I’m Outta Here—Hang Gliding

I half heartedly considered putting up something on the blog last night.

Went nowhere. Beatrice took me out for sushi instead.

I had just put version 2.0 of the book to bed—off to the editor—and we’ll see what comes of it. I ended up working far more on V2 than V1. It’s done for me, now. Still simple, designed for beginners, but: tons more info, more options, more ideas and more motivation.

…In other news, for the first time since the last Troll Virus months ago (and only one or two prior, ever), I’ve had to ban a girl who didn’t seem too trollish at first, but turned out to be…and then proved herself a troll in competently going around the ban—which is great because that proves she doesn’t respect the property of others (i.e., classic troll). As I write, she’s busily unplugging and plugging back in her dynamic IP modem to grab another IP, using different screen names, different email addresses…all in order to get comments through. But, you get to judge for yourself, as always. I gave her the benefit of dozens of comments, replying civilly to almost every one. But now she’s butthurt because she doesn’t, apparently, get to own my blog and I won’t let her own it. I’m so ashamed.

…Oh, and if you like animal fat, you’re contributing to the destruction of the planet. Y’know, just so you know. I certainly didn’t want any of you to take it non-seriously. Indeed: those links? The survival of the planet and the human race? Yep. At stake. So there you go.

I’m gonna go off and fly my ass off for the better part of a week. Same wing as last year. I’m going to go use global warming to my advantage, if I’m lucky, because hang gliders have two sources of power: gravity and solar (I’ll defer to the aeronautical engineers to explain why). Here’s some recycled photos from last year, ’round this time.

Human Wings
Bird Like
A Far Cry from the Drilled Tubing & Hose Clamps of the 70s

Everyone always asks and so yea, we wear reserve parachutes, repacked once per year.

Never Used

Oh, and did I mention? This one has sprogs in lieu of luff lines for reflex protection. Aren’t you glad?

Negative G Protection

And it arrives on the top of the car, and after taking you a few thousand feet over launch and keeping you there for as long as solar power will allow—which is usaually a few hours or until you tire—you pack it up, toss it top the car and haul it off to the next mountain to do all over again.


Now isn’t that fucking cool? Really.

I’ll try to report on-scene, as events and circumstances develop. There might even be the most amazing camping cooking you’ve ever seen. We’ll see. No guarantees, and I still have no idea what’s on the menu for my duty night. But it’s pretty much camping, cooking real and damn good, and hang gliding for the next week…upon which it becomes all about #AHS12.

So stick around, will’ya? (all except that troll, of course).

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Sean on July 31, 2012 at 14:35

    I can’t believe you wasted time arguing with people like this. Get a life dude.

    Enjoy the hang gliding, looks like a fucking blast. Growing up in NM and having hiked the Sandias many times I’ve seen tons of hang gliders, they used to be a fixture there, but I’ve never tried it myself.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 14:42

      “I can’t believe you wasted time arguing with people like this.”

      It’s my blog and I have a number of factors to consider. What’s your excuse?

      • Sean on July 31, 2012 at 14:48

        I have no excuse. I do like to think I have a sense of humor.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 14:53

        “I do like to think I have a sense of humor.”

        And you do. I’m hoping you develop an equally keen sense of context, too.

      • Sean on July 31, 2012 at 15:06

        And I’m hoping you will stop being such a patronizing cunt.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 15:09

        Hope rings eternal.

      • Jscott on July 31, 2012 at 20:58

        I want a hug from you two since I got sucked into epi-paleo.
        ==and from Melissa (Hey hey Tolkien! and from Marie (is that how you spell it?) and from Amy who is not here yet but I think would not only benefit but would add to this community as she talks to recovery folks who NEED better sleep and better nutrition thus would need less fucking heroin and less mt dew/chips)


        (Amy’s Google plus as I attempt to be transparent after 22 hours of takeover meetings…not related to Amy. I do not want her tainted.)

        Richard, we should probably talk sometime. There are shots left in the chamber. Find me.

      • Sean on August 1, 2012 at 14:41

        Anyone who hugs Richard is dead to me. Richard is also dead to me. I hope he stubs his toe really, really badly when hang gliding. I also hope the wind totally messes up his hair and causes lots of split ends.

      • Sean on August 1, 2012 at 14:43

        Hope rings eternal.

        Not to mention springing eternal ;)

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 14:44

      When did you see hang gliders in the Sandias? Since mid 80s everything has changed.

      • Sean on July 31, 2012 at 14:52

        Really? I remember hiking the La Luz in the early 90s and hearing all these whooping sounds and finally looking up and there were about 30 hang gliders directly above me looping on the currents.

        I also remember a lot of people jumping off the crest when I was a kid (middle 70s). I don’t know if that is still legal but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is not.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 15:00

        Well, the difference is that in the 70s, the gliders were so primitive it was almost always what we call a sled ride. At a 4:1 glide ratio, it’s very hard to overcome gravity (that propels you forward in the dynamic of airfoil). On the early to mid 90s and beyond, things have gotten far better. Even a beginning glider has a 10:1 glide ratio and I used to own a carbon fiber rigid wing with a solid 17:1. Easy to scape gravity while it propels you forward, using thermal activity to get up and go on glide again and again,

      • Joseph Fetz on July 31, 2012 at 21:14

        Now that you’re getting all technical, I’m thinking of moving back to Cali and buying a glider. I don’t know of any good hang-gliding place in Ohio… The Appalachians, maybe. But unlikely.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 21:25


      • sync on July 31, 2012 at 22:33

        I’m assuming the weight loss has improved your glide ratio too, right? Any idea how much?

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 23:46


        Actually, no. Gliders come in many different performance levels and weight ranges. Max glide performance is obtained by max wing loading (though minimum sink can improve with less loading–it’s complicated). My last glider was quite less performance and far larger than the new one I got last year. As I lost weight, I could boat around slow and have better minimum sink performance but glide performance was less than when I was heavier. Now I’m near the top of the weight range on a smaller, more performance wing. Hope that makes sense.

      • Joseph Fetz on August 1, 2012 at 21:29



  2. phreebie on July 31, 2012 at 14:36

    Sounds like it’s time to bust out those campfire paleoish corn dogs:



    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 14:45


      Actually, when we camp its usually totally real food all of the time. I regret not documenting more of it, over the years.

  3. Lute on July 31, 2012 at 14:48

    We’re waiting. See you when you get here.

  4. beans mcgrady on July 31, 2012 at 15:33

    Wow. I just read through that thread. Can’t believe you were that patient.
    I run a B&B in Mexico, and had to smile and nod this morning as someone ranted about people not believing in AGW. I was proud of me. Keeping customers happy leads to repeat business.
    Fun to read this in the afternoon.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 15:48

      Yea, beans. I draw that line too. It’s implicit, for me, that when a customer pays you for products and services you they have a right to not have to deal with your opinions even of they give you there’s.


      • beans mcgrady on July 31, 2012 at 16:56

        One thing I find amusing, is that that guy, or girl, probably takes being banned as some sort of victory. Completely proud, not having heard one word to the contrary of the fixed beliefs. Facts can be very challenging.
        Incidentally I also heard someone here mention ‘Forks over Knives’ today. She is a friend, so I got to set her straight. . . in a loving way.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 17:07

        “in a loving way.”

        Always best, if you can. Never let this blog sway you otherwise.

      • sync on July 31, 2012 at 23:12


  5. Cnaccs on July 31, 2012 at 16:30

    So gravity isn’t really the source of the power, it just provides a handy storage mechanism. The power comes from whatever hauls you and the glider up the hill. (Aero-engineers are a nit-picky bunch)

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 17:00

      Cnacs, not talking about stored energy, but what powers an airfoil forward in relative airstram (not relative to the ground).

  6. Jay Jay on July 31, 2012 at 19:31

    Possibly the corniest video ever, but a good song, and your hang gliding posts always make me think of it.


  7. Jason Stark on July 31, 2012 at 23:22

    I read that thread too, and I have to say you really didn’t answer any of the commenter’s assertions.

    Banning him/her just kind of proved his/her point that you didn’t want to engage, or couldn’t engage. I’m not sure that’s the message you’d want to convey.

    I’m just saying because I’m interested in global warming and I would have liked to read to the end of that thread just to firm up my own understanding on the subject.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 31, 2012 at 23:53

      “I read that thread too, and I have to say you really didn’t answer any of the commenter’s assertions”

      I answered him far more than I should have on a number of comments on AGW. Not sure which thread you read. I covered the issue of urban heat islands, placement of measuring stations, the reliance on positive feedback, appeal to authority and whatever else was in there.

      I do not have much interest in the issue at all, which is why I hardly ever mention it.

      • Jason Stark on August 1, 2012 at 03:16

        Oh noes, sorry about that, I seemed to have unwittingly summoned him. Everyone, if you just don’t feed the troll, he’ll go away hopefully.

      • Lamy778 on August 1, 2012 at 03:19

        Jason, I was thinking the same thing. Just let it go…

      • AndrewS on August 1, 2012 at 09:10

        Often, in other forums, the “standard response” to a troll is to start talking about something specific, and maybe slightly off-topic. ie, we could start talking about the best way to cook liver. I don’t mind the taste of liver, but I find cooking it to be tricky, I’m generally more likely to go out and order it, or eat liverwurst or pate instead. Am I missing out on a lot here?

      • Galina L on August 3, 2012 at 10:04

        What is tricky about cooking a liver? Just avoid over-cooking, which is often the case when dealing with proteins (salmon, shrimps, steak). You can always make your own pate by gently sauteing liver pieces (or even boiling), sauteing a lot of onions, adding generous amount of butter and using a hand-hold blander on that thing. Put it in container and spread a layer of butter on the top (to prevent dry crust). Warning – it could gets spoiled quickly, if not eaten within 2 days, put it in a freezer.

    • gallier2 on August 1, 2012 at 03:06

      Sorry, his assertions were so inane and also so predictable that there is no point in “debating” them. To paraphrase Dilbert: “Don’t argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”.

      • Galina L on August 3, 2012 at 10:17

        The only reason why sometimes I read what such idiots have to say is a hatred. Sometimes I enjoy observing the degree of their brain-damage. I am hopelessly prejudged against any high-spirited nut with shiny eyes who is on the mission to save a planet from meat-eating brutes. They are enemies of humanity because they actively try to trap their victims into health-destructive life-style with the “safe the Earth” or even “safe your health” rhetoric. Just look at poor Clinton.
        The last example of such stupidity http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/peta-bets-senator-grassleys-death_n_1712012.html

  8. Paul C on August 1, 2012 at 12:13

    Trolls seem out of place here. Usually a troll drops into a scrapbooking thread, drops a few C-words, pokes the deeply offended a few times, then moves on. Here the troll’s language and style doesn’t offend and the reactions are not very troll-stimulating. With few cheap thrills to be had, I don’t see a long stay, unless trolling a decent reaction here is like climbing the north face of the Matterhorn.

  9. rob on August 2, 2012 at 13:04

    I think the troll should be invited to do a guest post, PROVIDED that she is required to stick to a topic of Richard’s choosing.

    My suggestion: Enemas, Pros And Cons

  10. Woodwose on August 4, 2012 at 02:06

    How long can one stay airborne with a hanglider, can you increase alltitude using winds or will entropy always win in the end?

    How much does the lightest hangliders weigt? Would be fascinating to see if the new materials such as carbon fibre could produce a hanglider fitting into a backpack.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2012 at 05:34


      Depends on conditions. If there’s thermal activity or prevailing wind of sufficient strength against an obstacle (like dunes, a cliff on the beach or steep mountain range), one can stay up for as long as those conditions persist), or deciding to find sinking air and come down. I typically fly for 30 minutes to a hour but have had many fights in excess of two hours. An XC record was just set in Texas a few weeks ago. 460 miles, about 11 hours in the air.

      The lightest gliders are about 60 pounds. The more advanced and performant, the heavier. I used to have a carbon fiber wing with a 42′ wingspan and it weighted about 85 pounds. Had a 17:1 glide ratio.

  11. Rebecca Foxworth on August 4, 2012 at 10:09

    OMGosh…I just skimmed the link to the “troll” and I’m dying laughing. Not at you, but geez, what a piece of work the anonymous poster is. Ego much?

    I’m a former vegetarian and fairly conservative Christian (except when it comes to that no-gay-marriage thing…I just don’t get why that’s not legal), and I read your blog. Does the swearing bother me? No. Does the fact that you think religion is bunk bother me? No. Why not? Um…because I keep clicking on your page and reading your blog, that’s why. If I didn’t want to read your thoughts, I wouldn’t read your blog, plain and simple.

    I like your blog. It makes me think. I also love to see how obviously you love your wife, and all the fun you two have together. Makes me smile.

    You’re right when you said this person wanted to “own your blog”. How stupid of them. If they want to expound on their ideas, they can just go get their own flippin’ blog. Duh! Good job in banning them.

    • Mo on August 4, 2012 at 16:37

      The troll is a psychological cripple who has latched onto a “cause” to justify her self-hatred. Any nasty mean-spiritedness directed to others becomes fighting for a noble cause when you’re “saving the planet.”

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.