|The Website of the Avon Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club - Firefly's Flying Diary||Sunday, 22nd May, 2022|
Morning Campers & Camper Vanners! Here I am again with Issue 3 of The Firefly - hopefully not just the antidote to another blown out / nil wind day! In this offering:
Oh well, looks like late June's optimism about the weather picking up was a tad misplaced, n'est-ce-pas? (That's Italian, you know?) Having spent some time priming my relatively new boss on the signs of an impending request to go home early, I've had to develop my lessons a little further - conversations such as:
Boss: The seagulls are going round in circles again.....
Firefly: Yes, but they're going backwards and one of them appears to be on an SIV course!
Boss: I can see those fluffy cloud-things you were talking about......
Firefly: What, like the one that was over the BRI when you started that sentence and has just been snapped by the speed camera on top of Avon House North?!
But seriously, as I've recently met a lot of newcomers to the sport (& the club), I would like to assure you people in particular that it isn't always like this - just the last three years!! No, really, the most important thing is to decide when you're available to fly and make the most of it - if you don't believe me, see the 'July 18th - Southerndown' section below. Now back to your usual diet of sideways humour and general silliness!
Desperate for airtime - that's the only way to describe the feeling at the end of June; so desperate in fact (with 8 minutes for the month!) that the boss was scarcely in the door before I asked for the day off! Caned Mrs Firefly's car to Hay under an infuriatingly over-developing sky and then got blown about a fair bit, so decided to retreat to Selsley.
I could tell this was going to be a good move from the motorway junction, with Mr Airtopia in the distance soaring gracefully. Unfortunately I'd missed the only mega-thermal of the day (which had decked almost everyone except Fifi McTavish, who'd managed 15km from it) but, as the only other time I'd flown here was to check my old canopy (after Spiderwoman rescued it from a tree at Frocester) it was great to fly the site properly.
Printer John was there, fresh from a full-frontal on Crook Peak a couple of days previous, as were assorted students and others (there, that is!). A couple of hours of demonstrating the manoeuvrability of my pinkie later, it was off to watch the goal of the World Cup and the heaviest landing of the year - should have just carried on flying into the evening!
Talking of evening flying (see above) brings me to one of the most surreal flying experiences of my brief aerial career. The Usual Suspects assembled on the Friday evening at Llangattock, for some preparatory festivities in anticipation of Captain Fantastic's 41st the next day - oh, and an Airwave Challenge semi-final. The alcoholic haze couldn't disguise the fact that the next morning was fairly obviously blown out and, with the resulting low turnout of clubs in the Bus Station car park, the comp. was canned. This left Team Avon with a free hand and a cunning plan - go to Southerndown 'cos if it gets flyable anywhere it'll be there.
Patience my tinsel angel - The afternoon was spent walking/falling off the cliff path and lazing on the beach, with the odd bit of climbing and sea-dodging thrown in for good measure, but when we returned to the car park it was still blowing 20mph+. At half-seven I decided it was my turn to play Mr Optimist and go for my glider and the others followed - mainly out of curiosity, I think! At 8.20pm Birthday Boy, assisted by his Sweet Soul Sister and The Webmistress, finally managed to get airborne. Ten minutes later The Piper and myself got off the deck, scratching around for lift whilst Captain F. made his way East, across the bay to the slightly higher cliffs on the far side. While a little uncertain at first it quickly became easier, King Splittie then following us into the air and making the surprisingly lifty aerial beach crossing, proceeding to throw his MAC around in the sea thermals better than the bloke in the Fisherman's Friend advert!
Nash Point and back was the goal for the Captain and he all but made it - going down on the return leg on the other side of the headland we were flying. Firefly having completed singing an entire Marillion album (it's a long story!), we switched cliffs a couple more times in very buoyant air and then finally wing-overed down to the beach, when the light had all but disappeared, at 9.40! Time for a barbie - oh no, we had to make the potato salad first! Four totally blissed-out pilots hit the sack just after midnight - our many, many thanks to the two who didn't fly for making it possible by helping us get airborne.
New, Spot The Pilot Competition!
101 Best Prayers for Better Weather!
And much, much more!!!
Pie-Eyed Piper just fails to reach goal & 1st place in Ochills BPC: "I dropped me bloody Rizla!"