Mon, 2 Apr 2001

1Calypso : Padul South (H) Duration: 00:15, Gain: 0 ft, Distance: 0 km, 1500 ft. top to bottom! Bad landing, no height gain but a very high flight!

Sierra Nevada - Day One

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.

Glider Assembly
Glider Assembly
Tim re-assembles his Aeros Target hang glider after short packing it for the trip out to Spain.
2 Apr 2001
The Road to Padul
The Road to Padul
While heading up to Padul to launch our hang gliders, we stop off to scope for potential landing spots for Padul's alternative launch direction that we may use later in the week.
2 Apr 2001

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.

Padul South Launch
Padul South Launch
A view of Padul's south launch from the bottom landing field. The quarry can be clearly seen by the gouge it's taken out of the mountain.
2 Apr 2001

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.

Padul South Launch
Padul South Launch
Our first launch site for the week, Padul's South launch.
2 Apr 2001
Padul
Padul
The town of Padul viewed from the southern launch site.
2 Apr 2001
Inspecting Padul's South Launch
Inspecting Padul's South Launch
Everyone carefully inspects Padul's south launch before returning to their gliders to rig them.
2 Apr 2001

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.

Padul Rigging Area
Padul Rigging Area
It's the first day of the Sierra Nevada trip and our first launch site is Padul. This is the launch area where our gliders are rigged and inspected ready for flight.
2 Apr 2001
Rigging Gliders
Rigging Gliders
Tony, Ozzie and Dave doing their final checks and attaching instruments to Dave's clubman before launching from Padul.
2 Apr 2001
Rigged Gliders
Rigged Gliders
All gliders rigged and ready for flight at Padul's south launch.
2 Apr 2001

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.

Ready to Launch
Ready to Launch
Dave ready to launch his Clubman hang glider from Padul's south launch.
2 Apr 2001

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!

Dan Launches
Dan Launches
Dan launches his Calypso hang glider from Padul's south launch.
2 Apr 2001
Looking Down on Padul's Quarry
Looking Down on Padul's Quarry
Roger had the only digital camera (they were not very common in 2001) and mounts it to the keel of his glider getting this great shot looking directly down on the Quarry at the foot of Padul's south launch.
2 Apr 2001

Flight Details

Flight TypeHill Launch
GliderAirwave Calypso
SitePadul South
Launch Date/Time2 Apr 2001 / 00:00
Height Gain0ft
Flight Duration0h 15m
Comments1500 ft. top to bottom! Bad landing, no height gain but a very high flight!

Flying Statistics to Date 2 Apr 2001

Total Hours :
3h 11m
Longest Flight :
0h 30m
Glider Models Flown :
2
Sites Flown :
7
Best Height Gain :
300 feet
Total Distance :
0.0 km
Max Distance :
0.0 km
Total Flights :
18
Hill Launches :
18
Winch Launches :
0
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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