Presentation for the Red Cross Air Mercy Service (where I am a regular volunteer flight doctor) today. One of these days I will get around to narrating all these Prezi talks. My friend a colleague Jo Park-Ross from AMS and #badEM has made a video podcast of the talk – will post the link when it is up and running.
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!
Cape Albatros Hang-Glider Club mate Adam and I decided on a whim to head to Porterville on 30 December despite the so-so forecast. He had a brand new Wills Wing T2 to get to know, having done only one flight on it at the training hill. I was keen to try some more XC on my trusty Moyes Sonic. Conditions at Dasklip Pass were good for a launch, with climbs up to about 1500m ASL predicted: not high at all for Porterville in summer. Deciding that any flight is better than no flight we quickly rigged and took off. Adam immediately hooked a good climb and spent most of the flight high above the ridge; I struggled low down and fighting hard for the first 20km before getting a good climb to 1400m. By that stage the topless T2 was well ahead, so I carried on at my own pace and crossed over into the Citrusdal valley at the N7 pass. I had forgotten to take my hydration pack, and the rough thermals and heat low on the ridge made me dehydrate fast. Past Citrusdal town the headache and nausea overtook the fun and I took a long last glide from 1700m ASL to land just short of 50km at Constriction – my new personal best. Adam, in the meantime, was having an awesome flight despite being very new on the glider. He worked hard most of the way to Clanwilliam and then found a sweet spot in the sky, flying from there nearly all the way to Vanrhynsdorp with very little stopping to thermal along the way, for a total distance of 140km. A long retrieve followed, but worth every moment!
A couple of GoPro frame grabs:
Unfortunately, I don’t have a tracklog, as my GPS was stolen the day before and the ThermGeek iPhone app crashed just after takeoff (just the app, not me). However, Adam’s log is here and is far more impressive than mine would have been. Next time 😉
Single-surface ultralight (<1.4kg) paraglider
in development launched in the last week by Ozone. Sounds like a very special animal – official information is here on the FlyOzone site. One has already top-landed on Mont Blanc during testing. Need I say more?
UPDATE: Found this launch video, too. Sureal location, too.
Are you listening, Ozone? This is all I want for Christmas.
Regular blog readers may recall that we travelled up to the Augrabies area on the Namibian border some weeks ago to take part in a shoot for the new Mazda BT-50 TV commercial. It was a long distance made oh-so-worthwhile by the chance to fly in and over the spectacular Riemvasmaak desert and through the Kai Garib gorge. After a long day of waiting, conditions finally allowed a launch about 2 hours before sunset, and we flew every last minute we could, generating hordes of footage… of which about 3 seconds makes it into the ad 😉
This is the ‘Making Of…’ video, which gives a good feel for the vibe, and features the commercial at the end. Would I do it again? Of course… you only live once 😉
After more than a week of desperately wanting to fly my brand new Ozone Speedster paramotor wing, I finally got the chance! Fitted in an evening soaring free flight (sans motor) at Signal Hill last yesterday and then a great motorized flight at Muizenberg today, made more special by the fact that I could fly with a friend who also owns a Speedster.
The stories will follow soon – I’m on call at the moment – but here’s a teaser picture to whet your appetite…
UPDATED: This time of the year (late August through to October) is one of the best for soaring flights along the Cape Peninsula and surrounding mountains. As the frontal systems make their march to the south for the summer, the cold fronts lessen in intensity, with more more moderate prefrontal north-westerlies and lingering postfrontal conditions. The air is cold and moist but the sun begins to reappear, leading to beautifully smooth soaring interspersed with the promise of good instability and thermal flying. It is certainly the ‘high’ season for the Cape pilot’s classic route: Signal Hill/Lion’s Head across to Table Mountain, southerly along the Twelve Apostles, and then back for sundowners or onwards into the lesser-flown for the brave (and those with dedicated retrieve drivers!). For many years this route was more frequented by the hang-glider pilots with their better glide and speed range (the NW can exhibit a strong wind gradient as one climbs), but as paraglider technology has improved it is now achievable by pilots on almost any wing. Come along on a tour, illustrated with my photos from today…
Recently I was at the Red Cross Air Mercy Service hangars at Cape Town International Airport to work on a pilot study (pun intended) for my master’s research project. I was lucky to catch (and use) the beautiful Agusta 109. Here are a couple of hasty snaps:
…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?