Monday, December 22, 2008

The Launch on Mt Seven, Golden (A few descriptions by competition pilots)

The pilot posting in the 2005 "Willi" (a competition held in Honor of Willi Muller on Mt 7) is Stewart "Midtoe" Midwinter. He is a real character as well as one of the world's best hang glider pilots. I have known Stewart since the early 80s and have flown with him a couple of times. It is Stewart's analogy "I was so high over the snow covered mountaintops, they appeared as a white capped ocean below me." which I love to use. I saw it in an out of date industrial magazine while in Ontario, going to school.

Here is an interesting foot launch!

This is the launch I had in my mind's eye when I posted in yesterday's article on fear.

I have seen this often in hang gliding. Someone, a newbie to a high mountaintop launch, doesn't have that much airtime, gets out on to the runway and hesitates. I watch the throat go dry, the vague lost moment come over the pilot's face, where concentration and heightened awareness should be the emotions tinged with a bit of eagerness to be off the ground. This is normal and will fall away as the beginner gains experience. It is wise to be cautious, though. But there is a point where fear blocks smooth performance. The time to ponder whether one should really pursue the sport of hang gliding, or not, is definitely not on top of Mount Seven with a squall approaching down the valley.