Friday, 7 August 2009

25km from Coombe Gibbet

Tom Kane and Carlo Borsattino Skywalking

I managed a 25km flight (with turn points) from Coombe Gibbet today in what I thought were quite tricky conditions. It was all a bit scratchy at first but I finally managed to climb out with Tom Kane to a pretty low cloudbase of around 3700ft. We had three climb&glide cycles (one of them a very low save) before finally decking it. I landed in an organic farm and one of the owners drove me to the train station in Whitchurch; he seemed to know quite a lot about paragliding and was obviously used to gliders landing in the area. Some other Thames Valley pilots did better so it'd be interesting to see what gets put up on the league.

Tom Kane on glide

Sunday, 2 August 2009

32km from Rybury

Kirsty Cameron at base high over the Wiltshire countryside.

There was a sudden break in the atrocious weather today so I went to Rybury for a fly. It was quite busy with people skimming this tiny hill but I managed to climb out with Kirsty Cameron and avoid the chaos. Briefly at the roughly 5000ft cloudbase there were three of us circling; there was Kirsty on her Skywalk Poison-2 and Chris Jones (I think) on an old Nova Mamboo. We all went on glide in different directions no doubt each with their own tactics in mind. Mine was to fly to a nice looking cloud that I thought was building but was rewarded with nothing much. So I continued on a glide towards Hungerford hoping for some lift from the town but got a lazy climb before I got there. Whilst climbing in weak but usable lift I noticed Kirsty circling high in the distance and Chris and another glider climbing well underneath her. I thought they were reachable on glide from my position so I broke the cardinal rule of never leaving lift and went on what turned out to be a death glide towards them. I hit major sink along the way and that left me with very little height to work with when I did hit the bottom of their climb. I ended up landing and watching them glide in to the distance. It was a bad decision and I should have stuck with my climb and got on with my own flight instead of trying to join the others. Kirsty ended up flying to Reading for 65km or so, nice. Still my little 32km was a nice flight with some great views over the Wiltshire countryside.
As usual I landed at a nice pub! I watched paragliders fly overhead whilst having a pint in the sunshine, not so bad I guess.

The pub with paragliders overflying me!