Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fly Ranch

I finished my flying in the USA and was heading to Argentina to meet my connecting flight to Australia. Unfortunately I was going to spend 16 hours at the airport waiting for my flight. So I had this bright idea that I would send Falvio from Fly Ranch a email to see if it was possible to come out and see his flight park.

Just before I boarded the flight he had already replied and said he would be at the airport waiting for me. After some long hours sitting on the plane I was greeted with a big smile and a hug. This was going to be my first time that I had really been out of the airport and I was looking forward to it.

Here is the van he picked me up in at the airport.

It was Sunday morning which meant it was a busy day at the airpark so we headed straight there. Well I few minor stops to pick up the tug pilot and get fuel so that we would make it there. After about one good hour of driving we finally reached Fly Ranch which is located just off one of the main highways south of the city.

This place is a shared property with the hang gliding school and a sky diving center that seems to operate flawlessly. There was no action yet as it was theory day and all the students were learning about 20 of them before they could go flying. I met them all and then had a quick tour around the flight park to check out all the facilities.

I was very impressed with place it has a café, bar, swimming pool, camping, club house and a very big hangar that was all built by Flavio in the last 10 years. The theory finished and now it was time for them all to go flying and have some fun.

Here is the parachute repacking place in the hangar.

I am amazed on how well the sky divers and the towing works here operating and landing in the same spot. I spoke with Flavio and he told me that he has done 1500 tandems from this flight park and more than 4000 tows without an incident. I was now about to witness this operation up close and see how they all tow.

They towed all day long maybe 30+ tows with beginners and tandems and I was very impressed with the quality that I saw. I did not see one single person get out of control or even have a bad landing. There were sky divers and hang gliders landing at the same time within 50 meters of each other and it looked like an every day practice.

This sky diver got so close that he decided to extend his freefall!!!

Due to very little sleep the last 2 nights and having my harness cut open by USA security I was not able to fly. Well of course I could borrow gear but I was happy to just be there helping out instead of sitting by myself at the airport all day long.

Flavio took me back to the airport and along the way we ended up in a protest blocking the 4 lane highway. Some guys had blocked the road with their cars and made a line of branches across the road and lit them on fire. The police were there but did not seem to do much apart from keep the peace between the angry motorist and the protestors.

Apperently he was not able to hang on for too long so continued to freefall!!

Eventually we got the airport only to find out that my flight had been cancelled. The next flight will not be for 2 days so I am now stuck in Buenos Aires. I am staying right in the middle of the city at a nice hotel and I get food 4 meals a day and transport back to the airport.

I would suggest that if you are ever in this area you stop in here and fly or at least say hello to all the friendly locals. They tell me November and December are the best months to fly here with thermals to 3,000 meters and the longest flight set 5 years ago was 200kms. Does not look like they try to hard for long distance flights but I am sure they are all satisfied enough with just the essence of free flight. It seems that they focus more on training than anything else which is very nice to see for a change.

For more information you can visit there website at