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Lumby skies contested by gliders

Lumby Air Force hosts annual Air Races in skies above the North Okanagan

Mother Nature may have won the weekend, but not the overall battle.

The Lumby Air Races, hosted by the Lumby Air Force, had 25 paragliding and hang gliding pilots competing in a week-long event to finish tasks set out each morning, based on wind and weather.

"Unfortunately, Saturday and Sunday of Lumby Days were not flyable due to wet conditions," said Lorelei Fiset of the host Lumby Air Force. "Thermals are needed to keep the wings in the air over long distances."

Winners had to fly a minimum 10-kilometre triangle above Lumby. This feat sometimes meant pilots were in the air for between one and four hours. Some  pilots without triangles earned points for completing other tasks such as distance, laps over Saddle Mountain (Friday evening) and personal best. 

Flights are tracked using GPS and uploaded to official international scoring websites. 

Along with the locations for the winners listed below, competing pilots came from Ottawa, Cochrane, Canmore, Vancouver, Victoria, Quadra Island, Armstrong, Revelstoke, Enderby, Fernie, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Coldstream, and five from Lumby. 

The Lumby Air Force thanks its event sponsors, Lumby Days and Regional District of North Okanagan Area D for contributing the prize money.

Nine awards totalling $1,500 were given out on Saturday evening. Pilots received a locally made trophy along with their cash prize which helps with travel expenses for the flyers.

The 2024 Lumby Air Races Winners were:

Paragliding Sport 1st Place & Personal Best: Ike Burkhart, Lumby;

Paragliding Sport 2nd Place:  Michel Laurin, Courtenay;

Paragliding Open  1st Place:  Bill Goglin, Williams Lake;

Paragliding Open 2nd Place:  Kevin Ault, Cultus Lake;

Paragliding Open 3rd Place:  Norm Lawlor, Harrison Hot Springs;

Hang Gliding Sport 1st Place: Randy Rauck, Lumby (2 triangles);

Hang Gliding Sport 2nd Place: Bill Soderquist, California;

Hang Gliding Sport 3rd Place: Rick Hines, Spallumcheen (points);

Hang Gliding Topless 1st Place: Jesse Scrimbit, Sicamous (points).

Sport class pilots fly recreational wings while the topless and open categories are the more high performance wings.

Adding to the sport, many other pilots also flew during the week but did not enter the competition. They were from Switzerland, Prince Edward Island, Calgary, Leduc County, Squamish, Half Moon Bay, Peachland, Castlegar, and Vernon.

The Lumby Air Races are put on annually by the Lumby Air Force,  a non-profit society founded in the mid-1970s.  Anyone interested in learning to fly foot launch gliders can contact the Freedom Flight School ( or stop in at the Lumby Chamber of Commerce for an information brochure.

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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