ST. PAUL, MINN — About as you’re reading this, the "Umpteenth Annual 4th of July Festival of Foot Launched Flight" in Lakeview, Oregon is about to begin. If you live on the west coast you could read this and still attend, so, consider it a last minute invitation. • July 3-7 are the dates and they promise an interesting roster of activities. A cumulative cross country contest will award a $1,000 cash prize to the winning hang- or para-gliding pilot. Don’t want to hassle with cross country? Try their Trophy Dash, a timed race (Speed Gliding?) good for $100 to the winner. • Or, you can earn your aero tow rating, a mildly ironic sign of the times since the event calls itself "…Foot Launched." Hungry Joe Szalai and Bill Martke of Moyes will bring a Dragonfly tug and will offer aerotow training to pilots who want a break from running off the several mountain launches at Lakeview. At last report, the Reno, Nevada SuperFloater dealer also planned to make the trek. • Factory pilots from several manufacturers will also be present to allow demo flights on Wills XCs; Blue Sky Predators; PacAir Klassics or Visions; or Moyes Xtralites. In addition, paragliders were expected from several sources. Sounds like a full menu, so if you’ve nothing more exciting planned this weekend, head to Lakeview. For last minute info, call the Chamber of Commerce at 541-947-6040. ••• Thinking about cumulative cross country contests and tow launches brings me nearly back home to the Mother’s Day Cosmos Classic in Cosmos, Minnesota. The days were cool and didn’t look able to produce gangbuster thermals, but they did… 1,400 miles worth all told! In fact, Illinois pilot, Larry Bunner, almost broke the state record with a very strong 129-mile, 7.25-hour flight. Bunner and the group of 25 pilots enjoyed a superlative day of soaring. A member of the winning team, Bruce Bolles, says, "Oh yeah, they’ll probably always hold the Classic on Mother’s Day now, forever trying to repeat 1996." The weekend winner was a local pilot, Gerry Uchityl, who did well both days, racking up 185.5 miles. ••• Now all the way back east, the 24th Annual (they can evidently count higher than the Lakeview gang) Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding Spectacular was a success, as is traditionally the case. Like so many hang gliding gatherings that endure this long, it becomes a great place to run into old friends from the early days of our sport. In spite of Kitty Hawk’s reliable and well used sand dunes, the longtime shop has an airport facility as well. A 5,000 foot runway — with overruns that add up to 8,000 feet — assures good high launches for tow pilots. The ’96 Spectacular had a tow competition one day of the event, putting a number of pilots at a 6,500 foot cloudbase, "…a ton of incredible flying," exclaimed owner John Harris. The airport is about 45 miles northwest of the shop’s beach location. Since it’s on the mainland, it offers a different type of flying only a reasonable drive away. Call 919-441-4127 for info or for their Internet site address. ••• Finally wrapping our little tour, we zap back across the country and up into Canada. James Swansburg E-mailed to say he’s built a Bed & Breakfast on a lake at the base of a 3,000 foot site in the Canadian Rockies. "I’ve equipped it with lots of toys for the hyperactive pilot." Since the enterprise is located within view of launch, Swansburg says, "Family and friends can hang out on the beach while you hang out at cloudbase." Info is available via E-mail (swanys@ cyberlink.bc.ca) and you can inquire about their web pages. ••• Geek Writer Dept. — As reported in my April column, I mentioned Rex Miller as the last Class II World Champ (in the story about Kari Castle becoming the first American to be Class I World Champ’). Californian Steve Morris was kind enough to enlighten me that I’d left out the current Class II World Champ’, Brian Porter. Of course this takes absolutely nothing away from Kari, but it was shameful of me to omit Porter and his lovely Swift. Sincere apologies to Brian and the Swift Team. Thanks for setting me straight, Steve. ••• Well, outta room once again diver fans. So, got news or opinions? Send ’em to 8 Dorset, St. Paul MN 55118. You can V-mail or fax to 612-450-0930 or send E-mail via CumulusMan@aol.com. THANKS!
Published in Hang Gliding Magazine