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I don't recall ever having such an intense, and finally exhausting day. I'm totally spent! (And this is speaking from the next morning, after a rest :) )

I was pretty close to getting my "hang-1" rating, so I've been itching to get a few more lessons in for... well, ever sense the last set of lessons :) Since I had a few things to do Sunday afternoon I'l planning on just doing the Sunday morning class.

The other problem was: I had to make my own way down, since kreggan got his Hang-3 spot rating, and wouldn't be going down to the Hollister site as often, and.... and... my car was in the shop because of the accident, and wouldn't be returned until Monday.

Easily solved! Take the motorcycle down!

Well, then I needed to deal with "How to take down my usual array of snacks" that I like to nibble on during the class. I might not need it as much, given I'd only be taking one class, but I'd rather have it than not, so looked for a way to start toting large amounts of stuff on the Kanata. One thing I discovered was that the bike does have hook points for luggage, which was a pleasant surprise, since I had near-convinced myself that the Katana was decidedly luggage unfriendly.

So, a little shopping around some cycle stores, and I bought myself one of these. Well, that was certainly pretty roomy. The next problem was to fit a cooler into it, for the snacks and stuff. I actually managed to jam my usual hard cooler into that bag, with no room left over, and I was certain I could do something else with it. So... on Saturday, off to target to look for some soft coolerbags. I got one, and it fit well, but I couldn't get everything I wanted into it. Amazingly, we actually had a coolerbag at the house that fit perfectly, room to spare, and could store my drink bottle, tupperware containers, food bars and space for a chunk of dry ice at the bottom! Woo!

During this, I find out that my Sunday afternoon appointment rescheduled, so... I'm back to my usual two lessons! Most excellent! Definitely need the food now.

Also, on the Saturday, I stopped by the hang-gliding shop to pick up my harness (photos in a later post), helmet and parachute. I won't be using the parachute until MUCH later in my hang-gliding training.

So, for Sunday, I'm all set! Tail-bag, cooler that fits inside, nibble-food, frozen drink, hang-gliding helmet successfully squeezed into the tail-bag, too.

The cycle ride down was pretty uneventful, but it's certainly been the longest single-trip I've done so far. Biking around country roads is quite fun. Leisurely and easy ... I can see why people do it!

I arrive at the site, and get some interesting looks... perhaps this is the first time anyone's motorcycled to a hang-gliding lesson! When we get into the field (satellite map), and up to the storage container, I see my glider on the ground, knowing it'll be flight tested today (yay!), of course, I'm not going to be flying those just yet, so I'm setting up one of the shop's gliders, and when that's done, mine's gone already! I eventually see it flying around... the shop's owner is testing it out... he lands a little way away from the container and suggests I start using my own glider!

Well, I didn't quite know about that, but I agreed, and regretted it very soon after. Quite a bad landing, but I didn't bend anything fortunately. Okay, more practise required, so I flattened the glider (removing the nose wires allows its to sit flat on the ground) and went back to the shop's gliders. Still a couple more "icky" flights, so some fair bit of time ironing out the kinks and getting some smooth flights back again.

I now had a concerned that my "plan" to have my hang-1 rating by the end of the day wasn't going to be fulfilled, and that concern didn't help the plan any :) Relax.... have fun out there....

Had two new instructors, for the morning, and afternoon, and each one noticed something different and got some pretty awesome coaching. By the end of the day, I was having some spectacularly good flights, in blustery conditions. Much more fun! In the afternoon lessons I switched back to my own glider. Slightly newer, better condition, flys a LOT more responsively and a fair bit more distance, too.

The afternoon instructor, Dave, was deliberating doing the final sign-off. His concern was that I wasn't yet flying "consistently", since he did see my morning botch-ups. After realising I had taken my own glider up for the first time ever this morning, that satisfied that there was something "real" to the bad flights, and was then happy to give me the sign-off. Of course, I'm going to ensure that I'm relaxed, and remembering the training, on all my future flights, but especially the first ones of the day next time!

So, Woot! Hang-1 rating!

By this stage I was totally exhausted. In the good way... having given all your energy to something awesome. I now had a concern that my motorcycle ride home would be "interesting" :) So, eat a bit more food, and off I go... after all the exercise, the cramped position of a "sports bike" was certainly not the most confortable, and I was considering the wisdom of just hanging my legs forward for a few seconds at a time :) Instead, I found a way of shifting my feed forward and back a little on the pegs, and that was fine!

So, after another 70 mile journey back, plus a refill right then and there to measure the fuel efficiency of the trip (47mpg), a shower, about 5 grams of vitamin C (helps me with sore muscles), and I'm back in bed. Totally spent, exhausted, tired, and totally totally fulfilled.

Planning going back in 2 weeks to do some consolidation flights... outside of the lesson structure, and I won't even have to pay for these :)

Summary for the impatient:

  • Motorcycled to and from the hang-gliding site.
  • Watched my own hang-glider being tested.
  • Lessons both morning and afternoon.
  • Extra "freebie" flights in between.
  • Used my own glider in the afternoon.
  • Got my Hang-1 rating. Ding! Level-up!

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Say what you will about the submersible tiger, I still think the airborne cheetah is the deadliest of the large cats.

Muhuh! Just wait till I practise SPOT LANDINGS!

*buh-dum tshhh*

I'm still trying to work on getting good at mine, it's easier when it's first thing in the morning and the air is smooth, but when it gets more active you'll learn about the "spot thermal" and the excitement that goes with it, hehe.

I assume spot landings are going to be a bit easier in those conditions than a paraglider :)

well lift is lift.
When you're coming down at a certain glide slope to hit the spot and all of a sudden you start going up...
you have to figure out how to compensate so you don't go way long on landing.
Now you might have less of an effect then a paraglider cause you go a bit faster, but you -will- experience this if you plan to go out to fly thermals, not so much with ridge soaring and stuff.

hehe, cool.
I'm going to be going to Monterey the first week of Sept to go to a ridge soaring clinic :)

Sweet! Have you had any hang-glider experience at all, yet ?

nope! not yet, I'm still working on finishing my P2.
I enjoy that paragliders are nice and portable, being that my wing is only about 12 lbs ;)
(though still I have then harness,helmet,radio,gps,water,etc. but my full pack is about 35 lbs)
But maybe someday I'll try it out. :)

Firstly, I'm totally ignorant about paragliding. Keep that in mind :)

I would speculate that a paragliding chute, with it's lower inertia and lower "immediate" controllability, especially pitch, would be more susceptible to spot thermals.

Congrats, spotty! How very cool =^.^=


I need to get some pictures taken :)

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