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Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots

Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots - Click to Enlarge!
Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots - Click to Enlarge!
Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots - Click to Enlarge!
Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots - Click to Enlarge!
Ground Launch Center qualifies more pilots - Click to Enlarge!

The Ground Launch Center has just finished up GLC camp II which took place Feb 17-20, 2005. The camp included pilots from as far as Japan, UK and Australia to learn the basics of canopy piloting in the mountains. Camp members averaged between 8-12 launches each from about six different launch sites at the center. The basic ground launch course includes ground training, the art of kiting and flight techniques among many other things.

Pilots start off in the flats learning forward and reverse inflation techniques and then move onto a 300ft training hill for their 1st launches. After several successful launches at the training hill pilotís move up to a 600ft launch site and prepare to check out solo. Once a pilot has proved proficiency at the 600ft launch site and checked out solo they graduate to the 800ft launch site and the top of "Storm" mountain.

Once again GLC camp members brought an array of different skydiving canopies to launch which included Safire, Velocity, Hurricane, Sabre, Stiletto, Alpha and more. Most skydiving canopies will work as long as they are not too small and you carry the correct wing loading. With more experience, pilots can safely handle launching in higher winds on steeper slopes which make smaller parachutes launchable but overall it is not preferred. For example, four guys show up for Bladerunning training at the GLC in the morning and there is no wind. The guys with the smaller canopies loaded above 1.5 sit around waiting for the winds to pick up so they can better launch their canopies and fly down the hill through the course. Unfortunately, because these guys had to wait for more wind to aid in their launch they now have to deal with a head wind which slows them down. In addition, smaller wings are more sensitive to pilots input and sometimes require pilots to abort rear risers for toggles to prevent a hillside landing or they are forced to ride deep toggle all the way down the hill.

Meantime, the guys with the slightly larger parachutes below a 1.5 loading have more success launching in no winds (which they have been doing while the other guys have been waiting for the winds to pick up) and thus get to fly down the mountain through the course at much faster speeds because they don't have the head wind to deal with. The most preferred canopy at camp II was once again the GLX. In fact, camp members sometimes wait their turn for the GLX instead of just flying their own canopy (What is the GLX & GLS?).

Camp II had some very good pilots that we will all see in future GLC events. Some GLC graduates will be competing in GLC Bladerunning competitions that are not currently swoop competitors. Again, the GLC would like to point out that the GLC camps and training is not just for the highly experienced swooper. The GLC has many different level launch sites and is teaching pilots with as few as 90 skydives and a 190sqft canopy. The GLC off road vehicles take pilots to the 300ft & 500ft launch sites but GL pilots must be fit enough to climb to all other launch sites that range between 800ft-2,400ft.

If you are considering training or competing in a GLC Bladrunning event and you are not athletic or ready to climb you might consider sticking with the skydiving side of canopy piloting. We welcome you all to "backcountry parachuting" and the future revolution of canopy piloting beyond the boundaries of traditional parachuting. Here are the recent graduates of GLC camp I & II. GLC camp III is scheduled for March 31st-April 3, 2005. For more info on the GLC or to join a training camp please go to the GLC webpages at

  • Sara J. (New Zealand) GL-1
  • Warick Thorn (New Zealand) GL-1
  • Gerard Burnside (France) GL-1
  • Bundy Taylor (Hawaii) GL-1
  • Steve Schieberl (Oregon) GL-1
  • Marc Downing (Canada) GL-1
  • Steve Armstrong (Colorado) GL-1
  • Keith Colwick (California) GL-1
  • Matteo Gattini (Texas) GL-1
  • Peter Grant (New Zealand) GL-1
  • "Dingo" Mark McColgan (Australia) GL-1
  • Anthony Levay (California) GL-1
  • Brandon Clemons (Nevada) GL-1
  • Izuru Fujino (Japan) GL-1
  • Sean Gunn (California) GL-1

By Jim Slaton on 2005-03-01 | Last Modified on 2017-01-16

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