Bowen Dwelle (just after his P2 and coastal intro w/ Harry Sandoval)
July 31, 2014
Had my first solo flights at Mussel Rock yesterday — 4 flights, didn’t get up on the first one, but then got up and flew for about an hour total on three more flights. Very nervous on first launch, some old timers (Rick, and a german guy, Harold?) were very cool and reassuring at Walker launch. Super awesome first flights and I am stoked for a weekend at Hat Creek.
Jeff, your emphasis on safety, technique and kiting skill is really commendable. I got kudos on launch for managing my shit well (enough ;). Well done.
Harry, thanks for the site re-intro the other day and the reassurance yesterday. That helped a lot!
Jake Hodges (letter about recent Mtn. Trip – 2nd review)
… I just wanted to say thank you again for putting together last weekend’s Dunlap trip. It was very difficult to get my head back into my normal life last week. Actually catching real thermals (and arriving at cloud base, no less!) after all the reading I’ve done and all the videos I’ve watched, it seemed too fantastic to be true.
After hanging out over Last Chance in ridge lift for 20 minutes at Sunset on Friday night, my weekend was made. But from there it got so much better.
On Saturday afternoon’s flight I didn’t find much over the main ridge. I circled a bit in some rough air over the road at the top of Next to Last Chance, but was only breaking even. I gave up and flew out to Last Chance at about 3600′ where caught a slow but steady thermal. It didn’t feel like much, but the vario was making happy beeps so I stuck with it. Maybe 15 minutes later it seemed to run out of gas just over 4800′. I was elated. I flew in a larger circle to admire the view after focusing on staying centered in the thermal for so long, and that’s when I noticed a cloud of little birds (Tonia decided they were swifts from my description) in a tight flock up above me. I thought about all the stories of pilots seeing bugs or leaves in high places, and decided there must be a thermal pulling bugs up there. I steered under them and found it. It took me to 5633ft, possibly higher than anyone else in the air that night.
After that climb (hearing, “Oh wow.. Is this okay? Is it okay for me to be this high?” over and over again in my head) I decided to make for the LZ. I flew a straight line towards it. At 3700′ just over the end of Last Chance I found a second thermal. I figured, “Why not?” That one took me quickly to 5100′. I probably could have taken it higher, but I was ready to be down. I pulled ears and made two big lazy circles to get to my approach.
Later that night I was in our dorm room with a bunch of our group, probably six or seven of us, and a warm case of Red Hooks. Someone asked about impressions of the various instructors in the bay area, and people started telling stories of their interactions with all of them. Nobody had anything terribly surprising to say, but everyone in the room was complementary of you and your teaching style. We all appreciate the way you stress forming good habits and nailing down basic skills. I won’t lie.. We laughed and poked fun at all of you in even amounts.. But it was clear that everyone on that trip appreciates and loves you, even if you are insane.
After all, we’re all insane, right? We hang from flying plastic bags thousands of feet in the air telling ourselves it’s totally okay. Sometimes I ask myself, what was I thinking, flying that thing? In a moment of reflection, it occurred to me exactly what I was thinking: “Helmet, harness, risers, brakes,” followed immediately by, “I can’t believe I get to do this.”
Last weekend a life long wish came true. I’ve always dreamed of finding real magic in the world: Proof that life was more than just staying alive until you couldn’t any more. Well, magic is real. You have to fight fear for real to find it, but it’s there. It’s there in my flying plastic bag, it’s there in those beautiful people I shared a carpool and a dorm room with, it’s there in that little flock of birds that showed me the way to the highest place I’ve ever been, and I couldn’t have found any of it without you.
Thanks for making all of that happen for us, Jeff.
Tonia Fox (letter about recent Mtn. Trip – 2nd review)
. . . for this life-changing weekend experience. Thank you for giving me a concrete foundation of basic skills, for giving me the experiences I needed before a mountain trip, for helping to give me confidence in my abilities, and for giving me a chance to fly this weekend when you dropped Ki (A student that was too late in confirming that he could come and trip was filled by that time) We all (team carpool) agreed that you go WAY above and beyond for your students, and I hope you were happy with the results.
I learned paragliding with Jeff of Airtime of San Francisco four years ago, best decision ever. Airtime of San Francisco has a well structured course, the pace is kept constantly within the student acquired skill set, and Jeff judgment is always spot on.
Airtime is also a great source of study material with technical articles that support the needs ranging from beginner to advance piloting. The care and quality this material is put together with is indicative of the passion and commitment of the school to its students.
The teaching does not stop at the end of the course. Jeff has been a constant source of support and instruction even after graduation. He truly creates a community of passionate friends around his school to exchange experience and fly together.
After 4 years of flying, I still go to Jeff for advice on techniques, on sites, and flying conditions. I know I can still relay on his suggestions to fly better and to be safe.
While there are several schools in the bay area I truly believe Airtime of San Francisco is by far the best.
In 2009 Jeff took my dad and I through our P2 ratings and since has been an incredible resource for this amazing adventure that is flying. Jeff constantly introduces us to new sites, new people, and encourages us to fly conservatively and safely. Here are a few highlights of my experience with Jeff:
– Jeff leaves no stone unturned – when you are learning from Jeff he will give you his full attention and will make sure you understand every mistake you are making as well as all the things you are doing well. He can be garrulous at times and I find this to be a strong asset. I’d rather know each and every detail of what I’m doing rather than just throw myself at the sky uninformed.
– Jeff has great integrity and expects this of his students. If he says he will be somewhere he will be. This makes what could be a difficult process of scheduling and arranging lessons work very well, smoothly, and fairly.
– Jeff’s website is great. check it out: http://www.paragliding-l… The thoroughness and professional quality of this website is a testament to Jeff’s intentions as an instructor and mentor.
– Jeff is a great resource if you ever desire to get a tandem rating or an instructor rating.
– Jeff organizes amazing weekend trips to flying sites all over California! These trips are really fun and typically involve camping and amazing company ground side or in the sky.
– Jeff is all around a great guy. He means well, he does well, he takes care of his people, and his love for the sport is infectious.
I give Jeff 5 stars because I am very satisfied with the quality of his lessons and his contribution to my paragliding experience in general. Paragliding is an incredible experience and I have really lived some of the greatest moments of my life hanging from a rag 7000′ feet over the sierras in thermals with eagles and hang gliders or 3500′ over lake Berryessa practicing full stalls in a clinic with my dad. If I were to do this all over again knowing what I know now I would absolutely do it again with Jeff as my instructor.
After researching several Paraglider training websites in the San Francisco Bay Area I chose Airtime of SF because of the amount of information pertaining to the sport that was available on the website. Jeff has been flying since the sport was in its infancy. This led me to believe he was very involved instructor with training and student safety a priority rather than just making a buck. This proved to be a reality. I started taking Paragliding instruction from Jeff in July of 2011. In about a month and a half of weekend training, I had finished all of the requirements for my P2 certification except the written exam. Unfortunately, in early September, I had an accident which disabled me for 6 months. After physical therapy for another three I felt I was ready to fly again. I called Jeff and he was more than willing to work with me to get me back in the air, at no extra cost to me. He basically started me over in the lessons and let me know when I was ready to take my P2 exam. I passed the exam in August of this year and have enjoyed almost 100 flights since my first Bunny Hill experience. I would, and have, recommended Airtime of S.F. to anyone interested in the addictive sport of Paragliding.
I learned to paraglide with Jeff about 2 years ago. I had some friends that were taking lessons somewhere else at the same time. When I would get together with my friends, we would compare notes and I always felt that I was getting the better deal. I definitely had more one on one time with my instructor (Jeff) than my friends did with theirs. I learned lots of skills and most importantly learned to be safe. I now have over 100 hours of airtime and 300 launches!
I did a fair amount of research into finding the right company to teach me how to paraglide from. From my very first call, Airtime of San Francisco was the top of my list.
Hands down the method of instruction was in-depth, one on one, professional and completely by the book. Certainly one of the pioneers in the sport, Jeff has developed and extensive on-line wealth of articles and tutorial videos that his students have access to. This information was invaluable (and still is) through my certification and continued learning process.
I highly recommend anyone interested in paragliding to simply give Jeff a call…you to will be happy to learn what right is the first time.
Jake Hodges (from Yelp)
I’m most of the way to my P2 rating through Airtime’s “P2+ Unlimited” lesson program and have purchased my own equipment through them, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice of paragliding school.
Now that I’ve hung around the hill a bit and seen different instructors in action I can attest to one of Jeff’s most significant strengths. Jeff sees everything. Everything. If I connect something wrong, if my hand is in the wrong place, if I pull a little too much brake when I’m launching or kiting… Jeff sees it, and I will hear about it. Jeff wants my ground handling and launches to be perfect. When it comes to the nuts and bolts stuff (and how I’m doing it wrong) he is as direct as direct can be. I’ve come to appreciate this very much.
If you’re interested in paragliding instruction, give Jeff a call, talk to him about his program, maybe even attend a ground school. But more than anything I suggest you sign up for his two-day introductory paragliding course. My first day was reserved for “kiting”, or learning to fly the wing overhead before leaving the ground. It might seem like a drag if you’re as eager to fly as I was, but by teaching this critical skill early, Jeff sets students up for a MUCH better day the first time they get to launch off the training hill. I’ve watched other students at the hill get overwhelmed trying to learn launching without learning some kiting skills first. I also got access to his comprehensive collection of articles and a chance to work with him a bit and see his style before I committed to the rest of the program. Jeff credited the cost of the two-day intro towards the cost of my full lesson package.
Given how much time Jeff has spent with me so far, the P2+ Unlimited package is an excellent value. You can compare packages from different schools, but I want to point out some things that you don’t necessarily get from the website. These are the kind of things I worry about before I spend a significant amount of money on something open-ended like an instruction package:
– Jeff has been available every single day I have. He doesn’t have to schedule around another job. On days when I’m the only student I get a one-on-one lesson. On other days I get the huge benefit of watching and talking to other students. He’s never canceled on me or flaked. He lays his whole calendar out on his website so everyone can see everything.
– Jeff is prompt. (Do NOT be late. You’ll get an earful. 🙂 )
– Jeff always answers even my dumbest questions thoroughly, even the second and third time I ask them, without making me feel dumb for asking them.
– Jeff never stops working on his approach to instruction. You can tell by his articles that he’s poured himself into teaching people to fly for a long time. When I have failed to grasp a concept or not understood a mistake I was making, he’s come at it from a bunch of angles trying to figure out how to help me learn. He’s as passionate about teaching as he is about flying.
Learning to fly has been the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. All my flights off the various training hills have been magic, but I’m really looking forward to earning my P2 rating so I can get to the really, really good stuff like my coastal intro. Airtime also organizes trips to remote sites where Jeff offers coaching to former P2 students, the learning doesn’t stop when you get your rating.
Every paraglider pilot is a character. I’ve made friends with some of the most interesting and colorful people, and Jeff is no exception. Wait till you meet these people! And wait till you start flying into lift and going UP. They say, “up is good”. Up, as it happens, is really, really, really good.
I just got my approval for getting Friday, Sept. 7th off so I’m definitely in for Hat Creek. Super excited too. I obviously need to complete my P2 exam and would like to try for Sunday if you’re ok with that?
… Again, thanks for all you do for us in this sport. You’re definitely the best instructor around and I’m glad to have the opportunity to learn from the best.
By the way, there are two people I’m pretty sure that will be contacting you. One for a tandem and the other possibly for lessons. I gave them your card.
Jan, 2012 (Frank came down from Alaska to do a P2 course and this was after his 3rd lesson)
That was so fun! Thanks for the great lesson! I feel a strong pull toward this new form of aviation. I have Had training in small aircraft, ultralight trike, hang gliding and sailplane and some crazy reason paragliding has really left an impression on me!
I think your training is first class. And I look forward to further training with you.
Thanks again. Frank
Donald and Leslie Jacobson
December 27, 08
Marco Pontil —
If you want to learn to paraglide well and safely, Jeff is your man. He is appropriately demanding of your attention and effort because he loves the sport and wants you to succeed. His course offers by far the best result for the money.
It was immediately obvious to me on my first lesson that I was in good hands, and with Jeff’s seasoned and intuitive guidance, quickly felt at ease with the wing. Jeff’s enthusiasm for flight is infectious, giving me the bug before I even got in the air. There’s no other way to put it, paragliding is a BLAST, and Jeff makes sure you get the full experience.
Try hard and don’t be late, because Jeff will do the same for you. In the end, I came out a much more enthusiastic and capable pilot than if I had learned from anyone else.
Jeff’s the man.
Thanks again, Jeff for the wonderful introduction to the art of paragliding.
If it’s possible to be humbler than I was previously, I am. But I’m also excited by actually having gotten aloft for a true taste of flight. Thank you for allowing me that taste even though you knew it was premature. I now have a truer sense of the exhileration that Orville & Wilbur must have felt with their first flights. And an appreciation of the challenging road ahead if I’m to gain the necessary skills for piloting.
At this point my first/biggest challenge is financial. More about that later. For now, Thank you once again for your patience, encouragement and excellent instruction.
We enjoyed getting a taste of paragliding with you these past two days, and we found your teaching style calm, clear, and fun.
I would like to say thank you to Jeff Greenbaum for the wonderful experience I had while learning to paraglide with Airtime of SF.
The program was fun, thorough and kept student safety at the forefront. I flew in from the east coast and Jeff went out of his way to make me feel at home in the Bay Area. Take a tandem flight with Jeff and you’ll immediately feel what it’s like to fly with a veteran pilot.
Jeff is a true professional as an instructor and a very fair business man when you get ready to buy your gear. I feel confident in myself as a novice pilot after going through his P2 program. You’ll be in good hands with Airtime SF. If you dream about flying, give Jeff a call.
Airtime is the BEST! I still can’t believe how much fun I’ve had, and I attribute a lot of it to Jeff and his system. He covers everything with incredible passion, attention to safety, and really makes you feel in control every step of the way. What a great teacher.
I signed up for the Unlimited P2+ package, and that turned out to be a great program for me. I never felt rushed, and I ended up getting many weeks worth of instruction, progressing at my own pace. The ground school sessions are terrific too, and I eventually got my P2 rating in about 3 months. What a thrill! But it doesn’t end there.
Graduates of Airtime become part of a flying community, made possible by their message board and web resources. We even get to tag along on mountain trips with their current students. Jeff also provides “continuing education” for his graduates. As my abilities and level of experience grows, he has provided new site intros and continued guidance. In addition, he writes and updates many articles about learning to fly a paraglider.
Airtime has also been a great resource for paragliding equipment. As I started to “gear-up” Jeff was there to guide me through the many choices to find the right wing, harness, helmet, etc. His experience and integrity make it a pleasure to do business with him. Its a real plus to know you’re getting sound advice, a fair price, and good customer service.
Thanks for everything Jeff. Cheers!
San Jose CA
Don Simmons just after he got his P2 Rating
” Dreams do come true, I have wanted to paraglide for so long and finally have achived it, All I can say is WOW!! Airtime is the only school I would recomend to anybody looking to learn, Jeff dedicates his time to each and every student in his school 100%. He has a very strong hold on safety, wich is important to all of us in this sport. Jeff is a very honest and kind person who will teach you more than you need to know to be a safe pilot.”
7-9-07 (Hat Creek Trip 7-6-07)
Thanks for a great weekend, it was a great site intro to say the least…
Thanks again, Pat Shanahan
Karen Holtemman about 7-6-07 Hat Creek Mtn. Trip
I wanted to thank you for the Hat Creek trip last weekend. It was fantastic to finally fly long enough to quit hyperventilating 🙂 . I was pretty nervous for the morning flight, but felt much more relaxed for the evening flight. To finally get up there and have enough time to experiment and feel the wing was just fantastic.
I also met some great people – it was just a great time!
I absolutely had an amazing day yesterday. And I was once again amazed by your experience compared to others. Thanks again for the wonderful experience.
Today I went to Ed Levin for some kiting practice in the afternoon, but it was windy and I had stop after some time. Hopefully I will be able to go for some more practice this week.
Mike Davenas – Bagpipe Instructor and student very close to his P2
I just wanted to let you know, teacher to teacher, that I am totally in awe of your dedication.
You go way beyond the call of duty. You have inspired me as a bagpipe teacher to do more than I do.