Sunday, June 3, 2012

Got some nice flying

Last Monday, conditions were nice, with a 30 km/h north wind up high and a 15 km/h NW wind on the ground. That looked like a problem, because it looked marginal for foot launching from our N-faced ridge (80 m) and we had called off the towing the day before, because moderate N winds were predicted.

I picked up Rudy near Brussels and we headed south, towards Beauraing, our N launch site. The light winds made us make some phone calls and drive by the towing site anyway. Conditions were perfect, but, the local towing pilot could only start towing at 2:30... Rudy convinced me that Beauraing would work (I had my doubts), so we made a decision and drove there.

Rudy turned out to be right, but I had to work for it. A 10 minute battle close to the trees was rewarded with a broken climb to 1500 m. Our towing site was 30 km north so, the battle against the 30 km/h north wind started. I took me 3 hours to get there, but I really enjoyed the experience. The tough part was 10 km north of Beauraing, where the terrain rises 200 m. The glides were bad there and the thermals broken, it took me 2 hours to get through those 5 km. The rest was piece of cake with a very nice view. The return only took 30 minutes. The plan was to try it in one glide to test the numbers, but halfway I flew into a solid 3 m/s which I could not ignore. It took me to 2000 m which is not common in Belgium. Loved the view, above the overcrowded Lesse river. Hundreds of kayaks were floating on it. Good flying, my best flight ever in Belgium...

Yesterday, we were in Maillen again, our towing site. The ultra-light field had their annual Fly-in, so I headed there despite the overcast forecast. A lot of funny little ultra-lights were there, but the nicest plane to me was this 1936 glider. It was built in France to take part in the '36 Olympics and will be in the 2012 Olympics as well (exhibition I guess).

A little miracle took place and the sky opened up. Tom, Jean, Kurt, Eric and me launched between 15:00 and 15:30 and we had a really good time flying in gentle, but broken 1 m/s thermals. The people at the Fly-in got a good show as we regularly got low and managed to thermal up again.

It was good fun and I couldn't resist the temptation to dive at Tom's glider on this occasion :-)

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