Monday, March 04, 2019

Western Australian Hang Gliding Comps 2019

I was the comp director at the WA state hang gliding comps again this year.

It sounds impressive, but it's really just about trying to help keep everyone happy and safe. The real work is done by the other guys behind the scenes during the year.

This was the first year since 2014 that I was feeling fit enough to compete. First I managed to destroy my right knee and that took a couple of years to sort out, and then my back went. For the last few months my back has been improving and I was really looking forward to thermalling my hang glider again.

I managed a few practice flights in the weeks leading up to the comps, but could not quite get my harness adjusted perfectly.

We had a terrible start to the comp with a fatality on the practice day.

What we do is challenging and extremely unforgiving of error.

When you are aerotowing behind a trike you are  traveling at about 80kph head first near the ground. Things happen really fast and small mistakes become big problems in seconds.

The loss of one of our own shook everyone and some pilots decided to go home.

For the ones that stayed we flew our hearts out as we always do.

I had 3 fun flights. They were all special in their own way.

I discovered that whilst I may have forgotten some of the pre-flight checks my aero towing skills were still as good as they ever were.

I flew for over 4 hours, all thermalling and all starting with the rush of an aerotow launch.

Everyone always knew which glider was mine, I decorated it myself.

I've made a short video with some footage from all 3 flights. Of course the landings are always exciting. I forgot to turn on my camera for 2 of the aerotows, but I captured one with Simon.

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