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2 day course over consecutive days in south Wales

Mark Pugh

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Spent last two days (25 & 26 October 2017) with Steve from Axis, in South Wales. Just two students and we had quite a lot of experience already paragliding and competing, but my experience was from a long time ago!

Have been trying to get lessons for the last month, but too many storms were hitting South Wales, much too windy and wet. But finally Steve got in touch by internet to say Wednesday might be suitable on the beach. We met at 09:30 near Port Talbot and walked all the kit through the sand dunes and onto the beach as the sea started to go out. Much of the morning was showing we had good paraglider skills, reverse launching, even flying the sand dunes. We then checked the motor over and got used to the throttle whilst it was strapped to our backs. Then having to run along the beach with a running motor.

After lunch we got strapped in and with the weight of the engine on our backs got used to reverse launching and keeping the wing above our heads whilst we attempted to run into wind....

Then the engine was turned on, and what had been a big, heavy, cumbersome unit suddenly became light as we revv'ed up and ran into the wind, feeling a little like John Cleese doing a silly walk!

Into the air, gain height, let go of brake controls to get seat comfortable and then the knowledge of how much easier it was to turn one way rather than the other!

We each made three smaller circuits, lasting 4 to 8 minutes; with spot landings back at the windsock and with the power turned off at approx. 100 feet. Great landings, on our feet, in the right place.

Then longer flights of approx. 15-25 minutes with a height gain of over 1500 feet. Much more time to play in the air.

At the end of the day, we looked at the next days forecast and although it started poor, the afternoon looked promising. So we stayed the night locally. Next day we did a lot more theory inside a café, completed the 40 question exam and then went back to the beach for the afternoon. After checking all the equipment, we made more, longer flights and really got comfortable with the equipment. I have to admit, my take-offs seemed to get worse, not better, but after turning and applying the throttle, not one was aborted. Before each flight I still had "butterflies" in my stomach and the uneasy feeling of "what am I doing this for!" But once in the air, it was all SO WORTH IT.

We are now Club Pilots and can fly from, and near, sites that have been checked by an Instructor and found suitable. After logging a few more hours, we can then become full pilots and choose our own suitable flying sites.



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10 hours ago, Mark Pugh said:

Before each flight I still had "butterflies" in my stomach and the uneasy feeling of "what am I doing this for!" But once in the air, it was all SO WORTH IT.

Just how it should be at this stage, keeping your mind on point.

Fantastic chaps! Well done. :D

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I was actually amazed at how low the revs were required to maintain height, I'd always presumed just to negate gravity I'd have to run the motor at almost full speed. It reminds you that whilst paragliding you are always looking for the next thermal, it is only as you leave at cloud-base that you are not concentrating 100% on finding lift. With the motor it was possible to float around at any height.

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