Apparently I was staring out the window at Cu's and not paying attention when they told me July was my turn to contribute to the blog and author a "Prez-sez" -- so you get this in August instead.
Chelan XC Classic (CXCC)
It's summer in the NorthWest and you know what that means - yes, competition season. First, our intrepid paraglider pilots flocked to beautiful Lake Chelan for the Chelan XC Classic. This is a competition with a unique format where there is no set task and you're free to make up your own task - straight line, out and back, or triangles. Paraglider participation was at an all time high and there was even talk of having to divide the PG class next year. Several of Tiger's finest flew in the CXCC with Matt Senior placing 3rd in the PG class. Brett Yeates (CAN) placed 1st, with Brian Webb (AUS) close behind.
The CXCC was not without its share of excitement. Read all about how thunderstorms and overdeveloped Cu-Nims made for a very interesting flight. This is a link to Brian Webb's blog that also has a note that Matt Senior posted to the NWPC mailing list.
Rat Race '08
This horde of pilots with too much time on their hands then moved South to Woodrat Mountain in Ruch, OR, home of the Rat Race. The Rat Race is an event tailored towards pilots taking part in their first comp, with designated mentors for all, a friendly, collegial atmosphere, superb logistics and weather/terrain oriented towards beginner XC pilots. This year the Rat Race was held later than it is typically held. As a result we had some really hot days (100+ F on launch) and the ensuing high-pressure did not make for great flying on a couple of days. 2 days were cancelled, but we had some good tasks on the other 5 days. Several Tiger pilots made it to RR08 for their first competition, including Iain Frew, Ashley Guberman, John Mann, and Konstantin Terentjev. Several of the Tiger regulars also competed and placed well - notable mentions being Meredith Malocsay (2nd in Womens) and Konstantin (5th in Masters). The mentoring program this year was top-notch with a lecture every evening focusing on various aspects including weather, speed-to-fly, attributes of a good comp. pilot, etc. Pilots performing well on a given task were rewarded with Beef Jerky the next morning and tree huggers were given their own "official RR08 mini poison oak tree" to take home.
Waterville Towfest '08
Ever stand on launch at the Chelan Butte and wonder how cool it would be to not have to deal with the Columbia river crossing before beginning that epic XC flight? Chris Santacroce/Nick Petersen/Cade read your mind and showed up with their tow rigs in the Chelan flats earlier this month to get people into the air. Less-experienced pilots towed early through late morning and again later in the day. XC desperados towed up mid-day to get high and cold. Several great flights over the weekend - Bill Hughes established SkyGod status with a monster triangle on Sat (Launch near Douglas->Bridgeport->Mansfield->Launch and landing not far from launch) and a flight on Sunday out past Leahy almost to Grand Coulee. Rob Heim and myself played catch-up to Bill on the triangle Saturday and landed near Mansfield after flying nearly 5 hours. John Patterson flew with Bill to Leahy Sunday. Marc Chirico showed it's possible to fly to Bridgeport on a beat-up old Bolero and Chris Santacroce took time off from towing to fly to Leahy. Several other pilots there for the weekend learning to thermal and go distance and I'm surely forgetting other highlights. Cheryl Cardwell did logistics and retrieves with help from Amy Heim, Gene and Nancy.
The annual Tiger Mountain Flyin was held on July 26. This is the NWPC's largest fundraising event and was very well attended this year. As has been the case with the last several flyins, it was a South Launch day with partly cloudy conditions. The club tandem pilots were hard at work all day cranking out tandem flights and even managed to take on a dozen walk-ons. Most of the tandem flights were pre-sold online. Tiger regulars and some not-so-regulars were present to be a part of the whole song-and-dance. Amy Heim and Steve Accord coordinated most aspects with help from several volunteers. Be there at the club meeting on Aug 12 when we will be thanking all those who helped make this a success.
Note: In keeping with tradition established last year, one van was injured in the making of this flyin.
Chelan XC Open
The comp. season continued with the Chelan XC Open. This was a pre-PWC and also the Canadian nationals (all 10 Canadian pilots in existence competed). The event lasted six days, however we lost three days to strong winds. Great tasks were called on the flyable days, including a 118K triangle on the last day of the comp. This last task had some pilots in the air for more than 7 hours. As the last few pilots came in to goal, they were just flopping down on the ground totally drained after their exhausting yet exhilirating flight.
Santiago Baeza (MEX), Matt Dadam (USA) and Eric Reed (USA) took the top three spots in the open class respectively. The Canadian honors went to Keith MacCullough (1st), Bernard Winkelmann (2nd) and Amir Izadi (3rd). The NWPC was well represented by Bill Hughes (12th,open), Gordon Grice (5th,serial), Stefan Mitrovich (8th, serial), Joe Sullivan (15th, serial) and Chris Amonson (16th, serial).
Details (including results and tracklogs of all pilots).
Bare Buns Run: Every so often, on a sinky South launch day, one of us drops in at the Fraternity Snoqualmie sans invitation. Starting last year, some pilots have been responding to an invitation to run sans clothing in the annual Bare Buns run. Rumor has it that this year it was a cold day to be running with it all out, but one of ours made it into the top 20. Full coverage (so to speak) at the club meeting on Tuesday. Maybe.
Brian's Blog: As an aside, if there's one paragliding blog you should read (in addition to the NWPC blog, of course), then read Brian Webb's blog. Brian is a paraglider pilot from Australia currently visiting the US. He gave a superb mentoring talk at RR08 and also set the Oregon state open-distance record on his way back from Woodrat. What amazes me is the fact that here's a guy who's been flying since forever, an Australian national team pilot who frequents world-class competitions and he still makes a note of lessons he learns on every flight.
Eric Jansen, a veteran paraglider pilot , died in mid-air due to a heart attack. A memorial service was held at the New Hope Lutheran Church the following Saturday. Eric spent his final few moments in pursuit of one of his passions and he will remain in the thoughts of the Tiger community.
For what is it to die,
But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? - Kahlil Gibran