15 May 2005

Going home

One of the great thrills (at least for me, humble beginner) is to land in the field right next to my house. The distance isn't very big, 6 kilometers as the crow flies (about 4 miles, for crows that don't speak metric ;-) by car it takes about twenty five minutes, as you have to travel 15 kilometers on country and mountain roads. Landing Field
On this Sunday afternoon, I've already had an early flight, with mediocre conditions. I thought the weather wouldn't improve so I grabbed what I could early. On the landing field in Orcier, Alex asks me to fly with him, as he only has his tandem glider. I was planning on flying solo, but I've had two solo flights today, and flying with him is always fun, so he doesn't have to insist for me to accept.
We're at the take off in Très-le-Mont, and the wind is quite gusty. There are clouds overhead, and thicker, blacker ones to the left, in the West. We quickly set-up and take off, and straight away climb ten meters in a gust in front of the crowd. Wooo-hoooo... this is going to be a bumpy, but good flight.
Tres-le-Mont - Take off - 135
We keep gaining altitude in front of the take off, and then Alex decides to cross over, going West to "Les Roches Pourries", a cliff with steep crumbly rock faces. Roches Pourries - 160With the wind blowing from the West today, this is a fairly sure bet. When we get there, the lift takes a long time to materialise, but we eventually gain altitude, allowing us to go all the way to "Les Moises", the hill that is on one side of the pass "Le Col du Cou". On the way there we get a beautiful view of the Green Valley (La Vallee Verte), and we fly over the gliders take-off strip of Les Moises. panoramic - Les Moises We do two passes over the area to maximise our altitude gain, and return to Très-le-Mont. We make it there very low, but very quickly regain our altitude and once again find ourselves over the take-off field. After playing for a while, we progress to the North and decide to "go home". We think we have just enough altitude, so fervently hope we'll get some lift on the way. My brother is at home, so he can drive us back to retrieve our cars and Alex agrees that we'll land at my place.
Half-way there, our prospects aren't too good, and we doubt we'll even make it to Alex's place unless we find some lift very quickly. As we round "La Maladière", we get some dynamic lift, and breathe a sight of relief. At that time, my camera memory is full, and Alex has to let go the controls to retrieve his camera from the bottom of my harness. We're well on the way to the castle, with altitude to spare. In flight over the CastleWe fly over the castle and the village, and I mention to Alex that there's no more beers in my refrigerator. That and my recent landing near my house swing his decision: we'll land at his place. While we fly over Commelinges, where his girlfriend stays, we both look left and I off-handedly mention to Alex that I'm sure we could regain some height if we went back to the lift area on the side of "La Maladière". I feel the pressure of the direction change as I finish uttering these words: Alex has swung the wing in that direction. We spend the next fifteen minutes playing in the dynamic lift area.panoramic - Commelinges - Mesinges
We land in the field bordering his house, a few neighbours come to chat while we fold the wing, and Alex realises his house keys are in his car, in Orcier, together with his phone, and my phone isn't working for some reason, so we set off for a walk to his girlfriend's house... Nice conclusion to a great day.
Technical data: Flight duration 1:20, Take-off altitude: 1355m, Maximum altitude reached: 1600m, Total climb during flight: ???m, Max rate of climb: +?m/s, Max descent rate: -?m/s, Landing altitude: 460m.


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