On June 20, gliders from all over the country began to congregate at the Parowan Municipal Airport to participate in the annual gliding event.
Dave Norwood, owner of Parowan Aero Services, said that late June and early July is the ideal time of year for “soaring,” the preferred terminology for what a novice might call “gliding.”
He said Parowan is an ideal location for the activity because of the way the mountains are lined up and the sunny weather that is typical of the area.
“The sunny skies that we have create the thermals,” he said, referring to the hot air that rises, giving the gliders the lift they need to soar.
“There are a lot of things that combine to make soaring real good here,” he said.
Norwood said this event is more of an informal competition or gathering of gliders.
Parowan Events Coordinator Jet Smith said Parowan was chosen to be a point of competition and meeting area for those who share the love of being glider pilots. She said glider pilots come to Parowan to meet as members of a figurative family.
“Parowan has the best updraft available to see surrounding areas,” Smith said.
Around 30 gliders are expected to arrive in Parowan over the course of two weeks.
“This is the group called motor gliders,” Norwood said. “They do have engines and are capable of getting off the ground by themselves. Ten or so will need a tow plane, they won’t have motors.”
He said they can do this by using rising air from thermal activity, but when it is really windy it decreases the possibility of good soaring.
Norwood said this attraction is beneficial to the local economy because those who travel to Parowan to participate will stay either in Parowan, Cedar City or Brian Head, providing revenue for the community.
The glider event will be in progress until approximately July 3, with gliders taking off daily around noon and returning to land around 5 or 6 p.m. each evening.
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