Hammondsport - what a great place to fly!
After a few years away from regular free-flying it looks like I will be getting my fix in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Video of Hammondsport flying
On Thursday night I noticed that the forecast for the weekend was looking very promising for a visit to Hammondsport, so I took a chance and booked the cabin next to the launch area with the intention of showing my girlfriend the Finger Lakes, and just maybe going flying too. We hired a rental car (ours is not up to the journey) and headed down on Friday night after quicklypacking some supplies. After minor difficulties finding the place we arrived to see Rick (the owner) just locking up, about to give up on us. We unpacked, had some dinner and went to bed. The cabin next to launch has running water, a toilet, a sink, a gas stove and gas lighting. It's not The Ritz, but the location is pretty close to launch!
3D Panoramas from Hammondsport:
Cabin - August 2006
Camping area - August 2006
Launch - April 2007
Next morning, I woke up early and had a look around. The wind was variable and weak. I was hoping for an improvement. By 10:30am things had changed and I was in the air, shortly followed by Bob Grant. He had a tree 'landing' the day before and had spent some time checking out his glider before launching. We were soon enjoying spectacular spring thermals in warm sunshine. At one point in the flight I was really low, setting up an approach to land. I was in the air with another glider. We both hit some lift and worked it, franticaly trying to avoid landing! Luckily I was able to get back to the ridge and then get back to altitude, but the other pilot was less fortunate and had to land. After two hours of flying I top landed on the stubble cornfield. I thought I was far enough back from the edge of the hill to avoid rotor, but Doug (who had just arrived) informed me that I needed to go a little further back next time. I was going to say hi to Mukrim, but he was airborne before I got the chance to say hi. I packed my gear away and had a spot of lunch, then was ready for my second flight of the day. By this time the numbers of pilots had swelled to around 12 or so. Everyone was having a great day, but Florien and Mukrim got particularly good height gains, with Florien topping out at 8500 feet.
1st flight: top landed after 2 hours 7 minutes
2nd flight: top landed after 1 hour 5 minutes
3rd flight: bottom landing after 58 minutes
4th flight: bottom landing after 28 minutes (tried to top land without success)
Bob Grant (62!) flying after a few repairs to his glider from Friday's tree 'landing'
Bob and I were the only pilots flying for the first two hours. I guess we were spotted by the rest of the Rochester Area Flyers, since by midday there were at least 10 pilots on launch.
The view of the lake towards Hammondsport
Florien prepares to launch. The site is pretty narrow for novice pilots, but Florien is an old pro!
Florien playing around in the dynamic lift, searching for the first thermal of the day
Three Paragliding DVDs - $80
Shortly after this photo was taken Florien was up at 8500 feet, not bad for a small site.
Mukrim scratching around in light thermals, before making an impressive low save over the LZ.
Mukrim starts clawing his way back to altitude.
After top landing in the corn field at behind launch Mukrim sets up for another flight.
Launch starts getting crowded at midday as more and more pilots and their partners turn up to enjoy the fantastic conditions.
The launch site soon resembles a car park.
Hanggliders and paragliders all have plenty of room to fly together. What a great day.