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Dan - Paramotor Training Blog


dantheman
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Well here we go, about time I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

My story is a little different to the other training blogs on here as I started the BMAA training course at Flyschool in Tunbridge with Pete Searle back in Feb, unfortunately due to a fatal incident Flyschool lost Kev, one of the best instructors in the UK and decided to close, a very difficult decision I'm sure but probably the right one.

I would like to include my days there as I did log them in my book (something which you should all do) as this makes changing instructors much easier because they can tell exactly what topics have been covered and how many hours you have. Thanks Pete for that tip as I brought Simon up to speed in no time. Hopefully there will be a few more tips that I have picked up from Pete which Simon may like to include in his training. I'm sure I have forgotten some things, and probably included others which I have got a bit wrong but you will get the idea......enjoy

15th Feb - Day one

I had spotted the 1 day taster courses advertised on eBay and a quick phone call had me booked on a 1 day introduction to the sport, I turned up at Pete's place and was instantly taken by the rows of H&E & Parajet motors, plus all the bits which they help design and improve. Many cups of tea passed and we did the whole morning covering theory of flight, anatomy of a wing, motors etc. Luckily the other guys on the taster day had a good knowledge of the basics so we could get onto the specifics of paramotoring and weather. There was a lot of safety talk, even down to underwear, apparently it can hurt if you get your bollocks trapped in the harness :-) other clothing issues were boots with hooks were a big no-no, hoodies and toggles on fleeces were prop fodder and anything in your pocket not strapped in is likely to become lost at some point. After lunch we did hang checks, noted our hangpoints and then were introduced to the motor on our back, blimey what a weight and thats without fuel, surely there is no way that will fly !! We did a starting checks, shouted CLEAR PROP and got a feel of the power on tap, followed by running down the field being powered, a very strange feeling. The weather was a bit windy for us to ground handle a wing but Mark had a crack and showed how easy it was to kite the wing in the blustery conditions. As darkness fell we went back inside and all decided to join up for the full course, I could not wait to get airborne.

7th March - Day two

An early start in the fields behind Petes place, a moderate breeze with loads of dew on the ground, bloody freezing when you were standing still. Pete issued us with training wings, big paragliding harnesses and the hard work was underway. It was explained to us that we always have to assume that we may become airborne when ground handling so helmets etc were to be worn at all times. First the pre flight checks then hours of wall building, getting my hands and the risers confused, pulling the wrong brakes, swearing and falling in mud kept us amused. By lunchtime he decided we were not going to destroy the training wings so he offered us nice shiny Revolution wings, ours to keep if we passed the course but only if we wanted. After lunch cue more flight checks with the new wings then more handling, to be honest it seemed impossible to keep it above my head, I was fighting the wing, if it went right I went left and fought it all the way. The risers were different colours to the training wings so confusion reigned. Managed to get dragged to within inches of a barbed wire fence but grabbing the D's did the job. Despite the almost sub zero weather we were in T Shirts and dripping with sweat, Pete as always saying keep under it, don't fight it and at the end of the day I seemed to be getting there.

8th March - Day three

Woke up today with bruises and muscle pains in places that I did not knew existed, luckily my boots had dried so a quick application of wax at 6am should do the trick.

Pete started us off where we left off, the weather was the same as yesterday, just enough for nice reverse launches then we could bomb down the hill and a little brake got us into the air for the first time, well at least 6 inches of air, blimey you have to run fast, cue stumbling and more face fulls of mud, at this stage I'm sure Pete was just in it for the fun of watching us. At times the wind dropped and we did forward launches, these were a bit harder as I could not get the feel of the wing as quickly. After lunch Pete brings out a motor and we carry it over a few fences to a higher flat field, so now we practice reverses with this into the mix. So now I have risers, brake handles and a throttle to work out - this is getting even trickier. As evening approaches the wind picks up, we can kite the wings for a short while but Pete knows there is a front approaching and points this out to us so we pack in before it gets dark. As we carry the kit back the wind really goes for it.

Bit of a gap in my training here as I was best man for my buddy and I was stuck at stag do's and wedding's for the next few weeks, then the weather turned nasty.

17th May - Day four

Pete had a new training field in Bexhill, my first assignment of the day was to navigate to it which I passed with flying colours despite the two hour drive. Site assesment here was called for as we were behind some big barns and needed to stay clear of rotor depending on the wind direction. We were close to the sea and blessed with a sea breeze which was very steady both in direction and strength. I was able to get a few feet off the ground with reverse launches then Pete would push me down the hill once I was airborne, loads of fun. Quite a few people were at the site and there was loads of flying going on, watch and learn was the order of the day when taking a break from handling, coming in to land looked hairy as there was a road and telegraph lines behind the site but no-one was anywhere near these. Mark took my wing for a test flight but landed out in a field about 1/2 a mile away, when he returned he said it was a bit thermic and he would rather walk - apparently better to be on the ground wishing you were flying than flying wishing you were on the ground. At lunchtime it was hinted that a first flight may be in order and as the day turned into evening on the weather was lovely so I was donned in helmet and motor and started to practice launch. At this point it all went to shit. The extra momentum of the motor and cage really threw me when turning from a reverse, then the lines caught in my ear defenders and the wind pulled me over as I was struggling with the lines. Blood was dripping from my hand as I had caught it on a bit of stick in the ground and I was really annoyed at myself, Pete and I both knew this was where I needed to practice but the day was virtually over so it was time to drive home, just before I did Pete mentioned to me that the gap between sessions had put me back a bit so I decided to take the plunge and buy the Revolution wing there and then to take home to practice with.

23rd May - Day five

Wow another new field, this one at the same site but very flat with a few low bushes as obstacles, oh and surrounded by water filled dykes. I had managed a session at home in a playing field with the wing so arrived feeling very happy with the way things were training wise.

Pete amazed me when he said he had addressed the motor/cage familiarisation issue by knocking together a training rig with a full cage to practice with. I was dead chuffed and spent the entire day wearing the rig, it was not as heavy as a full motor but the way it handled with the risers etc was spot on.

There was a new guy at the site who had bought his kit elsewhere and wanted to self train, he seemed to know his stuff and set himself up despite Pete's warnings that he should seek proper training, he did manage a very scary 200ft long take off run, getting airborne between two bushes and after a couple of circuits he came in for a landing. The field is massive so we were amazed to see him heading for where the cars were parked, the bloke can't seem to control the direction and he clips a parked trailer but luckily avoids injury. I'm sure he then signed up for a training course.

Every hour or so I clipped into the school motor and practiced forward and reverses with the full weight of the machine, Kev was keeping me under his watchful eye and he was very happy with the way things were going. I could only do about three launches at a time before needing a water & pee break, I usually drink four or five large water bottles during a day to keep fluid levels up.

As the day progressed Pete & Kev said we were looking at a first flight but I was in a dilemma, my wife was out and I had to be home to look after my daughter (70 miles away) by 7pm. This meant leaving just when the thermic activity was dropping i.e. perfect first flight weather. I had promised to be home so to avoid AIDS - Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome I had to leave and I was really gutted but knew I was just about there.

10th June - Day six

The forecast looked perfect but upon arrival the wind seemed quite high, we were in another field next to the previous days one as we were in a crop rotation with some sheep. They were good at keeping the grass lovely and short but their shit was slippery and stains the wings, a small price to pay for a perfect flying site.

Pete digs out a long rope and with the wind we get hand towed really high, the aim is to reverse launch, fly the length of the field then after landing turn and kite the wing back down the field for another flight. We all have loads of fun doing this and everyone seems to get the hang. Kevs noticed I was a bit harsh on the brakes when steering in to land, he said I was f**king the wing and that I should try making love to it - I'll never forget his words of wisdom.

I Was hoping to get up with the motor but one of the more experienced pilots showed how a tiny error could be dangerous, his airspeed matched the windspeed so he landed almost vertically and turned, catching the wing nicely but the wind caught it pulling him towards one of the dykes. Luckily with some of us dragging him and others grabbing the wing he ended up with the wing suspended over the dyke but nothing got wet - amazing.

Pete taught me to try kiting with the trimmers out, the difference was amazing. I could park the brakes and steer the wing using the outer risers, nothing like really feeling one with your wing.

As the sun set the wind did not drop so a tactical decision was made to head to the pub.

8th July - Day seven

Back in the first of the low fields, again quite windy but the forecast was for it to drop off as the day wore on. I had arranged to buy a second hand H&E R120 from the school, it was bought privately by someone who only did an hour or so before deciding they needed a bigger motor. Upon arrival Pete gave me the lowdown on the motor and it was in as new condition so I snapped it up and rigged it for my weight, fingers crossed I'd be up in it later. We made good use of the wind for plenty of tow launches and I spent hours with the training cage on my back kiting squares on the ground, all that looking up makes you dizzy. Late afternoon and the wind shows no sign of dropping, apparently one forecast showed it getting stronger so the lure of the pub has us all packing our kit away. Suddenly we were all aware of the lack of wind, it was a mad scramble to get the kit back out again. Pete took off, did a couple of circuits and declared it perfect. As time was of the essence (we had a 45 min window before it was getting dark) Pete offered me his motor so I clipped into my wing and set about a forward with power to do a couple of dry runs with power but without going off the ground. The first power run was perfect, one more then potential airtime so I carried the motor and wing back to the takeoff point watching the others flying circuits but suddenly as Kev was practicing a spiral he impacted the ground, the AAIB are investigating the accident so I won't comment any further.

The next few weeks were taken up with interviews with the AAIB including a day at Farnborough rigging up my motor so they could run comparisons and ask questions. Then I attended Kevs funeral with his family and all the Lemmings, the last few weeks had been difficult for all involved and I did not know if I should continue my quest to become airborne but that night sealed my resolve to keep going, as it did with most of the other guys there.

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28th July Day eight

Simons name had cropped up quite a few times and I had read plenty about him on the internet, as I needed a school relatively close by his seemed to fit the bill and after a lengthy chat on the phone I turned up with all my kit inc BMAA log book and started again.

Initially it was a case of comparing Simon to my previous instructors, but I need not have worried as he was working from the same angle, heavily pushing the safety aspect and covering all subjects with plenty of humour injections.

The site assesment was interesting, a massive stubble field (not brilliant to build walls), loads of big trees at one end to induce rotor and turbulence plus plenty of spectators to avoid when starting the motor. Also lots of new faces (more names to learn) with different motors and wings, my H&E looks massive compared to their Parajets. One other thing I was missing was the sea breeze that was so nice to learn with, here it was far more thermic with the windsock changing direction all the time.

I kite my wing to Simons satisfaction, doing plenty of reverses but the wind is getting stronger and blustery so I pack in for lunch. Simon unveils a 1/2 size training wing which is superb to use in this wind, I have a play with that and find it's far more twitchy than the full size one. If you can handle that then you would have no problems with a full size wing. As the day goes on we study the weather charts that I had brought and we knew a weather front was heading in from the South. The wind started to drop towards the evening but there was only a tiny time window before the front arrived, we could see it aproaching over the horizon and decided to pack up. Spots of rain on the windscreen as I drove out of the field proved our decision to stay grounded was the right one.

30th July Day nine

Weather looked perfect today with the wind dropping in the evening, I was keen to get into the air and Simon worked the day with this in mind as there was two of us on the edge of our first flights. Quite a few unpowered reverses during the afternoon and then forwards when the wind dropped from time to time.

Simon asked who was up for it first so I jumped at the chance hoping to catch the remaining wind as it was just enough to reverse in. He wanted to get up first to check the air, always a good idea but could have been skipped today due to the hot air balloons that were passing the site (those boys live 24/7 with the weather forecast on) always a good sign. Simon carries his Parajet out, kits up, does his pre flight checks, goes to start the engine but the battery does not have enough power to start it, DOH. I grab my keys and drive my car to him and we jump start his motor from my car battery, we leave the Parajet running to warm up and charge a bit then the final test, stopping it then restarting it, which it does without a problem.

Then as Simon straps in he finds the hangpoints are not set quite right so cue a long run back to the vehicles to get tools to adjust this. Time is ticking by and eventually he's strapped in ready for a forward launch, a quick press of the starter and nothing, the battery has lost it's charge. Cue loads of blue language and me pointing out the reasons for buying a superior machine with a pull start (i.e. my H&E).

No time to mess around with the Parajet so time to focus on my flight, this began with a 20 min briefing on exactly what and where the flight & landing would be and what was expected of me, radio checks, pre flight checks again, warm the motor etc. The wind had gone totally by now so I was set to run up between lines of straw, not perfect but dooable. Simon heads up to the top of the strip and shouts "ready when you are" on the radio. Off I run, wing comes up perfectly, apply power, run faster suddenly the power really kicks in and im going faster than I can run but the wing takes the weight and I feel lift. Just as I'm about to use brake to get unstuck I feel a pendulum to the right and as I swing under it I plough through a straw line which throws me off balance and I end up killing the motor face down in a pile of straw looking like Worzel Gummage. Luckily the wing lands gracefully in front of me but all I can say is bollocks bollocks bollocks. Time to set up again and watch the other student have a crack but his wing never seems to get overhead properly so he has a few failed forwards too.

Light was fading by now and the dew was about to settle on the kit so it was pack up time, I noticed the straw had marked the prop tips, bollocks again but still looking forward to my first flight.

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"The site assesment was interesting, a massive stubble field (not brilliant to build walls), loads of big trees at one end to induce rotor and turbulence plus plenty of spectators to avoid when starting the motor."

LOL

Dan great blog mate except for the above....

the field is 120 acres big for crying out loud LOL move away from the 'Small' clump of trees :wink: You will want a flipping carpet next!!

Wait until your flying in the alps :shock:

SW :D:D

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Hey a carpet, or even better astroturf :D

I think I explained it wrong, what I meant was the site assesment showed those trees at one corner of the field and they were to be avoided, not that it would be an issue for the other 119 acres of lovely open space.

Fingers crossed for this rain to clear up !!

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26th Aug Day ten

A lovely sunny day and a taster day at the field so a few more new faces (and new kit - If I get the name right - Derek with his Paratoys Black Hawk outfit). We were now in the smaller field over the other side of the road from the first field, luckily no straw lines to trip over and even the stubble has a softer feel to it making handling a lot easier. Temperatures soar as we tow launch the new guys in the thermic wind and drink + suncream breaks seem weather focussed as there is an unusual wave front being created by the NW wind and the ridge. We all head towards the ridge edge to check out the horizon and the gusts are very regular at the exposed side, so probably a bit stronger at altitide. Simon goes on a bit about bald pilots, apparently there are no old bald pilots, must be something about aviation that prevents hair loss.

The decision is made not to risk first flights with the weather at that time, plus everyone is knackered so I stick to kiting and lauch practice which is spot on.

As the field empties the Black Hawk takes to the air on the second attempt, from a spectators point of view I'd say a stubble stumble resulted in a face plant on the first attempt but nothing serious.

Progress is slow upwind (or so it seemed from the ground) probably due to no trimmer on the wing so I head home, passing about 10 hot air balloons in the Reading area.

Found an interesting quote on metcheck:

June, July and August combined are likely to be one of the wettest 3 month periods in a long time. It would seem that current stats are pointing towards the summer of 2007 being the wettest across England and Wales since 1912, that's almost 100 years ago!

Temperatures have also have been depressed and the last time a summer was this cool was 1998.

June and July were dominated by persistent unsettled conditions as low pressure features came rattling in off the Atlantic. There was extensive and severe flooding across parts of the Midlands and Northern England during June, and then also further severe flooding this time across more southern parts of the Midlands.

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Oh! sorry Dan. :oops: <> I thought you were being brief and modest and remarking on ground observations...

I will pack the congratulations in scented tissue and bring it out in the near future then. Stick at it, it's going to be tremendous when you lift off - only a matter of weather and time.

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Kevin, thanks mate !! and Norman I'll now accept your congratulations.....

29th Aug Day 11

Simon has put aside this afternoon/evening to work on a couple of us who are ready for first flights, he says he will arrive at the strip around 6pm but I'm there at about 4 and send a text to Simon to say I'm here. First things first - fuel the motor and pre flight checks and then an hour or so doing some ground handling to warm up. Rob was also out early with his wing getting in some practice. The weather looks perfect today, no wave fronts but a nice breeze to kite the wing around.

Colin & Simon arrive and Simon suggests we send Colin up to check the air, I'm virtually ready to go, all my kit is 1/4 mile down the field to give me loads of space. Simon gives me the flight brief and we go over the landing a few times. Colin gets his gear laid out and as he's doing that Rob fires up his motor and it looks like he will be first off the ground, but he suddenly switches off, unclips and heads back to the car.

Colin is having a crack at launching the wing but is a bit close to the trees and may be in slight turbulence as it does not go to plan. By now there are 4 pilots ready to take off (inc me) and they are all having difficulty for some reason or other.

All of a sudden I spotted a hot air balloon appear in the distance, that's all the proof I need that its nice up there and I say to Simon that I want to fly NOW, no messing around waiting.

He's cool with that and I fire up the motor, clip in the wing, radio check, reverse launch, turn, bloody lines catch in my earmuff and I land the wing to adjust my helmet. Another reverse, wing comes up lovely, turn, muffs clip the line again but the wing is up so nicely that I just run (Simon comes over the radio "POWER") but I'm already there with full throttle and it's just a few steps before my legs start to go light, a dab of brake and thats it I'm flying. I slowly release the brake but begin to decend so I pull a bit of brake again to get a bit of ground clearance, then release again and I'm 100% airborne under power. A massive shot of adrenalin hits me as I clear the hedgerow at the end of the field, I'm probably at 100ft now but not gaining much height so I keep full power on and start to try steering. It's amazing how much weight there is on the brakes when flying, considering you can kite the wing on the ground with tiny brake inputs, you now have to put some real effort into turning, and I'm very wary of too much input so I'm a bit slow to turn. Still too excited (read nervous) to enjoy the view but I see the farm in front of me and my eyes slowly scan the horizon and the ridgeway and it's unbeliveable. As I approach the farm I realise I should start to head back so I do a big turn to the right and head back, underneath me someone is walking a dog and they are tiny, I must be at approx 1000ft and the view is amazing. With legs dangling I try to wiggle my bum into the seat but I think I have slipped down so much over the last few mins that it's an impossible task, still I'm not uncomfortable and I know a lot of people don't get into the seat on the first flight so I'm not worried. I'm looking at the wing above me, and the risers checking out the location of the trimmers and the brake clips but I don't have the balls to clip my brakes up to push into my seat.

I turn again and cross the field downwind, waving and shouting at the guys on the radio "I'M FLYING YEEEHHHAAAA". I let the engine idle for a short while to see what it's like and I'm amazed how quickly you lose height and how clear the sound of the wind is in the lines. Simon comes over the radio worried that I have engine problems so I power up again with a leg wiggle to say all is ok. In the distance I spot a stately home which looks awesome from the air, I fly down the break in the trees towards it and Simon comes on the radio suggesting I try a landing. Another right turn and I line up on the field, but I'm about a mile out downwind and with 1/2 power I just hang there on the approach for about 5 mins. I his some turbulence and it's very bumpy but the wing is directly overhead and does not seem to need any input, I'm still on take off/landing trim which is about an inch out and I drop the power again to glide down a bit and have to steer quite a bit to stay on course. At about 100 ft Simon shouts kill the engine so I do, as I'm about 20 ft up the wing turns sharply right and I'm braking and steering it back but flare and land slightly crosswind but standing up which is nice, until in my excitement I forget to release the brakes and I'm pulled over backwards by the wing. Talk about buzzing !! it's been a long time in coming but was well worth it, I can't wait to get back up again.

During post flight checks I found oil on the prop and closer investigation shows one of the manifold bolts has come loose in flight so it was a timely landing. The rest of the evening was helping Stuart with his launches but the wind is dropping and he's having problems with the last few steps of his forward launches and somehow manages to stay on the ground on every attempt, next time he will be writing his first flight blog. Thanks to Simon and the gang for all the help !!

Dedicated to Kevin Rymer-Craig

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Fantastic Dan!

Now you know why when we all land and walk away from whatever flying machine we just deposited back on the ground, we have stupid grins on our faces. For most of us it takes around sixty years for it to leave. it is only replaced buy a knowing smile that lasts for eternity...

The real meaning of the word achievement floods your mind doesn't it. Really pleased for you - very nicely written too if you don't mind me saying so.

Here is someone who had the same idea, it makes me think he actually made it. It is well known but loses none of its power for repetition.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

Leonardo da Vinci

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Thanks guys

5th Sept Day 12

Had been phoning Simon trying to get an evening session after work and today was looking good. I was first one at the field in the evening (everyone else was having their dinners) so got the kit out and did some kiting as I knew I needed to do some line untangling. Did loads of pre flight checks and had a crack at reverse launch practices with the motor as there was quite a strong breeze.

Slowly the field filled with pilots, then the noisy arrival of the safari landy meant Simon was here too. I made good use of my radio to have a cross field conversation and he pointed out a rather nasty dark black cloud on its way (which I was tracking) so we decided to wait for a bit.

The cloud brought some quite windy intervals which died down as it passed so Colin was to be first man up to check the air. He went for a forward launch but the wing went off to one side so he turned and landed it, I helped him set up again but unfortunately he was not getting his launches right and I think he did about 10 and never got it right so he had a break, the poor guy was knackered.

I thought I'd have a crack, there was just enough for a reverse which I did but as I turned the wing went light (breeze dropped) and I saw the wing falling so turned and caught it. Simon came on the radio and said I would have been ok if I ran it back up. Another dodgy cloud appeared so we waited for it to pass then Colin had a few more attempts but still could not get it right and all of a sudden it was getting dark, time to pack up but not a before a few long forward launch practice runs back to the cars. Good practice and social even if I did not fly, plus the T Shirt was worth the trip too :D

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8th Sept Day 13

Weather forecast was superb so got to the site at 8.15 for an early flight only to find the ridge in low cloud and Simon making a brew in the landy. Wind was perfect so we both did pre flight checks and did a bit of ground handling. I noticed more oil on my prop and the exhaust join was wet so tightened up the spring bolts.

Lunchtime came and the wind had picked up but the cloud was still very low and visibility was poor so we hand towed a couple of guys on the taster day. I was on the verge of going home when the wind dropped and the cloud lifted so we could see the horizon, cue Colin to have a quick circuit and report back that it was silky smooth.

Simon had given me two tasks to complete today, get my ass in the seat and set the trimmers to fast.

Wind was lovely for a reverse so did a couple of engine off practices, both perfect, Simon started my engine for me to save unclipping from the harness and I took a deep breath, built the wall and prepared.

Reversed the wing up, turned, power up, took 2 steps and I was up but was a bit quick letting the brakes up so came down for two more steps before taking the elevator to the top floor. The venturi effect of the wind over the ridge makes this field perfect for easy take offs.

My ass found the seat with no problems today, tighter leg straps did the job so that was task one completed.

I Flew just downwind of Ashbury while gaining altitude and then turned to head back up the ridgeway but out over the valley where the air was a lot smoother. Simon was on the radio suggesting I did not fly further s/w to avoid restricted airspace. Time to try task two, I let the trimmers out and carefully parked the brakes in their magnets, not that difficult really and I'm now just sitting there enjoying the view with the throttle in my hand - wow.

I'm becoming very aware of potential landing sites, you have to fly as though you could lose the engine at any moment. Luckily there are hundreds of flat crop fields but even though I can't see power lines themselves I can see the poles running along side the roads and lines of pylons in the fields and make a mental note to stay clear if I'm low in that area.

No brakes or tip steering meant weightshift turning, never tried it before but it's amazing how easy it is to turn by crossing your legs and leaning the way you want to turn, and on fast trim the air really was silky smooth.

I got to cloudbase and just as I noticed the wispy cotton wool above me Simon said no higher over the radio so I throttled back to cruise speed and said that I could see the white horse a few miles away, he responded by saying I could go where I want aslong as the field was in sight, considering visibility was about 10 miles that was a long way but I decided that to circle the white horse and castle ruins was my goal so off I went.

The n/westerley was blowing at 90 degrees to the ridgeway and I angled myself to about 30 degrees into the wind to allow me to fly parallel with the ridge towards the horse. An RAF trainer was doing sharp circles off to my left so I kept my eye on him as the horse slowly got bigger.

Down on the ground I could see guys with radio controlled planes zooming around but they were tiny and nowhere near as high as I was, I could see them all watching me circle the horse so I waved and headed out over the valley just passing downwind of Compton Beauchamp.

I did a bit of sightseeing over the valley, and skirted round some clouds that were just a bit bumpy then headed back to the field and did a high speed downwind over the guys who were using binoculars to see how much fuel I had. I could see a couple more light aircraft over to my right so turned left to give them a bit of room, then turned to start a landing run.

Pulled the trimmers back to landing trim and took the brakes, note to self try not to catch the throttle arm on the risers as I had a bit of a pendulum going by blipping it by accident.

I picked my spot in the field, the approach was over a gap in the hedge to avoid turbulence and as I crossed the hedge Simon said kill the motor which I did after a few secs. Lowered my undercarriage and pulled a bit of brake to slow the wing then flared and stepped onto the ground, turned, landed the wing, awesome.

So thats nearly it for my training blogs, only one more radio assisted flight. My tach read 30 mins exactly and I had used 2 litres of fuel, so thats 4 litres an hour or 2 hours range on a full tank with a bit to spare. The horse was about 2 miles away so my mini x-crountry was at least 4 miles there and back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

30th Sept Day 14

Weather was looking perfect today, a bit of high cloud to keep the thermals down and a nice breeze for easy takeoffs and landings (unless you are Norman).

Brought Ang and Emma with me (wife and 2 year old child) so they could see what it was all about and to have a picnic at the field. Donned my flying suit on and after a quick practice I hedge hopped off into the sky.

Canopy up and lines ok - check

Arse in seat - check

Trimmers out - check

Brakes in magnets - check

big smile and a nice flight ahead - definately check

Took my camera up and found it interfered with the radio so I turned the radio off and headed off to the M4, the plan was to hop over the motorway, head east and do a triangle course from there to Simons house and then back to the field. As it happens progress was quite swift so I ended up at the White Horse, the photos tell the story.......

Emma is more excited about playing in the field than Daddys preparations

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Up up and away, clearing the hedge and into the sky

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There is a smile there behind the mic

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Dirty boots, surreal having your feet dangling

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Crossing the M4 at altitude heading towards Baydon

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Amazing view, am level with the clouds in the distance, quite chilly this high

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Castle ruins

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White Horse, sightseeing is out of this world

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Circling the field before coming in to land

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That grin will last for weeks

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Now at least my other half knows what we do up here :lol:

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Norman that was the guys towing Sally Ann in the background :lol:

Camera is nothing special, Fuji A800 which is very affordable at about £80 and does fit in my pocket easily, priceless for capturing the moment, I love taking photos. Also glad I strapped it to my zip as I dropped it once :shock:

Fujifilm_FinePix_A800_Silver.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another great flight, weather prediction was perfect.

Did a bigger x-country North to Whitehorse, East towards Wantage, South to Great Shelford then zigzag back to Upper Lambourn.

Flew over a couple of guys slope soaring at the white horse, v nice....

Heading North over Uffington Castle, visibility to the edge of the world

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Sleepy village of Kingston Lisle

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Heading East towards Wantage

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Nosey looking into peoples gardens

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Didcot power station looms into view

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Heading South over Fawley Manor

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RAF Welford looks amazing

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Sunset over Lambourn looks even more amazing from 3000ft

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Flight stats, max ground speed around 53mph gps (with tailwind)

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max altitude 3390 ft QNH

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Covered 25 miles exactly, was up for about 1hr20, used all my fuel as did not expect to get 7mph into wind on my last leg :shock: so hung around for ages and dropped height to get a bit more speed with all my arms and legs tucked in for less drag.

Things to remember, winter flying suit would be warmer than my summer suit, dont go so far downwind, it gets very dark very fast !!! and work on those landings.

Things learnt, Suunto X-Lander is the dogs, motorbike gloves are fine, cheesy map case worked a treat with GPS inside it, engine will fly on fumes if you have faith.

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Hi Tony, glad you like 8)

PDA was a cheap £100 quid job (MIO 168 or also branded as Medion) that I have been using in my car for a few years as it came with built in GPS and satnav software. Found out it was dead easy to download GPS dash from the internet and it sits inside my map case which stops the case flapping in the wind. The aerial is a fold out jobbie but works just fine folded up and hence no danger of breaking it.

Not very nice reading 7mph into wind (and hovering over the same field for ages) but at least you can adjust your flight better to suit the conditions and it gives you a distance covered measurement.

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