Truleigh and Traffic

Summary of flying for Friday 31 May 2013
Total Hours1h 03m
Best Height Gain350 feet
Total Flights1

I arrived at the Dyke at 4pm hopeful that I hadn't missed a flying opportunity. Other hang glider pilots had packed up and the first of what would be more paragliders had taken to the air. The wind felt strong enough to sustain a flight and blew from a north westerly direction however, after I had spoken with others, the true wind direction was confirmed to be north of northwest.

I quickly rigged knowing that the wind was going to drop in strength, performed my hang checks and positioned myself at the front of the hill ready for launch. The wind had dropped, so I patiently waited for a thermal cycle. A couple of recently qualified CP students had also rigged and positioned themselves alongside me. After a short wait, the breeze increased which marked the arrival of a thermal. The first of the CP students launched and slowly descended to the bottom landing field. After he'd cleared the airspace in front of launch, I launched and began several beats in the weak lift.

I was able to maintain ridge height but useful height gains eluded me. I explored the available lift and it became apparent that lift was in specific areas which limited my flight choices. One by one, more and more paragliders launched and I decided to try my luck on the main Truleigh ridge and avoid the increased paraglider traffic.

This was a better choice and I maintained my height and gained 100 feet above the ridge then pushed on towards Truleigh. In pursuit were a group of paraglider pilots that had broken away from the main medley. As I continued in a westward direction, the performance of a hang glider compared to a paraglider became apparent as I arrived at Truleigh Hill and the paragliders trailed behind at only half way along the ridge.

I had arrived at Truleigh Hill below ridge height, but after I found more reliable lift, I climbed above the ridge then badly exploited a thermal to climb to my highest point of the flight. I'd later find out that another hang glider pilot had earlier climbed to 3,000 feet. Eventually my paragliding pursuers caught up with me, so I decided to leave them to enjoy Truleigh Hill to themselves and set off back along the ridge.

When I arrived back at the Dyke I knew I was going to be in for a challenge making a top landing. The wind had dropped and the ridge was full of paragliders all packed closely together in the limited lift On previous flights I'd simply resigned myself to the bottom landing, but this time I decided to give it ago.

I persisted in amongst the paragliders for more than 10 minutes but never got high enough to top land. After getting particularly close to a set of trees in the bowl, I conceded and headed for the bottom landing field.

The bottom field was now in crop, so I used the constant aspect approach technique, which is often preached at the Suffolk Coastal Floaters Hang Gliding Club and landed in the designated area; no crop infringements! The two recently qualified pilots that I had met earlier were still in the bottom landing field. They warmly greeted me and gave me a lift back to the top to collect my car. En-route we discussed flying conditions and how best to stay up. It reminded me so much of my earlier flying days and it was great to know that two more pilots were about to embark on this fantastic experience.

Only later when I got home and reviewed my video footage, I realised that I'd again been aloft for over an hour. I totalled up my total airtime [my website now does this for me], I observed I was just shy of 60 hours; I guess I’ll pass the 60 another day...

Flying Log(s)

TypeHill Launch
DateFri, 31 May 2013 - 16:30
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteDevil's Dyke
Duration01h 03m
CommentsNNW 10-15 mph. Thermic. Made it to Truleigh Hill, but didn't get much above ridge height. Came back to a sky full of paragliders. Struggled to get enough height for a top landing so ultimately landed at the bottom.
Height Gain350 ft
Total Hours59h 50m

Total Flying Statistics

The total flying statistics up to and including 31 May 2013:

Total Hours59h 50m
Longest Flight1h 20m
Gliders Flown4
Unique Sites Flown20
Best Height Gain3,000 feet
Total Distance30.2 km
Furthest Flown13.4 km
Total Flights236
Hill Launches110
Winch Launches105
Aerotow Launches21