Category Archives: Aviation

Paraglider soaring at Wolfgat

Despite working most of the Easter weekend, I was able to gab a few hours and head down to Wolfgat Nature Reserve, on the shore of False Bay near Cape Town. Here, when the southerly winds blow against the dunes and low sea cliffs, one can enjoy hours of simple, smooth soaring. Equipped with my beloved Gradient XC3 glider, a lightweight Sup’Air harness and my GoPro, I took my turn cavorting over the cliffs and doing wingovers above the waves with the playful gulls. Magic. Watch in HD if you can.

Wolfgat Soaring – Easter 2014 from Ross Hofmeyr on Vimeo

The video was shot on GoPro and then, as an experiment, I downloaded the footage wirelessly and edited the entire thing on my iPad. It’s a bit of a rough cut but amazes me that the technology has advanced to the stage where this is possible. It also makes converting your fun footage into something shareable while traveling a serious option. Impressive.

The music is by an artist specializing in ‘Chillstep’ (relaxed melodic dubstep) that I am really enjoying at the moment, called Blackmill. Check out his stuff on iTunes and elsewhere online. Kudos.

Altona PPG

Great flight for two hours on a beautiful morning today.  Took off over mist-shrouded fields and landed 82km and two hours later back at the Altona airstrip to find a large group of PPG and microlight pilots chatting in the sunshine… and offering me a fresh up of coffee.  Can it get better?

Watch in HD if you can!

X-Alps 2013 is coming…

…and you can follow the leaders right here from 7 July!

 

Hang-gliding Table Mountain

Adam West of our local Cape Albatross Hang-glider Club shot some beautiful video of flying Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles in a brief break between the winter storm fronts.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Hang Gliding flight over Cape Town and Table Mountain from Adam on Vimeo.

A beautiful day along the Cape Peninsula flying a Wills Wing T2 145. Launching from Signal Hill, climbing out over Lions Head, crossing over to Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles, then back to land at Mouille Point before the rain.

Around Cape Point by Powered Paraglider

Yesterday yielded the opportunity to do one of the premier Cape powered paraglider flights – Cape Point. The PPG is an incredibly portable and versatile aircraft, but with a cruising speed of only around 25 knots and maximum sustainable speed peaking at 37 knots for the fastest XC wings, we need ideal wind conditions to attempt routes such as these. We have specifically been watching for forecast conditions that would allow a new first – flying around the peninsula, down one side and back up the other. To date all flights (only 4-5 other occasions that the flight has been successfully completed) have been exclusively along the western side. 30 April 2013 had a forecast for light ESE in the morning with light to moderate SW in the afternoon. As all pilots know, forecasts are completely trustworthy… or not.

Crossing Noordhoek towards Fish Hoek
Crossing Noordhoek towards Fish Hoek

We launched in the late morning from Hout Bay in a very light breeze; anything helps when you are foot-launching with a full tank of fuel.  Climbing over the neck between Noordhoek and Chapman’s Peaks, we climbed steadily to 2000ft, and then overflew FAR139 (the controlled airspace around the Simonstown Naval Base) with pre-arranged permission.  The views flying south along the coast were beautiful; False Bay at peace with the encircling mountains hazy in the distance.

Paramotors over False Bay:  MDK (Powerplay Scorpio with Nirvana 190) and ANT (Ozone Speedster wit PAP Moster 185) flying south along the Cape Peninsula
Paramotors over False Bay: MDK (Powerplay Scorpio with Nirvana 190) and ANT (Ozone Speedster wit PAP Moster 185) flying south along the Cape Peninsula

The hands-off flying was rudely interrupted when we reached the end of the Klaasjagersberg ridge, however: an increasingly strong north-west breeze threw turbulent air off the peak and caused a few minutes of tachycardia.  Flying closer to Cape Point, it was apparent that the wind was persistently NW, and strong enough to cause pause for reassessment.   Prevented from flying lower by the restricted arispace over Cape P0int Nature Reserve, we crossed high from Diaz Cross to Diaz Beach to Diaz Point.  Feeling that discretion was better than a long lonely swim, we didn’t fly beyond the point in the northwest wind.

MDK at 2000' over Cape Point with False Bay in the background
MDK at 2000′ over Cape Point with False Bay in the background

A long and slow but beautiful flight back up the western side of the peninsula followed; only beyond the reserve could we dip down below the inversion at 1000ft and find the forecast southerly.  Climbing again from Kommetjie, we bypassed the long white sands of Noordhoek Beach and routed directly into Hout Bay with dwindling fuel supplies.  The breeze in Hout Bay on the ground was still SE and brisk enough to allow a three perfect landings on the doorstep of Dunes, where we were welcomed for a celebratory cold drink.

Crossing towards Hout Bay with Table Mountain in the far distance
Crossing towards Hout Bay with Table Mountain in the far distance

A little over two hours flying, 75km distance covered, a fuel consumption of 9, 10 and 12 liters for the three paramotors = priceless new experience.

Track log on Leonardo.  More images below – click on a thumbnail to go to the slideshow.

 

 

Greyton to Botrivier PPG

My good mate Ant of The Aerial Perspective was very kind to invite me along to Greyton, where he needed to take some pictures.  We cruised out there in the Vito early this morning to find the town dead still (wind and street-life) with heavy dew on the ground, and so we stopped at a local coffee shop for tea and toast.  Greyton is as pleasantly bucolic as I remember, albeit somewhat more developed these days.

Greyton from the air.  Photo courtesy of The Aerial Perspective
Greyton from the air. Photo courtesy of The Aerial Perspective
After completing consumption of our comestibles we went looking for a launch area.  The Greyton Sports Club had a nice field, but it was still very wet and surrounded on three sides by trees.  A foray down the other end of town was more fruitful…well, too fruitful, in fact.  Not only did we find a great little field, which was slightly raised and offered a puff of wind, but it was also downwind of the dump and sewage settlement ponds.  To complete the scene, a large herd of splendidly flatulent bovines stood contemplating us from over the fence.  Perfect.  Although the field was small and the ponds large, the light wind was conveniently blowing across the corners, offering a decent run and space to climb out.  We rigged quickly, and then I helped Ant launch so that he could get the photography done quickly.  I was rapidly ready to go, and then in my enthusiasm flooded my engine and had to take if off to get it restarted.  By that stage, the wind had almost disappeared, and what little remained was now blowing directly over the ponds, across the short axis of the already short field.  Eish.

Great SA PPG video

Eish… the work, she has been too much.

I have been nose-to-grindstone for quite some time, but the experience has been incredibly rich, with a number of firsts.  Some of those stories will follow, I hope, but the blog takes a back seat at these times.  Unfortunately, the flying has also been exceptionally sparse.  In the absence of my own escapades, I stumbled across this video.  It captures much of the essence of PPG in South Africa.  Enjoy.

Paramoteur: South African Tour 2012 from Luc Trépanier on Vimeo.

En septembre 2012, Cyril et moi sommes allés en Afrique du Sud pour visiter au sol, mais surtout pour survoler en paramoteur ce magnifique pays. Nous y avons rencontré des pilotes ayant un haut niveau de maîtrise de notre sport. Ces derniers nous ont grandement facilité la tache au cours de notre voyage et nous en sommes reconnaissant. L’Afrique du Sud est un pays offrant des paysages et une faune unique. Ce petit vidéo sans prétention relate quelques vols que nous y avons fait. C’était mon premier voyage dans cette région du monde et je ne souhaite qu’une chose, c’est d’y retourner.

In September 2012, Cyril and I went to South Africa to visit the country from the ground but also to fly with our paramotor over some magnificant places. We have met pilots with high skill level who help us along our trip through the country and we thank them. South Africa has a unique wildlife and landscapes to offer. This unpretentious little video present some flights that we have done. It was my first trip to this part of the world and the only thing I wish is to go back.