From Back Then – 1996

Fall ~1996

I received this pair of photos from a Manitoba friend I’ve kept in contact with. That’s me in the yellow fleece on the right side.

Those were my hang gliding days – I wouldn’t be surprised if that photo was actually taken on a late fall weekend fly-in in Dauphin Manitoba. I don’t recognize the glider but I recognize, and can name, all but one of the people in the pictures.

I did love flying. I didn’t get to do a lot of solo flying – my technique never got good enough that I felt safe in the air on my own but I did a lot of flying at the control bar with a number of different instructors. What a wonderful feeling to be high in the air with just the wind whistling past, the fields below, and the wide panorama in front of us.

High Over Makapu’u Point ~1993

I even got to fly, after launching, high over Makapu’u Point on a couple of occasions, from the California hills somewhere near Santa Barbara, even outside Bendigo Australia with the chill Antarctic wind reaching us.

This all took place when I was living in Manitoba.

When I returned to Nova Scotia, in 1997, I switched to paragliding – trying to get a hang glider to the various rustic launch sites available to us was just physically beyond me and I wasn’t about to ask a fellow pilot to carry my glider to the top of the hill for me! I could manage the paragliding gear (glider, harness, helmet, arm pads, gloves) myself, though.

It took quite a bit of training before I felt confident enough to actually push myself off launch after inflating the glider. I remember clearly my first real parading flight on the hill at Fox River. I’d inflated the glider (I’d got good at that), but was reluctant to start the run – Brian Wheaton gave me a big push and I was in the air, aiming for the landing site beyond the trees at the far edge of the blueberry fields. The flight lasted less than 2 minutes but I landed successfully on my feet!

That was it. I made the trip to Parrsboro regularly over the next many years hoping to find good flying conditions when I arrived but often the wind was too light or too strong. However, once in a while I managed to get into the air.

I’d have kept at the sport except I discovered I had osteoporosis and suddenly a hard landing on my bum wasn’t such a good idea. My flying career was over.

I hung out with the pilots for another couple of seasons – I loved being at the top of the hills watching the gliders weave back and forth along the shore edge.

Eventually I stopped attending the Annual Flying Festival. Life moves on.

I miss flying, though!

4 thoughts on “From Back Then – 1996

  1. Wow! What a great look back. Bendigo hey? We have friends who live there and have been a couple of times.
    I have given up ice hockey – I’m still going to skate occasionally but my last game was 2 years ago. Too much potential for a LOT of sore spots so I get the feeling. And once you’ve hung up the equipment it almost feels better to step away than hang around (no pun intended). Having said that apparently I get to drop a ceremonial puck at this year’s Ortho game. The perks of age. Bernie

  2. Wow. Great memories I’m sure. You are/were way more adventurous than I ever was but I’ve had to put stuff away because of ‘age related’ stuff. I’ve discovered that being old requires real strength.
    I so enjoy the stuff you share. Thanks and Happy Holidays.
    Teri on the Left Coast

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