Flight Blog: Ep 7

By Gisele Dierks

Hello pilots and friends,

Thank you all so much for coming by last weekend!


This Saturday/Sunday! It will be the same module on both days, so just sign up for whichever works best! Even if you aren’t at a point in your flying where you are flying around trees, the more aware of these processes you are, the better off you will be if you were to ever need it. In my own experience, I have found these opportunities to be pertinent in many other unexpected aspects of my life. 

Wills Wing

By now I’m sure most of you have seen/ heard the news about the future of Wills Wing. For those who haven’t: to the best of my understanding Wills Wing will be shifting their production facilities to Valle de Bravo, Mexico and ownership of the company will transition to Rudy Gotes of Valle. Steve Pearson will be a partner in the new company, and surely he will continue to be an asset to the company moving forward. This is all going to start in the next two and a half months. Those are just some big pointers…Wills Wing crafted a much more detailed letter to the community. Wills Wing has contributed a monumental amount to our sport, and we are all rooting for them in this next endeavor. 

Looking Back

We had a lovely Saturday with all of you. Food was delicious, thank you to all who brought things! After a lively feast, a handful of us headed up to Camp Rob, where we shared a very special moment.

Before we developed the technology and knowledge we have today, the sport of hang gliding challenged a much higher percentage of this community with sadness. It took decades before things became a bit more stable and we figured out what constituted safe glider designs and launch conditions. (This is not to say we have it all figured out now. ) The huge tolls of these early decades had long lasting effects on the perception of hang gliding which we are still working to clarify today. Morningside was no exception to the hard reality of the dangers of experiment.


I mention this now because Stuart Soule came up in conversation last Saturday night. I don’t think I could give an exact description if I tried, but essentially the gliders then were built so you could “tune” them, and Stuart made too large of an adjustment in the wrong direction, creating an unrecoverable situation. His glider did not fly and Stuart did not survive the ensuing crash. These sorts of reactions were not well understood, and many pilots paid the price for knowledge. I tell this story so that pilots today can be aware of this history while we are setting up, launching, flying, and landing. Similar stories have followed us all through the history of flight, from Leonardo DaVinci’s partner to Otto Lilienthal. Mistakes made have been, and continue to constantly change the future of hang gliding.

As the pilot who relayed this story to us was explaining it all, he looked up to the flying sparks and the dark canopy above, asking Stuart’s consent to continue. Just as he finished, a large owl swooped in and landed on a branch directly above the speaker. One of our new students managed to get a photo of the owl, and the air was electric with emotion. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but even so we appreciated the visit.

X Alps

Last week we were lucky to have a visit from Eduardo Garza and Bianca Heinrich before they headed overseas to the X Alps. It’s good to see good people doing incredible things! I haven’t been old enough to really follow everything/everyone for very long, but I am proud to say that both have had lessons here at Morningside. Nine days to start! Good luck! Another awesome pilot made the New Hampshire record that day with a flight from here to Laconia (almost 70 miles!).

June Aerotow

We are offering a promotion for the rest of June with a buy 2 get 1 free solo tow deal. It’s one of the better seasons we have had in a while so come fly with us and take advantage of it! You may just be rewarded with the flight of your life.

Thanks for helping to make this season so awesome!

2 responses to “Flight Blog: Ep 7

  1. Hi Gisele,

    It was good to see you yesterday and get a couple of flights in. They were my first flights since October, 2019. The pandemic and a new knee interrupted my 44 consecutive years of flying at Morningside. I’ll email you a photo of me at the Morningside lower launch circa 1980 with my second glider a Delta Wing Phoenix 6D.

    Speaking of tree landings, I destroyed my first glider, a Sky Sports Bobcat II in a 1978 tree landing in a flight off Mt Kearsarge, Warner, NH. The 210 square foot sail of the old standard glider didn’t provide much penetration into a moderate west wind making it impossible to reach the bailout LZ Juniper patch just outside of Winslow State Park. I can still remember the last few seconds of that flight as I skimmed across the woodland with no hope of making it to a clearing but enjoying the enhanced thrill of flying just above the forest canopy. The flight ended when the glider’s leading edge inevitably clipped a branch setting me down gently on tree tops high above the forest floor. Dangling via a “quick-release” carabiner attached to my bikini harness, a porcupine stared at me from the branch we both shared! I’ll leave the rest of the story for another time.

    I’ve been enjoying your blog. Not having a social media account I miss news of what’s happening in the free flight community. Keep it up!


  2. thanks gigi for writing up the goings on there @morningside this last week. i hope the newer pilots/students each can experience the amazing history that IS this special place in their own ways…. 🙂

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