Monday, May 02, 2022

Why Teach?

Why teach?

Many years ago, when I watched some gliders run down a hill and get flight, I was so excited to see this. I had been a paratrooper in the Army and always wanted to fly again. I reached out to the skydiving community, but they wanted to charge me extra for my bad static line Army habits and charge my little brother less. I thought screw you guys. WTF? I’m a paratrooper, wtf could you teach me about jumping out of an airplane? (hehe, I had no idea back then).

I bought a wing and a harness, and no reserve. I rode a jet ski to Catalina Island on the 4th of July in 1989 with my wing on my back. I had no lessons except for watching my buddy Brian fly. I crashed that Sunday and was paralyzed for a couple of months. I told myself that if I recovered, I would do everything possible to make sure NO ONE EVER felt that pain I did and that I would devote my life to teach people to fly paragliders without the suffering I had endured.

Thirty-five years later and hundreds of students later I fulfilled my mission. I also spent many years since 1995 launching and rescuing paragliders when no-one else wanted to. As of 2021, I have successfully rescued over 175 pilots and two fatal recoveries. John Clifford died in a river in Pemberton that I found, and James Oroc (Aka Kiwi) we found in Eureka, NV last year. Closure is an amazing life spirituality. It’s good for the living.

I have found myself over the years defending not only myself but the innocent students of our lifestyle. It’s crazy to think about but it’s the truth. I find that at every site I’ve ever been to that the locals don’t want to either fly or acknowledge the fact that beginner pilots need to learn and fly these sites with more experienced pilots. That the local pilots fear these new pilots for many reasons. One of the reasons could be incidents and the subsequent losses of the sites, or many other excuses which could cause concern to the local more experienced pilots. The more experienced pilots seem to forget they once were those beginner pilots and I fought for their rights to fly too.

This ‘fight’ to defend and support the beginner pilots and students over the years has had a very significant impact on my career and my sanity as a pilot. The constant barrage from the more experienced pilots against my teaching and my school has caused me to defend my students, and my love to teach.

To teach is to sacrifice oneself to not hardly ever flying. To use the good days to fly, to teach. To watch your friends, fly and go XC whilst you stay in a training site and maintain the professionalism to enjoy the teaching in optimal conditions for you students, while the whole time you wish you were flying with your buddies. Year after year after year….

What ultimately happens is you loose respect of your peers as they never get to fly with you, no more xc flights, no more stories over a cold beer. Maybe, you spend thirty years or more inspecting, checking radios, launching, chasing, rescuing, hiking, coordinating rescues, finding dead bodies, and losing touch with your buddies. Maybe, someday, someone will acknowledge the fact that all you want to do is fly…

To teach is the ultimate sacrifice for what you love and what you can create. I have created several National Champions, I have created many teachers, I have created hundreds of safe pilots, and I have created a lifestyle for hundreds more that have safely devoted their lives to our amazing flying. I have saved and rescued many more that might have quit or lost it all. Teaching is the most rewarding and yet most self-sacrificing career there is. 

If it were not for the teachers, none of of you would exist to fly?

Pete "Reaper" Michelmore

USHPA Garbage collector

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Notes from the Convergence (a Link-Up Manifesto)

On most days, the central flatlands of O'ahu are not an inviting place to fly a paraglider. When the trades are blowing, ragged stacks of cumulus tumble over the Ko'olau range into the saddle that connects the Honolulu suburbs with the North Shore. Here they regain some form passing over subdivisions, solar farms and agriculture land before getting supercharged in the Waianae mountains. If the winds are strong, the hot turbulent soup is swept westward, out to sea in long cloud streets that mark our position long before the island itself can be sighted on the horizon. When the air is still, low pressure systems usually provide ample moisture that collects in the gulches and the vegetation, until the morning sun lights the fuse. By lunchtime the cumulonimbus are breathing deep and by afternoon the center of island is cast into shadow and rain.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

(New Date): HPA Meeting and Party Saturday 3/5/2022

Saturday, March 5, 2022, is the first meeting and party for the club for 2022. We will be going over current issues and voting for board members, all mixed in with the usual party vibe. We are hoping to see all PG pilots, spouses, friends, or anyone who might be just PG curious. 

Reapers party pad, starting at 6pm at 660 Palawiki Street in Kailua. Pupus and drinks as usual. 

Look forward to seeing everyone next week!

Friday, December 17, 2021

HPA Christmas Party / Reaper's Birthday Bash


Christmas Party / Reaper's Birthday Bash 12/18

Well it's that time of the year again where we can all get together for the holidays. Christmas Party at Fort Gravity and lucky me it's also my birthday. BBQ, and party. Jacuzzi is hot too. 
When: Tomorrow December 18th 
Time: 4pm-?
Where: Fort Gravity
            660 Palawiki street, Kailua
 BYOB and a dish if you like. 



Saturday, September 25, 2021

Membership Meeting- Saturday October 2, 7pm

 Saturday October 2, 7pm at 660 Palawiki St., Reaper’s House. We haven’t had a meeting in a while and Reaper offered up his house for the night. We will be going over club issues and news, seeing each other’s face for a change and generally just getting together for a bit. BYOB and maybe bring a pupu. Bring $20 for dues, the club is low on cash.

COVID rules will be in place, Reaper mom is there. Most of the action will be outdoors. Hopefully, everyone is vaccinated by now, but if you are really worried, stay home instead. And really, getting COVID isn’t even in the top three of bad things that can happen to you at Reapers party pad!

Seriously, we hope to see you all next Saturday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Fight or Flight: Monkeys in Orbit

If you say the word "Chelan" to a free flight pilot who has never been there, it triggers a mental cascade of images and lore passed through the ages. Dust Devils. Wind. Bombouts. Cloud streets. Turbulence. Big lines, big plans, personal bests, and stinging defeats. By the time Matty Senior came touring through Oahu in February with his merry band of crushers, a good percentage of the local crew had already plopped down six hundred bucks to attend his comp(s) this July and sample the goods.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Chelan 2021: The Circle Jerk!


Can’t stop turning!

The 2021 Ozone Chelan Open in Chelan WA just finished up and we had a big show of Hawaii monkeys there for the fun and the dust. The old crew:  JK, Doug Hoffman (with son Matt) and I, along with the Maui guys Jeff and Louie. The hard charging newer guys, Drew and Marc. And the new comp pilots; Patrick, Marcel, Marissa and Nour. Reaper was also on hand volunteering and doing Reaper stuff all week. Alex couldn’t make it this year due to mechanical problems, lingering symptoms from his pneumonia, but was fully involved from back in Hawaii. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

When ya gotta go!

 Monkey's in Ozone Chelan Open

Well it's Day 3 of the comp and all is well. Everyone has huge smiles and is really tired after just two EPIC days of high altitude flying. So far it's been a really fun comp and all the monkey's have personnel bests.

But, the best of the monkey business was Drew's landing at goal yesterday.

Here's the video titled "When ya gotta go!"

Friday, June 18, 2021

Ko’olau Tag Team: Makapu’u to La’ie by the Bootstraps

The Subsolar Point

For seven weeks in early summer, the Hawaiian sun leaves the southern sky and pushes north, grazing the Tropic of Cancer on the solstice before returning home in mid July. The steep north slopes of the Ko’olau range lie in shadow most of the year, but by the end of May the ahupua’a from Waimanalo to Kahuku are bathed in fierce mid-day heat. On the first of June, slightly past solar noon, I hooked into a thermal at the edge of the Punalu’u watershed that carried me up and over Kalanui stream at the back of Hau’ula.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Memorial Fly-in for Big Mike Saturday June 19th 12:00 PM at Makapuu LZ

David Mike McLaren, aka Big Mike, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday June 8th after a tough battle with cancer. Big Mike was a former paragliding student of mine having achieved his P2 in 2011 and my dive buddy of many years.

Mike was more commonly seen riding his Harley and hanging out at the LZ or the many parties and BBQ's we had at Fort Gravity.

Mike was an avid diver and probably the biggest fish out of the water I've ever seen. He loved diving in the Philippines and made several trips a year.