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Flight Blog: Ep 8

By Gisele Dierks

Hi All!

I’m super late on this… I was waiting for inspiration to hit and a short trip to California might have delayed me as well!

Tree Rescue Clinic Recap

I learned so much at our Tree Rescue Clinic! In case you missed it, you will want to attend the next one! Topics discussed were the two most common tree landing situations and some tips on how best to safely maneuver out of them, best tree species to land in (if you have a choice… go for the least stabby one with the strongest branches!), and things that may be good to carry with you! (Hook knife! Dental floss! Whistle!)

Lilienthal Glider at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. July 26, 2016. Smithsonian photo by Eric Long (A19060001000.3T8A5914.2) (NASM2018-10829)

Experimental Pioneers

As we know and hopefully remember, Part 103 from the FAA  categorizes hang gliders, paragliders, etc., as experimental aircrafts. I was reminded this morning that all of aviation has depended upon experimentation… without the experiments of Otto Lillienthal, the Wright brothers, even up through names like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, our sports (not to mention our world) would look very different! We are still making advances in all things HG, PG, and PPG, but most of the experimental footwork has already been done.

Free flight pilots have been fine tuning our knowledge of optimal gear, weather conditions, sites to fly and when to fly them, not to mention actual flying skills for decades. Thankfully we’re now at a point where someone with no prior experience can step into the sport without having to start from scratch on a bamboo and duct tape wing. Having a path to follow in learning leaves more creative energy for legendary flights later.

Instant Gratification

Along with free flight, human behavior and American culture has changed quite a bit over the last 50 years as well. We are seeing an influx of schools across the country who promise fast results: students will be able to learn everything they need in two weeks or less! As schools start to advertise these results, I worry: New England weather, human ability to absorb knowledge, and a LOT of ground (and sky) to cover does not make for such quick success.

Developing good judgement and learning the very thin lines between relatively safe and dangerous situations in these sports simply does not happen quickly, and takes a lot of practice under the wing of some more experienced pilots. Besides flight itself, we have learned from the pioneers of flight that aviation is not forgiving to mistakes, and we now have the tools to avoid so many of them.

Our culture may be focused on doing everything faster, but the world’s slowest aircraft pilots plead prospective students to slow down and stay safe and present in the moment. Morningside has maintained it’s reputation as one of the more rigorous, safety-oriented schools. I hope we don’t have to face the day when we have to sacrifice those values just to keep up.

Pancake Breakfast!

Monday (July 5) Morning! Cameron Peters finished his P2 with us last fall. I have reports that aside from paragliding, Cam is a world renowned pancake chef with a secret recipe! We will have maple syrup from right here in Charlestown and likely some red/blue berries etc. The weather this weekend has us a bit subdued around here, but the forecast is looking up for tomorrow and Monday! Let’s get together and celebrate free flight and another summer in an incredible place!

Thanks for reading!

-Gigi

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