Firebird UK  
[ Home ]  [ About the Flying Circus ]  SIMON'S BLOG  [ Articles ]  [ Contact Us ]  [ Vintage gliders ]  [ Shop ] 


I decided it was time to get replace some of my demo paragliders, so have already sold a Skyman Cross Country and an Amicus, but still have a smaller Amicus and a Heartbeat in Medium. They are in superb nick, so represent massive savings on new prices. These are very classy machines, so why not come down and check them out?

Too Windy for me!

11.6.17: The braver souls were taking yet another trip to the south coast, but I thought it was too windy so opted to go by motorbike for a ride-out. By the time I got there, however, both pilots were flying their Atos'. The photo shows Richard Moseley coming into land, and although it was very smooth om landing, Mark Phillips said it was too windy to be pleasant. they packed up, and I went into deepest Dorset on the bike.

My Life In Free Flight

7.6.17: I gave a talk to our local club, which simply involved a slide show to illustrate my 40+ years in Free Flight and the FF industry. "Simply" doesn't do justice to the day spent sorting through thousands of photos to make the eventual selection of about 150, nor to the interesting effect this had on me. It was almost as though my life was flashing (slowly) through my mind. And what a great life it has been!

The photo shows me flying at Bossington on Brian Wright's Eclipse SK96, in 1976, which became my first glider. The good news is that I intend to make the next 40 years every bit as pleasant. I'm currently flying a Moyes Litespeed RX and (when the weather permits) paragliders from Skyman and BGD. Life is great!

New Arrival

7.6.17. A good friend and customer asked me to get in a demo BGD Cure. I'm not a full dealer for BGD (Andrew Pearse of Flying Frenzy is the main man locally) but I have sold quite a few of them "on the side". Bruce and I go back a long way - he was one of the founder members of the SMFC flying team in the British HG League, so it is always nice to retain some involvement - the boy done good!

Today the glider arrived, and soon it will be getting some airtime - weather permitting.

More Gale-dangling

3.6.17: Another windy day on the South Coast, with similar conditions to last week, but this time the weather was a bit brighter. I only stayed up for about 45 minutes, because the wind strength got sufficiently high that it wasn't really much fun - I was flying backwards at one point. But it is always great to be flying, and yet another good top landing was a satisfying end to this one. Here is a photo of West Bay harbour for any lovers of that recent TV series.

12.6.17: More of the same, except this time I elected to go for a motorbike ride, rather than taking my glider. Got to live life to the full! Windier than recently, but also a bit smoother.

Late May, and a very windy Saturday finds two lonely hangies taking off to bounce about in the very rough air low down. After an initial struggle, both get into the smoother air above the cliffs, and can relax just a little. The sea looks distinctly unfriendly, and the sky to the west looks grey and daunting, so we head east. I encounter a small area of consistent lift, most likely a wave effect, and climb out to about a thousand above the sea, and then head off into what is uncharted territory for me.

I should have stayed in the wavey lift (well, obviously!), because I didn't find anything strong enough to sustain me, and before long was going back through the layer of turbulence to seek a safer haven on the ground. I'm not quite sure whether I really enjoy this sort of flying, but it sure feels great to have done it, and survived. Fish and Chips near the seaside, then.....

Beer Head Cruise

21.5.17: A short flight at Beer Head before the wind went way off the hill, using a stock secondhand glider - a Litespeed RS3.5. This was Carl Wallbank's glider when he captained the British Team to the World Championships in Florida, and it really does go! It has a very clean sail and is bristling with carbon fibre components.

The RS doesn't have the lighter handling of the later RX's, but I reckon there is still an advantage to be had in outright performance. There is also a distinct price advantage - the RS being something of a bargain - particularly when you consider all the carbon packed into the sail! Check this glider out in the secondhand hang gliders section of this site! Part-exchanges always considered.

Woolacombe Sunshine

19.5.17: Friday off, because it is raining in Luppitt and sunny at Woolacombe. Soarable, too! It was not an epic day, but certainly was most pleasant. I had a couple of hours, and lucked into enough lift to get me to cloudbase. Mind you, 'base was only 1200 above take-off. Still, it was a very pleasant flight, and a great way to end the working week.

Sea Breeze non-event

2.4.17: Two days flying on the trot? Remarkable!

We went aerotowing,and everyone who took off in the middle of the day was able to climb out to cloudbase. Conditions weren't as good as the sky suggested, though. There was a forecast for the sea-breeze to come in, so when I reached base I decided to be adventurous, and try to fly to the sea breeze, and along it as far as I could. It didn't work. After leaving my original climb I only found one other area of very light lift.

No worries, it was immensely enjoyable to climb out from 1000ft ato to base at about 3250'

Hey! There are a couple of syndicate shares open to be purchased if you want to join us - call me!

April Fools!

1.4.17. Ten hang glider pilots drove through cloudy and wet conditions to trust in the forecast for a flyable day at Woolacombe. And it worked! By mid-afternoon we were soaring the wave above a bank of orographic cloud, over a thousand feet above take off. The lift was copious, spreading out to sea and all around the bay.

I left my camera at home (durrr...) but Jeremy Soper has kindly provided these glorious shots. Non-pilots should check-out the "Glory" - his shadow surrounded by a circular rainbow.

This was a day to savour... winter is over.


It's been a long, slow winter, with grey skies and high winds. That is, a bad one!

It is about a year ago that our broadband speeds suddenly slowed dramatically, and became very much less reliable. Strangely, this was immediately after the then-Prime Minister announced that people in rural areas "didn't really need fast broadband"! I suppose it was a way of introducing a new policy.

Our neighbours at the Otter Brewery needed a better service, and were prepared to make the investment to bring fibre across our valley, They kindly asked whether we would like to join in the scheme for a reasonable fee, and we have jumped at the chance. In a few weeks, we may, once again, have a decent service.

Not Much Flying....

14.1.17: When the flying is a bit thin, we all look to other things to fulfill our interest in flying - or to replace it temporarily. In my case, one such distraction is radio-controlled model aircraft, and over the winter I have been slowly fettling this 8' span ASW28, scale motor glider to get it ready to take to the air. All it needs now is a careful adjustment of the C of G, and then there will be nothing for it but to try and fly the beast. I wonder whether it will fly?


When I can't fly my hangies or paragliders I like to fly radio-controlled aircraft - usually motorised sailplanes or scale warplanes. Just lately I have been flying this lovely Minimoa, which has a span around 6 feet. At first it felt like a bus, and I think it is too heavy to thermal effectively on anything other than strong days, but now I'm really enjoying trying to fly it in a manner appropriate to the original aircraft. It is majestic in the air. May be for sale soon - I have other things to fly. Want to learn? I may be able to help!

Lanzarote revisited

It is fifteen years since I have flown in Lanzarote, so when the chance came to go back on a trip flying with the lads from Norfolk, it was a no-brainer. Paul "El Cuchillo" Leary put the whole deal together, and it was a very enjoyable week in good company.

The first flying day resulted in a very pleasant trip along the Famara run. I was lucky in that Carsten Zuelch, a customer who lives in Germany, had offered to lend me a glider he keeps in LZR, a Bautek Sunrise. It handled really well, and climbed like the proverbial dingbat. It wasn't the fastest hang glider, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment of this most spectacular route.

We had three flyable days out of six, and I recommend this winter holiday venue to all pilots.

Back to Top