Monday, October 31, 2011


by Shannon Moyle

Seattle to Bali flight path.
Everybody loves vacation. Imagine a place with beaches and sun, a fabulous exchange rate and a lack of large buildings blocking the view of an islands natural beauty. Now add a community of friendly people, a deeply interesting culture with new traditions and foods, and massages at roughly $5-6 per hour. And the icing: add our favorite pastime, a highly experienced guide committed to showing you an enjoyable time, pilots gathering from all over the globe and consistent winds and weather that make every day a flying day.  This is a rare example of a place that has it all. 

Bali tour 2011 group photo at Uluwatu Temple
On September 25th 2011, 7 Wash-i-tonians traveled the 8152 miles (7083 nautical miles) from Seattle to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Some went through Taipei, others Hong Kong, but all were amazed at the beautiful surroundings and friendly people as they stepped off of the plane. Matty Senior has been hosting paragliding tours to Bali for the last 6 years, planning activities for all those who are willing to make the journey and share his love for the island, paragliding and experiencing all that Bali has to offer.

Jason coming in for a top-landing duringa Timbis sunset flight.  Picture by Shannon Moyle

Tish flying over Timbis. Picture by Matt Senior

We arrived to our first location in Nusa Dua where we stayed in a new villa just 10 minutes from launch. It was a true surfer and pilot community, even the villa owner, who is currently learning with the local flying club, had her first solo while we were there. For the next 5 days, we spent mornings exploring the area, tasting new foods and seeing the sights in the area. Then, each afternoon we would head out to Timbis, the first coastal flying site, to spend the afternoon in the air. It was perfect: top landing and beach landing options, 6+ miles of coastline to explore, plus when the wind is really right, a flight down to the “high cliffs”, which offers sights not usually seen by Earth-bound mortals.  The flying was spectacular. You could stay up for as long as you like and fly above hotels, houses and seaweed farms until your hearts’ content. In addition, a few of the locals have set up shop on launch: beer, food, t-shirts were all within immediate reach.

Aerial view of Candi Dasa.  Photo by Matt Senior

Curious fish at Talumban dive site.  Photo by
Jason Douglas.
After a magnificent week of flying and exploring, the troop then jumped in the car and spent four days in Candi Dasa where we soared a magnificent coastal mountain site. The beach offered multiple landing options and endless drool-worthy sights as you fly toward the Indian ocean or over the thousands of palm trees that line the beaches below. The lower launch provided terraced steps for launching the glider and benching up the mountain, where as the upper launch provided sky access when the wind was light.  While in Candi Dasa we also visited a traditional village, went scuba diving / snorkeling at an amazing shipwreck site,  visted several beaches and a fire dancing ceremony which helped us understand the tranditional island lore.  We headed back to Nusa Dua for our final three days of flying where we spent time exploring new restaurants that we had missed the first time, spending more time at our favories and soaking up as much sunshine and island attitude as we could.

While there are thousands of memories we could share during this post, here are a selected  few that will highlight the experiences that the group encountered on this magical adventure:

Tish makes new friends.

Monkeys are EVERYWHERE: On launch, at the temple and in the monkey forest where we felt hugely outnumbered. They are smart little fellas who will take anything that they can!

The accomodations are perfect: Both sites in Nusa Dua and Candi Dasa were postcard perfect complete with pools and easy access to launch.

View from our breakfast nook
in Candi Dasa.

Traffic: For us drivers who are used to lanes and signals, DON’T DRIVE THERE. The Balinese drive by physics only. Huge thanks to Matty for including “transport” in the tour.

Relaxation: Massages can be arranged in your hotel room or just across the street. The best were in Nusa Dua  for about $50,000RP (That’s about $6).

Balinese offering to help us pack
our gliders to the truck.
Expedited wing services: There were people everywhere who would help pack or carry your wing for ~$2. For $6 some would hike down to the beach, help you pack it, then hike it up for you!

Bali is for everyone: Whether you are new, a tandem passenger or an experienced pilot, Bali has offerings to please everyone.

Andy, Jason, and Iain soaring at Timbis.

A dining extravaganza: From road side soup bikes to fresh grilled fish on the beach and even fancy three course meals in Kuta, Matty knows where to go to show off all the island has to offer.

Examples of culture and tradition are everywhere: from the traditional Bali dances to daily offerings, you will find thousands of things to learn and experience while immersed in paradise. 

The flying is unbeatable. Hours and hours in the warm air. Sea breeze on your face. Eagle rays swimming below and Sea Eagles soaring beside. Cold beverages, friends and friendly locals waiting below.

Thanks to Matty Senior for showing all of us such a great time and allowing us to experience this perfect place from the land, sea and air. . It was truly two weeks in paradise full of flying, good laughs, new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Contact Matt Senior for more information on his Bali and Nepal Paragliding tours

Monday, October 17, 2011

2011 Tiger Tandem Fly-in

By Shannon Moyle
We all remember our first tandem flight. The excitement of what lies ahead, the thrill of the shuttle, the feeling just before launch. This year’s annual Tiger Mountain Fly-In provided this experience for dozens of thrill seekers. The mountain, pilots and support crew did not disappoint.
The crisp morning started with the set up crew, led by our fearless president, unfolding the day’s required equipment and briefing the launch and landing zone teams on what the day had in store. Michael showed up bright and early and by 11am, the first of many shuttles were off.
The August 28th weather provided a perfect backdrop for what turned out to be an action packed day, much more suitable than the originally scheduled date. “It was worth the wait”, mentioned one onlooker after describing their disappointment in the announcement of the postponed flying day. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and in one case, a whole family lined up to take their first step off of the ground and into the air. One woman, Betty, and her husband had waited years for this occasion. They were all smiles at the check-in tent, gathering as much information as they could before taking their first flight. Betty was gung-ho, ready for the open air. She trusted the check-in team with her favorite gardening hat for safe keeping. Her flight was one of the longer ones in the afternoon and upon landing, she had the classic “I’ve just flown and I can’t believe it” smile stretched from ear to ear. Recovering her beloved hat from the team, she and her husband vowed that they would be back and were already planning their next flight.
The anxious onlookers and loved-ones watched from the LZ as 77+ friends and family members launched with our crew, floated above Tiger and landed peacefully back on Earth. Five of these onlookers were enticed into flight after witnessing their friends' flights, while an additional dozen more walkedon after hearing of the event that day. “Which one is my friend in?” was the favorite question asked below, to which the team responded with a process to let onlookers know when their friends were launching and what color glider they were on.
Tiger’s annual fly-in raises money for the club which helps pay site insurance at our favorite flying sites as well as various site enhancement projects at Tiger. The day could not have happened without the hard working volunteer tandem pilots and support crew.  Pilots from all around the area pitched in to support the day, some volunteering up to 5 back-to-back flights. Jesse Saylor set up his BBQ stand and provided the hordes with fuel for the busy day. A small team of tiger pilots manned the check-in desk and managed the logistics from below, while a launch team did the same from above.
 All in all, the day was a huge success. The event succesfully provided funds for the club and, maybe more importantly, allowed another small percentage of Earth bound humans to enjoy the experience of flight for the first time.