Slice of Paradise in Cleveland
2016-08-08 Edgewater Park
Dominic Vintanio has been extoling the coolness of this place for
several years. He and a few other locals rescued it from an long but
obscure history of hang gliding. They cleaned up the vegetation on their
own, made it generally more appealing and way more launchable.
It's not flyable very often but we lucked out. It was
gorgeous--strong, but blowing in nearly the perfect direction. Strong is
good for me on my little 18m wing and this my favorite way to play with
Getting ready. Inflation is the biggest challenge in a strong wind, even
using the A's and D's. You're GONNA get yanked 20 feet so you have to
manage the wing's rise to prevent it from flying right past overhead.
Tim grabbed some shots of Cleveland in the background.
Skimming along the ridge face, periodically doing hand drags, is so much
fun and not something I would ever expect to be doing it in Cleveland.
Rolland Sommers showed up to join us. He knows this ridge quite well
including how far out over the water he could venture while still making
it back into the lift band. His bigger wing made him wary of getting
blown back so he kept it more over the water and lower. From my
perspective it looked like he was seconds from a swim but he never had a
After landing I talked to Roland who asked me about heading towards the
condos which I assumed required more altitude. On my next flight I got
higher and decided to try.
I made it about a third of the way and got low so I headed back. It was
brainlessly easy to stay up but I couldn't get high enough to get around
an outcrop of trees. You can see how high I was here. That was actually
quite cool, cruising back and forth at this height, but I wasn't willing
to risk going out over water. After trying to maximize altitude for 30
minutes I gave up and landed in a clearing.
The outcrop is beyond that little batch of trees you see here and a
clearing to the right of the little patch. That's where I landed.
There's something weirdly cool about alighting just anywhere. It was a
squirrelly spot because of rotor but the wing stayed in good enough air
even though my body was in periodically still air. That's weird to be
hanging there with minimal wind on your face as you're flying the wing,
KNOWING that when the wing hits that air it's done flying.
The police came by to watch. I would land periodically land and end up
answering the many questions of onlookers. It's always fun being a
missionary of flight.
Some of the locals showed up, it was great to see everyone.