2007 Finger Lakes, New York

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Hammondsport Saturday November 3, 2007

Saturday morning we headed for Hammondsport and noticed that the wind was coming from the north northeast so after waiting for a while we decided  to head for Mossy Banks and when we got there the wind appeared to coming almost straight in but after watching it for a half hour we realized that it was switching more to the northwest so we headed back to Hammondsport and by the time I was set up it was 4:15 and I was off in a good cycle and thermalled up to 1,500 feet within five minutes. There was one other hang glider in the air and one paraglider flow by Frederick Bourgault from Canada who is going to college in Ithaca NY. I made a turn behind Frederick and looked back to see him throwing his reserve chute and watched as he was gently descended to the field behind launch. As Frederick was descending I noticed that he was drifting straight back and then at about two hundred feet above take off he started drifting to the northeast and ended up with his reserve chute landing in the only tree in the large field behind launch. Frederick had thrown his reserve because he had two bad collapses and felt it may be safer than trying to fly the thermal conditions down. Maureen took a video and photos of the event and we have it here.

The rest of the day went well with about six hang gliders soaring and my highest altitude was 1,685 feet above take-off and I stayed up for two hours and five minutes and landed at the church just before dark. Maureen took lots of photos and they are below.


See Video Click Here


Frederick Bourgault inflating

He is off


Looking good


Real pretty


Doing good



Doug Stoner

Oops that nasty tree


I can't seem to pull it out


Fred looks happy

Fred did a lot of cutting braches


The tree made a pretty big hole in the reserve


October 21, 2007

We flew at Dansville NY on Saturday and the longest flight of the day was two and one half hours and gains were up to 1.300 feet above take-off. Unfortunately Ryan from Hamilton Canada broke his ankle while landing in the appropriate landing area. The two paraglider pilots took off first before the wind had built up and both had short sled runs.

Ryan gets Ready for Take-Off






Both Pilots were Briefly above Take-Off



Ryan Clears the Trees


October 18, 2007

An Adventure at Italy Valley, New York. We attempted flight at Italy Valley and Bruce Engen had the longest flight of thirty minutes and I stayed up for fifteen minutes making a few passes to 200 feet above the ridge when the lift diminished and we landed but unfortunately Gary Ward a Local Paraglider pilot did not make it to the landing are and got hung up in some large trees about five hundred feet from the landing area. We proceeded to try to rescue Gary but decided that it was to risky and we called the local rescue team who extracted Gary from 45 feet above the ground were he had been in the trees for two and one half hours. We were all very happy that Gary was OK and that he did not fall out of the trees. Photos Below

The View From The Top - Gary Ward Caught Up in Some High Trees


Reporter From The Messenger

Rick and Bruce


Gary Tries To Throw His Reserve To a Rescue Worker


Rescue Crew

Gary Hangs on Until Rescued


This Thirty-Five Foot Ladder Was not Long Enough


Rick - Previous Land Owner

Gary is Pulled to the Trunk by Rescue Worker


Gary is Being Lowered

Almost Down


Gary - Happy to be on Firm Ground

Maureen Grant Brings Gary's Transportation Down


Gary Ward - A Happy Pilot

The following video of the Rescue was taken by Eric Walne of Northville, Ontario, Canada



April 18th Weekend






Mark Andrews Ready for Take-off



Mark Andrews






Photo of Launch at Hammondsport by Mark Andrews


Mark Andrews







Mark Andrews Landing on Top


Scott Rowe

Gary Ward


Mark Andrews


Mark Andrews



Mark Andrews





Mark Andrews
















Florian Ghiban

The Cabin at Hammondsport Launch


Florian on Landing Approach

Florian Ghiban





Here is a Link to Mukrin's Video on YouTube -


Story By - Mukrin Sisic

This is my flying experience of 21 and 22 April 2007 at Finger Lakes:

Saturday morning I met Florian at Bristol LZ, where we decided to try an early flight. After pushing to the launch through foot deep snow we arrived at the takeoff.

Wind was light coming from N almost parallel to the slope. I was to give up launching in this conditions, although hiking back through wet snow and puddles was not good prospect either.

 When I saw Florian taking off  it become a matter of my ground handling pride to follow. He used a alpine launching technique, run directly down the slope into weakest cycle and manage a perfect launch. I did opposite, I opted for reverse launch, because I had to deal with tiny lines on my comp. glider that could easily get tangled, and also high aspect ratio wing needed prolonged direct visual check before being committed into the air at this tight take off. As opposed to Florian I faced the wing into the wind and used strongest cycle which made me prone for the rotor. After all I managed this very well. This stunt made us both champions in our own rights, so after the champions  plummet to the LZ and safe landings we spoke out loud obvious that we are at wrong site. For that sake we found ourselves heading to Hammondsport.

    When we arrived  at H-port Mark Andrews and Bob Grant were already busy flying high.  It looked so great that we did not waste much time to join in the air. I felt little bit dizzy after long drive from Toronto and only 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

     Never mind, thermaling time. After 15min of thermaling I took huge collapse that sent me in deep spiral with big ears. Not big deal, I have height and I as long as I am in spiral I feel secure at least from falling into the wing. This is OK under one condition, that I should go out of spiral before I loose to much height and or start to suffer from G forces. I pumped smaller - outer collapse first, then pulled that brake hard and exited spiral which automatically sorted out big inner collapsed side. Soon after I realised that my speed bar was installed too tight so I top landed to readjust it, drink some water which I forgot due to being too excited to join Bob and Mark in the air.

    Bob was speck in the sky Florian had some decent height,  Mark was playing with WO and did some spirals higher and behind the launch. I hoped next flight will get me high, but instead I had to deal with rough punchy and disorganised thermals at lower altitude, This was interesting but somewhat frustrating when you see somebody much higher and flying with no problem. After couple hours of this harsh enjoyment I decided to head to town of  Hammondsport. With very little height I managed to return and catch strong narrow thermal as soon as I returned near the launch, This time I decided to follow disregarding drift and went to 4500ft. This made me land soon, I did not want to drift more than a mile back from the launch.

     So for Sunday I concluded my flying with 4 flights and close to 4 hours of flying Mark had similar score with 4 flights and everybody else flew and had happy faces. Bob and Florian had highest height gains, Florian in fact recorded 8500ft and I believe Bob reached at least that height too.

    Sunday was good for Florian at Dansville. He had a very long thermaling flight, otherwise  blue sky and temperatures were similar like on Saturday but with very inconsistent cross wind. I had two dummy sledders and finally last third flight looked like sustainable flying, but after some fight to gain decent height I decided to land instead to commit myself further to dangerous flying in choppy air near the ridge.




Our First weekend In The Finger Lakes 2007 By Bob Grant

On April 18 th we were watching the weather forecasts and noticed that the coming weekend looked very favourable for flying so we contacted Scott Wise who lives in Bath, NY and asked if he would be available to fly from Friday through Sunday and he replied that yes he would love to get airborne again. We loaded up our gear at six Friday morning and headed for Bath. When we first drove through Bath I noticed that the flag on top of Mossy Banks looked to be blowing in but somewhat from the north so Hammondsport sounded best.  I called Scott and met him at the Hammondsport launch at twelve-thirty. When we arrived and checked wind flow it appeared to be coming straight in at five to ten mph so I set up my Fusion and Scott put up two tell tail streamers. I had my glider set up in about a half hour and was ready to launch so with Maureen and Scott behind each wing wire and the streamers blowing in nicely I made a four step run off the step hill and felt a sinking feeling so pulled in for extra speed and turned right to get around to the more north facing part of the face where I hoped to catch some lift and sure enough there was some lift but not enough to gain altitude so I turned left coming back to where I expected to find lift but nothing so I continued west now below launch about two hundred feet cruising in a bit to close to the trees when I got a soft mushing feeling and before I could pull in enough and  turn right I could hear my left wingtip clicking through the tree branches and within three seconds I spun into the trees to a cushioning stop. Fortunately I was not very high off the ground but the ground was at a sixty degree slope and my feet were barely touching the rocky soil. OK damn, I really screwed up this time so looking around I can see that my Fusion doesn't appear to have any significant damage but now how do I get out of here. With my feet barely touching the ground I try to unhook my carabineers (you say carabineers, well yes I have always used two) But I could not get the hang strap of the either carabineer so I finally gave up on that and unzipped and unbuckled my harness and dropped out of the CG 1000 harness trying to get a foothold against a tree or shrub. Next I unhooked my harness from the glider and try to make my way to the take off area which is more than two hundred feet up the steep slope but after five minutes I gave up on taking my harness up with me as it was to steep and I was not making much headway so I left my harness and used both arms and legs to get to the top so that Maureen would not have gone to the landing area looking for me but to no avail as by the time I got to the top (about twenty minutes) Maureen had left to retrieve me, not knowing that I had landed in the trees and Scott was breaking down his glider thinking that if there was no better lift than I had found that we should pack up and head for Indian Cliffs or Mossy banks which both face northeast or fifty degrees on a compass. Next I asked Scott if he would drive to the landing area and inform Maureen that I had landed in the trees and need help dislodging my glider and so Scott headed down and dropped me off at Rick Parulski's farmhouse where I asked Dick for a rope and a saw to cut the saplings away from my glider and soon Scott, Maureen and I were on a mission to get my Fusion out of there although I had thought that maybe I should leave it there permanently as I was so pissed that I had gotten into this predicament in the first place and I was due for a new glider anyways but with some encouragement from Scott and Maureen we decided to extract my glider and Scott said let's take it down the mountain rather than up as it would be much easier and I had to agree to that one. Amazingly after cutting only four saplings we were able to get the glider folded up and into the bag which took about an hour so Maureen struggled back to the top to take our vehicle down while Scott used the long rope tied to my glider and secured around trees to keep me from sliding to fast down the slope as I guided the glider and harness through the trees to the base of the mountain where we carried it to highway fifty four where Maureen came along shortly after we got there. We loaded up my glider retrieved Scott's car and glider and headed for Mossy Banks and as we arrived we could see two hang glider pilots soaring that beautiful four hundred foot high ridge. We got Scott's Fusion to the take-off and he set up and had a wonderful almost two hour flight with Jamie McGuire and Bob Roth at one of my favourite flying locations. After the pilots packed their gliders Scott, Maureen and I grabbed a bite to eat and we took my Fusion to Scott's home to sew a patch on my Fusion's wingtip which had suffered a eight inch tear in my tree landing and fortunately Scott has a super industrial sewing machine and he did an excellent job of patching my sail and all I had to do was inspect the airframe on Saturday morning before attempting flight again and as it turned out I did not see any damage other than one slightly bent batten which I straightened.

Lesson - Don't fly too close to the trees. Bad Bob!!

Saturday April 21, 2007, "talk about a wonderful day for flying" well it just couldn't have been better. Once I had inspected my glider and set it up at eleven o'clock Mark Andrews was already in the air at Hammondsport and well above take-off so I knew it was good now so I got into my harness and screamed off that hill again and this time there was lots of lift and I climbed to well over three thousand feet in my first thermal and I could see Mark flying his Paraglider in the same air that I was experiencing. As the day progressed the thermals became even better and by noon there were lots of paraglider pilots setting up and getting airborne. A little later on Scott Rowe, Dan Spier, and Bob Roth joined Scott Wise and I along with about ten Paraglider pilots. Although there was not a cloud in the sky the thermals were many and I found them to be smooth although I heard a paraglider pilot saying that he thought it was bumpy but I expect that was closer to the ridge and luckily I did not get down there during my first flight which lasted two hours and twenty minutes and according to my Flytec I topped out at six thousand eight hundred feet above take-off but I was told later by Florian Ghiban that he was at 8,500 feet above the landing area and that I was at about the same level and that may be possible as my number one vario battery died in flight and I switched over to number two so maybe my readings got confused in that transition. After my first flight I landed on top about five hundred feet behind the take-off and rested for an hour and then took off again finding similar conditions and topping out at five thousand and eight hundred feet and I landed this flight at the church landing area where many pilots were gathered. At seven o'clock there were still four or five pilots in the air and getting a thousand over launch so it was soarable from ten-thirty in the morning until seven-thirty in the evening. I did not hear of any cross country flights from Hammondsport on that day but I am sure that the XC pilots in neighbouring areas must have gone for it.

Sunday April 22, 2007 we drove to Dansville NY which is about thirty miles from Bath and when we arrived after a walk though Stoneybrook park Gorge around noon, Florian said that he had talked to Bob Roth who said that Marty was going to tow today so we zoomed off to the Rochester towpark because the wind at Dansville was nil. I had a twenty minute flight from Marty's aerotow along with Doug Allen and Bob Roth so Sunday had few thermals that I could stay with but by four o'clock we noticed that the wind had picked up to about ten mph so we heard later that Florian and Mukrin did fly at Dansville and Florian did very well.

The next weekend did not appear to be flyable so we did a kayak trip on Sunday at the Elora Gorge which is about seventy miles from our home in London, Ontario, Canada


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