Our yearly South Africa trip has become some what of a tradition for the Free Flight Academy team and this year we celebrated the tenth anniversary of running trips there. With an amazing two weeks of flying the trip statistics were great, so before I continue let’s take a look at the nitty gritty of what was achieved.
It is no secret that our Colombia XC tour is my favorite trip of our yearly season and this year did not disappoint. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the trip lets just have a quick statistical analysis and crunch some numbers. We flew 25 out of the 26 available days and made a number of different XC tasks including return to base triangles, open distance and declared goals. We also had the privilege of helping a number of our pilots beat their personal bests, especially on our first two-week tour where Hugo and Nick broke their PB’s three times during their trip.
As has become our custom at Free Flight Academy our 2017 season started with a trip to Wilderness and Porterville in sunny South Africa.
Arriving into Cape Town we rounded up everyone at the airport with an unusually large bag and set off to Hermanus. This pretty seaside town has become an ingrained part of the trip, as it’s the best way to break up the journey to Wilderness and recoup after a long haul flight.
We’ve just completed two SIV course in Oludeniz and without a doubt we have to say it is one of the highlights of our annual calendar.
It seems each year our groups get more and more enthusiastic and the commitment to the manoeuvres this time round was impressive. Symmetrical Deflations, Asymmetrical Deflations, Held in Deflations, Deflations with the brakes clipped on, B-Line Stalls, Search for Spin, Spiral Dives, Full Stalls, Wingovers and SAT’s were all completed with more than a little bit of welly and for that we would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that participated!
If you’d like to see a little of what we got up to, click the link below to see the Fly Sussex group in action.
On a different note, this year we had several enquiries regarding the safety of running course in Turkey and although it was noticeable that Oludeniz is suffering reduced tourist numbers, we’d like to say in our experience it has and always will be the friendliest and best place to hold an SIV course. Coming off Babadag mountain and into the box at almost a mile high you get the opportunity to practice manoeuvres over and over again until you are comfortable with them. In fact you can practice 3 full stalls, a couple of SAT’s and several deflations in one run (should you choose too) so by our calculations 9 SIV runs per course in Oludeniz is actually equivalent to 18 or more anywhere else!
Recent events in Europe prove trouble can happen anywhere, so Free Flight Academy will continue to support the locals in Oludeniz unless government travel information indicates otherwise.
We look forward to heading back there in October and hope you will join us!
Another year is marked by the annual emergence from hibernation of that shy creature they call the paraglider pilot. Some have already taken to the sky but this event sees many more pull out the kit bag, brush off the dust and congregate in a large sports hall in Reading with one thing in mind – get that reserve repacked in order to get back in the sky.
Free Flight Academy is pleased to announce that Dan Edwards has joined our team.
As one of only a few BHPA registered Packers it is great to have him on board, to read his full profile just head to the ‘meet our team’ section on the home page.
With our newest team member in place it would be a shame not to utilise his skills, so we are currently looking for a venue in London to host the first ever Free Flight Academy repack session (please drop us an email if you know of anywhere suitable – a free repack is on offer to the person that can find us an inspired location!). However without a set date in our diary and the new season nearly upon us, we are pleased to inform you that Dan will be available at the following repack events:
Our Morocco trip saw the end of our 2015 season and it proved to be a great way to finish things up with 14 days flying in a row. For British pilots it is very hard to find anywhere to fly in the Northern hemisphere at this time of the year let alone doing it in shorts and t-shirt, but Morocco ticks so many boxes. Not only does it have good weather during the UK winter months, it is also a great place to practice the basic skills of paragliding, which we all need to brush up on every now and then.
Oludeniz has certainly delivered this week. Week one of our September SIV courses and we’ve had some serious shapes being thrown across the sky. The entire group have given brilliant demonstrations of how to control their wings and have also learnt how their individual wings react in certain in flight situations.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so here is a quick trailer from our first week.
It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know everyone and we are pleased confidence levels seem to have soared over the week…there really is no better job in the world!
As June rolled around it meant it was time for our annual pilgrimage down to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees to begin our XC progression courses. Ager is the perfect location for learning the black art of XC flying and it has become a regular part of our European program. For the first time Akis and Fiona where at the helm for the first three courses. It was a new experience for them, but they rose to the challenge and proved what a fantastic team we have. more
So whilst Lee has had the ‘benefit’ of throwing his reserve twice in real life (the hazard of being an Acro pilot), I’ve never (touch wood) had to throw mine in anger. In fact I bought it three years ago and although I have had it repacked annually, generally it’s not something I think about. Occasionally I’ve had the odd thought such as ‘would I be able to find the handle’ and ‘will I be able to pull the reserve out’ but the concerns have not been anything major…. just a little niggle in the back of my mind.