Hood River Soaring Summer Youth Camp

August 1 - 5, 2022

Student participants at Hood River Soaring Summer Youth Camp
Camp Students left to right: Isabel Ulland, Caden Rokos, Kylan Mullis, Prithvi Prabakar, Rome Carse, Henry Mason, Fox Gossett (not shown - Ori Maccabee) Photo credit: Justin Ulland

The youth of HRS eagerly anticipated the first summer gliding camp. I was impressed by the planning and ambition of adult club members who volunteered personal time and expertise to the success and safety of the campers.

Day one of camp was a big learning experience. Excited students gathered early at the field, helping where they could, and learning how to properly prepare gliders and equipment for a busy day.  Erin Gossett, parent

Youth program coordinator, Brian Hart started the camp with a welcome and introduction of a very impressive staff.  Flight instructors Jeff Pinnock, Gerhard Deffner, Geoff Curtis, and Frank Gomez. Brian, Ron Montague, and Steve Morrow explained safety and ground operations. I did eleven tows with two training gliders on the first day.  Joe Wampler, tow pilot

Left to right: Jeff Pinnock, Brian Hart, Gerhard Deffner, Geoff Curtis, Kylan Mullis, Isabel Ulland, Caden Rokos, Fox Gossett, Ori Maccabee  (Photo credit: Joe Wampler)
Left to right: Jeff Pinnock, Brian Hart, Gerhard Deffner, Geoff Curtis, Kylan Mullis, Isabel Ulland, Caden Rokos, Fox Gossett, Ori Maccabee (Photo credit: Joe Wampler)
Flight simulator instruction (Photo credit: Justin Ulland)
Flight simulator instruction (Photo credit: Justin Ulland)
Schweizer 2-33 at youth camp
Photo Credit: Rome Carse

There were a thousand opportunities to learn about Aviation packed into 5 days of Hood River Soaring Youth Camp. Jeff Pinnock, instructor

Having a camp where students can ask peers questions and help each other, I believe increased their understanding and retention of aviation concepts. The same group of youth members working all week long together was an invaluable addition to the classroom and instruction hours. By the time I showed up on Wednesday many of the youth members were extremely well versed in operations. Their understanding of gliding was impressive.  Ron Montague, HRS board member

Students had to face all the challenges of a modern day, multi-use airport with glider and power traffic competing for a single runway.  In addition, all glider launches are conducted via aero-tow, meaning that the first minutes of each flight are the most difficult, formation flying with another airplane of very different aerodynamic characteristics!

It's a very demanding environment, but it has its advantages. A large amount of knowledge and skill has to be acquired right from the start. It forces students to get used to the multitasking operations typical of flight activities. It was very encouraging to see that the students were not intimidated. These were the realities as they knew them, and they were going to master flying sailplanes! Gerhard Deffner, flight instructor

Schweizer 233 in Hood River training
Photo credit: Rome Carse
Left to right: Ori Maccabee, Geoff Curtis, Isabel Ulland  (Photo credit: Justin Ulland)
Left to right: Ori Maccabee, Geoff Curtis, Isabel Ulland (Photo credit: Justin Ulland)

When I arrived with lunch; the students were so engaged in flying, wing running, or learning skills on the simulator I could hardly persuade them to stop what they were doing for lunch. (That’s saying a lot for a group of teenagers who have been working the air field all day, with hours yet to go!!)

Over the week, the students learned so much. This was no ordinary summer camp. This was 8 hour days of hard work in the sun, wind, and dust, launching and running after gliders, performing safety checks, proving high level decision making skills, and caring for property and equipment of the club. All of this done willingly by students for the opportunity to take to the skies and experience the passion of aviation.  Erin Gossett, parent

It was fascinating to watch the youth members progress throughout the week.  Some of them didn’t have that much experience when they arrived, but by the end of the camp they were efficiently running ground ops and flying! Russ Read, tow pilot

I came back on Friday to help with a second tow plane.  All the campers were running launches under Bret's supervision. I was very comfortable with their ability to move aircraft and provide hand signals. Joe Wampler, tow pilot

This high level of confidence and willingness to work and learn must be seen as a reflection of Hood River Soaring Club's focus on training.  Many members worked long hours and shared their expertise with those who wanted to learn. Pilots limited their personal flying so students had an opportunity to continue getting tows. Gerhard Deffner, flight instructor

Left to right: Steve Morrow, Rome Carse, Kylan Mullis, Ty Sibley, Fox Gossett (Photo credit: Rome Carse)
Left to right: Steve Morrow, Rome Carse, Kylan Mullis, Ty Sibley, Fox Gossett (Photo credit: Rome Carse)
Left to right: Henry Mason, Bret Russell, Geoff Curtis, Isabel Ulland in glider, Frank Gomez, Anou Slingeland, Prithvi Prabakar, Fox Gossett (Photo credit: Judy Frey)
Left to right: Henry Mason, Bret Russell, Geoff Curtis, Isabel Ulland in glider, Frank Gomez, Anou Slingeland, Prithvi Prabakar, Fox Gossett (Photo credit: Judy Frey)

The HRS Youth Camp is so important for the kids in our community.  Whether or not they keep flying, it shows them options they may have not previously known. The personal interaction with those running it are priceless. I can tell you this, I will be working to get the whole week off from work next year! Tim Larson, tow pilot

By the Friday evening celebration of the week's accomplishments everyone had grown from the experience, students and instructors. Ideas for next year’s camp were being discussed. Favorite camp experiences, best flights, first flights, solo flights were a part of every discussion. A potluck dinner was served while gliders were still landing behind the party. Teens would stop in the middle of conversation, set down a plate of food, and make haste out to the runway and bring in a friend who’d just landed. Erin Gossett, parent

I have had so much fun with Hood River Soaring and the youth program. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about gliders and soaring. I’m really looking forward to next summer’s youth program and camp! Many thanks to Brian Hart for organizing the youth program. It wouldn’t have happened without him. Ori Maccabee, student

Our family is super grateful to have such an active, high quality glider pilot training program here in the Columbia Gorge. Hood River Soaring is stellar! Brian Mullis, parent

I really enjoyed the experience of camp and the club in general specifically how enthusiastic all club members are and how everyone works together to achieve the end goal of soaring! Rome Carse, student

Brian Hart and Prithvi Prabakar
Brian Hart and Prithvi Prabakar

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