The September weather has allowed a bit of reflection time in between flying the new Skywalk Cayenne 5 for Cross Country Magazine and some necessary work. Big XCs at home and abroad, my first PWC for 21 years; a small but regrettable airspace infringement; my first reserve throw: its been fun!
I have loved flying the Boomerang 10 this season: the step up in performance; the handling; the speed. One of my favourite flights was an only moderate triangle from a site I have been flying for 25 years. It was a day when many didn't bother going out due to little instability and it frustrated a good few who gave it a try. Seeing familiar surrounds from a new view point was a thrill and only just getting back over high ground to close the triangle added to the excitement.
The best day of the year was June 7th with over 13000km flown. I did my first UK 200km from the Lawley to Weymouth. It ended in heart-break though: I'd gone over 200ft into a 4500' ceiling near Bristol. How did that happen? A combination of unfamiliar airspace, high workload at that point in the flight and a new flying instrument all combined to fade my brain. What a Muppett!
The highlight of the competition year for me was captaining the winning team at the British Champs in Macedonia. A beautiful place to fly, a really welcoming country and superbly organised event.
|Photo - Ruth|
For task four the wind properly arrived and the task required flying into it for some distance. This was tough - the PWC showed its hard-core side! I changed strategy and aimed to find the best cores to get above the main gaggle even if it meant being a bit behind. As we punched into wind I could see the group ahead and below - this was paying off. Close to full bar in, in the now familiar choppy air, I eased the pressure on the B risers to let the glider pick up yet more speed. Bang! I took a big collapse. I mishandled the recovery and ended up with a cravat and 3 twists. Game over. The ride to earth of my Beamer 3 was calm once I'd gathered in the main glider and ended with a gentle landing.
To be honest that fried me a little, not least as I knew I had made mistakes. My last comp of the year was to be wonderful but demanding St Andre.
|Big scenery - thanks to Lawrie Nocter for the pic.|
Continuing the Sports class theme I am now on the afore mentioned Cayenne 5. This has really surprised me (in a very good way) but you will have to wait for the review in Cross Country mag!
|Photo - Ian Burton|