Sean Murphy’s parents became intrigued by motorless flight when they took his Cub Scout troop on a field trip to Harris Hill in 1976. They both joined the soaring club that year and began flying. When old enough, both Sean and his sister joined as junior members. Sis earned a private license and Sean, currently living in Elmira, is still involved and instructs at the club. He is a pilot for FedEx. Over time he participated in several regionals and nationals as a line crew and found he was eager to race cross country. Early non-mentored attempts at cross country flights resulted in fun stories, but little actual distance.
After taking several years off from soaring to concentrate on his career as a professional pilot, he returned to Harris Hill and the sport with a serious intention to improve. With the help of several great pilots, his cross country miles began to pile up. During his first contest, Sean landed out every day! He was undeterred, however, and entered a contest the very next week and won the Sports Class division flying the Harris Hill Discus CS. He continued to work and improve, resulting in several regional wins and top places in national events in his Ventus 2b.
In 2015 he was honored to be selected to the US Team at the 1st Pan American Gliding Competiton at Chilhowee, Tn., where he partnered with Erik Nelson. He looks forward to representing the US with Erik and the rest of the team at the 34th WGC in Benalla.
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 44 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.