July 19, 2012. Starting July 29, 2012, paragliders and hang gliders will be taking to the skies over the Boone area as part of the seventh annual Tater Hill Open. This year, organizers are expecting around 50 pilots to compete, which means the skies should be teeming with gliders once the event gets underway.
Although spectators of the Tater Hill Open cannot watch the event from on top of Tater Hill itself, Bubba Goodman, the competition’s director, says there are plenty of great spots to take in the action.
“This event is unique,” Goodman said, “because most of the flying is within five miles of the launch area.” Due to this valley style flying, onlookers from 421 or Silverstone Road should be able to see the majority of the event’s flying.
“Seeing two or three hang gliders isn’t very entertaining,” stated Goodman, “but seeing 20 or 30 in the air at the same time is spectacular.” After the pilots launch, onlookers will get the chance to see dozens of gliders in the air at once, working together to catch thermals and landing simultaneously.
Last year attendees saw 40-and 50-mile Paragliding flights from Tater Hill during the first week in August.
“It looks like we’ll have over 50 pilots this year, with a couple ‘famous’ pilots coming,” Goodman said.
In addition to the recreational pilots competing in the Tater Hill Open, two professionals, Kari Castle and David Hanning, will be participating as well. Hailing from Bishop, California, Castle is one of the premier female paragliders in the world. She is a three-time hang gliding World Champion, four-time winner of the Hang gliding and Paragliding National Championships and current holder of two women’s hang gliding World Records. Additionally, Castle is also a flight training instructor and aerial coach. David Hanning was a member of Team USA at the 2007 RedBull X-Alps competition and has participated in numerous paragliding competitions around the world. He is currently a pilot and instructor at Cloud 9 Paragliding School in Utah.
Not only is the Tater Hill Open an entertaining event to watch, it is also quite unique to the area and the state. “This is one of the few places on the East Coast where this many people can fly at the same time,” said Goodman, “because of the valleys, it’s like flying in a fishbowl.”
The Tater Hill Open strives to provide the best possible learning environment for newer pilots (P2 and up) looking to improve their skills, and also a chance for experienced pilots to enjoy challenging racing in a gorgeous flying environment.
Many attendees at all levels log all-time great flights at Tater because of the magical clouds, the spectacular paraglider-friendly convergence, and the beautiful scenery everywhere. P2s report terrific learning experiences flying tasks and rubbing elbows with more experienced pilots. And unlike in most paragliding comps, spectators can watch all the action from the main LZ, since many tasks go back and forth and up and down the valley.
Entry fee is $200 which includes rides to the top, retrieves, a great T-shirt, and the Saturday night Awards Party. Plus you get to hang out with some really great people.
See the Competition Info Link for full Entry requirmements; Min. P2 or H2 with Turbulance and Thermal experience, glider, harness, reserve chute, helmet, GPS, Radio strongly recommended. All equipment subject to Meet and/or Safety Director approval. No Free-Flyers. Everyone needs to Register for the Comp.
For more information, visit www.flytaterhill.com or call 828-773-9433.