USA, Owens Valley, N Cal

The Owens Valley trip usually runs  in September. The Owens in July is notoriously big air, demanding on the pilot and wings. By September the edge should be out of the air leaving us the big heights and XC but without that same level of stress

Cloudbase:  4,000-6,000m
Launches: Flynns 1,500m, Gunter 2,40 m, Paiute 2,419m, Walt’s Point 2,743m
Landings: Valley Floor 1,219m

We are based at Bishop with camping or motel available. All the main launches are within 2 hours drive

The dates vary depending on the US and Canadian competition dates as we try to align the tour to coincide with the comps and weather. Good to have a more extended circuit with the tours linking in with the comps


What is the philosophy of the tour?

The tour is focused on providing pilots with the best opportunity to fly long distance. We provide the infrastructure to help you to achieve

What does the tour include?
  • Expert guides led by Brian Webb
  • Extensive local knowledge of sites and meteorology
  • Daily weather briefs, task recommendation, goal setting and in flight support.
  • Pre tour skills assessment and coaching
  • Ongoing coaching with goal orientated skills improvement throughout the tour
  • Comfortable vehicles with coordinate capable GPS
  • Transport from and to LAX airport
  • Transport to the sites each day
  • Dedicated retrieve driver
  • Full retrieve
  • Laptop friendly, I need my laptop and connectivity to be able to get the best from each day, I understand how important it may be for you
  • We strongly encourage each pilot to get a SPOT satellite GPS tracker to ensure we know where everybody is – all the time
How do we set up our GPS

Your GPS should be set to a coordinate system of degrees.degrees (d.ddddd)

If you want to keep an useful tracklog you should be taking tracklog points every second, depending on the storage capacity of your GPS unit

What do I need to bring

Glider, harness, helmet, vario, gps, radio

A reserve is mandatory

Water, sunscreen, sunnies

Where can I get a cell phone?

You can use your own phone with international roaming or find lots of great deals for cell phones – check out walmarts prepaid, heaps of others as well, the word is that Verizon offer better rural coverage in Oregon.

If your personal phone will take a SIM card and is not locked then you can get a US SIM card and plug it straight into your own phone.

Woolworth’s do a international AIM card plan that could work out

How does the retrieve system work?
  • All pilots need a clear inflight radio communications system (we can work with you to help you get this properly sorted out), a GPS and a cell phone.
  • We all fly from the same site each day, as you fly you routinely radio to the retrieve driver your GPS position based on bearing, height and distance from launch . If they have not heard from you frequently enough they will ask you for updates. We can find you based on this information alone
  • A  SPOT or Delorme satellite GPS tracking system is mandatory. This unit will transmit your coordinates via satellite (does not need cell phone coverage) to our driver. We can also track you whilst you are flying. We can rent you one if you give us notice
  • When you land you use your tracker to send your GPS coordinates to the retrieve driver
  • You will need to land or walk to a vehicle accessible road, we will not haul you out of dense bush. Remember a good looking track may have locked gates so be smart and focus on landing beside paved (sealed)roads.
  • The retrieve driver has a vehicle based GPS that will accept your coordinates and guide the driver to you, they also have maps of the area

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Who is organising the tour?

Brian Webb

Do I need a VISA to go to the USA or Canada?

It is now mandatory to obtain a visa for travel to USA.  The visa is applied for online and must be done 48 hours prior to departure or entry to the States will be denied. Canada does not require a visa if you are from Australia

How can I get a good price on an air ticket?

Contact Sascha at Travel Scene – she finds amazing fares –

Try Orbitz and Kayak – they regularly have good fares

How much is accommodation?

Motels vary from US $30-100, camping is often around US $15 per night

How much is food?

Pretty similar to Australia, cheaper than Europe and we will always be close to grocery stores or diners

Do I need to join any US organisations to fly?

For sure, you will need a temporary membership of USHPA to qualify for their 3rd party insurance, US $25. We can help you with the paperwork required here

What is involved in the skills development?

An important part of the event is individual and group goal orientated skills development.

We work with each pilot to identify areas of opportunity to develop and improve individual skills. We discuss and agree strategies to work towards measurably improving those skills. We jointly identify achievable goals that over time demonstrate how well those strategies are working.

Some of these opportunities are discussed and developed before the event via an internet based remote skills development process.

All of these opportunities, strategies and goals are documented and become part of a skills improvement package that you take away with you to continue to use and develop your flying.

How much is medical and evacuation insurance?

QBE offer a good deal for circa Aus $300 – contact Sascha on

Be sure your insurance covers you for paragliding

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When do the Tours run

There are no events to display

Do I need a satellite tracker like SPOT

SPOTs are a powerful resource

  • They reassure your family
  • They reassure you
  • They make my life easier knowing I can find you

We are often flying in areas outside of good cell phone coverage. A SPOT with tracking activated and used could save your life

They are not mandatory for the clinics, if we are in the flatlands I strongly recommend one
We have a couple spare we can rent by prior arrangement

How do I book?

For Australian pilots

Send a Aus $750 deposit to Sascha at Travel Scene quoting reference T15696
BSB – 083945, ACCOUNT – 536354691

For overseas pilots

Use our enquiries page to contact us

This deposit is 100% refundable until the course is confirmed 90 days before the tour starts

Once the course is confirmed the deposit is non refundable, the balance is required 45 days before the tour starts

Please don’t book flights until you have a confirmation from us that the tour is running. We will be depending on a minimum of 3 guests before we confirm

How much luggage can I take into the US on an International flight?

Check with your airline but flights into the US often allow 32kg of checked luggage

What radio do we need?

The US pilots use a 2 metre frequency range allocated by their association USHPA

151.5050, 151.6250, 151.9250, 151.9550, 158.4000

Ideally we all use 2m

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To book please check the dates of your event then contact us via the Enquiries page.
Be sure to let us know the dates you are interested in
We will then follow up with you to be sure we have you on the right event

If you have any questions call on +61 (0)417 530972 or skype to brianmwebb


Payments can be made by bank transfer or PayPal

Bank transfer
Bendigo Bank: BSB 633 000
Account name: XCkms
Account number: 122842537

Regret this bears a 2% addition to cover administration costs
Please pay to

Why us

Why clinic with XCkms

  • Expert guides with demonstrable experience
  • Extensive local knowledge of sites and meteorology
  • Tandem instruction where appropriate
  • Comfortable 4WD vehicles with GPS, tablet, SMS and SPOT facilities
  • Dedicated retrieve drivers
  • Briefing facilities including whiteboard, big screen video replay, tracklog projection and WiFi


The tour costs are $900 per pilot, see the FAQ above for details of what is considered and covered

For further details please contact us here

Owens Valley launches