10 August 2005


Flying at home.

The weather beacon is broadcasting Westerly winds, so we head for Tres-le-Mont. There are already a few pilots at the first take-off site, so we head for the second one, away from the crowd and limelight... The wind is fairly strong, gusting at close to 30km/h, but the conditions seem sound. The smoke plumes in the valley rise vertically, so we know we're under the influence of thermals coming up the slope. Alex takes off first, followed closely by Michael. When Maurice takes to the air, he bumps the small pine-trees on the right of the take off, but manages to straighten his flight. I loose sight of him as he flies to the left. I'm on the side of the field, when I hear some suspect noises on the left. As I start running through the small clump of trees, I hear Michael and Alex announcing that Maurice has landed in the trees. Maurice is shouting that he's all right. I'm soon on the scene, the pine-trees are tall, and I see Maurice's harness hanging between fifteen and twenty meters off the ground. He's climbing down the trunk. As he gets closer to the ground, the branches are getting more and more sparse and dry, and about fivemeters from the ground, Maurice looses his purchase and slides down the trunk, landing on his feet very heavily. He gets up, visibly shaken, and announces that his ankle has cracked loudly. We support him to climb back up the slope. His wing and harness will be taken care of later.

After Maurice has been taken away safely, I resume my preflight routine. The gusts seem to have abated a little, so my take off is pretty easy.

I do a few passes in front of the take off, but don't manage to rise more than a few meters above take off altitude. After a while, I head for the valley, hugging the slope as soon as I pass the wood-cuttings. I get some lift, but nothing that warrants turning in. At the end of the ridge, I get a few decent pulses and decide to stay there. Another pilot joins me, and we chain figures of eight in front of the ridge. A few more get us to the altitude where we can trade the figures of eight for full circles, but it's dynamic lift, mostly, and we're not able to ascent very high above the ridge. I was hoping I'd be ablet to go home, but today won't be the day.
I scratch around for more activity, searching above Orcier, but there is nothing, so I head for the terrain, to execute a few wings and three-sixties, as I haven't practiced those in quite a while. I manage to get a descent rate of 6m/s on the vario for a short time. At the last minute, I realise the wind on the ground is the opposite way to what it is on top, and land a bit long, in the freshly harvested wheat field adjacent to our landing field.

As I fold my wing, Alex phones me to ask me to fetch him and Michael, busy trying to get Maurice's wing down from the top of the pine-trees, so I'm off for another drive up the slope.

Technical data: Flight duration 0:50, Take-off altitude: 1330m, Maximum altitude reached: 1380m, Total climb during flight: 950m, Max rate of climb: +2.4m/s, Max descent rate: -4.4m/s, Landing altitude: 640m.


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