good day in a long time. Lisa rolled in around one o'clock so the team was ready. Brian was towed up first followed by Mark Dugan and then Jim Dedes. Tracy towed me up next right into a strong narrow thermal and I kicked off at 2,200 feet taking it up to 3,800 feet. Mark and Brian were off to my north and quickly zoomed in on me and Mark and I flew in the same thermal for about fifteen minutes drifting to the north. We separated and tried different thermals in the blue sky while Brian was a fair bit below us. Moving south after being back north five miles and getting down to 2,000 feet, I found another nice one over a light colored field and took it up to 4,000 feet. I noticed that Mark and Brian got low and eventually landed. Patrick and Gilles took off shortly after me and had half hour flights and then took another tow. Giles mentioned that he got to 3,200 feet. Later on in my two hour and two minute flight I got up to 4,630 feet ato and saw Tracy come up although I thought that it was Mark because they both fly Litespeeds with the Smokey top sail with the white surrounding the glider. Tracy was doing well over to the south while I stayed to the north. Jim Dedes took two flights on his new U-2 with the yellow top sail like mine and had extended flights. I had my landing lined up real nice when at the last moment I realized I was not quite going to make the spot and I landed eight feet short for a no cigar. We are looking forward to more great days at Cloud 9 before November first.

Photos Below



Mark and Brian


Brian Deimling


Jim Dedes




Brian Deimling




Mark Dugan








The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9

Wednesday August 26, 2010

    We had a fantastic run the last few days here at Cloud 9. After a long stretch of mediocre
we finally were blessed with good flying weather. Thursday (8/26) found Mark Dugan of Ann Arbor
and Lisa (Dragon Lady) Colletti hogging the air. Mark said he flew half way to Mason and back
to Cloud 9 when the clouds started to dry up. He said conditions were good and he scored with a
3 hour flight. Friday turned out to be good also. The word must have been out as many of the regulars
must have sneaked, begged or pleaded to get out of work. I just took a vacation day. Any way some
were: Mark (Air Hog) Dugan, Mark (Spandex) Bolt, Floyd Cadwell (sorry Floyd, no nick name),
Pat Winther, Guido, Bernie Spring, Dave Alford, Brian Daimling and...well I can't remember any more.
If I forgot you...I claim anheisers disease. By the way all this of course includes our gracious hosts
Lisa Colletti  & Tracy Tillman. The flying commenced around 2:30 and continued until about 4:00.
Most of us had great flights with gains to about 4000 feet or more. My flight was about 1.5 hours
and got up to 3900 ft. Mark Bolt flew some out & backs. Dugan & Floyd streaked around the sky.
Floyd hit the spot on his landing. I spent time with Lisa & Guido. I nearly flew myself into the ground
but lucked out with a low save from about 1000 ft and took this thermal to cloud base at 3900 ft.
What a Blast! Although I need to stop putting myself in the position of having to make a low save
but it is fun none the less. I am finally getting wired into my (new to me) Woody Valley Tenax harness.
It is very comfortable. Sorry I digress! I wish I could remember all the banter and flying fish stories from
all the guys (and gal) at the end of the day, lets just say there were smiles all around.
    Saturday turned out to be a weather induced rest day as conditions were not great. But Scott Maue
of Traverse City, Mark Bolt, Mark Dugan, Lisa Colletti &Brian Daimling all flew. Some of the flights
were about an hour with low cloud base. Better than cutting the grass...which is what I did!
    Sunday was the best day as far as I was concerned. The whole dang bunch of us flew our brains
out with gains of up to 5100 feet and durations up to 4 hours. I personally had 3 hours. It was so
much fun having pilots scattered all over the sky. You could pick a new fly mate at any given cloud.
Lisa elected to play deck boss and tow queen as Tracy got to fly with us in the Alatus sail plane. He
seemed to blaze across the sky and fly with us then scoot off and show us where the good lift was.
Most of the crew stayed high where the thermals were strongest. I learned my lesson and avoided
the "low save syndrome". After flying with Dave(T2C) Alford and Floyd (Atos) Cadwell we all
landed. It was nearly 92 degrees on the ground so flying was a perfect relief from the heat. Breaking our
gliders down was unbearable. Although some barley assisted beverages helped cut through the heat.
As the dog days of August are soon to pass lets hope for more of the same as another season nears
it's end. Days are getting shorter so take em while you can. Use up those spare vacation days and come
out and fly!



The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9

Wednesday August 18, 2010

    We did get to fly last Wednesday. I met Mark Dugan at Cloud 9. Trevor Glidersleeve was there along
with SkyGod Mike Barber and Dragon Lady Lisa also had to show us all up. I arrived a bit later than
everyone else so I was last to launch at about 4:00 pm. It was one of those days for me where I just
couldn't get the hang (pardon the pun) of it. Not to the point of flying myself into the ground but just
having a hard time. Anyway Tracy had let me off in a nice thermal below Lisa and of course I just
fumbled my way around not being able to catch up to her. I saw Trevor to the east nearly at cloud base.
I figured that since I had him as a marker I would head west to the next cloud which seemed like to run
away from I of those days. So I decided to just cut my losses and head back east.
So as I head back, the cloud that Trevor was in had dissipated and Lisa had zoomed off farther east. I arrived
back over Cloud 9 low with Trevor with 800 ft. We found a bubble over the field. I was lucky enough (finally)
to be able to stick with this thermal to cloud base at 3700ft. It took me nearly 45 minutes to top out in this thermal.
This was where I finally caught up with Lisa. We flew around at cloud base for a while until she streaked away again.
Sorry to say Trevor was not lucky enough to stay in the lift and had to land. He had about an hour or so I guess.
As I was climbing I did notice Mike Barber had landed. He was helping Tracy repair the turf roller so he landed
early. I never saw Mark Dugan until he landed not long before me. He had flown mostly to the west and down south
towards Stockbridge. From there he flew east towards Gregory and was able to squeeze out his final glide back
to cloud 9. I had a birds eye view of this and came in to land about 6:15. All in all it turned out to be a fun flight
even though I was having so much trouble at first. My excuse is I am still getting used to this Woody Valley Tenax
harness. With a few more adjustments I should have it just right soon. I had 2 hours & 15 minutes to test it though.



Cloud 9 Margaritowville - August 14, 2010

Although the big party was to happen on Saturday some pilots came in early and found weak conditions throughout the week but Friday the 13th proved to be the best day and many pilots had one hour flights. I did not arrive until Saturday morning and by then the sky was mostly high overcast. Some of us set up and took extended sled runs in the buoyant air. Tracy and Lisa had the place decorated for the event and it was great. Lots of pilots and their spouses and children played games and told many great stories of flights gone by. Most people had colorful costume attire and it was a festive occasion. The food was great and everyone had their fill. In the evening Tracy towed many of us up with the scooter tow system and that was a blast.

Photos Below

2010 Margaritowville Video


Lisa Colletti

Larry Huffman


Lisa Tows Dan Walker - Supine


Mrs. Huffman

Larry Ball


Julie and Greg



Guido and Casey

Mike Barber's Work Station






Patch - Liza and Larry Ball's Pooch


Tom Ide and Lexy Walker




Larry Ball, Larry Wright and Eric Prouix


Tiffany - Tracy's Daughter with Patch

Tracy Tillman


Dan Walker


Greg Dinour

Pat Winther


Dan Walker


Lexy Walker - Dan's Daughter

Linda Wright


Antoine and Guido

Casey and Flash


Dan Walker


Sun Tries to Break Through




Julie - Take-off






Julie Landing


Mark Dugan

Leza Ball














Bob Grant


Bob Grant Landing





Bob Reed


Bob Reed




Leza and Larry Ball


Cloud 9 - July 29 - 30, 2010

Thursday the sky looked great with cloud streets building all day so we tried it about two o'clock but failed to stick so we tried again around 4:30 and some of us stayed up. I had to take a third flight to make a one hour flight. Brian flew a twenty mile straight line to Pinckney and his sister's place. Chris Christoprehsen flew two 40 minute flights and got up to 3,500 feet ato.

Friday did not look as good but proved to be much better. I took only one tow and was able to get up to 5,140 feet ato and flew for two hours and three minutes. I chased Mark Bolt around for a while as he took video.

Photos Below

The Group Relaxing After Flying

Bernie Spring Sets Up


Lisa and Tracy



Elly and Izzy

Lisa Colletti and Pat Winther


Tracy and Izzy

Dave Alford with His New Wills Wing T-2C


Chris Bratsis

Sun Sets on the Roller


The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9 - July 26, 2010

 This past Monday
turned out to be a spectacular day. It seemed like the weekend with all the guys taking
the day off to go flying. Dave Alford with his newly acquired T2C 144 was there,
along with Mark Bolt, Floyd Cadwell, and the three new solo pilots Trevor, Tom
and Greg. Winds were light & variable. Bolt & Alford were first up then Trevor,
Tom & Greg. I was next off then finally Floyd. Every one was doing well for the time being.
Tracy left me off in a thermal which I squandered away trying to zip up  stow my gear.
So when I turned back to find lift I only could locate marginal pockets up 3100 ft.
I figured I'd just head up wind to the next logical spot when I spotted all the other
airheads off to the east from where I was and too far for me to get too. As I did not
hit any lift I had to turn back toward the field and slowly sucked my way down to
land after only 35 minutes. Life Sucks!  I took another tow immediately and Tracy
gave me a "pity" tow up the rest of the gang and the fun began. Up to cloud base at
5900 ft many times flying with the Floyd and watching Bolt scream around the countryside
practicing for the upcoming Nationals in Big Spring Texas. His T2C is scary fast.
I spent much of my flight with Dave Alford on his new T2C fly off to the east of the field
yo-yoing up and down to cloud base and such until Dave finally wore me down and I had to
go land at about 7:00 pm. Dave came in shortly after me with the flight of the day of over
4 hours. I had 2 hours & 55 minutes on my second flight. It was good to get in the air again
after a couple of weeks of crumby weather. Once on the ground I found out Trevor our new
up & coming pilot ventured a bit too far north of the field on the Sonic and had his first "out"
landing. I think he had his longest flight ever of 1 hour 45 minutes. Way to go Trevor. Tom
from Ft Wayne had a nice flight too! Not exactly sure but nearly an hour I'd guess. Greg
also a new solo pilot had a nice flight also not sure how long though.
Anyway thought I'd give you the Cloud 9 Update.




Cloud 9 - July 1 - 3, 2010

Left London Thursday at 9 am only to find a monster line up at the border crossing so I arrive at Cloud 9 field at 2 pm and Burney, Guido and Pat are setting up so I am not to late. I hurry to set up and we all wait till it looks better and Burney goes first and sticks so we all take a tow. It was a blue sky with wispy clouds and a cloud bank with the edge right over the field. Tracy pulled me into a nice thermal and I stuck with it for about a half hour and I got up to 4,300 feet and then went searching and getting down to 2,200 feet and then things started getting better. The lift started filling in as time went on and I was feeling good staying up over 3,000 and eventually getting up to 4,965 feet above the field. Guido and I thermalled together for fifteen minutes at 4,200 feet and finally Guido found some sink that I avoided and I continued to stay high when I saw a new pilot Trevor on his first soaring flight at about 4,200 feet. What a great feeling that must have been for him. Steve Djokic took of at about 6 pm and had a great soaring flight on his U-2 and we thermalled together for a half hour. For the last hour of my flight the lift was everywhere and abundant. New pilot Tom took a late flight and tried to land at the same time that I was landing at 90 degrees to me making a spot landing impossible.

Friday was not so good but one hour flights were the normal. I had three flights - 50 m - 30 m - and 15minutes and got up to 3,600 feet once with Floyd and Chris.

Photos Below

Flash Goes for a Swim in the Pond


Lisa Cuts the Grass

Comon Throw the Stick


Bernie Spring

Floyd Cadwell


Tracy Trims the Spot

George Rich - Senior Pilot at Cloud 9


Mark Bolt Takes Off


Dave Alfred Set-up

Pat Winther and Floyd



Jim Dedes fills the Tractor


Mark Bolt Ready to Fly



Mark Bolt

Dave Alford


Memorial Day weekend at Cloud 9 - May 29-30, 2010

The forecast looked great so away I went and arrived at Cloud 9 field at noon Saturday. Katrin and Karl from Rochester NY were there all week and getting their towing certificates. It had been a good week for them with only Thursday and Friday being a bit to windy for learning. By 2 pm there were about ten pilots ready to fly and I watched as a few were starting to stay up in the all blue sky so I got in line and Tracy towed be up to a nice thermal just north of the field and I was able to take it to 5,000 feet and slowly drifted back to the south where I left that one and searched for others never to get that high again. I was having a good time to the south of the field flying around watching as many others joined me in the air. Mark Bolt was at the Chicago meet and Mark Dugan was away visiting family so two of our hottest pilots were missing. Floyd Cadwell had the longest flight of the day with close to four hours on his Atos rigid wing and Chris Bratsis had a wonderful high flight of close to three hours on his Wills Wing T-2 150. Chris has really tuned into his T-2 and I find that I am usually trying to catch up to him. Lisa Colletti was doing her spectacular high flying for hours on end and at 5 pm she came down to tow Tracy and their students. Most everyone had great flights on Saturday and for me it was a one hour and twenty minute joy ride and when I landed I expected that the fun would soon be over only to watch Floyd fly for another three hours. I guess I should have launched again but instead, I took Flash for a swim and helped with the many tandem flights.

Sunday started with a great forecast for lift and cumulous clouds started forming around 1 pm. I was first off in the south wind and Tracy again towed me to a good one and I was able to get over 5,000 ato again but after 35 minutes I had found a great sink hole and landed. I watched as a few others were staying up so I tried it again and Tracy took me to another good thermal and again I went up to 4,500 feet and played all over the area when I almost lost the lift again and I got down to 400 feet over the landing area and I was ready to land when I found a little beeper to the south of the field and it grew into a whopper all the way up to 5,800 feet so I was on my way again. I saw Lisa about a mile to the south and finally caught up to her and after a few minutes Lisa flew farther of to the southwest and I stayed with the big one. After a bit I was in search mode again and flew to the east where I spotted three gliders circling and finally I caught up to them and noticed that it was Brian and Chris and later Chris told me that Lisa was well above us all. We hung out together for a half hour and then I decided to head back to the Cloud 9 field and when I got there I found a little something to stay up in for about 15 minutes and then landed after watching three others landing. Five minutes later Chris Bratsis came in for a good landing after another long flight. My airtime on Sunday was three hours and 25 minutes and I topped out at just under 6,000 feet ato and Yes, I did hit the spot landing. For me 2010 has been a great year and so far I have not had a bad trip. I've been really lucky and hope that my luck holds on.

Photos Below


Casey Just Shoots Skydog


A Landing

Great Grass


Karl and Katrin from Rochester, New York


Jim's Honey Marie and Her Daughter

Marlene Cadwell with Her Pup - Sammy


Floyd Cadwell - Landing Approach


Katrin Watches Karl on Approach



Shawn Hughes - Photo by Casey Just


Chris Bratsis Going for the Spot Landing


Tracy with a Tandem Student



Lisa Colletti after Another Great Flight



Flash Racing to the Pond for a Swim


Jim and Marie


Katrin Landing

Karl Ready for His Last Tandem Flight


Katrin Ready for Another Solo Flight


Karl Ready for His First Aerotow Solo Flight


Landing at Cloud 9 - Photo by Casey Just


First 2010 Weekend at Cloud 9 - May 15-16, 2010

Our first flying weekend at Cloud 9 in Michigan in 2010. The first two weekends in May this year were to windy or raining so we had our first great weekend on May 15-16 and a wonderful weekend it was. Saturday morning dawned with high overcast and about ten of us were not expecting to much in the way of lift. At 1 pm the gang got in line for a try and Brian got off first with his Litespeed and Wow, Brian was thermalling so others quickly got off and had a go at it. Most pilots were lucky enough to get thirty minute flights only to get flushed between the lift. At 4 pm I noticed that two pilots were staying up more easily so I jumped in line and Tracy towed me up to a nice thermal and sure enough there was lift although the sky was mostly overcast. I was lucky enough to stay up for 1 hour and twenty minutes and some others got over two hours.

Saturday evening Tracy and Lisa gave instruction to a couple from Nashville Tennessee. Photo Below.

Sunday morning started with lots of sun and east winds around 12 mph so Chris Christophersen got out to the start point and others followed and Lisa was ready to tow so Chris took the first tow and after doing OK finally sunk out and lots of us were trying to stay up. I got 35 minutes on my first flight and immediately took another and this time the thermals were cooking and the wind had slowed down to about 8 mph so staying up was much easier and about ten of us were having a great time in a cumulus filled sky. We got up to 5,400 feet and Chris Christophersen went downwind to Mason airport 15 miles away. I stayed up two hours and Mark Dugan and Chris Bratsis landed last at about 6:30. Lots of happy faces filled the landing area and the stories were exciting. This was a great weekend for our first flying at Cloud 9, 2010.

Spot Landing Video - Click Here


Lori and Jamie Grover Moved to Michigan From Tennessee


New Aerotow Release


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