Category Archives: Fun

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!

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.

Ozone delivers…

…my new Speedster paramotor wing! Very impressive quick service – the wing shipped from the factory in the day of the order and arrived within 5 days – including a weekend! I haven’t had a chance to fly her yet due to work commitments, but got in some ground-handling yesterday before the Aviator’s Club meeting:

20120906-212707.jpg

Now she needs a suitable name. Suggestions, anyone?

Goedverwacht Paramotoring

Goedverwacht Microlight Air Strip on the fringe of Durbanville – between our hang-gliding ‘home hill’ (Rondebossie/Haystacks) and Fisantekraal airfield – was the focus of an informal ‘Fly & Braai’ for local paramotor pilots yesterday.  The strip is privately owned and used by a few microlights, but the farmer/owner generously made it and the clubhouse available for us ‘floppy wing’ pilots for the day – and a perfect day it was, too.  Everyone with an aircraft of any description anywhere in the Cape was out flying, if the airwaves and local airspace was anything to go on.  It was a challenge for paramotor pilots, though:  with nil to very little wind all morning and a waterlogged runway, takeoffs were not easy.

Goedverwacht

Once in the air, however, it was bliss:  Countryside a patchwork of yellow and deep green, dams and streams full to overflowing after the recent rain, birds and buck frolicing in the patches of wildflowers beginning to blossom in the uncultivated land, dark distant  mountains capped with sparkling snow under a cobalt sky.  Couldn’t be much better 🙂

Snow-capped Du Toits mountains

A fun challenge for the day set by our local guru – navigation without GPS (logging in a sealed pocket) around several turnpoints in the farmlands.  Before setting out, an estimation of leg and total times as well as fuel consumption had to be logged.  The fickle and unpredictable wind made the time estimation tricky, test-flying a wing (a Paramania Fusion) for the first time and leaving my cue-card on the ground didn’t help, but the task was still great fun and the views snatched between scanning the ground for my turnpoints and intermediate waypoints were beautiful.

Airborne over the canola

I guesstimated my leg times at 11, 10, 16 and 14 minutes respectively, and then flew 11, 9, 14 and 14 – not bad for a rank amateur.  (Click here for the tracklog on Leonardo).  In the end, between the trouble launching and the attraction of sight-seeing, no-one else took on the challenge of the 32km course, leaving me to win the small prize sponsored by Xplorer Ultraflight by default.  Oh well 😉  Much kudo’s to Keith/Xplorer for the trouble of arranging the task – it certainly made me appreciate the challenges faced by our national PPG team, currently on their way to Spain for the World Championship.

PPG Challenge turnpoint 3 - wind turbines

While some pilots who had been flying from early in the morning retired to build a fire and get the braaivleis sizzling, a few others decided to fly across the valley to Paardeberg to visit a friend.  I decided that the latter option sounded like fun, and I had another glider to test-fly – the MacPara MacJet.  After an aborted takeoff attempt featuring a switching thermal wind and an argument with the fence that left my ego and pants in tatters, I got off nicely and chased off after the group.  Unfortunately, despite the speed of the MacJet, by the time I reached the area they were inside having refreshments without a radio, and I had very vague directions and no GPS location.  Unable to spot them from the air, I went on a wandering XC tour of the countryside, with an equally vague plan of creating a triangle in the light northerly wind.  The wind, however, had other plans, and after experimenting with a southerly became quite fresh from the west.  Worried that it might become stronger and result in fuel issues, I worked crosswind back to Goedverwacht.  With the air so busy, I spent most of the flight below 600ft ASL and often less than 100ft AGL, enjoying the rich pastoral scenes interspersed with swollen streams, patches of wild flowers, small wild buck and countless birds.  Sometimes I followed the streams to see where they led; elsewhere I cruised just above the crops through the biggest fields I could find, dodging farmhouses and turbulence-inducing trees.  Magic.

Canola fields with Table Mountain in the distance

Even though it was well into the heat of the mid-day with notable thermal activity, I flew most of the way with the trims wide open in great comfort – kudo’s on this round to MacPara for a fast and stable reflex wing, which is a pleasure to fly.  I was surprised to land with a fuel burn of only 6 liters after 90 minutes in the air.  Imagine my added pleasure when MaxPunkte spat out a 52km FAI triangle  – another first.   Leonardo tracklog here.

More poetry in motion

I first learnt of Danny MacAskill while watching the Banff Mountain Film Festival a few years ago, and since then have kept a watchful eye on what he produces.  Similar to my prior comments on parkour, MacAskill creates a fluid interpretation of fixed structures and spaces that would have never occurred to most of us; like really great photography, he makes me look at the world with new eyes and new appreciation.  I could never hope to emulate this on a bicycle, but on a rainy morning it’s good enough just to watch: poetry in motion.


Watch in HD if you can.  The music is also a treat.

I need your vote…

…in an initiative/competition run by Garmin. They are looking for stories of how people “Live Beyond” in various categories – outdoor, fitness, automotive, marine and aviation. I’ve entered our Cape Point paramotor flight in the aviation category, and now need votes. Click here to visit and vote for my entry at LiveBeyond.co.za

While you’re at it, why not add your own?

WildMedic on PPG over Cape Point
WildMedic on PPG over Cape Point - Photo copyright Ant Allen www.aerialphoto.co.za