The Launch | April 2024

A big hello to all of our new members! And welcome back to those pilots who have recently renewed and are looking forward to getting back in the air.

Lots of updates from HPAC as the season begins– the Board held our ADM on March 20th and 21st and will be holding our AGM online from April 29-May 5th for our members to vote on the budget for the upcoming year.

One of the highlights at the ADM was introducing our new Director for Quebec – Pat Jackson! Welcome to the Board and thank you for jumping right in with some great ideas for the upcoming year.

We wish everyone safe flights for 2024!

Martina Lang, Editor

If you’re on our Facebook page, you’ve already seen that HG instructor and PG pilot Mark Dowsett was awarded his Master Rating (H5)! The award was presented at the SOGA (Southwestern Ontario Gliding Association) annual meeting by Kevin Thompson (H5), who trained Mark over 30 years ago.

The H5 or P5 Master Rating is a points-based award voted on the board that covers not just flying experience but also volunteer work and contributions to our sports. Over his flying career, Mark has been Competition Director for the WCSC (West Coast Soaring Club) in BC, editor of the BCHPA Newsletter and then also their President. He also put in even more volunteer hours as the WCSC President after that!

In the competition scene, Mark helped to bring GPS scoring to our local comps while also competing himself. From 2001-2007 he qualified for the Canadian National HG team and went on to run 11 Nationals – both HG and PG. He attended the HG Worlds in Texas in 2007 before moving back to Ontario. As a “computer guru” back before it was popular, Mark invested a lot of time with different scoring platforms and databases, always looking for ways to make the process easier and more organized.

In 2010 Mark decided to get his Towing license and along with Ryan Wood opened his school “Instinct Windsports” to train the next generation of hang glider pilots in Ontario. He worked hard to become a Senior Instructor and takes the responsibility of training new instructors seriously.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated pilot as part of our community! Congratulations on your well-deserved Hang Gliding Master Rating, Mark!

Adaptive Airtime

David Stanek (HPAC member 1637) recently started a non-profit organization in order to take wheelchair-bound passengers on tandem paragliding flights, as well as teach them to fly solo. He traveled to Utah to train with Chris Santacroce who founded Project Airtime about 10 years ago to learn the ins and outs of working with wheelchair pilots. With a special flying wheelchair and an adaptive van to transport everyone up the hill, David is geared up to start flying next month! An introductory weekend is planned from May 3-5 at Mt Woodside in the Fraser Valley in BC, to give some demonstration flights and hopefully drum up interest from other tandem pilots interested in getting involved. If you’re in the area, there will be a BBQ on Saturday May 4th after the flying is one. One of the US pilots (Blake Pelton) will be doing a presentation and Q&A session for everyone. Check out for more information!

During the meetings, we heard presentations from the Safety Committee Co-Chairs (Jacqualyn Pichette and Bernard Stoffel) and the Competition Committee Chair, JP (Robert) Vandenbegine. Thank you all for your hours of volunteer time donated over the past year (and more!).

Reports from the Records, Aeroclub (FAI) and CIVL Committees were also discussed, thank you to Steward Midwinter, JP (Robert) Vandenbegine and Nick Jones for continuing to chair these committees as well!

 The safety committee has produced a Safety Advisory with updates from events over the past year and what they are working on for 2024. (See link below)

The annual budget was also presented and discussed and will be available to view and vote on by our members at our online AGM the week of April 29th – May 5th , along with the Report to Members (ADM minutes) .

HPAC Safety Advisory – Spring 2024

  • major accidents that occurred in the past year
  • summary of advice based on accident reporting.
  • revamped reporting system
  • future projects

              Follow this link to our 2024 Safety Report