FINALLY! Flew today for the first time in four months. Andre and I started
the season off with his first student of the year; Frank is ex-military with
plenty of static line jumps to his credit but no flying experience. He managed
to get his first flight in yesterday after just one day of training. Conditions
today were a little bumpy in the morning. I took up Frank's machine to check out
the air. The wind was light and variable. The launch was ok but it took a while
for Frank's smaller wing to lift me up. Once up the whole thing was rocking
about quite a lot. The wing was quite agile and on a cold spring morning was
giving me some interesting flying.
We decided it would be wise to wait awhile before we sent Frank back up and
spent a couple of hours mastering those essential ground handling skills. Frank
was learning fast so we went to grab the other machine and left him to work on
his inflation technique. By this time several interested onlookers arrived to
check out what was going on and there was soon a small gathering of enthusiasts.
I got another quick flight around the field in Andre's 'standby' machine and was
able to fly quite low for some photos (the air was now smoother). I always blow
a launch when there is a crowd of expectant onlookers, but this one was text
book...ish. Anyway it gave me a chance to try those gloves I was ranting about
the other day and they were fine. It was about 6C and they were more than warm
enough yet thin enough that I could leave them on for take off (usually I take
off without gloves and put them on once in the air).
Frank continued to work on his inflations but now the wind was picking up he
had the chance to practice the reverse launch. Not having flown for a while I
was having a little difficulty working out what Frank was doing wrong, a bit
like doing up someone elses tie. It was easier to clip in and just do it rather
than explain it. Once Frank had the hang of where all the lines went he made
very quick progress. Andre stepped in on occasions to give a few pointers. By
the end of the afternoon Frank was getting pretty good. It was time for another
flight. He stumbled a little on the launch and was almost up a couple of times,
but he eventually got airborn. It wasn't the prettiest take off I have ever seen
but he remembered to keep running and managed it in the end. The landing wasn't
too bad, but the flare was just a little too early.
After a short break Frank was ready for his last flight of the day. This time
the take off was a lot straighter, but he almost forgot to keep running and was
leaning backwards on take off. I took a photo to prove
it. He was soon back up in the air buzzing around the field taking in the view.
The landing approach was far better on this attempt with a nice flare perfectly
timed to set him down lightly on his feet. Then it
was time to pack up and head over to Dora's cafe for a beer and a bite to eat
before calling it quits for the day.
A great start to the season Check
out Andre's site for the photos...