Spring Fling competition fun for newer and intermediate pilots

Spring Fling La Belle, Florida

The event takes place in late April.

No dates have been defined.

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.

XC Clinics

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.

Thermal Flying

  • Optimizing your thermal climb
  • Searching for lift & search patterns
  • Finding and centering the core
  • Cycle timing

XC Technique

  • Shifting gears throughout your flight based on the progression of the day and timing your decisions accordingly
  • Setting altitude comfort zones
  • Lift and sink lines
  • Sink minimization
  • Picking a good glide line
  • Making low saves
  • Reading clouds
  • Ground-based lift sources

Competition Tips

  • Team flying
  • Flying cross-wind/ headwind/ tailwind
  • Speed-to-fly theory
  • PMA
  • Maximizing peak flying conditions
  • Start cylinder management
  • Final glide calculation
  • What to watch on your instrument when you're in a competition

Weather

  • Convergence flying
  • Dangerous weather
  • Judging wind conditions
  • Reading Clouds 2.0: what's forming, what's dying, and what to avoid
  • Gust fronts
  • Lake effect
  • Sea breeze

GPS Operation

  • How to set waypoints and plot a course line
  • Programming your GPS for competition tasks (waypoints, cylinders, goal lines)
  • Airspace
  • Downloading, track logs, and GPS basics

Tow safety & technique

  • Avoiding lockout
  • Optimizing your tow
  • Tow launch timing
  • Release timing
  • Speed Assist
  • Managing collapses on tow

Pilot List 56 pilots registered

Name Glider
1 John Ripa Nova Mentor 4
2 Brian Clew Skywalk Chili 4
3 Dennis Mackey BGD BASE
4 Tim Coleman Advance Sigma 10
5 Scott Settlemier Skywalk Tequila 4
6 Ehsan Alikhani Ozone Buzz Z5
7 Christopher Dunlap Nova Mentor 3
8 Jeff Sinason Ozone Swift 5
9 Subodh Pandey Skywalk Cumeo
10 Kelton Kenney Ozone Alpina
11 Tom Lanning Nova Mentor 5
12 David McNulty Advance Sigma 10
13 Chris Lee 777 Queen 2
14 Lucas Soler Nova Mentor 5
15 Allen Reid Sparks Ozone Rush4
16 Ryan Dunn BGD Punk
17 Justin Crane Advance Epsilon 6
18 Erik Davitt Skywalk Mescal 4
19 Aine Friend BGD Epic
20 Anant Hariharan Ozone Rush 4
21 Robert Simpson Ozone Rush 4
22 Richard Ackerman Skywalk Tequila 4
23 John Breen Gradient Nevada 2
24 Jason Wallace BGD Epic
25 Zoe Sheehan Saldana Ozone Buzz Z5
26 John Gallagher Ozone Zeno
27 Peter Williams Ozone Delta 3
28 Tor Smith Ozone Delta 2
29 John Davis 777 Knight
30 Roxanne Lopez Nova Ion 4
31 Jim Cummings Flyman XAlps
32 Charles Bedell Ozone Alpina 3
33 Chris Duplay BGD Epic
34 Mark Wagner SkyWalk Cumeo5
35 John Middleton Advance Iota 2
36 John Tran Ozone Zeno
37 Dean Hatten Gradient Low B
38 Gregory Sadowy Ozone Swift 5
39 Roland Sanguino GIN Carrera
40 Les Bauman Ozone Rush
41 Corey Cassidy Ozone Buzz Z5
42 Leslie Blatt Ozone Rush IV
43 Donald Jacobson Ozone Rush IV
44 Johannes Ziegler 777 Rook 2
45 Dustin Pachura Triple Seven Queen 2
46 Matt Bossy Nivuik Hook 3
47 Bill Bredehoft Gin Explorer
48 Gerald Peck Phi Tenor Light
49 Jeff Thompson Ozone Z-Alps
50 James Edwards UP Summit II
51 Daniel Sanchez Niviuk Park 3
52 Grace Stansbery Ozone Buzz Z5
53 Justin Hawkins Triple Seven Queen 2
54 Tim Caplinger Ozone GEO 5
55 Christopher Parrish Ozone Buzz Z5
56 Joshua Sim Nova Mentor 2

Scoring

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.

You can download the waypoints for the competition here

Awards and Prize money:

The Spring Fling has 3 classes:

  • Sport Class (A and B gliders)
  • Performance Class (C and D gliders)
  • Comp Class (Comp wings)

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.

Transportation

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.

Lodging

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:
(863) 675-4411

La Belle Motel:
(863) 675-2971

The Rivers Edge:
(863) 675-6062

La Belle Woods:
(863) 675-3641

Camping:

Ortona Lock:
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.

What to bring

Most of you have this figured out, but just in case you need a check list:

  • Clothes for hot and cool conditions. It's commonly quite hot and humid on the ground. It can be cool at cloudbase which is commonly at 6-7000 feet, but mostly it's a perfect 65 degrees.
  • Rain gear, if desired - it can rain at times and some rain gear may be needed if you plan outside time.
  • Tow bridle and hook knife (these are also available on site for purchase if needed).
  • Radio capable of transmitting on 148.500.
  • Cell phone capable of sending your location to the retrieve driver is recommended.
  • FAI-compliant GPS or flight instrument capable of recording your flight track in a compatible format.
  • For those who plan to camp at NeverLand flight park, remember to bring everything you need - this is primitive, dry camping.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Bug spray.
  • Extra water and snacks.

Weather

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.


Results 2019 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Name Total
Dustin Pachura 1697
Chris Lee 1314
David McNulty 1210
Justin Hawkins 1198
Jason Wallace 1094
Subodh Pandey 1090
Kelton Kenney 943
Tom Lanning 936
Roland Sanguino 893
John Davis 745
Charles Bedell 653
John Gallagher 611
Joshua Sim 601
Robert Simpson 596
John Murphy 596
Tim Coleman 591
Zoe Sheehan Saldana 583
Mark Wagner 577
Ryan Dunn 544
Greg Sadowy 537
Chris Parrish 486
John Middleton 457
Lucas Soler 427
Richard Ackerman 370
James Cummings 357
Grace Stansbery 344
Scott Settlemier 315
Christopher Dunlap 281
Tim Caplinger 261
Roxanne Lopez 242
Brian Clew 195
Justin Crane 193
Ehsan Alikhani 182
John Breen 180
Jeffrey Sinason 166
Scott Olipra 166
Erik Davitt 155
Dennis Mackey 155
Aine Friend 155
John Ripa 153
Johannes Ziegler 151
Peter Williams 114
Donald Jacobson 107
Leslie Blatt 100
Dean Hatten 60