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Mistress Palindrome blog 2008

27th March. Rhossili pimple.  Wind gusty, 9-17mph, W/WSW. Bit out of practice with reverse launches, as demonstrated by turning the wrong way and getting an extra twist in the lines.  Managed to dump the wing and start again without being dragged, so the groundhandling is current at least!  Reverse launch, didn't even have to run after turning, wind strong enough to pick me up and tease me towards the bushes, so there i was, floating out and upwards, good time to tip back into seat, but it feels a bit tight, have I put on too much weight lately? Let go the brakes briefly to pull the seat into place, and realise the starboard speedbar line is wedged under my thigh! Now I am well back in the seat, and can't pull the line out from under me, so I hold the left brake gently while trying to lift myself clear, this induces a gentle turn over the path up to the pimple, there's a bit of a venturi there as it whips round the gap, gorse, fencing, and rocks all conspire to make me head for the field behind the gallery, I'm too low now to make another full turn into wind, so reach for the blue C's to tip the air out quickly, land and pull on one side to collapse it vertically and avoid being dragged. Having my radio on was no use at all, as nobody else did.  There was some shouted advice from the guys at t/o, but not very clear as I had a headband over my ears! I packed up and sloped off to berate myself in private. Nick said I should have stayed, there was still an hours flying to be had. Better keep the red ribbon on a bit longer methinks, let people know I'm new.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

27th April Lijak, Slovenia. Height at t/o 1,600 ft above landing field. Wind light and thermic. Alpine launch, climbed above t/o, 360 in both directions, a nice lifty glide out to valley floor where there was stronger wind, put on speedbar to get down a bit, nice descent over landing field and a standing landing! A great welcome to this lovely country, which is this years president of the EU. 15-20 mins airtime.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

28th April Gozd, Slovenia. Height at t/o 500m. Alpine launch in light thermic wind. Climbed above t/o, 360 in both directions. The incredibly blue water from the melting glaciers of the Julian Alps was like no postcard could picture. Lush meadows all around, a last glide into wind, change of wind direction at landing field, so my box approach left me with a short walk to join the others, after a soft downwind landing as I hadn't left enough height for that final turn into wind. 30 mins airtime. Perfect alpine launch, climb above t/o, 360 both directions, turbulent air with loads of lift and sink, fast moving. Am I falling in and out of thermic bubbles? Turned into the hill with height, then lost lift and sunk swiftly to the dense forest. I had been warned that trees come out of the ground, and one exceptional specimen of pine nearly grabbed me as I turned acro style away from the hill and towards the landing field. Doctor Richard and Mike had already landed 2 fields nearer than the intended landing field, on purpose for an easy retrieve perhaps? But no, it's sink sink all the way now, so heading for their wings I miss a house roof by meters and land even shorter in the field across the road, freshly ploughed and softly muddy, and far too close to the trees. 15 mins airtime. Find a gash behind knee pouring blood, so field dressing and trip to hospital for stitches. What a basic mistake to make, sure learned my lesson this time.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

30th April Lijak, Slovenia. Alpine launch, light dynamic wind. Climb above t/o, 360 both directions, drifted along the valley and glided into the campsite up the road from the landing field. There were gliders everywhere! Landed in the muddiest spot, wing draped over a tent of Germans, who came out and blamed me for spilling the beer! 15 mins airtime. Just wiping the mud off the speedbar with a dockleaf, and up pops Nasher who had had a bit of a XC himself, and was walking back to retrieve point.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

2nd May Tolmin/Kobala, Slovenia. World class site, 1,080 m asl. Alpine launch, climb above t/o, 360 turns both directions to 2000 ft above t/o, my highest yet! Move to next ridge, sink over the wrong side of the castle, in shade, then lift on the sunny side, float along to landing field, 180 degree turns to lose height, box approach to land. 1 hour airtime. Landing field 180m asl.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

3rd May Alpine launch from other face at Kobala t/o. 360 in lift, small climb, move to end of ridge, small lift over village, sink behind castle as before, Nasher giving advice on radio, but with the volume turned down I only caught the last bit of what he was saying. Overshot ever so slightly, but near enough. 30 mins airtime.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

4th May.Lijak, Slovenia. Alpine launch in nil wind! Slight climb above t/o, glide along to end of ridge, loss of lift, so a long glide to landing field. A nice big 10-15 minute top to bottom, before debrief in garage and drive to airport for flight home. We finished where we started, but with lots more airtime this week! A great trip, I would highly reccommend it to any confident CP or above, and may go on another trip with XTC paragliding soon! Ager is coming up....details at club meeting.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

5th May Bryncaws. Reverse launch at last! 5 mins top to bottom, thanks to Steve Millson for drive back up to top, Stevie G reattached  brake handle which had inexplicably come off in my hand! Reverse launch, climb above t/o this time, brake line through C line, so a top landing which Nasher insisted on before I continue, thanks. A quick adjustment and another reverse launch, not out of practice anymore! 5 mins top to bottom, and groundhandling til exhausted!

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

7th MayBryncaws 9-15mph thermic wind. Reverse launch, cruise ridge, climb above t/o, a good 30 mins peeped back over my shoulder at one point to find Stevie G and Woz bearing down in tandem, then had to laugh as they went for a top landing, finding it a bit light they said, while I carried on chasing the big boys, Nick being the usual star. Bottom land in usual field by Gareth in nil wind. The best day this year in Wales for me. Feeling more at home in the air than ever.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

[i18th May[/i] Bryncaws. 12 mph, thermic. After waiting for the cycle, reverse launch from lower t/o, a nice lifty climb above the hill, a good 30 mins soaring about trying to find height, and successful landing (on nice soft green bit with no gorse) above field with Nick's sock in it. Tried to call it a slope landing but neither he or StevieG would have it! Couldn't call it a bottom landing as I landed on my feet this time. Thought I'd had enough after the first walk up the hill, but something impelled me back up the steepest route, to the amusement of the others, to do it all again. Wind was 15 mph  by now, sun dropping lower in the sky. 20 mins, land in designated area this time, debrief in the Ancient Briton, nice to see Nasher again, and a nice curry in Ponty on the way home, verging closely on a perfect day.  More airtime would be nice.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan

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