South West Wales Soaring Club

Pilot Blogs => 2017 Pilot Blogs => Topic started by: Vivien Biro on January 19, 2017, 19:08:34 PM

Title: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on January 19, 2017, 19:08:34 PM

19th Jan. Abernant. A clear and chilly day, wind bang on the hill, we launch around 1400, NickR SteveJ PeterL AaronB, and some kites all swoop gleefully up and down the ridge, gaining height with every beat in the brisk updraft. Away from the surface it's smoother, but I struggle to penetrate in front of the hill, so practice climbing at the ends eventually getting above the trigpoint. After 30 mins I see our clear blue day has become grey and overcast with the attendant temperature drop that occurs when the sun goes in. A nice start to the new flying year, a quick blast round a local site to shake the creases out, followed by cake!
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on March 10, 2017, 15:53:02 PM
9th March. Seven Sisters. I only intend to groundhandle but a little gust plucks me off the hillside, I edge along the lip to the bowl, not wanting to push out in case I fall out of the liftband, and in a few beats gain enough height to push across to the cliff along to the shoulder, and back to launch, a few more beats and as the wind drops so do I, ever lower until touchdown by the car, where the flask of tea awaits. 15 mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on March 16, 2017, 11:45:08 AM

15th Mar. Nant-y-Moel. The gate being locked on arrival, me and NickR trek up the nicely maintained track and find half a dozen already aloft or trudging up the slope in light wind. My first flight here as a member of SEW is a few beats either way, further along the cliff behind the trees than before, and up to the gully. A lull dumps me on top, I relaunch and join the circuit across the gully towards the new masts, scratching back along the front in the narrow liftband I avoid pushing out as I have already walked up from the gate today. Several beats later the wind drops and we all land and pack up. Polish Andy donates part of his lunch, and it's good to see Quin, Vic and Binksy. 2 flights, 20 mins. Our bags are chivalrously borne downhill and we enjoy a rare stroll down, unburdened by kit.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on April 06, 2017, 20:30:09 PM
6th April. Fan G. An all day parawait in a blue hole, with 4 beats and a top landing until 4pm when a decent gust hooks me off and I climb over the gully, decide to do a couple more beats before heading to the layby where I left the car, but lose height with every beat despite scratching as near as I dare over the rocky face, Nick on radio exhorts me to turn out but I can't hear the rest, so I try and catch an updraft from the lower slopes, and land nicely by the fence and road, this saves me from a soggy bottom landing and I am so pleased that I don't mind the walk to the car, however Nasher is my Sherpa today and his van is a smart retrieve to the lower layby. 2 flights, 15 mins airtime, a sunset pint in the AB.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on April 13, 2017, 20:30:04 PM
13th April. Fochriw. After  a drive with Nick to Seven Sisters where the wind is off and light, he heads for Fochriw, as we are both members, and see several up on approach. No faffing around groundhandling as it's quite gusty, just wait for a lull and push off, and I enjoy a half hour of exploring the hill, climbing to good height at the ends, following the wrinkles in the terrain, the wing feels rammed today, avoiding the half dozen or so other pilots but shadowing their flight paths in a circuit back and fore, high and low, in and out from launch, and landing in a lull down the hill. I am chilled and the sun has not broken through the grey undercarriage of cloudbase, until we are on the road home.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on April 17, 2017, 18:54:32 PM
17th April. Hundred House, a delightful hill in South East Wales, and the BCC competition is on! At first the wind is a bit off the hill and gusty, so I leave the bag on until a shower passes to the west, the bolder souls launch and climb up and away, a second gaggle, then a huge third cylinder of pilots clear the deck and after a practice inflation or two I push off and cruise the top and front of the slope, cautiously circling here and there, getting nice height at times, not enough to leave the hill though, there is plenty of airspace for all who remain, and I land in a lull, groundhandle some and launch again for another few beats. With the vario still in the bag after charging it up, there is no audible prompt and I feel somewhat buffeted about. The clouds thicken and darken, so I topland and stroll down to await the champions. 2 flights. 30 mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on April 23, 2017, 19:30:29 PM
23rd April. Merthyr. A brisk day, as it warms up I am keen to launch before it gets too strong, and join the early birds for a long into-wind beat and back again, the sun goes in and I sink along the ridge, scratching too near the rocks, I push out and sail up to the end to land out by the path and bless my lightweight kit as I walk back up. 5 mins. After that it's too windy to launch, the team has done well in the BCC, and we got back safe.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on April 30, 2017, 15:24:12 PM
28th April. Hay Bluff. A few gliders in the air as me and Nick walk up, he chivalrously dumps his kit at launch and comes to help with mine as I am a few minutes behind. They all land while a shower passes by, and everyone gets airborne when the sun comes out again. It's so huge we can all spread out, the wind is slightly off the hill and into wind it's very buoyant and we gain nice height, downwind is faster than usual so I swoop out over the track to see if it's smoother away from the face, and stay up for a good half hour, until dark clouds loom again and I am chilled without my ski pants on so I land accurately with a constant aspect approach missing the gorse. I have exceeded my personal best at this site, as Paraventure brought me here for training. A diversion to the campsite where the hang gliders are massing for their comp concludes a great day out.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 03, 2017, 13:56:10 PM

2nd May. Ebbw Vale. Another SEW site to broaden my horizons, ChrisD drives us to launch where it's a short walk through the heather to the front of the hill where there is no bottom landing. I wait for a lull as it's blustery with thermals popping off and the middle of the day, Chris launches with a sprig of lucky heather dangling from his lines, and goes on to exceed his pb! I go in a lull and am up and down like a yo-yo, climbing here and scratching there, turning in any lift, along to the high point and back, pushing out in lift and gliding back in sink, nice height but blown back over launch while trying to cross the bowl to the right, and land ok but am tugged off my feet while collapsing the wing, pulling out a reserve pin from it's side mounting. SteveJ arrives and is soon up and away with NickR, I wait for conditions to improve but the expected pre-front gusts are somewhat top-end for me, as I am now alone on the hill I pack it in and go for a drive round the valleys in Chris's car. 20 mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 07, 2017, 21:29:53 PM
7th May. Forest Fields. A lift with PeteL to the comp with NickR, great to see the tractor to carry up kit to launch, I launch after the main gaggles have left, and have a lovely long t.t.b. to the campsite and go on retrieve carefully in Pete's car to Heol Senni where they have landed. Well done team. !0 mins airtime.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 10, 2017, 12:04:42 PM
9th May. Pontlottyn. A bright and chilly day. We parawait until the clouds dissipate, I launch in a lull, bimble along to the high point and back, and touch down as SteveJ arrives. I spend the afternoon watching everyone wrestling with their wings and flying intermittently. Too lively for me, Norris and Karl, Phil gets to grips with his new wing, and Nick pilot of the day returns from a triangle. 5 mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 30, 2017, 16:08:51 PM
22nd May. Lijar, Algodonales, Poniente.  Smooth launch in a warm thermal gust, wafted up in moments and with Fred's encouragement on radio am thermalling to massive height and joining the first launchers above, who then push off on XC. I am pinned above the spinebacked ridge in turbulent strong air, and after a little wing tip collapse I push out over the valley to the foothills in front of the hill, and find myself amidst several vultures, follow them and boat about until I am in reach of the bullring landing field, where it is buoyant enough for me to pick a nice constant aspect landing, keeping an eye on the windsock which goes limp as I make it over the fence with feet to spare. 2nd launch slightly clumsy as I slip on the loose stones and lean into my seat early, scraping my harness over the bushes below in lighter wind, again I go up and out, admiring the fine cobwebs in my lines, good height but with nobody nearby to cross the summit with, eventually land at the bullring again. Must sit back in harness and keep brake pressure on to avoid collapse. Fantastic first day, 2 hours at a guess.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 30, 2017, 16:30:58 PM
23rd May. Lijar, SW launch, very shallow and stony, I wait til most have launched, Gron into a tree, and despite strong gusts launch after several attempts and finding a huge rock in my cells which Stu kindly extracts from my butthole (!) and a big slide down the slope. Take a while to penetrate into clear air out front, head over to where others are circling, lovely 360 degree views over the whole vista as I gain height, push around the corner and sink forever after, despite application of speedbar, touch down 2 fields away from the landing zone, but nearer to the bar. Luckily a Swiss girl who knew Stu from last year is passing and takes me to the bar, where the others join us, Fred flying down and landing closest. 30 mins perhaps.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 30, 2017, 17:11:35 PM
24th May, too windy so some go kayaking, my first time and super fun, feel all pumped up and ready for more flying on 25th at Poniente. 1st flight smooth launch and as I push out into the valley I see vultures above and kites below me in a huge rising cylinder of warm air, I work it with more confidence than before but still don't leave the hill, ping off the end into sink to join Gron who has landed in an olive grove, I choose an adjacent field of wheat where the wing rests on top of the crop with no damage. 8 km. 2nd flight even better, when I reach orbit I push out ahead aiming for Puerto de Serrano, as I approach the last range of hills to cross I hit the convergence line, feeling pinned I turn back from the rocky steep slopes to find a nice big field to land, one final thermal has me circling upwards briefly and the drift takes me to a handy layby on the main road for retrieve, where I amuse myself with Nick's finger kite for a hour until I am rewarded with my first can of Cruzcampo. 7 km perhaps. 2 hours I imagine.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on May 30, 2017, 17:31:55 PM
26th May. Poniente. Slightly cloudy, I end up in the white room briefly, and finding it turbulent and disorientating I get out and get down, missing the power lines at the bullring and landing in the field behind the landing zone where I pack up in the shade of a huge old tree. We go to El Bosque for our final flight of the week, where Fred, Ray and I are the only three to spot land on the marker in the landing zone. 1 hour at least. This has been the best holiday ever, the guides pleasant and helpful, our hosts held a fantastic party on the first and last nights, the food in the cafes plentiful and inexpensive, my best personal achievements yet this year, and the camaraderie of seeing everyone I know doing what we enjoy. Sheer bliss.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on June 14, 2017, 12:21:32 PM
13th June. Merthyr. A light wind day with regular thermals rolling up the slope when the sun shone intermittently. My first inflation folds up tips to middle and I abort, patiently building my wall and waiting for the right part of the cycle, a smooth launch at 14.30 into a lovely warm air updraught, I push out away from the rocks, turn on my vario and climb with the bleeps, remembering to lean right back in my harness and weightshifting tightly as the tone rises, I look up to see a piece of sheeps wool wrapped around the C and D lines at the very top, resulting in a crimp in the trailing edge which I cannot dislodge despite thermalling the opposite way and using my brake to keep the pressure on to avoid tucks. I stay in front of the hill in the lift band but it is the thermals which rocket me up to terrific height, I can see Steve Millson training students on the ridge behind and I am so high I could glide to there. NickR urges me to join him over the back, but as I am still climbing I am unwilling to leave my bubble, the next time I look he is below me and coming back to try and catch my drift. Not sure whether to go downwind with my woolly crimp in place, I dither and lose it, as the thermal breaks off I find myself in sink and despite boating around trying to find another bubble of rising air I eventually land nicely back at launch. My hands are trembling with adrenaline, this is a rare occurence to gain such height, the lessons learned in Algo have proved effective. I have a cuppa and smoke to pull myself together, but the sea breeze has pushed right up the valley and the sky has become dark and grey, the clouds blocking thermals from forming and releasing. The tandems are slope landing but the wind increases so I pack up and go for a quickie with Martin Cray, he is filming for The One Show with a buzzard he has rescued. We slope land too and trudge up. The clouds dissipate and it turns out really nice for the evening. I have fun with the finger kite while Nick packs up and he drives me home. 30 mins solo, 10 mins tandem.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on June 18, 2017, 07:33:33 AM
17th June. Rhossili. The heatwave is upon us at last, a day by the sea is in order. It takes twice as long to travel there due to traffic. I espy 6 up as I approach, negotiate the new car park and walk up to see the usual faces. Wind slightly southerly so I keep out in front and enjoy a good boat about in strengthening wind, top landing after several passes at the pimple and getting hoovered up each time. The wind shuts off around teatime, I make my way home observing the speed limit on the Gower, to the annoyance of several overtaking cars whom I then catch up at the edge of the common. It is so hot that the sheep are basking in the draught from the passing cars. 2 hrs.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on June 18, 2017, 23:18:32 PM
18th June. Fan G. A good crowd congregates at the lay-by and we go to the south end to parawait, groundhandle and observe conditions. All around are beautiful clouds forming but above us only a blue hole. Some lob off and land within moments, all watching Nick R who calmly enjoys his lunch on the lower shelf which is less stony and flatter than where the rest of us are perched slightly higher up with a steeper drop to funnel up the hot air which at the hottest part of the day is chugging strongly. My lightweight wing is a boon to carry but I cannot withstand the hoovering at it's strongest, so I build my wall close to the edge and launch as soon as I feel the tug on my lines. I have timed it just right and am buzzing like a bee in the narrow liftband, flinging myself back and fore, going down out front and scratching back up, pushing in and out to seek the invisible bubble which takes me up, earning a round of applause from all the watching pilots.Land nicely back at launch. Then I blow it on my next go by circling too near the top of the hill behind launch which drops away from the lip and catches me in rotor. I touch down and am dragged as the wing collapses, tangling the lines as I go. By the time I have sorted it Nick has left the hill, a feeble crackle on the radio letting us know that it's very windy aloft and then he is a speck on the horizon.  The more confident pilots also go XC. I decide to wait it out for a calmer evening flight, but the sea breeze advances up the valley and the few who remain call it a day, lured away by Fathers Day commitments. 10 exciting and active minutes. A boomer. 2 flights. A nice hug from CD makes my day.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on June 21, 2017, 08:47:39 AM
20th June. Merthyr. A blastingly hot day, I bungle my inflation and miss the best part of the cycle, launch as the bubble is breaking away and am left to scratch along the top, unwilling to push out over the steep slope with no bomb out area, and touch down in sink as Nick takes the gift and goes over the back. My reserve pins have come out and by the time it's sorted I am alone on the hill. I pack up despondently and prepare to retrieve Nick, who is lost to view. A crackle on the walkie talkie reassures me of his return, but the wind is too strong by now, sea breeze approaching and towering cumuli put me off, and I am overheating in my plastic overtrousers. I amuse myself with the finger kite, rehydrate and sunbathe with cream on until he lands. We depart swiftly as some yobs chase sheep and crash their car in the ditch. 5 mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on July 02, 2017, 20:12:45 PM
2nd JulyLlanddewi Brefi.  NR picks me up to meet CD and we have a nice drive out to a different site. One pilot is there when we arrive, others soon congregate. Wind is light but thermals regularly blast through. Some slope land, I resolve to groundhandle for a while.  I am just behind the lip of the hill and have an inflation, nicely keeping the wing aloft and stepping under the centre for a moment, when a strong gust plucks the land from under my feet, so I push out, lean into harness and scratch for a few beats back and fore, turn in any thermals, gradually widen my beat to allow others to launch from the narrow hill, spot CD out and high and follow his lead, the thermals are intermittent and the lulls lead to a hurried return to the launch area, I get above the trees and push out again, my vario telling me when to tighten my turns, eventually I hit sink and am too far out to make it back to launch, as I am halfway down the hill I head for the landing area. This has been fenced in half and to avoid the sheep I land in the adjacent field. The farmer is there after seeing Rhun land earlier and is quite adamant that we should land by the sheep and not in the lovely meadow of freshly planted hay beside it. I was planning to groundhandle there so I apologise and try to head off Anna as she too joins me in the meadow. Profuse apologies flow from us both until his wife allows us to pack up in the corner and await retrieve from Aaron. Back on launch the breeze is noticeably cooler, mutterings about seabreeze from the experienced pilots do not daunt us and we go again, this time I plop out of the liftband and head to the correct landing area, buoyantly confident of gliding straight there, but as the last gasp of the thermal breaks off I sink horribly towards the power lines along the road, and opt to land in the sheeps field before the road instead. Aaron's t.t.b. takes him to the right field and Anna retrieves us both once I have found the gate to exit the farm. 3 beautiful peahens strut and squawk as I try to slink out unnoticed, which sets the dogs off, the sheep fuss as I pass, and back on launch the boys are calling it a day. Nice to be retrieved for a change, and CD treats us to icecream on the homeward drive. 2 flights, 25mins.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on July 10, 2017, 14:35:08 PM
9th July. Merthyr. The BCC is on and I am drafted into the team due to only 6 pilots from SWWSC being there early enough. I have no tracklog equipment, just a vario and radio. Wind is light and off the hill, we watch as the first gaggle slope lands, clouds are deep and grey for 70% of the sky, by about 1pm the wind pulls round intermittently and NickR and others get away, I launch and blatt back and fore along the ridge, unwilling to push out over the bracken and to avoid the walk up from any bomb-out I land after 10 mins of light wind soaring. As the afternoon passes the windsock oscillates like the heads of Wimbledon spectators, I go again and widen my flight path, gain some height and land in a lull back on launch. I resolve to groundhandle for a while, and as the sky clears of the grey I tiptoe off the edge for a massive flight under the biggest of the cu-nim it's sucky and I keep a firm hold on the controls as I go into orbit, head for the blue areas in the hope of calmer air and wish I had more than a fleece on, there is opportunity to leave the hill but I am cold and have to speedbar down to land again on target and despite collapsing the wing immediately am pulled off my feet in the now strong breeze. I avoid a drag by heaving on the C's on one side. I pack up and prepare to meet Nick with his car in the town, and watch as Mutti, a red ribbon pilot, launches and is carried away over the back at great height. 1.5 hrs, 3 flights.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on July 13, 2017, 17:42:07 PM
12th July. Pandy. Nick takes us to Hay Bluff with the intention of doing a triangle with Aaron but it's overcast and too windy so we do Pandy instead. Aaron leads the way with PaulY and I follow, with Nick launching as rearguard, with radios to keep us all in the loop. However all the best laid plans are liable to change, like the weather. For me it's turbulent at the hottest part of the day and although I take advice from Nick to push away from the hill where I am somewhat pinned, into the sunny part of the valley, thereby gaining massive height at high speed, he is soon above me. I espy a farmer cutting hay and head over to catch the guaranteed thermals, but the air is lumpy and I edge further up the valley. A lull has me rushing for the hillside before I get too low, and manage to scratch up avoiding the trees, but never recover my previous height, as I turn I see Nick hugging the ridge, and when I push back out and sink again I target a newly mown hay meadow for a successful landing and chat to the farmer. By the time I pack up and hitch back with the original owner of the parking field Nick has driven down and we ascend to try another flight. Nick launches and goes straight to the landing field, by the time I have retrieved him the clouds have blocked the sun and the wind is light and off the hill. The evening restitution does not happen, I wait in harness to Alpine launch when the sock comes round, until the face of the hill is in shadow and the sock confirms that the air has gone katabatic. Other pilots who arrive after us call it off, and we enjoy a pint in the Skirrid Arms, Wales' oldest pub, before I trudge off to work. 1 hour.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on July 18, 2017, 17:24:53 PM
16th JulyRhossili. It's too windy for my lightweight Gin so I volunteer to be Nick's passenger so that he can get some hours in.  Dave is there with his hang glider and acts as anchor. All three of us are dragged as a gust snatches the wing, no damage. We launch successfully and enjoy a scratchy boat about mostly behind the campsite, then return for a smooth landing utilising the qwik-outs. 45 mins. Followed by plenty of parachat and a lovely pint in the Rake and Riddle, a microbrewery that used to be a Chinese restaurant called the Sea Garden. Rakes and riddles are tools used in harvesting cockles which was a large industry hereabouts in days gone by.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on July 18, 2017, 17:47:03 PM
17th July. Heol Senni. Nick urges me to launch before it gets too windy, and I am on the deck in light wind within 5 mins. By the time I pack up and walk up again he has left the hill but there are other pilots now present so I feel confident of launching again. I try to launch in a lull as the wind has increased as forecast, but the lines drop over my head and I need to unharness to detangle. A strong gust picks up the whole kit and had I not been holding one brake it would have gone over the wall behind. Nasher comes to my aid and eventually I launch and stay up, thermalling up where possible, sinking in the lulls, finding it difficult to push far out from the hill, somewhat pinned, and as I line up for a top landing am taken by the drift behind the wall and dumped in rotor. Nasher checks I am ok then launches to join the others, and by the time I pack up they are all out of sight. I am stuck behind the wall for ages until a latecomer, Colin, sees my plight and lends a hand. 30 mins. Nick texts to say he is at home,so I collect the windsock and head downhill. After 2 walkups my feet ache in my hot boots so I roll the gliderbag off the edge and stroll down unencumbered. The road up is now open so I go home the short way.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on August 08, 2017, 08:47:55 AM
7th August. Rhosili. After a hard day's work I am delighted to see on Telegram that the weather has cleared enough to offer a flight here. I gleefully trot up the hill with my lightweight kit, seeing Nick in the air and Steve Milson doing tandems, and Glyn, a new member on red ribbon. I plant the windsock in the gorse at the front of the pimple and decide to go from there as the wind is top end as mentioned on Telegram. I launch successfully on first inflation, and Nick pushes me off. I enjoy 1 hour 15 mins, venturing over the campsite at height, staying out front the whole time, terrific views up the Loughor where I worked earlier, over the sea to the cliffs, the tide is in so there is no beach to land on, slow progress and nice height the whole time, over the village for a nice constant aspect approach to land accurately as the sky darkens with incoming weather, by the time we pack up only Ben is up, Glyn has landed in the ferns and I snigger, fondly remembering my own follies as a new pilot. We savour a pint of Gower Gold in the congenial atmosphere of the King Arthur.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on August 11, 2017, 10:26:21 AM
10th August. Fan G. Going the long way round due to road closure, and a diversion to see if Seven Sisters is on, Nick and I arrive for a late lunch while assessing conditions and after he tests the air I push off after some groundhandling, beating back and fore and top landing when a helicopter passes across the top of the hill. I relaunch in a slightly stiffer breeze and this time push out over the valley, to my dismay the breeze shuts off in cloud and I sink ever lower, trying to catch a low save from the bowl by the road doesn't work but I am high enough to cross the road and land in the waist high undergrowth opposite the layby. Unfortunately there is no space to turn into wind and the wing flops over the barbed wire fence, and I am dragged into the stone wall. I pull myself together and watch Nick boating about at cloudbase, then cadge a lift to the Ancient Briton from a holidaymaker who is enjoying a cuppa in the layby. I spread the kit out on the grass there to check for damage, none apparent, and soothe my bruises with a delicious pint of Gold Thread while I await my vehicle. 2 flights, 30 mins airtime.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on August 30, 2017, 15:47:26 PM
28th August. Nant-y-Moel. The bank holiday traffic slows my journey, but am rewarded by the sight of 10 or so gliders aloft. The gate is only closed by a loop of rope, and by early evening I am ready to launch, just waiting for a lull in the 20mph+ gusts. My first leg is along the front of launch and back, then push out into the valley almost to the village, then back to the mast end and close the triangle to land where I started. 20 mins of fun in the lively air.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on September 18, 2017, 00:21:14 AM
17th Sept. Heol Senni. Arrive late morning to find overcast sky, few vehicles and a chill wind. No gliders aloft so I parawait in car with book and flask for awhile, then stroll up the track which is now a stream of runoff to see around the front of the hill, just as the early birds take flight at last. I labour up the soggy hill mid-afternoon to find conditions perfect now that the sun is shining, a constant light breeze. I set up, do checks and a practice inflation, then lob off without looking at the sky or turning the vario on. After a mere couple of beats along the front I head to the far side of the quarry where I was told there was good lift, just as a huge grey cloud encroaches to block the buoyancy, and I tickle down the far shoulder and back, sinking all the way. At the quarry I view my landing options with dismay and drift out into the sodden valley to luckily land on a hillock by the track. Pack up, feel a speck of rain, see most pilots have made it to the LZ and decide to call it a day. A 10 min extended t.t.b. around the whole site. A beer by the fire with NickR at the Ancient Briton is my solace. Take my wing home to relax and warm up on it's own sofa. Time to put the central heating on for the winter methinks.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on September 19, 2017, 17:38:21 PM
19th Sept. Nant-y-Moel. A torturous drive up the valley through the roadworks has us ready for launch in light wind with lovely fluffy streets promising XC. I launch 3rd of 5 pilots and staying close to the hill to avoid bombing out, tickle along to the gully and back then to the far edge of the cliff by the trees, then again a little higher, and on the 3rd beat the sun went in and I scratched up to the windsock for a slope landing. As I sipped my tea the wind came back on and most got high and far in all directions. The wind did not abate for me to launch and as a speck of rain fell I quickly mushroomed the wing into the stuffsac. The boys were looking pinned, too top-end for me now, then a really massive cu-nim passed by and everyone landed. With the strong breeze and looming clouds we canned it. 10 mins. I have had boiled sweets that lasted longer.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on September 26, 2017, 23:46:01 PM
26th Sept. Bryncaws. A claggy morning, visibility clearing enough for NickR to drag me out for a look, we negotiate the deteriorating farmyard and park by the feed station after the last gate, walk the rest of the way and plant the windsock to find that it is on, in a fickle kind of way. The lush pasture is soaking, no groundhandling or parawaitng, we launch at 1500hrs and I follow him along to the trees, am nearly decked as I pass around the far end over the profuse brambles, but manage to scratch round and up to the trees again, a few beats and I am above the treeline, practising weight shift turns being more effective than hauling on the controls, then bimble along to the seaward end of the site, no mast or people to avoid, I espy a kite out over the track and go there, rewarded with enough lift to get back to the trees, staying close to the top and pushing out over the shelves to catch the updraught there, circling in the intermittent lift as the sun pops in and out, eventually going too far behind the shelf and coming in for a nice landing behind the last bend. I reinflate for another go but the rotor wrings the wing too near the barbed wire fence, so I pack up smartly, the wing is dampened by the long wet grass. I retrieve the windsock, Nick lands nearby in a stiffer breeze, and I take the sheep track down to the car, trimming the distance to walk by more than two turds!  45 mins. A nice long flight, pleasant walk and constant birdsong nearly made me burst with joy.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Gron Jones on September 29, 2017, 09:47:59 AM
Waxing lyrical again, Viv!!   Good stuff!   
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on October 10, 2017, 16:11:57 PM
6th Oct. Rhosili. A half dozen flying above the ridge as I drive across the common, good sign methinks. Several more pilots on the pimple, I set up as they go off and after a couple of inflations I launch into a wing-stiffener of a breeze and buzz along to the campsite, then more slowly back to the cliffs as it's into wind. The tide is out and the air off the beach is buoyant although it's rather cloudy. Several more passes in front of the hill and a nice constant aspect approach to land precisely back where I started. 40 mins airtime, and as the wind increased most landed.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Vivien Biro on November 14, 2017, 13:48:47 PM
 Summary of my flying year to date: 42 flights solo, 2 tandem. Airtime 18.5 hrs. Doesn't seem much in total, but the club trip abroad was the highlight of the year, giving me the confidence to push my boundaries on the new wing, learning that the lightweight kit narrows my launch window in the wind strength. With the weather patterns becoming more extreme perhaps due to global warming and my increasing age I wonder if it is time to hang up my boots and flog the lot.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Chris Dusgate on November 15, 2017, 11:43:49 AM
Please don't hang up your boots Viv, you've made real progress this year.
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Steve Jones on November 18, 2017, 14:34:07 PM
I guess we all feel like that at times, Viv. I think if you did sell up, you'd regret it :( I've seen how much pleasure it gives you when you've had a good flight. There's also the 'plus side' of being amongst the beautiful outdoor scenery; even when  para-waiting. We all moan when it's not flyable, but the chances are that we have a stunning view out  in front of us. As I age the joy-factor of paragliding does diminish (to a certain extent), but mindfulness of the surroundings increases. Re. hours, my average over the last few years is about 12 hrs....I don't venture out anymore if it's marginal (too weak/too strong).
One thing I'm sure of though, is when your feet lift off the ground after launching all the memories of para-waiting etc drift away :) As Leonardo quoted ''ll always walk the earth with your head turned skyward'.

Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Jon Munro on December 09, 2017, 09:56:08 AM
Yep, don't give up!

Just pick your days and approach it with a 'flying isn't everything attitude' ...

For me, getting out in the hills is what it is really all about. The flying is just the icing on the cake.

That's what I love about lightweight kit. It's less cumbersome and less hassle.

We would all miss you dearly :-)
Title: Re: Viv's Blog 2017
Post by: Paul York on December 17, 2017, 13:10:06 PM
DON'T even think about it Viv.

What else will give you this feeling . . . " A nice long flight, pleasant walk and constant birdsong nearly made me burst with joy.".

I'm so jealous when all the long term pilots tell me how you used to be able to plan a couple of weeks in advance and get a week of flying days on the trot.

But I'm glad that this unpredictable weather is all I've know because I can imagine how much more frustrating it must be for others used and expecting more.

I just wish I'd started years ago.

Keep it up Viv. See you soon :)