April 22 to April 27
The Spring Fling is a 6 day, paragliding fun competition for beginners to advanced pilots who want to improve their thermal and xc skills, judgement and proficiency. Now in it's 12th year, the event averages 5 out of 6 days flown. It's quite common that pilots will break their personal bests in both time and distance during the competition. Each day there is an XC clinic topic designed to help you maximize the day and improve your flying skills. At the end of each day the top scoring pilots break down their flights and share what worked and what didn't.
From course plotting to GPS operation to thermal efficiency and weather, Spring Fling is an XC Super Clinic.
The entry fee is $300 + $150 tow fee, and includes daily clinics and weather briefings, all the towing you can handle, retrieves, scoring, t-shirt, and awards dinner. Cash awards are given to the top 3 pilots in each class. No previous tow experience required.
Each day there will be an XC super clinic topic. During this clinic, David Prentice and others will share important information about every aspect of XC flying from course plotting, to GPS operation, to thermal techniques and tactics. David has been flying XC for 24 years and brings a vast array of both competition and XC experience. He has been a top competition pilot, and has set multiple state records and at one time the world distance record. He guides pilots in Valle de Bravo and Colombia each winter, and coaches SIV. His passion now is helping P2 and P3 pilots reach new levels in their flying by passing on his knowledge and helping them progress as ever safer, more successful cross country pilots. These clinics are designed to help put theory into practice in simple, applicable terms. In addition to formal clinics, Spring Fling is full of pilots of various skill levels who are eager to share what they know. It's a great atmosphere to learn a lot and have a blast.
Clinic topics are selected daily based on conditions, pilot skill level, and best application for each day's task.
Tow safety & technique
Each pilot must have an approved GPS device that can record their track log from each day's flight. These tracks will be downloaded by our score keeper into the FAI-approved score software, following the established rules and using the standard algorithms.
The Spring Fling has 3 classes:
The top 3 pilots in each category, along with the top female pilot are given awards.
We believe that the top-performing pilots deserve recognition, so we ensure that 10% of each entry fee goes toward prize money. (A $300 entry fee means $30 towards prize money.) Prize money is split among the top three places in each category, according to the number of pilots in each class.
Spring Fling is hosted in La Belle, Florida. (see map below)
Most pilots fly into either Fort Myers or West Palm Beach (FLL). Fort Myers is the closest airport - a 45 minute drive away. FLL often has more frequent and cheaper options - a 1.5 hour drive away. Because our event HQ is located in a more rural area of Florida, many pilots will want the convenience of a rental car to get around to their lodging and dining needs. We encourage pilots to share rides and rooms whenever possible, and they can coordinate through the NeverLand Flight Park Facebook page. Airport pick-ups can be arranged for a fee. Contact Neil Sirrine for details and scheduling.
The event is Headquartered at the Glades RV Resort in La Belle, Florida. Transportation is provided daily from HQ to the launch site. Each pilot will also be retrieved from the XC task route to goal. If you pass goal and decide to fly further, retrieval will be up to you. Pilots are encouraged to ride share and can use our NeverLand Flight Park Facebook page to organize this.
Many lodging options are available. Each year pilots choose to camp, bring their RVs, or rent cabins or rooms at local hotels. We've listed some of the more common lodging options below. If you're interested in staying at The Glades, we encourage you to book quickly, as these options sell out fast.
Glades RV Resort:
6 cabins for rent which have a small kitchen and can house 2-3 pilots per cabin.
Port La Belle Inn:
Will offer a pilot discount if you stay for the week.
Speak with Terry at:
La Belle Motel:
The Rivers Edge:
La Belle Woods:
Improved camping sites and rv hook-ups with hot showers and laundry facilities
(863) 675-8400. Camp fee is $30 per night.
NeverLand Flight Park:
Improved camping: We have water and electricity now! $5 a night.
Most of you have this figured out, but just in case you need a check list:
We can't control it, so we plan well and work with what we got! The Spring Fling is held during what is statistically proven to be the best two weeks of the year, with an average of 5 out of 6 days flown. We have a team of experienced pilots who are constantly evaluating the weather and sharing the analysis with pilots during each day pilot briefing. Our best conditions are anything with the word South in it, and our worst is North and Northeast. We have good flight potential to both the East and West.