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The Pompano Hill Flyers began as a small group of “flat land” flyers. However, once a few of us got a taste of slope flying, we were hooked on sloping! Of course the prospects of slope soaring in South Florida were very bleak.
After searching around we found a landfill that would embrace us and allow us the use of their property. This is now our sloping home – Waste Managements’ facility in Pompano Beach.
At that time, the Administrator, Mike Berg, was very receptive to us and our sailplanes. We afforded them great publicity “points” with the local county and city governments while they allowed us to fly off one of their two hills. So, in May 1991, we established our club with 10 members.
In the early summer of 1992, we were approached by 2 flyers, Bruce Wennerstrom and Jack Gumbart who convinced us, and Waste Management, to make our flying site an official sanctioned AMA site.
Things were great then. Waste Management went out of their way to welcome us by installing a paved landing field for tow planes, creating a circular drive way, installing picnic tables, observatory binoculars and even a permanent flagpole complete with bronze plaque welcoming us to the hill. They regularly enjoyed bringing corporate executives and local government officials up to this site to meet with us, to see what we were doing and to show how Waste Management was supporting the local communities.
BUT the winds of change were coming.... And those winds were known as Hurricane Andrew!
Hurricane Andrew crashed ashore in South Miami on August 24th 1992. It brought massive amounts of destruction to the local communities South of Miami. At first we did not know how this would affect us or our flying hill. Actually Broward county and the hill were mostly spared by Andrew we really didn’t think there would be much affect at all. Soon after it was obvious that it would have a very great affect indeed
At that time we were flying from the westernmost of two landfill hills. This hill was just over 100 feet and was generally considered “finished” and all current dumping was occurring on the eastern hill almost ½ a mile away. Suddenly because of Hurricane Andrew there was a need to dispose of millions of tons of refuse. There was no place more up to the job then Waste Management. Suddenly the debris was streaming into the facility. The site was open 24/7! Our flying was wonderful! But we saw then that massive changes to the hill we flew on were coming. Over the next couple of years, so much debris was brought in that what once was two hills was now rapidly merging into one. This had a negative affect on our flying as it made flying from the east side very difficult if not impossible. Eventually Waste Management informed us that we would have to suspend flying for a couple months while they made major changes to the hill. This was truly one of our lowest points. We all feared that we might not ever be able to return to the hill we so enjoyed.
There was light at the end of the tunnel however. After a few months, we were again contacted by Waste Management and allowed back onto the hill for flying. Relieved we returned to a much changed hill. Gone was our park like accommodations and gone was the two hill landscape. What was once two hill was now merged into one.
But we were flying again and that was what mattered. We now had a large single hill and were able to move around to the various faces to enjoy flying on which ever side faced the wind. We have continued to fly here ever since. And during the past 12 years we have watched Waste Management continue to grow and successfully manage this landfill to it’s current single hill height of 220 feet.