Author Topic: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008  (Read 4836 times)

Offline Dave Thompson

  • SWWSC Safety Officer
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  • Posts: 27
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  • Airtime: 500 Hours +
  • Glider Type: Paraglider
  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2008, 11:38:19 AM »
Thursday dawned looking ok though somewhat similar to Wednesday in that it appeared quite stable.  It was noticeably hotter than the day before so I new there was a chance that it may turn out good - and so it did!
First flight top to bottom was a long one as we went up to the top take off.  Can't remember what it's called but it results in a 1500m top to bottom and a nice way to blow out the cobwebs.  Stability meant that it was nothing more than a top to bottom.  Sussed out the forward launch technique on the Sig 7 now.  In order to allow for the arc shape of the wing, it needs to be laid out with the centre section of the wing in a normal arc shape but the wing tips (couple of metres each end) much more pulled in.  I tried with a very pronounced arc but found this did not inflate a large enough section of the centre of the wing leading to the wing coming up to one side or the other.
Second flight was from the main Ruinettes take off which is the one above Verbier village.  The aim was to have a quick flight then be back up at take off for 3pm in the hope that things would pick up as they had the day before.  Lobbed off and got some height - 530m above take off.  Flew about for a bit then landed well in time for the bus ride back to the take off (via the butty shop).
There was an air of anticipation as the clouds were now punching through the inversion and bas was above the white peaks at about 4000m.  I lobbed off at about 3.30pm and immediately flew into a decent thermal that got me about 100m above take off.  I then blew it and ended up way below take off.  Luckily there were plenty of others so with a bit of focus it wasn't too long before I was well up.  I continued thermalling above take off until, with about 800m above, headed off down the ridge to the higher peaks.  Managed to work the rocks to get some height but at one point crossed a ridge a little low.  Thermals were popping off both sides with some vigour and I got absolutely trashed.  The glider was all over the shop and a lot of string pulling ensued.  I was pretty close to the cliffs so no chance to chuck the chute so hung with it and eventually got away.  Though the glider thrashed about, at no point did it collapse which was a welcome relief.  Made 50m more height then went back for round 2.  This time the thermals had merged nicely making for a feisty climb of about 6 - 8 m/s.  With this I was able to get above the summit rock and hurtled up to 1150m ato.  At this height I new the valley crossing was on and I could see another glider really high above the ridge on the other side.  I headed off and though didn't hit much sink, lost 700m on the crossing.  Even though, still crossed well above the tree line so cruising the  sun-drenched rocks was simple enough so wasn't too difficult to regain the height.  At this point I realised an attempt on the Petit Combin was possible.  It meant having to cross the ridge into the next valley as the prevailing wind was coming from that direction.  So far we had been playing leeside since crossing the valley.  Luckily the wind wasn't too strong so crossing the col was lumpy but not too hairy.  Once on the other side things became easier with both thermals and wind coming up the same side.  I was able to get above the ridge then simply ride it in the direction of the Combin.  I'd seen 2 sailplanes playing over the summit so new if they could do it, I could.  I continued on and eventually arrive on the mountain itself.  I flew round to where I though I'd seen the sailplanes climb out only to get splattered in rotor, oops.  Luckilly glider stayed solid and I flew back to where I'd been to get my height back.  This time, using brain, I climbed up a gully that was into wind and very thermic and in a short time was above the summit.  Gained a bit more height then flew directly over the summit where the whole lot seemed to be going up.  Only got about 200m above before base, cold and the need for a 'P' called a halt to the fun.  I cruised out over the valley and headed for the landing field.  It was so smooth I tucked my hands in and wafted about hands off until gravity eventually did it's thing.
The flight lasted 2.5 hours and to date is my highest and most spectacular.  The views above the summit were special with glaciers going off in all directions.  I will be boring the behind off people for a while with this one. 
Probably the last flight of the holiday as the weather is closing in - but I don't care!
As for the Sigma 7, what can I say?  It performed faultlessly in a range of sometimes extreme conditions.  I'd been flying the 28 at about 100kg all up.  The DHV test results have just been published and, on paper, the 7 looks more of a handful than the 6.  It Isn't.  That said, it's not for low airtimers and needs to be flown actively.  Can't wait for my own to arrive!  Hope you found this twaddle interesting/useful.  A few pics of the Combin and another local site on my gallery.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 11:59:33 AM by Dave T »

Offline Dave Thompson

  • SWWSC Safety Officer
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  • Posts: 27
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  • Airtime: 500 Hours +
  • Glider Type: Paraglider
  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2008, 06:00:02 AM »
Wednesday dawned to much anticipation as the wind was forecast to drop off to almost nothing.  The wind did drop but the airmass had become a bit stable so yet again not epic conditions.  Didn't stop the day being the best so far however.  Morning flight lasted for an hour before heading down to join the others and the waiting minibus.  Got a bit bumpy at the inversion layer but nothing to worry about.  Afternoon flight was good and I was able to get through the inversion with little more than the odd tip collapse.  Couple of hours cruising the valley but eventually bombed getting a bit low on the opposite side and yet again had to watch 2 of our group sail overhead while I sailed into land.  Good flight though.
The evening flight proved to be superb (due partly to the fact that I was up for 2 hours and everyone else bombed quite quickly).  We were flying the ridge above Verbier, which can be soared UK style most evenings.  I was able to hug in close and get enough lift/height to get back over to the main take-off and then head off down the valley in amongst the rocky peaks.  Had to stay in close as I was relying on the rock faces, which were now bang into the evening sun, providing the lift.  It was brilliant, technical flying and extremely rewarding even though I didn't get massively high.  Came back over eventually to the soaring ridge to find everyone had gone!  Luckily they saw me come back over and the minibus was there within a minute of me landing.  Top day.
Once again the Sig 7 was great.  The last flight had been very tiring and would have been much more so had I been on the Sig 6.  The problem with the forward launches was also sorted out today.  Had a close look at what was going on and realised I was setting the glider out as I would have done for the 6.  This didn't work for the 7 as it has a more curved profile.  This meant that when launching, the tip lines came taught slightly before the centre lines, with obvious results.  Setting the wing out with even more of an arc solved the problem and it then came up tidy (bit of Welsh there for you!).  Looking out the window now (7am) and already some whisps of cloud forming.  Looking good!  Tell you later.

Offline Dave Thompson

  • SWWSC Safety Officer
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  • Glider Type: Paraglider
  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2008, 05:28:42 AM »
Sorry this is late but there's been a bit of flying going on and I haven't had time to up-date the diary (I believe you've had a bit of rain at home!)
Tuesday.
Tuesday looked like being an epic day as it was very unstable with clouds forming by 9am.  Unfortunately the lingering high level wind made getting into the high stuff impossible.  That said, 3 good flights were had. Lobbed off or the standard 9.30am top to bottom only to find it was quite thermic and possible to stay up.  Caught out by these unexpected conditions I ended up bombing out being caught in two minds as to what side of the valley to stick to.  Had to watch 2 of our group get to base while I headed off to the landing field.  Second flight was much better and culminated in an amazing flight at and above base where I was able to circle around the outside of a forming cloud (I didn't go into it, honest!).  Again, the wind meant that straying from the valley was not an option.  One thing of note from the Sigma 7 point of view was that during this flight I experienced some horrendous turbulence.  Not thermic turbulence but possibly something due to the upper wind spilling down and creating a washing machine effect.  It lasted for about 30 seconds during which time the glider was all over the place, snaking and bending and generally flinging me all over the place.  On the positive side, not one collapse!  Of course, I'd like to attribute that to my superb piloting skills but I think the glider had a lot to do with it.
Last flight of the day involved a bit of ridge soaring which was very nice.  Had to work the glider hard to stay up as there was not always enough dynamic lift and the thermic activity meant there was some serious sink as well as the more lifty bits.  Again the Sig 7 performed superbly and the lighter handling and quicker turning proved themselves invaluable.  One thing I did notice was that forward launching was more difficult than on the Sig 6 as the wing tips had a tendency to come up first.  More on this tomorrow!

Offline Dave Thompson

  • SWWSC Safety Officer
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  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 18:07:10 PM »
Monday and though the forecast was more promising, it didn't clear until 3pm and the upper winds were still in the 60kph region.  Assured that if we didn't take any climbs and headed to the middle of the valley for a top to bottom we'd be ok, a few of us decided to have a go.
Laying the Sigma 7 out the most obvious difference is the use of unsheathed upper lines and the skinny risers.  Also gone are the intermittent closed cells, so with the exception of the tips, all cells have an opening.
As for the flying please bear in mind this was just a top to bottom as thermalling was not an option as the upper wind was only a few hundred feet higher than take off - we hoped!
Ground handling didn't seem so different to the sig 6 and given the 6 was easy to handle, this is a good thing.  I farted about with it for a bit to make sure all the lines were attached to the right bits then took off with a reverse launch.  It was very thermic and I couldn't resist a few turns just to see what it was like.  The brake pressure is slightly less than the sig 6 but not massively.  That said, it makes the 7 much easier/quicker to turn/thermal.  Very little effort is required to get the thing turning.  I didn't have time to experiment with making different sorts of turn as the air quickly became very lively and I had to concentrate on keeping it above my head.  For about a minute I got a good pasting but was able to keep it above my head and was surprised not to have had any collapses given the air I had flown through.  Once out of the crap air things settled down and I had a little play with spirals.  It spirals easily and quickly if you dive into the spiral and use weight shift with the inner brake.  Weight shifting and or outer brake is enough to make the wing want to pull out.  I tried to hold a constant angle of about 45 degrees and found it difficult as the wing wanted to return to normal flight as soon as outer brake or weightshift away from the turn was applied.  Again I think this is a good thing and I'm sure that with a few more flights I'll be able to hold it where I want it.  Better it want's to regain normal flight than lock in.
Can't say much about glide as I had no-one to compare with.  Seemed ok though.  Landing a doddle as you'd expect.
Tomorrow looking better with Wed and Thurs looking v good.  More then.

Offline Dave Thompson

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  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 16:51:11 PM »
Another frustrating day as we didn't quite get to take off in time to beat the thunder and imminent rain.  Forecast is better from Tuesday with tomorrow a possibility in the afternoon.  So sorry but no further news.

Offline Dave Thompson

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  • Glider Type: Paraglider
  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Re: Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2008, 14:01:15 PM »
In Chamonix today and the Sigma 7 demo is in my room (more on the Sigma 7 later).  Unfortunately the cable car up to take off is closed all season as it's being replaced.  The other take off is too far away to be of any use while I'm in Chamonix due to work commitments.  Hopefully get to fly in Verbier tomorrow afternoon.
On the Sigma, looks up to the usual Advance standards in terms of build quality.  Skinny risers and skinny lines.  For those of you that may have noticed the Gin safety notice regarding the Liros lines, the Liros lines used by Advance are not the same type so hopefully no concerns here.
More on the glider and how it flies when I get a chance to have a close look and eventually get to fly it.

Offline Dave Thompson

  • SWWSC Safety Officer
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  • Posts: 27
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  • Airtime: 500 Hours +
  • Glider Type: Paraglider
  • Make of glider: Ozone Rush 5
  • Pilot Rating: Advanced Pilot
Dave T's Flying Diary 2008
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2008, 23:38:48 PM »
Haven't done loads of flying so far this year due to flogging my Sigma 6 at the end of last season and believing Advance when they said the 7 would be out early spring!  Still, been able to blag a glider here and there and had some good flying around the country on a variety of gliders.  Even gave the club tandem an airing a couple of weeks ago!
Anyway, the reason for this diary is to let those who may be interested, know what the Sigma 7 is like.  I'm off to Chamonix and Verbier next week and the nice (make that 'very nice') people at Advance have given me a Sigma 7 to play with.  I'm off on the 4th July so hopefully the Alpine weather will have settled down by then.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 21:45:37 PM by Dave T »