So how was it for you? I think most people have had their feet off the ground post lockdown, so maybe time to have a look at what that has brought. From my own perspective it’s been a rather rude awakening: I think one of the issues is that my muscle memory is still flying the Sigma 10, so my initial landing judgements were poor to say the least. First day out at Parlick gave me three lessons:
· Brake lengths mean more motion to get the same result on the Swift
· The bottom corner of the lower Parlick landing field is notorious for sink near the ground
· When rusty, don’t do the usual of trying to do a show-off landing in the middle of your mates! Fortunately, Dave made a great crash mat. Sorry Dave.
Day 2 on Winter Hill gave me a harsh lesson in strong wind handling when one wing tip leapt into the air while I didn’t have hold of the brake. Instant dragging, thanks Phil and Kev for rescuing me. Next attempts were little better, firstly letting one of the C risers slip through my hands, giving me an asymmetric launch, then nearly launching with a brake line wrapped around the riser. I can put some of this down to differences between the gliders: on the Sigma the rear risers have handles for a positive firm grip and the risers are wider and stiffer, easier to grip and less easy to twist and get the brake line wrapped. I can’t blame the glider – it’s the pilot’s responsibility to be aware of these things and deal with them.
I also discovered that I couldn’t get into my pod, still not quite sure why as it’s been easy in the past. Possibly because I was wearing my flying suit, which allowed me to slip a little further down the leg straps (non-adjustable, ☹) I may need to put a bungee on again – thought I’d got past that extra faff. One consequence of this was that in struggling to get in, I get my feet badly tangled in the speed system and other lines in the pod, which could have been disastrous if I’d needed to land – fortunately I had plenty of height, time and room to deal with it.
So, lessons to take away:
· A paraglider is like a loaded gun, the stronger the wind, the more sensitive the trigger. The brakes or the rear risers are your safety catch and need to stay on until you’re ready to fire.
· Changes to equipment mean changes in the way you use them – make sure you’re on top of what you need to do.
· If at any time you had the thought “got away with that” or “dodged a bullet there” make sure you review it in your mind, and with anyone who saw it, to prevent it happening again.
Tight lines everyone,