To date, only two people had ever done it: a powered paraglider flight around Cape Point, the “Fairest Cape of them all”, the Cape of Good Hope: the Cape of Storms. Today, that number was doubled. The Flying Ant (one of the original two) escorted Neil and I in a gentle, cold but perfectly smooth north-westernly on the flight down the peninsula to the very south-western tip of Africa. It’s a long way – the entire tip forms Cape Point National Park, meaning we have to launch north of the boundary and then fly at least 2500ft and offshore all the way – and the weather has to be perfect, but the incredible sights make it all worthwhile. A detailed story and many more photographs to follow, but here are some to whet your appetite:
It’s been quite a while since the flying that generated this footage, but I finally set aside a rainy Saturday and cut together a rough montage. The story can be found in the blog archive, so I won’t repeat it here. In essence: some magic crack-of-doom flying in the middle of summer, when the sun rises early enough for me to get a flip in before I have to be at the hospital. Not many better ways to start the day. Watch it on high quality if you can or come round and see it in 1080p HD at my place over a cup of coffee!
I’ve uploaded another two talks onto the ‘Presentations’ page. These are lectures I gave recently as part of the ILS Aviation Health Care Practitioner’s course at the Red Cross Air Mercy Service here in Cape Town. The should be considered introductory, and there is a lot of (verbal) content not in the presentations, but the framework may be of interest. I’m getting more familiar with using Prezi and liking it more every time. Click the arrows to advance or rewind through my sequence. FYI – You can click, drag and zoom freely at any time, and return to the sequence by clicking on the arrows again. Enjoy!
Great PPG flying on the West Coast today. We met at Grotto Bay and flew north along the coastline to Yzerfontein – 30km of almost uninhabited and deserted beach, with the occasional wild ostrich for company. After an extended coffee break at Yzerfontein to assess what the wind was doing (a NE land breeze meeting the forecast NW sea breeze) the general consensus was to head back to Grotto rather than chancing a flight to Langebaan. Fortunately, help was at hand in the form of Dave, who offered to drive my Pajero as a support vehicle, and so I invited him to drive it all the way to Blouberg, said goodbye to the others at Grotto Bay and flew the whole stretch back in one go – more than 70km cross-country flight if you allow the small detour around the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station restricted airspace which I had to make.
Great flight this morning from Goedverwact Microlight Airfield near Durbanville with Keith, Callie, Martin, Hannes, Mias and Thys. I was particularly glad to get in the air, as my PPG motor needed some work done recently and I was worried about misbehaviour. We kitted up before sunrise beneath heavily overcast skies with a low cloudbase, but the morning blessed us with a gentle northerly wind in which to launch and then cool, calm flying conditions. I’m afraid you will have to put up with iPhone photos, as I have lent my usual flying camera to my friends Cathy & Andrew as they depart for a motorbike circuit of South America: they’ll get better use out of it! I’ll use it as an excuse to take my SLR flying instead, *grin*.
Our route meandered through the Durbanville Hills to the west until we reached Morningstar Airfield, where we did some low passes and admired other flying machines while they admired us. Thereafter we cruised through the farmlands at low level, following the river for a while. We then turned east and flew to the Klipheuwel wind turbines, landing back at Goedverwacht.
What a pleasure, in good company – thanks guys!
The last two days I have eschewed my ‘new’ habit of cycling to work in favour of a much earlier start, but a greater reward: powered paraglider “Dawn Patrols”. Keith Pickersgill of Xplorer PPG invited me to join them in flying from Kreeftebaai just south of Melkbosstrand on Monday at 05h15 (just in time to catch sunrise from the air), and it was such a success we repeated the effort this morning, with 6-8 pilots each time. It means a four o’clock start from home for me, about an hour’s flying and then quick pack to be back in the car in the notorious West Coast traffic to arrive in ICU by 0730… but what a payout 😉
I flew with the new Go Pro HD Hero 2 for the first times, and will hopefully get around to putting a little video together, but here are some quick frame grabs from this morning:
The paragliding club has just announced the traditional winter flyaway to Sutherland for the last weekend in May – I’m now furiously hoping my new roster will allow me to attend. Last year we resurrected the tradition, traveling to SA’s highest and coldest town for the weekend and flying from the spectacular but remote Ouberg Pass. Sutherland, due to it’s altitude and distance from sources of light pollution, is the site of a well-known astronomical observatory, and the home of the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, SALT.
We stayed on the farm “Koorlandskloof”, belonging to Lampies and Aret Lamprecht, and between evenings spent braaing around a roaring fire (indoors or out!) we managed to fit in a few short flights, even though the weather conspired to dump plenty of snow on the area.
On the Monday I was pre-call and enjoyed the adventure of a solo motorcycle ride down Ouberg Pass and across the desolate Tanqua Karoo. Here are some photos to whet the appetite before this year’s trip!