Saturday 24th Sept: Jamie & Keith get to grips with the Atos on Sl Ruy

Forecast to start light and pick up very strong SSE by mid day. Although it was probably a daft idea it looked like there might be a chance if I started early enuff but in the event only managed to get there for 10.30. I just honestly couldn’t understand why there was a windsock at the bottom until I got to the gate to be met by Jamie & Keith. Well I never. We agreed it was almost certainly too strong even for me- and getting stronger all the time. But then again, if they were game to get me up there it had to be worth looking at.

What a pair of Sherpas. Straight up they flew with the 5.5 metre, 40kg Atos- me huffing and puffing, straggling behind with my bits and pieces. What heroes. But I was fully aware that I could be entering a dangerous situation as I might feel obligated to fly, even if I thought it too much for me.

As feared a  gentle 28-32mph breeze met us on top. Oh well, Neville Almond mentioned he had flown the Atos V in 30mph…. But he has thousands of hours on sailplanes and hang gliders and hundreds of hours on the Atos!!

Anyway between the 3 of us we got it rigged in a record 35 minutes. Nice smooth take offand climb, but only to about 250 feet as pulling a fair bit of speed and still flying inefficiently due to lack of experience on it. With the forecast to get even stronger I opted for safety so had a better chance of getting out the mile or so to Simon and Keiths landing field 1.4 miles in front with a headwind and no lift at all til got to LZ then loads of lift over the field to be met by Simon who had been conned out by Keith!!!. Keith then very kindly retrieved me as well.

Only 20 minutes but good experience, very memorable and useful and I certainly would have chickened out without Keith and Jamie. Thanks again gents.