The following entries are available for this year:
Well, it's been a long time coming but I finally managed to get my first flight of 2007 in!
The weather forecast was suggesting Bo Peep as a possible flying site with strong NNE winds. I was half expecting it to be too strong for my humble Target Sky Floater, but I'd do the journey and hope for the best; besides, the weather-man said the wind would ease off and blow more from the east later in the day. 45 minutes later I was sat in a traffic jam on the eastbound A27 and watched a car loaded with two hang gliders pass in the opposite direction (had I chosen the wrong site?). I pressed on at an amazing 2 mph until the traffic jam eased and I arrived at the Bo Peep takeoff.
I could see one glider flying, a few more sat on top of car roofs and a couple partially rigged. The wind was strong and to my surprise, it was a little bit off to the north. After chatting with other pilots and assisting one to takeoff (Nick), I unloaded my glider and rigged. Everyone was now in the air or had retreated to the warmth of their cars so launching was now a solo attempt!
Note: For those that know the Target hang glider well, it's quite lively in stronger conditions so you can imagine the fun I had clipping in and doing a self hang-check.
After some stumbling and fumbling I was ready to launch. The glider was practically flying when I took my first step, but I pulled the bar in and ran it down the slope to get as much airspeed up as possible before launch. In previous Bo Peep launches, I'd launched into some horrible lumpy bits of air, so additional airspeed was my contingency should this happen again.
The only launch event was a loud twang from my right side wire as its cleat straightened when it loaded - you can see that in the accompanying video (the bit when the camera wobbles). Note: must check and straighten those on future pre-flights.
The flight then consisted of beats back and forth along the ridge, turning in lift trying to max my altitude. To my surprise, I could only get to around 200 feet above takeoff. There were two others flying with me and I think they we all achieving similar altitudes.
I then set myself a task - stay up for over an hour! After forty minutes of a bumpy up/down flight I thought I was going to achieve the hour, then... I started sinking. I was now too far out, quite a long way east of takeoff and below ridge height! I started heading back towards takeoff but realised I was going down faster than forward. I wasn't going to make the first bottom landing field. That left the one below me, deep in crop! I looked forward and realised that the other side of the field had been seeded with a different crop and this looked much shallower. That's where I'd land!
On my landing approach I realised the crop was a little deeper than I first realised (2-4 feet in places) so I lined up with the tractor tracks that were orientated very slightly cross wind. I then flared (a little higher than normal because of the crop) and parachuted down into the crop. My right wing was slightly raised bringing me down a little heavier than I'd have liked, with the glider landing on the left wheel and me on my feet!
After unclipping, I carried the glider to the side of the field via the tractor tracks. I then dropped the glider; half packed it up and headed on foot back to takeoff, to recover my car and glider bag.
EDIT: The video has now been removed from YouTube - it really wasn't that interesting!
During this flight I was trying a video camera set-up; the results of which are on YouTube. The camera was mounted on the right upright so I could re-orientate it in flight to get a varied selection of views. Unfortunately, during my first re-orientation of the camera, the battery detached ending any more in-flight video. Shame really as I could have bored you with the entire 45-minute flight! Still, you get to see my takeoff!
From a safety point of view, I had been paranoid about things dropping from the camera so I made a little neoprene bag for the camera to sit snugly inside. Although this probably contributed to the camera battery detaching, it prevented me from loosing valuable camera bits. The camera was secured to the glider primarily with a Zoot Camera mount (which I managed to loose afterwards!) and a secondary safety leash.
|Flight Type||Hill Launch|
|Glider||Aeros Target 16|
|Launch Date/Time||28 Apr 2007 / 00:00|
|Flight Duration||0h 45m|
|Comments||Strong wind, solo launched, mostly ridge lift with broken thermals passing through, bottom landed in crop some distance away.|