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Author: Jeff O'Brien Created: 5/13/2009 2:45 PM
Jeff O'Brien revolutionized his life when he learned to hang glide in 1998. He dropped most other interests and promptly moved to Utah to fly full time. He's flown hang gliders on five continents and began competing in 2005. Jeff is probably most known for his wing mounted photography which can be seen in hang gliding publications and press worldwide.

Dave Aldrich is a WW crew member who's deep into media and flies out of Marshall and Crestline in the San Bernardino mountains. Here's a nice example of his work along with a couple of links to his site. Check em' all out:

VIDEO HERE WITH BLOG



VIMEO CHANNEL

Nice work Dave.

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It's BLACK FRIDAY - Wills Wing has been open since midnight with DEALS on HG gear. Did you hear about Linda Meier almost being trampled by shopper pilots as she opened the door this morning? - CLICK HERE

Become a FAN of Wills Wing on Facebook - HERE

WILLS WING YouTube Channel

More videos to come... Let us know if you want to see an instructional video on something specific.

VIDEO FROM AJX FLY-IN



"Consume the day" :)

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"A Weekend at Edward's - 09'"




I spent Sunday morning with Delicate Arch.

Almost exactly a year ago, I took the weekend to reacquaint myself with "Edward's place" - Moab, UT and it's surroundings. If you can't get there, read "Desert Solitare" by Ed Abbey - the most accurate account of the area in my opinion. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to see Ed's place again. It was inspiring as always.







Saturday afternoon in Double Arch.



Here's my blog post from last year:

"Do not jump into your automobile next June & rush out to the canyon country ... In the first place, you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the god-damned contraption & walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone & through the thornbush & cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you'll see something, maybe. Probably not. In the second place, most of what I write about in this book is already gone or going fast. This is not a travel guide but an elegy. A memorial. You're holding a tombstone in your hands. A bloody rock. Don't drop it on your foot — throw it at something big & glassy. What have you got to lose?"

— Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire



The greater Moab area certainly doesn't belong to Edward Abbey, but his writings about it parallel my feelings pretty well. I spent last weekend in and around the Moab area sight seeing.

Friday I went for a hike through the fisher towers area. A climbing party happened to be rapelling a route called Ancient Art, and I stopped for a photo.



Like much of the desert, the Fisher Towers area is usually filled with complete silence. Silence so still it's quite loud in your ears. It's a silence that's rarely experienced anymore. We get used to the drone of the refrigerator, the low grade hum of the hot water heater. Even a home in the middle of nowhere isn't silent.

Coupled with the silence is the acoustics in the area. Climbers can talk in a normal tone of voice to hikers hundreds of feet away. You can hear the wing beats of a raven a few cliffs away.

I wanted to hit all my favorites, so in the afternoon I stopped by Dead Horse Point. The light wasn't flattering, but the scene was still sufficiently impressive.



After Dead Horse, it was a race out on Mineral Bottom Road to the Horsethief Canyon area. Much like Dead Horse only on a smaller scale, the Mineral Bottom area is really special to me due to the camping and flying I've done with friends in the area. I've been coming to the cliff since 2000. The best camping spot I know.



Walked out to the cliff with the dog to share a "sundowner" - We spent the last light enjoying the mirror finish on the Green R. and surrounding red rock cliffs.

After hiking back to the car, we decided to have a bit of a fire as camping parties had left quite a bit of firewood. We waited until the stars came out in the moonless sky before extinguishing the remaining flames and heading back toward town.



Like the silence, the stars are more profound in the desert. Far away from light pollution, the moonless sky lets you see deep into the universe. Constellations get lost among the more distant stars easily visible in the pure darkness. Don't stare too long though - you're liable to get lost in your own insignificance.

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KAVU - Busy Livin'

http://www.kavu.com/ - There isn't a cooler company. We appreciate KAVU's desire to showcase hang gliding. They are a company that lives and breathes the "local worldwide" vibe. Check out the goods and the team blog. Fun!




ELEMENTS BABY!!!

The Elements Project will premier in January. Stay tuned for more news. Click on the link above and below.

ELEMENTS ON USHPA



Photo by Will Viktora from a filming session.

New Crew Member blog:

LARRY BUNNER'S BLOG

Thanks to Alex McCulloch for this link:

DUCT TAPE PLANE REPAIR

"Yea - a bear tore apart the plane. Send me some Saran Wrap and a few rolls of Duct Tape and I'll git her home."



Photo by Ricker Goldsborough

Non-Profit status for a free flying charitable organization continues spear-headed by Ricker Goldsborough. It's all happening.

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HG pilots making a difference...

LINK HERE

UPDATE: Efforts are in progress to file for non-profit status and create a free flight foundation to search and research the most needy charitable organizations wherever we travel to fly and attempt to provide assistance. This is a HG / PG project and documents will be submitted by the end of this week. More to come...

Hang glider pilots literally around the world came together to raise over $4000 for charities on our trip to Ecuador. During my first trip there last year, it was heartbreaking to look into the slums from the highway at the squalor. With a little video and a lot of help from folks like Ricker Goldsborough, we found very worthy charities to help.



Father Frank's nurses, Maria and Obemia, (right and left-who have been with him for 35 years - with one of the school's teachers center) in front of the pile of medicines and nutritional supplements for the malnourished. We've pledged to raise $6000 for Father Frank's mission. ($500 per month for a year to cover the clinic's medicine bill)



Father Frank's blog




Some of the slum dwellers the supplements and medicines are helping.



More funds are needed, and if you care to donate CLICK HERE



Father Frank's daycare currently has an enrollment of 45. Most of the babies come from single mother homes. The cost of the daycare is $4 a MONTH.




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Some of the mid-western WW crew on the shores of Lake Michigan. Way to exploit the dunes on the Great Lakes! Thanks to Wes Schield.

VIDEO HERE

An excerpt from Wes: "Kevin (Sheridan?) was the Ambassador of the Asian Invasion today. When he landed, he was swarmed by site seers. I'm not sure if he gave out any autographs but everyone wanted to both take his picture and have their picture with Kev, it was great."

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Daniel's EXCITING launch



Some Landings



Thanks to Daniel Velez - Check in around 1:00 for Dustin's pass.

VIDEO HERE



SOME LANDINGS



AN OVERVIEW OF CANOA



SLIDESHOW

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Un-short-packing a WW T2C - MUCH easier when you follow this step by step procedure.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

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Guido orchestrates a session over the water:

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

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Ahh Canoa... A thirty mile, forty minute, action packed race that contains all the best aspects of a five hour XC task.



Launch looking north. After town the north cliffs begin.

First there's the start: The minimum sink glide to the edge of the start cylinder is practiced over and over. The cylinder must be crossed within five seconds of the start time or you're playing catch up the entire race. This year we flew an exit start 1.5km away from launch. It's necessary to tarry in the clouds over launch to ensure maximum height heading out.



The compound in Guayaquil.

THE dive: As you strain to keep your closest competitors in sight through the clouds, your vario signals you've attained the start and you confirm visually. Look right, look left as you bury the bar and feel the speed build. There is nothing to hold back. You've got 700ft. to literally burn as fast as you dare. On day one, I had an ear to ear grin as I looked at my airspeed to see 135kms per hour and Dustin off my wingtip plummeting just a bit faster.



Just across town, the beginning of the North Cliffs.

The course: Once in the compression of the ridge, it's wingtip off the cliff face, slowing just enough for the technical crossings. There are 5 or so crossings in the course and you must slow enough to gain the proper minimum altitude to arrive still in the lift band on the other side. The two most technical crossings leave you less than 100ft. off the highway which is bordered on both sides by powerlines. You've never pointed your toes harder then when you're on the second half of a mile long crossing shooting for a solitary cactus atop a sandy hill.



Heading out into the land of no man. No LZ's, no retrieve.

The finish: Last year's finish was different than this year's, but the flying is the same. Burn your altitude down to power pole height across the line and zoom back up and into the lift band to head back to town. If this year's race came down to the second, there was talk of burning right down to the beach and outlanding. Thankfully that aggressiveness wasn't necessary.



From the North Point looking back toward town. We race as far as the eye can see.

Day one of the competition was called due to misty rain. We all free flew, and I took the pretend start with Alex Cuddy and Kraig Coomber on Litespeeds. I was able to stay ahead through the entire course, but how fast were they pushing?

Day two I found myself diving out of the clouds with Dustin at my side. Shapiro, and Kraig got the start a few seconds behind, and Kraig turned around to wait for the second start. Shapiro came charging after the first turnpoint and walked by me with our speed around 55mph. Hmm... I said to myself. So that's how it's going to be. The race was on and it was obvious who had a performance advantage, Dustin and Shapiro. They were both flying T2C's with new sail cuts and tweaks and I couldn't match them on my glider (which is a year old) despite hooking in with ballast around 250lbs!



Dustin getting attention after landing. Photo by Jamie Sheldon.

Dustin and Shapiro stayed stacked and I flew in a minute behind the boys across the line. Kraig flew solo and clean, but was still 10 seconds off my pace. The stage was set for the final showdown on the last day.

Day three's task began with us all diving in unison out of the clouds toward the ridge. Dustin dove out to a lead, and Kraig passed me on the way to the turnpoint. Shapiro maintained his position patiently behind me, letting me run in clean air to hopefully catch Kraig. Dustin maintained the lead, only slowing when Kraig led out on our longest gap crossing low. If you push too low on a crossing and land out, you're out of the race. There's a fine line between running the fastest line and landing out. We were consistently pushing the minimums, but Dustin with a padded lead, didn't want to take an unnecessary risk.



Places THREE, TWO, ONE! All Wills. Photo by Jamie Sheldon.

With Shapiro on my keel the entire time, it was a drag race to goal making sure Kraig was less than ten seconds ahead. I came across the line three seconds off Kraig's keel cementing third place and a Wills Wing one, two, three.

Apart from the epic racing in Ecuador, our chaperones are simply the best. They pick us up late at night from the airport, shuttle us safely everywhere, and prepare everything prior to our arrival. Our experience is free from logistical drama. We are treated so well and a HUGE thanks goes out to Raul Guerra and crew.



The bilingual school in Canoa.

This year we wanted to make an impact on some of the most needy charitable organizations around Guayaquil and Canoa. As a collective group, with help from the entire hang gliding community, $4000 was raised and distributed among two charities. We've committed to raise $11,000 in the coming months to provide assistance to these organizations for at least a year. Please see the links below and the Wills Wing team blog for further information.



Airtime:11:40. Flights:5. Miles:90.

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