03 July 2005

More flying in Orcier

So far, this has been a lazy Sunday. After the week-end nap, I decide to join the rest of the crowd at the club in Orcier. A few hundred meters before I get there, I see a pilot walking on the road with his wing on his back. I stop to give him a lift, it's François. He didn't make the landing field. We soon get to the terrain and he suggests to wait a bit to see if anybody else turns up, and then he'll drive us to the top and drive the vehicle down again. I'm quite eager, as it's always a pain to have to go back up after the flight just to fetch a vehicle.
A few minutes later, Anne-Lise arrives and she suggests we take her car. We do that, and with François driving, we're at the take off field pretty rapidly.
It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and there are lots of people around to enjoy the sight, look at the hang-gliders, paraglides and gliders from the nearby gliding base.
There are gusts of wind coming up the slopes, and I'm in the air rather rapidly. My hopes for a long flight are soon dashed, though, as the thermals bubbling up are too small for me to stay in them reliably. I land after half an hour, and very quickly find a lift to go back up.
Technical data: Flight duration 0:30, Take-off altitude: 1330m, Maximum altitude reached: 1411m, Total climb during flight: 615m, Max rate of climb: +2.8m/s, Max descent rate: -4m/s, Landing altitude: 485m.

This time, the gusts seem a bit stronger. I take off and manage to get a bit of lift before I round the crest in front of Très-le-Mont. Things look much better than on the first flight. The thermals are not as powerful or as big as last week's, but I manage to gain altitude, and I get a good feel about this flight. There are a few pilots around, including three hang-gliders. I concentrate hard on the piloting, trying to visualise the thermals and extracting as much lift as I can from them. As I reach a more comfortable height, I allow myself a few minutes of contemplation. The plain is drenched in sunlight, the lake is very calm, there are no visible ripples from where I am. The sailors are probably not as happy as we are...
This flight lasts for an hour. The air is probably too warm all around for the sun to create much more heat on the ground, and everybody is heading for the landing field.In flight
Since I'm a bit lower than everybody else, I am one of the first to touch ground.
Technical data: Flight duration 0:50, Take-off altitude: 1350m, Maximum altitude reached: 1360m, Total climb during flight: 1300m, Max rate of climb: +3.2m/s, Max descent rate: -4m/s, Landing altitude: 640m.
As I lay my wing to fold it, Alex walks up to me and asks me if I want to fly again, as he is planning a tandem flight with one of his friends and they need a lift to go to the take off.

I quickly fold my wing and get behind the wheel. We're soon at Le Couteau, laying our wings for a flight to take advantage of the restitution, we hope. This is the phenomenon where the air cools down fairly rapidly as the sun goes down, and the heat accumulated in the vegetation at lower altitude provokes a gentle rise of the air mass along the slopes. This is a gentle phenomenon and is on of the elements of numerous beautiful late afternoon or early evening flights.

We're in the air without fuss, and as expected there are thermals all around, but none too violent.

In flight

We gain height rapidly above Le Couteau, and switch to the crest above Orcier. There is good activity there too, and we consolidate our height gains, taking in the sights from this late afternoon.

This last flight is the cherry on the top, ending a beautiful day.
Technical data: Flight duration 0:35, Take-off altitude: 1330m, Maximum altitude reached: 1330m, Total climb during flight: 662m, Max rate of climb: +2.6m/s, Max descent rate: -3m/s, Landing altitude: 640m.


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