Club News

More Spring Flying

12.30pm Sunday

Snaefell was working well initially. Giles jumped off first whilst I was left dealing with about 35 issues. By the time I took off Giles had been well high above take off. It then got more and more northerly (although thermic) and Jamie, Keith, Giles, and I all sunk out repeatedly. After enough walking with my wing to last a life time from the previous day / weekend Giles and I decided to head out under a cloud. Lots of useable lift (which I couldn’t) so landed.

Bill picked us up from the lander and we headed to Carrigan. No wind there until Giles offered his bbq pork to the wind gods. This did the trick (obviously) and both jumped off into a nice 12mph some minutes later. As always Carrigan worked like a charm, although any escape to the south or east was blocked by the Douglas Bay cu-nim. We were both plenty high enough to continue to take the 1-2 m/s thermals over the back if we wished to get sucked into oblivion.  Could see the boys on Snaefell going up and down all the time too.

Anyway, we both punted around in the thermic conditions for some time. Then a glider appeared from Beinn-y-Phott. It glided down the small ridge from Benny to the SWNN and then nipped over to the foothills of Carrigan. Young Swalesy had made it over from Snaefell. He was really unlucky because just at that time it switched off and we all landed. Swalesy and I walked up. I took off and went up in some more thermals (4.40pm) then headed to the car at the SWNN. Got higher and higher and higher on the way over and started having giddy thoughts about flying to all places. Then got nicely drilled into the ground just before making it. That was it, an interesting and thermic day.

I think Watty landed on the foot hills of Beinn-y-Phott.

Spring Flying

We had nine pilots out on the North westerly face of Sartfell on Saturday.

The lift was weak and the breeze was light which made for a more social get together.

Bill seemed to have the best of it getting quite high above take off and making a nice top landing.

Eventually a large patch of Icelandic ash came over… killing the breeze totally and prompting a mad dash of top to bottoming down to the cars. Maybe Sunday would be better. It was apparently, though I missed it! Anyone sending a report in?

Paragliding 22-8-2009

On Friday night the weather looked rubbish, too south, too strong for Saturday.

Saturday morning came, and Windmap had Ronaldsway, west, 12 mph backing to the south and increasing.  An early start was required if we had any chance. Keith, Jamie and I headed to Sartfell. After what looked like a totally blown out situation going over the mountain, Sartfell lander had a nice breeze from the SW . Ten minutes later we were at the top watching cloud base drop to about 20 metres above sea level at Peel. The cloud soon engulfed us, but was not that thick and all looked smashing the other side. Had a few hops into a fickle breeze (about 7 mph) before things started to get organised.  It got thermic real quick and soon enough we were all getting some real nice soaring  with the odd 360. 

As is often the way, once above  130 metres (ato) it became a lot easier to maintain height – so headed out and towards the south. Soon enough another week cycle came through that had me thermalling back to the hill. Was going up surprisingly nicely for so early in the day (11.30ish) so stuck with it for a bit over the back. The thermal kept giving and with Jamie dropping in beneath, both had a lazy climb out to Freghane (or whatever it is called!)
Continue reading Paragliding 22-8-2009

After a Year Off…

… I finally got some flying in last weekend, and it was bloody brilliant!

It was also completely off the back of the club’s collective kindness towards this newest and very junior member, so thank you All. However I also want to single out Dan, Keith, Martin, Simon and Watty for their advice and tollerance this past couple of months, by text, hill and bar! The end result was as follows:

Mrs Smith did me the great honor of fancying some hillwalking over this Easter weekend, and even driving retrieve. Note to self, seperation does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Saturday Flight 1:

Steered toward Sartfell by the nous of The Texting Collective, Jemma and I arrived to face our first Manx walk up – not as bad from the bottom as by half-way up! Watty had arrived at the same time and shared the slog up, tempted as we were by several already scratching around up top. At the top the wind seemed a bit off and light to me, but it became clear it was cycling. I immediately missed the opportunity to actually get out and use my new radio, as the first thermal through swept some radio people (Keith, Simon?) away. With everyone else also setting up to launch, I found myself drawing a bit of a rusty blank regarding what I should be doing, after a year off – but, I remembered to put my helmet on first, enjoyed swiftly unpacking my canopy from my novelty stuff-sac (sorry, they dont make them any more), clipped in, and built a wall. Nothing looking awry, I decided to pop it up, turned the wrong way for the risers, and simply got dragged backwards.

Continue reading After a Year Off…

Gin Bobcat 16.5m

With all these flying reports doing the rounds I thought I’d let you know how I’m getting on with my new toy now I’ve had a couple of hours playing with it.

Simon has already sent you an email saying how he got on with it at TSWNN I think; but to remind you it’s a Gin Bobcat 16.5m (the largest – making it’s debut late last year) My first chance to play with it was on Benn Y Phott (a day you forecast to be good!) blowing around 15 – 18 mph.

I had been tempted to fly on nil wind/light days but I just don’t know how far it would get from any of our normal sites (North Barrule to Hibernian was tempting) and I rationalised that I bought it for strong wind soaring and not speed flying.

18mph with the trim set to slow is enough to have fun ground handling and for extended top to bottoms on a shallow ridge like Benn Y Phott. After a nervous start because of its perceived twitchiness (by ref to a normal paraglider) my smile began to grow. The rustling and collapses are not so scary after you realise there is so much energy to play with. It’s a cheeky little f%^&er… However, because the flying is so active my arms got tired very quickly.

My next chance to play was Thursday 16th – with a shitty NE wind direction 20-23 mph forcast. So I headed off to the hill behind Dhoon school (Slieau Lewaigue was out of the question due to lack of landing options).

Again it must have been blowing 15-18mph and I had fun for 30 minutes or so doing extended top to bottoms but was ready for something a bit stronger.

So headed off for the black hut for a trek up Snaefell joined by Simon..

Set the trimmers to medium and had about 15 minutes (which was all my arms could manage!) having extreme soaring fun on the shallow NE face just before a small squall came in. I have to say that from the ground it must look really twitchy but in the air it feels rock solid.

You must try it … and apparently you can even use a motor ….

Big Saturday …continued


Base was lifting all the time in the early morning, rocked up to SWNN and met Ian. Headed back down to Sartfell, was very south but after spending 20 minutes liberating a sheep from barbed wired with rock drove up. It was light and south. Set up over the southern gorge facing the back of Slieu Roy. Had a few hops then settled down for a picnic. Damien arrived. Looked like it was improving. As I tucked into lunch Keith disappeared over the back, a mad rush into the air followed!! Felt like text book stuff to me, the thermals were cycling through and I got into another weak one and headed off. By this time Keith was out of sight, at base above Ballaugh apparently!! My thermal took me to a max of 236m above Slieau Freoghane before I lost it.

Continue reading Big Saturday …continued

Big Saturday

From very early Saturday looked good so I was keen to get out.

Headed out with Simon and passed Ean on the way who kindly provided a lift up through the fields to the wall in his Land Rover.  At the top it was blowing about 10-14mph and there were some good looking cloud streets from South Barrule.  Had a quick scratchy flight and slope land as Watty and Damian arrived.  We then all moved round to face a little further South and as Watty and Damian were setting up I took off again for another little scratch.  This time however there was a lot more lift…really good in fact so I hooked in and was getting beeps the whole way round – looked down and was close to going over the back, not especially high as had just taken off but the lift felt very good so stuck with it and continued to thermal.
Continue reading Big Saturday

Bobcat Flying Sunday 5th April 2009

Sunday dawned sunny and with the wind soon increasing to 20 mph on the hills it was time to put the theory gathered (from reading the online manual for a few minutes and watching U-tube) into practice. Nearly did not bother after reading the label on the wing however. Headed to Sartfell first of all for a little bit of ground handling.

The wing seemed to swing from left to right like a pendulum, although the breaks did not feel they were giving too much feedback. It also had a tendency to keep doing frontal collapses (could have been a little turbulent with hindsight). Trimmed it right down which made it a little easier, or maybe we were getting used to it. The funniest thing is not having to pull it up to inflate, it simply climbs into the air all on it’s own. Must remember this when on the hill, you could be flying before you are in the harness!!

After a good hour or so we headed back to the Site With No Name where it blowing nice and strong. A quick walk down the face, an even quicker unpack and soon the thing was above my head, (some times) or on its ears (most of time). I waited for a gust to come through (maybe 20 mph) and hopped off. Seemed quite fast even though it was totally trimmed down, so much so that as the wind was quite westerly I did not really want to turn and head back down the ridge towards take off!! Luckily the wind must have dropped to 14 mph and so did I, doing a nice slope landing.  With the second attempt I got a little more height and actually did a couple of beats, with the wind probably a little more on the ‘hill’ also.

The wing feels fast, (naturally) solid and not mega twitchy. I reckon with the trimmers let off a little this could all change!!  The wind was obviously getting up and now I could maintain a little as I slowly headed out over the valley. It did seem very wrong getting a little height with only a little thing above my head, but with a slow turn I was soon losing any height gained and back down to the ridge.  The final flight must have been done in about 24mph of wind and it was all ‘OK’. Real shame the wind was such a rubbish direction, otherwise I reckon we would have been zooming around all day!!

I reckon surfing the coast will be an absolute blast!! Jamie did not fancy it so maybe it looked a little more hairy than it really was! Please note that the harness, apart from ruining my family allowance (until I wrapped them in my helmet bag) naturally spreads your legs.

May be good after work this week although could be a little light for this thing!! Catch you later.

Sartfell to Hibernia

I arrived at the top of Sartfell about 2.30pm, after watching Ste and Goldie scratching around but not getting very high. It was quite blustery but generally about 14mph. Simon arrived back on top from the back side of Sartfell just as I got to the top. I rigged up and then waited for a lull in the wind. The gusts coming through were blowing the wing all over the place and trying to fold it up.

I took off and started going up straight away and very slowly penetrated forward, although I never had to use the bar. There was lift everywhere in front of the hill, with the best climb rate at 4.5 metres / second.

When I was about 150m above take off I decided to go with the next thermal I caught, just to see how far I could get. After hearing how far the others had got, I was quite prepared to be landing out on the side of Slieu Freoghane. I kept circling until I lost the thermal then headed off down wind towards the Snaefell bottom lander, finding another couple of thermals on the way just to keep my  height topped up.

I arrived over the reservoir around 115m above take off and found another thermal. This took me up to over 300m above take (I couldn’t always see my vario as the strap was loose and it kept sliding down) so I had to take one hand off the controls every now and again to see it (which is why I can’t be very specific about the heights). I drifted back over to the East Mountain Gate, at the top end of the mountain Mile.

After that it was a straight glide along the west face of North Barrule to Hibernia but I didn’t find any lift along there. I turned into wind around 100 ft above ground level and got bounced around a bit but I landed gently. My measurements from take off to landing come to 13.3 km. I will have to get one of those GPS things, so that people will believe me!