Big Spring Hang Gliding Competition Continues After Tow Plane Crash

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING- The City of Big Spring is pretty famous in the hang gliding world. It's nice blue skies and puffy clouds make it perfect to practice the sport. Some feared Monday's tow plane crash would interfere with the competition, but organizers say everything is going just fine.

"The pilot is ok, everything is going to be just fine, the pilot is ok, he went to the hospital, he is going to make a full recovery and we have three tow planes that are towing all the gliders in the air. We'll love to have more days of flying here, slightly lighter winds would be perfect, but we are having a great time," Competition Organizer David Glover, said.

A tow plane went down during a practice run on Monday evening.  Organizers say he's recovering, but it's still a reminder of the dangers of flying.

"It's like any aviation, you need to respect it, it's not bowling. Hopefully you are not up in the air terrified that 'oh my god, my glider comes apart,' because that probably does not conduce to flying well, but the craft themselves are very strong," Competitor Lauren Tjaden, said.

For hang glider pilot Dustin Martin safety is number one. The twelve year glider says it's all about checking your equipment.

"I check everything like if this is unattended for a little while, I recheck everything, just so I know when I am off the ground for sure I am confident everything is going to be fine," Martin said.

Other pilots also say staying safe is about making the right decisions

"If you fly in bad conditions, if your skills are not top to par, you can hurt yourself, but if you stay with in those guidelines and respect it, it's a fabulous sport," Tjaden said.

The competition will continue until Saturday August 9. The top five pilots will continue to represent the U.S. in the World Championship of Hang Gliding in France next year.