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Fwd: Link to Prince Albert Daily Herald Story John Theoret 1st Lumby Air Races King Post 2010

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  • Cas Wolan
    ... Subject: Link to Prince Albert Daily Herald Story John Theoret 1st Lumby Air Races King Post 2010 Date: Sat, 03 Jul 2010 13:09:47 -0700 From: Randy Rauck
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2010

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:Link to Prince Albert Daily Herald Story John Theoret 1st Lumby Air Races King Post 2010
      Date:Sat, 03 Jul 2010 13:09:47 -0700
      From:Randy Rauck <randy@...>

        Good promo for the sport and the local community

      News1 new result for lumby hang gliding
      Johnny Glide: aeronaut extraordinaire
      Prince Albert Daily Herald
      And, if the results of the Lumby Air Days races are any indication, there's plenty of wind left in Theoret's sails. More than 80 hang glider and paraglider ...

      Prince Albert Daily Herald


      Johnny Glide: aeronaut extraordinaire

      John Theoret is pictured pre-launch on Mount Seven in Golden, B.C., in the late 1980s. Submitted photo

      Published on July 3rd, 2010
      Marty Hastings
      Topics : 
      Prince Albert , United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association , CessnaLumby ,Freedom Flight Park , Canada

      It's been 30 years since John Theoret first soared through the air on a hang glider, and the 52-year-old still gets high off the sport's adrenaline rushes.

      "I'm as ecstatic about hang gliding as I was the very first day I left the ground," said Theoret, who was born and raised in Prince Albert. "The rush has not worn off. I'm going to keep doing this until I physically or mentally can't."

      And, if the results of the Lumby Air Days races are any indication, there's plenty of wind left in Theoret's sails.

      He placed first in the king post hang gliders' division of the competition, which was held in mid-June at Freedom Flight Park in Lumby, B.C.

      More than 80 hang glider and paraglider pilots from across the globe landed in Lumby for the races.

      Competitors in Theoret's division used a GPS device to navigate two triangular courses, which combine to cover 80 kilometres of airspace, at altitudes between 5,000 and 12,000 feet above sea level. The Prince Albert product finished with a time under three hours.

      He won $300 for his efforts in the air, and $50 for touching down within 25 feet of a designated landing area.

      But, as the cliché goes, he wasn't in it for the money.

      Theoret's love for hang gliding was born when Pierre Elliott Trudeau was in the early stages of his first term as Canada's prime minister.

      "Remember when you're about 12 years old and you had those dreams of flying?" Theoret asked. "I saw a hang glider on TV and thought to myself, 'That's it, that's the vehicle that will fulfil the dream."

      Ten years later, in 1979, the wide-eyed 20-something caught his first live glimpse of hang gliders in action above Grouse Mountain in B.C.

      By 1980, Theoret was taking lessons in Regina.

      "I remember the first time my feet left the ground - I was hooked," Theoret recalled of his maiden hang gliding voyage. "It's pure flying."

      The sport has taken Theoret to hang-gliding havens across North America. He has flying buddies all over the continent.

      "You meet a new person in the States, they find out you're a hang glider pilot, you find out they're a hang glider pilot, within about half an hour they'll say, 'Here's the keys to my house, lock up when you're done,' " Theoret said.

      "There's a very close-knit thing about hang gliders. Something we share, it's very special. Somehow it builds quick friendships, very quick."

      When he isn't handed the keys to a hang-gliding pals' homestead, he beds in his trusty Ford Ranger.

      "It works great inside the canopy," he said. "You're away from the elements, and away from the bears."

      The Lumby Air Races champion may have avoided any dangerous encounters with bears, but he has become acquainted with plenty of non-human life throughout his aeronautical travels.

      "Believe it or not, when (birds) see us circling, they come over to us," he said. "We're marking lift for them."

      The "lift" Theoret refers to usually results from thermal updrafts - caused by the sun heating the earth, and warm air rising from the ground - or ridge lift, which occurs when wind is deflected up off of the base of a mountain, cliff, or hill.

      For those wondering what a Saskatchewan hang glider pilot leaps from to begin his flight - in lieu of large mountains and cliffs - the answer is simple: nothing.

      Theoret usually gets airborne by standing on the back of a vehicle, which is attached by rope to his harness; the hang glider's sails are lifted into the air as the truck accelerates to about 35 m.p.h. The pilot then disconnects himself from the rope.

      Take-off can also be accomplished the old-fashioned way.

      "The pilot just runs down a slope (into the wind) and takes off when the air speed reaches 15 to 20 m.p.h.," according to the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association's website.

      Theoret likes to spend about two hours in the air before heading back down to earth. His longest flight ever was a five-hour, 98-kilometre haul.

      He's controlled Cessna and ultralight aircrafts since 1980, when he earned his pilot's licence.

      But he prefers to be in the air with nothing but his Wills Wing U2 hang glider.

      "Sitting in a seat, after a while, it's like driving a car," he said. "With hang gliding, your body's involved."

      A three-year stint hauling sand and concrete by truck in northern Canadian oil patches has allowed Theoret about two years of financial breathing room.

      He'll spend most of his free time in the sky.

      "It's the closest thing to flying like a bird you'll ever get," he said.


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