Sat, 4 Feb 2006

1Target 16 : Devil's Dyke (H) Duration: 00:15, Gain: 100 ft, Distance: 0 km, Very light, no other hang gliders, good nil wind in the bottom landing - flight was much better than I'd planned!

Devils Dyke

A new year and lots of motivation to get some hours up (I haven't clocked up nearly as much as I should have for the number of years that I've been flying; I guess that's the problem with a full-time job and only having the odd weekend free!

The weather forecast suggested a northerly wind but on the weak side. On the off chance I loaded my car and headed down to the Devils Dyke hoping that something may come of it! Driving down the A23 a few paragliders could be seen scratching around at take-off height! It wasn't looking promising! On arrival the air seemed still so it was time for a coffee in the pub! 15 minutes later I came to the decision to do a top to bottom - at least I'd get a few additional minutes logged and a chance to improve my nil wind landings (something that I did badly on my previous 2 flights!).

As the wind was smack on north, I carried my glider over to the bowl (past the fort) so I'd be able to take off into wind and make it to the north facing ridge without loosing too much height! It was then I realised that I'd forgotten my helmet and with that, any chance of flying! Fortunately Cara reminded me that I carried a bag of spare canoeing equipment in the back of my car and that bag contained a helmet! Sorted! I was now ready for my top to bottom.

The conditions were light and Purple Haze Paragliding School were out making a total of around 11 paragliders all floating around in the minimal lift. Full credit must be given to them all as they gave me plenty of room when I launched.

I was expecting a sled ride to the bottom so didn't attach my flight instrumentation - no beeps telling me that I was in lift! To my surprise I managed to stay up, making it all the way to the pylons and back several times. There was no way I was going to make it back for a top landing as each time I returned to the bowl I lost too much height. I wasn't bothered as I wanted to bottom land to see if I could do it without ballsing it up!

It wasn't long before I was out of the lift and on my way down to the bottom landing field (I think the wind had moved slightly east of north). As I commenced my S-turns to bleed of height I noticed a Red Kite (thanks to the SHGC Forum for helping me to identify it) in flight beneath me; fantastic!

It was now time to concentrate; bottom landing imminent. I had worked out that on my previous landings, I'd failed to climb up the up-rights enough, so I made a conscious effort to make sure I was truly in the up-right position this time. I was now skimming across the ground; should I flare? No, give it a bit longer; I can still feel the air strongly on my face. Getting quieter, quieter, FLARE! Up, up, gently down, landed!

It was only a prolonged top to bottom for me but I'd achieved and exceeded my targets for the flight! Previously I wouldn't have even bothered launching in such weak conditions (there wasn't any other hang gliders in the air, just me and 11 or so paragliders); there's a lesson there somewhere! To mark the occasion, whilst I de-rigged my glider I removed my red-ribbon! A great way to start 2006!

Flight Details

Flight TypeHill Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteDevil's Dyke
Launch Date/Time4 Feb 2006 / 00:00
Height Gain100ft
Flight Duration0h 15m
CommentsVery light, no other hang gliders, good nil wind in the bottom landing - flight was much better than I'd planned!

Flying Statistics to Date 4 Feb 2006

Total Hours :
13h 50m
Longest Flight :
0h 52m
Glider Models Flown :
2
Sites Flown :
8
Best Height Gain :
1,056 feet
Total Distance :
0.0 km
Max Distance :
0.0 km
Total Flights :
47
Hill Launches :
47
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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