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Sky's the limit at hang gliding championships

August 9, 2013

Despite some rough weather conditions Tuesday afternoon — including lightning and heavy rains — the 2013 U.S. National Hang Gliding Championship remains on-track to wrap up one of its best years Saturday at the McMahon-Wrinkle Airpark.

According to U.S. National Hang Gliding organizer Belinda Boulter, the pilots — more than 40, including competitors from the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala — continue to enjoy amazing flying conditions in and around the Crossroads area.

“Monday was a blue day, but the lift over the canyons was excellent and there was a strong tail wind,” Boulter said. “Pilots got well over 9,000 feet, and the winners averaged nearly 40 miles per hour.”

With a lack of clouds — which pilots use to identify areas providing thermal lift — in the early afternoon, Boulter said the pilots prepared to take to the skies earlier this week with a slightly different game plan in mind. However, that plan gave way quickly when not only clouds, but thunderstorms moved into the area.

ee was still anticipating a blue day, so they chose a task to Brownfield where they felt they would have the best chance of clouds,” Boulter said. “By the time launch opened at 1 p.m., clouds were indeed developing in that area and they were growing quickly."

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