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Giving Back

This website was created by volunteers who love free flight and aviation. We built it to kick up collaboration several notches in our eastern flying community. We hope the website oils the gears of free flight in our region, making flying easier to do and less stressful with the tools we have created.

This page to say THANKS for “The Teacher” “The Coach” and “The Mentor” in aviation, whether it be free flight, sail planes, powered flight. We dedicate this page to those that came before us in aviation and who have showed us the way. There are those that fly well, and there are those that fly well and have given of themselves to also learn how to teach well to share the gift of flight with others, this is to recognize the teachers, the coaches and the mentors! Those people who gave more than what would be required for a job, or for a role. A teacher, mentor, coach is always committed to learning more themselves and sharing what they know. A common misconception is that to be a teacher, mentor, coach you must be head and shoulders better your peers – that is not the case, you just have to impart solid advice to a new or developing pilot and communicate effectively to help that pilot advance.

We want to recognize these teachers, coaches, mentors in our East Coast Region. Fortunately this list is still growing!

Tom Allen - HG, Bob Beck - HG & GA, Tom Beatty-HG, John Bilsky-HG, Jim Black-HG & Towing, Rick Brown-HG, Chris Bruno-HG & GA, Bob Buchanan-HG, Larry Bunner - HG, Ric Caylor-HG, Richard Cobb-HG & FLPHG, Doug Cromley CFI & GA, Bacil Dickert-HG, Bill Estes- HG Ace tug, Bryon Estes-HG, Joel Frolig-HG & GA & Ace Tug, Joe Gorrie-HG, Karen Gorrie-HG, Randy Grove-HG & GA, Dave Haughwout-HG, Steve Houser - HG, TR Johnson-HG, Ed Jowett-HG, Spencer Kindt-HG, Ron Kittredge-HG, Danny Koch-HG, Jim Kolynich-HG, Eric Kriner-HG, Jonathan Leal-HG & Sailplanes, Karl Link-HG & PG, Shawn MacDuff-HG, Jamie McQuire-HG & Sailplanes & GA, John Middleton-HG & PG, Matt Taber-HG, Dennis Pagen-HG, Katrin Parseiglia-HG & PG, Will Perez-HG, Larry Phillips-CFI & GA & Sailplanes, Doug Rogers-HG, Mitch Shipley - HG, Paul Shultz - Hg, Rob Skinner-HG, Johnny Thompson-HG & GA & Ace Tug, Chris Toomey-HG, Steve VanEerden-PG, Brian Vant-Hull-HG, Moritz Wagner-HG, Bruce Weaver-HG, Steve Wendt-HG.

Thanks to you for sharing what you know and please continue learning and sharing!


The idea for a regional road trip happened amid campfire discussions at a flying site. Several pilots were discussing going far south for a flying trip. Some said we so many sites to fly closer to home and we never seem to fly them enough…so the regional road trip idea solidified. Then what started as just a two week flying road trip has morphed into the creation of this website to house the tools, and tell our stories across the region. If this website and road trip is a success and we see it helping the free flight community we intend to keep it going. Romano and Aron, and other volunteers would turn it into a non-profit organization to keep it going indefinitely to the continuing benefit of the free flight community. At this point we have put our own resources and time into it and we expect no monetary repayment or donations of any kind. We are not set up for that anyway at this point. THE BEST REPAYMENT EVER would be to have many active pilots use

We are doing this project as a way of giving something back to our fellow pilots and clubs who have given us so much! We do have minor operating costs however we will easily make that up in fuel savings, time savings, and more fun!

Looking at this in the bigger picture we could see a non-profit organization benefiting the free flight community in a local way, focusing on keeping flying sites open, training through mentoring, and engagement with the public, spectators, and gathering interest from the public of which a small percent may enroll in training after getting to see more flying happening locally near them…win-win. Currently how is public outreach handled on the local level? Some clubs do public outreach, some do not, but if some degree of public outreach is created and built into the system at every flying opportunity by letting people know where and when the potential flying is going on, the public could show up and see some flying at some accessible sites. The Free Flight community’s perceived value goes way up, heightened awareness of what free flight pilots do, and the fact that this group is a friendly fun loving bunch, an asset to the community, making it easier for us to sustain the sport.

The idea is to engage the public, at some sites for people to come and bring the family so young and old alike can enjoy some fresh air and be imprinted with flying in the gray matter upstairs. Imprint the idea that yes humans can actually live the dream of flying and soaring with the eagles. Today we have the ultimate in refined flying equipment making possible what were only the intangible dreams of Leonardo da Vinci and others. Extending back even into mythology, one of mankind’s most primal yearnings was SOARING FLIGHT.

Inventor Otto Lilienthal helped us get closer and farther along, then aerospace engineer and inventor Francis Rogallo came along and further developed the flexible wing. Refinement of that design along with advanced materials has led to the great gliders of today and has made true soaring flight possible. Paragliding started and advanced out of efforts by NASA, and inventors David Barish, Domina Jalbert and Claude Betemps - equipment has come so far so fast in modern paragliding! There has not ever been a better or safer time in history to be able to enjoy free flight!

So let’s get the word out in our communities.

A couple flying sites come to mind where organic public involvement happens with a mix of the public and the HG and PG community:

-Hyner View State Park. The Launch area goes from being a madhouse of people on weekends and holidays to just a few on weekdays. Wow! Many people get to see flying there. People ask “are you going to fly today?” “when are you going to jump?” “How do you get into this sport?” “where can I go to learn how to do this”, “do you have to get training to do this?” – of course we take time to explain. Happens all the time. We love the DCNR and PA Forestry Department, they are helpful and great to work with, we support them and they support us to continue the tradition of flying Hyner…this is a case study in with Free Flight woven into in the fabric of the community.

-Jack’s Mountain is another one. There may be 20 people stop at the roadside pull-off if they hear of flying rumors, or see the gliders setting up.

-Ellenville is another one. The road in to the LZ is named “Hang Glider Road”. Hang gliding is alive and well there! The public is well aware and there is a ready chance for new potential pilots seek it out to become part of it.

We take time to answer the people’s questions, they might be the next to want to become pilots, you never know.

It is a cycle: FLY, PROMOTE FREE FLIGHT, INSPIRE POTENTIAL PILOTS, TEACH, MENTOR…Repeat with a new generation of pilots. We hope this website makes that process flow better!

We hope our Eastern Mountains Soaring Road Trip brings your area some increased awareness of hang gliding and paragliding and you can use it for promotion if you choose.

Thank you to all the clubs, volunteers, and pilots for your help and posting your flying intentions so we who live a ways away can join you in flying!

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