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16.2.18: Soon after I arrived on site the wind picked up to a point at which paraglider pilots were being dragged, and better pilots than me were waiting for a lull. So, I started rigging my hang glider. The Malibu proved perfect for the conditions, giving me a pleasant take-off and landing and easy flying in between. Luvvly Jubbly - my first UK HG flight since about June or July!!

I was the only hang glider out - in company with about 20 -25 paragliders. People came from way up country, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the brief change in the weather.

Interestingly, Tomasz Hardej came up to ask if, since I wasn't using it, he could fly my BGD Cure demo paraglider, and we ran the entire ten miles of cliffs to Sidmouth and back more or less together. Relative performance was very similar, the Cure having an edge on sink rate and the Malibu on speed. Good fun!




January 2018: There hasn't been much to write about this winter. I haven't flown at all in the UK, and it is easy to get depressed about that. But I did go out last week - and even got the glider to take off before ..... the rain started! And that is when I thought that my FlyMike winter suit has a rain hood hidden inside the collar. So, next time you want a really good flying suit you will know where to come. Let's hope that I get the suit into the air sometime soon.




LANZAROTE TRIP 2017

1.12.17: I'm just back from a flying trip to Lanzarote with Paul Leary and his merry band. It says a lot for these guys (2 x Paul, Darren, Steve and Niall) that they were very merry despite the fact that the flying was very ordinary. So much so that I haven't yet managed to find any good flying photos. Mind you, we did fly. I had four flights, which is four more HG flights than I have managed in the last five months in the UK! It has been a truly rubbish summer.

We did try quite hard, ignoring many of the other delights that Lanzarote has to offer (beaches, bikes, Manrique and volcanoes). The photo above shows Paul's van beating a path to a possible new take off. It would have been very flyable, but when we got to the top the wind was over the back.

Our trip started badly for me. The glider I was to borrow had a ripped sail, and when I went to fly another glider I elected to adjust the hang point. I really don't know why I did that, and to make matters worse I actually contrived to move it in the wrong direction. All this resulted in a glider trimmed miles too fast, resulting in a very unpleasant flight to the bottom landing. After that, things got slowly better, and by the end of the trip I felt almost current.

If the flying wasn't exceptional, the journey certainly was. Bright, warm weather on this most amazing island makes for a complete change from UK winters, and is thus really good for the soul. Thanks Paul!


Sand and Stone

16.11.17: I had five paragliders to service today, and two of them came with some unwanted baggage. One had been to the Dunes de Pyla, and I was able to get a pound of the finest French sand out in a few minutes. Another had been to a stony beach somewhere, and the trailing edge was holding the makings of a small rockery. Quite apart from being very bad for the sail cloth, a glider that is carrying such an additional load isn't going to ground handle as well as the designer intended.




Another Beer outing



1.11.17: After a week spent mostly preparing to the end of my financial year, it was really great to get out of the office on a pleasant day. Beer Head doesn't always give the conditions suggested by the weather forecast, so I took the Cure on the back of the motorbike, so as to be sure of getting some form of adrenaline-hit, even if it didn't prove flyable.


Actually, it was flyable all day, but did get a bit sketchy after about 3pm. Most of us flew to Sidmouth and back, with a few of the earlier arrivals crossing the Sidmouth Gap. Hazy sunshine illuminated the whole event, and it was gratifying to get some flying at this time of year - it is so easy to imagine this might be the last day for a while. Pictures to follow...




Phantom Progress

Several people are waiting for a flight report on the Phantom, but I haven't flown it yet. There was an issue with the flaps, which turned out to be a simple matter of a misplaced cord jammed on an adjacent pulley, and I'm waiting for a really good flying day at Woolacombe before committing aviation. I hope...


Clouds at Beer Head



14.10.17: Light wind, off the hill, heavy orographic cloud cover and no sunshine - it doesn't sound like the recipe for a good flight. But I took the BGD Cure along to Sidmouth and back, so it was actually rather good. There were two hangies and about six or seven paragliders flying, and we all had a lot of fun.




These photos are rather drab, aren't they? If you look closely there are hang gliders in each shot, and I rather enjoyed the trek down the ridge and back, glad I was flying a glider that would be easy to land if the wind dropped off, and easy enough to walk back to the car. I wouldn't have flown the whole ridge had I been on a hangie. At about 3.30 the wind did indeed die, and a couple of people landed out. Fortunately, I'd already top landed.






Dad of Soperman!

No sooner was the ink dry on my sponsorship contract with Jeremy Soper than he hit me with the biggest news in hang gliding - his Dad is learning to fly! Having watched his wayward son embark on his flying career, and helped to rig the glider often enough, Mr.Soper was already half way there. They went to France for his first lot of lessons. Now we know where Jezzer got his indomitable spirit....








9.9.17: I was invited to join the South Devon club's annual trip to Slovenia, and found myself in with a great group of guys. We had a good few days of flying, and although the weather wasn't epic, I enjoyed the experience immensely. The BGD Cure demo glider I took with me looked after me very well, and went really well, too. People kept remarking how great it looked, too. I didn't take any flying photos, so you'll have to make do with one of the holiday snaps with James and Tim, and one of a scenic take-off shrouded in orographic fog at 3000feet! We waited, and in the end all managed to get off through gaps as they came wafting through.






Sea Breezes

31.8.17: There was a chance of sea breezes at Bossington, and I really needed to get some airtime on the BGD Cure before the trip to Slovenia. But the weather was also ideal for a trip to the beach, or a bike ride - so should I take a chance on flying? In the event, I did all of them! Rode the bike to Bossy, didn't find any wind so had a flight to the beach. That was so cool - apart from the walk back to the top....






26.8.17: I just did a deal which involved me buying in an Aeros Phantom rigid wing. It seems like a good idea to try a rigid, because a lot of people love them. I have been totally loyal to my Litespeeds for 18 years, and it seems high-time to try to something different. It is going to be a few weeks before I can even get to rig it, let alone fly it, but I'm looking forward to the new experience.


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.




PARAGLIDING!!



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.




CLOUD SURFING



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.

 
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