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Lee Ganley's Training Blog.


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Hi all,

The first part of this is a but retrospective, as the training started prior to clocking the training blogs, so I appologise if its in one big lump at first.

Training is with Richard X,

Just a bit of background as how I came to get into this paramotor lark.

Firstly from being a kid I always had a thing about flying, I had a taster lesson at Barton airport and loved it, however the cost was a very big issue. Anyway my dad and I tend to think along the same lines and a few times he has mentioned wanting to get into microliting, hang gliding and so on, I just figured it was the same as me interested, but the cost issue would always get in the way.

Anyway one day he says to me I’m going to have a do at this paramotoring, he had been mentioning it but I figured it was just that, talk, especially considering he is 62 years old!

Anyway he comes over and tells me that he is taking lessons from a bloke called Richard who has a club called “SKYPLAY” that is based in Huddersfield, and that he has ordered a wing! So I'm surprised to say the least, over the coming days he regales me with the tales of ground handling a wing and getting it up, watching it fall and drag him along the ground, I listen intently thinking the old buggers going to do this, so here we go;

Saturday 9th October.

My dad invites me to watch his first flight so we go over the training field, this at the back of the Red Lion pub, Stainland Road, Halifax just ten minutes off junc 23 of the M62. It’s a football field with a couple of fields around it at the edge of a golf club, bordered by reasonably tall trees. The instructor, Richard, turns up and I must admit I’m interested to meet the man who after all may be responsible for speeding up my inheritance! Richard’s a nice bloke, good sense of humour and really easy going, all important traits for someone who is getting you to leave the ground.

So I watch whilst my dad gets the wing out and lays it out, there is a nice even breeze blowing at round 5mph and before long he has the wing up above his head and is ground handling it really well, as far as I could tell. After a while of doing this the motor comes out, and on first impressions it’s like bloody hell you’re going to wear that! Anyway Richard has my dad with the motor on and ground handling the wing, turning, running and shouting power on, then turning and putting the wing on the ground, all looks pretty easy to me. Before long he is sweating like a pig and it’s time for a breather and to get some fluids, I figured his age is getting the better of him.

Rested and replenished it’s time for his first flight, wind is good and he seems confident as he raises the wing and turns, then off he goes and hits the throttle, after a one skip he is up and away. However the climb rate seems slow and he is headed for the tree’s, I'm sure that I need to find a ladder to get him out of a tree. No problems he steers it away from the trees and gets some height, next thing is I realise I'm watching my dad FLYING!!! Anyways he does a circuit and comes in at what seems a bloody fast speed, pulls the brakes and does a perfect landing on the skids and arse! I know but at this time I didn't know that’s not how you do it.

Apart from really impressed with my dad I am well and truly hooked, this is something I absolutely have to have a go at, so I have a word with Richard and sort out a father and son tag team the next day, I cannot wait.

Sunday 10th October 2010.

Me and my dad meet Richard at the training field for 1300 hrs; my dad is after doing a bit more on the ground handling and launching side as he wasn’t quite happy with everything the previous day. My dad starts off with a bit of ground handling whilst Richard talks me through the different parts of the wing and the checks that need to be performed, I must admit I’m a bit of an instruction geek and had already digested the manual that came with his wing so I had a good understanding of the different bits and how the wing should launched.

My dad takes a break and it’s my turn to step up to the plate, I'm confident, after all if my dad can do it so can I right. Well after we lay the wing out and go through how to check the lines and hook in I'm ready to start trying to build a wall, this is where I start to realise that it’s a bit harder than it looks, and after to trying to raise the wing, it’s a damn sight harder than it looks! However after a few words of wisdom from Richard and me stopping having a touch like a Neanderthal on the brakes I’ve got it up and above my head, by which time I have realised that my dad’s age is not catching up with him as I am sweating my balls off!! By the end of the day I can get the wing up and overhead, I’m even managing a few turns and runs then turning back and controlling it, really pleased with myself things were clicking into place. That’s me well and truly hooked and I order a wing off Richard, after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight and a discussion of what I want from the sport I opt for the Dudek Synthesis 34 and get it ordered for next time.

Saturday 16th October 2010.

The weather is dry but cloudy, and at 12 noon on the training field its blowing a 7 mph wind with slight gusts up to 10, Richard hands me my new wing and I'm well and truly on the path now, we get them out and my dad starts kiting his wing, I go through the aspects of my wing with Richard, I harness up and Richard gets a good grip of me.

I was a bit surprised as last time I was handling my dad’s wing on my own, however after building a wall and attempting to get it in the air I realise why. The synth is a good bit bigger that my dad’s Reaction tst 29, and boy does it pull on lift off, it also handles completely different, the reaction feels to a lot more responsive where as the synth seems to slightly more docile.

After getting acquainted this proves to make it a bit easier to fly and I’m soon handling it by myself and doing practice reverse launches, now I'm loving the synth and really pleased, I even like its orange colour. As the afternoon progresses the wind has dropped, so Richard talks me through the forward launch, immediately I don't find this as comfortable as the reverse, and it hits me as an all or nothing launch option. I set it up and set off running, the wing comes up ok, but sensing which way it’s going or if its above you is near impossible, however Richard tells me that its getting up ok, and keeps giving snippets of advice I must admit his patience boots your confidence here and he allows you to progress at your own speed.

Several runs and pints of sweat later and I'm getting the wing up every time, I'm still struggling to feel the wing via the risers but can steal a quick glance at it overhead to allow for corrections, however I set the wing up slightly out of wind a couple of times, which caused it to turn into the wind on launch and gave me some work to do to correct it. Again Richard boosts my confidence and tells me if I keep this up I will be ready for moving onto the motor! Now we’re talking! I confidently lay the wing out for another forward launch run, however like a plonker I’ve set it slightly out of wind so when it comes up it veers to the right, no problems I’ll just take a big push off my right leg and get under it, simples!

As I do this my right calf pings and I'm hobbling along as the wing crashes to the ground, bollocks I’ve just pulled my calf muscle and that’s me for the weekend and rest of the week. That leaves me to sit back and watch my dad for a while practising forward launches, he has a bad shoulder and was really struggling to get the wing up level as he was pulling on one riser more than the other.

However after a few adjustments to technique from Richard he is making it look really easy ( cocky get ), but it did make me smile on one run when he got the wing up really well and was running like hell checking his wing so much that he forgot to check where he was going. Me shouting wall stopped him running into the small dry stone wall at the end of the field, should I have kept quiet for a bit of petty amusement? Debatable but I didn't, at the end of the day a very very big lesson learned, when forward launching SET UP IS EVERYTHING and from a newbie’s point of view they are bloody awful!

Wednesday 27th October.

I had a trip down to Basingstoke to pick up a motor, it’s an ec extreme simonini mini plus 2, it was a long way to go but I'm really pleased with it, and its cheered me up no end considering I missed a lot due to my calf muscle and having to work weekends, but doing hang tests and learning about it kept me busy.

Thursday 4th November 2010.

Well I’ve got the upcoming weekend off, and I’ve been looking for to it for ages, my calf feels ok and I’m hoping to my new motor on and maybe a first flight, but I'm working afternoons till midnight so I'm spending my time at work thinking about getting aloft.

Wouldn’t you just bloody know it, my calf blows up on me big time at work just as I thought all was well, and I end up at A&E with my leg in a cast!!

I ring Richard and explain I'm out of action for god knows how long yet, and he gives me the expected sympathy by telling me I would have got my first flight in had I not been injured, Bar steward! I did say earlier he had a good sense of humour! So now I'm sat on my arse and waiting to hear how my dad’s lesson went and he isn’t rubbing my nose in it, NOT MUCH anyway. So ill post up my dad’s progress while I'm stuck with reading the forum and watching YouTube vids to keep me sane!

Cheers Lee.

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Brilliant Lee, hope the calf is better very soon.

....thinking the old buggers going to do this,

You've got some catching up to do, us old buggers love it too 8)

... after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight and a discussion of what I want from the sport I opt for the Dudek Synthesis 34 and get it ordered for next time.

:shock: You lard a*se :lol:

Sounds like good progress apart from the calf problem. Good choice of kit, you'll soon be up and away.

Cheers, Alan

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Brilliant Lee, hope the calf is better very soon.
....thinking the old buggers going to do this,

You've got some catching up to do, us old buggers love it too 8)

... after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight and a discussion of what I want from the sport I opt for the Dudek Synthesis 34 and get it ordered for next time.

:shock: You lard a*se :lol:

Sounds like good progress apart from the calf problem. Good choice of kit, you'll soon be up and away.

Cheers, Alan

Nothing wrong with the Synthesis 34.....A great safe wing with a very broad weight range...

Neil.. :D

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All said in jest, I took the hint from Lees style ‘…after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight’.

If you look I did comment on a good choice of kit, I fly a Dudek myself.

All part of the ‘crack’ on this forum. If you like some adventure in your sport your not likely to be too hung up on your appearance IMHO. Live life :P

Alan

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All said in jest, I took the hint from Lees style ‘…after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight’.

If you look I did comment on a good choice of kit, I fly a Dudek myself.

All part of the ‘crack’ on this forum. If you like some adventure in your sport your not likely to be too hung up on your appearance IMHO. Live life :P

Alan

I couldnt agree more Alan, although when your a big lad, (16.5 st) there im out of the closet!, your choices do seem a bit limited, you need a fair sized wing and then a powerful motor to back it up. I cant wait to give it a go though just waiting to here from the hospital as to how long Im in a pot for!

To pass the time though Ive been reading up on this navigation lark, I dont know about anyone else, but Im not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of getting lost, when I go for more than a circuit round the field, especially since I have a sense of direction herited from my mother.

Im starting to get to grips with the look of the VFR charts and the different meanings of symbols etc, I didnt realise there were so many restrictions on the air space especially round manchester. Also I never appreciated just how much thought went into actually planing a flight beyond a known area, but the navigation tab on here really helped! Ive been looking into the Memory map sofetware and from what Ive read on here it seems to be well thought of, Ive also dug out an old Garmin Summit gps, its limited and more aimed at hiking than flying but I reckon this should stand me in good stead till Im actually taking on some more adventurous flights. Any advice on this side would be very welcome,

Just a thought, If I get stuck in cast and cant run, can it be done from roller skates? :lol:

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All said in jest, I took the hint from Lees style ‘…after disclosing my, classified top secret, weight’.

If you look I did comment on a good choice of kit, I fly a Dudek myself.

All part of the ‘crack’ on this forum. If you like some adventure in your sport your not likely to be too hung up on your appearance IMHO. Live life :P

Alan

Don't worry Alan, I was only joking!!.... :D

Neil.. :D

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  • 3 months later...

Right then, I’ve not put anything on the blog for quite a while, as you know from previously I injured my calf at work and ended up in a cast. Finally get myself fully fit and am chomping at the bit, so on Sunday 9th January 2011, yes that’s right it took from November last year to get the bloody thing right, the weather is looking good wind is running at about 8 miles an hour and I’m well up for it.

I have a chat with Richard who tells me to bring my motor because if I can show that my ground handling is still at the same level I may be ready for the elusive first flight. So car loaded with my wing and motor, which impresses me, as it’s only a little Fiat Punto, I set off pleased with my self.

At the training site there’s a bit of cloud knocking about but the wind is holding steady between 7 to 10 miles an hour and things are looking good, right then time to stop messing about and get kitted up. Now without trying to reveal the point of the post I want to stress this part for all pilots and newbie’s.

I start off with getting my ground handling harness on and getting comfy, then I un pack my wing and lay it down taking the straps off it before carrying it out into the field where there is plenty of space, I always pack my wing using the concertina method so its easy to just pull it out and lay the lines out. Now I get between the risers and BEFORE I clip in on goes my helmet! You no doubt see plenty of videos with people ground handling and even flying with out a helmet and all is well and good, until its not and then well its too late.

Anyway helmet on and clipped in I start building a wall and getting to grips with it, this is where I learn a valuable lesson, the wind is a fickle mistress, she will seduce you in a calm seductive manner, and then tear you to shreds in an unforeseen tantrum. Out of no where the wind starts gusting, and my Synth 34 starts giving me a right good pull to the extent that I’m hauling on the brakes to put it down and struggling to keep it on the deck, I know I’m rusty and after a couple times being dragged forward I decide to leave it till the gusting has stopped.

This is where everything literally goes tits up! I ground my wing and wait to make sure its lying flat and is not going to take off again, I clip my brakes up and make ready to gather the lines and ball up the wing. I’m not sure exactly how I managed this bit but as I gather the lines I think I managed to raise one side of the wing and whoosh up it goes. Now I’m not a person who is prone to panicking I am usually reasonably calm when things go wrong, however the wing starts dragging me forward off my feet, I’ve not got the brakes to control it and being off balance cant seem to get them. I’m running towards the wing to try and drop it and the next thing I’ve lost my footing and flying head long towards a dry stone wall thinking where the F@#K did that wall come from?

I tell you what these wings don’t half shift when used as a sail, the wing goes straight over the wall and I do a bloody good impression of a battering ram using my head. Suffice to say I wake up on the other side of the now nonexistent dry stonewall in a right state feeling like a right Pratt. Anyway I get to fly that day because I’m air lifted off the field with suspected neck injuries and broken collarbone, with the paramedic stating if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I would be DEAD! From looking at my helmet now I can understand why.

With hindsight I know I did it wrong, I could have stopped the wing by hauling on the C and D risers, and that running after the wing only allowed it to get more inflation, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and panic is something people are prone to in new and strange situations. Either way I get away with sever bruising, whip lash, my shoulder may have been dislocated and I’m left with traction injuries what ever they are, and needing a new helmet, which by the way is the best money I have ever spent!

So whilst waiting to get fit again and believing I may be the most accident prone or unlucky bugger around I have posted this to update my accident/ training blog and hopefully convince other’s of the absolute importance of wearing a helmet no matter how much it may annoy some, and lets be honest you cant help but have a giggle at others misfortune so have a laugh on me. Hopefully the next post will have some good news about getting off the ground I wont say I’ll die trying because that’s a bit too close to reality.

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Hi Lee.

Tricky business this learning to paramotor lark :wink:

I've been 'learning' for 16 months now and in my experience the best lessons are the ones that hurt the most, like the lesson about starting the paramotor on the ground. It took my shoulder meeting up with a 7000rpm spinning prop to learn about that proceedure. That took a few months and a few dozen hospital visits to heal, so I do know where you're coming from.

It sounds like you just got the master class on using C's and D's to kill your wing. I bet you won't forget it, albeit a little more dramatic than just being told about it.

Don't let any of this put you off.

Keep up the blog.

Cheers

Dan

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  • 1 month later...

Well its been a while since I posted anything as I have been busy recovering. It turned out after getting a second opinion that I didnt just have traction injuries, I had managed to dislocate my shoulder and break my sternum! The nice doctors at A&E missed that one, but hell what with government cut backs and all they were busy.

Any way got back into it big time this weekend, needless to say I was a bit scared of my wing at first so I did the brave thing and bodly pussied out, borrowing my Dad's slightly smaller 29m wing, (that shouldnt be able to drag me as far!) I felt a bit nervous at first but managed to get the wing up pretty much straaight away, its a Dudek reaction and flies really nicely although a bit twitchy, but after a few hours I felt really comfortable again and was keeping it over head and walking round with it at will. That afternoon I moved onto my wing, again the nerves flared a bit, but the wind was reasonable gentle about 8 miles an hour gusting up by about 2 or 3 miles an hour. The first couple of times I raised it I didnt really commit to it, so theres alot id sheet it being a sysnth 34 and it pulled me forward about ten feet. I needed a couple of wraps to get a grip of it and put it down, but down it went, a bit later on the wing was trying to lift me and I switched to the D's and dragged it out of the sky. Right you bugger I've got the measure of you, and my confidence came back.

Today we went up to the field and there was hardly any wind, as a result we practiced a few forward launches, my Dad's Reaction jumps into the sky like a scaled cat and flew lovely, each attempt would have seen him away. However mine took a bit my time, I could get it going ok but then the front edge would fold under and that would be that. It turns out that as I am running I am leaning forward and pulling on the A risers, in effect pulling the leading edge down. After I stopped pulling on the A riser and just pushed it forward the wing came lovely and seemed to just hang about over my head waiting for me to do something!

After getting a bit knackered from the forwards a really gentle breeze strated, it was hardly noticeable to be honest, and we wondered if it would launch the wing, to be honest I doubt it would even fill the cells, but I had a go and was amazed by the way it shot up and came straight overhead, I had plently of time to turn check the wing and trot off down the field, even as I slowed down the Synth didnt want to come down and just hung above me at walking pace till I applied the brakes. So I guess me and my wing are friends again!

So after a really crap start to the year I am back in the saddle again and Ive learnt a few things this weekend, these are;

1. The Synth really does need a wrap on the brakes to get a grip of it if its not over head, and from braking it wilst running it will probably need a wrap taking on landing?

2. Dont pull on the risers when forward launching, just apply forward pressure.

3. You really only need a forward launch if it is truly nil wind, as the wing will launch on the slightest breeze.

If anyone has any knowledge on any of the above especially the having to take a wrap on the brakes please feel free to share. I figure I am now back to where I was prior to taking a spill and just need to get fired from work so I can get more time to get in the air!

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Cheers Lads,

I am definately keeping at it, in fact I popped out to the field again this afternoon, there was only a slight breeze when I set off and when I got to the field there was nothing. OK I thought I'll practice the dreaded forward, I had fair bit of confidence as last time I tried it I got it up and going quite well. Since then I had done a bit of research on here and found some very valuable nuggets of wisdom.

So I take the time to lay out the wing, a really nice rainbow curve, and hook in, my digging found a really useful snippet from I think it was Pete B, (dont shoot me if it wasnt cause I cant find it again) where it was explained that when doing a forward you start your run and as the wing comes up behind you, pause whilst keeping a bit of pressure on the risers, then as it comes over head set off again and this is when you would be introducing power.

So with this tumbling through my mind I set of in a committed fashion rather than my usual charge forward as if my arse is on fire. I feel the wing hold me back and start to rise and against all instincts I pause and simply lean forward a bit, the wing shoots over head as if guided by an invisible hand and off I go again, actually steering the thing as I go. By the time I put it down I'm grinning like an idiot, huh I say whats all this fuss about a forward, typically I fluff the next one for being cocky get, but the next three go great.

I end on a high where I forward launch and walk it forward rather thqan having to run and even manage to take a wrap on the brakes to slow it so I can turn and put it down behind me.

After packing the wing away I sit for a fag and drink whilst going over the last couple of weeks, I've got my confidence back in my abilities and the wing, I'm consistantly nailing my reverse launches and controlling it well when its up, and now I'm confident that I can forward launch the wing ( Me thinks some has slipped me a Paramotor Pill ). :wink:

Just need to keep up the practice and work some more on the handling whilst strapped in with the motor, but I've spent that much time practicing getting into and out of the seat whilst swinging from the garage joists I feel really comfortable with it, well as comfortable as any one can be with that weight on his back.

Cant wait to show Richard where I'm upto with things, but right now my shifts are crap, all in all I'm starting to think I am ready, or nearly ready, or getting there? Why is it when you start to think you will be leaving the ground soon and realise you cant really practice the landing, apart from hops, you start to wonder about what you know you can do? ( anyone got a "bottle" pill). :oops:

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Well, I went down to field yesterday raring to go, lovely sunny day, nice steady wind blowing across the field things could not be better. I was looking forward to ground handling with my motor and doing a few powered hops to where things would lead.

Due to the direction of the wind I had to hump the motor half way across the bloody field to give me enough room for the hops, and now I believe I have one of the heaviest motors in existance.

Anyway I get the wing out and set up with the ground handling harness, I had raised a question re the brakes on the Syntesis as they seemed to be a bit long and sometimes I was struggling to get enough pull on the brakes to control the wing whilst getting it up. Aquatax gave a reply suggesting the use of launching using the A & C risers, this was something I hadnt come across before but using the link he provided I did a bit of research.

I must admit at first it found it a bit confusing to sort out the risers especially as my wing has what has been refered to as a floating C riser rather than the normal type. As the wind pick up I got to grips with this method, and after doing so it raises a couple of questions.

Why is this not taught from the beggining, it's bloody marvelous, I was able to bring the wing on the floor whilst building the wall and even when pulling on the A's it wont rise till you allow it to with the C's and then you can raise as slow or as fast as you like, I was really chuffed as it gave me a new level to my ground handling and dragging is virtually non existant. I will certainly be using this type of launch in the future.

Unfortunately the gods of wind took their ball in and decided they would not play! The day went as still as you like, and when there was a breeze it was swirling round like a bloody whirl pool. Now I'm reasonably confident with the forward launch with the ground handling harness, but I didnt fancy doing this with the weight of the motor on my back, especially as by the time I had laid my wing out the wind had changed and was blowing from behind, only to change five minutes later.

I guess for some one who has confidence and experience of both the forward launch and nil wind landings the day would have been spot on, for my self though I decided I didnt fancy practicing the forward with the weight and the fact that getting the wing up was ok but it would then change and the wing would turn constantly. For me it was a case its either a committed launch and take off or time to just sunbath.

The tan topping up won me over and I called it a day, a bit miffed at not being able to do the powered hops but well pleased with the new launch method for the reverse. Work will keep me out of it for a couple of weeks now but everything is still going the right way.

Cheers Lee.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I got chance to get out on the field This Monday, weather was lovely and the wind was zero coming upto 3 mph in reasonably regular cycles. I decided to take my motor with me and get used to handling the wing with the motor on.

Early morning saw some really easy practise in bring the wing up getting it over head and then just kiting it before the wind dropped, but I was managing to bring the wing down rather than it fall on me. Even a few successful forward launch attempts, ok there were one or two failed ones as well, but at least the majority are now successful.

I got the motor out and strapped in, had a walk around with it, powering up and getting the feeling of running with the motor pushing, now thats really weird, running forward but leaning back!

I hooked into the wing and got ready for a reverse launch like I said there wasnt a constant wind but it was no more than 3 mph when it came in, so I figured I would be able to bring it up handle the wing and maybe turn before the wind drops, all good practice.

Problem was as the wind kicked in it was a good bit stronger than before, not ridiculouly strong but noticeable. I said previously I have really got comfortable with launching using the A and C risers so I can kill it quickly, so I started to bring it up, as soon as it inflated and got about ten feet off the ground it yanked me off my heels on to my toes and started to drag me forward. Being honest I dont know if I panicked and was trying to kill it whilst also trying to raise it or not. Yet it seemed to not want to get up above me where it would stop dragging and start flying, after the last time I got dragged and ended up in A&E I thought I had my head straight, but I guess not. It completely rattled me and I couldnt wait to get unclipped, I grounded the wing and kept it grounded, so I know I was not completly out of control but it sure felt like it.

After a chill out I clipped into the ground handling harness and tried it again using the A and C's I had control of the wing till I wanted to raise it and could kill it easily, but once I committed to raising it it really seems to take its time so I get dragged forward no matter how far I lean back, once up its fine, it try's to lift me a bit nothing major and its a bit of a pain finding the C's again on crossed risers so it pulls a bit putting it down, its the raising that is the shakey bit.

It may well be a bit of my head getting in the way ( which is new for me ), or maybe the last accident rattled more than I thought I'm not sure. Either that or my technique is off, think I'll have to get back to basics with the instructor and check it out.

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Just a thought - are your trimmers set around zero (not full slow) ? Dudek wings tend to feel a bit heavy and need to be guided up on the A risers until they are practically overhead, otherwise they will hang back and cause that dragging feeling when the whole wing is side on to the wind.

Reading your posts it sounds like you are doing battle with an evil dragon and trying to subdue it with brute force, dragging it overhead. Perhaps you are a bit hesitant after previous draggings ? Bringing it up slowly gives more risk of being dragged. Maybe it needs a more committed lean back and initial pull on the A risers to get it moving up quickly, but be ready to take a few steps forward to get underneath it with a quick pull on the brakes or C's to prevent it overshooting. The safest wing positions are on the floor or overhead, and the least time spent with it anywhere else the better. :wink:

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With regards to the wind, it was really calm 3 mph to nothing, when it suddenly picked up, even then it was nothing more than I have been happy with in the past. Being honest I think Aquatix has hit the nail on the head, and Im worrying about the wind rather than concentrating on the wing! :oops:

I reckon its just a case of working through it cause everything else has really come on leaps and bounds, plus I think the awkwardness of the motor made things seem a lot different, but thats I what I was hoping to get used to in the light winds. More practice is reuired me thinks.

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