Wednesday, December 25, 2019

West Australian Free Flyers Forums

I set up forums for the HG/PG community in WA at the start of the year, but never advertised them.

They are now starting to see more use. I always post my flying plans and there is an increasing following.

I don't use facebook (like many people) and so using a closed facebook forum as the only way of communicating with other pilots is not helpful.

These forums are open and free and all you need is a web browser on any device/platform to use them. They won't slow down your device or fill up your memory and they don't track you.

You can subscribe to threads so you get notified about subjects you are interested in.

I'd really like to see all active pilots in WA sign up so we can unite the entire flying community, it would make sharing information much easier.

You can find the forums here:

Western Australia RASP Forecast

I've been generating a RASP forecast for Western Australia for a few months now.

I have got it to the point where I am happy with the UI and I am just adding new features.

It was running on an old Xeon server I have here and with it's 12 cores it was able to produce the daily run in around 2 hours. But sadly that server has not proved reliable in the summer heat and so I am now running an i5 laptop flat out for almost 5 hours to produce the same daily run.
The model run happens every afternoon and it tries to do 7 days into the future.
I have a decent solar installation on my roof so the server is using solar power to generate the forecast, which I think is fitting.

I welcome any feedback with suggestions for improvements.

Find it here:

The Muppet Forecast for Mt Bakewell WA

For a while people have been asking me to make a forecast for Mt Bakewell that gives the information that a local pilot would want to know about conditions.

I've got it up and running.

Like all my projects, it is a work in progress and so will continue to be developed as I think of improvements and get feedback from pilots.

You can find it here:

5 Hour Paragliding Cross Country flight from York to Wongan Hills

I was flying my much loved PHI Tenor Light 19. It is such a great glider, and not just good looking/performing, but also easy to fly and carry.

It has taken me on many epic flights all over the world and this is my longest (in terms of time) PG flight within Australia.

It was a difficult day that started off low and slow but improved later in the day.

I had a lot of trouble centering in thermals, they were often a collection of cores (or bubbles) and it was hit and miss finding the best part. Without much altitude I was cautious and so often stayed in light lift just happy to not be sinking!

After Goomalling I had a slight crosswind from the East, but this was offset by the better height and the stronger tail wind component.

It was a really enjoyable flight, I had no collapses, I had no major turbulence, my pee tube system worked perfectly so I was able to stay hydrated.

I ate one gel half way through the flight as I was fading a bit.

After I landed in Wongan I headed straight for the road heading South out of town and started walking and trying to hitch a ride.

After several cars passed me and I was a couple of km out of town (and starting to wonder if I would make Goomalling (46km) on foot with 1lt of water and 3 gels) when an absolute legend stopped for me.

I was back in York around 10pm and then I hiked back up the hill in the dark to get my car, I got home just before midnight.

What an adventure!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Windows won't boot after a HD issue or upgrade to SSD?

This, always this!

Why can't windows just do this automatically?

Following commands will re/create BCD on system drive which is mapped to drive N: (change drive letter to reflect your mappings)

  bootsect /nt60 N: /force /mbr - rewrite Windows 7/8/10 boot records to system partition and MBR.
  attrib -s -h N:\boot\bcd - remove system and hidden attributes of BCD file so it can be deleted. See Note below.
  del N:\boot\bcd - delete BCD. See Note below.
  bcdboot c:\windows /s N: - re/create BCD assuming your latest Windows version is installed on drive c:

Monday, July 29, 2019


Since my last update I've had a few more attempts to fly back to Aarau from Schwangimatte, I've gotten quite close but never made it all the way. Conditions have been tricky with stronger headwinds aloft.

I was in Verbier for a couple of days and had a good thermal flight on one day getting up over all the high points in the area.

Then it was off to Fiesch, a place I have flown a few times before and one of the best sites in Switzerland. On the first day I was rewarded with climbs to 3700m and a 40km XC down to Obergoms and back.I only landed as I was desperate to pee.
On the next day I had my external catheter fitted, but when I went to use it after 90 mins I experienced a malfunction, the ensuing distraction and frustration resulted in me decking it shortly afterwards as I tried to cross a blue hole and lost 1000m and ended up under the inversion.

Fiesch is such a lovely understated location after Verbier which certainly felt like a tourist trap during the Verbier festival when I was there.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Hike and Fly, Home!

My first flight in Switzerland.

An epic day which could have produced a much greater distance.

But, for a few years now I have been trying to fly back home to Aarau from one of the sites near Balsthal. I always seemed to bomb near Olten in the past, probably because that was where I tried to head straight for Aarau.

This time I stayed over the high ground until I had glide to Aarau and it was a super easy flight.

I almost bombed at the start, but fought hard to stay in the air.
The rest of the flight was awesome conditions, up to 5m/s and 4m/s sustained climbs up to airspace.

When I first got into the harness I sensed something was wrong as I could not get my feet past the speed system. Sure enough the first time I wanted to use it I discovered it was jammed near the pulley on the right side.
As it turned out the day was kind to me and I did not really need the extra speed.

I bought a cheap second hand Samsung 360 camera. I knew they have issues with overheating and quality and I do all my editing on Linux so I was not expecting amazing footage, but it adds something new.

It's a super PITA to work with, it has to be converted from dual fisheye to reclinear and then to HD. Hopefully I can find a way to speed up the process and improve the quality without having to resort to using Windoze.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Finally a great day at the Warren flying the Cliffs between Folkestone and Dover

A perfect day. A couple of hours of flying and a couple of top landings. Even sunshine!

Much better than the previous days.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Back in the UK

As winter descends on Perth  the migratory birds fly North to escape the winter.
I arrived in the UK yesterday.
Today there was a chance to fly Detling this afternoon and so I had a look.

I only took the little Masala and my basic harness without a reserve as I was not expecting much.
As it turned out it was quite strong and rough and pretty thermic, there were some big clouds downwind that I think were adding to the mix.

My first flight I landed when and where I wanted and managed to keep low as I intended.

On my second flight I got caught in a thermal and lifted up to the height of the hill. With full speedbar I was not having any issues staying in front of the hill, but I don't like using the speedbar (except on an XC glide) as it means you are right on the top edge of your envelope and have no extra margin if the wind picks up more. I also don't like flying without a reserve when I would have the height to use one. I've seen mid air collisions with birds and RC aircraft take down paragliders and I was sharing the site with them both.

The wind was forecast to get stronger as the day progessed.

 I ridge soared for a while and then used the next lull to get down and land.

Discretion being the better part of valor prompted me to leave.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Aerotowing with Sid

It's been years since I last aerotowed behind Sid.

There was a time when I was out there nearly every weekend. But then my friend Karl that I used to fly with left us and I stopped heading out.

Since then I have almost been back several times, but for several reasons I never quite made it.

The last few years have seen injury curtail my ability to hang glide, but finally I seem to be over that restriction.

This summer I was pretty focused on trying to find out what I could achieve with a Paraglider and so there were times when I could have gone to Sids, but went XC from Bakewell with my PG instead.

Finally I was faced with an invitation to head out to Sids on a weekend when it was not flyable from Bakewell and my back was not stopping me from going.

It was great to see Sid again. He has some of the same flying toys and some new ones. He is every bit as much the passionate aviator as he always has been.

With probably thousands of hours of aerotowing hang glider pilots under his belt, Sid always makes the tows feel effortless.

If anything I think the danger is that he can give pilots too much confidence, they think that the reason the tows are going well is because they are are great pilot, but actually Sid is always working to keep you in the sweet spot as well.

It is often a shock for pilots the first time they tow behind a trike pilot that is flying flat out and not trying to make life easy for the hang glider pilot behind!

I had a couple of great tows, it was very overcast with moderate winds on the ground and all the way up.

Thermals were broken, but the lift was clustered enough to work.

My first tow I pinned off early, thinking I was in lift and then found sink all the way back to the LZ.

The second tow I stayed on longer and Sid dropped me in lift. I was able to climb and drift about 10km down wind.

At this point it became obvious that my Galaxy S4 that I was using as a vario and navigation device was not going to work for me and so I turned around and headed back to the farm.
I was not sure if I was going to make it due to the headwind, but I got a thermal half way back and the wind was abating.

I made it back with a few hundred feet to spare and then had a nil wind landing to finish the day.

I think 3 pilots went XC on the day with David getting around 50km in difficult conditions.

Keith Lightbody, photographer supreme was out and flew as well. I think he lent his camera to Kevin who got some nice shots of me.

Video footage from the day: