What does he do for his 85th birthday? Take a paraglider ride!
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Bill Lynch, 85, of Port Angeles flies in tandem with paraglider pilot Todd Henningsen at Oceanside, Ore., on April 27. The flight was a gift from Lynch's daughter, Kimberly Lynch, who took this photo.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — At age 85, Bill Lynch of Port Angeles is considering a new hobby — paragliding.

“I couldn't get a bigger thrill from that first step,” Lynch said.

“I'd like to do it again.”

When Lynch received a ticket to paraglide from the edge of a cliff for his 85th birthday, he appreciated the gesture.

But he said he never intended to take the plunge.

“I said, 'There is no way I am going to do that,' ” he said.

Lynch, who said he is not much of a risk taker, has a few memorable moments from his life when he lived the thrill of a risky undertaking — all of them more than 60 years ago.

He has hiked to 10,000 feet on Mount Rainier, rode a whitewater raft in Montana and climbed a 90-foot fire observation tower — then took more than a half-hour before he could build up the courage to climb back out to the ladder to head back to the forest floor.

“I'm not a very daring person,” Lynch said.

Lynch put the ticket up on the wall of his office for decoration and left it there for nearly a year.

However, on April 27, his daughter, Kimberly Lynch, was headed to a paraglider gathering in Oceanside, Ore., with her boyfriend, “Tiger Todd” Henningsen, a well-known paraglider and instructor with 35 years of experience.

He decided to join them.

“I'm 85. What the heck do I have to lose? I've lived a good life,” he said.

The weather was rough, with sun alternating with slashing rain, and the group had to wait for a clear, relatively calm moment for the tandem leap from a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Henningsen, who teaches paragliding at Tiger Mountain, near Seattle, taught Lynch the concepts of paragliding, from how to use updrafts that occur near cliffs, and what happens if a paraglider goes too far out to sea.

It's risky, and sometimes paragliders will collide, Lynch said he was told.

Finally, the weather was perfect for a tandem paraglide, and Henningsen and Lynch took off.

“That first step you take off the cliff is spooky. I'll never forget going off of that cliff,” Lynch said.

After that first feeling of falling before the wind catches the parasail, the ride was wonderful, he said.

His son — Kim's brother — is Michael Lynch, who owns Michael's Seafood and Steakhouse restaurant in downtown Port Angeles.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 05. 2014 7:11AM
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