Fluid Dynamics Playground: Chapter 1- Butterfly Effect

Latest update January 26, 2015 Started on October 13, 2014
Taking advantage of our location in the universe, I plan to explore the earth Via Paraglider, Foot, Sailing, and Scuba Diving. The sun, wind, currents, and terrain are all an effect of our special place. This exploration harnesses the power of the earth to discover new perspectives. Chapter 1, takes us to Valle De Bravo Mexico where Monarch butterflies migrate to. The small creatures dont force their way through the sky, and neither will I. Come Join me.

October 13, 2014
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In The Field

Chapter 1 is concluded.. with an amazing adventure weekend with friends around the Bay Area. Flew with a local hero at a special location, taught a good friend to fly at the best training hill around, explored canyons via FPV planes. Hiked and explored new areas with a big PermaGRIN. sunset flying at Channing, The Darkside.

Its a good time to be alive. Go outside and explore!


What a great run! Well done!

Hooray for Hawaii. What an awesome trip.. Camping in Sherwood forest, right by the beach. Flying for 3 hours along beautiful cliffs over exotic blue water. Lots of hot sweaty hiking. I landed because I was hungry and tired.. it was possible to fly till sunset. Great locals! invited us along chasing the conditions around the island. Found a cave, saw Whales!! and albatross!!

photo credits: Amy, Jakob, Evan, Me.



Your photos are beautiful! Amazing how clear the water is in the one on the top right. This makes me want to get outside and go exploring!

Enjoy this short edit,
I am about to get on a plane to go to Hawaii which was originally a training trip for Valle, but it was moved due to a Storm, and being really busy on some end of the year tasks at work.

Time to Fly.

Go outside


wow! is that the forest in mexico which David Attenborough talks about. The single place where all monarchs congregate?

One Word. Magical!
More to come.. but what a fantastic adventure. I am sore from laughing.
Pictures and butterfly pictures to come.


I've always wanted to go there. Excited to hear about the butterflies!

The time lapse is stunning, and I love seeing your photos of so many folks flying together. How close do paragliders get to each other, is it safe to have so many people up together?

people get mighty close.. like sailing/boating there are right of way rules, and self preservation.. but gaggle tolerance is something that it takes time to build.. The higher you are the happier!

Researching flight routes to the Monarch Sanctuary.. from old Paragliding World Cup Videos. (not me flying.. yet.. .)

These storms that have rolled in have brought great flying.. and beautiful clouds
Pre Frontal, and Post Frontal.. perfectly sunny days have fallen on the weekend.
Saturday was beautiful, but just too wet..

Sunday the wind was perfect for flying at Ed levin. I was the first to launch from the 600 and got up right away.. Amazing day so late in the year.. with not many hours of sun we flew with big smiles!!



These videos are amazing. I want to do this so bad.

David, it is so amazing.. we live at an incredible moment where the materials exist to do this.. My wing is 4.5kg. Dental floss and sail cloth... the magical back pack. Check out these adventures that have inspired me to, just go. vimeo.com/searchprojects

this is a fun one.. from Tom and Horatio - Volcanoes! vimeo.com/38089234

Just had an amazing flight. Timed the weather and the day really well. Gosh I sure love flying this wing. Track log coming soon.


I just when out and kited on the ground for the first time. I can see the draw and the thrill! Do you use an app to track your flight? keep analog notes like a pilot? I'm looking forward to seeing your log.

oh yeah!! awesome.. where and with who? I do have a log book. There are some very funny entries. in January or February there will be a kiting clinic in vallejo at a site called gateway park.. basically a little hill, you can even take mini flights with ease..

What a trip!! Totally unexpectedly we scored an amazing flight. It looked like it might not be flyable in the morning with cloud cover and strong breeze. As we collected ourselves and got some breakfast in us.. the conditions began to change. We parked the cars at the Landing zone (LZ), and hiked up. On the way we decided to hike only an hour or so to the first ridge that faces southwest. This saves 2 hours! and ~2000ft.. The day before we mused what might happen in southwest winds, since none of us had flown here with those conditions.. The air was unstable due to the front that was on its way... I launched first.. scraped and scratched to maintain.. I thought I lost it.. but time and time again I would see everyone at launch... I was flying... and not going down.. this is sweet.. its what we fly for.. but it was unique and special because I was able to maintain until everyone launched. The conditions got better and we were riding and playing in thermals and clouds with incredible surroundings of Big Sur. We attracted some attentions from the locals.. first an owl that and then while I was on glide to land I heard a gasp over the radio.. our flock had been joined by a flock of California Condor! a magical appearance from a species thats total count was below 30.. now slowly recovering we witnessed a total of 13 birds flying with us. Two of my friends were guided on flights by the birds long after I landed.. What a special place we live in. Training on the new wing is proving to be amazing.. conditions are light and challenging. Studying maps of Valle and determining where to find the butterflies in the sky.


Go out, Explore!



So jealous! I've been wanting to see a condor for a long time. What an experience! Any video?

Get the GEAR.. adventurers are always looking for better, lighter, faster... optimization.. but in this case to Progress forward.. i am taking a step back.. I am sure already that it is the right thing to do.

For this trip to Valle de Bravo I want to explore the area and feel confident doing it. So I started to reflect on the wing I am flying.

for non pilots.. Wings are rated from A to D (there is an open class)


A being the safest for students etc. and D being something you fly only if you fly daily... that is a gross over simplification of the system.. but it will work.

The vision I have for my adventures in the sky is grande. I want to enter the world of sky camping. Vol Biv. an elegant mixture of hiking and flying in a true explores form.. not knowing where one might land and what the hike out will bring..

I have flown my current wing happily for 2.5 years. It was a hott wing for a beginner (High B).. I had it because I showed talent and early skill.. that did not mean that I had the skills or experience yet to really fly the wing.. after a couple of intense experiences both in SIV (simulated incident in vol (flight) course) and in real life I became very cautious and kind of sore a couple times.. despite this I flew as much as I could, but I wasnt able to stay up as long as the others.. mainly because I would be exhausted.. a couple times I have hit the sweet spot in conditions and my Psyche and had epic flights... my relationship with the wing is in a good place after going through the ranks of beginner to advanced pilot, but I have a lot of respect for what the wing can do and I make choices that are in that context.

I need to stay in the sky.. stay happy.. stay unstressed.. and I will go far.

Glider technology is advancing at a rate where the newer safer "low" end wings have the same performance as the cross country machines of 2012.. so... I wanted to get a new wing. that increased the fun factor. reduced stress, and allowed me to fly like a bird and look for lift. I still love my rush.. and i will fly it. but a new page has turned.

After a lot of research, and emailing different test pilots and instructors I arranged a demo of the Skywalk Tequila4. Flew it three times: Mt Tam, Mission, and Ed Levin.. The last one was just for fun when i was giving it back because i liked it so much.. Video of demo flight Hike and Fly coming in the next post.

I present to you the ARRIBA3 light weight version of the wing I demoed. First flight from Mt Tam. absolutely beautiful. A lot of adventures lie in front of me and my blue and orange flying machine.. the magical back pack.. Gosh I wish I could share it with all of you.. Arriba Arriba!!

Thanksgiving is coming.. A training trip to Big Sur is happening.. cant wait. Sky camping.


Sky Camping!? That's amazing. I'm excited to see what you get up to with a new wing, so what level is it A-D?

It is considered to be a low to mid B. It is fantastic. I have a lot more training to do before Valle.

Finally got this video together after extensive frustrating technical issues with my movie editor/computer.. lots of crashing.. so the final result.. well exists.. and im happy about that.. I need to find a better solution for editing.. or bite the bullet and buy an actual video editor..

no matter what I will keep capturing the experience..


Flying with birds is really the best..


Training for flight blogs. If the air is more active i wont be able to go hands off.. Headed back to big sur this weekend to train some more. If anyone has a poem they would like me to read this weekend.. exploration themed... let me know ;)

happy exploring.


Ah Ah! Video blogging from the clouds! You might want to keep an eye on the ground.

Whoa! Action blogging. This is so neat! Looking forward to the next in flight movie!

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Expedition Background

I work as an aerospace engineer building robotics to explore the Moon and other planetary bodies. Growing up the goal was to explore strange planets.. well so it turns out.. I was born on the most awesome strange planet, and i'm built to explore it.

A fine balance of water, sun and terrain have allowed for sports like Sailing, and Paragliding. These do not try to beat the earth, but work with it in a harmony. Using fluid dynamics as my playground I plan to have a series of chapters that follow my journey. via the Air - Paragliding, on top of the water - Sailing, and below the water - SCUBA. This way I get to utilize both main fluids of the earth. Once and a while at the same time.

I have been racing sailboats in intercoastal rivers, san francisco bay and in the ocean for 6 years. The longest ocean race I have completed was 408nm

I have been paragliding 2.5 years. Flying altitudes close to 10,000ft. 30km distances. Some highlights were flying near Mt Blanc, and the Eiger. I have a lot to learn.

I just started diving 3 months ago.. Exciting!

All of these sports require mastery skills over performance achievements.. Your whole life you will be learning something new each time you go out, it never gets old. This way I plan to grow Old and still kick butt! like my mentors who are 80+ and racing hard.


This is so awesome! I've always wanted to go there. Excited to follow along!

Nice to see you up in the air! Looking forward to following the adventures!!

Wow! You rock! Welcome aboard!

SCUBA?! Count us in!!

That fantastic and looks like fun! I think you only truly grow old when you stop doing these things you enjoy that will always challenge you.

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