TBT: Tandems All Over

Some memorable flights with dad…

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Can't remember where, Virginia maybe?

Can’t remember where, Virginia maybe?

Truck towing at Pocono E Stroudsburg Airport, PA

Truck towing at Pocono E Stroudsburg Airport, PA

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The Man on the Silver Mountain

EDIT:  A few people have expressed concern regarding the Eagle footage in this video.  I would like to share a public response to better explain the manor in which this footage was captured:

I appreciate your concern, and I think your heart is absolutely in the right place.  All birds, Eagles most of all, need to be protected, cared for, and looked after.

The thought that I, as such an avid flight enthusiast myself, would do ANYTHING to disturb or harm such a creature is just not true.  Again, I certainly appreciate your sentiment, but I feel it a bit misplaced in this case.

I was filming with my quadcopter, just above tree-top height, along that river (our LZ) well before the Eagle passed by.  He/she was flying along the river, and passed very near to my quadcopter.  Not so near that I was worried about collision, but near enough that I am very confident the Eagle was not concerned with sharing the air with it.  I followed him a short ways, staying well behind at first, and slowly approaching.  The Eagle did not seem concerned in the least.  I swung wide and tried to get a side-view, at which point the Eagle actually came closer to my quadcopter, resulting in the shot used in this video.  Again, I am very confident he was not scared, was not threatened,Š wasn’t even curious!

Also I should mention that I was not nearly as close as the video appears.  It was taken with a GoPro, but the field of view was set to narrow.  I was also shooting 2.7k HD (bigger than full-HD 1080), which allowed me to crop (zoom) in on the footage.

I did not set out to capture or “chase” this Eagle… he/she basically flew into my shot and I just flew along with them to briefly keep them in-frame.  It was very serendipitous, with circumstances likely never to occur again.  I was very lucky to be in the right place, right time, camera rolling…

Once again I would like to say that I understand and appreciate your concerns, and I think we share the same ideals regarding the treatment of birds.  I have also shared this footage with some very experienced and respected Falconers, and they were confident the Eagle was not threatened, concerned, or distressed in any manor- he was just going about his business as usual.

Some have compared this case of a 500mm electric quadcopter flying a straight path to a full size paraglider, with a human (“Super Dell”), wearing a 2-stoke gas engine and tirelessly chasing in all directions what is very clearly a bird trying to escape- never mind KICKING the animal- I am sorry, but these cases are nothing alike.

Lastly, I would like to apologize if my footage upset you.  Maybe with more information you can see it’s not what you thought it was?  But regardless, I aim to inspire people to appreciate flight, not upset anyoneŠ and so if my video has brought stress to you I do apologize.

And finally, I respectfully request that, if anyone else attempts to capture similar images- that they too do so very respectfully and are mindful that WE are the visitors in THEIR homes, and should behave as such.  That Eagle is “The Man on the Silver Mountain”.

Thanks and cheers all,
Ryan Voight



Inaugural Ramp Launch

Photo by Jorge Grey

Photo by Jorge Grey

If you haven’t heard, New York State has been working on giving many of the scenic overlooks in the area a face-lift.  One of those overlooks is home to the Ellenville Ramp, which we use when wintery conditions prevent us from driving up the dirt road to our usual launch(s).  In addition to revamping the scenic overlook, the State of New York built for us an entirely new ramp… and paid for the whole thing (materials + labor, everything!). (more…)



Shoulder Health, Part I

I’ve been involved in a dangerous activity for a long time, but it’s only caught up with me in a few instances. In 1998 I broke my right wrist, in 1999 I sprained and dislocated my left shoulder, and in 2003 I broke my left ankle… all playing hockey.

No, it wasn’t flying, and maybe that’s not what you expected me to say? I’m pretty surprised about it, too… but I’ve had a combination of excellent instructors and a few very important instances of good fortune, so the only injuries I’ve had to overcome were from other things.

One of those injuries- the dislocated shoulder- has plagued me ever since; Over 15 years now, literally half my life. (more…)



TBT: Just a regular kid… at some random flying site

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Happy Frozen Voights

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It was a great, cold and challenging day at Ellenville today… and it’s really special to get to share it with Dad.



Sunrise

One nice thing about these short winter days… it’s a lot easier to get up to watch the sun rise!  Inspirational.

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Perspective

Today concluded the longest break I’ve taken from hang gliding since my first flight with my dad in 1988.

My last flight before the break was August 17, and I had my left shoulder surgically reconstructed the next day.  Which means I went 4 1/2 months!

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Today was “just” a sled ride… but with my perspective, I have to say the ability to launch into the sky with just a few steps, cruise around effortlessly, and end the flight with a graceful return to those same feet that started me going, but a long ways away from where they last touched Earth…

It’s a stunning privilege we enjoy, to say the very least!

And now I’m back, refocused and invigorated more than ever!  Let’s FLY!



Hang Gliding Nightmare

I don’t usually have flying dreams… but when I do, they are about hang gliding.  It’s probably because I started so young- I don’t imagine “flying”, I imagine hang gliding situations and adventures.

Last night, I have a vivid nightmare… and it’s the first time I recall hang gliding being in a negative dream.

I was at the first day of a foot-launch hang gliding comp, and happened to be first in the launch order.  We were all set up, harnessed in, ready to launch, and waiting for the launch window to open.  Just as it opens, I realize that I forgot to download the turn-points into my instruments, and I never set up a task to follow.

Obviously, if you launch without GPS coordinates and a set task… you’ll be lost!  So I was running around launching, holding up the launch window, trying to find someone who could help me.  I kept asking people to export the waypoints onto an SD card, because then I could import them into my instrument.  But everyone just shook their head and said they couldn’t help me…

I call it a nightmare because that feeling of forgetting something important, and being lost without savior… well it’s not a very nice feeling!  I’m sure my Freudian friends would tell me this dream has significant and deep meaning.  Whatever…

Has anyone else had hang gliding dreams?  How about ones that were negative rather than positive?

WHAT DOES IT MEEEAAAAANNNNN?!?!?!

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TBT: Dizzying Backflip Makes Headlines

About a year ago, a short video clip I had posted made headlines… in Australia?!

http://www.9news.com.au/world/2014/02/20/14/55/hang-glider-performs-wingover

It also spurred a pretty radical discussion about how low is “too low” for aerobatics… All I’ll say is that this wasn’t as low, or upside down, as it looks.  Regardless, it was cool getting noticed down undah.