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Another good 'un


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I know there are a few newbies that like to follow the exploits of us lucky chaps who already fly so I thought I would report on my last flight on Monday. I had hoped to fly my planned XC on Sunday over to Wanafly but the wind was rather lively, outside my comfort zone at the take off field. Shirley and I drove over to Wanafly and I was glad I hadn’t tried to fly over, as the wind seemed even stronger when we got there.

So far the majority of my flying has been out and return with a few tours around the local area that I have come to know well. One of my mentally planned excursions has been to link a couple of the out turnpoints to make a triangular route. I will say here that I like smooth conditions so when the forecast was for 10km/h I thought I would go for it. The rest of this week has deteriorated with rain all day today, so that prolongs the inner glow of having ‘got one in’.

The route was only 44 km, a short one by the standards of others on here, but I like to expand my horizons gradually, enjoying it all the way. The breeze was doing the ‘directional ballet’ as I have come to term it, not knowing which direction to settle on. A few times (a few too many) I have set out the wing and got all prepared only to be facing off wind. I have moved around into wind only to find it has returned to the previous direction when I am all ready again. I have now learnt to have more patience as it almost always comes back around if you wait.

I got all set up and sat in the shadow of the car watching the wind streamer. This was the first flight since the spring where I have needed the flying suit, as the temperature has taken a sudden dip this month, so I was in the shadow so as not to overheat in the sun; always a catch 22 when its sunny and you’re all suited up.

I decided it was good to go so strapped the airchart around my waist (a first, in preparation for more XCs) and put my wrist compass on my left wrist. Thanks to Norman for suggesting a diving compass as good for PPG, this one is a recreational wrist compass, a Suunto M9.

I was off in what seemed like fewer steps than usual and found I was climbing at 370 feet per minute, faster than I have before, so an interesting flight was anticipated. I continued climbing up to 1500 feet, as I knew that some of the local restricted areas were active and a Phantom had flow over while I was waiting earlier. I headed off on my first leg over towards the motorway and with the good visibility I could see a couple of known landmarks in the distance. The first is a comms mast with some big dishes on the top and the other is a red and white comms tower just the other side of the motorway. This is too easy I thought, I can see my first turnpoint at 15 km but made a mental note of the compass direction anyway.

The air was a little thermic with me being swayed around a little but the wing felt really solid, as usual so no problems.

The only minor problem I had was a cool neck. I had forgotten that I should have pulled the back of my flying suit up as much as possible before taking off, as when shuffling into the harness after takeoff I find that I slide inside the suit rather than the suit sliding over the harness seat. There followed an amusing interlude of shuffling, wriggling and general contortions to pull the suit up my back and tighten the collar. :lol:

I was now at about 1700 feet and using some speedbar as the wind was essentially head on. The motorway crept into view and I was thinking how much more fun I was having than all those motorists stuck down there. I turned crosswind and flew along the motorway, on the right hand side of it of course, up to the next junction. I had not flown here before but recognised the road layout as I had been around this particular junction many times by car.

This was my second turnpoint so I turned onto the homeward leg and realised I was in the vicinity of Sara and Chris’s house, folks that I haven’t seen in ages. It was a small detour and quite easy to spot from high up, the garden certainly didn’t look so big as from on the ground, but no one was at home so I returned to my planned track. I flew to St. Benoit that is a previous out and return location and spotted the disused airstrip. The weeds are now growing through the joins in the tarmac and I wondered about doing a low level pass but decided against.

I continued along the D10 and looking into the distance there seemed to be a large mirror reflecting the sunlight. I realised it was the new roof on the church in Prissac, it has been re-roofed with new slates so is a very even surface now. It was almost like I had a beacon to guide me home. Shirley called on the radio to see where I’d got to so I reported my position and ETA. After a broad circuit of Prissac and a slow descent into wind for a gentle landing, it was a few Whoo Hoo’s what a great flight.

I had been airborne for 1 hour 6 minutes and had used under 4 and a half litres, which I was well pleased with as I had been on speedbar some of the time. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera with me so no pics this time. :cry:



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Like your (Normans) compass idea, may steal that one :)

Dan don't get confused with the Suunto M9 wrist computer, the M9 standard compass is actually no longer in production.

I got mine from Watersportswarehouse.co.uk who have stock of the standard compass. Looking to try and find a supplier in France came up with prices that were verging on 10x the price in other countries :?::? .

I thought that perhaps the decimal point was in the wrong position but all the French stockists were similar.

dmh, thanks for the comment.



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Great flight Allan.

Its funny the things you remember about a flight. I often fly over towns wondering what is occuring down below among the diverse mix of people living snd working down there.

I fly with a marine compass normally used on a boat. Its about the size of my fist and fluid filled which is far too big and heavy but does work well in the air. I am looking for a smaller compass, might give the diving types a look. I used to convert grid to mag variations for planned flights etc but its not necassary. Due to the drift and rock and roll movement in the air trying to get a heading within 10 degrees is a challange. :roll: I find the only way to stay on track when PPG is to constantly check map to ground and adjust accordingly. Or when feeling lazy goto on the GPS is good. :D

Although its cold, conditions are nice for xc this time of year. Colours seem more vibrant and the air is often silky smooth.

Look forward to hearing about the next flight.


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