11 May 2006

Echoes and Reflections

This is Flytec country

Tickling spectators' bellies with my VG cord

It was awesome to be back in Andradas again; that place has come into my mind every so often since I first went there, last September. I was in the mood for some play flying, so I took the opportunity to practise my spins and do some relative work (me relative to spectators, bushes, paragliders, etc.) Made a paraglider friend on launch and soon we were doing syncro wing-overs just above launch, in the light lift. Touched his sail a few times too on fly-bys... when you get really close to a paraglider wing in-flight you realize how there is quite a steep angle to the aerofoil (high angle of attack). I noticed that as I flew past to touch the wing with my fingers, I had to dive below him slightly and then climb upwards as I flew pass, to contour the wing surface. A little tense, but fun.

Later I did some low passes along launch... soon there was a line of 5 people lying in the grass, side by side on their backs, waiting for me to fly past inches above them. One of the guys had quite a big gut, so I had to be sure to take that into account. It was the strangest thing to listen to so many people laughing so hard, hearing their laughter arrive and then vanish so quickly. I was worried that my VG cord might burn them, but apparently it only tickled them.

For spinning I needed more ground clearance so I spun down to the LZ, thermalled back up, and repeated. I've been working on getting the rotation speed higher, which is super fun, but you need more time to recover from the vertigo after the exit. After 10 revolutions, everything becomes circles and 'up' is only up because it's blue...

Pioneering Serrania launch

En route to Andradas, we spent a day in Serrania to fly a new hill that Konrad had seen from the air and expected it to have a natural launch. After some jungle trekking and machete swinging, we found it. A natural rock cliff launch... pretty intimidating, but beautiful. I had the biggest smile on my face as I pulled up from the dive off the rock.

Calm view

This is where I landed on my last flight in Carmo do Rio Claro. It was fun landing in a tiny little bare patch of ground, surrounded by tall grass. The São Paulo State Championship was coming up, so we had to make ground towards Andradas, for some early practice.

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