Ragamuffins from all over the northwest converged on Chelan, WA in early November for the annual SpeedFest Fly-in. SpeedFlying is the motocross of freeflight. Flying fast and close to the ground beneath small wings lets you literally carve down a mountainside at 40+ mph while mere feet above the ground.
Its an adrenaline filled sport that has been growing in popularity and infamy across the world over the past ten years. Adventure seekers from skydiving to kayaking and skiing all seem to converge on mountaintops with speedwings in their backpacks. All looking for that great ride down.
SpeedFest is a gathering of these wild people every fall in Chelan, WA. Hosted by SkyDive Chelan and drawing pilots from all over the northwest its a great chance to meet the growing community and to fly with friends.
This year the winds were strong and the action centered on the local ridge and getting tons of newer pilots lots of flights while experts honed soaring and swooping skills.
One of the greatest joys I have found in my quest for flight has been the incredible community of people that are involved in this sport. Those that have taken the leap of faith and learned to fly have stepped out from the norm in a strange a beautiful way. I can only compare it to the early cultures of surfing and skiing where a sport so facinating and captivating comes into your life and transforms its path forever. Ask any freeflight pilot and they will tell you about their moment, vividly remembered, forever.
It was an amazing experience to meet so many wonderful pilots and to catch up with fly friends, planning adventures and future events. While flying is a solo sport, sharing its unique joy with those who know it too is a special experience that will keep me coming back every year. Big Thanks to SkyDive Chelan for putting on the event I will definately back next year for some more small wing shredding!