Saturday, March 3, 2012

The 13.5 flew. Be it only for 5 minutes...

The weather predictions were calling for weak S winds, turning into moderate SW winds. Now, that's a little bit of a problem in Belgium. We've got a S ridge and a W ridge, but no SW ridge. The S ridge (Sept Meuses) needs moderate winds and is known to be turbulent with SW winds... And the W launch (Coo) is known to be turbulent with SW winds as well... And by the way, statistically, most of our winds are SW winds. So what about towing? Well, currently, we do not have any towing operation (should be operational next month, though). So, desperate as I was to try the Combat 13.5 GT, I went to Sept Meuses anyway.

Our launch there always had some trouble with vandalism. So, some of our guys did a good job last year by making it impossible to reach the launch itself by car. Guess what, someone started demolishing the barriers:

I noticed that the suspect probably has a quad:

Fellow hang gliders, quad riders shall no longer be safe!

On a more serious note, there was almost no wind upon arrival. Combine that with an overcast sky and you see that the prospects for flying were bleak. Made me think of those "months on shitty hills" (Carl Wallbank). 2 Hours later, we still had the same conditions. Another hour and we had maybe just enough wind to fly, but already turning west. Knowing that this was the best we were going to get, I launched. I didn't fly close to the terrain (new bird in possibly turbulent air) and didn't immediately get on top of the ridge. A few turns in small thermals stretched the flight, but after 5 minutes, I was on the ground. With a happy face. Because I loved the glider's handling immediately. It feels definitely different from Matjaz's glider I tested this summer. It simply turns in faster and nicer. Is that the effect of the Technora leading edge? Curious!

Kurt, flying a 2006 Combat 14.2, launched 15 minutes after me and had a 20 minute flight. He flew well and while derigging, it seemed that conditions were slightly improving. We picked up the car from launch half an hour later, only to find out that there now was a steady and moderate, south wind. Ouch! Not enough patience today...

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