Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First flights with the Combat

April has already brought some superb days to the alps during the weekends (already a 250 km flight), but here in the Benelux things were much calmer and stability ruled. Nevertheless, I had some nice flights and these conditions were actually really good to get to know the Combat.
I spent a weekend in the German Eifel and really enjoyed the flights and the atmosphere there. Here some pictures of that weekend:

I joined the ATOS'es of the local club on a 70 km triangle, but sadly had to land after 36 km. Two of the locals, Eduard and Joseph, rounded the triangle, congrats to them!
Last saturday I returned to the Eifel, but that day was really stable. But, a friend of mine had joined me and offered to retrieve me. My plan was to fly back home as far as I could, although I didn't have high hopes of getting far. I took off and had to search for 15 minutes before I found a more or less decent thermal. There was a big surprise when the thermal suddenly accelerated to 3 m/s and pulled me through the inversion. After that, I had a steady 1-2 m/s climb to 1800 m, which is 1200 m AGL. That was enough to convince me I should give it a try. Sadly it was the best thermal I would get in the 1,5 hour flight. I landed again at a mere 36 km. But hey, it was nice to be able to give it a shot. Thanks David for the retrieve!
A picture of that flight:

Sunday didn't look promising, but I went winch towing at Bevekom, a Belgian air force base. Had a 30 minute flight, exceeding my expectations.
Picture below: a Combat requesting permission to land ;-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Brand new Combat, with Terremark

As mentioned in the previous post, I've got a brand new Combat! I also want to thank my employer Terremark, who recognize the effort I put into my sport and decided to sponsor me. It's a nice match with our sport, since two of our main products are called 'The Enterprise Cloud' (E-Cloud) and 'vCloud Express'. The Power of the Cloud at Your Fingertips. What would a hang glider want more?
Thanks a lot too to Wiebe and Diego for giving me a helping hand attaching the stickers!

Last flight on the Spyder, harness slider issues

10 days ago I received my new glider. A brand new Aeros Combat 09L 14,2. But, since the weather hadn't been kind to us lately, I even hadn't had the chance to try my new harness.
Last sunday we finally had flyable conditions and we could go for some dune soaring. I was very keen to try out the new glider, but I thought it was appropriate to try the new harness on the Spyder, instead of flying a new harness and a new glider at the same time.
That turned out to be a very wise decision. I took off from the dune and the harness immediately forced me into a very upright position. I could barely get into a prone position and the slightest turn or turbulence brought my feet right down again. It simply wasn't fun to fly like that and I even messed up my landing due to it. No harm, soft sand...
The reason for this was two-fold. First, the harness was not setup properly for my body weight distribution. The angle of dangle system had to much freedom of motion towards the front of the harness. The result was that it required all the force I had to get me to a prone position. Secondly, there was too much friction in the slider. It didn't move. So I never got into a stable prone position and always had to force myself down again.

That evening, I moved the slider a few times with my bare hands (couldn't do it at first!). I tested it and noticed that it still required a lot of force to get prone, but the slider moved and I hung very stable in the prone position. After restricting the slider's motion to the front by a notch, I could get myself easily into a stable prone position.
Should have tested that first! It ruined my last flight on my beloved Spyder ;-)