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Desert Dreams

19.9.18: At this very moment Ollie Chitty is competing in the Santa Cruz Flats comp in the States, and is right at the top of the placings. The temperature over there is in the 40's, and Olly said he was so pleased to have taken the SMFC Speedsleeves that he won for his second place at the British Nationals in France. They're keeping him relatively cool. Go Ollie!


16.9.18: I missed out due to nursing a bad back, but the more intrepid locals headed down for a nice day at Ringstead. Jezzer was flying another of my stock Litespeeds and, as usual, wanted to clock up some miles. He wafted away down the spectacular coast, past Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Tyneham and Kimmeridge, before eventually landing at Worth Matravers.

It is quite remarkable what you can achieve with a sixteen year old £750 hang glider and a bit of skill and determination! He visited most of Dorset's tourist traps in a single flight!

31.8.18: A late decision to go to Woolacombe, to test fly a nice old Calypso I had just bought. I forgot my camera in the rush, so this is a photo of my mate Trevor Jordan enjoying the Wooly views.

It turned out to be the right decision to go, because it was much better than forecast, with sunshine and lots of thermals all day. The glider was great, another reminder that there is nothing much wrong with thirty year old hang gliders. This one is very probably sold, but I have another one in super condition - looking forward to flying that one soon, too!

So that was a good decision, but I blew it over the weekend when my mates were skying-out on the south coast and I wasn't! Search Youtube for Jeremy Soper's video of flying Whitsands Bay - it is epic!

I had a great August Bank Holiday!

Sunday August 26th saw me return to kart racing after a 45 year gap! Kenny Brown, a great mate from those youthful days, offered me a kart on loan, and I jumped at the chance. This was a proper two-stroke racing kart, not the slow and heavy four strokes that are available for hire.

We enjoyed the same weather that stopped the Silverstone Moto GP meeting, but we raced on - there was very little visibility, and I had to get used to wet tyres with only three laps of practice! Actually, one-and-a-half laps, because I spun off. A racing kart is way quicker than hire karts, far more nimble and responsive, and I needed a lot more practice if I was going to put up even a half-decent showing.

No point spinning off - I wanted to drive for as long as was available. Driving without grip and a surfeit of power is something I used to love, and this day gave me the opportunity to revisit the experience. To finish first, first you must finish, so I elected to race at my own pace and stay on the track. I finished all three races, but came absolutely nowhere - with a gurt great grin spread across my face! Thanks Kenny and Joe (seen here preparing the kart before the meeting) for a great day out. Must do more of this!

The August Bank Holiday started well....

25.8.18: Bossington, for the first test flight of a Falcon 4 170 skyfloater, which I had rebuilt after it was crashed by it's first owner. A new keel was the main requirement, and Bossington came up with the ideal testing weather even as I was putting the finishing touches to the glider.

It is always a relief when a new or rebuilt glider doesn't fall apart as you take off, and this one felt absolutely fine. Not quite perfect, because the trim speed was a little too high for my liking, but is the work of seconds to sort out. I had something over an hour of pleasant soaring with interference from just one good thermal to lift me still further away from the hill. And now I have another glider ready to go on sale and to enchant a new owner with simple, fun flying. (Glider Sold, August 2018)


2.8.18: Things don't always go to plan..... A report of good winds on the south coast had me heading that way with a car loaded with flying goodies. When I got to Beer Head there was little wind and no flying. Things improved as I got ready to fly my paraglider, but the best was already over when I took off. As I inflated the canopy I said to Martyn and Tony "This feels like going-down conditions". "You'll be fine" said Martyn. One take off, five minutes flying, and one landing later, and I was roasting on the hot stones at the bottom of the cliffs.....

At many flying sites this would be bad news, but here it opens up a host of new possibilities! Quickly abandoning my kit and my clothes I was into the sea as fast as I could get there. So, flying, swimming, a picnic and a sleep in the sun. Several hours later I had one final swim to cool down and then started climbing up the cliff path to take-off. This is one of the most spectacular paths I know in Devon - a walk between towering cliffs and through the Jurassic undergrowth. Another really great day out!

A Day on the Dorset Coast

First things first: To enjoy a good flight you first have to make a controlled and committed take-off run. Thanks to the legendary Everard Cunion, who took this picture.

31.7.18: Rob Dowdell persuaded me to forsake the office on the basis of a good forecast for Ringstead Bay, and five hangies had a spectacular time in glorious weather with absolutely wonderful views wherever we looked.

I took out this stock Rio 2 15 because I wanted to tweak out its' very slight preference for turning left, so I can justify this as being a working day.

What a life I have! You can decide whether I'm just lucky, whether I'm blessed or whether I'm just plain clever! (Hmmmm....I don't think it is the third one....)

Bossy again!

20.7.18: The forecast again suggested Bossington, and was proven right. We braved the heat and the gorse, and were rewarded with hours of lovely flying

This time I took a Finsterwalder Funfex S which looks as though it is going to go to Turkey. The test flight was great fun, so I know the next owner will be delighted with it. I can't believe that you can get experiences like this on a lovely glider that costs just £1600!

14.7.18: RASP proved right again, and I had another epic flight at Bossington, this time test-flying a stock Wills Wing Falcon 195 skyfloater. I was a bit suspicious that such a nice glider could have been flown so little over quite a few years and despite giving it a thorough check-out, wanted to give it a test flight.

I needn't have worried, it was peachy - the first WW glider I have flown in forty-plus years of hang gliding. So, this glider is now on sale for a bargain price, but I'm more than happy to keep it in my collection for my personal use.

Branscombe 13.7.18.

13.7.18: RASP suggested sea breezes might come on at Branscombe, and a message from Dinks to say that it was flyable saw me heading that way rather late in the day. I got there as others were going home - all flown-out!

My demo BGD Cure and I had the entire ridge to ourselves for an hour, which was spectacular... almost dream-like. Excuse the funny face in this picture - I really wasn't asleep. Even at 6pm the sun was still quite bright. The only downside was that I was too late going home to pick up one of the delicious ice creams made by the Honiton Dairy. That apart, it was a great day. Thanks for the heads-up, Dinks!

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