Valle de Bravo, Mexico photo by John Cummings
Southwest Airsports  Wister, Oklahoma USA
Lee Boone powered paragliding
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Weather Info

Explanations of the tools below and more

Buffalo Mountain Flyers – current conditions & more at Buffalo Mountain

NWS current conditions & forecast – Kerr Airport, Poteau, OK

NWS hourly forecast – Kerr Airport, Poteau, OK. Includes a gusting forecast

Kiamichi – current conditions near Panorama launch

MesoWest stations Ouachita Mountains – current conditions

Guide to safe flying

Weather for Aircrews – Basic weather info for non-professionals

Pivotal Weather – an outstanding site for anything weather but it requires some work and know-how

SPC Balloon Soundings (every 12 hours)

UoW Balloon Soundings – usually available before the SPC soundings for 72364 (ELP)

Jet Stream and 4 day forecast – Pivotal Weather (above) gives much more accurate info on the Jet

NOAA Satellite image of moisture and clouds over the USA

Windy – animated map of winds and other data over the surface of the world

Wind History Map – actual vs. forecasts

Weather Spark – monthly, daily, and hourly graphical reports anywhere on earth

SkyVector Aeronautical Chart – road maps of the sky including TFR's

NWS Woods Hole, MA

Current and Future Events

Training & Flying – Spring 2020

 

Free Flight & Coronavirus April 2020

 

For most of us, the flying season is just starting and the last thing we want to do is stay inside. Unfortunately, with the current coronavirus pandemic, many state and local governments have issued shelter-in-place orders or similar recommendations across the country. As the pandemic continues to progress, these are likely to become more prevalent.

 

USHPA strongly encourages compliance with all CDC, federal, state, local, and landowner restrictions. With that in mind, we strongly discourage solo and tandem instruction at this time in order to to protect everyone involved from the spread of COVID-19.

 

While solo hang gliding and paragliding may be the ultimate in social distancing, they can still have wide-reaching consequences. Please carefully consider the following when evaluating your decision to suspend flying:

 

·     In areas with active shelter-in-place orders, flying may be viewed negatively by the community, particularly if it results in an accident. Please use your best judgment as this could affect our sports in the future.

·     Shared car rides to launch or for emergency situations do not maintain CDC guidelines for social distancing.

·     Flying (especially aerobatics and XC) can have a high level of risk and likelihood of requiring emergency care if an accident occurs. Pilots should consider their risk threshold and if it is appropriate under the current circumstances.

·     An accident would further burden already overextended health and emergency services. This may not only affect your care but reduce the resources being used to fight COVID-19, putting others at risk. First responders may also be less available due to these circumstances.

·     Should you need to go to the hospital, you put yourself at a higher risk of being exposed to—and spreading—COVID-19. Furthermore, surgeries or other procedures may be delayed. Elective surgeries (including a broken collarbone) have been postponed in many states.

 

First responders and the medical community have always been there for us; now is the time for us to support them in return. Nationally, we see notifications of free flight accidents and incidents occurring weekly. With hospitals projected to soon be overwhelmed, each of us avoiding flying for the time being can make a difference and help save lives. Prominent pilots around the world, such as Chrigel Maurer, are pledging not to fly in light of recent circumstances. Cloudbase Mayhem also has a recent podcast worth hearing on this topic.

 

We deeply regret the cancellation or postponement of events and competitions for organizers and pilots, and aim to make rescheduling as seamless as possible. USHPA has also been working hard on new ways to support our members and the free flight community during this time, and we're pleased to release the 2015 and 2018 USHPA film festivals for you to watch from home. See below for more resources that can provide inspiration and help you stay connected to the pilot community.

 

For updates on free flight and the pandemic, please see our coronavirus updates page. If you have any questions during these unprecedented circumstances, please feel free to reach out anytime. You are also welcome, as always, to join USHPA's monthly remote board meeting on Tuesday, April 14 (details below).

 

We hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

 

Randall Shane

USHPA President

Training - NOTE:  In agreement with our national certifying organization (USPHA) and because of the current world-wide health crisis, Southwest Airsports is suspending all flying and training operations until further notice.  Please follow all instructions from your local authorities and do not further burden the health care system with an accident.  Thank you - Had

Introductory videos:  The Dream of Human Flight is now a Reality - The Joy of Paragliding – a fine video production by Steve Crye showing the elements of why we love to fly.  Let's go places (from Toyota), Featured video and introduction to paragliding (from the National Geographic),  Fly like a bird (from USHPA), Eagle Paragliding has this outstanding video on the front page of their website of a pilot flying in the Alps.

Nearly every country in the world promotes and loves adventure sports, like hang gliding and paragliding.  Switzerland even put an image of a guy paragliding on their 50 Franc note.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has opened the doors of Texas parks to USHPA pilots.  Other public land administrators in the U.S. should do the same.

Recent Events

The danger of getting too close to the bottom of a rapidly developing cloud.  It's time to *get* down.  The pilot here is entering a spiral dive – and why learning how to do these maneuvers safely is a good idea.  Even so, he was briefly in a "white-out".  (This event did not happen in U.S. airspace.)

sucked into a cloud

Flying cross country in central Florida - nothing like being at cloudbase!

paragliding in central florida

Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM in January - photo by V. Strader

Dry Canyon in Winter by V. Strader

Dry Canyon with a light snow coming down.  The small figure at launch is Lee Boone who is going to join us in the air!

Dry Canyon in snow

Flying in Valle de Bravo - a perfect, controlled launch by a visiting pilot.  Note the trailing edge and the pilot's skill in keeping the glider from surging over his head.

launching at Valle de Bravo, MX

Paragliding in Big Sur

paragliding at Big Sur

Paragliding in south central New Mexico.  The towering clouds in the distance are strong thermals coming off the Potrillo Mountains.  (photo by Steve Crye)

paragliding in south central New Mexico

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