Low Airtime / Low Experience Coaching Day - Ian Henderson

Ian Henderson - 09/03/2006

We met at the stone circle on a cracking morning - there was some debate about which way the wind would develop but Dave - rightly - seemed to be settling for Clough Head. A mass exodus then followed to the bottom of the track where we pushed the available car parking spaces! The walk didn't seem too bad but I'm sure that the newly fitted reserve has doubled the weight of my pack. On arrival, Dave didn't have much time for detailed instruction as the wind was slowly increasing and conditions looked superb. He suggested that we got flying asap as he felt that the wind was likely to increase - he wasn't wrong. I decide to get going - I'm not too used to busy conditions so I was going to wait until more people took off. In the end, I decided just to get going - I haven't been plucked off like that on a takeoff before!

As I've just finished training, I'm used to going down and not having time to start exploring the envelope. Saturday was really different as I didn't have worry about going down as there was so much lift. However, after about 20 minutes, I started getting quite low and at one time got the gear down for landing. After getting quite low, things started to pick up again and I was soon soaring the face above the quarry. I then really started to get some height which was a tremendous experience.

Now we got to the interesting bit. In training you spend most of your time going down and working hard to stay up. Saturday was the reverse! I started to experiment with various ways to get down - at one stage I was going up with big ears on. Eventually, I sorted it out and got down for a reasonable side landing after almost 2 hours. I had a go a some 360 turns which was quite interesting, especially after pulling my first gs in a paraglider.

After a comfort break, I went up again. This time I saw someone really high so I thought I would try to get there. I didn't get to cloudbase (not quite) but I was looking at the windfarm at Great Orton over the top of Blencathra, so I must have got above 3000ft - time to buy a vario. Getting down was easier this time although I noticed that I wasn't making much progress into wind. I came down on the track to the north of take off going slightly backwards

You can find some pictures here

Thanks for a great day, Dave. I'm sorry that I didn't see much of you but I learnt a lot and had a great time


Photos are sized to appear on this page at a width of 800 pixels or less. For pictures that are greater than a width of 800 pixels, the picture is shown at 800 pixels but you can view the full size image by clicking on the photo.