Freesteel Blog » Just an earth bound misfit

Just an earth bound misfit

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 1:56 pm Written by:

What a surprise. As soon as I get some hang-gliding in, I can’t care less about anything else. All those plans I of doing work and other productive things during the majority of my time I would spend not flying have gone out the window. Look, man, I have just spent three and a half hours spinning about in the air currents just getting up to the tops of the mountains at the very limit of my skill. Unless the house has burnt down and Becka has been kidnapped by pirates and held to ransom, it will be difficult to hold my attention. I am in a dream. I am also 1000 miles away and not coming back until June.


Meanwhile, there are Euro elections. I’m not sure why the green candidate in this Bad Aussee election poster decided to use his zombie impersonation poster. It’s all going to shambles. Democracy in Europe: we just don’t deserve it. At home we have the UKIP clowns, and the Conservative Party copying every crazy policy they can from the UKIP clowns in the belief that it will help them in the polls, when in fact people are not voting for the policies anyway; they are voting for the clowns, because at least clowns are honest. The mainstream politicians at the top are just in it for the ride, like I am with my flying. They don’t have any policies which they actually care about which, if delivered, would mean they would find something better to do with their lives. No one supports the Green Party to get power. Something must get done within the system or it’s all going to hell. Got any better ideas?


I had a second flight off Loser and went straight down before catching a thermal off the town that I followed right along up the valley in a sheared coil without much upwards component.


At some point I decided I was getting a little to far downwind from the landing field by the lake, and made a dash for it.

This was supposed to be a good thermalling day, but it wasn’t. I did have the fortune to reread the chapter from Burkhard Marten’s book about how to core a thermal, and realized I had completely misremembered it. I thought it said turn tight in strong lift, and turn shallow in weaker lift. In fact, it’s the other way round: as the lift decreases, you turn tighter so that you can quickly go back and re-enter the strong lift, but while you are in strong lift you delicately search for areas of even stronger lift whilst also opening out into an efficient wide turn that makes the most of the lift area.

Anyway, it’s starting to work for me. I have learnt to love circling. I used to think gliding was boring, like skiing, because all you do is go left, go right, or go straight and on and on and on. But actually, doing the circle is the pattern. It takes about 10 to 20 seconds to execute a circle, and the shape of that circle is the expressive force in terms of interacting with the invisible thermal lift zone, which is itself circular in nature.


I got rather dreamy in the air as I got into this notion. Then I saw a shadow on the ground that wasn’t mine. It was from another glider. I hadn’t been paying attention to what else was in the air for a long while. The pilot waved to me as he spiraled up past to a cloud that I couldn’t reach. Though it feels good, I am not as proficient as I should be.


Meanwhile, my co-driver, Tom, has been entertaining himself with some long cycle rides to check out the canyons. I promised we would descend a couple when I’m not out flying. Unfortunately, there’s a minor flaw in this plan: usually it’s the thunderstorms and rain that stops flying, which is also not the right time to be going into any canyons.

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