Cross on launch…

after my difficult landing

Today I got up early to go ride my bike for a few miles, I managed 40 along the river it was stunning. This place is endlessly beautiful, the river almost glows a brilliant aqua among the trees.

We took our time as Ozzie has been feeling ill, however, we did manage to get up to take off for 12:00, and Oz staid with us to see us all off and help by taking the car down for retrieves. On arriving at launch there was a buzz of an air ambulance and a paraglider guy who had been doing aerobatics in front of launch. “He has done this many times before said a friend, its ok” later we heard he had broken his back. Nothing more to say about that.

The wind, what there was of it, was blowing across launch making takeoff, tricky. We waited while the ground was in shade and the earlier pilots climbed out and disappeared into the high mountains. We felt a little despondent but the sun would come and go. Launching later became possible from both sides. I waited trying to be patient and to look for the start of a longer period in sun.

Dan launched impatiently, he found very little lift and was soon seen to be scratching very low over a village well into the distance while Chris waited for his on takeoff for his moment.

Dan must have been circling for 30 minuted but eventually he had enough to fly over to the landing place where he found good lift and climbed out to 4000ft from where he managed to get beck to our camping place. A tenacious flight worthy of praise.

Chris was not so lucky and pretty much flew to the official landing field. For me I got ready as Chris was launching as the sun was coming back out, I waited on the east launch focusing on any movement in the grass willing some, any, movement. A glider was climbing in behind me in front of the west launch which was also in the sun so I moved over there, Ozzie reminded me to smile and at that the streamers gave a glimmer of being lined up and I was off.

I found good lift in front of takeoff but managed not to make to much of it, I had enough height to fly over a spine of the next hill where I found broken and sporadic lift, I hung on there for a while until it went into shade and I was drilled down into the town. My only option was the bottom bombout field where the windsock was switching to a different direction on each beat I made along its length –

I selected at least 3 approaches until the sock settled so I dived in for my landing and immediately knew I was buggered – the fence and the road were racing up looking to be almost exactly where I would want to flair – so I climbed back into my harness pulled on speed till I was skimming the grass and converted to get over the fence the road and then landed just inside the next field – thankful that there was no traffic or I would be embedded in whatever came past…

Another enjoyable day in this beautiful place.

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