Monday, June 30, 2008

A Winters Weekend At Home!

saturday 28th: Today was a Beechmont day with about 20 hang gliders and about 15 paragliders. The wind was a good 10-15knts early and many took advantage of the soarable conditions launching early. After some ridge soaring I went over the back of the hill low with Cam and Gabor and we were rewarded with a leighside thermal to base. We top up and start heading west toward the Kerry valley.

Gabor does a long glide dodging thermals and will soon land in the keery valley. Cam foolowed me and we climbed back to base before crossing the valley to mahomet. I got a good climb there but cam missed it and after 20 mins of scratching around he eventually landed at Laravale.

A wedgie is after me..

I was starting to get cold and now their were no more drivers heading west so I opted to start heading back towards launch. I did a detour up the kerry valley trying to stay slightly upwind for the glide back into beechmont into the wind. This worked well for a few thermals but then I ended up low in the O'reillys valley. I was then forced to head north down the ridge for some sun my last hope of lift to get me home. Sure enough I was rewarded with a 500fpm climb back to 4,500ft asl, this was enough to get me back to launch.

There were still lots of pilots on launch and some doing sled rides to the bomb out as the wind had dropped off. Leeroy then talked me into doing a face landing back on Beechmont launch. With a hill full of spectators and pilots I come racing into the steep slope and do a big roundout landing 2/3 of the way up the hill.

So I flew for 2hrs 30 mins and completed a 70km triangle on nearly the shortest day of the year in the middle of winter.

Sunday 29th: Today was a very light wind day which had everyone lost on where to takeoff to get up. Many of started at Beechmont then the group split and went 3 different ways. Leeroy took a few of the new boys towing as this was looking like the best option to ensure getting to cloudbase. There were a bunch of pilots setup on tamborine and then the rest of us went to Flying Fox launch.
I arrived on Flying Fox launch to see about 10 paragliders setting up, so I quickly grab my glider off the roof and set up.

Ant cranking up over O'reillys valley.

Enda was with me and he was flying his paraglider so he was setup and now running off the hill watching me stuff battens. He hits a good climb and starts skying out and soon I follow. Took off went right and went straight up to 5,000ft.
I was racing the Tambo guys to cloudbase so I call them on the radio to see how their going. I was informed that they were still standing on the hill waiting for a big cloud shadow to dissapear. The guys were now just starting to tow behind Leeroy and they will be the next ones to reach cloudbase.

Looking south from the tow field.

I flew over to Beechmont then back to Hincliff's launch then out to the tow field to meet up with some of the novices. I flew around with Joel and Tim for awhile near the chicken sheds before the left for their goal of Baudesert. I then flew to Tambo and past it north about 10kms towards Beenleigh under some convergence cloud. Some of the guys had launched from Tambo but none of them had escaped the Bombout field. A lot of them were packing up on the hill as I flew past at cloudbase.

Clearly you have to watch this..

Ant was going for a reflight after only flying about 5kms from the tow field. I decided to go back and join up with him for a late afternoon flight. We hooked up and flew south towards Witheren where there was some big cloud streets heading south. We managed to get a good climb and soon we were at 5,400ft enjoying the winters weekend. We continued south under the cloud for awile then turned around flew back to Hincliff's where my car was.

Cranking up at 5,000ft looking south from Witheren.

I had a great day out doing in total about 80kms and spending 4 hrs in the air. Joel flew to rathdowney on his sonic (40kms) and most of the others Novices apart from Ant landed at Goal Baudesert. This was awesome weekend of flying you just had to be in the right spot at the right time to take full advantage of our endless skies full of clouds.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pre Worlds

I believe the Pre Worlds start today over in Larange, France.
There seems to be about 100 pilots there including the current World Champion Atilla Bertok. If you want the latest information on what is happening there you can go to the official Blog HERE.
Or they have a website at

Here is a pic of launch from above looking north along the ridge

Sounds like there has been some carnage already in the test flying days with people not launching correctly. This is one site that you must get it right on or otherwise you might not be around to tell the story. I flew at this site in 2001 and was amazed on how good flying was and how many dust devils there were on launch. This will be where the most carnage will happen once the north winds kick in the dust devils are everywhere.
Keep checking the sites above as the action unfolds over in beautiful France.

Europeans are over.

Well a great result for Moyes taking out the top 4 places with Elio from Italy becoming the new European Champion. Congratulations Elio on a great performance over the 3 task that were held. For the full results you can check out the link below in my previous post.
Friday, June 13, 2008

Europeans Has started

Well the Europeans started 3 days ago and they have only flown one task so far. The task was 100kms long with lots in goal. Seemed from the results that it was quite a race day and once again the Litespeed RS showed it's true colours. Gerolf won the day ahead of Martin harry from Switzerland and Christian Vioblet 3rd. There were 4 Litespeed RS in the top 5 and and 7 in the t op 10. For the full results CLICK HERE.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cloud Nine

Well after a huge party night at Highland Aerosports it was time to leave and head off for Cloud nine. Ben Drove me to the airport in DC where I boarded my flight for Lansing. When I arrived in detroit my connecting flight had been cancelled due to extreme weather conditions.
I called Tracy from Cloud nine and he kindly offered to drive the 1hr 30mins to pick me up. Once he got me we headed back for the flight park straight into the biggest storm I have seen in a long time. I know could see why the flight had been cancelled to Lansing.

Test flying Jims RS 4 at Cloud 9.

We quickly turned on the radio to find out how bad this was going to be. They were calling for Tornado's and 110kph gust front with heavy rain. The front of the cloud looked awesome but unfortunately I did not have my camera as I was unable to get my luggage when I left the airport.
We soon were hit with the storm and had troubles getting home with tress down everywhere and across many roads. We made it eventually.
I arrived at their beautiful flight park and was welcomed by Lisa into their lovely house. Tracy and Lisa looked after me really well with home cooked meals and a guest house to stay in. This was absolute luxury after camping for the last 10 days in Maryland.

Coming in for a spot landing next to the hangar.

The next day Tracy and I went to Lansing airport to pick up my bags then returned home where I put 2 zoom frames on their new Litespeed RS's. The weather was still not good but I managed to get 2 quick flights in about 8pm when the wind died down and just before it started raining again.

Getting ready to fly tracy's RS 4.

I then had one more home cooked meal by Lisa and then Tracy kindly drove me to the airport at 4am to catch my flight back to LA.
If your ever in this area you should drop in for a fly as they have all the facilities one could ask for at a flight park. They cater for all levels of skill and have highly qualified instructors and tow pilots.
Sunday, June 08, 2008

ECC Last Day.

Today was looking better than previous days with thermals and some clouds. We decided on a 37 mile task to just short of the beach. The begining of the day was looking weak so we moved the times back 30 mins to allow for some more activity. I launched with Dustin right behind me and we climbed out in light lift.

It was so hot on the ground the dragonfly became the mobile airconditioner

I headed out toward the edge of the start circle with davis while dustin stayed back. We hit a climb but were to late for the 2nd start so had to hang out for the last start.
Dustin managed to climb up and start right along side me and we flew together most of the way. I kept trying to get away from him but with the light lift and lack of clouds apart from one obvious line which Dustin was flying under.

The line up waiting for some thermals.

About 20kms out from goal I did a long glide passing Dustin who had just hit a good climb to my left. I went through light lift on glide but knew I needed to get a strong climb to beat him so i kept charging along. It was when I got down to 500ft that I realised maybe I was not going to get the climb I was looking for and had to scratch in light lift to get back up.
I saw Dustin come over my head 2,000 ft higher and knew my comp was over.Here is a video of me explaining the situation as it unfolded.

There were about 15 pilots in goal with Dustin winning the day ahead of Sunny and me.Sunnny beat Kevin by a good 15-20 minutes so he should move into 3rd place.
Saturday, June 07, 2008

East Coast Championship Scores.

For the latest results of the comp CLICK HERE.

ECC Day 6

Well today was even worse than yesterday with a low cloudbase to start and then becoming blue. Davis towed first and hung in the air so we all towed up eventually. I towed to 2,000ft then slowly circled my way down to 1,300 ft and joined a huge gagle. We maintained our heights but the gaggle only got bigger as people towed in above and slowly sunk out. The smart thing was to go back and land and get retowed and head straight on course as this would be higher than you could climb. I landed and towed again as did nearly everyone except for some early ones and stubborn ones like Davis who just kept working the light lift before landing 2 miles out from the airstrip. I started with dustin and Kevin and we slowly drifted getting climbs of 50 fpm to 1700 ft. I got the furthest of us making 13kms with dustin and Kevin just behind. About 30 minutes later Mark and Linda came boating over our heads around 2,000ft. Here is a video from the start gate. I caught up with Mark winner of day 6!

Day 5

Well the weather fined up a little but the lift was weak all day. I towed up and released from the tow rope at 2,000ft agl and headed out toward the edge of the start circle. Here is me on tow behind Zac. Unfortunately I did not hit another bump and glided all the way to the ground and landed just inside the start circle. I quickly packed up as I watched teh whole gagle fly over me on course for goal. I went back to the airfield and decided to fly again and see if I could make goal the 2nd time around. I did a little better but still ended up landing about 20kms short of goal in a field with Davis. Aparently my 2nd flight will not count as there is no reflying unless you land at the airstrip, however this rule was brought in after day 1 when Davis reflew and then did quite well. I still would have lost the lead to Dustin,but would only be 2 points behind him right now which is still a lot as the weather is not good and there is only 2 days to go. I returned for a 2nd time to the airpark and did some test flying and a little bit of Dragonflying to finish off the day. I caught up with dustin for his winning interview.
Friday, June 06, 2008

ECC Day 5

After tornadoe hunting yesterday afternoon on the front of the storm it continued to rain.

In search of the tornado!

Davis is concerned about Belinda in the path of the tornado.

We ended up with around 5 inches overnight making the airpark into a wakeboarding field.

Here is our wakeboarding lake that formed overnight.

Smart campers staying on the high ground.

However the day is suppose to fine up and we have just set a 24 mile task straight downwind hopefully. As I write this it is still misty outside and the visibilty is very low.
Thursday, June 05, 2008

ECC Day 4

Well after lots of rain last night we woke up to somewhat blue skies. Unfortunatly the winds are still cross and the forecasst for thunderstorms cancel the day. Only 2 pilots turned up for the briefing and most pilots assumed that it would not be flyable. It turns out that we probably could have flown somewhere but thermals were light and only reaching 3,000ft agl. Would have been a low scoring day even if we flew I think.

Gliders awaiting good conditions.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A fun time.

Look what happens when Jonny arrives!!

As soon as the day was cancelled another task was still on. The task comittee decided on going to a local nearby railroad bridge where you could jump off 30 feet into the calm river below.

The crew watching from the bridge.

We had to walk through the poision Ivy and tick infested bushlands to reach the goal.

One of the many Ticks that were found.

Once there we enjoyed watching the endless entertainment provided by the pilots and crew.
The only other people we saw were a school load of kids going down the river in canoes. Below is a shot I took looking through the railroad sleepers at one of the passing bye canoes.

One of my favorites!!

Adam does a backflip off the bridge.

The crew watching the action.

When we returned from the River someone found this Luna Moth in the flight park.

ECC Day 3

With a 10-15mph SSW wind predicted we called a 41 mile task with two doglegs. However we can only tow in two directions here at the flight park so having the wind at 90 degrees cross at this strength the safety comittee decided to cancel the day.

The pilots wait for the decision..

JD Safety comittee member explains the situation to the camera.

Davis says the wind is only 15mph..

Why are we not flying it is only 90 degrees crosswind..

Interview with the champions.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ECC day 2 Dustin Wins..

After a hard day yesterday the task comittee decided on a shorter task of 65kms to try and get more pilots to goal. It was a lighter wind day with only a few wet looking whispy clouds floating past. It was a much easier day than expected and we actually got to start in a gaggle today of about 12 gliders. We raced to goal in slightly different courses and I ended up going the slow way. kevin and I split from the whole gaggle and went straight on course and was doing great before getting low and having to take light lift.

There are 14 gliders in this shot can you find them all?

Kevin was a little higher and headed off low and got a better climb which I did not get as well and he managed to catch up with Dustin. I followed low from behind and managed to reel them back in to within a couple of minutes. The day only got good on the last 2 thermals and the task was completed in 1hr.

Dustin is our champion today and this is what he has to say.

ECC Day 1

Climbing up above the airport with Sunny and Pete Lehman just below me.

Today was going to be difficult with lots of rain the day before and a crosswind task. The task was 87kms with one turnpoint and ending up near the coast at a small airstrip. I have decided to include a new feature to my blog which will be an interview with the Winner of each day. Task winner was somehow me beating Dustin, the only other pilot to make goal by nearly 1hr 30 mins.

Sunny hot on my keel at the start gate.

Jonny Wins Day 1

I talked to the owners of the airstrip and found they had some interesting things laying around. They do banner advertising up and down the beach at Ocean city which was only about 20kms away. Here are some of there toys they use.

Here is one of the toys the use for their banner advertising.

This car is from the 1930's I believe and was used in the Famous tv series called the Waltans in the 1970's.
Sunday, June 01, 2008

Storms welcome the ECC

Today was practice day and there was little of that going on. We woke up to sunshine and went for a nice breakfast in a small town called Greensboro. This is a town that you see in movies you walk in and everyone looks at you like your from Mars. It was quite funny and entertaining considering we had 4 different countries sitting at the table. We then returned to the flight park where we assembled our gliders and enjoyed the storms roll through. we then went for some lunch and walmart shopping before returning home for some water fun. There seems to be an endless supply of fun at this place when there is no flying. The scooter tow machine came out and the snowboard, I tried to resist the fun but could not handle it. So of course I had to give it a go. Here is a video of me carving through the pond next to the hangar.

On the way to the ECC.

I woke up early to make my 6am flight to Las Vegas where I was conecting to Baltimore Washington.When I landed in Las Vegas I walked into the terminal and saw nothing but pokie machines.. Here is a video inside the airport when I arrived.

I had some breakfast then boarded my flight to Baltimore for the East Coast Championships. Jamie and Nicole picked me up then we headed to the nearby Hotel 6 where ben Dunn had been waiting patiently for 2 days for a ride to Highland.

We had some space issues with Jamies car as there was lots of gear and little room so the top of the car became quite full with all our gear as you can see below.