Freesteel Blog » 2013 » August

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 at 6:24 pm - - Hang-glide

I bombed out into a field behind base camp yesterday. Today I bombed out even more spectacularly from Loser in spite of being handed a perfectly good thermal to get me up. I had waited for 2 hours on takeoff for the tailwind to subside. And when I did go off, it was an express elevator down till I was able to work something around the corner on a ridge by the lower ramp.

It was quite fun. I had my hands full and I was getting somewhere.

Then this ignorant stupid decision took place, as recorded by the flight log. (I’ve set it to take 2 second samples.)

Left is the altitude showing it going down, down, down from the moment I decided to leave a thermal for no apparent reason. (The red arrows are coincidental times.)

So what just happened then? Here’s a screen grab from that exact moment from the gopro camera.

Yes, I got tired of clinging on with my feet in the tail of my harness and decided to zip up just then, lost the plot, and the rest is history.

It was a very long sweaty cycle up the toll road to fetch the car. When I finally drove down to collect my glider a cross country pilot was derigging his glider in the field. He’d just flown for 6 hours and had a great time.

There’s an Austrian version of RASP called AlpTherm that tells you the altitudes at which to find thermals and at what time of day. You had to be high and over the peaks of the mountains to be in the zone. They were there in quantity. Lower down there would be nothing.

Unfortunately Alptherm is only available to members of a club. But it did say not to bother flying tomorrow as there will be very little activity to take you up. Hopefully the thunderstorms that are schedule soon will come along and clear the air.

Maybe I’ll get some work done.

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 am - - Hang-glide 1 Comment »

The sky gods have been been smiling at me for the last couple of days, and I don’t care about anything else.

It did require getting my butt down to Greifenburg forthwith early one morning after a night of heavy rain at the base camp picking slugs out of my tent and off my glider.

This is the place whose webcam I have been checking almost daily since the spring.

I parked my glider on the corner of the field for half an hour just to get it into the archive.

No time to bore you with the details, but I made a couple of new friends, who instructed me as to the way the place worked (taxi up is 8euros, day flight is 5euros, there’s a second landing field across the river if it’s getting too crowded).

Needless to say, if someone asks about hang-gliding in Austria, the number one answer is Greifenburg. Get that on the record. There were 50 gliders on take off on my second flying day, all shapes and sizes, ranging from a 30 year old 3rd generation Atlas clone, up to many many ATOS rigid wing gliders (about 1 in 4 of the gliders on launch). I haven’t seen so many hang gliders since Wallaby Ranch. Except this was real and in the mountains, not above some swampy ex-urban pancake that is Florida.

Having made a remarkable first flight (on day 2) with a GPS vario that directs me back to the thermal when I fall out of it like a numpty, I did something unusual:

I set myself a task.

I said to myself: See that crag poking up above the other side of the valley. I want to fly over it.

And here I am! Altitude: 3200 metres.

And here’s the route (take-off on right hand side):

I want more!

Apparently there’s been a lot of caving going on and connections being made — which is good because I don’t have to do it.