Events of the final day, no. 6 (Friday 9th. of Dec. 2016)
Please accept my humble apologies, for the tardy posting of this my, but for now, last instalment, of my tales. I was struck down - by an illness! A mighty Man-Flu felled me, at the roots... like a tree in it's prime, it wiped me out... incapacitated me, it was terrible...!
(So, I beg yours, and my fellow trainees', forgiveness, if this account is not entirely accurate, in all it's details, because it was written more from memory, than the others, because I spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in bed)
OK. So, I came down with a bug on Thursday night. You may have noticed, my slightly more succinct report on the day's events. By that time I was already shaking like a leaf. I took off my trousers, but was too cold to take off any more and went to sleep at 7:30pm. Waking up a few times during the night, I was thinking how to manage the last day of flying. We had at least one more 20 mins off circuit flight to do, to satisfy the BHPA syllabus. I was going to send the guys off to the field by themselves and see if I could join them later in my hired car. (NOT a great idea, because the hire agreement forbade off road use, and the surface to and on the field, is distinctly off road. I dragged myself out of bed and made some coffee. A fellow PuT had a blister of Ibuprofen, and 20 minutes later I felt almost human. With the help of said substance I managed to keep with the training. We had low to no wind in the morning, but we all got our flight in. I wish I could present to you, an unblemished record of perfect take-offs and on my feet landings... alas, it was not to be. (please bear in mind, I am diseased at this point! ) I fluffed the first zero wind forward launch, but the engine is killed quickly and we just reset the wing and I had a perfect launch. The flight itself was awesome. Coming back, I came in very high and Marcus directed an extended base leg and couple of S-turns to bleed off some of that height. Then I set up a perfect line for him and came in nice and straight. Good glide, Marcus gave the "kill the engine" command followed not much later by "roll hands forward" and a well timed "and-hands-all-the-way-down". It looked right to me and I was happy, until it occurred to me, that I may be a little bit too high still for the full flare. But too late now, so, with a bit too much thud, I came down and a combination of the slightly muddy field and my impact, I was not able to run it off, but face-planted into the damp field instead. I lay there for a good 20-30 seconds, wondering what had happened, and checking whether I was hurt or not. Also, the 30kg of V3 Moster, pushing down on me, made moving somewhat difficult.
Here is the good advice you've been hoping for:
A) Another argument for a lighter motor!
B) A bit of feeling with the flare could have prevented that. The Pilot in command makes the decisions, Marcus could not feel the wing, not see the ground with my eyes. Maybe if I had felt the wing, checked my height and speed and judged the flare, rather than just followed the instructions, it might have been a better landing. Experience will be a good teacher.
C) Performance limitations (The P in WHIPS) includes limitations of the PiC. Maybe without the cold I would have performed better (that's a note to self!!!)
Anyway, Marcus and the others came to my rescue and I was soon back up, pretending that it never happened. Un?-fortunately I had the ApeMan 'GoPro' strapped to my chest, so you lot can see the version with this landing, while I will prepare a 'sanitised' version for my family! ;-).
Since the forecast was the same, that it had been all week, we broke for lunch, planning to come back for some slightly better winds and some easier flying. So, after lunch from about 13:00 to 14:30, maybe, we returned to the field. Much to our surprise, the wind had totally picked up. The only visible change in the sky, was : no cloud above the mountains over Algo to the S/E. Marcus estimated the winds gusting to about 20 mph and got out the smaller 'training' wing to demo some reverse launching and kiting. Even with the small wing, he was doing good hops off the ground and leaning way back into the harness to counteract the wing. Nick joined him with a second wing. Marcus suggested that we wait until the wind drops a bit, which took quite some time. When the wind had settled to a more manageable strength, we newbies all tried our hand on the training wings and later our full size wings. I am glad to report all three of us did well with the GH'ing. Reverse launching and kiting came quite naturally to both my 'co' - pilots. I, myself, can say that the hours (and hours and hours) I have spent with my wing, in a field, have served me well. I could handle my 29m wing in the lively winds and managed to walk it around the field and put it down, where I wanted it. And kiting the wing, just holding the As and Ds is also fun.
The sun was rapidly disappearing behind the hills to the west, when the wind finally dropped enough. I sensed that Marcus was frustrated that we only got one flight in on our final day. He jumped up and into action. "Nick, let's get these guys up" he said. And with that we all at once started to lay out our wings and setting up helmets with radios and our respective motors. He WHIP'ed and MACE'd Paddy through the checks and had him in the air within a few minutes. The light headwind made for a perfect launch. "OK, Manfred, get ready" , I was called up, next, as Paddy and PJ were using the same wing and motor. Hooked in and checks done, I waited a couple of minutes until Paddy had finished a couple of circuits and was on final. As soon as he was down (perfect landing into wind, of course), I launched my wing and was up with a few steps. While I was doing my own two circuits, PJ was pre-flighted and ready to go. I also had a good landing, into wind, nicely on my feet, as one hopes. As soon as I was safely back on the ground, PJ launched, to use the last few rays of the setting sun. We literally used the 30 minutes after sunset, allowed, to the last moments. With PJ down after his two circuits, we packed up and went back to the Eagles Nest. We completed the paperwork, Marcus signed off the last tasks and we signed our BHPA CP - Power card applications.
This week has been awesome. The rain at the beginning gave us time to whip through the theory. Thereafter the weather was great and the site has been perfect. When we did have wind, it was nice and steady, so even the ground-handling was easier than in my home field (old London Airpark (now Hanworth Park). The school and the staff come highly recommended: a couple of weeks ago Marcus trained Ben Fogle here in the same field at Bornos!
I will post the missing video clips of my take-off and the epic flight (and face-plant) when I have the spliced together and worked out where to stick em, so you can get to them.
Here is the (long time coming) video - use the mute button and hum your own music to it! LOL
I hope a dropbox link works.
I hope you enjoyed reading my account. Thanks to those, who have left comments and please drop me a pm, or leave a comment, if you haven't yet. It is very encouraging for a blogger, to know that he has an audience.
See you out there. Stay safe and don't forget to say your WHIPS & MACE!