|Busy at work, I wasn`t really paying much attention what the weather was doing until around 3:30pm when I received an e-mail from Andre asking me if I wanted to go flying after work. Well naturally I said yes. I finish at 4pm and Andre was there by 4:15pm.
Usually I bring my flying stuff to work `just in case`, but today we had car problems and I had not removed my stuff from the boot (trunk) of the car. I would just have to fly in what I had, no big deal.
We headed off to our local field and fueled up. There was a bit of tinkering to do as Andre had been experimenting again and his latest innovation had to be removed before I could fly (more about this later).
Andre was in the air first as usual and I was up soon afterwards. The air was still and inflation took a bit of controlling as I ran for ages before getting airborne. The conditions were perfect. There was not a stitch of wind so we would be able to cover a lot of ground on the outward leg of the journey. We headed off to the escarpment to do some flying along the ridge. It is always nice to fly along side some terrain. Andre was pushing his luck by flying really low just over the trees with only vineyards, with their spikey metal post below if he had to make an emergency landing.
I was playing it safe a little higher up. We saw several birds of prey below us as well as a few hikers with the usual vigorous waves.
The lake marked the end of our outbound leg and we decided to head back.
We left the escarpment for a bit and headed off towards the lake where the air seemed just a little cooler. The highway below was buzzing with the usual commuter traffic and I couldn`t help but feel a little superior having already finished work and getting to do what I love most.
By this time we had been flying just over an hour. The route back passed over some of the usual stunning houses of the area, set in the luxurious escarpment forest. These places are well hidden away amongst the trees. We also saw a very interesting church which I had seen before from the air, but never photographed. I managed to get a snap just as I was directly overhead.
On the way back Andre was radioing me to try to walk on the top of his wing. While this might not be too daunting in free-flight I was not so enthusiastic since I did not really want to get the propeller anywhere near Andre`s wing so we flew in a stacked formation instead. Not that impressive from the air but it might have looked neat from the ground.
We were soon almost at the field. I had been gaining altitude steadily as soon as the field was in view. I was hoping to get some photographs that I could stitch together to make a panorama, but with the haze in the atmosphere most of the photos are really washed out. Andre landed first then I switched off the engine at just under 3000ft for some wingovers and a spiral to the ground.
On landing, we were greated by one of Andre`s friends - Paul? who just happened to be cycling past on his $7000 carbon fibre bike. Andre couldn`t resist a pose for the camera as he struggled to lift it with his little finger! We were also greeted by the owner of the field and a truck load of kids accompanied by another two people who knew Andre. It seems he is quite the celebrity in these parts!
After a short chin wag with the locals we were packed up and ready to go.
Four hours after I had finished work I was in the car heading home with another two hours of flying added to my log book. Can`t be bad..