Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A shot of Tequila with a thermal chaser

The usual rain and winds of autumn have stayed away most of this month with what is probably a record-breaking number of flying days in October.  Lots of Facebook posts lately from pilots enjoying hike-and-fly adventures, and so many pictures of gorgeous fall colours seen from above.  This time of year flights are short but the bald eagles are out in full force - it seems we spend most of our flight time these days swinging our heads around to watch them swoop around us.

Fall Colours

Bald Eagle saying hello

Saturday offered an unexpected surprise with small yet lifty thermals at Woodside.  My boyfriend and I decided to trade wings for fun…he's been flying for a couple of seasons now and with consistency mixed with natural skill he has quickly become a solid pilot.  His current wing is a Skywalk Tequila 3 (an EN B beginner wing) which I'd never flown, and he'd been waiting for a calm day to try my EN C (intermediate/advanced) Skywalk Cayenne 4.  

George launched and I got a strong feeling that I'd never get my wing back as he carved into a thermal and rose above launch.  Fine…my turn now!  The Tequila 3 launched just as nice as my wing & I flew over to where some eagles had been playing.  It's been a long time since I flew a beginner wing and technology has improved so much!  The same safe behaviour was there that I remembered - after hitting any turbulence the wing resets itself promptly overhead, and there's a lot more brake travel with plenty of warning if you try to pull too much. 

George launching his Tequila on an earlier flight

I missed my first thermal since I'm used to the dynamic entry into turns with my Cayenne 4.  I flew past it then turned back, but the thermal wasn't where I thought it was.  What to do now?  I couldn't just keep sinking out and watch helplessly as George flew higher and higher...

Luckily I have a new tool on my flight deck - a shiny new 6020 combo Vario/GPS from Steve at Flytec USA.  After the Nationals we were in touch and I was offered a pro-pilot sponsorship - yippee!  My Flytec 6020 and accompanying swag arrived a little while ago, but this was the first time I brought it out to play.  One cool feature this vario has is a thermal arrow that points you back to where you last found lift.  So I flew towards the spot indicated and sure enough the thermal was right there!  Thinking it was coincidence I tried it again…and it worked...and again…and it worked...

Now there are pilots out there who bought into this technology already and know all of this but wow, this opens up a whole new way to help improve anyone's flying.  I will be going over the other amazing features in another post, but needless to say…I'm so stoked to have gotten the 6020!

After playing in some thermals I (finally) saw George setting up to land and went to join him.  I played around with the brakes some more on the way down and have got to say, I can't wait to teach students on this wing!  It's safe enough for beginners and can easily keep up with pilots as they improve and fly cross country.  Feedback from thermals is immediate yet the wing always stays rock solid above you.  It thermals easily and gives plenty of warning for newer pilots who tend to be heavy handed on their brakes.  Landing was a breeze, and I was grinning ear to ear when I touched down.  

George said he could tell right away the Cayenne 4 was an advanced wing and was more than he wanted to fly at this point.  As an instructor I was happy to hear him (as a novice pilot) make that statement.  It's a wing meant for experienced pilots with the recommended number of hours under their belts.  Needless to say, I have that experience and boy do I love my wing!

Of course there were some things George also loved about the Cayenne 4 (like the agile turns) and he's looking up to step up to a Chili soon.  That's the next category wing in the Skywalk line and a perfect move, especially with all the positive press it's been getting lately from independent testers and the XC miles being posted in online contests worldwide.  Hope he'll let me try that one too when he gets one ;)

Flying = Happiness

p.s.  Please keep an eye on my blog for an in-depth review of the Flytec 6020, as well as information on ordering from Jet Set Paragliding for the upcoming holidays (yes, it is that time already, especially when ordering products that come from overseas).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Memories from the Nats

It's been about 3 weeks since the end of the Paragliding Nationals in Quebec...I've gotten to do a little bit of local flying and a handful of tandems, but life has mostly been about work and saving up for the next trip.  But today is a day off (yahoo!) and while looking through my GoPro footage there were a few neat shots I grabbed as stills that I'd like to share.

This is just a happy sky photo.  I can't remember which task this was from now, but it brings back such great memories.  It was a completely different style of flying compared to the mountains, and getting to see this kind of view of unending perfect clouds was a spectacular treat!

During Task 2 Guy Leblanc flew right up to me at the 2nd turn point and told me he forgot to turn on his track log and had to start the task again!  You can see the take off just below his wing tip...launch was at 400 metres so you get an idea of how low things were over there.  It was nice and smooth though, and fun being able to chat in the air like that!

This is just before the window opened on our last task, and I'm right with the start gaggle. I had found a super light thermal that started as a zero and grew into a good one...afterwards one of the pilots came up and thanked me for finding that thermal for everyone :)  Looks like Elie and Frederic on their Niviuks to the right in the photo, and I think Eric on the blue Delta in front.  This task took us over the back (literally...back towards the horizon in the pic), a tricky task for some as conditions were far from booming and we didn't get very high, plus it got quite rough on the hill for those who launched later on.

And last but not least, a quick iPhoto of the gorgeous stand my boyfriend made for my "Championne Canadienne" trophy.  Am I spoiled or what?  This is what motivates me each day as I head to my j-o-b and reminds me that there's so much more to life than collapsing on the couch after a tough day :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Saturday/Task 3 and wrap up

After all the non-flyable days, the last task just turned everything around.  I was finally able to put everything I learned together:

- I was ready early, so was able to launch earlier in the queue instead of at the end of the line.

- I worked every scrap of lift I could find (most times successfully) and even found a thermal for the lead gaggle right before start

- I made confident decisions instead of second-guessing myself

- Instead of trying to do it myself (classic only-child manoeuvre) I stuck with my gaggle, even when it was just 3 of us.

The result?  I flew well and ended up being awarded the Canadian Female National Champion title!

Looking back, this was a wonderful event where everything seemed to fall into place, from my boyfriend lending me his fancy-pants gps/vario (which I almost learned how to use) to being super lucky with retrieve and getting picked up within 15 minutes on each of my flights.

Pilots often talk about this sport being 90% mental and I think that played a really big part in me ending up with a trophy.  It's something I'm excited to learn more about - mental training, meditation, the whole "soft" skill set of this sport that I see a lot of the top pilots employing.

In the end, it was once again about the people.  Pilots were supportive of each other and each time someone launched you would hear "Bon Vol!" (Good Flight!).  Here's one of my favourite pictures that symbolizes the essence from the comp:  It's my direct "competitor" and I goofing around before task on the last day - the task that would see which of us would be awarded top female.  I don't see any you?  :)

This year it was my turn to win but I'm sure next time Julie competes she will fly away with the grand prize.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Friday/The Real Task 2

Finally got to fly again!

We got to launch & were greeted by strong winds again, but our communal optimism somehow made the lulls just long enough to launch.  I saw one of the top pilots on a super fast wing launch and go backwards which just about made me cry with the thought we could get cancelled again, but everything worked out & we all got in the air...eventually.  Unfortunately I was one of the last to launch today due to "priority launching', which meant everyone launched in order based on their place in the comp.  Since I basically bombed out on the first task that put me at the the end of the line & I didn't even get in the air until after the task had started.

I ended up having a stellar launch though - a local instructor commented that is was fantastic "especially for a competition pilot" and the launch director said it was one of the 2 best launches of the day.  So...WIN!  ha.

Pretty sure I'm king of the world...until the sink monster gets me and I'm as low as those other dots in the photo!

The task was well made, I had so much fun today.  It was a zigzag in front of launch (4 turn points) then a downwind dash to goal.  I made the first 3 then got pinned in some wind.  It surprised me because Pascal had passed below me from the same turnpoint only minutes before and seemed to have no trouble going back, so I got a bit of waypoint fixation and dove in to TP3 without worrying about the way back.  Heading out to land on full bar to clear the orchards I hit a bump around 240 meters and took it back up to over 500, but I was still in the wind and after pushing bar I ended up back in almost the exact same place!

I landed in the triangle field at the top left of photo.  My low save came from the edge of the forest but took me back to pretty much where I am in this photo again.

I'm learning a lot this competition which is exactly what I expected.  Flying the flats is a new challenge, and while it kind of sucks competition-wise to feel I've flown really well for an hour and to only cover a few kms, I still earned a far greater reward with the knowledge I'm gaining here.  Hoping I can put it all together for the last task and get out over the real flats and chew some kilometres!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Thursday/No Task

This was the day off we knew we'd have all week, so no surprise when the task was cancelled & the sky opened up shortly afterwards & rained most of the day.

10 of us headed into Montreal to eat (surprise) and play tourist.  We drove part-way in & got a day pass for the metro and explored that city til we all got back to our respective lodgings somewhere around 11.

We stopped to visit the Olympic Village, but it just wasn't as exciting as flying:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Wednesday/No Task

Too windy again!  Arrggg!

Well we made the best of it and did 2 sessions of high-wind kiting.  I got a flight off the training hill and have video to prove it, but the camera footage is really shaky so not sure if it's worth posting.  It still looks like thunderstorms tomorrow (boooo!) but nice post-frontal flying Friday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Tuesday/no task

The task committee cancelled the day at our 10 am meeting, which was nice for the locals who could then go back home and also for visitors who wanted to go exploring.  A truckload of us went to launch anyway, but the winds quickly picked up and became quite cross which prevented anyone from wanting to take off.

Competition-wise, we probably won't get to fly until Friday and Saturday which both look fantastic according to the forecast.  That would make 3 valid tasks which is about right...competitions are generally a week long since about half of the days end up being "weather" days.  Still sucks to be on a flying holiday and not flying, so we decided to go kiting in the high winds at the landing field.  I practiced my kick-ass dragging technique - yeah baby! - this girl totally slid across the field on her face and got a few souvenirs.


But the most exciting thing was getting my nanovario!  Brian from Flyte Park sent one up to me from New York and it was delivered to the landing zone today.  Can't wait to try it out, it's insanely small and looks really cool:

so tiny!  love it already.

I love these little Flyte Park instruments for my tandem flying and just in general for a backup.  I end up leaving them on my helmet so I'm never looking for batteries at take off when my big vario dies or when I left my big vario at home by accident.  Yay for cool new toys!

So after all that excitement, Eric the comp organizer threw a corn roast for us - a fun evening of corn shucking followed of course by corn eating.  I should be heavy enough from my culinary experiences to fly in even stronger conditions soon (food=ballast).  Quebec offers too many delicious eats and willpower here is futile.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Canadian Nationals: Monday/Task 2

The winds seemed manageable when we went up the mountain today, and we got to go to the west launch which is a lot nicer than the south (i.e. big enough to lay out 3 gliders at once).  But after the first few gliders took off with incredibly exciting launches the task was cancelled.  The safety committee received a round of applause for the decision, and we were left to our own devices for the rest of the day.

After an afternoon of swimming at our motel, a group of us went into town in search of poutine and bowling.  Both bowling alleys were closed (which was fine since they both seemed kinda dodgy) so we ended up at a restaurant where I had my first "sugar pie".  Just like it sounds's made of maple sugar, and cream, and brown sugar, and...sorry...where was I?  Oh yeah, I got to eat a SLICE OF HEAVEN and then we went next door to play pool.

Everything was going fine until a "discussion" of the rules broke out between Fred & Elie,  and when their conversation quickly switched from English to French we ended up having to call in the protest committee.  Luckily all was resolved without having to file paperwork or the $20 protest fee, hee hee.

We did actually have members of the task, safety and protest committee present.
Pool will never be the same.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Canadian Nationals Day 1/Task 1

Spoiler alert! I didn't make goal today. But neither did anybody but Brett (our top rated Canadian pilot), so I don't feel so bad :)

At our 9 am pilot meeting we were told it was unlikely we'd fly at all today with the 40 km/hr winds which were predicted. An eager task committee proposed a task anyway so up we went, hopeful that the wind forecast was wrong.

Task board in progress...

Due to the south winds we went to a different launch than yesterday, a small cliff with room for only a few well-timed steps before you reach the edge. The locals said strong winds were needed to use this launch, so the 25 km/hr winds that greeted us were nothing to be shy of. A 3 turn point task was called and the Boom 9's quickly took off. Us lesser beings watched with hesitation as even the top dogs seemed to be parked once in the sky!  As far as I know everyone ended up launching, so it was a good call on the task.

I only made the first turn point today and was pouting about it a bit after landing until I heard most of the other pilots landed before the 10 km mark too.  The apres-flying turned out to be the best part of the day as Frederic took us to his brother's pub right outside of Montreal and we sampled the amazing beer made on site.  Knowing the owner's brother has it's benefits and we got a tour & mini lesson on brewing, and after looking at the (even windier) forecast for tomorrow we decided to sample an extra beer or two.  We may not have had the best flying day, but I haven't laughed so hard that my face hurt in ages...thanks to friends old and new.

Private beer tour!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 Nats: Practice Day

What do you do on a practice day?

If you're Martina, you practice misplacing your purse, aka leaving it on the side of the road as you run to catch the launch shuttle (luckily rescued by comp organizer).

If you're Andrew, you practice almost losing your cellphone out of the back of a madly careening launch shuttle (luckily caught before bouncing out).

Mostly though,  you meet new friends and get to fly a different site.  This one is a lot different than I'm used to, with launch at 380m (a height we hope to find a "low save" at back home).

My first launch took me above the mountain right away so I figured I could by-pass a couple of small thermals and just soar around...and I soon found myself on the ground.  Oops.  Although spot-landing between hang gliders setting up to get towed and a dozen other pilots caught in a flush cycle who were also ready to touch down was exciting...and hearing a "nice landing Madame!" was a fun cultural experience ;)  

Best quote of the day though was from local pilot Julie, "You must try the chocolate dipped ice cream cones at Chez Ben...they are the most structurally sound you'll ever have!".  And yes, yes indeed it was.  My friend & local tour guide Chris landed with me after flight #1 and we decided to take an ice cream break before heading up to launch in the 4pm shuttle.

Structurally sound (and obviously delicious) dark chocolate dipped cone.  

Flight #2 was amazing.  As soon as my feet left the ground I saw a gaggle of about 10 vultures & flew over to join them.  With their help I got up above launch, dug in and held on to tiny thermals and played around until it was time for the 6pm pilot meeting.  It was a challenging (in a good way) time in the air and I'm excited to see what the rest of the week has in store for us!

Looking back at Yamaska on flight #2 today

Friday, August 16, 2013

au revoir!

Here I am at the airport, waiting to board a flight to attend the Canadian Paragliding Nationals in Quebec.  This trip kind of snuck up on has been so busy over the last month that I'm glad everything was booked early and all I had to do today was show up at the airport!

I wasn't even sure if I'd get to take a trip at all this year but the universe is completely conspiring in my favour to get me there.  My manager at work (in my non-flying life) is really supportive of my paragliding and gave me the time off to compete.  When I tried to book my flight through Aeroplan points and the dates I wanted were blacked out, George gave me enough Air Miles points to book a return trip (thank you!).  The hotel I contacted gave me a discount since I'm competing (yay!) and my friend Chris who lives a few hours from the flying site is picking me up from the airport & staying at the same hotel so I have someone to show me around.  In a last minute twist, a couple who live close by the airport in Vancouver offered to let me stay with them last night & gave me a place leave my car for the week, saving lots of $$$ on airport parking (Thanks Foley & Sam!).

It will be my first time flying in the "flat lands" instead of the mountains so I'm looking forward to learning a lot, and by the list of registered pilots there aren't many other BC pilots attending so I'll be making new friends who share the same passion of soaring through the skies.

Thank you again to everyone for your support & good wishes and I look forward to sharing some fun stories here over the next week.

And...we're now boarding!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer distractions

Has it really been 2 months since my last post?  Summer finally appeared and has been pulling me outside to play every moment that I'm not working.  I've been lucky enough to fly some wonderful tandems lately which I suppose is still "working" but somehow it feels like too much fun to be a job!

Spiralling down after a great flight

Paragliding is the funnest thing ever.

But the theme swimming around my mind today is distraction.  The lawnmower making noise outside is distracting. The sun shining through my windows is distracting.  The laundry pile growing bigger each day is distracting.

As usual, I can easily apply this topic to paragliding.  Distraction plays a big part in the air.  You start off the day with great ambitions to fly high, fly far and fly for hours.  Fifteen minutes into your flight you are distracted by your tummy growling..."Why didn't I eat on the way to the hill?" you say to yourself as you try & think of anything besides food.  Another 15 minutes later your bladder distracts you, even though you were totally fine before launching.  Then you remember that you were supposed to go grocery shopping so you had lunch for work tomorrow.  Maybe you should go land now...after all you've had a nice half hour flight already...

That's been happening far too often lately.  It's time to stop blaming the 'new' full-time job - I've been working 40 hours each week for six months now.  It's time to stop trying to figure out how to "balance" everything and  It's time to get back in the zone, to be so focused in flight that those distractions don't even stand a chance of coming up.  To get into that wonderful meditative state when you are soaring through the sky that you lose all track of be in that place where you turn automatically in the invisible lifting air even before you are aware of the gentle tug on your wing from that same thermal.

Focus.  The opposite of distraction.  I've been moving towards focus again instead of indulging in the easy excuse of distraction.  Meditating daily, concentrating on the task at hand whether it be organizing my warehouse at work, tackling the huge pile of junk on my living room table or practicing strong wind kiting when it's blown out at the hill.  Focus is better for you than balance, as it allows you to enjoy the moment instead of worrying about the other things that are not being done at that exact point in time.

I find that setting goals helps me focus on specific areas, and am really enjoying the process again.  I've decided to compete in the 2013 National Paragliding Championships this year and am excited to be completely out of my element (flat land flying as opposed to the mountain flying that I know).  It's given me a new focus in my paragliding which is just the push out of my comfort zone that I needed.  At last year's competition I brought so many distractions along with me that I lost focus before I even started.  This year I am bringing a whole new attitude and am going with the goal to simply enjoy every single moment.  Now that is a goal I'm looking forward to achieving.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Fly-a-versary!

It's that time of year again to reflect on the past and look ahead to the paragliding anniversary!

15 (!) years ago, I made my first solo flight on May 23, 1998.  I had gone tandem on numerous occasions the previous spring & summer, but had to save up enough money for my first paragliding kit before I could actually fly.  The first thing I bought was a second-hand Flight Design A4 (pictured below) which was delivered in the fall of 2007.  While I was saving up for the rest of my gear I would borrow my instructor's tandem passenger harness and kite for hours on end, waiting for the day my feet would finally leave the ground and I would be free to soar the skies.

1998: Flight Design A4, donated kayaking helmet, and pink Sup-Air harness.  Stylin'.

This year I will be celebrating my 15th year of paragliding by working a 12 hour shift at my new job.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but (1) it's supposed to be raining anyway and (2) I'm actually really excited about working because May 23 is also the day of our store's Grand Opening!  We've been preparing for this for the last month, and it will be the only time ever we'll be allowed to work overtime so I am grateful for the extra cash.  I'm also really proud of myself for achieving what I have in my career and making it to this exact spot in life that I'm in here and now.  Yay me!  

I look forward to watching the up-and-coming pilots progress and hope to see them stick around for many more years too.  My student Mark who took some coaching days with me last year (and is now an Intermediate Pilot) developed a local "Eaglet League" to help Novice pilots progress, a project I am super excited to be a part of.  Information is on Mark's blog at this link and I'm hoping to see newer pilots take advantage of this free, fun and informal 'competition'.  

But tonight I will celebrate my paragliding career so far (no crazy parties though with an early wake-up call tomorrow!) and think fondly of all the friends I've made over the last 15 years of paragliding, the places I've traveled and memories made, and then look forward to at least twice that many good flying years left ahead of me (yes, we have active pilots in their 70's so I'm good to go, tee hee).

Thanks to you all for being part of my journey so far!  

2013: Still can't get enough...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Going full bar

"Going full bar" is a term used in paragliding that means "full speed ahead".  It's a method we use to get to our destination faster while in the air, but it can also translate to setting your eye on a goal and going for it, and it's what I'm doing now with my flying business.

Three years ago I got my instructing and tandem ratings and began dreaming of making a living doing what I loved.  People were incredibly supportive and genuinely wished me success.  It was surprising how many local pilots had approached different wing and harness manufacturers to sell their equipment here so they could follow their own dreams of living off a paragliding-related income.  Most were denied since they weren't instructors so they encouraged me to sell gear once I became qualified.  It wasn't my immediate focus then (and I didn't have the cash to buy demo products which a lot of companies required) so I started my business with introductory tandem flights.

My business grew steadily as I decided to look at paragliding instruction differently and offered different options such as one-on-one coaching and theory classes.  With constant inquiries on tandems, coaching and flying lessons lately I've been trying to figure out how to work full time and keep running the paragliding side of things.  How can it be possible to earn enough to buy all the necessities (and ok...a few luxuries too) and still pursue my passion of helping others achieve their flying goals?

Luckily, I work at a company that cares about the personal and professional success of all their employees.  Every day at work we discuss one of our company values and how it relates to what we do.  All our actions are guided by these values (such as respect, integrity, and teamwork) and it fosters a very healthy job environment.  They match my own values, and nowadays it actually surprises me when I encounter people who act unethically in business or take joy in trying to destroy someone else's dreams.  Such a change from work where my manager's passion is developing people to their full potential.  It's something that seems to come naturally to her, and I'm learning more every day in how to bring that to the coaching side of my own flying business.

There a lot of lessons from both parts of my life that help each other.  I've learned I can succeed at whatever I set my mind to, that I can be faced with a huge project and everything comes together when you work as a team.  I've learned that I can't put my paragliding business on hold, not even for a little while, because flying has been an integral part of me for 15 years and will be for the rest of my life.  I have learned that when you have a goal in mind that the universe really does conspire FOR you!

So I'm going "Full bar" with my business, confident that it will all work out.  Jet Set Paragliding is about to start carrying some more exciting products and is also putting on new courses to help everyone achieve their personal goals.  Through teamwork we are also a part of more community events that include every level of pilot and as always, all courses and gatherings are open to everyone.  There is no us-versus-them to be found here.  We're a small enough community as it is and excluding anyone is just silly.  We all share the same passion so let's support, encourage and help each other to be even better!

 daily inspiration hanging on my wall

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Training

It's that time again...the unpredictable weather of spring that brings us some spectacular flying days.

This year I am starting the season with a new student on board.  He has a few hours of kiting under his belt now, and is eager to get in the air.  One of his best qualities is his attitude - that of understanding the big role that safety plays in this sport and why it's important to learn the basics over the addictive pull of "I wanna fly now!"

Teaching paragliding is different than flying for yourself.  A bad cold decided to settle in, and as much as I wanted to "shake it off" and go fly on what looked like one of the best weekends of the year, I decided to stand by what we had recently gone over in ground school.  Don't fly if you don't feel 100%.  And since I didn't feel anywhere near 100%... I did not fly.  Teaching is about being a role model - students pay a lot more attention to your actions than your words - so it's helping me to refine who I am as a pilot too.

Having a full time job makes things interesting too, in that you have to make the most of your time off and prioritize what you want/need to do on your "off" hours.  Having a paragliding business blurs the line between "second job" and "free time", but when you love what you do it's not work at all.  Who knows how this year will turn out, but so far it's been fantastic and looking brighter all the time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Women of Aviation Week

March 4-10th is Women of Aviation Week.  Airports and flight schools around the world are putting on events during the week, offering free introductory flights for women to encourage more women to get into the industry.

My company Jet Set Paragliding is getting involved too - on a much smaller scale of course!  As a female owned and operated business, I love the idea of attracting more women to our sport.  So I am putting on a draw through my Facebook page offering a free instructional tandem, mini ground school session and some other goodies, with the prize going to a woman who is interested in learning more about paragliding.

The link to my Facebook page is here -  All I'm asking is that those interested "like" my page, leave a comment saying they want in the draw and to watch for the winner who will be announced on March 11th!

The tandem flight will take place near Chilliwack, BC during the 2013 season.  Good luck to all who enter!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bring on 2013!

 Happy New Year!

Letting my precious out of the bag for a little kiting 

So happy to have a new year with new possibilities ahead of me, just waiting to be filled with adventure!  We're only in the middle of January and things are already fantastic.

I finally got my paraglider out for a ground-handling session on Sunday morning, and even though there was very little wind (which is why the wing is in such a funky shape in the picture) it was still fun to run around the park with it, giggling as I ran really hard and tried to get airborne with some little bunny hops.

This past weekend I also hosted a HAGAR study course, which for non-Canadian pilots probably requires a definition.  In Canada, we are pretty much self-regulated and fly under the guidelines of our governing body, the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC).  However, we have to follow the rules from Transport Canada when flying in certain airspace.  Makes sense - we don't want to be flying in the middle of an airport approach path & end up playing chicken with a 747.  The exam we have to take is tricky and full of a lot of information that we don't use on a regular basis. When I went to take the exam years ago there wasn't anywhere offering lessons on the air regs and I only passed by the skin of my teeth.  Now that I'm running my own business I decided to take on this project myself and am proud to say that this past weekend was my second successful run of this course.

It's cool seeing your vision come to life, and satisfying to help others who have been searching for the same information as you.  Having more people contacting me about the next session feels great and motivates me to keep improving.

Woot woot for 2013!