August 2 to 13 was reserved for our annual Top Gun Paragliding Flight School total immersion program for the 2010 season.
Our one-of-a-kind Top Gun Paragliding Program is a total immersion training method whereby we safely graduate skilled HPAC Novice or USHPA P2 paraglider pilots in an unparalleled 8 days of training time. Due to optimized delivery methods, and synergy building from one day to the next, we grow skills in an efficient manner, and graduate the very best paraglider pilots in this program.
The group of paragliding pilots this season was joined by a special guest: Captain Daniel Walters, a CF-18 Hornet pilot with 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta. He had heard about our unique paragliding program and felt it complemented his intense and efficient military training schedule.
The week began with evening paragliding theory, quickly followed with two days of forward and reverse paragliding launch practice on training hills at Deifenbaker Park and Burnaby Mountain. We also did kiting practice in intermediate class winds at Vanier Park.
The new paraglider pilots were up for the challenge.
The practice progressed and the skills improved.
Recognizing Dan's unique skills, we custom tailored his paragliding course to graduate him at a higher level. In addition, we selected the brand new Icaro Wildcat ENB cross country paraglider and Icaro Energy Cross harness to empower him with higher end tools, to further aid his progression.
On a safe and rapid sequence, both reverse launch
and forward paragliding launches were added to the pilots toolbox.
Based on our weather analysis, unusual instability and storms were set up for the remainder of the week in the Chilliwack and Pemberton Valleys, so we made a quick escape just south of Fairhaven. We successfully predicted and found a blue hole, and enjoyed excellent paragliding at Blanchard Mountain, while other sites were shut down.
The following week, we returned to Mt. Woodside to enjoy epic conditions with well formed thermals and and non overdeveloped cumuluous clouds, 1000 ft above the mountain. A perfect opportunity to learn the higher level paragliding skills.
That's when Dan stole the show. In the soarable conditions, his reaction time and precision in executing our ground-to-air radio commands had him quickly toping the stack, which was comprised of more experienced paraglider pilots.
Then the fun really started. We proceeded to engage thermals: winding it up to cloudbase.
Can you spot Dan? Hint: look carefully in the middle of the photo, between and above the three paragliders, just below the clouds.
We wound it up to cloudbase, speed-bared infront, burned altitude, and then wound it back up: again and again. After some time, we weaned off the radio commands and he was doing it on his own...
After 2.5 hours, we did our last paragliding climb, infront of all cloud, and gave the directive to head to the LZ. We needed 3 more flights in the day to give us a total of 6, to ensure he would graduate on schedule. That gave us the opportunity to work paragliding rapid descent techniques including big-ears, asymetrics, spirals and wing overs.
and Colin MacDonald
all had extended flights of their own.
We closed off our Top Gun Paragliding 8 day total immersion program with a great Friday night celebration at iParaglide's Flight Club at the Yaletown Brew Pub.
A perfect ending to a perfect couple of weeks of paragliding.
I want to thank the entire group for stellar performances.
I especially want to thank Captain Daniel Walters for his precision and discipline in demonstrating what can be done in such a short time, with the right approach. It was a pleasure coaching him at iParaglide Top Gun Paragliding Flight School and I trust he will continue to fly his ICARO Wildcat Paraglider and F18 Hornet well in his return to the 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Cold Lake Alberta.
All the best to iParaglide Top Gun class of 2010.