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Mike T in 2013

Wow, day 6. What a day. A light SE was forecast, so we drove up to launch and waited for the thermals to start kicking off, but the birds weren't getting high. Hans took one for the group and launched first. He performed valiantly but to no avail and landed in the valley. Jorge was asked to get him. A couple of French pilots launched later and things started improving, though they hardly got above take off. Then they did and we were like penguins jumping into the sea. 
I launched with four others and it was straight into a thermal in front of take off. That took me up to 2800m or so, and Steve suggested we push out front again, four of us made it this time, Hans, Nigel, Jakub and myself. Oh and Steve of course. 
From then on I spent an age on the mountain in front trying to get My chest strap lad loosened, making it uncomfortable to thermal so I pushed out into the valley NW of Piedrahita to find some stable air to quickly adjust it. I eventually made it to the Red Roofs but never got much above 2050m. I hung around there for ages but kept getting pushed back to the river when I took a climb, but once I got to 2600m I eventually flew West to the hill I landed at on day 5. At the end f the plain I encountered a big climb which took me to 3500m. Jakub said on the radio he'd briefly got sucked in at 3600m, so I stopped turning 100m early. Good job as I still went up. Off to my hill 20km from Pena Negra I went, and then turned back. Another climb to 3100m, ascending 200m in a straight line and a 18km glide back to Piedrahita with a tail wind. Yup the wind was now from the West.
I couldn't get down at Piedrahita, as everything was going up, so I flew back to a blue hole and turned in sink to lose a few hundred metres. 
3 hours in the air, 3500m, and a Personal Best out and return of 20km each way. Classic.

Flight details are:

My final post in the Piedrahita 2013 series  Wink  Back to work tomorrow  Sad

Another incredible day. 4500M and light Northerly forecast. It was another late start, kicking off on launch about 2:00pm. After Steve, David, Hans and Jakub took off the wind started blatting through, so I had to wait for about 10 mins for an opportunity. Four of us took it at the same time, and one of those pilots ended up launching backwards, and then landing heavily on the road. He was OK apparently.
There was good lift to 3200m immediately for us who were in the air, and I pushed out into the valley to get some more under a cloud, as I was feeling rather tired and wanted to fly on my own. I found some and although I got down to 2400m behind the Quarry Spine , I then got back up to 3500m. I had to leave the climb to avoid cloud, but continued going up for another 200m or so, as it was a big big day. The pass would be no problem I thought as I was right there, but no. Crossing on the Southerly mountains I got drilled in 4m/s sink, and ended up on bar when I didn't think I'd get across. 1000M lower, and still over the high ground I eventually found some lift, and it was hoofing back to 3500m+. It was that sort of day. More sink followed about the bend in the road, and I'd just radioed in that I was about to land (I was only 50m above the ground), when I got shot up 100m in two turns, only to lose the lift. Setting up yet again at a village called Blacha south of the river, I got yet another strong climb all the way up to 3600m where I left it for fear of popping into the white room.
With my new found room to manoeuvre I pushed on toward a little village called Munogalino, as Steve advised the wind switched round to the North there, and sure enough my ground speed dropped right off as I approached it at the 40km mark. The plan then was to fly all the way home, but by this time I was really tired and not in the frame of mind for summer flying. In future I will eat before flying as I'd had nothing since breakfast. I decided then to glide out to the SW along the N-110, racing along at 50kph plus only being slowly overtaken by the cars 600m below. I kept going through lift without turning for another 10km, as I just wanted down, and I had to look hard for some sink. When I eventually found some I burned off 300m or so to land in a big field.
3 and ¼ hours, 40km out and 10km back and up to over 3600m in altitude. Magic. The only bummer of the day was 1) Id I'd scoffed something, I'd probably have had the mental capacity to push on back to Piedrahita, and 2) My GoPro ran out of juice not long after launch. I couldn't have charged it properly the previous evening.
The later footage is of my evening flight which I had about 20 minutes after getting back from the XC. It was a relaxing 1 hour restitution flight in smooth, smooth conditions. A lovely way to end 7 straight flying days, over 200km of XC and 15 hours quality thermalling airtime.
Many thanks to Steve, Puri, Paul and Jorge from for my best flying holiday in 13 years. It was truly epic.

Well done Mike. Great Blogs 8)  Looks like U had a great week.. Met up with Reech at Blorenge today and asked him why he wasn't Filming his flight? Now I know you have taken over with your Docu style commentary vidsWink You'll be presenting the One Show next Wink

Catch you soon!

"If you were born without wings,do nothing to prevent them from growingWink"

It was forecast to be windy, but Wendy said it was 10 - 15 mph averaging 12 North, so I thought I'd drive down to Devils Dyke to take a look. There was one chap on a 777 flying then I turned up, and another joined him as I was setting up, by which time the first pilot had got to Truleigh. The three of us had the ridge to ourselves for a while when another pilot called Carol launched, so then it was four.
My hands had got very cold on my first trip, and my harness needed adjusting so I flew back to launch, landed to sort myself out and then had another go.
Keeping out front in order not to get drilled, it was lifty all the way with some wintery green views over the south downs.
When I got back to the Dyke the wind had picked up a little, meaning I was doing a fair bit of hovering on my way back to the paddock, and this was my queue to call it a day and leave it to the massing hang gliders.
A cracking hour spent in smooth conditions with no-one to get in the way. Lovely.
There's a short video here:

Remember the summer? Well here's some windy dune soaring I videoed at Capbreton in 2012.

I've had my best paragliding year in 14 years in 2013, so was really pleased to see the sun out and lightish SW wind yesterday. Up to my local hill I went and as it was too strong, I waited. Of course the action of getting my wing from the car caused it to become too light, so I was relegated to one beat and some ground handling for 30 mins. As I t's not an agreed site I built up quite an audience ground handling which I didn't like, but they got bored when I mushroomed it up. As luck would have it the wind picked up again, so I was able to enjoy 15 mins with reasonable height just as it was getting dark. A great way to end my 2013 flying. Roll on 2014!

Paragliding Colley Hill Dec 28th 2013

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