Better knowledge of mount 7 (Seven) free flight area improves the experience.
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November 2010 November 5: I just tucked my wing for the winter. Very last flights of the season for me this week. The road is well snowed and most vehicles don't make it to the takeoff. My faithful car did make it yesterday. Excellent! We took the occasion and the time to cut bushes a little, François and me. The north takeoff will be a bit easier next year. The bushes and the trees begin to grow enough to cut them all, notice to volunteers. The inversion was palpable by the temperature at the takeoff and visible by the laminar smoke in the valley. Sleds only.
October 2010 Oct 5: Another beautiful start for the month. The first was very marginal but several stayed in flight over half an hour. The two, better yet but David and Gilles scratch too much and do not make it to the LZ. Gilles find himself in a tree by the rail way. Lucky, the neighbour retrieves it with a backhoe without breaking anything, only a bit of grease on the wing. Today, very beautiful and excellent. Good thermals at the right places under the inversion i.e. under 2100 m (7000 ft). Mathieu practiced his thermalling, while I was able to fly around the mountain for 2:20. Oct 10: Clouds, wind, rain, no flights since thursday. Thursday that was so sunny had a south wind impeaching good thermal formation. Oct 11: Thanksgiving day, a good day between the rainy ones. A north wind brings cold to support the thermals, altitudes of 3000 m (10000 ft) reached, one 40,7 km out and return flight. Oct 14: Return of fair weather. The southerly wind impeach thermals and we only sled down. The hang glider visiting from California likes the site nevertheless. Oct 16: The too numerous cirrus make the strong thermals (2 m/s) too rare, sleds of less than 30 minutes. Notable fact, a Snowbird (or other acrobatic jet plane) makes a pass with smoke trail direction east. Oct 17: Full sun. Two Calgarians come for a few flights. François scratch the west cliffs for an hour. I maintain 23 minutes north-ouest side. David, lacks margin, branches himself just short of the landing zone. His GMRS radios turn out very useful. Oct 21: Two warm and sunny days, hope of thermals. But too strong inversions make thermals that don't slow the descent much. Solid bad weather arrives tomorrow for a while. Oct 30: Snowy ground. Some sun, more possible. Also a perfect day to work on the takeoff. Brush cutting by François and, the clouds opening a hole for us, a hopeful flight. Not enough of the sun so a sled, more or less.
September 2010 Sept 2: Beautiful start for the month. Non-stop flights all day from the tandems, me and numerous visitors from the area, from Calgary and from Brazil (in leave in Canada). Sept 7: Strong south wind last saturday allowed some flights. One paraglider could not make the LZ and had to land in the dry slough. We are in a long stretch of bad weather that started sunday. Sunday, a short window early afternoon that only Raul and some tandems took advantage of. Several went up afterward to observe the thunderous cells closing in rapidly and the closure of the sky. Sept 10: HPAC announces that Parks Canada has reevaluated its position regarding allowed activities. Free flight (HG and PG) could be authorized in some cases. See the news release from Parks Canada.
Sept 18: Yesterday, friday, relatively good weather, so finally some flying. Tom, visiting from the UK, Tim, Martin and me have good flights, about one hour and a half. Mostly scratching on the west cliffs in a south wind. But today the weather deteriorate too rapidly, as I am barely ready a huge cloud covert hides the sun and shows signs of rain, the troph is already here. Well, a sled run is better than nothing. Tim does his sled under a very light rain. Next appointment with the sun is wednesday. Sept 23: And wednesday was very good all day. Full sun, light wind, thermals under an inversion. New paragliders and a very "sympa" french couple, enjoyed well. The sun comes back again next wednesday, probably.
August 2010 August 2: The paragliding national ended yesterday with a windy day, one hang gliding flight only. Mike and Matt got into a mountain bike accident leaving Mike in a sling for a few weeks. Thunderstorm and award dinner finished the day. August 4: Ole Andreas Haddeland made a video about the paragliding national that I added to the videos page.
July 2010 July 3: Large group of flying visitors in spite of uncertain weather, worrisome at times. Air turned out very calm for such an active cloud cover. Large group of paragliders learning with Muller Windsports got their first high flight without incident. Sunday is rather rainy. The Willi is closing in! You can register now online or in person, I have registration forms ready for use. July 12: A weekend busy with student pilots doing their first high flights. A weather calm enough, especially Sunday. Cloudy and windy today, return of hot weather is forecasted Wednesday and on. Perfect start for the Willi 2010, this coming weekend. T-shirts has arrived today and I'd like to remind that early registrants have first choice.
June 2010 June 4: The road is open, dry and in good shape to the Lookout. Unfortunately, the weather remains bad and the rares flights are sleds to the landing only. June 6: The weather turned out good long enough in spite of the forecast. Nice flying visits of Sotir, Tim and Rob. June 14: Saturday was rough mid-day, excellent in evening. Sunday, a weakening front brought too much wind for paragliders. The wind calmed enough for me to race a Parson and back before a thunderous ending. A batch of Willi t-shirts is available already, $20, proceeds going to the Willi fund. June 20: Good weekend in spite of the menacing thunderstorms. Rough air saturday and few flights in the afternoon. Sunday started well but a long thunderstorm line develops rapidly easterly. All landed before the gusts arrival. June 28: The uncertain weather continues but we find some good flying windows in spite of it. A Swiss paraglider visiting the Rockies with his companion had the pleasure to find someone lending his flying equipment, saturday night. It was a rather windy day with washing machine thermals that calmed down after 5 pm. The nice weather continued until sunday around 1 pm, thunderstorm retaking over. A pleasant weekend after all, with several flying visitors.
May 2010 May 10: Sunday, the road was open up to 8 km, one km short of the 9k launch. Count a week or two for that shaded and muddy km to be ready. Tim and I walked it but for less than 30 minutes airtime flight. First mamma bear and cubs sighting this year. May 16: The barrier of Forestry BC is still at 8 km. Paragliders (Peter, Hugo, Mike) and a hang glider (Tim) had good flights saturday, short distances. The Willi 2010 page info now has a registration form with Paypal payment. Use it, register now! May 19: Forestry BC moved the barrier to 10 km today, opening 9k launch to vehicles. Fallen tree at 9k needs cutting. May 29: Flying season really slow to start this year. Bad weather all last week and this weekend. Not much sunny forecasted next week either.
April 2010 April 3: Our flying pal Tim bought a little domain right at the foot of the mountain. We surely will see him more often. April 17: Tim tries the very risky 5k takeoff. The weather get worse quickly and he goes for a direct sled to the gravel pit. The forestry road is closed by the ministry of transport at the 6 km point to keep it in better shape while it's soft. Still thick snow at 7 km anyway, it won't open before May for sure. I will keep you informed as soon as the 9 km launch is accessible.
March 2010 The free flier Lucille de Beaudrap will begin her ascent of mount Everest this month. It is a climbing expedition we can follow on her blog. March 21: The Golden film festival was yesterday and surprise, Scott Watwood had two films presented. Speed flying first and the other mostly bits of BASE jumping.
February 2010 February 7: The Willi 2009 photo contest is now wrapped. Winning photos are:
Also new this month, I've open a twitter username mt7air . News bits sent via mobile phone has an irresistible appeal. It also has the potential to be very useful in the field.
January 2010 Wishing happy new year to all friends of Mount 7! Please make the resolution to fly more safely. January 18: The PG national will be in Golden this year and its organizer and the HPAC competition comitee have decided to encroach on the Willi for it i.e. the PG National will be July 26 to August 1. The Willi will then precede it, July 17 to 24.
December 2009 Wishing happy holidays and great new year to all friends of Mount 7! Take the time to reflect on this ending year to improve the next. And as usual in aviation, learn as much as possible including from other people mistakes.
Accidents this year were all recoverable.
Be well prepared, read this website thoroughly.
October 2009 October 3: Cold and cloudy week. The mountains are powdered white. Flight season is ending. October 12: Great weekend flying in very cold air with thermals on the rocks. How do the birds do it all winter? Mike and Louise even did a little out and return cross-country flight of 10 + 10 km. Snow week coming. October 13: The Willi 2009 is not quite complete yet. The photo contest held by Glenn Bitterman was not judged because of other concerns during the event. However, Glenn has collected and sent me the photos, and they are now posted on this voting page. Please visit the page and vote for your prefered photos! Octobre 24: The flying season is over but the site is still active. Last week, Brenda Bowle-Evans held a small ceremony with family after receiving the new memorial plaque dedicated to Peter. It will accompany the ones of Chris and Willi Muller on the big white rock at the Lookout takeoff.
September 2009 September 5: Still many pilots around in nice enough weather. Rather stable air though so far. September 14: Good weekend of good weather that lasts and lasts. Good enough to add hours in the log book. Several rare visitors. September 19: Last weekend brought many visitors from outside as usual with nice weather. Julie and Joël right from Yamaska, Québec, were of the group when the thermals were so nice Saturday. Hours of airtime. The weather stayed nice until Thursday, attracting a paraglider from the US, another from southern Alberta and a dynamic trio from Calgary. Tomorrow, the return of the sun. Only the winter will let me rest from flying. :D September 28: The Glassoff, target landing, dinner, and live band, went very well. Even the weather helped the maintenance by making Saturday too windy for flying while Sunday proved fantastic for the season. Forty-seven pilots registered for the costume and target landing event, sixteen participated in the maintenance work on the LZ, ninety-six adults paid for the dinner. Louise Bouchard won the target landing and the couple Dianne Fiala-Scott Watwood won the costume portion. This fund raising event sponsored and organised by John McIsaac collected $920 for Search and Rescue (SAR), $1000 for the Willi event fund and an extra $75 was donated for site maintenance fund. In addition, mt 7 site fund donated $2500 to SAR and Vincene Muller on her side collected another $1460 in individual donations to SAR.
August 2009 August 19: Finally I find some time to update the news. Lots have hapenned. The Willi results are up since a while with a very short overview, stressing the dangers of this year. Even in good weather, two paragliders, one non-participant, went in the trees on the very last day. One self rescued, the other got heli-rescued. The weather was not so good for the first half of this month while a hang glider from New-Hampshire was befriending some nice locals. At the same time, Odile, a woman from France no less, travelling all over Canada with a very well equipped trike (motorised hang glider) and had to pause in Golden a few days for inclement weather. We had a good time helping her, chatting, learning about her and her trek. See her website: Envolée au Canada (i.e. Taking off in Canada. Stories also in english.). Today marked the return of the nice weather with three hours airtime for me. And the forecast is plain great for the next seven days at least! August 26: The weather was excellent on Saturday with almost all having long flights. Sunday was acceptable until the strong wind arrived around 3 pm. Three hang gliders flew briefly in this wind and one found the LZ rather small in these conditions. Sun still staying.
July 2009 July 4: Cute weekend following a very sunny week. Leif fills up of flights. Tim comes back for a couple weeks. Guy comes for two days. Moors as well. More will be here for sure. July 7: the weather was super at times and at places, strange like the mountains. Better for hang gliders because of south winds, some paragliders did not make it to the LZ but without any harm. Excellent adventures. July 11: One freak accident on takeoff broke a wing on Thursday and shook the pilot. Yesterday mini celebration of the late Peter Bowle-Evans whom had the honour of giving his name to the mount 7 forestry road. Today a group is doing their first high flight. July 14: Weekend well filled with a new batch of pilots from Muller Windsports, a wedding at the most busy time, and great weather. Two fantastic days for all. July 19: this week was very excellent although darkened by one incident and one accident on friday. One paraglider clipped a tree when he came so short in a south wind but still landed okay. One hang glider, Saskatchewan representative, was a bit nervous on landing and didn't have enough speed in final. He stalled when he tried to turn. Bruises, swollen elbow and light concussion only, fortunately. Plus much repairs on the wing. This weekend is windy, few flew so far. July 24/25 – August 2: the Willi 2009! It's going on in good weather, overall. Excellent distances. Life-challenging experiences with good endings. Goofs sometimes. Drama. Beats the movies ten times over.
June 2009 June 3: The weather, so great suddenly, brings visitors mid-week from Montana and Calgary. Good distance flights. And a reminder from one field owner to avoid landing in his grown field. Oups, I thought he'd be happier to see me again. His so inviting field is the one at about 25 km from takeoff. Its GPS UTM Coordinates : 11U 0522487 E, 5659956 N. However, he has no problem if we land in his packages (animal fields), including the long narrow field by the river. If the river is low, it may do. Always choose a safe landing spot, though. Minimizing damages done to crop by the place you land and walk in the field, helps. If possible/useful, fold outside of the field. This owner had a bigger beef against paragliders in large competitions. June 6: After such a good week bringing me to the 1st position in the provincial distances, this weekend is cloudy. I take the opportunity to recall that the landing zone is peppered with gopher holes. Must be careful. June 17: Finally rain to seriously wet fields and gardens. Many good flights last weekend in better than forecasted conditions. Sunday, Raul (prononce raw-wool) did Invermere again. Me and Doug made Parson and return. Mike said he did Harrogate and back with another paraglider. Many flew locally. June 22: The weather turned out much better than the forecast, last Saturday. Only good for the numerous visitors. Sunday got ugly in the afternoon but some flew briefly during a long clearing. The road got a great grating Sunday and looks almost new. Super! Seven women from Golden skied the seven of mount 7.
A small group from Calgary and Edmonton couldn't wait any longer and came to the Rockies on the 1st of the month. But the forestry road, recently christened “Bowle-Evans”, still being impassable with mud and snow, they only made it to the 9k launch with difficulty, in a jeep. There will be mud ruts to take care of again, hopefully less than last year! :)
April 2009 Prepare your gear. Still some time since the road is not quite open yet. If you plan to come to the Willi and camp at the GEAR, please make an advance reservation. No other major competition at mount 7 this year. See Events calendar. Peter Bowle-Evans received a great posthumous honour when the mt 7 road was named Bowle-Evans drive. With street signs.
Road to launch
Road to landing zone
Flying mount 7
Cross country flights
Contacts & links
Proposal of legal society
[...] there is a possibility that men will eventually learn to fly without motors, after the manner of the soaring birds, which sail for hours on motionless wings. In such case the flyer would be so small and simple that the original cost would be very moderate, and the fuel expense done away with entirely. Then flying will become an every-day sport for thousands [...]
Aircraft radios themselves do not require a licence nor registration when operated in the context of flight or soaring, only the operator.
Sailplanes from Invermere may use the Invermere airport ATF frequency 123.2 MHz or the soaring frequency 123.4 MHz in the Invermere ATF zone and are supposed to use 123.4 when flying cross country or on visual contact with us. They may switch to 122.8 MHz in the Golden ATF, near our site. Be aware, they are silent and also hunt for thermals.
Emergencies: do not switch frequency if you are already in contact with someone that can help. However, know that the universal distress frequency is the most monitored on earth. In addition of the terrestrial stations, airliners and some satellites are listening to it.
Amateur radio frequency (ROC needed)
Since 2005, the radio itself does not need a licence anymore.
Should be limited to ground-ground communications. Not recommended in aircrafts communications, but is better than nothing.
Flying in the Rockies is not flying in the plains. It can be easier and more challenging at the same time. The wind may stir the air in altitude, or cause a venturi in the valleys. Local effects of many kinds may please or scare.
In high mountains like the Rockies, the meteo wind has a tendancy to circulate above the highest peaks. Mountains are obstacles. In summer, when the sun shine, mountains slopes warm and constantly produce thermals. Mountains will hence create an ascending wind continuously with air coming from the valleys. This air circulation up is called anabatic. According to the well known saying of Lavoisier, nothing is lost, nothing is created, all is transformed. The valleys bottoms must fill with air and there is no other place than up to take it, elsewhere. The valleys center, shaded slopes and mountains lee-sides allow this descending circulation. This is called a catabatic wind. Moreover, after sunset, the air circulation reverses, often in less than 15 minutes. Hence, generally, the valley wind will be different from the takeoff wind and the wind in flight. Obviously there is a correlation between meteo wind and local winds but it is not direct. We can imagine how the air will circulate according to conditions and locations but it is not always easy nor obvious. These are the main differences between flying in the mountains compared to flying in the plains.
In addition to the tips and warnings in previous sections, here are, in this section and the next, reminders of some specificities of flying mount Seven, in the Rockies.
Please read the pilot's etiquette section.
HPAC third party liability Insurance is required to use the launch sites & the landing zone.
Don't forget to subscribe to the contingency fund as described in Emergencies.
Profits from sale of shirts & caps go to the site: insurance, road, LZ... These items are now found at the landing zone's office/store. Donations are gratefully accepted. You can also make a donation via Scott Watwood: firstname.lastname@example.org, Serge Lamarche: email@example.com and with Paypal:
[...] men have never ceased to envy the birds and long for the day when they too might rise above the dust or mud of the highways and fly through the clean air of the heavens. Once above the treetops, the narrow roads no longer arbitrarily fix the course. The earth is spread out before the eye with a richness of color and beauty of pattern never imagined by those who have gazed at the landscape edgewise only. The view of the ordinary traveler is as inadequate as that of an ant crawling over a magnificent rug. The rich brown of freshly-turned earth, the lighter shades of dry ground, the still lighter browns and yellows of ripening crops, the almost innumerable shades of green produced by grasses and forests, together present a sight whose beauty [...]
Be nice to yourself and pass the HAGAR test from Transport Canada. The study guide should be available from the HPAC. It can only help you understand the aerial traffic and our place in it. Also, once again, fly with a radio, preferably in the aircraft band. Provide help to others. Ask for help if needed, do not let a bad situation deteriorate.
After a cross country flight, register your flight in the BC cross country league. Since 2004, cross country flights done in British Columbia are eligible for money prizes thanks to private donations from pilots managed by the provincial association. It's a good way to encourage cross country flights and see their evolution. Enter and details on this page hosted by the WCSC.
Here are more recommendations:
Please read the pilot's etiquette section.
Phone 911 and ask for the Golden RCMP (also at 250-344-2221) - it is manned 24 hours a day - they will coordinate all search & rescue (SAR) operations.
Ambulance service: 250-344-6226 but phone 911 in case of emergency.
If necessary, a helicopter can land at the Lookout and at the upper launch. If this happens, remember to shelter the wings, attach them to trees or take off.
Again, seriously consider flying with a radio. Also, nothing can help locate a downed pilot better than a GPS receiver. And carrying a long rope to climb down a tree is also a good idea. Some do fly with a complete rescue kit.
Our contingency fund
In case of a rescue where the costs (or some costs) are not covered neither by the government, health insurance, travel insurance, nor by any other way (very rare), we have a contingency fund. This fund insures the subscribers that a retrieval by any mean (including helicopter) will be available for them and that they will not go broke because of it. Perhaps most importantly, it means that a helicopter can proceed without any of the delays than can ensue from having to first acquire hard payment before taking off. When possible, a pilot requiring the fund should subsequently replenish it.
|July - August - September|
|date? → Muller Windsports cross-country clinic
Instructors are teaching thermalling up to competition strategy.
Organized by Muller Windsports.
Registration (10 max): $?.
|July 16/17 to 24 → 14th Willi cross country challenge
PG National forced this date change.
Head quarter at the Muller flight park.
Organized by Serge Lamarche and John McIsaac, helped by Karen Keller and many volunteers.
|Registration and info|
|July 26 to August 1 → PG National
Head quarter at the Muller flight park.
Organized by Bruce Busby.
|Info on goflyxc|
|August 7 → 34th Lakeside event
Actually not in Golden but in Invermere. An annual target landing competition.
Organized by Max Fanderl.
|Lakeside web page
Lakeside facebook page
|25 September (26 if rain) → 5th Golden Glassoff
Annual costume and target landing competition. Inspired by the coupe Icare and Halloween.
Organized by GEAR management, Amy and Jamie.
|Golden flying sites (mt 7)||Operations Manager: Scott Watwood
|Nicholson landing zone and the new eco-adventure ranch
also named Muller flight park and GEAR.
Their waiver is posted online
|Owned by: Columbia View Homes Ltd
John McIsaac and Cathy-Anne David
Box 8093, Canmore, Alberta, T1W 2T8
Tel: 403-678-6733; Fax: 403-678-6761
Now operated by: Amy at the GEAR
|Serge, advanced hang glider, paraglider, and webmaster||email: firstname.lastname@example.org
website entrance: sergewebservice.ca/serge/
former entrance: sergewebservice.ca/ancien
|Other website by Garth||www.flygolden.ca|
|Veronica Nicole Jason Rob|
|Learn free flight|
|The closest free flight courses to Golden is given in Calgary by Muller Windsports overseen by the university of Calgary. Online registration is possible. It is an introductory course.
To fly without an instructor's supervision, you have to obtain the Novice rating from the HPAC. Muller Windsport provides futher intruction to obtain the Novice rating with an intermediate course. In addition, they provide a mountain flight course in Golden to address mountain air difficulties and finalize the Novice rating for some.
If you live in another area, refer to the HPAC. For a complete list of instructors in Canada, please consult the website of the HPAC (link below).
|Introductory free flight courses at the U of C|
|HPAC / ACVL (canadian association, bilingual)
This site is an excellent source of information. It displays updated lists of sites, schools, instructors, and members. You can get the registration & insurance forms, keep informed about rules, read some news, keep posted on the events to come, and more.
|BCHPA (British Columbian association)||www.bchpa.ca|
|MHGA (Manitoban & Nunavut association)||mhga.ca|
|SOGA (southwestern Ontario association, aerotowing)||soga.ca|
|AQVL (Québécoise association, french)||www.aqvl.qc.ca|
|HPAAC (Atlantic Canada association)||www.lupinworks.com/hpaac|
|Flights and tracklogs registered at the HPAC (still not functional)||Leonardo|
|British Columbia cross country league page
hosted on the WCSC website
|Rules and infos
and direct link to the forecast for Golden
|Aeronautical Nav Canada online weather information||www.flightplanning.navcanada.ca|
|NOAA weather satellite view (USA)||www.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/|
|Weather codes in use by Nav Canada||Simple list and Study guide|
|Official list of canadian aeronautical abbreviations||www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/msb/manuals/manab/html/index_e.cfm|
|Canada-wide english FIC* number||866-wxBrief|
|Aeronautical VFR navigation charts (VNC) and more||At Nav Canada|
|Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM)
|The AIM is now available online: www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/regserv/Affairs/AIP/menu.htm
Direct link to AIM: www.tc.gc.ca/CivilAviation/publications/tp14371/menu.htm
|Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)
|The Canadian Aviation Regulations page.
Part VI - General Operating and Flight Rules
Subpart 2 - Operating and Flight Rules
Item 602.29 regards directly hang gliding & paragliding
Study guide for the aeronautical radiotelephone certificate
|* Nav Canada did create a centralized network of Flight Information Centres (FIC) and Pilot Information Kiosks (PIK). Some are operational since 2003. The flight service stations (FSS) will be reassigned to local (airport) services. See www.navcanada.ca for details.|
To keep at our happiest some rules should be followed:
What Is Mandatory
Finally, free flying can be anything from dangerous, just frustrating, to exhilarating. I found the best fun/pain ratio at mount Seven so far...
[...] Considered as a sport, flying possesses attractions which will appeal to many persons with a force beyond that exercised by any of the similar sports, such as boating, cycling, or automobiling. There is a sense of exhilaration in flying through the free air, an intensity of enjoyment, which possibly may be due to the satisfaction of an inborn longing transmitted to us from the days when our early ancestors gazed wonderingly at the free flight of birds and contrasted it with their own slow and toilsome progress through the unbroken wilderness. [...]
This web page was formerly designed by Max Fanderl. His site is at flyingmax.com.
You can make a donation for the maintenance of this website: