Thursday, August 25, 2011

President’s Second Quarterly Report

Northwest Paragliding Club
President’s Second Quarterly Report
August, 2011

Despite what seems like a summer that never came, flying in the Northwest has been good and sometimes great.  Flights from Tiger to Enumclaw, Black Diamond, Carnation, North Bend, and Fall City have become almost routine.  There have also been flights to Monroe, Redmond, Sultan, and of course Matty Senior’s remarkable 78-mile flight to Blanchard.  On many days paragliders have been able to stay in the air until their bladders gave out.  This summer has also seen the first flying-related fatality in Tiger’s 30 years of flying when Ken Blanchard lost his life while trying to land near his home on the south slope of Squak Mountain.  The shock is wearing off, but the loss is permanent. 

The Shuttle - Michael Miller’s blue shuttle van and trailer was involved in an accident on Tiger Mountain Road in July, in which both the van and the trailer were totaled.  Michael was alone in the vehicle and fortunately was not seriously injured.  Within a few days, Bob Hannah helped Michael purchase a new vehicle to get the Shuttle back in operation.  Michael expects to receive some money (perhaps $4,000 to $7,000) from an insurance settlement from the other vehicle; however, it will not completely cover the loss.  Bob’s out of pocket costs are about $ 12,900.  Michael has approached the club asking for financial assistance to help him reimburse Bob for his expenditures.  This issue has been discussed by the Board of Directors and was the main topic of discussion at the August membership meeting. 
The membership meeting was a very lively, friendly and open discussion and brain-storming session.  It was acknowledged that Michael’s shuttle service is a huge asset to our flying community.  Michael has a vested interest and business in the flying community.  He attended the meeting and contributed to the discussion and helped us try to find a fair and reasonable solution.  
At the meeting, a motion was made and seconded on a Board proposal to give Michael 75 percent of the net proceeds from this year’s Tandem Fly-in in exchange for an agreement that ownership of the shuttle vehicles would revert to the Club in the event Michael ceased to provide the shuttle service.  This motion received unanimous support from those present, including Michael, and will be further discussed and voted on in September. 
At this time, the Board has advanced Michael $2,000 for Shuttle services at the Tandem Fly-in, and given him $875 to help pay for the insurance necessary to run the shuttle on DNR property.  

Status of the Club’s Projects:
·     About 25 volunteers spent a Saturday morning in July mowing and trimming vegetation on both north and south launches.  The improvement to both launches was remarkable. 
·       The Club is hours, days or weeks away from getting the go-ahead to make the proposed improvements to the Cut.  Up to $6,000 has been authorized for the work, and we have everything ready to go on the project except a signed LUL.  The LUL has been promised repeatedly by DNR, but we expect the go-ahead in a few days.  The improvements will include widening and paving the entrance to the Cut at Tiger Mountain Road, installing a new gate, and grading and placing gravel on the road.  It will make the Cut a legal entrance to the interior Tiger Mountain road system, allowing emergency vehicles and the Shuttle to drive through.  Private vehicles will not be authorized to use the Cut. 
·       Volunteers have replaced the cables and bearings on the Club’s Rohn tower, and it has been mostly painted.  A design for the tower’s foundation has been completed and its proposed location approved by DNR.  We hope to install the tower on Tiger’s north launch.  If we are able to install it as planned, it will allow us to fly a windsock well above the 65-foot-tall trees on north launch, so that it will indicate wind from any direction.  We plan to install web cams on the tower and move Wind Talker to the tower, improving its accuracy.  About $3,800 is needed to complete installation of the tower.  That cost does not include webcams.  Funding for installation of the tower has not yet been approved. 
·        The Club sent a letter to the FAA requesting reconsideration of an FAA proposal which would lower the airspace ceiling at Tiger from 6,000 to 5,000 feet.  Lowering the ceiling would force hang and paragliders at Tiger and general aviation aircraft passing through the area into reduced airspace, greatly increasing the potential for dangerous encounters.  The FAA has yet to respond to our letter. 
·        Thanks in large part to Chris Amonson, the Club’s blog editor; there are several new articles and great photos on the club’s blog.  Chris has kept the blog active and it is a good place to go to read about other pilot’s experiences.  Feel free to write up your flying experience and share it with the rest of us. 
·       Andy Wood continues a good job of keeping the Club’s website up to date.  It is a great source of information about the Club’s flying sites and activities.  It also has links to weather information, USHPA, Leonardo and other useful sites. 
·        The AED (defibrillator) has been temporarily located under the outhouse at north launch.  Patti Fujii is arranging for a class to show us how to use it. 
·        King County placed crushed rock on the east side of the LZ parking lot, completing the enlarged parking area.  Rich Hass has been meeting with King County about additional improvements to the parking lot and the LZ. 
·        Club VP Lawrence Wallman and others participated in a meeting with Washington State Parks to get flying rights restored at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island.  The Parks Department is now reviewing comments from the various interested parties.  We hope that paragliding will be restored at Ebey’s landing, at least on a trial basis.    
·       The club is participating in efforts to develop recreational property which could become a landing zone for flights from McDonald Mountain.  If we are able to acquire access to a landing zone, DNR will allow us to use launch sites on the mountain, opening up the mountain to hang gliding and paragliding.  Rich Hass, Paulo Escobar, John Schnebeck and Lawrence Wallman participated in a trip to McDonald Mountain to access possible sites for an LZ. 
·        The Club had a third Porta-Potty placed on the Tiger LZ to accommodate the heavy usage. 
·        Anti-Dog Poop signs have been posted on the Tiger LZ, advertising the County’s leash law and our desire not to have the property fouled with feces and urine. 
Updates to the Club Calendar:
·        The Tandem Fly-In was rained out on July 17 and is now scheduled for August 28.  
·        The Saddle fly-in was canceled, in part because of it’s proximity to Ken’s death, services, etc. 
·        The Baldy fly-in is tentatively scheduled for September 17-18, pending authorization from the land owner. 
·        The Women’s Fly-In at Chelan is scheduled for October 22 – 23.  If you have not attended it before, this fly-in usually starts with a get-together at Campbell’s on Friday night, and includes a costume party Saturday night at the Chelan airport pilot’s lounge.  Saturday night’s festivities include a pot-luck dinner, home-made chili, pie and costume contests, music, dancing and lots of fun. 
Club Finances:
Club Treasurer Beth Friesen reports that we currently have about $38,500 in the bank, not including receipts from Tandem Fly-In sales.   We have committed up to $6,000 for work on the cut. 

Our monthly meetings are enjoyable and informative and the food at Pogacha’s is very good.  Come out and enjoy the evening with your fellow pilots on the third Tuesday of the month. 
If you have an idea that might make flying at one of our sites safer or more enjoyable, please contact me or another of the board members.  We are always open to new ideas.   Our email addresses are on the club web site. 
Thanks, and have a great flight. 

Ralph Boirum
President, NWPC

1 comment:

I Frew said...

Great summary of all that has been going on Ralph. Your volunteer efforts and that of all the board members is much appreciated. Sometimes people forget we do all this stuff as a good will gesture and not as paid employees!

Cheers Iain