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Back in the Saddle


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Thought I might share my experience last night with my first flight in over a year. I have been so busy (thats my excuse) with other sports and hobbys that I just cannot seem to find the time to go flying.

Like anyone whom is into lots of different sports, especially those costing a bit of cash, you feel compelled to use the kit you have worked hard to pay for, so the fact I had this Bailey Motor sat next to my kites/climbing/paragliders/speedwings....bothered me that I wasnt using it.

I think deep down I was also looking for excuses not to fly as unlike other sports using an engine gives you a certain predictable outcome - so you know if your going to fly you will fly, where as climbing a mountain with a speed wing on your back it takes luck to get conditions right to jump off.

Anyways last night I finished work early whilst gazing upwards at the silky sky thinking......you know its doable...

Right im going to the park to "just practise" ground handling with a motor (knowing in the back of my mind I was kidding nobody and im gonna just go for it) Remember I have not even started the engine in over a year so I can feel the butterflies building as I drive to Purley Way Playing Fields just outside Croydon.

These fields are the old airport and just perfect (they are massive and a bit of a hub now for wind sports and remote control planes). To my left I can see some kids playing football and up the top a family are having a BBQ.

I set up just outside a changing room feeling the the wind is just coming down the line and at least here I can be hidden from the spectators that always gather.

Im getting close launching and suddenly someone from the parks enforcment group comes walking across, he talks like ex military, we share war stories and I do the Jedi mind trick, he wishes me luck and claims never to have seen me.

I had 3 attempts to launch but due to the proximty of the trees the week is not inflating correctly, this is frustrating so I decide to stop faffing around and just get on with it. Carrying all kit to the middle of the field I can feel the constant breeze and I know this time I will be up.

I should really do a reverse launch as its a nice breeze but decide the set is all set for forward so I am just going, pull on the A's and feel that sharp tug as the wing comes up and pulls me back slightly, maintain the pressure on A's and the wing is above me.....Gun the engine full power and away I go.

Observations, firstly I forgot how far back the wing sits when your under power, so I am looking back thinking jeez is this thing going to stall, no just calm down and keep the power on. I have a Vario on my wrist (one of the watch type ones) and I know I have surface > 2500ft here (amazing considering this is London) I am planning to fly to around 1000ft and go down to the M25 and back, the vario is clocking up the height but I can see its on 400 and I am looking way down below thinking gosh this feels high for only 400ft - then I realise the vario is in metres and suddenly I am approaching ceiling.

As it took me so long to take off I can see the sun is setting so I decide to just hang around at 2000ft and enjoy the hustle and bustle below. To the North West I can see the planes taking off from Heathrow, to the north I have the towers of Canary Wharf and the Shard sticking up.

The air is as I suspected super smooth and actually quite strong as I can see me whizzing downwind.

I decide its time to enjoy the peace and kill the engine, sat in my own private world watching the floor slowly rise up to meet me (and of course the little white faces staring upwards) I come floating in and touch down with a perfect light touch landing, big smile on my face.

I pack up just as the sun sets and a remember just why I bought the set up.

On the way home my brother in law phones me to say he has just seen some nutter flying a wing just like the thing I have over Croydon.......I let him believe there are more than just me out there.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST!!!!! :D Long time no see

Good to see you back up in the air with your paramotor and not that little hankie you normally fly with... :wink:

Come down and see us when you need your next fix... There is a big group of us down here now... All doing XC's and thermal flying and lot's of low level flying

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Hey Morgy, I was actually down in Bracklesham on sunday making the most of the winds and a 12m Kite, should of popped round and said hello. I remember you and I looking for nice fields to take off from whilst I was driving down there.

As for Hankies and flying, I actually downgraded this year from a 14m wing to an 11m which made it interesting out in Chamonix, a tad faster.

I was thinking with all this wind we have been having what would happen if I slapped the motor on my back with the speed wing, that would be fun.

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Hi I Practice ground handling over puley way all the time and im dammed if i knew we were able to take off from this area ==--- are you serious when you wrote this ??? i still have a long way to go er slight matter of £1200 for lessons & getting Training from a recognised School ( coming my way september 2012 ) but use every oppertunity to ground handle Over Purley Way as its just 10 Mins away for me, hell i even saw steve Haze over there some time back so i know its a good site ,Not that im likely to repeat your exploits but big smile to think that it could have happened LOL :-):mrgreen::wingover:

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I think your safe to assume that you "can" take off from any field, whether your strictly allowed to is something all together different.

That field is so open and has people riding dirt bikes, flying remote control planes and kiting, I have not had any problems to date and as I mentioned the parks enforcement actually swung by to see what I was up to.

Maybe once your kitted up and ready for some flights you can give me a bell and I will meet you over there.

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Hi Rob consider that an offer i'd take up LOL. Already got my own paramotor( which is Mothballed until after training is done ) and Ground handling wings + other gear just need to get my EP training Finished before i start My Paramotor Traing and would like the oppertunity to chew the fat as it were , thanks for the heads up, and a great insight from a local flyers point of view . dont worry guys not planning to break any rules or regs just nice to know the possibilities .. :acro: PS had some assisted air time on a nice windy but managable day last week LOL my son provided the thrust and i actually managed to get a good few feet off the ground of level controlled flight and Landing so the EP course and the ground handling are gelling nicely. now if only the wind would drop to a reasonable level again by the time i finish work in the evenings all would be sweet 8) Cheers Rob

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