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SandCityFlyer SandCityFlyer is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: "LA" (Lower Alabama)
Posts: 219
Still OT

Sergio, Et Al

You don't "sign up" here, ya just "show up"! I will gladly give an introduction to the sport of "Beachflying" to any interested board member. There are some conditions, of course. 1) I am not a certified instructor, nor have I any interest in becoming one. I do have 10+ years flying at Sand City, which as Brad says, is one of the best beach sites in the world. I have introduced quite a few people to paragliding here, and most of them are now active flyers. We have more than 6 miles of wide, uninhabited beach at our flying site, just a couple of miles north of Monterey. Flying at the beach is unique, and only a few paraglider pilots practice this aspect of the sport; most of the PG action takes place in the mountains, which is much more technical and way more dangerous. Of course, anytime your feet leave the ground you can get hurt, but the smooth onshore breezes and soft beach eliminates a lot of the potential hazards. 2) Flying at the beach is highly dependent on a 10-20 mph onshore breeze, the more direct to the beach the better. The spring is the best season for reliable onshore wind, though I fly a bit at least every month of the year. I live close to the flying site and can see the slope and the winds from my home, so it's very easy for me. I only fly in the best conditions, which keeps me out of the more dangerous zone of rough, gusty air. I'm too old to take the hits that are more common in those conditions. Computer weather websites are very good for wind predictions and one can get a pretty reliable forecast several days in advance. 3) I have found that bikers are usually good students; they are aware, and not given to overcorrections. These gliders are very sophisticated and respond to the slightest control input; they get ugly when they're horsed around.
I should point out that there are better ways to get the feel of flying a paraglider, in your area. You can take a "tandem" flight at Torrey Pines most any day of the year. The cost is modest and it is intended to hook you and get you started on a formal, and quite expensive training program, which I strongly recommend. This is what Brad is currently involved in, I believe. They prepare you very well for all types of flying, whereas my interest is only at the beach. You can easily spend $7000 on a complete program, with nice fresh gear. On the other hand, I have friends that have about a G in all the gear and have never sprung for a lesson! Brad can give you much better information about a formal flight program, if you're interested. I strongly encourage anyone interested in flying to try paragliding. It is on the very leading edge of slow flight, and the equipment is beautiful and reliable. I've flown in everything from Cubs to Concorde, and nothing is better than a paraglider, for me.

Looking South to Monterey
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Jerry Miller
Alabama Gulf Coast
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:22 AM
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