i've given up paragliding. sold 2/3 of my kit already (my somewhat-but-not-totally old and very little used glider is still for sale - my older-than-remembered but totally unused reserve is not for sale, as i don't know what to do with it).

i miss being in the air. a lot. i don't miss the perpetual worries and the feeling of utter helplessness - not if, but when - the moving masses of air take control out of your hands. i also don't miss not having become yet another data point in the PG accident statistics.

so, for now, that's it. flat earth. blue sky. me dreaming.

i hope to return, but if it happens it'll likely be in something more rigid than a paraglider.

[ published on Sun 17.05.2015 20:17 | filed in interests/flying | ]

You'd better, if you want to pass the HGFA exam for an advanced rating (paragliding or hanggliding). I found this quite amusing.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

I haven't had any decent flying since February or so. The stats are fairly ugly.

Last week we had the Canungra Cup in the area; I had taken the week off and was hoping for at least some XC flying with the retrieves arranged.

The Friday before the comp I got sick, something flu-ish with fever and general crookedness. Saturday, Sunday and partially Monday the others flew and I sweated feverish and slept. Tuesday and Wednesday I was on the hill but didn't like the conditions much, thus didn't fly. Thursday I did fly, but only a sleddie; it was a bit rough out there and I didn't fight much against being dumped in the bombout. Friday and Saturday I didn't even drive up to Canungra, because I didn't want to fly anymore: no motivation, only general depression. Didn't go to the presentation dinner either, as I had no wish to see any of the (mostly happy) 69 other pilots at all.

Taken altogether, this sucks plenty. I have no idea how I'll get back into the saddle.

In other not-yet-news, I ordered the steerable reserve from Switzerland two weeks ago; eagerly awaiting the delivery...

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]


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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Last weekend was extended because of the ANZAC day public holiday, and the flying was quite good.

Friday we wasted sitting on the wrong hill, hoping for the right kind of wind. Just another case of parawaiting, like in the pic below.

But Saturday and Sunday were quite good for ridge-soaring Tambo, not exactly a common occurrence. A frightening site, low saves guaranteed with "landing" in trees always possible to likely. Had four nice flights, could have toplanded but didn't know we were allowed to again. Anyway, it was quite good - despite sinking out on Sunday when others went over the back or to Canungra.

Me airborne in front of Tambo, one of the very few relaxed moments at that site:

Mark said once about the difference between rock climbing and paragliding:

In rock climbing you spend most of your time in a very safe situation feeling shit-scared whilst in paragliding you spend most of your time in a very dangerous situation feeling quite safe.
And that's so true.

We're insane/addicted enough to take to the air in our oversized shopping bags with a couple of strings attached like this:

and then we regularly bunch up parts of our wings while flying to reduce lift. As long as things are bunched up symmetrically on both sides results are benign. However, for my upcoming intermediate license practical I'll have to show that I can deal with asymmetric collapses, too, so I played around a bit with inducing such collapses (you reef in hard on the front riser lines on one side, that half of the wing goes slack and floppy like a real shopping bag and you brace for the more-or-less violent turn and loss of lift). Interesting.

One of the hangies nicknamed "T-Bone" because of his initials has recently switched to paragliders - which immediately got him rechristened "TeaBag", as that's what the other hangies think of what he is flying now :-)

The weather on Monday wasn't too flash so I slept in, but the addiction got the better of me and I drove up the hill, and It was Good. Two nice arvo ridge soaring flights, both with good face landings at the end.

Other People had more interesting landings, as per the picture below: look for the glider in the middle of the road. Its pilot had misjudged his final, bounced off a car's hood (bumping it) and landed on the road. Another reason why only fools park in this particular spot.

After that a few pilots had...interesting launches, too, but I myself had a perfect record for the day.

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

...is almost as good as flying like an eagle. Especially when it's a mellow fellow like this one: today Andrew and I were enjoying a late arvo soar above Beechmont when a substantial wedge-tail joined us from below, effortlessly closed in and, after some lazy circles with/around us, disappeared into the sunset :-)

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

This weekend was one of those DNF ones, with loads of annoyance thrown in.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Last Saturday I finally managed to meet up with Ben and Mel (and Thomas) to visit one of the Byron Bay / Northern Rivers PG sites.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

It does get a bit cold at nights now (+5°C last few days on the coast, with frost inlands) but the days are still nice at up to 22°C and, predominantly, sunny. That's the kind of winter I like nowadays.

Some flying pics; last weekend we were rushing from site to site and mostly parawaiting as in the first pic. This weekend wasn't lots better but a bit: Saturday was blown out, Sunday was very south but still good enough for Beechmont. I got an hour of airtime and took some pics of Marty and Phil.

I've also got two short movie clips (taken with the digital camera, so they suck) of Rob at Killarney two weeks ago and one of Phil launching at Beechmont today.

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Yes, I had a good day: I did 23.1km from Beechmont to Beaudesert.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

...in addition to flying yourself. I have a new toy, for the days when it's not nice (enough) to fly myself. But like all the toys that I like, it requires loads of tinkering and a little bit of skill. It's a radio-controlled glider.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]


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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Last Sunday (12.3. - the 19th still counts as this Sunday) I was pretty lucky and very close to ending up in the hospital or worse. The dangerous phases of any flying are the beginning and the end, because if there's trouble you've got little to no time to deal with it. Botched launches and landings are what kills you, with the likelihood of terminal problems flying high a lot lower (e.g. thunderstorms, freezing, oxygen-deprivation).
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]


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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Geeks are suckers, perfectionists like me even more so. But even I learn: I've had enough of doing the web and registration backend work and hosting for the Canungra Cup, they can look for another idiot who does the work for nothing. Come the 31.10. and I will flush the site down the drain, and GOOD RIDDANCE! Well, SEP.

In other club-related news, they've decided to ban RC planes at Beechmont, for "safety reasons". Damn but this sucks!

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

...of three weeks ago when I last had an opportunity to do so (sigh). Bringing my Personal Photographer (Conny) with me got me a few pics of myself having fun. The site was Beechmont.

Being the over-imaginative chickenshit that I am, I usually let some other guinea pig take off first. Seems to work, I haven't had any accidents in nine years of (way too little) flying.

Alas, the Personal Photographer immediately forgot my glider colours once I was in the air, concentrated on her book and hence took only pics of Todd and Kevin, but none of me - except one, with Kevin up high and me working my way back up (just after launch).

She also missed my landing, but that wasn't a great loss: southerly winds means northerly approach over the power lines and my slightly rough fly-against-the-wall landing didn't really have to be recorded.

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Yesterday started rainy and windy but got quite nice later on.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

A few months ago Rob gave me his gumstick camera when he upgraded, and since then I've been thinking about recording some flights. These cameras are dirt-cheap (a few dollars on ebäh) and not bad spec-wise, this one records 640x480@30fps onto a microsd card. Lots of variants and they all look like this.

Last weekend I finally tried it out, velcro/rubber-banded to my helmet's chin guard, and the results are quite ok. Primarily I did it for Conny, but others might want to see how paragliding looks like from my perspective (but of course there's lots more interesting pilot videos out there!).
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

This weekend was crap. Yesterday blown out, today early morning downpours, clouds, wind, some drizzle later on; in the late arvo it cleared but I don't think the wind speed was low enough to fly and it was too late anyway.

So what does one do when it's unflyable? Well, from next week onwards I will have a radio-controlled glider -- again, almost 20 years after the first one. No more unflyable days!

But what I did yesterday amongst other things, was to fix up my radio setup -- nicely, I think.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

The weekend of 12./13.6. we spent at Killarney, camping, freezing a bit in the cold evenings, and as usual flying.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

The Easter weekend Andrew ran the Easter Bunnies WE comp at Killarney, 160k west from here. And I got to second place!
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

I've got a new toy, and I love it. It's an Advance Epsilon 6/28.

Some other pics taken last Friday and Sunday:

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Yesterday was pretty nice for care-free afternoon ridge-soaring at Beechmont. Pleasant enough to take some photos, in fact (something that you don't get to do if the air is rough).

so here's Drew(?), a newly addicted flier having fun.

And that's me floating around in my lawnchair.

And Pete, in his equivalent of a camp stool (=superlightweight harness).

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

(The picture above shows Phil Hystek, my instructor and mentor.)

After years and years of longing I've finally found the time to do a paragliding course in the beginning of 2002. It took me about four weeks (one full week and some weekends) to achieve the first licence for it. Since then I've spent most of the flyable weekends (which means almost all) on the hills around here, either flying, parawaiting or lugging the pack up the hills again.

Currently I'm also running the net presence of the local club, the Canungra Hang Gliding Club (which despite its name also caters to paraglider pilots).

So far I'm still alive and I'm really enjoying this challenging sport.

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

If you've got a good answer to that, let me know. Mine currently is a little bit weird, being: "life? not very much. less likelihood of major injuries: quite a bit"
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

It's not an eagle but a hawk, but it serves as Eagle Airlines for some nasty blackbirds.

Photos by Alan Stankevitz, whose webshite sucks (flash-infested eye cancer) but whose photos rock!

(via the OZ report)

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

...I've been flying again, yesterday arvo. Finally!
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

...is what I've had this weekend.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

I'm sure the residents of Bambling Rd near Canungra didn't exactly expect humans rain down on them but weirder things have happened.

Ivan, one of the club's more experienced pilots had a close call yesterday. He was flying his Boomerang as usual, just a bit away from Tamborine launch when everything went pear-shaped quickly and he had to throw his reserve parachute. Which did open, and did slow him down and kept him from going splat.

I was in the air at that time, too, didn't see the events prior to the reserve opening but kept Ivan in sight after Mark had gone on the radio letting people know of the trouble.

Luckily Ivan didn't hit any powerlines, the main road or any of the houses close by as he touched down, nor did he end up in the trees - which might have been better: he hit the ground hard enough to injure his ankles somewhat.

I didn't much feel like flying yesterday anyway, so I landed shortly after he had given us an "I'm okay" on the radio. Some others did continue onwards and had nice flights; I just launched for another short flight later in the arvo.

Hours tally: 82.6hrs.

[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Today I left work early and headed up to the hills, in hope of getting some flying. The weather was beautiful, but nil clouds.
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[ published on Sun 28.04.2013 10:07 | filed in interests/flying | ]

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