Archive for the ‘Flying stories and experiences’ Category

Have you tried tow launching?

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

For those who get frustrated with the lack of breeze or just in the wrong direction,  lack of thermic activity, then here’s a way you can get paragliding anyway.

Track down an instructor who has a winch. Get down to an airstrip and get towed up and get some airtime in the off season.

There are a few things to learn, such as how to rig the tow bridle, how to tie the breakable link and arrange a suitable detach method. The only other inportant aspect is to keep straight on tow. Any launch-path deviation to the left or right will result in link breakage. Be sure to control the surge of the paraglider wing if the link breaks.

The winch driver needs to keep a close eye on the angle of attack of the paraglider wing.  To shallow and you wont get enough height, and too steep and you risk a stall.

All that stuff will be covered in your paragliding towing course.

Have fun.

Paraglider Ground Handling at the beach

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I live on the beachfront, so I have the advantage for pegging a flight at the right time.
Today was SW, but I noticed from my window an incoming squall. The tail end of a squall can be good because it can bring the direction more onshore and after the main squall has past, the rain has gone, and the wind dies but is often still strong enough for some dune flying.

I waited for the squall to pass, and sure enough the wind came in through my window, which faces SE. Off I go, across the road, to Shelly beach. Get the wing out, kite it up, turn around and crab backwards towards a dune, waiting for the moment I love, when I become weightless and levitate.
I feel my wing begin to lift me and take my weight, I step back a fraction toward the dune and I begin to float above the ground, easing on some brake to stop me flying forward, looking down at the sand as my feet levitate vertically. the wing begins to fly and move forward and I turn to go along the dune. I feel the gusts release then gently pull back the brakes, all instinctual now. A larger gusts comes and I gain height above the dune, the wind drops and I settle gently and perch on the top of the dune, wing hovering overhead waiting for the next gentle puff.
It comes and I hover along the dunes again, waiting for a larger gust so I can turn tightly and swoop the beach, my feet inches from the sand and then up and back to hover above the dune.
I love inland flying, and getting high, but this dune dancing, is something a longed to do as a child. To hover over dunes, go out and hover over the water, floating and levitating.
If any of you new guys have time to spend, take your wing down to a beach that has some dunes, small or large. And ground handle if it is possible. Or ground handle anywhere. Any time spent ground handling transfers to flight time. If you practice kiting your wing up, turning around and standing still while your wing fly’s above you. Then take the thing for a walk: forwards backwards, crabbing left and right. When this becomes instinctual, it feels like the wing is just another appendage. And then you can play on the dunes… if that is something that appeals. You can crab back to them, hop of them, fly for awhile. As you get better you can go in stronger winds and
do the hover. Playing with dunes, even just crabbing up and hovering down is all good top landing practice. It will make you a master of low flying, feeling your wing and responding instinctively.
As most of the danger in our sport is when we are close to the ground, these skills will pay off.

You don’t have to wait for the wind to be right to fly. You just need to find somewhere to ground handle.
> >
> > Bill.
A big Thank you to Bill, author of “Science of soul mates” and extreme Paragliding enthusiast for this little gem. visit http://www.scienceofsoulmates.com

February Frustration

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Ok it wasn’t the greatest month for paragliding.  I spent many hours looking at the sky, but not in it. Although I am in far northern NSW Australia, the weather reminded me of a warm winter in the UK. Wet and windy(not much fun in a paraglider). On the bright side, I got a new paraglider wing. Well not new, but new to me.  My Icarro Cyber 2 was getting a little porous, so Ive upgraded to a Swing Arcus 5. Ill post a review once Ive been for a fly. Hoping that will happen tomorrow. Cheers for now.

Manilla XC trip

Monday, February 1st, 2010

An impromptu trip to Manila by a few pilots has proven to be quite a blast. Saturday and Sunday were quite gusty on the hillside at launch and many pilots decided not to fly. For those on the ground there was great “entertainment” watching some of the visiting parapilots
battling the elements to launch!
For those who got off the ground, Saturday turned out to be an awesome day. Cloud base was not very high. few of us got over 6500ft. A few pilots who chose their track right travelled well over 200 klms.  The sky had some great cloud streets but blue
holes in between were large so the challenge was getting across  the
gaps.  Those that got  just a little higher  got across and found another climb on the other side. They managed about 250km for the day.

The air was very rough in parts but it was worth it for the distances covered.
Sunday looked like it would be rained out. It was heavily overcast with rain obvioulsy brewing. Again it turned out to be reasonable once we got away from Mount Borah. The cloud base was a low 5500ft. That made it tricky for first 30 k’s or so dodging scud showers with patchy lift.  This cut many flights short. Some pushed on and got over 100 klms. Those that reached Gunnedah found ample lift to carry on a bit further, but then the rain closed in.

Great weekend and location for experience.

A test of paragliding patience

Monday, January 25th, 2010

A quick trip down to Laurieton on the NSW mid north coast was a bit uneventful this weekend. The trip was to be a catchup with friends and of course an excuse to go paragliding. The latter was not to be as a big high pressure system sat directly over the flying site, creating unusual northerly conditions. That meant only a few sleddies for some tandem passengers as little or no lift was produced by the mountain, and takeoff was a little tricky due to rotor off the adjacent trees.
No flying for me this weekend. That fits squarely into the Parawaiting category. Bugger!