05 October 2005

Ultimate Flying

Gaggle Combat

Goal Ambience


Pinhal-->Aguaí-->Mogi Mirim 85km

A real mix of conditions. Chose my own route on the first leg but it did not work so well, because the convergence line that I was chasing dissipated. Got a little low in the shade but eventually got back with the lead gaggle.

The conditions kept improving along the course, which was way cool because it seemed like with each glide our speeds were increasing. That feeling of an accelerating average speed is climactic. Towards the end we had stopped turning, only pulling up in lift and pushing over into the sink.

The 6 of us, Guga, Dustin, Michel, Betinho, Nenê, and myself duked it out over the 20km final glide. Each of us kept trying to fly just a little faster than the other... and this inflated into impossible speeds. This is where it all begins, where hanggliding almost becomes a contact sport. We were stacked all over each other, going 80km/h, unwilling to ease up, despite the goal airport rising in the horizon. As with most airports, the ground rose towards it, and the 10km/h tail had turned 10km/h head.

1km to go and we hit the descending air along the downslope. We are now best-gliding through the turbulence, and looking back and forth, just trying not to hit someone. Betinho hits a small dust devil within the boundary of the airport and gets banked hard to the left. I hold on and get thrown the other way, as bits of dry grass are thrown in my face. We flail across the goal line within seconds of each other and manage some sort of landing along the red dirt landing strip. Try unzipping and getting the VG off at 20m, as you fly through a dust devil. Now that's multi-tasking!

Dustin tried to hold the same speed as us, and lost too much height, landing 200m short.

All was good in the end though, and within minutes we were all high five'n and hacking open watermelons with a machete. A lot of vitamin m in these parts too.

Guga took the day.

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