Newbie progression ideas...

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Newbie progression ideas...

Postby gracecab » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:41 pm

Can anyone point me to links to discussions/logs instructing Novice (P2) pg pilots on a typical mountain progression learning curve? No need to reinvent the wheel, unless anyone feels like writing!

I fly Bates 99% of the time so far, but want to balance that figure out with local/Ojai Mountains! 3 SB flights so far (1 VOR, 2 EJ) ...woo hoo!

Live in Ventura. Flying 1 year.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby tommygun » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:42 pm

If you can't fly in the mountains, I would spend more time at the training hill. You can waste a lot of time at Bates and won't progress that much. At the Elings you can practice light wind front launches, spot landings, side hill landings, etc. When I get back, I'm going to work on my spot landings after coming in a little high at Parma last week!

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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby Southside » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:09 am

Fly when Sundowner does.
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Re: Progression Comments

Postby sd » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:32 pm

I posted my comments regarding Chris's progression inquiry at:
http://paraglide.net/comment/14/progression.htm
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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby gracecab » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:12 pm

Hi Tom, I read your thoughts about progressing as a paraglider pilot, thank you. I take your thoughts as very valuable, hard earned lessons and wisdom.

Being a longtime RC sailplane pilot, both flat land and slope, has given me a certain amount of familiarity with the joy of powerless flight. Flying Hand Launch Gliders had given me the micro-scale experience with "thermal" dynamics, chasing the bubbles, staying in a moving thermal, hucking the plane back up for another sortee to get high again, etc...But, actually flying has only struck me as something that could be fun recently, precisely because of the friendships I struck with them as I flew my little glider, and the crossover with the PG flying was a natural conversation topic there at the cliff...the rest is history. Now I'm hooked... on any given day I would much rather fly my PG than RC! I love the challenge, the learning curve, the exercise, dealing with all the gadgets, the pilot camaraderie, being in the open beautiful ocean air, and mountain air.

Can I fly the 'Avenue' or is it Grant Park or is this a protected place at all? I rarely see folks flying there. With the right wind, can this be a long flight slope setup? Hows the launch, is it a hike back up, etc. I'm interested in how viable this place would be for me to be able to swing by after work. Details please :)

The mechanical training, medium understanding, and putting those together to connect-the-dots is a great way to understand ones education as a pilot. I'll continue to grow on all these levels. I'm using Aaron L.s, google earth map of the SB Fishbowl (2006) to visualize, and with my last flight from Skyport to the tit, to Parma on Saturday, I am already getting to train my brain on where wind is coming from, where sun is heating, how high I am, or not, where to be positioned on the spines, stay out of the canyons, don't lose the high ground, and when to bail, or not... connect the dots...er connect the thermals.

We have such great resources, live and recorded, free for the taking. I do feel part of the community, though I'm just a johnny-come-lately, having such stoked friends welcome me with the years of experienced advice is a true boon to the sport.
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Re: The Avenue / Grant Park

Postby sd » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:44 am

gracecab wrote:Can I fly the 'Avenue' or is it Grant Park or is this a protected place at all? I rarely see folks flying there. With the right wind, can this be a long flight slope setup? Hows the launch, is it a hike back up, etc. I'm interested in how viable this place would be for me to be able to swing by after work. Details please :)

Yes, "The Avenue" launches are physically located in Grant Park. The name, The Avenue, refers to Ventura Avenue which is down below. There are several launches, but they likely need some maintenance. When I lived in Ventura, I had a lawnmower and kept the launches clean. The main launch is near the top of the hill above the pistol range. Not sure if you can still drive up. It was always an illegal dash to drive behind the firing range. I think they may have it blocked off now, but the hike from the barbeque area to the upper launch with a paraglider isn't bad. Note that they lock the gate to the pistol range after sunset, so don't leave your vehicle inside the gate late in the day.

You can also hike to the top from the back side by driving up to the top of Kalorama Street and hiking from there.

If you are flying with someone, you can leave a vehicle down below at De Anaz School, but if you are alone, you can stash your gear and hike back up in about 20 minutes.

The Point near the Cross is more soarable in the summer when the marine air is heavy, but flying the point is more advanced so you want to start near the top of the hill past the pistol range. We also had launches in front of the pistol range and at the "Streatcher" which was the small peak midway between the pistol range and the southern point.
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Progressing Instruction

Postby sd » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:50 am

I'm posting the following excerpts from an email exchange because it is personal justification for my excess.

As an advancing P2 pilot flying the mountains your instruction is less formal. You aren’t being radio controlled turn by turn, but it is good to have someone keeping an eye on you. Decision making is a huge part of the activity. You need to make your own decisions, but reviewing some your decision both preflight and post flight is valuable. You get that review both directly from instructors but also from other pilots at launch and at lunch.

Having a GPS track log can be helpful, but the track log doesn’t record the whole picture. You need to correlate it with a number of variables like the weather. You can review your track log with friends and or ask for a professional review from an instructor. Doing a formal review of your GPS track with an instructor is a new tool not yet fully embraced, but with screen sharing through on-line web sessions, the technology is available if not yet broadly implemented for that specific task. If you want to do a web review of your track log, it is sort of like taking piano lessons. You need to compensate the instructor for their time, which might vary from a half hour at a minimum to more than several hours for one-on-one review and analysis of a particular flight.

At the training hill level, an instructor doesn’t need to be an outstanding pilot. They don’t even need to be an advanced rated pilot (I think the requirement is P3). Their interpersonal skills and implementation of basic instructional fundamentals are much more important than being an accomplished pilot. As you begin to venture around the mountains, the actual on course experience of an instructor becomes more relevant.

You have to recognize the revenue model. Our bus service to launch and some of the infrastructure is subsidized by the training hill students and equipment sales. At the training hill, capturing the revenue is transactional, but as an advancing pilot your payments for the ongoing support you receive is more often less direct and often in the form of customer loyalty. If you go out on the internet and order a new canopy directly from a European supplier, then it may be difficult for a local business to make ongoing discretional investments in your continuing progression. I’m an experienced pilot and when I need to replace or add equipment, I don’t try to figure it out on my own. I trust our local schools to point me in a good direction.

From a business model perspective, the schools need to capture most of the revenue early in a pilots career, which may not seem balanced, but you have to consider that advancing pilots also need much more guidance early in their career than they do as a more seasoned veteran. By the time pilots have been flying for a number of years, they recognize the need to contribute to their community which includes the schools. There are some sacred rules. Don’t stiff the bus or the ground crew. It may go unnoticed, but you need to maintain your karma. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, I think we all recognize there is are realities beyond our ability to perceive.

You don’t advance very far by racking up hours at Bates, or flying in smooth air. If it’s not soarable, then doing several sled rides from 3 different launches in the Santa Barbara mountains on a Saturday will be more valuable for a P2 pilot than watching a football game, but ultimately, getting on course is what will light the mushroom. Getting on course will require a lot of decisions, and some of them will be wrong which can terminate your flight, so you need to initially balance airtime with experimentation and be conservative in your connection attempts. You can shave your margins as you gain experience and still avoid the blood.
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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby tommygun » Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:51 pm

Chris, where did you find Aaron's fishbowl map? I would like to look at it again.
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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby sbkiter » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:45 pm

Tom, here's a link to that post from Aaron.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2582&p=7833&hilit=google+earth#p7833

You can also search google earth XC and you will see some more good results.
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Re: Newbie progression ideas...

Postby gracecab » Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:06 am

Can this google map be pinned to the flight discussion board...it seems pretty essential to being familiar with local flight patterns, etc.
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