Hello, this message is for the flying club officers in the eastern US:

Welcome to the SoaringRoadTrip.com website for HG and PG pilots who want to fly regionally. Brought to you by friends who like to fly! Aron, Romano, Rob, Steve, Randy, Eric, are Chris are planning an epic 2 week road trip and we are calling it the Eastern Mountains Soaring Road Trip. We hope that we can convey to you what we are thinking via this website and ask for your help to accomplish our soaring road trip.

In actuality we are looking at probably 10-15 participants average with a few who can’t do all of it due to other obligations, and a few more meeting up with us along the route.

We hope you can join us on some of our flying trips in 2021 and beyond.

Flying club membership seems to be dwindling as pilots leave the sport…and many have not actually left entirely, they are on the sidelines due to lack of local interest, health issues, busy with life, etc. but that doesn’t mean that they have nothing to add. We are fairly new pilots and are eager to learn. We figured we could learn a wealth of knowledge if we tapped into the decades of experience that exists in the free flight community, but we have to get out there and connect and fly. We wanted to do something to inject some enthusiasm into hang gliding and paragliding and get some buzz going from building on the energy of others in the sport who we know are out there doing it day by day and running the clubs and keeping them alive. There are a lot of good mentors in the clubs. The other unsung heroes of the sport are the USHPA Observers who help the newer pilots along on their way. We need more pilots stepping up to be Observers. We’ve lost some friends and mentors already, and life is short so there is no time like the present to do this road trip. We hope to get going May or June 2021 once Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted and it is safer to get together.

The soaring road trip idea started around a flying site campfire. We live on the east coast, so we said let’s find out where all the sites are that we can fly relatively close to home. We wondered what it would take to do a two week road trip and see how many sites we could fly, while meeting up with local pilots at their favorite sites. Then the pain of logistics hit us like a 2x4 to the head. Where do you start on this trip, what site do you begin with because the weather controls our flying. Once the start date is picked we’ll evaluate the weather and go to the best looking flyable site first. We’ll be keeping an eye on the weather outlook for the next 3 days and either stay put and fly another site close by, or go where the flying sites can be flown with the weather we are dealt. Were trying to minimize driving and maximize flying, but at the same time we would like to really get around to more sites overall than just parking at 1 or 2 for many days. We’re trying to find the best sites on the east coast and fly them.

We are building some technology tools to help us evaluate weather conditions, weather outlook, a site map for navigation, and some brief information on a flying site so our pilots can prepare themselves for flying the sites in addition to using the information a hosting club has compiled for the site. We can share the web based tools with our road trip pilots and hosting clubs so the clubs can track progress and our intentions to fly various sites once this road trip gets underway. Basically this website page you are looking at is a prototype that is 75% complete. The shell is there but we need to fill in the flying site data.

We know we will need to camp or find accommodations so we are trying to learn what sites might have room for us to camp there or a nearby campground.

Here is a some information about our core group of 7 pilots. Steve is a Paraglider Pilot, a P4 who flies a lot in Western and Central PA. Randy is an H2 pilot from Toronto who flies in Canada and NY. Aron is a newish H3 who also flies a lot in Western and Central PA, and NY. Romano is a new H3 from NJ who flies all over the place! Chris is a new H3 from NY mostly flying in NY and he volunteer instructs at the RAF school, Rob is an H4 pilot who volunteer instructs at RAF school and who goes all over to fly when he gets the chance. Eric is an H3 who has flown quite a few sites and now flies a lot in NC, Eric has learned and taught people to fly, even building his own tow rig. Eric does more XC than the rest of us. We are all USHPA members. We have been working at becoming better pilots through fits and starts in a declining sport and would like to do more flying of sites to progress in the sport as well as promote the sport. We think learning to fly in a challenging time for the sport has hardened us to do more to keep it alive and mentor new pilots ourselves where we can. In the last 5 years we lost many small schools and instructors right in the middle of several of us trying to learn the sport. Now we are on a mission to make up for that and fly more and progress in sites flown, airtime, plus just learn what the bigger picture of flying and club activity is like in the eastern mountains.

Collectively for the 7 of us as it stands today we have club memberships spanning NC to NY and everywhere in between on the east coast. Those of us not already members of the host club will add membership or 30 day memberships as required to fly your sites.

We would like to come meet your club members and fly your sites when the weather lines up with our route. We want to know how to join your club, follow the rules, and leave your site better than we found it (We travel with tools).

We are “locals” at our home sites and understand what it takes to maintain landowner relations, we do site maintenance work, and are sensitive to be good stewards so as not to cause problems that would cause a site to be lost. We will respect your sites and your rules, recognizing we are the visitors. We are making a members only portion of this website to keep the sensitive site information amongst vetted pilots who intend to be members of your clubs when we come. We discourage bandit flying and will do our best to do good for your club and stakeholders.

Here is a list of information we are trying to learn about your club for our future road trips:

  • Site name

  • Club associated with the site

  • Launch and LZ coordinates

  • Club contacts

  • Flyable wind directions and speeds

  • Launch type

  • HG / PG Ratings

  • Are there USHPA Observers who may be willing to assist

  • Site restrictions/Protocols (Designated Local Pilots, etc)

  • Cost to fly and payment method

  • Youtube video(s) of launches/landings

  • Camping at the site, or camping nearby, or available lodging nearby of you know of any.

We appreciate your help. We’ll be looking forward to talking with you. As we built this website to unify our road trip participants, we also thought it would be a great communication tool to bring the clubs in the loop with our communications on our flight planning website www.soaringroadtrip.com.

Feel free to explore the website and give us any feedback. Leading up to and during the trip we will be posting updates on our progress along the travel route. Once we have your contact info we will also call ahead to confirm things with you while on our trip, plus be posting our progress on the website.

Thank you – Sincerely,

Aron, on behalf of the soaring road trip crew - Aron, Romano, Rob, Steve, Randy, Eric, Chris.

If you have any questions please contact Aron Lantz at: soaringroadtrip@aronlantz.com