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Deal, No Deal

Nipped out of the office to grab another flyable day at Wooly. It was work, honest!

The plan was to sell one glider and buy another, but things don't always go to plan, and only one of the deals worked out. Not a problem! The really good thing is that the sun shone, and although the wind was about 45 degrees off the hill (and the forecast), three of us flew.

I had another go on my BGD Cure demo and, although the wind was stronger than I would have liked for the take-off, the flying was lovely.


13.8.17: The forecast for Beer Head worked out well, and I got a lot of work done in the three hours I had available to fly. A potential customer tried two gliders he is thinking of buying, and I flew a couple of gliders and harnesses which I could fly in Slovenia in September.

It was great to get back on a paraglider after having done almost all hanging this year. I need more airtime if I am to feel at all confident in my BGD Cure, but I'm sure it will be a lot better when I fly it next - with a smaller harness that is better set-up!

As usual, the Beer/ Branscombe cliffs provided some gorgeous views - yet another day to savour.


12.8.17: Windy at Wooly, but there were quite a few hangies out enjoying the conditions. There were plenty of clouds rolling in off the sea, and most of them were generating lift. Cloudbase was only 1000 feet, but it was enough to let some of us tour around the bay and well out to sea.

There were three low-airtime pilots flying, and also a returnee having a tandem flight with Same Jeyes of Fly like a Bird. He loved it, and will soon be signing up for a refresher course, I suspect.

Peak holiday period, so traffic was bad, and the car park on Marine Drive was packed. Not that Brett Wright was bothered - you can just see him coming along the ridge from the north.


July 2017: This year's Eurotour took in Mayerhofen in Austria, Monte Cucco (above), Schio and Bassano in Italy. The flying wasn't epic by the standards I enjoyed there 30+ years ago, but it was way better than anything I seem to find in the UK these days. Two weeks of flying, camping, driving and laughing.

Many thanks to Garry and Colin for the organisation, and Vincent and Jeremy for the company. A great trip - and wonderful weather!

The highlight of my trip came at the end of a tiring flight at Monte Cucco. Approaching the bottom landing field with insufficient height for an easy glide home, I found some bouyant air over the town of Sigillo. That meant that I was probably going to reach the field OK, so I detoured over a factory with a shiny roof and lucked into the best climb I have had in years! Smooth and strong, the thermal lifted me 5500 feet, so I was able to land back at take-off and drive the van back down to collect the others.

While we were at Cucco the Italian Hang Gliding Championship got underway, so there were some pretty extreme pilots and gliders present, including World Champions Alex Ploner and Christian Ciech. Both looked very, very impressive and Ploner eventually won. We were impressed how well the Italians flew so confidently in raather windy conditions. Cucco take-off area does seem very friendly when it is windy, and they had it nailed.

As always, my wonderful Litespeed RX did everything I want in a hang glider, including shrugging off some scary turbulence. It is great to have a glider that you can really trust to look after you, but I've just agreed the sale of my wing, so expect to be finding something different in the next few weeks. Perhaps not very different.....

For a variety of reasons, we didn't all get to fly at every site. Young Jeremy Soper displayed a commendable desire to fly as long and as far as possible at every opportunity, and is surely a force to be reckoned with in the future of UK hang gliding. The rest of us old dogs just took the days that seemed to offer good and pleasant flying, and were each rewarded with some memorable flights.

When rigging for our last day at Bassano, I found a crack in one of my upright fittings, and elected not to risk it breaking in flight, unfortunately missing out on Gary's best day of the hols. You can't win them all..... Roll on the forthcoming paragliding trip to Slovenia with the South Devon Club. I really must do more paragliding!

Still, this was another great flying trip, and I feel that this photo sums it up rather well:-


Just the usual selfie, but the Charly Mirror visor for the NO Limits helmet transforms it into a really interesting picture - look at the wonderful view I was fortunate to be enjoying. These visors are available now from my online shop - and the degree of tint is ideal for me, not too dark and not too light for UK and EU summer use.

Moyes UK Test Day!

7.7.17: Carl and Michelle came to Devon, so I thought it might be an opportuntiy to grab a go on a Gecko. I was fourth in line, and by the time my turn came around the top landing was obscured by orographic. We packed up so Moyes UK could head north for another test day, and the hill promptly cleared.....D'oh!

No matter, I got out a new BGD Cure demo and had my first flight on an EN C paraglider. It certainly seemed to go well, but "one is not quite sure who is flying whom....." I will try it again soon. After 10 or 15 minutes a rain squall was approaching, so I landed and packed it away before it could get wet. Impressed, but wary.

Sunny at Wooly

1.7.17: Six or seven hangies had a pleasant day out at Wooly. Lots of people were flying my stock gliders, the highlight of which was Rob Schwab describing my personal Litespeed RX as "Perfect! The best flex wing I've flown to date". Coming from an airline pilot and former Harrier pilot with a vast hang gliding experience stretching over almost 40 years, I reckon that is rather a compliment :-) The photo shows Jonathon Powell enjoying his Litesport, which he bought from me about ten years ago, and can see absolutely no reason to change or update. That was a good purchase, then!


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.

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