CloudStreet: Soaring the American West

Discus 2 "Z" with Water

Discus 2 "Z" with Water

Two weeks ago I came across a very interesting project which is developed to open our beloved sport to a broad public all across the United States. Mike Abernathy who flies
with the Albuquerque Soaring Club invited me to stumble over the TV cables, laid out in his hangar in Moriarty. He pulled one of his high-definition video cameras off a shelf and started interviewing pilots…
Okay, actually the scene was a little different and this would only be a small part of the story: Eight years ago Mike first started thinking about what he could do to get the good news about soaring out to folks behind the airfields’ fences. He already had something big in mind, but first he needed to convince some people to help him, and of course he needed a little money. In October 2012 “after what seemed like several thousand years some funds to start production had materialized” and the production for CloudStreet was scheduled to start in May 2013. Mike and his friends are now extremely busy creating a 60 minute soaring program being produced by Public Television (Public Broadcasting System). In charge is KNME-TV in Albuquerque, and later the program will hopefully be shown nationwide. It features interviews with glider pilots and soaring footage of the American West. All scenes will be shot and flown at Moriarty, NM, Durango, CO, and at Driggs, ID.

I was still wondering what was going on in this hangar where Mike’s Stemme S10 was waiting for their next air-photography-adventures. Mark Mocho then pulled out his iphone and introduced me to the project’s trailer. Wow! I was truly impressed! I could watch Mark’s Pegase “MSM” and Billy Hill’s Discus 2 “Z” soaring over the Estancia Valley and the Southern Rockies filmed by Mike’s sophisticated movie cameras. Mike explains “Safety is the top concern for our project, and we are fortunate to have pilots like Billy and Mark who are highly skilled and safety oriented.”

Focusing Mark's "MSM"

Focusing Mark's "MSM"

To be honest this project really is an excellent way to talk about soaring. The last American TV production featuring the air-sport is more than 10 years old. In the latest issue of Gliding International I found the answers to an interesting survey question “Why did you decide to learn to fly?” 32.5% said they were introduced by a family member or by a friend, and another 25.97% had always enjoyed watching airplanes. I still remember how many years ago my own soaring interest was raised by one of my college teachers; I then started to watch thermaling gliders above our local airfield and decided to give it a try. Glider pilots really have to spread the word about soaring and we have to introduce people to what we are doing!

image0The executive producer at KNME Michael Kamins explains: “Our goal is to share the beauty, challenge and excitement of soaring with as broad an audience as possible. We plan to engage viewers with a dramatic story that places them in the cockpit of a glider via the exceptional quality of High Definition Television, and the spectacular scenery of the National Parks of the American West.” The movie will hopefully be ready and presented by the beginning of next year.

I cannot wait to watch it on my TV screen! Meanwhile feel free to enjoy the trailer.

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