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Venturing Crew hosts presentation by Tom Galvin on Saturday

Pagosa Springs Aviation Venturing Crew will host the U.S. Hang Glider Association’s 2009 Hang Glider Flight Instructor of the Year recipient, Tom Galvin, as their November featured speaker.

Galvin recently moved from Ellenville, N.Y., to Pagosa Springs. He will be sharing his expertise and experiences as both a hang glider pilot and flight instructor.

Galvin’s presentation will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, in Jim Lane’s hangar, located on Bravo Taxiway at Stevens Field Airport.

For directions, call Anne Kautzky at 903-7718 or Bill McKown at 799-1920. The morning will begin with the usual hangar flying, coffee and donuts at 9 a.m., followed by Galvin’s hang glider presentation at 10.

Reprint permission for the following article about Galvin was given by Nick Greece, editor of the Hang Gliding Paragliding Magazine. This article is from the March, 2009 issue.

“Tom, from Ellenville, N.Y., received many nominations from his former students, each with a different story to tell and a different perspective on why Tom stands out as the 2009 Instructor of the Year. Following are some comments from those who enthusiastically support Tom’s selection as ‘the MAN’ in hang gliding instruction:

“I feel extremely lucky to be alive in such an exciting time. Mankind has dreamed of flight for eons, and has only recently begun to realize this dream. I believe we should recognize those who help propagate the realization of the dream, those who have a very important role in developing new, safe pilots. Tom is that person.”

“More than once, Tom’s calm demeanor and thoughtful advice has changed my judgment and thought process for the better, with respect to hang gliding. I have him to thank for always ensuring a proper pre-flight has been performed. (‘Would you stake your life on it?’ Tom asked when checking up on preflights.) I also have him to thank for fostering a cautious confidence in myself that I would like to think will lead me safely toward many adventurous years in the sky.

“Tom’s number-one priority is the safety of his students. On many a day when I was discouraged and/or tired, Tom would reiterate to me that it is OK to call it quits for the day if your head is not in the right place or if you are getting tired. Tom’s presence on the training hill has always been one of calm assurance. My heart used to pound uncontrollably standing at the top of the training hill in anticipation of launch. Tom taught me how to calm my nerves by taking deep breaths and visualizing my whole flight from start to finish, always keeping my eyes on my target. Tom encourages students to learn at their own pace and helps them become safe and knowledgeable pilots by instilling good habits early on in their training. Tom’s passion for instructing new hang glider pilots and for the sport itself is immeasurable.

“On flyable days Tom sends e-mail messages to let less experienced pilots know where to go, and he is ready to be there to help launch novice pilots. He has also played a huge role in finding and making available to novice and intermediate pilots other flyable sites around Ellenville, as well as in organizing trips to these places.

“I believe that supporting instruction is essential to the growth of hang gliding. I believe that the USHPA Instructor of the Year award is extremely valuable, and I think that it is people like Tom who need to be encouraged through this symbolic gesture — although I am pretty sure Tom considers a smiling pilot the best reward.”

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