The following entries are available for this year:
The night arrival night had hid the surrounding countryside from us, so when Monday morning arrived, we were surprised to find ourselves in a beautiful Spanish town, surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains. A quick trip into the local town of Padul sorted us with breakfast and presented Tim with an opportunity to rebuild his Aeros Target Hang Glider that he'd short packed to an amazing length of just 2 metres for the Journey to Spain. This was the source of considerable entertainment to the rest of us as Tim struggled to assemble the pile of metal tubes into something that resembled a hang glider. Matt generously aided in the process and before long a complete hang glider had been assembled.
The first trip of the day was to the bottom landing field of the nearest site, Padul, for an inspection and a quick brief about our flight and landing approach. The bottom landing field was an old disused micro-light landing strip about - a mile from our apartments. The landing strip was now a foot deep in crop, so we opted to use a small ploughed plot of land a bit further on.
The windsock was inserted in the centre of the crop before we left for the launch point that was 1500ft higher, and about ½ mile away as a crow flies. The trip to the take off was up a steep dirt track at the back of the mountain. John's prior scouting trip had ensured that we arrived at the top without making a wrong turn (something that John had done in a previous visit).
At the launch point our gliders were rigged in preparation for take off. The view was simply fantastic, and for most of us, this would our first truly high top to bottom. The launch point was somewhat daunting at first appearance. It consisted of a gravel slope around 20/30 metres long that concluded with a reasonable 1000 foot drop into the quarry below.
John prepped us with a simple flight plan: A good take off; turn to the left, and an easy glide to the landing field. Simple we thought, and we were all itching for our first flight! Somehow, Tim with the least flying experienced managed to be at the front of the queue and was the first to launch. A good launch, but hang on, didn't John say something about turning to the left and heading straight to the landing field? Tim commenced his first flight with an elegant turn to the right, heading towards the general vicinity of Padul, the opposite direction to the landing field! Fortunately Padul was a good source of lift and gave Tim the necessary height and time to correct his flight plan and head to the safety of the bottom landing field.
Eventually my turn arose and I found myself in take off position. Tony, my nose man dashed away when I instructed him to "release", and I was left with the glider on my shoulders and the freedom of the valley air in front of me. A deep breath and a hard run down the slope got the glider flying. I then pulled the bar in further, ran a couple of additional paces for additional airspeed before my feet left the ground and I was flying. As I entered the prone position the gravel slope slipped behind me and the ground suddenly fell away. There was now more than 1000 feet between me and the ground, this was it, I was flying the Sierra Nevada.
The glide was a simple top to bottom; however, it took the best part of 5-10 minutes to get down and land, well that's what it felt like! This was my first flight in 5 months and my first from such an impressive site, so I wasn't going to try anything ambitious! My landing wasn't perfect, having only just made it into the landing field (I didn't quite judge my glide very well), but I was down safely and raring to do it again! Simply Amazing!
|Flight Type||Hill Launch|
|Launch Date/Time||2 Apr 2001 / 00:00|
|Flight Duration||0h 15m|
|Comments||1500 ft. top to bottom! Bad landing, no height gain but a very high flight!|