On May 19th a contingent of PPG pilots from four countries will arrive in Juneau Alaska to fly the greater Glacier Bay Sound. These pilots include; Mike Robinson, Wayne & Susan Mitchler, Arnon Lufi, Milton Santiago and Rick Hallowes.
A 54' boat will pick them up and steam 8 hrs to Gustavus. From there the BlackHawk Team will proceed to Mud Bay, Dundas Bay and finally to Glacier Bay. These desolate areas are accessible by boat only and will surely prove to be a challenge to fly this incredibly beautiful and uninhabited area of
They will be checking in daily (technology permitting) and sending back, info, flight details, GPS track logs, photos and videos.
To follow Team BlackHawks journey sign up for the ParaToys Newsletter on the left side of this page to get updates as they travel.
Meet Team BlackHawk
Mike Robinson: The new owner of ParaToys has been involved in aviation his entire life. When he finally found powered paragliding he was hooked. Over the next few years he bought and flew nearly every paramotor but couldn't find one that was light or safe enough. He felt ParaToys was one of the best and when the company came up for sale he bought it. Mike immediately began improving the produces. Mike is a perfectionist and visionary all in one. He has been a professional water skier, captain of a racing sail boat, competition kayaker and surfer. He is high energy and should be tough to keep up with on this trip. Gear:BackHawk R120, ParaToys Neucleon
Rick Hallows: Rick is ParaToys resident instructor. Rick retired from the USPS and was a ParaToys dealer and instructor on his own. He already had many years of training PPG pilots under his belt when he was approached by Mike. He had always enjoyed training and flying but wasn't interested in the "business stuff". Now he enjoys training 5-6 new student a week with out distraction. Rick will be training Rusty, the owner and operator of the boat they are exploring Alaska on while they are there. Gear:BackHawk R120, ParaToys II
Arnon Lufi: Arnon has been flying powered and unpowered paragliders for over 20 years. He makes his living as a flight instructor and a handyman who specializes in electrical work, plumbing, and engine maintenance. He also performs security surveillance and search and rescue for the police force in Israel. He flies the powered paraglider over 100 hours each year, professionally. In addition, he flies his unpowered paraglider for recreation. Arnon has flown in Israel, England, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Turkey, Costa Rica and many other places. This will be his first time to fly Alaska. ArnonFly.com Gear:BackHawk R120, ParaToys Momentum
Milton L. Santiago: Born on Dec 3, 1958 in San Juan, PR, Milton is an electrical engineer by trade and from an early age, has always been highly active in many different sports. After getting into aviation at the age of 14, Milton tried different forms of flying, from general aviation to skydiving until finally fell in love with Paramotor and Paragliding in the late 90s. Since then he has gone on honing his skills with Eric Dufour and is now a certified USPPA and USHGA instructor. In 2003, he founded Pratrevidos which is a Paramotor and Paragliding school and club based in Arecibo, PR. ParamotorPR.com Gear:BackHawk R120, ParaToys Momentum
Wayne and Susan Mitchler: The flying duo from Canada. These two are constantly on the move. They live in Canada although you wouldn't know it. They spend the fall, winter and spring traveling the US and Mexico in their RV stopping along the way to fly and train new PPG students. Wayne has been an instructor since 1997 and a fixed wing pilot since 1979. Susan is one of the few women ppg pilots and even more rare, a foot launcher since 1998. SkyBiker Gear: Modified ParaCruiser BH185, ParaToys Nucleon
Brian Thivierge: Back in California, Brian is monitoring the team's progress and posting the journey to the web. He is responsible for the many typos you find on this page :) Gear: None, Milton stole mine ;)
O5/19/10 - Day One
Leaving out of Sacramento Airport, Mike, Rick and Arnon flew out early this morning. They were met by Milton via Puerto Rico and The Mitchlers joining them from Canada. They arrived in Juneau to blue skies and 62 degrees. With little incident, the gear arrived. Everything is now assembled and running. The ship set sail and is cruising along at 7 knots towards their first stop.
O5/20/10 - Day Two
Well, Day two has come and gone and my conversation with Team BlackHawk was brief... something about a bear and Mike wanted to get in shape so he was going for a run?
I did manage to get their current location. Zoom in to check it out.
They sent some photos
More to come tomorrow!
O5/21/10 - Day Three, Four and Five
The Team was off the grid for a few days and what came in today was a mix of a few days flying in one large batch so I'm presenting the same way.
This is the message that accompanied the photos:
"After flying the icy valley of Idaho Inlet, we proceeded north and then east to Mud Bay. Tomorrow we will x-country approximatly 16 miles to Neka Bay and 16 miles back. All will be on speed bar to make this rugged passage possible. If one goes down, it will not be good."