I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What Soaring Is To Me

A friend asked for a short story on what soaring was to me, to help secure funding to make gliding accessible to others. Thought I'd share it here:

Soaring To Me

Circling With Another Glider
Imagine that you are free as a bird. You are a mile high, silently circling on a beautiful clear spring day, gaining altitude every turn. Slightly below you there is another sleek engineless aircraft taking advantage of the same thermal (a pocket of rising air). You gently move the joystick left and right, banking the aircraft to try to hit the centre of the rising air. You glance at the instruments being mindful of airspeed, rate of climb, and the other glider. The more altitude we gain the longer we stay up! Your instructor, a friend in the back seat, is getting great photos of the other glider that is piloted by another club member. You see and fly with birds, and climb to the base of puffy cotton-ball clouds. You notice tiny dinky-toy cars creeping along a highway, and little towns a mile below. You constantly remain aware of your location, so you can always make it home. Two hours later, you finally give in and head toward the airfield. You steer around the traffic pattern, your instructor making the radio calls and operating the spoilers to lose altitude. You watch your speed, adjusting it by raising and lowering the nose. You line up on the runway, gently pull back on the stick to round out as the field nears, and grease the landing! What a perfect day!

Soon you are confined to your cumbersome electric wheelchair. You are no longer a pilot. You are once again a quadriplegic, dependent on help from others. But you have tasted two hours of total freedom, soaring with birds and other pilots, silently sailing the sky from cloud to cloud a mile above those poor earth-bound creatures that know not that experience. Nothing can wipe the grin off your face or erase the memory.

That is soaring to me.

Kary Wright

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fly Like You're In The Cockpit!

Stylish Goggles Hey?

Okay, I have to award my wife another goody point (not sure what she's going to do with them all, but looking forward to finding out!). For my birthday, she got me a set of goggles. Now these aren’t ordinary goggles, they don’t just keep the wind off your eyes, make you look stylish, keep the water out of your eyes etc. etc. etc. These goggles allow you to experience flight as if you are inside your quad copter!

In The Zone LOL
She really knocked one out of the park when she bought me the quad copter, and now the goggles to allow you to experience flying from inside of it! It only took minutes to set up, it linked immediately to the quad copter.

I did a couple of flights the other day of combines harvesting in the field, it is the video in the previous post, and after the flights when I flipped the goggles up and was back in the real world, and was actually dizzy for a few seconds as if I had been in the air! I had been inside the copter zooming, spinning, flying low/high/slow/fast with full instrumentation ... all from my electric wheelchair hundreds of yards away! What a rush!

This is one way that nearly anybody can safely experience flight firsthand, it is so real that you are there in the pilot seat including altimeter, speed, distance, heading etc. What a great thing for people with disabilities!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Harvest From A Quadcopter

Noticing that combines pulling to the field the other day, I sensed a perfect opportunity to play with the drone, and proceeded to chase, circle, buzz and generally harass the folks working so hard to get the last of the crop off. On reviewing the video, I did notice some sign language from one of the drivers, which I edited out as us editors can do, and later learned it was even a relative of mine… LOL! I will have to return the favor one day, as my cousins and I often do. Here's the video edited and put to music, congratulations to the Weins family and friends for finishing the harvest of 2015!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

New Adventure Buddy

Last April we lost our beloved yellow lab Nakoda. She was a big part of many of our adventures, and went everywhere we did for 12 years. At the age we are at we thought we'd want to downsize and lower our responsibilities, and be pet free for a few years. We thought the freedom would be great. Ok, we had a nice sterilized quiet dog-fur-free house for 4 months or so ... yay. Walks with the dog are no fun with no dog. Fetch-the-tennis-ball is like playing with a broken boomerang without a dog. Needless to say, after a few months of enjoying our new freedom we wanted another dog. It seems a dog makes the house a home for us, so my wife approached me one day and said "I really miss having a dog, I want one, how do you feel?"

"Woohoo, yes, yes, yes, I always wanted a dog, I really miss having one. I just don't want the extra work for you if you don't want it." I reply, containing my enthusiasm ... not ... but realizing that the lion's share of the work with the puppy will be hers. "I would like the Golden Retriever this time, how about you?"

"That's exactly what I would like, and I found one online!" She said, not all that surprisingly.

And so it started, in no time we had a puppy spoken for, a beautiful reddish colored Golden Retriever. A few weeks later we picked her up, so here we go again, more adventures to come with the new buddy, Ginger!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Accessible Alaska Cruise with Holland America

At Port in Skagway
“Mr. Wright, nice to see you back! We have your table ready! ”
“Thank you so much, good to see you again!” I reply.

We are once again treated to a fantastic meal, great service, and a fun evening. Hotelling it? Nah. Cruising in style!
Our friends Jim and Sheila let us know a while ago that they were doing the seven-day Alaska cruise, and would we like to come? Having a strong case of spur-of-the-moment -itis and a habit of not behaving very responsively, the plans fit well with us. So here we are, on the Holland America ship Ms Noordam!

Glacier Bay
“This is your captain speaking, we are expecting 11 foot seas and 45 kn winds this evening, it may seem a little rough, passengers are under orders to have a couple of drinks to smooth out the waves,” comes over there public address system.
“You heard the Captain, we have to obey orders, a bottle of wine Sir!”

“Coming right up!” is the reply.

Terryll and I pop a Bonine (similar to a gravol), I take my Dristan cold pills, and we proceed to have a sip or two.
“He was right, this boat does rock in the waves!” I say.

“The storm hasn’t started yet, that is your medication” my wife replies.

Sure enough, a glance out the window confirms that it is just a cold pill – red-wine-storm, all’s well. By the time the real storm hit we were used to the waves anyways, and it didn’t bother us in the least. On the way back to our room we made a stop by at the outdoor pool on the back.
Enjoying the Balcony
“Wow, this places abandoned,” I say looking at the normally busy open deck. The wind was howling, the deck was rolling, the sea (about 100ft below) had white foam on top with whitecap-waves, and the pool was doing its best to empty its stomach. Even on such a large ship one can get the sense of what some of the fisherman must experience out in the open ocean!

On the trip we stopped and disembarked at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We also toured the amazing Glacier Bay for a day, incredible scenery! We saw goldrush towns, float planes, whales, glaciers and salmon runs. It is incredible to pack in so much new stuff into a short time. Everything on the ship including the gangplank seemed completely wheelchair accessible. Our room had a wheel-in shower, and our balcony had ramps. The staff on the ship was incredibly friendly and accommodating. Somebody would always run up to ask if I needed help cutting my steak or a refill of my glass, amazing service! I think if anybody wants to try an accessible cruise I think they would be happy with Holland America!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Quad Flyin' a Quad

This thing is a freaking blast! Once it is set up to know where home is, you simply give it some power and up it goes! Pushing forward on the right stick makes it fly forward, pulling back to fly backwards, right stick right, right stick left, and it slides that unit right and left. Left on the left stick rotates left, right on the left stick rotates right, easy! Helicopter? Nope, a quad copter!

Last Christmas I received a Phantom 2 quad copter from my wife (I'm so happy ... I promise to say nice things about her for three days!), I couldn't have asked for anything better! We (myself and my sweet lovely thoughtful wife, did I mention I would say nice things for three days?) easily adapted the transmitter with a couple of short broom handles, so that I can control it with my paws. Then we (my sweetheart and I)  pulled out the old book-reading-tray that was built to fit my gun rack on my wheelchair, and away we (guess who?) went!

You don't really have to know how to fly an aircraft to handle one of these quad copters. All you do (after your sweet lady buys you the ultimate gift of all time, a quad copter) is you set it on the ground with your transmitter turned on, then you turn on the battery for the quad copter and wait for the lights to turn green as this signals that it has found enough GPS satellites to find its way home. Then you calibrate the compass with a few simple maneuvers from your lovely thoughtful bubbly helper (who lets on like she would rather do nothing else but fly things), turn on the camera and your screen and away you go! If you get flustered you can always let go of the control sticks and it will stop where it is, in space, and just hover there! When the battery level gets low it will automatically take over, come back and land safely where you took off from, cool!

This thing will take HD video using its GoPro camera, flies for about 20 minutes, and you can watch the whole thing on a screen while you are doing it! What a hoot! Can you imagine receiving a gift that would top this? I cannot! How thoughtful! I guess it might be a bit of an invasion of privacy at times (and it is very much appreciated when your significant other points it out in her subtle way), but you just have to be responsible about where and how you fly it.

If you want to know more about how this works, and how easy it is to fly for a quadriplegic (or anybody), just send me an email and check out my YouTube page! End of day 1.

My Youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8B5KVptDLln4h9tLE44Dg

Friday, 31 July 2015

Playing With A Mower

Earlier this summer my wife brought it to my attention in her subtle way, that her love of setting her butt on a tractor and mowing lawn for 8 to 10 hours every week was starting to wane. We decided that a new lawnmower that could handle more capacity would be in order. My brother and I did some shopping around and determined that the regular residential size units didn't look like they would handle the amount of lawn we have here, and us having the 'go big or go home' gene firmly entrenched in our system thanks to our father, we decided to go with a commercial John Deere unit.

The lawnmower arrived on schedule and budget, and was unloaded in the yard. After a quick demo and an exchange of funds, my wife was on and test-riding. A little while later she pulled up to the house, a devilish grin on her face.Hmmm ... I had the feeling an idea was brewing.

"I'm pretty sure you can drive this thing, it is really easy!" She said.

"Do you really think so?" I said hesitantly, knowing that Murphy seems to get quite involved in my new endeavors, especially if it involves things with engines, wings, floats, hooks, fire, knives, etc. etc. etc.

"Let's find out if you can!" She said, jumping off and running in to get our lift, a little bit over the top with enthusiasm methinks.

She hooks the lift up to a ring that is attached to the rafters in the garage, we fondly referred to this as the "meat hook". In a minute or so I am hanging near the ceiling, with great vulnerability I might add,wondering if this is going to work out as it does seem a little crazy.

The lawnmower is pushed underneath me, I am lowered down, and strapped in so that I can't flop around. Without belts I am kinda like trying to balance an octopus on the end of a broom-handle.

Soon we have the key adapted so that I can start it and shut it off in case of emergency, and off I go! After a little bit of driving around at slow speed (yawn) I am ready to up the throttle and try the mower! Everything worked out perfect!

Now I have been mowing the lawn all summer, and although I don't want to let on for fear of forfeiting any goody points, I absolutely love it! Driving one of these zero turn mowers is something that a lot of people that are wheelchair users can do, heck I have very little strength and no hand function, and it works for me!