23 March 2014

Cross Country Workshops - reflecting back

Many thanks to all the pilots who came to the North of England events and the South of England ones in collaboration with Flybubble.
Every time I do these courses I love getting the ideas and perspectives from different pilots and this is one of the important things which allows the courses to continue to evolve.
We had one really interesting discussion about the 5 thermalling methods and why some pilots can find one or more of the methods tricky to apply. Method 1 (count and turn) is a basic method which is intended to get pilots deep enough into the area of lift before they turn. The problem that can occur links to the amount of time that it can take a pilot to initiate, build up and complete a turn. If they a quite slow, it can often lead to them falling out of the far side of the lift. If you find this is happening to you then starting the turn earlier, say after 1 or 2 seconds instead of 4. As with applying any method of thermalling, the key is to be flexible: swap between methods as appropriate and subtly adjust within each one and you will soon be climbing like a cork!
Many thanks also to Greg Hammerton for putting together a great video from the courses. You can watch Greg's video here.

06 March 2014

Thermals - the taste of things to come

The wettest winter on record doesn't seem to have stopped the early spring thermals forming despite a few gloomy predictions from some pilots. It will be interesting to see how all the damp ground affects things. I fully expect lots of big flights again this year although climbs may be a bit more gentle and start a bit later in the day until the ground really dries out. Weak lift often means reduced sink in between so I think its is "business (pretty much) as usual" for this season.
I've been getting out on Nova's Ion 3 (low EN B) and SuSi Q (hike and fly) for Cross Country Magazine. Both are proving LOTS of fun and perform very impressively. The SuSi Q has the most amazingly easy ground handling I have ever come across. More on the wings to come in the full review.
SuSi Q 18 (Photo Helen Gant)
Thanks to Helen Gant for the photos. The first in the SuSi Q just launching for a fly-down before the day got going.

Later on, me and the Ion 3 had really nice thermals, not quite to cloud base but plenty of height to go exploring!
Ion 3 (Photo Helen Gant)