Wed, 11 Jun 2008

1Target 16 : Devil's Dyke (H) Duration: 00:02, Gain: 3 ft, Distance: 0 km, A quick top-to-bottom at the Dyke, perfect landing in centre of landing square.

A Short Evening Sled Ride

Sat in my office I'd been monitoring the weather conditions carefully and had come to the conclusion that the Devil's Dyke would not sea breeze in the evening. There may be a chance to get a flight in after work before the forecast rain moved in. As usual, something came up at work and I didn't get away early. A mad dash back home on my bicycle followed and when I arrived I frantically loaded my hang glider and equipment on the car and headed to the Dyke.

As I drove southward on the A23 I looked across at the Dyke and was surprised to see no one flying, however, on arrival a few paraglider pilots were packing up as the conditions were a little strong (and they'd had a good afternoons flying). I hadn't flown in quite a while (11 months I think) so I was looking for nice smooth conditions for my first flight but the wind was currently gusting between approximately 5 and 18 mph (Wendy Wind Blows).

I spent the next 20 mins chatting and noticed the wind was now dropping. I decided now would be a good time to collect my glider from the car and rig. It was at that point I realised that during my frantic running around my house earlier I'd neglected to pick up my helmet! So that was that, all that time waiting for an opportunity to fly wasted because I'd forgotten my helmet. Ironically, at that time Jerry and Hazel (friends from the canoe club arrived; Jerry being a paraglider pilot). Jerry kindly offered me the use of his helmet and even a pick-up from the bottom landing field! Great! Whilst I rigged Jerry had a gentle float on his paraglider and when I was ready, he landed and kindly loaned me his helmet.

Launch time came and after a little hic-up of trying to raise the glider onto its A-frame before tensioning I was ready to go. Dave M. kindly assisted me to launch where I waited for the paragliders to clear. A launch window opened and I was off. The conditions were now light and all the paragliders were scratching very close to the hill. Apparently I did gain a little height after takeoff, but I knew this was a sled ride to the bottom landing field so didn't try to exploit what little lift there was.

A few beats of the ridge (the westerly spur only now) and I was now just above the trees so decided it was time to set-up my landing approach. The bottom landing was now in crop so the small landing area set aside was the only place to land. I decided to myself that this would be a nice challenge, land smack in the middle of it!

The Target is a lovely glider in that if you stuff the bar (pull it right back) it sinks like hell, probably with a 1:2 glide ratio; I'd try this on my ad-hoc accuracy landing challenge. Moments later my arms were locked with the bar somewhere around my upper leg area. The wind was howling and I was sinking, but I was moving forwards at a much increased speed skimming the crop as I went! Weeeeeeee!

I entered the landing area, still with the bar stuffed I moved one arm up onto the upright, slightly easing the bar forward. I could feel the energy draining from the glider now so moved both arms onto the uprights. I'd previously applied some of my kayak coaching into hang gliding and the thought of 'Markers' sprung to mind. My marker for landing was both hands on the uprights as close to ear level as possible. I shuffled my hands up the uprights! Head up and looking forward, the centre of the landing area approached, the glider's energy was draining, time to flare, up and out and a perfect landing on my feet. To say I was happy was an understatement! Perfect, I just need to do it again - Friday evening perhaps? Watch this space!

Flight Details

Flight TypeHill Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteDevil's Dyke
Launch Date/Time11 Jun 2008 / 00:00
Height Gain3ft
Flight Duration0h 02m
CommentsA quick top-to-bottom at the Dyke, perfect landing in centre of landing square.

Flying Statistics to Date 11 Jun 2008

Total Hours :
17h 09m
Longest Flight :
0h 52m
Glider Models Flown :
2
Sites Flown :
10
Best Height Gain :
1,056 feet
Total Distance :
0.0 km
Max Distance :
0.0 km
Total Flights :
56
Hill Launches :
54
Winch Launches :
2
Aerotow Launches :
0

Total Flying Statistics

Total Hours :
95h 58m
Longest Flight :
2h 25m
Glider Models Flown :
5
Sites Flown :
21
Best Height Gain :
3,000 feet
Total Distance :
67.9 km
Max Distance :
13.5 km
Total Flights :
286
Hill Launches :
156
Winch Launches :
106
Aerotow Launches :
24
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