Written by Erika Klein
2019 was full of great flights and friends—and 2020 will be even better!
Windsports had a fantastic 2019 of flying, teaching, traveling, laughing, and enjoying our wonderful sport and community. In looking back on some memories from the year, we don’t honestly know how we’ll top them—but we’re looking forward to giving it our best shot.
Check out a few of our highlights from 2019 below, as well as some exciting plans for 2020!
Windsports highlights from 2019
Valle de Bravo trip
In February, Joe Greblo and a group of Sylmar pilots joined Vuelo Libre for a flying tour of Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Winter is the best time to fly Valle, and pilots enjoyed many XC flights, adventures in town, and delicious tacos.
Point of the Mountain soaring
For the second year in a row, around 20 Sylmar pilots traveled to the Point of the Mountain near Salt Lake City, Utah in May for some of the best ridge soaring in the country. Even though the weather wasn’t always cooperative, we flew both the South Side and the North Side of the Point, with everyone getting a chance to soar. Pilots also enjoyed flights at nearby sites like Inspiration Point.
New Windsports truck
The blue Suburban carried pilots up Kagel Mountain and on other flying trips for over a decade, but all good things come to an end. We are excited to have upgraded to a newer, more reliable Excursion to continue transporting our students and pilots on a variety of adventures. When you see the white truck, you know it’s time to go flying!
Open only to those with a rating of H4 (advanced) and above, Yosemite is a major goal for many hang glider pilots. This year, Josh and I got to achieve our dream of flying Yosemite for the first time alongside several of our pilot friends. The trip was extra special as it was also Andy’s first time serving as a Yosemite site monitor.
Soaring over Yosemite is as beautiful and epic as hang gliding gets, and is well worth the patience it takes to make it there! Check out this video to experience what flying off Glacier Point feels like. Video Credit Josh Laufer.
One of the most loved trips of the year, Windsports’ annual Big Sur flying and camping trip took place in September. Located on the coast of Central California, Big Sur is known for its beautiful sled rides above the ocean. This year, we got especially lucky with the weather and many pilots achieved soaring flights—with Josh even landing back on top of launch! Big Sur’s stunning views, great camping, and smooth air (ideal for newer pilots) makes it a fantastic trip for everyone.
People Love Us on Yelp!
Windsports is thrilled to have received the coveted “People Love Us on Yelp” sticker for a couple of years in a row. It’s truly a dream come true for us to teach people to hang glide, and we’re always elated when we can help our customers’ and students’ dreams take flight, too!
Otto Lilienthal glider
Andy worked several times with Markus Raffel on flying his replica 1895 Otto Lilienthal glider, a precursor to modern hang gliders. After flying the historic glider at our own Dockweiler Beach training hill and at Marina Beach in Northern California, they took it to the East Coast to fly on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in December.
Working with the Kitty Hawk Kites hang gliding school, Andy flew the Lilienthal glider alongside Billy Vaughn on the school’s reproduction 1902 Wright glider—the first time in history that the gliders have been flown side by side. We loved being a part of the biggest hang gliding schools on the west and east coasts coming together to relive history, and the event was even covered by the Smithsonian Air & Space magazine!
Coming up in 2020
Valle de Bravo 2020 trip
Andy and other pilots are on a flying adventure to Mexico in right now. They will be getting glider rentals, rides, expert guidance, and top-notch XC tips from Rudy Gotes of Vuelo Libre. It’s sure to be a great trip!
Welcome to New Instructor Cyndia
If you’ve spent much time at the beach, you’ve probably flown or worked with Cyndia: a H3 pilot, dedicated assistant teacher, and now a brand new basic instructor (and my mom)! Windsports is excited to welcome Cyndia to our instructor family, and we can’t wait to watch her keep introducing students to the joys of flight.
We’re super excited to introduce the new Windsports calendar! Check it out for upcoming flying trips, clinics, and events. You’ll now know in advance when all our flying adventures are coming up, and will have no excuses not to join us!
Note: Windsports no longer uses our Earthlink email address; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for flying trips and for all other requests.
We’d like to sincerely thank our students, instructors, pilots, and the rest of our community for a great year. We are looking forward to flying with you in 2020 and for many years to come!