Spring Fling The paragliding-fun competition

Spring Fling 2023 LaBelle, FL

April 23 to April 28

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; tasks are no longer than 120km, and the highest class allowed is EN C. Now in it's 14th 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 + $300 tow/retrieve 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.

* Limited to 50 pilots.


Pilot List 41 pilots registered

Name Glider
1 Christopher Dunlap BGD Base (1st Gen)
2 John Busigin Phi Maestro 2
3 David Schmaus Gin Explorer II
4 Chris Lee 777 Queen 2
5 Nathan Kohl Ozone Rush 6
6 Bill Lemon
7 Lucas Soler Ozone Delta 3
8 Thomas Mccormick
9 John Davis 777 Knight
10 Moacir Thiele 777 Queen 2 Evo
11 Austin Wadsworth Skywalk Chili5
12 Michael Stein Ozone Alpina 4
13 Cheryl Morgan Ozone Rush 5
14 Jeff Sinason Ozone Alpina 4
15 Ryan Dunn 777 Queen 2 Light
16 Scott Mizerek Ozone Mojo 6
17 Stephen Messinger UP Dena
18 John Elmen UP Dina
19 Jeff Adamiak Beso Mi Culo 4
20 Geoff Wright Skywalk Arak
21 Ethan Hunt Ozone Rush 6
22 Tim Coleman Niviuk Peek 5
23 Kelton Kenney Ozone Alpina 4
24 John Gallagher TBD TBD
25 Tom Lanning Niviuk Artik 6
26 Viacheslav Pavlov BGD Epic 2
27 Brad Whittemkre PHI Maestro 2 Light
28 Mike Gatto Air Design Volt4
29 Stacy Patterson BGD Base 2
30 Ross Landy BGD Base 2
31 Dan Jazwinski BGD Base 2
32 Meghan Kate BGD Base 2
33 Scott Settlemier PHI TENOR
34 Vincent Greff Skywalk Cumeo
35 Esau Diaz Ozone Alpina3
36 Robert Simpson
37 Mark Wagner Skywalk Cayenne 6
38 Jorge Barbaran Gin Gliders Atlas 2
39 Wade Lippincott Gin Explorer2
40 James Culver 777 Queen2
41 Bobby Culver 777 Rook 2

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


  • 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


Each pilot must have an approved GPS device that can record their track log from each day's flight. These tracks should be downloaded and emailed to our score keeper. We use 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.


Spring Fling is hosted in LaBelle, 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 LaBelle, 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 LaBelle Inn:
Will offer a pilot discount if you stay for the week.
Speak with Terry at:
(863) 675-4411

LaBelle Motel:
(863) 675-2971

The Rivers Edge:
(863) 675-6062

LaBelle Woods:
(863) 675-3641


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! $10 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.


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.

Weather in LaBelle now clear sky

Name Total
Joshua Sim 601
Greg Sadowy 537
Justin Hawkins 1,198
Jason Wallace 1,094
David McNulty 1,210
Chris Parrish 486
John Davis 745
Tom Lanning 936
John Gallagher 611
Roland Sanguino 893
Subodh Pandey 1,090
Chris Lee 1,314
Leslie Blatt 100
Zoe Sheehan Saldana 583
Tim Caplinger 261
Donald Jacobson 107
Christopher Dunlap 281
Scott Settlemier 315
Dustin Pachura 1,697
Kelton Kenney 943
Erik Davitt 155
Grace Stansbery 344
Charles Bedell 653
James Cummings 357
Mark Wagner 577
Richard Ackerman 370
Robert Simpson 596
Tim Coleman 591
Ryan Dunn 544
Lucas Soler 427
Jeffrey Sinason 166
Justin Crane 193
Johannes Ziegler 151
Dean Hatten 60
Brian Clew 195
Dennis Mackey 155
Roxanne Lopez 242
John Murphy 596
John Breen 180
Aine Friend 155
John Ripa 153
Peter Williams 114
John Middleton 457
Ehsan Alikhani 182
Scott Olipra 166

How to get here