What a fantastic day, i left home around 9am all kitted up with my tandem glider, two harnesses helmets, snow chains(the wrong size for my car) and a lot of optimism that I would fly. Before starting the engine I got the phone out and texted Kenny and John that I thought conditions may allow for some tandem flying today (both of there partners have been wanting a tandem flight for a while), unfortunately John didn't get my message until late afternoon but Kenny quickly responded and said he would leave with his wife Manuela imminently.
I then got about 10 minutes down the road before my usual pestering phone calls to the usual suspects that I may be able to persuade to join me on the hill, Nicos the friendly Greek was first, no answer- then Miles no answer- turns out they were already conspiring to travel to bo-peep together without a glider to watch people freeze and take pictures of them attempting to get up the snowy lane... They were both punished with snowballs for turning up without a glider! Chris was next and still in bed, he requested another phonecall to let him know of the conditions once I was there- Dan Balla was next- no answer- he later apologised for his no answering and was annoyed to have missed another great day, finally was Scott- always leave him till last as he is the laziest in the morning- and even once he is up requires an additional hour to cook his eggs!!!(but if he didn't turn up none of the photo's below would have been taken- thanks Scott :-)
So arriving at bo-peep around 10am I attempted to get up the lane and soon realised that it was never going to happen, next I fitted the wrong size chains to my wheels, this worked for a while until they shattered into bits 90% of the way up and I slid almost completely to the bottom, this took me to about 11am when Kenny turned up with some snow clamps- these worked for a bit until I got over excited with the accelerator and one flung off taking half my hubcap with it leaving me sideways in the middle of the road only to turn around and see Ozzies van flying up the hill at motorway speeds having to stop due to me being in the way :-)
Everyone then abandoned there cars at the bottom of the hill and Kenny and me carried my glider and harness up and the rest carried there coffee and the sledge up. 15 minutes later we were at the top and 5 minutes after that my Falcon225 was rigged and ready to go...
By this time Chris had joined us, and Ozzie,Miles and Nicos were rolling around in the snow. I took of in the 20mph ENE wind and had a couple of pleasant flights, tried heading to the trig point but the air was not so pleasant past the quarry being off to the east so stuck on the mains ridge & easterly bowl. I then landed and said it feels perfect for tandem flights so we began walking back down to the car to get the other harness and managed to persuade Chris to walk up with his litespeed, but just as we were about to get going back up the hill Ozzie shouted out that John Barratt is on his was with his four wheel drive and another glider!!! 10 minutes later and Scott had arrived just ahead of John Barratt, we chucked Ozzies and Chris's glider on top of the jeep and crammed inside, Ozzie sprawled across the bonnet and drove back to the top.
Whilst Ozzie was rigging his xtralite, Chris his litespeed, and John and miles rigging the avian fly I managed to persuade Nicos to be my first passenger who is also a pilot since I passed my test a few months ago, surprisingly he agreed and in a few minutes we had our pre-flight briefing and had left for the skies in style.... Great passenger- thanks Nicos. After about 20 minutes we landed, I warmed up in johns jeep and was ready to take up Manuela (kenny's partner)- she had never been up in a hang glider or para glider before so did not know what to expect and other than getting very very cold seemed to love it, I love taking others up for there first flight as I can still vividly remember my first flight and it was a feeling that's great to share!
The day continued in this fashion, miles and Nicos both got a flight on Johns new glider, I got a flight on the xtralite and Chris spent more time in the air than on the ground- Scott seemed to be everywhere taking some great pictures and capturing the day. Me and Chris left for one last flight and landed in the bottom field next to our cars, before we knew it were being helped by the others to pack away before we all headed to 'The Ram' in firle for a post flight drink compliments of Ozzie- a great way to end the day next to a fire to warm up, thanks guys- best winters day so far...
VIDEO HERE- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf1XIe9UVs0
|John & Miles rigging the new Avian Fly|
|John Flying the Fly|
|Chris about to launch...|
|Johns take off...|
|John getting into his harness...|
|Miles grabbing the nose...|
|Ozzie just launched...|
|Ozzie being assisted to the edge...|
|Nicos smiling after landing...|
|Me and Nicos- touchdown...|
|Me and Nicos about to land,,,|
|Lots of speed...|
|Helping Nicos into his harness..|
|Johns wondering how he's been talked out of his warm house...|
|Me and nicos, cozy launch....|
|Miles ready to rob a bank...|