A Rough Day at the Devil's Dyke
Lots of experimenting with the video camera and I'm now trying a keel mount. I've always been paranoid about affecting the glider in an adverse way, but speaking with plenty of people that had mounted the camera on the keel, some of which have set-ups much heavier than my own, have had no complaints. I decide to give it a go.
The destination is the Devil's Dyke, Sussex, England. I've got the afternoon off work and when I arrive the wind is howling from a westerly direction. Not quite ideal for flying yet, but a chance to mount the camera and float the glider in the wind and see if it makes a difference. I don't even know it's there!
An hour later the wind drops off. I stand ready at takeoff for 15 minutes (I've edited that out) and the wind picks up. I struggle with the glider as the wind switches direction until finally it settles down. Wings level and a strong head wind, I step forward and start accelerating the glider. Smooth long strides and before I know it, the glider lifts taking me with it.
Here's the video:
The flight lasted 65 minutes, but the camera battery didn't (49 minutes). At the busiest there were 5 of us flying together (mostly out of camera view). Eventually, the wind unexpectedly dropped off sending all but one of us to the bottom landing field. The now light conditions tempted some paragliders to launch but Mother Nature had a trick up her sleeve. Just as quickly as the wind dropped off it picked up again. One paraglider pulled in big ears and landed with the rest of us at the bottom and later I learned that another wasn't quite so successful and flew backwards into a tree where he was left unceremoniously dangling 6 feet in the air in a crucifix position (there's another story that goes with that including a man whose leg fell off trying to help the paraglider pilot).
The music in the video is Chicane - Offshore (Original).
A special thanks to Dave M for collecting us all from the bottom landing field and sharing with us the misfortunes of a paraglider pilot!