This story sent by Mike Buckley to the CHGPA listserv on 9/29/97.

I finally found out what hang gliding is all about last weekend! Lewis Truitt and I got our first mountain flights at Bill's and Jack's! We planned to meet Mike Chevalier at Bill's on Saturday morning. I woke up at 4:00am because I was so excited. The conditions were great for our first times. The wind was light and straight in at launch. My first flight was one of the most exciting times of my life! Good launch into buoyant air all the way out to the LZ. I had time to do some lazy 360's and enjoy the view before landing. My second flight was just as enjoyable as I explored the South end of the area. Lewis had two beautiful flights!

Yesterday, Lewis, Judy McCarty, and I carpooled to Jack's, hoping the rain would hold off for us. When we got there, it began to mist, but it soon stopped and the rest of the day was dry and overcast until we were through flying. My first flight was great with one exception, I misjudged my altitude on my approach and was too low to clear the tear down area, so I turned left and earned the nickname "Cornholio!" Oh well, try again.

This time at launch, the conditions were more exciting with the wind crossing and stronger from the East. I waited for a good cycle and had another good launch. I turned left, looked over, and lo and behold, I was even with launch! So, I flew along the ridge for what seemed an eternity into the wind, maintaining altitude. I did a 180 and before I knew it, I was back at launch. So, I did another 180, but this turn took me out of the lift band and I had to head out to the LZ. I judged my altitude correctly this time and had a successful downwind, base, final and landing. Lewis again had two great flights!

Wow! What a weekend! I learned several valuable lessons. First, I have only begun to learn how to fly. I need to improve my altitude judgment, use known ground references to check my location, and stick to my flight plan. Also, flying is tremendously satisfying! I can't wait to get out and fly again. I must have more airtime!!!

Thanks to everyone who helped and encouraged me this weekend, especially Mike and Judy. And, thanks for the champagne, Brian! This is a great community!

Mike Buckley