Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Wind

Paralider pilots hate the wind. When the wind blows, we attempt to measure its strength long before we get to launch. As soon as we open our eyes in the morning, we look out the window and watch the drift of the clouds. Once out of bed, we make a cup of tea, turn on the computer and stare at the web browser - checking forecasts, satellite pictures, and observations. Today we don't have to work - but the wind is blowing - when it stops, will we have the freedom to go up the hill?

The weather is like a thermal, it is constantly changing, always moving, ever fleeting, never the same as the day before. The forecast just teases us into hoping the conditions might be half as good as that one magic flight we had - how long ago now? The time spent arranging our lives so that we have the opportunity to go flying dwarfs the time we spend in the air, yet we never lose hope - and it is this passionate longing, this desire to be flying in that magic air which keeps us getting on with the rest of our lives. Our patience is constantly tested as we wait for that moment when our feet can step free of the earth - how much more ground-time can one heart handle?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Post Frontal Goods

The front passed yesterday, and so all the hard-core locals came out of the woods and Heike and I even got a ride to launch. The clubs website has 12 good XC tasks that you can download and put into your GPS. Task one was chosen as the route for today and the comp wings were blitzing it.

My first climb was the best climb of the day, 6 m/s on the averager. I did some ridge hopping and a valley crossing and back to launch a couple times. It was a great day for flying. Tommorrow is another day, stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Land Down Under

I flew to Australia last weekend, and if all goes as planned I will be here until the end of March. I'm going to spend a lot of time flying a site called Mystic, which is right above a little mountain town called Bright, located in the Victorian Alps.

I'm staying just outside of Bright, in a little valley called Wandiligong. (Toto, We aren't in Kansas anymore...) From where I am staying, we can recieve the windtalker on launch over the handheld radio, pretty convenient...

There are some really cool criters here - wombats, Kangaroos, dingo's, and all kinds of crazy birds - my favorite is the native Koocaburra - get two or three together and I swear it sounds like a tree full of screaming monkeys...

So it's Spring here and the flying is starting up, but there has been more wind than normal - which could be related to the drought that is gripping most of Australia.

We flew Mystic the day before yesterday, and it was amazingly strong for 11 am in the morning, we only flew an hour, mostly because it was enough "shish boom bang" for me - I haven't flown in 1000 ft/min up for many months.

There is a front passing through right now, but it will be gone tommorrow, so we should get some good flying conditions soon. Stay tuned my foot launching friends.