Hometown: Portland, OR
Current: San Francisco, CA
Years Flying: Fall ’92
Skills: Advanced Rated Pilot – H-4
Advanced Instructor, Tandem Instructor, Tandem Administrator, Surface Tow Administrator
Local Club: Wings of Rogallo
Gear: Wills Wing T2C 144, Wills Wing Covert, Flytec 6030
Sponsors: Wills Wing & Flytec
Longest Flight: 223 miles in Zapata
Favorite Aspect of Hang Gliding: The synergy with nature and freedom you feel when you’re flying over new terrain with birds, or around clouds.
More: I’m honored to represent my country and want to make all US pilots proud. Big thanks to my family, and everyone who is supporting the team.
Zippy’s Video Bio: http://www.vimeo.com/14441886
Zac’s Blog: http://www.willswing.com/blogs/PilotBlogs/tabid/38/BlogID/8/Default.aspx
Zac’s PDF Bio: http://hangglidingacademy.com/Documents/flying_resume.pdf
I grew up in Oregon as a ski racer, which was as close to flying as I could get, until I discovered hang gliding at age 18. I moved to Utah to chase powder and soon discovered that the flying there was as good (or better) than the famous snow. I wasn’t there long before a great opportunity presented itself; the chance to buy a hang gliding school. I taught flying for ten summers and worked winters at Alta Ski Resort.
I moved to Lake Tahoe for the winter (knowing the flying was excellent) and I lived there for 5 years. In my time there I’ve also took up skydiving and BASE jumping, and began riding my street bike on the tracks. The beginning of ’07 was the prime time for me to re-enter the hang gliding competition scene, and after a bit of adjusting to a format I’d been away from, I reached the top by winning the title 2008 US National Champion.
To maximize my flying, I relocated to Santa Barbara where winter is the best flying season. As I traveled for comps during the 2009 season my finishes became more consistent, and at the FAI World Championships in France I finished 4th over all helping our team to 6th.
Last year I joined the Board of Directors for the Cloudbase Foundation which is a non-profit set-up to help children in the areas where we fly. I believe it’s important for us to not just inspire, but to enable kids to improve their lives by contributing to schools, after school programs, or basic life needs such as access to drinking water.
In 2011 I will continue to represent Team USA, in particular at the FAI World Championships in Segillo, Italy. (At the pre-Worlds this year in Italy, teammate Jeff O’Brien and I each won a day of the four day competition.)