Last Sunday was a special flying day for me. My first flight over Flanders, my home region. A winch towing club, de Hoekse Vliegers, just North of Flanders, in the Netherlands, already invited me a couple of months ago and now it finally worked out. I set myself a 100 km out-and-return task Hoek - Tielt - Hoek because conditions were predicted to be pretty good, although the sky was grey when I arrived in Hoek. At 11 o'clock, things started to clear out and the sky looked very nice by the time I was set up.
Egbert was a super friendly host and Jan did a great job on the winch. I was towed up just before 1 P.M. with cloud base still pretty low at 800 m. Here's a quick video mashup of the towing action:
The first thermal only took me to 700m and it took me a while to reach cloud base for the first time, but I was on my way and really enjoying the flight. I was surprised to find out that the thermals were pretty turbulent, because the clouds looked nice and there was almost no wind. So I expected nice smooth circles, but the reality was that quite some work was needed.
Didn't spoil the fun though, the view over Aalter, seeing my home town Ghent in one side and the Belgian coast on the other side, was great. Sadly no option to land at the beach, because this is Belgium after all, it's just one big CTR/TMA with a just few spots available to free flyers...
Anyway, I needed a low save at my turnpoint, but after that the flying conditions improved dramatically and I just cruised back to Terneuzen. I was pretty cold after those 4 hours and loved the sun on the towing field. And it was time for a cloud-cooled Red Bull which had gone along for the ride. First 100 km out and return in Flanders on the first attempt. Good fun!