SSA 2012 — Mountain and Ridge Soaring in Northern Utah

by Tim Taylor (TT) and Bruno Vassel IV (B4)

Northern Utah provides a unique opportunity in the USA to truly fly "in" the mountains. Logan has often been compared to Rieti, Italy, Saint-Auban, France and Omarama, New Zealand for the true mountain and ridge flying experiences. The skills and techniques required as well as the potential for long cross-country flights will be explored.

About the Presenters: Bruno Vassel IV (B4) from Draper, Utah started soaring 18 years ago after driving past a gliderporr and stopping to watch skydivers. Bruno has owned a 1967 Phoebus A, an ASW-20BL and two months ago, purchased an ASW-27B. Bruno started experimenting with in-flight video with the Phoebus and has compiled hundreds of hours of video while cross-country soaring across the western states. Bruno started contest flying in 2009 and is hopelessly hooked. He is married with three kids and owns several internet businesses, including

Timothy Taylor, Pd.D. (TT) of Logan, Utah has been flying and racing gliders for twenty-five years and is the current US IS-Meter National Champion. He has been exploring the potential of the unique combination of mountain, ridge and wave flying in Northern Utah for the past twelve years. In addition to flying gliders, Tim is a researcher and teacher in Biological Engineering at Utah State University.

Here's an exciting video introduction to the thrills of ridge soaring in Northern Utah.

The video links embedded in the following presentation are not active. The two videos corresponding to slide nos. 12 and 15 are embedded in this post below the presentation. Enjoy!

Video for slide #12: Circling Examples. Bruno attempts to demonstrate common circling errors, so don't assume that the thermaling in this video is necessarily the right way to do it!

Video for slide #15: Thermaling vs. Ridge Running. The message here is: When the ridge is working, don't waste time thermaling!

Bruno Vassel

Bruno Vassel

Bruno Vassel IV started flying at the age of 2. After a few stitches he found he needed more lift than just jumping off the stairs. He flew in his first sailplane at the age of 20 and had his license two months later.Bruno currently flies an ASW27B based in Nephi, Utah after previously flying an ASW20 and a Phoebus. Bruno started taking videos of some of his flights a few years ago and has really enjoyed sharing his soaring experiences with others. His videos have been featured on the Weather Channel and have been watched online over 2 million times. Bruno's goal is to some day stop moving the stick so damn much and fly a perfectly cored thermal...he has a long ways to go. You can find his youtube soaring channel at
Bruno Vassel