Friday, November 7, 2008

Last day of flying

My final full day in Bir before I head on my way…. I head up the hill with the rest of the group at about 11am. The inversion is looking strong, so there is no motivation to launch early. Beyond the Red Temple we can see a group of paragliders flying back towards launch. We presume that it a group that had gone off the previous day to search for a bag that had fallen from an unzipped pocket from 3000 metres on the Wednesday by Jim. It transpires that the bag HAD been found at 4pm the previous day (a real needle in a hay stack problem), but it was too late to fly back, so they had slept inside their wings on the mountainside.

I film Craig and Phil launching:
I eventually launch, but the thermals are rough where they bump up against the inversion, and Russian pilots still have no conception of how to apply the rules of the air, so I fly away towards the main landing area. I arrive with plenty of height, so I decide to do a spiral dive – a couple of wing-overs and I lock into a spiral. I gradually weight shift and the spiral tightens up, the Gs increase and the ground seems to approach rapidly. I’m going so fast now that I worry about exiting the spiral safely – I ease my weight shift to the other side and the spiral starts to ease off. However, I come out faster than anticipated and the wing threatens to surge overhead. A vigorous tug of the brakes stops the wing overshooting – so I then head off towards the landing area. I come in with what I consider is “just enough” height, but small thermals give the air lots of buoyancy and I keep sailing over the landing area and down over the rice paddies. Eventually my trajectory connects with the terrain and I am on the ground for my last landing.

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