I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Soaring Week!

Elk Island Park
It's that time of year! Flying season has begun for me! After a flightless winter it has once again been too long with my butt strapped to a wheelchair, time to don the wings and soar! The Edmonton Soaring Club is starting the season this year with several flying weeks in a row, meaning they are going to fly seven days a week as long as there are people and flyable weather! Terryll packed the necessary monumental pile of flying gear into the van, and we headed up to Chipman last Tuesday to get some flying in.

It was the 30 year anniversary of the car accident that left me a quadriplegic, and what better way to mark it than with a great flight! After that accident it was a long road back to getting a life going, but with the help of my wife, my family, and my friends this adventure has been a blast and keeps getting better!


Guy Blood volunteered to take the back seat behind me in the glider. He would handle the tow to altitude since my lack of arm strength makes that difficult, and rudder and spoiler. My wife, having a black-belt in gimp-transfer procedures, put the sling on me and directed Guy who was driving the the lift-equipped Kubota into position, turns out he's multi-talented and can run that too! With the Kubota, Guy and Terryll lifted me out of my chair and placed me perfectly into the Perkoz' front seat, pilot-installation-procedure complete! The Perkoz is a high-performance glider with a glide ratio of approximately 40 to 1, meaning that for every foot of altitude you lose it will travel 40 feet forward.

Burning off height for landing with spoilers out
Master-Thermal-Finder Bob Hagan flew the Scout and pulled us up to 3000 feet above ground. He dropped us right in the middle of a boomer of a thermal. We connected right away and climbed as high as we could, only limited by clouds that kept us at about 9500 feet. We toured around for two hours, exploring towns and a nearby river, finally returning when a student needed Guy's expertise. To our chagrin our multi-talented back-seat photographer got faulty information from yours-truly during his camera-checkout, and we ended up with no pictures or video. Guess we gotta come back tomorrow :)

The next day my buddy Dave Loshny and I headed back up to Chipman. Guy and I went up and once again Thermal-Master-Bob had us hooked up to lift right away. This time the thermal took us at 1000 ft./m to a height of 10,500 feet! We decided to head East towards Mundare and Vegreville. Being a quadriplegic, an outlanding would be a major inconvenience, and I don't think Guy could pack me far. Thus it is important to keep enough altitude in one's pocket to assure a safe return home. I got a little nervous near Vegreville since lift was eluding me, so we turned homeward and hooked up to Old Faithful, a thermal that always seems to hang out just West of Chipman. This time the camera was working, and we brought a spare for insurance ... take THAT Murphy! We toured Lamont, Mundare, and Elk Island, enjoying the view from a mile high. It was so amazing to take photos and video from that height, and great to be back in the air after a long winter off! Here are some pictures and a video of the landing, what a day once again! Thanks so much to my wife Terryll, Dave, Guy, Bob, and the whole Edmonton Soaring Club for making these adventures a possibility!