Sun, 26 Sep 2010

1Sting 3:168 : Devil's Dyke (H) Duration: 00:26, Gain: 459 ft, Distance: 0 km,

Not a Good Day to Fly

After yesterday's flying and subsequent glider repair I wasn't overly enthusiastic about flying the Dyke on such a marginal day (there's a lesson in there somewhere!), however, the boys from Suffolk were coming down, so it would be rude not to join them!

Arriving at the Dyke there was only one pilot readying his glider - a distinct lack of local pilots! My impressions of the conditions were not overwhelming me to fly (12-25 mph) so I was happy to sit in my car sipping coffee waiting the arrival of the Suffolk boys. It didn't take long and after morning pleasantries, everyone started rigging their gliders.

Richard was first into the air and looked to be coping well with the fresh conditions. Meanwhile the rest of us noticed a beautiful rainbow heading in our direction. Recognising this as an inbound wedge of rain, I secured what of my glider I could and placed my harness in the car. It then began to rain. It didn't take long for Richard to conclude that he'd be better off on the ground and promptly top landed.

After the rain had passed, it seemed to freshen a bit and the wind felt a little more consistent. Paul, Chris and Will launched and looked to be doing well, but not really gaining that much height for the wind strength. Richard kindly assisted me to a launch area when, unexpectedly, the wind turned very lively. I struggled to control the glider and was very grateful having Richard on the nose wires. Twice I was lifted off the ground, but thanks to Richard, the glider remained firmly anchored at the nose.

Warning Richard that when I instructed release I would go for it straight away, I waited for what I hoped would be some consistency in the wind. Again, I was lifted from the ground but this time the glider felt more stable so I shouted "Release!". Richard, let go and rapidly extradited the vicinity. The glider started slowly penetrating forward then suddenly dropped. Already anticipating this I was ready and my feet connected with the ground enabling me to run and get the glider flying again. This repeated two more times before the glider was at a safe height, but still being jostled around in the sky. This wasn't fun and something in my left elbow was really starting to hurt.

Once away from the hill, with the exception of the odd hole here and there, the air was a little more stable, however, when in closer to the hill I had to expect the unexpected. On more than one occasion my glider was suddenly turned towards the hill requiring significant weight shift authority to counteract. After one too many of these encounters I headed away from the hill, pushing out to the road - another first. To my surprise, the glider climbed and once over the road I was 300 feet higher than I was when I left the hill! Very strange! Two 360's later took me back to the ridge where I joined Will for a quick beat along the ridge, after which I headed back over the road again. I climbed again, but not quite as high.

The pain in my left elbow was now getting unbearable so I decided to bottom land. I can't remember how many beats back and forth I made across the field trying to lose height but eventually I felt I was low enough to start my approach and land. To my horror, the glider wasn't sinking. I managed to overfly the entire length of the field, probably only losing 10 fit in the process. At a height of around 40 feet I was seriously running out of room, then, just as I was about to run out of field something lifted the nose skyward. Practically kacking myself, I stuffed the bar to my knees. The glider responded by entering a deep dive towards the ground. Moments before impact I pushed out hard and the glider landed on its wheels dragging me along beneath it before it came to rest. Never before had I been so happy to be on the ground!

Fortunately the landing was remarkably gentle and the glider undamaged. It was only when I attempted to lift the glider to carry it to the de-rigging area that I noticed I had a problem. My left arm was completely lame and in a lot of pain in the elbow area. Something very similar had happened to me in Mendlesham earlier in the year and I'd put it down to the effort required to pull the sail webbing over the ends of the LE's when rigging from short packed. This resulted in a tear in my elbow tendon (tendinosis), and I think I'd just done it again.

With the help of Paul (who'd driven down to collect me), I was able to pack up my glider and head home. In hindsight, today was probably a day not to have flown.

Flight Details

Flight TypeHill Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteDevil's Dyke
Launch Date/Time26 Sep 2010 / 00:00
Height Gain459ft
Flight Duration0h 26m
Comments

Flying Statistics to Date 26 Sep 2010

Total Hours :
39h 03m
Longest Flight :
1h 15m
Glider Models Flown :
3
Sites Flown :
17
Best Height Gain :
2,508 feet
Total Distance :
7.0 km
Max Distance :
7.0 km
Total Flights :
164
Hill Launches :
85
Winch Launches :
79
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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