Gliders return July 22

Look in the sky and you just might see a hang glider. U.S. Hang gliding and Paragliding Competition is returning to Big Spring for another year at the McMahon-Wrinkle Airport July 22 through July 28. “We are doing it again,” Airpark Director Jim Little said. “We have hosted the national and worldwide competition here before and this year we are hosting the national competition again.”At this point there are 40 competitors registered for the week-long competition with more expected to sign up. Even though the competition has been set earlier this year, the numbers seem to be reacting in a positive manner. “This year they decided to move the date up because last year they were competing with another event,” Little said. “They wanted to avoid the scheduling conflict this year.”Participation numbers are already higher than last year, according to Little. The weather — which is also a major contributing factor — seems to be playing well, as it usually does. The consistent weather is one of the reasons the competitors continue to return to Big Spring.“The consistency in the weather and the hospitality of the people are a good combo and keep people coming back,” he said. Competition won't be the only thing occurring that week. The day before — July 21 — there will be hang-glider training flights scheduled for those wanting to experience hang-gliding. Flights can be scheduled throughout the week of competition for $100 per flight, but the best time for them would be the day before competition starts. To schedule a flight, call Lori Brown at 352-874-5742. For those wanting to come out and see the participants take off, there will be a spectator area marked by signs. Take off has usually occurred after lunch between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in previous years. “Take off and the traveled routes are all determined day by day. The weather conditions determine if they are not only able to take off, but how far they are able to travel,” Little said. “One of the most exciting times was what they considered to be bad weather, but it resulted in a neat site of 40 or 50 of them circling around Big Spring.”Cloud build-up and clear weather serves for the best flight weather, according to Little. Once again, David Glover and Terry Wofford will coordinate the event. “This is a great thing for the community to have. It has drawn national and worldwide publicity not only for the city of Big Spring,but for West Texas,” Little said. For more information, call the airport at 263-4362.