29 October 2012

Canopy Control, Conventional Gliders and 2-liners

I had 3 wonderful days' canopy control training with the maestro, Fabien Blanco at Flyeo in Annecy. This was my first SIV on a 2-liner (the Icepeak 6), so it was great to learn about the adjustment to techniques needed for this type of glider.
The IP6 is brilliant, but it is very noticeably more aggressive than the traditional EN D gliders such as the Omega 8 and the Mantra 4. The dive forward during any recovery is fast and hard which makes timing of ones intervention more critical. I found that I needed to let the glider shoot forward more than I would normally. In recovery from assymetrics it now recognised good practice on high end gliders to let the glider turn in order to regain the energy for a smooth recovery and to keep it away from stall. Critically it reduces the likelihood of a shock re-inflation and secondary collapse/cascade. One of my goals for the course was to really nail stalls in such a way that I could use it reliably in a range of situations and with minimum height loss. After 20+ stalls on the IP6 I feel that I made a huge leap in this area. I am really glad for the workout and feel much better prepared for flying and racing the glider in strong conditions.
In our group were pilots on EN A, B and C wings and notably two members of the French Team, with everybody working on their own personal programme. Charles Cazaux showed great mastery of his Enzo with his helicopters, stalls and the like. Charles is the reigning FAI World Champion and in 2009 flew the remarkable, ground-breaking, carbon reinforced BBHPP to win the PWC. The BBHPP spawned the R10 in 2010, which was the real game changer in recent paraglider development. Despite his achievements at the highest level, Charles still does SIV at least twice a year and takes a totally professional attitude to continuing to improve. Also in the French team is Lucas Bernardit, who was practising beautiful acro moves on his N-Gravity 2. He normally flies the IP6 but does acro for pleasure and to continue to develop his handling. Lucas is a member of the Niviuk ABAC factory team. As well as being super talented, both Lucas and Charles were very willing to share their knowledge and experience.
An awesome 3 days with learning of the highest quality!

19 October 2012

Latest thinking on Canopy Control Techniques

If you haven't already found it, this 45 min talk by Russell Ogden with Martin Orlik is a must-watch for anyone on a modern high performance wing; or anyone thinking of getting one.
Click here for the link.
I am off to do some training with Fabien Blanco of Flyeo in Annecy on Monday -Wednesday to put it all into practice on my IP6!

17 October 2012

Do you want fly further, have more fun, and learn more?

If you are answering “yes” to the above then I might have a solution for you….. If you have flown in competitions then you know the answer already! Learning to fly in competitions (or striving to improve your performance in them) is quite simply a great way to of develop your general flying and your cross country in particular.

Photo by Olivier Montel
There are competitions in the UK and abroad to suit all levels of pilot from someone fairly new to XC flying to the hard core racer. For UK pilots, the Lakes Charity Classic, the Charbre Open at Laragne and the British Paragliding Cup all offer a great first time experience. Supportive, focused on learning, but also the opportunity to fly and mix with some very good pilots. With some overlap, but extending to a much higher level are the British Championships. The atmosphere is open and friendly but in the lead gaggle the pace is hot and the flying exhilarating! Throughout Europe and further afield there are many more.
So consider giving competitions a go in 2013, it could be one of the best things you ever did.
I am running my Competition Preparation and Master-class in February. Click on Coaching and Courses for more information.

12 October 2012

New Programme Announced

Throughout the off-season I will be offering a range of workshops, talks and master-classes to help pilots develop their flying. They cover a wide range of interests within paragliding. A taste of what will be available includes:

  • Cross country flying development workshops
  • Competition preparation and mater-class
  • Performance coaching

Once we get into the season proper I will be running the hill-based:

  • Group development days
  • Intensive Pilot Development Week in Annecy - July 2013
For more details visit The Courses and Coaching section or Workshops and Talks on my website.
I am very excited about the new programme and can not wait to get going!