The tagline for FlyinOrange.blog includes the search for ‘Coaches, Courses, and Comps’.
The latter two are a relatively straight forward affair, simply hit up paraglidingforum and find the latest course/tour listing or comp posting. Locating coaches, proper one on one coaches, is difficult. We have no one offering 1:1 coaching back home in Southern BC and for good reason, it is not worth it given the high cost of living in our region. Instead our local schools focus exclusively on tandems and training unlicensed students – the former due to the quick turn around and the latter since the student is going to buy several thousands of dollars in equipment by the time they graduate (plus several can be trained at once).
Finding a coach normally means looking outside the prime training/tandem months and that translates to travel south.
Enter Pete Thompson.
Pete flies/teaches out of Colorado during the core flying season and has been recently recognized as the first pilot to successfully fly the length of the Colorado Rockies. During the winter months he travels Latin America flying, competing, and most importantly, coaching.
As luck would have it, Pete snagged a ride with our group back to Valle at the end of my first day here and while he was talking to some other pilots, my ears perked right up when he said, “I spend the winter months doing some coaching.”.
Pete’s current client, Becky, is learning the ropes of thermalling and not yet ready to fly cross country. While under Pete’s guidance Becky would launch when the lift was just starting to work, receive instruction via radio while thermalling and working with the gaggle, then land when conditions would start to strengthen near mid day. From there Pete and I could launch and go Cross Country (XC). A perfect arrangement.
I explained to Pete that I was looking for a tune up after a few months of not flying ahead of the XCSkyRace comp the following week. Pete queried about comfort level, general flying ability, wing selection + weight, and any particular goals that I may have. Pete went on to then explain his teaching style and what we can expect to try while working together.
The experience thus far has been everything I could have hoped for and more. Hopefully you will see the results in my flying over the course of subsequent flying posts.