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Showing posts from 2007

Time

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After completing a challenging project on time I decided to spend the weekend in the Bahamas to recharge.
I was walking along a quiet beach, taking in the blue sky, white sand and turquoise water, when I looked back and noticed my footprints in the sand.
A footprint in wet sand is the universal image for 'life was here'. It reminded me of being 12 years old and on an expedition in the jungles of Endau Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia and finding a fresh tiger track along a small river. I knew wild tigers existed but it was at this moment that I became aware, at an emotional level, that tigers were actually _real_. I went back later to look at the tigerprints but an afternoon storm had washed them away. I remember asking myself how it could be possible that the presence of an animal as beautiful and Great as the tiger could be erased by a few raindrops.
But nothing is greater than time... Great leaders are slain [Bhutto], species become extinct, countries divide, companies collapse […

Thanksgiving @ Müller Hill

Müller Hill from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

Every Thanksgiving there's a massive banquet feast at the Müller's. It's the last big get-together for the season, a last chance to re-lie the season's stories while your friends nod, pretending to buy them.

Of course, classic soarable air is pre-ordered for the afternoon so that everyone is hungry and happy, in time for dinner. My routine is to stuff myself on Felix's strüdel but leave a little room to taste the turkey. Hey, that's how I roll.

Here's my first attempt at 'audio visual digital video' editing, or whatever it's called. Personally, I think it should be called a time sink.

Anyways, to all my family, homeboys and homegirls, wherever you are... Happy Thanksgiving!

2007 World Hang Gliding Championship

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Time to fly, it's the Worlds!



Bernie and I flew to Dallas together with our carbon prototype gliders -not easy- and picked up our pimp'n ride.



Task 1

The first task was a 150km downwind flight in light blue conditions. It was difficult in places but flying with so many good friends, doing what we do best, made me smile many times during the flight. The long shallow final glide over bright green cotton fields was peaceful.

Many top contenders landed short of goal today.



The gaggles were congested at times; wide angle lens do not seem to convey how close we fly together.

Task 2

A 185km downwind dogleg task in difficult conditions. I landed short of goal in a soft part of the course. As I left a gaggle that was stuck in light lift I was feeling pretty confident that I would find something better further on; when I turned into a nice smooth 300fpm from 300ft above the ground, I smiled in relief but after only a few turns the entire thermal just disappeared.

It wasn't until I looked do…

The Trench

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The weather was good for flying in the Rockies this weekend so I made the 2.5h drive from Calgary and went on a short 80km out-and-return flight. With my late start and having to make it back in time for the World Team fund raiser BBQ, that was all I could do. But retrospectively, thunderstorms blew-up more to the South anyways so it was a good choice to turn around early.



This is CANADA!



So wild, so grand, so engulfing. The reflections on my helmet are the images floating seamlessly through my mind. Up here, my problems fade into irrelevancy.



Earth's teeth



Cruising in lift on the return leg to Golden. This patch of air was smooth enough for me to take out my camera but I still couldn't hold it steady.

This place is beautiful.

Attack Eagle

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A German engineer in the R&D group sent this to me after hearing my eagle attack story from the weekend.

While attempting to fly XC from the Muller hill and trying to get a climb from the West end of the ridge, I heard a piercing screech from above. Frantically, I looked around but couldn't see anything until I looked down at my shadow against the trees and saw the faint outline of a large bird with its wings tucked-in moving at a high speed towards my shadow. Moments later a loud bang made me look over to my right wing as I watched a Bald eagle slide, on his back, off my right wing tip.

He tumbled through the air and fell behind somewhat before righting himself, looking me straight in the eyes and flapping vigorously towards me... not towards my glider, ME!

I went into a dive but I was too slow for this killer avian assassin. He was moving much faster than I and just as I thought I was about to be wearing a mad eagle on my face, he got hung up in my bottom rear wires and went tu…

Dimensions

During the Nationals there was an overcast day that never cleared up. We had setup already so we flew down instead of packing up. Cooper's launch can be difficult in no wind so I ran hard; just for fun I dove down and touched the top of a pine tree with my hand. Too much fun.

Reaching down from my wing, across the boundary between sky and ground, is a beautiful thing. It fills me with a calm energy that is difficult to describe.

The most dramatic moment like this happened on the coast of Rio de Janeiro a few years ago. I was on a cross country flight, trying to make it to the famous statue of Christ, in conditions that the locals said were impossible. But some patience and an indirect route that took me out to sea to climb in ocean thermals with a group of frigate birds finally made it possible.

Along the way I was stuck for a while on a pillar-like 1000ft rock formation with a few eagles, until a cloud finally drifted by and lifted us back to cloudbase. While waiting for the lift to…

2007 Canadian Hang Gliding Championship

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After work playtime on my UP Targa2



12,499ft in the Okanagan

No amount of water to one area of my life will quench my thirst in another.

I recently moved to Calgary to work as a R&D engineer for an alternative energy industry company. But this does not mean that I have lost interest in flying, in fact I have been flying my hangglider and paraglider 2 to 3 times a week at Cochrane since February. And I will be flying the big air of Golden on the weekends once the snow level drops a little more.

The flying scene here is really nice and I have a good group of friends here.

After only 4 months at my new job, my boss gave me time off to fly in the Nationals, which is really impressive.

After working hard all week it was a relief to show up in the Okanagan -British Columbia's wine country- for a practice day in epic Lumby conditions- a 13,000ft base, strong 3-5m/s climbs, crisp spring air and a blue sky dotted with puffy cumuli. I explored many of the valleys in the area and landed in the…