My Presentations

I learn best when I write about a subject of interest, or, even better, when I give a presentation to help others accelerate their own learning. The following presentations may be of interest, especially for those flying from Boulder or similar mountain sites.

Soaring in the Rocky Mountains: Presentation in German

This is an introduction to cross-country soaring in the Rocky Mountains targeted at a German speaking audience.  It includes rich information on topography, climate, soaring technique, energy lines, where to fly, etc.  It also covers in detail the first 1000km FAI triangle flight in Colorado and the 14-er Challenge – a career challenge to soar above the 55 tallest peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Launch to Soar: How to Get Up and Connect with the Good Lift on Typical Boulder Convergence days

In this presentation I explain why convergence conditions are so typical along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.  What causes the convergence?  How can you identify it?  Why is it often so difficult to reach?  And what techniques work best to get there?  I’m addressing frequently asked questions such as:  where should you tow to on convergence days?  How high do you have to tow?  When can you reach the convergence from pattern altitude? What is the best overall strategy? Where should you look for lift east of the convergence? How can you ensure that you stay safe as you push west towards the convergence? How do you know that you’ve made it?

Landout Database Forum: Where Can We Safely Land If We Have To?

I moderated this two-part discussion about landout fields in Colorado.  Where are our typical cross country routes?  Where do we need landout fields the most?  How can we mount a crowd-sourced effort to research and share landout fields, how can we catalog them, and how can we keep this effort up to date?  You can look up the results of my efforts to identify and catalog landout fields on this page about a Colorado Soaring Map.  And on this page you can find links to my own Colorado waypoint files that include potential landout and emergency fields.  (Remember: as pilot in command you are solely responsible for the safety of the flight.  I take no responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy or usability of these fields.  Use at your own risk!)

Declared Tasks and Badges: From Beginner to Diamond

In this presentation I discuss specific standard tasks for aspiring cross-country pilots flying from Boulder, Colorado.  We operate from a very challenging mountain soaring site but the soaring conditions are often sublime.  Where else can you earn all your badges from Silver to Diamond without ever really having to leave glide range of the takeoff airport?  At the SSB you can even do it in our high-performance club ships, which are fully equipped with transponders, Flarm, state-of-the-art flight computers, and IGC flight recorders to enable your great soaring adventure.   We also participate in the Proving Grounds Program to help beginners get started on their journey.  And we have highly experienced cross-country experts including many record holders, several former and current National Champions, and even world-championship contenders.  And our volunteer retrieve group will come and get you if you have to land away from home.  You won’t find a club in North America that can best all these efforts.  Come and join us in Boulder!

An Analysis of >250 Soaring Accidents – How Not To Become A Statistic

Flying gliders is objectively dangerous even if it usually doesn’t feel this way.  Just one hour of flying a glider carries about the same risk as driving a car across the United States from coast to coast.  But soaring does not have to be so dangerous. 90% of accidents can be avoided.  We must study accidents to learn from the mistake of others because we may not get a chance to learn from our own.  The good news is that most kind of accidents have already been invented, so if we manage to avoid the mistakes others have made before us, we have a good chance of staying safe.  This presentation explores this in detail.  If you’re interested to learn more, you can find a collection of soaring safety articles on this page.