2013 Festival of Flight – Success

This year’s Festival of Flight occurred May 17-20, 2013 – and it was one of the best!

Although the temperatures were unseasonably cold, that did not prevent twenty pilots from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Ontario, from gathering to share stories, laughs and the sky.

The social events started the Festival, with dinner at the Glooscap Restaurant, followed by a special screening of The Boy Who Flies, a film by Benjamin Jordan. Thank you to Rod and Helen at the Hall – for hosting the film event.

Stormy skyline

Saturday was a complete blow out, with rain and strong gusty north winds that kept everyone’s feet on the ground.  That didn’t slow anyone down though.  Pilots used the opportunity for completing reserve repacks, something that should be done annually.  Thanks to the Fundy Geological Museum for providing space for us to lay our our wings and complete the repacks.

Pilots then gathered at the Pegasus ground handling field for a little bit of fun with kites – feet still firmly on the ground.

Scott launches a smaller kite while Ted looks on.
Scott launches a smaller kite while Ted looks on.
Guenter showing power kite skills
Gunter showing power kite skills

The social highlight of the Festival is the lobster dinner for pilots, a large beach fire on the shore of the Bay of Fundy makes for a very special time.  Many laughs and story telling, and fresh Fundy lobster eaten on the beach.  The view is not too shabby either.

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Sunday made up for the absence of flying on Saturday.  With light northwest winds in the morning, pilots journeyed to “High Head” at Wentworth first thing in the morning.  The air turned out to be excellent – and provided a total of 16 flights.

Patric Stettler showed us how it’s done at High Head.

Rob Bird takes to the air at High Head with his hang glider.

After a successful day at High Head – the fun wasn’t over yet. Hearing that Scott and Brian were in the air at Fox River, everyone packed up and headed to Fox River for a sunset coastal soaring flight. Nine pilots were in the air at one time – and the scene of colorful wings and the stunning sunset made a special end to a great day of flying.

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Scott Newman and Chris Jette soar above the coastal cliffs at Fox River.
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Tim Parker (orange) and Tim Fedak soar the coast during the sunset flight at Fox River.

The icing on the cake was the excellent flying that happened at West Bay on Monday morning.  Eight paragliding pilots were in the air and soared high above the cliffs at West Bay. The sight was spectacular to see, and left everyone feeling that this may have been the best (and coldest) Festival of Flight yet.

Paragliders soaring above the cliffs at West Bay.
Paragliders soaring above the cliffs at West Bay.

A very special thanks to George and Deanne for their work putting the lunches together again this year.  Great sandwiches, fresh coffee, and tasty treats – add so much to this event.  Your efforts were greatly appreciated by all.

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And last but not least, thank you to Michael Fuller and to Patric Stettler (Pegasus Paragliding), for all of the work done in organizing this year’s event.

 

Festival of Flight 2012

The Festival of Flight has been occurring in the Parrsboro area since 1996 and is a popular event among local pilots.  This 16th Annual festival included a record numbers of paragliders, hang gliders, power-paragliders in attendance.  The weather was warm and sunny, but the strong high-pressure system that supplied the warmest long-weekend weather in many years kept the on-shore breezes light for much of the weekend.  Regardless of the calm air, there were some periods of excellent flying activity.

On Friday there were several paragliding pilots who took to the air at Fox River.

Paragliders fill the air at Fox River : Gabe Carrier, Gunter Gottschalk, Chris Jette, Michael Fuller with tandem.

Later in the afternoon on Friday the wind did build quite strong.  So, it was time for the hang gliders to spread their wings.  Visit the Facebook page to see a video of Brian launching and starting his soaring flight at Fox River.

Saturday brought the start of light air.  There were periods that no matter how many times we checked the wind, it just stayed a little too light or a little too cross.

Measuring the wind at Fox River, Festival of Flight 2012

It’s all about chasing wind though.  The crew began Saturday at Hidden falls, where there were several good flights.  Rob (a new pilot from Saint John) won the target landing competition, hitting the bulls eye on the first try. Michael and several other pilots grabbed short soaring flights that morning.

Michael soaring some light thermals at Hidden Falls.

The power-paragliders often stay along the shoreline, but while free-flight pilots were waiting out a lull at Hidden Falls, Tim Rieker powered over from Second Beach and found some lift among the neighbouring ridges.

As tradition dictates, the Saturday evening festivities included fresh lobster around a beach fire – on the shores of the Bay of Fundy.  A wonderful part of the Festival indeed.

Fresh cooked lobster along the shores of the Bay of Fundy!

Over the next couple of days calm air would not slow them down, as several hang-gliding pilots took advantage of Scott’s towing equipment being on site for the festival.  The crew beach towed several pilots who each logged a few flights.

When not flying there was great opportunities for local pilots to socialize and share stories of their recent adventures.  The lunch truck was a huge contribution this year – thanks to George and Deann!

The Annual General Meeting was held at the Bare Bones Bistro and the food was beyond excellent.  What a treasure to have such high quality dining in a small coastal town like Parrsboro.

Of course another important aspect of this year’s Festival was the Fly for Discovery fundraising activity that HPAAC pilots have organized for the second year, in honour of our friend and fellow pilot Mark Dempsey. The fundraising efforts of the pilots exceeded their goal and raised over $7000 for Cancer Society of Canada early diagnosis programs… and the pledges keep coming in.  A special congratulations to Gabe Carrier for reaching out for the Fly For Discovery Campaign. He was the top fundraiser with over $1,000 coming in to support his participation.

The 2012 Festival of Flight was a great success, and a positive start to the flying year.  Thank you to those who put so much work into organizing this event.