Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Long trip to Serrig for a 2 hour flight

Last weekend, it looked like there was not going to be any interesting flying again. We canceled the Benecup (a good decision, it wasn't flyable in the Northern Netherlands). But, on Saturday morning, it looked like Sunday could be very nice just across the German border. I left a birthday party on Saturday night early and woke up at 6:30 on Sunday morning, heading for Serrig, together with Rudy.

We arrived in Serrig and the winds were lower than predicted and the same was true for the clouds. I definitely wasn't going to be a record day, but it looked very good for flying.

Launch and the initial climb-out was easy, but 500m above the ground, it was pretty turbulent. It took me a while to get to cloudbase at 1400m (1000m AGL). I decided to try to fly to Hinterweiler. Cloudbase was rather low, but the wind was helping me.

I soon got low and couldn't leave the spot where I was flying due to a lack of landing options. Lots of pretty steep little valleys and lots of vineyards, not a nice combination with a low cloudbase... And then there were the airspaces. When I decided to follow a gap between the airspaces, I hit sink and wasn't sure how much I could deviate from the route. I landed after a 65 km flight, 30 km short from the goal I had in mind. But I was happy to have been flying again.

My landing had a nasty surprise. There were a lot of cultivated fields where I landed and in the middle was one rather small patch with tall grass. The patch was surrounded with barbed wire. I had noticed that from above, but was confident I could land it in the patch. If necessary, I was going to use the drogue chute. I had the chute ready and decided to come in rather high, also because there was some wind. Everything looked fine, but I quickly noticed to wind was less than expected and I was going to overshoot slightly without the chute. So I threw the chute and expected to land right in the middle of the patch. However, the expected braking effect didn't happen and I was going to land just about right on the barbed wire. A few long seconds passed, not knowing whether the chute was eventually going to deploy or not, but I just managed to clear the fence and landed with the wing tips less than a meter behind it. A big sigh of relief!

I looked a the chute and noticed that the rope on the harness which opens the zipper was entangled in the drogue chute's ropes. I'll remember that one. Next time I have the drogue chute ready, I'll make sure the harness ropes are fixed to the harness!

Rudy and I started the drive back home and stopped at the aerodrome in Spa for dinner. The Eifel area had turned blue 3 hours before, but in Belgium, the sky still showed some activity. The view was nice and some spectacular skydiver landings provided a good show.


  1. https://vimeo.com/13106746
    Barbed wire fence landing =) I think if you are not lucky this things can kill you! 40km to 0km in a fence?! o-O

  2. Hallo Jochen,
    gratuliere zu dem schönen Flug.
    Da bist Du weniger als 5 km von mir weg gelandet.
    Vielleicht sollten wir doch mal Telefonnummern tauschen.
    Fliegergrüße, W.