Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Day at the Beach

We've been continuing our paragliding education this week with Nick Crane. This has included lots of discussion, practicing and refining both old and new skills, and watching videos of ourselves taking off. "What to do when things go wrong" (aka "what to do when you scare the shit out of yourself!") has been the topic of discussion the past few days. We started by spending a couple hours in the "simulator" reviewing actions to correct things like cravats, asymmetric and frontal collapses, stalls, spins, and riser twists. 

Then yesterday we spent the day at the beach at Lost Creek Lake. No, not relaxing. The furthest thing from relaxing! 

The way maneuvers are practiced is towing from the beach to get launched and then, when high enough, releasing the tow and inducing the wing to do things you don't normally want it do. The intent is to practice recovering from those situations but, if things go really bad, landing in the water and getting a quick rescue from the tow/safety boat is a reasonably safe end result. 

These were the first tow launches Andrew and I, as well as fellow pilot Steven, had ever done so this was nerve wracking enough, not to mention doing the maneuvers!

Once we released from the tow we induced asymmetric and frontal collapses with increasing depth and crazy results. We eventually held the asymmetric and tried to maintain direction (leaning hard and using slight brake on the opposite side). I even got to experience getting a cravat out while reeling in the stabilo line (not just pulling on it) after doing an asymmetric. Great practice! 

None of these photos show the manoeuvres as it was difficult to take photos or video and hold the camera steady enough. Each of us was so high that we were really just a speck in the sky. It will be a challenge to see if we can piece together any video stable enough to show. But I'll try!

Still on tow. The drogue chute is the red thing just below me.
Andrew in the simulator.
Getting ready to launch.
Andrew launching.
Steven launching.
Steven being towed. Which way is he going? Higher!!!!
Just released from tow and trying to stabilize. Drogue chute and line falling to the water below.
Steven trying to get the wing into a spiral.
Andrew taking a swing on recovery from a frontal collapse.
Andrew landing on the beach.
Andrew and I are signed up for a full 3-day maneuvers course in August so this was a great introduction!

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